Kaleigh, Katie, Richard, Jeremy, Jamie, Kiley and I Mexi-packed into Kaleigh’s car in Ames and headed toward Des Moines for the Paramore/Jimmy Eat World concert around 1 p.m. Friday afternoon. After a 45-minute claustrophobic ride in the car, we finally arrived at the Val Air Ballroom. We were 3 hours early to ensure a close spot to the stage, and were met by about 15 extremely emo, walking Hot Topic ad 16 year olds with snake bites, tight tight pants, pink hair and Etnies. Richard texts me: “You’re going to love being in line. You WILL get in a fight.”
We began taking turns in two groups switching between holding our place in line and binge drinking in the car. One group would chill in the car for 20 minutes mixing drinks and chugging beers while the other group would maintain our position in the ever-growing line and secretively (or not so much in my case) drink mixed drinks out of QT cups. About an hour into the experience, I was no longer “sober,” persay. Several kids behind me stood two large lesbians who had ordered Pizza Hut and were devouring pizza and breadsticks. I shot them a very animanted puppy dog face. Surprisingly, Big Dyke #1 offers, “…you can have a piece of pizza you know.”
Score. I flail my way over and chomp down a cheesy piece of pizza and make small, very small talk with them momentarily before returning to my place in line. I continue to secretly take pictures of all the freaks in line on my phone. Soon enough, I have to tinkle. Actually I was desperate to piss. I scampered over to the side of the car and let loose Niagra Falls. I mixed up a muscly vodka/Sprite and ran back into line.
I met Kaleigh, Richard, Kiley and Jamie back in line and began to stir my drink to ensure an even mix so I didn’t hit any liquor reservoirs and vomit on scene. Because of the large amount of ice I had, stirring just wasn’t cutting it. Instead, I began blowing bubbles into my drink with my straw like a 4 year old and a glass of Nesquick. Suddenly, my drink explodes in my face. I am dripping in beverage. People laugh. I am drunk.
We look at the time. Twenty minutes til the doors open. I run up to the doormen to ask if they thought they’d be opening them at 6 on the dot, because I was going to go leave my hoodie and phone in the car but didn’t want to do it til the last minute so I didn’t freeze my ass off outside. Maybe I was drunker than I imagined at this point, but they acted like they had no idea what I was asking them, and to try and shake me off, they just asked me if I wanted a free CD and handed me an Angels and Airwaves CD. I was unhappy that my question went unanswered, but was pacified with my free gift. I return to the car and leave my shit inside. We race back into line. The doors open moments later and we stampede inside and make a run for first row.
Jamie and I have to pee but don’t want to lose our spot in the crowd. Richard says he’ll take care of it. We sprint to the bathroom and hurry back to find Richard bending way over, waving his arms in front of him yelling, “Uhhhhh I’m gonna throw up! I’m gonna puke; watch ouuuut!” People are keeping their distance and looking at him strangely. He sees us, straightens up, and we take our spots back. Ha.
We all make it to the third row. People are shoving and pressing like crazy. I shout out, “I’M NOT WEARING A CONDOM!!!!!!!” and announcing that I had just become pregnant because of all the unprotected contact being made. Two guys literally pull me into the row behind them. I am angry. I grab them and shout, “Dude, you just took me out of my group! Those are my friends in front of you. Put me back.” They blow me off. I keep heckling them and being annoying. They finally push me back next to Kaleigh and Jeremy just as Dear and the Headlights starts playing. People start going insane. The mosh gets rowdy. My body is being impounded. I feel like Luke Skywalker, Hans Solo, Princess Leia, and Chewie in Star Wars in that giant garbage disposal. The two fucks behind me yell, “ARE YOU HAPPY YOU’RE UP HERE NOW?” I flip them off. Yes, I was tickled pink in fact.
Hayley makes a surprise appearance in their last song. People start losing limbs and bleeding from the ears. We are excited. So excited. Finally, Paramore comes out. The crowd goes wild. I am shitting myself. Like there’s diarrhea running down my leg. They open with “Let The Flames Begin.” The audience starts sacrificing babies and squealing like pigs. The third row gets fucking intense. I can feel my intestines coming out of my nose and mouth. They play We Are Broken, Crushcrushcrush, When It Rains, That’s What You Get, and…I’m drunk.
By the fifth or sixth song, I am completely drenched in sweat, and I’m overheating. I realize that I am extremely close to ACTUALLY passing out, but I wanted to leave with a bang. Security, as usual, pulls you out of the front of the crowd if you crowd surf, so that would be my means of exit. They start playing Born For This, and I decide this would be a good time to get out.I slowly let everyone push me backwards more and more, until finally I’m about halfway to the back of the crowd. Some sweaty ass men lift me up, and I sail my way to the front of the crowd and let security pick me off. I was directly in front of the stage. I felt cool. I stumble toward the bathroom.
I see an unattended drinking fountain outside the restroom and start slurping down water like a camel. While hydrating myself, I run into Amy Dohlman and chat with her a short while. After drinking gallons of water, I drag myself into the bathroom directly in front of a full-length mirror.
I look like I’ve been sprayed with a garden hose. My jeans were stuck to my legs. My “I Love Hot Moms” shirt was soaked. My bangs were plastered to my forehead with sweat. My eye makeup could have scared Freddy Kruger. My mascara–what was left of it–was smeared down my face and all over my eyelids. I looked sick. I leave the bathroom and walk toward the bar area to watch the rest of the show without being killed. On my way, two moms grab me and squeal, “WE LOVE YOUR SHIIIIRT!!!” and put their arms around me and made their daughter take a picture with me. Rock.
I meander to the left of the stage just as they ended with Misery Business. Partway through the song, Richard and Jamie sail over the front of the crowd and get kicked out. Thank god; I had no idea where anyone else was. Paramore ends with a bang. It was a fucking awesome concert. Rich, Jamie and I go outside to get some fresh air and actually breathe. They hadn’t stamped our hands or given us wrist bands on our way in, so when we tried to get back into Val Air, the doorman hesitated.
“You aren’t supposed to leave the venue after the show starts or you can’t get back in,” he says.
“Really? Oh. We didn’t really know that I guess. We just went outside to breathe. Can we get back in just this once? I mean we were obviously inside,” I say, indicating my sweaty ass hair and sopping wet t-shirt. He says yes, but next time, pay attention.
Jimmy Eat World starts playing just as we receive a text from Jeremy who says that he, Kaleigh and Kiley can’t get back inside. We would all have to leave. We stayed for three JEW (ha, JEW, I didn’t even realize til now) songs and then met the rest of the group outside. I stripped down butt ass naked in the parking lot to change into dry clothes. We pile into the car and head back to Ames, recounting the events of the night. OHHH it was awesome. I’ll do it again. I will.
Jeremy: “Kaleigh, can we play our song?”
Kiley: “Yeahhh! Play our song! I love that song.”
(Kaleigh plays Shake It)
Kiley: “Oh..I thought you meant ‘Our Song’ by Taylor Swift.”