Monday, August 27, 2007

"Little Darling welcome to the show ..."

Backstage pass for Projekt Revolution Hartford Connecticut
Backstage Pass for the Revolution Stage

Lyrics from the Mindless Self Indulgence 2005 song "Straight to Video" seemed an appropriate title for this post about our day at the Projekt Revolution tour in Hartford as it was quite the show and I don't believe that Amanda has stopped smiling about it yet close to 24 hours later. I can't say that I blame her as if this sort of thing had happened to me when I was 15, I'm sure that I'd still be smiling about it even now and chalking it up as one of the all-time best experiences of my life. With any luck the memory of this show will keep Amanda from rolling her eyes and sighing in my general direction for at least a little while!

While watching the weather forecast yesterday morning, I was none too inspired by what the weathermen were predicting and was thinking that it was going to be a very long, very hot, very humid day which I wasn't too sure I was going to survive. If I've never mentioned it before, let me just reiterate that August in New England can be a major crap shoot and the dice usually come up NOT in our favor for outdoor activities. Had the forecasters of doom been right yesterday, there would have been major storms right about the time Mindless Self Indulgence hit the stage but thankfully they were once again wrong and the weather actually turned out to be quite pleasant.

After arriving at the Dodge Music Center and realizing that the rules for what you could and couldn't bring had changed, Jason, Amy, Katie, Jess, Amanda, and myself checked in at the VIP Guest ticket booth and got our tickets and the above sticker that gave us access to backstage at the Revolution Stage where MSI was the headlining act. After walking around a bit and killing a little time as well as quite a bit of money on a bottle of water ($4!!), we went out to the Revolution Stage where Saosin, a southern California alternative rock band, was finishing up their set and placed ourselves strategically stage left where security would allow us through to the back once the show wrapped up.

The pit in front of the Revolution Stage, Projekt Revolution Hartford
The Pit in front of the Revolution Stage

Just before MSI took the stage, right on time, Amy was able to make eye contact with her sister LynZ, bassist for the band, so she knew right where we were standing once the band began their show - and what a show it was! I had heard that the group was pretty wild and had seen them perform on the Carson Daly Show when they made their television debut a few weeks ago but it was nothing like being there in person and experiencing their energy and music first-hand. Thanks to repetitive (and that would be very repetitive!) playing of their music by Amanda, I was familiar with just about all of the songs they played and was even able to sing along with a few of them though their lyrics are pretty tough at times.

Just for the record, I should point out that I was not the only "older" person there and I even spotted a few ladies who seemed a bit older than me as well as a couple of men that I know were older than me! Well, either that or they had led some very, very rough lives! Whether they were singing along or not, I don't know but I figured everyone else was so why not me? Besides, Amanda was having too good of a time to be embarrassed that her mother was singing as Jess, another EMT that I work with at American Ambulance, took Amanda out into the center of the pit for awhile so that she could get a feel for it. They only stayed out amongst the crowd-surfing mob for about 15 minutes before Amanda decided that breathing seemed like a better option and returned to the edge of the crowd with the rest of us.

Unfortunately, we couldn't see Kitty, the drummer, from where we were and LynZ was only visible when she'd come to the front of the stage or the one time she decided to leave the stage and do some crowd-surfing of her own (the lady has guts!). Front-man Jimmy had more energy than someone who had consumed ten Monster drinks in a row and he played the crowd for all they were worth while bantering back and forth with guitarist, Steve. It was like nothing I had ever seen before except maybe for a long ago concert in Philadelphia by The Tubes. No doubt about it, though - front-man Little Jimmy Urine (Euringer) made The Tubes lead singer Fee Waybill look and sound like a kitty cat!

At the end of the show we were ushered through the gates by security and into the backstage area where LynZ and Amy gave each other gigantic hugs. After spending the summer refereeing Amanda and Jamie, it was really nice to see two sisters who truly loved each other and were obviously ecstatic to be together again. Could there be hope for my two someday?? Was it truly possible?? Before I had time to really speculate on those questions, Amy was introducing LynZ to us and I was so impressed by what a friendly, lively, dynamic woman she is. She was no doubt thrilled to see Amy and her husband Jason and even more so her niece, Katie - who I've decided has got to be one of the luckiest 15-year old girls in the world!

In addition to meeting LynZ, which was a total thrill, I also had the extreme pleasure to shake the hand of Gerard Way, lead singer of My Chemical Romance, who had been backstage watching MSI perform. As he extended his hand to everyone and said "Hi, I'm Gerard" I was struck by the major difference in his "real life" persona and his stage persona. On-stage Gerard is off the scale but in person he is very soft-spoken and almost shy but very easy to talk to. Of course, idiot that I am, when he shook my hand and said "Hi, I'm Gerard" I replied, "Yes, I know." DUH!! How about "It's a pleasure to meet you." or "Hi, my name's Linda" or something more intelligent and eloquent then "Yes, I know"!! Who says you can't be star-struck just a few weeks short of 49??

Amanda had been so afraid that if she had the chance to meet some of her favorite rockers that she was going to say or do something stupid but she handled herself very well. No squeeing fan-girl at all but a very composed and calm looking teenager who respectfully shook Gerard's hand back and didn't drag the poor man kicking and screaming into a giant bear hug. Of course, being her mother's daughter, her reply to "Hi, I'm Gerard" was "Hi, and yeah, I know who you are." Yep, we're related!

From the time she knew that we were going to the concert right up until just before we left, Amanda worked on drawings that she hoped to give to the members of MSI and to maybe someone in MCR if she was lucky enough to meet one of them. She had showed the pictures to Jess earlier in the day and Jess told her that she wanted Amanda to design her next tattoo so when we were talking to Gerard and LynZ, Jess encouraged her to give them the drawings. Amanda was a bit hesitant as both Gerard and LynZ have attended art school and Amanda just didn't have confidence that her work was good enough to be judged by either of them but by the same token, she really wanted to give the drawings to them. For MSI she had done Chibi drawings of the band members and for MCR she had done drawings based on lyrics from some of her favorite songs.

Amanda asked LynZ if it was okay if she gave her some drawings she had done and she said absolutely, that she would love to see them. When she saw them LynZ told Amanda that she thought they were great and she then showed them to Gerard. At that point Amanda told him that she had done some for him, too, and as she handed the drawings to him, it was easy to see that she was a little nervous but as soon as Gerard said "These are fantastic!" and told her what a great job she had done drawing the feet on the angel as well as how good the wolf was, she relaxed quite a bit. She had thought she hadn't done a very good job on the feet and had never drawn a wolf before but when Gerard told her that he couldn't draw feet or animals very well at all but that she had done a terrific job on them she just started beaming. I can tell her that her art is great until the cows come home but like it says on Guitar Hero II, "your mom doesn't count as a fan" so I'm sure it meant a lot more to hear it from people who are artists themselves. LynZ and Gerard's compliments really meant a lot to her and hopefully gave her some more confidence in her art.

At that point, Gerard left with Worm, his bodyguard, to go over and join the rest of My Chemical Romance and LynZ was going to take Katie over to meet Linkin Park and a few other people backstage at the main stage. Before she did, though, she took Amanda over to the tour bus so that she could maybe give Jimmy the plushie doll that she had made for him.

In Amanda's own words from her journal, what happened was: "He took it and was "AWW MAN! THATS AWESOME! LOOK AT THOSE WINGS AND THE LITTLE OUTFIT!" and he started playing with the little wings and made it run in the air. Then he got this really excited look on his face and said:" Is this mine to keep?!" And I was just gonna have him sign it, but I couldn't say no to that face! So he was all happy and hugged me, then I turned to him and asked him for a picture. He said sure, but that he was all sweaty and icky from performing. I said that was to be expected and LynZ proceeded to take our picture."

Amanda and Jimmy of Mindless Self IndulgenceAmanda, Jimmy, and the plushie

As she was turning to come back to where the rest of us were waiting, Steve was walking over to the tour bus and Amanda said "Hi, Steve!" and he said "Hi, Person!" She then asked if it would be okay to take her picture with him and he said sure so she took it MySpace style.

Amanda and Steve of Mindless Self IndulgenceAmanda & Steve, righ?

As Amy, Jason, Jess, and I stood backstage talking Amanda came walking back from the tour bus but as soon as she saw us her held-back excitement finally got the better of her and she started to run over to where I was standing to show me the pictures she had. Instead of running up and stopping next to me, though, she ended up barreling right into me and glomped me into the ground. I wasn't familiar with the term until yesterday but apparently "glomping is is a form of greeting used mainly among Anime fans and a typical glomp involves bear hugging someone, tackling them, and latching on tightly, though not enough to intentionally hurt the recipient." I don't know about being glomped but I felt like I had been run over by a small deer or something as I lay on the ground amongst all the stones and dirt with Amanda on top of me. It felt like it happened in slow motion but Jason assured me that no, it happened pretty quick and I'm just glad that there wasn't a video camera around or it may very well have been one of the hottest new searches on You Tube!

My first thought was "oh no, my back!" but after being helped up off the ground and dusting myself off I was thankful to find out that I was a little sore but everything still seemed to be in working order. I'm sure that had I really been hurt the three EMTs that were standing there laughing at me would have swung into professional mode and rendered assistance but thankfully it wasn't necessary, though I am still somewhat bruised and banged up today. Oh well, better me than Gerard or LynZ or Jimmy or someone else and Amanda did apologize profusely for a long time afterwards. A very long time! I wasn't mad, though, as after all it was an accident and she hadn't meant to glomp me, she just had too much forward momentum to stop until we were both in a pile on the ground! Still, I'd rather not repeat the performance any time soon!

The stage at Dodge Music Center Hartford ConnecticutView to the stage from our part of the "Grassy Knoll"

Later on after getting more over-priced water, we met up with LynZ and Katie at the top of the "Grassy Knoll" and stayed there for the rest of the show. By the time we settled onto the grass HIM was playing followed by Taking Back Sunday and I was just relieved to be getting off of my feet for a little while, though I kind of wondered if I was was going to be able to get back up again!

My Chemical Romance took the stage around 7:45 and of course put on an excellent show, as I had no doubt that they would. Amanda actually managed to stay seated on the ground next to me for a little while but when they started playing House of Wolves she kicked off her boots, jumped to her feet, and didn't sit down again until they left the stage. We stayed up in the corner of the lawn for the show where the sound was excellent and there were big TVs that gave a great view of the stage so we didn't miss being closer. Plus the bad weather that had been predicted never materialized and it was a perfect night.

Amanda on her cell phone, Jess, Amy, Jason, & Katie (not visible behind her Dad) before MCR performed

Neither Amy or Jason were familiar with My Chem except for two songs that they had heard (The Black Parade and Teenagers) but I'm quite sure Gerard won them over before the end of the show. Again, I had no problem singing along and even stood for a couple of songs though I wasn't doing the jumping and arm waving that Amanda had down to a science. If Gerard said "jump" then Amanda jumped; if Gerard said "wave your wands in the air" then Amanda waved her arms in the air. I wonder if I could get Gerard to tell Amanda to clean up after herself and she'd do it? Hmmm .... Anyway, I do have to admit to the occasional scream of approval and cheer at the end of the songs. Hopefully this doesn't ruin my reputation as a cool, calm, and collected emergency medical dispatcher but I just couldn't help myself! I suppose it should be kind of scary that I know all the words to all of the songs they played but I really do hear them a lot at home and in the car so what's a Mom to do? Sing along and cheer I guess!

After a group discussion, we decided to leave after MCR was done in order to beat the crowds even though Linkin Park was the headlining act as most of us had to be at work early in the morning, it was already after 9:00, and the ride home was almost an hour long. Plus it had been a long, tiring day and I think there would have been a good chance I could have just fallen asleep in the grass if I stayed there much longer! The thought of sitting in traffic with thousands of other people just wasn't very appealing so we opted to head out early.

As we were walking out, we met up with LynZ again near the main gate and Amanda finally asked her if it was okay if she got a picture with her. Considering that it was LynZ we had come there to meet I was surprised she hadn't asked before but she had been hesitant to ask as she didn't want to bother her and act like a star-struck fan. I give Amanda a lot of credit for respecting the fact that rock stars are people, too, and tries to give them some space. LynZ happily agreed and Amanda walked back to the car one very happy 15-year old while I limped along beside her wondering if I was going to be able to get out of bed in the morning and crawl into work!

Amanda and LynZ of Mindless Self IndulgenceAmanda and LynZ

All in all, I have to say that it was an absolutely fantastic day and I am very thankful and grateful to Jason and Amy for inviting us to tag along. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that Amanda could meet some of her favorite musicians and singers as well as show them some of her art, which they were very complimentary towards. What an end to Amanda's summer but now I've got to wonder - what tops this??


  1. do teachers still ask kids to write a "what i did on my summer vacation" essay? cause she'll blow them all away! ha ha ha

    great post...

    smiles, bee

  2. wow, glad y'all had a great time!

    OBTW, I'm tagging you...again...........


  3. Wow! That was some day. I'm glad it turned out so well. I hope you will avoid the dreaded rolling of eyes while sighing for a few days at least.

  4. What a fantastic time you all had and what memories Amanda will have to tell her children. You sound as though you really enjoyed it Linda. $4 for a bottle of water - we paid £2.90 - over $5 in London!!

    PS I've tagged you for a meme.

  5. What can be said but WOW!! You guys certainly had the day of days, didn't you?? Congratulations on making your daughter's summer in one fell swoop. Heck, probably her whole young life thus far! Yep, hands down, you are the COOLEST!

    BTW: I knew Amy was related to LynZ, but I had no idea that either Amy or Jay were into that kind of music.

  6. I can guarantee you that this adventure will live in Amanda's dreams for many many years to come. It sounds like you all had a wonderful time and I'm happy to hear that being initiated by accidently getting "glomped" didn't do any permanent damage. Whew!

  7. How awesome.. I'd glomp you too, after a day like that!!!

  8. Anonymous10:10 AM EDT

    WOW! Sounds like y'all had an awesome time!

    btw, Amanda has very beautiful and expressive eyes!

  9. Seriously-you are the coolest mom alive.

  10. Wow, this could be a new "Woodstock"

  11. Sounds to me like "And a good time was had by all" would be the tag line for that day!

  12. A top-rate post there, Linda. One for my Quality Post. You and Amanda had a wonderful time. A day to remember.

  13. What a mom! What a time! Kind of a throwback when we were kids, and all we could see is the possibility of having a great time - while as adults we often think the fun out of anything. It's nice that you were invited, and you had a great time.

  14. You seriously are the COOL MOM of the decade, you know that?!?!
    What a great post!
    My favorite part: wondering if Gerard could get Amanda to pick up after herself.


  15. What Mo said. You are the Cool Mom of the decade. You rock! I loved the entire thing and it was like I was there but I can still hear. Thanks for sharing a great adventure that Amanda will remember her entire life. Have a great day. :)

  16. I'm really glad you guys had a great time. And I hope you didn't feel too bad when you saw all the 115 pages I was sending out...(OK maybe you should feel a little bad!!) really are a cool Mom, and just think of all the great memories you have given her!!

  17. Anonymous10:23 PM EDT

    Once again, I am SO JEALOUS! You definitely are a super mom. :)

    I'm glad you girls had fun. It's too cool.

  18. What a great adventure! I really enjoyed seeing and reading all about it. Job well done, Super Mom!
    Amanda - you owe her one!!!

  19. You are a super mom. I couldn't have done what you did, Linda.

    Your daughter must still be on a cloud!! thanks for sharing her unique artwork.

    Glad it all worked out so well for you.

  20. I just got done seeing MSI 4 times while they wound through the South west. I'm glad you and your daughter were able to meet with Lyn-Z as intimately as you did. I'm also glad to hear she was able to give Lyn-Z and Gerrard her drawings (which are really cool).One thing that sets MSI apart from other groups is that after their shows they make time to mingle with their fans. Even if they are in their PJ's like Lyn-Z was in Denver. I'm not a blogger but when I read this I had to comment on it.

  21. Oh and on Myspace I threw up a bunch of pics from the shows I went to. Feel free to snag any u want. (Las Vegas venue didn't allow cameras sadly)


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