Two Hundred and Counting…
Recently, I saw my 73rd concert and 200th unique artist. The concert featured headliner Two Door Cinema Club. I have seen many bands, such as Mayday Parade, We Are the In Crowd, and We the Kings, up to five times. I have also seen All Time Low seven times. I started keeping track of every concert since 9th grade, and although it seemed silly at first, now I am very glad I did.
After seeing 73 shows, many of them blur together. I remember buying my tickets in advance and the feeling of building anticipation as the date approached. I remember all of the times I blasted the music of the artists I was going to see in concert on the way to the show. I remember dancing with the crowd as one and closing my eyes to absorb the music. I remember the pure joy I feel every time that first song begins.
Of course, there are also some specific concert moments that I recall vividly. One thing I always remember is all the times I crowd surfed at shows. That weightless feeling as the audience carries you to the stage is indescribable. The first time I crowd surfed was during The Sharpest Lives on My Chemical Romance’s Black Parade tour in 2006. Other memorable crowd surfing moments include when I crowd surfed to All Time Low’s last song of their set called Dear Maria, Count Me In, and the time my friend Paul and I decided to crowd surf at every band we saw at Warped Tour. Since Warped Tour is an all day festival, we both crowd surfed over ten times that day.
There are also specific performances of songs that have stuck in my head to this day. When I saw Brendon Urie of Panic! At the Disco sing a cover of The Darkness’ “I Believe in a Thing Called Love,” my mind was blown by the incredible quality of his voice. I remember all seven times I have heard All Time Low finish their concert with “Dear Maria, Count Me in,” and the rush I felt each time when I danced my heart out for one last song.
Throughout the years, I have had the pleasure of meeting many of my favorite bands including Mayday Parade, My Chemical Romance, Four Year Strong, Boys Like Girls, Juliet Simms of Automatic Loveletter and now Dia Frampton from Meg & Dia and The Voice, Kenny Vasoli of the Starting Line, The Decemberists, B.o.B, and Girl Talk. All of these encounters became stories I constantly share. One time I ran into the guitar player from Boys Like Girls at my local ice cream shop and I blasted his song Head Over Heels as I drove to him. When B.o.B. came to Villanova his Internet broke and I pretended to know how to fix it. We hung out for 45 minutes as I fiddled with his computer and we talked about music.
One person I have met four times that always remembers me by name and who is one of my favorite singers is Juliet Simms. I met her for the first time when I was tenth grade and I told her all about how her music had affected my life. When I met her at Warped Tour the next year, I was amazed and overjoyed when Juliet called out to me by name. Now five years later, Juliet Simms is becoming a household name after she got 2nd place in season 2 of the Voice.
Out of all of the 73 concerts I have seen in my lifetime, I definitely have favorites. These include My Chemical Romance’s Black Parade Tour, Panic! At the Disco’s Tour after Pretty. Odd., Kanye and Jay-Z’s Watch the Throne Tour, Blink-182’s reunion tour, and The Sounds’ tour after Crossing the Rubicon. The headliners of these shows all blew my mind with their live sound. These concerts also rank as my top five because of some amazing opening performances from Motion City Soundtrack, Phantom Planet, Fall Out Boy, and Foxy Shazam.
Over the years, I have seen several concerts ranging from Public Enemy to Billy Joel to Blink-182, and each one has meant something special to me. There is nothing I would rather do on any given night than see one of my favorite bands in concert. Over the next two months, I already have tickets to three other concerts and I plan on continuing to see as many shows as I can into adulthood and into old age. I can’t wait to see how long it takes me to see my 300th unique artist in concert.
By Kevin O’Leary ’13