After a concert trip to Portland where I saw my favorite new band, Coast Modern, I came back with show highlights for the masses. A common response I receive after hearing about excessive drinking, front row dancing, and photos with the gents is, “It must be so fun to go to concerts with you.” I usually point these naive people towards Bestie or Ladyfriend so they can be warned. Either friend usually chuckles it off and gives a flip warning about how it’s not all fun and games rollin’ with me to a rock show.
So, I thought why not pull back the curtain and walk everyone through my concert rituals. And yes, there are rituals. Show all the small details involved when you travel hundreds of miles to experience something dear to my heart. For this case study, I’m using Coast Modern as my subject since I’m still swooning in #CoMo concert juju. While I always promise an adventure on these trips, it comes with having to bring the heart of a lion to put up with pretty much twenty-four hours of non-stop action.
1.) The Road Trip Prep:
Even before we hit the road, there’s planning. Lemon drops are pre-made, unhealthy snacks gathered, and a new wardrobe purchased. Yep, I buy a new outfit for every single concert. Do you know how many pictures I take? There are so many it would be recognizable if you saw the same shirt twice. Sometimes I might slip one back into the rotation, but years needed to have passed or there’s no photo documentation. Once everything is prepped, we actually get on the road. Early.
2.) The Drive:
I’m always the driver. Usually it’s a minimum of five hours to get to the closest venue. The car ride is part of the excitement. Those crappy snacks we usually don’t splurge on during regular healthy eating days are busted open in about ten minutes after pulling away from the curb. Being a passenger in my car is not for the weak spirited. In my car, you better bring your dancing and singing A-game. We crank up the tunes, open up the sun roof, and jam like no other car is watching, even though they all are. There are car dance competitions and lip sync challenges posted to everyone in my Snap Chat world. Which brings me to the next detail and it’s HUGE.
3.) Your Picture Will Be Taken:
No ifs, ands, or buts about this. You will have your picture taken at every moment on the trip. It’s one of the rules of being in Susan’s universe. I photograph everything. There’s something about capturing a moment in time, a memory. I can’t pass it up. It may be something sweet, or crass, even a little embarrassing, but it usually always makes me laugh. If you hate your picture taken, you might want to decline if I ask you to do anything with me. Don’t worry, all pictures you hate are quickly deleted. We are friends, remember?
4.) The Pre-Show:
It starts about four hours before doors open at the venue. We chill it in our hotel room, pour a cocktail, and start the beauty prep. Showers, hair, and make up application while blasting music and enjoying the ultimate girl time. This is one of my favorite traditions in concerting. Even alone, it’s a time I seriously enjoy. There’s something meditative about this calm before the storm.
5.) Box Delivery:
Lately I’ve had packages for some of my favorite band peeps and Coast Modern was no different. You did read about how much I love them, right? I load up ten pounds in goods to haul over in the Uber, cart around the venue, and beg someone from security to deliver it to the band. This is not an easy mission, I’ll tell you. In the Coast Modern delivery, it started with me asking one guy guarding the door. He said he had to radio someone. Then a woman came out. She said she had to radio someone. Before I knew it there were five guys with five walkie-talkies swarming around until one finally said he would deliver.
6.) Front Row Meet and Greet:
When the doors open, I go for the front. At Coast Modern, I parked it right under the center mic stand. Since I’m in position an hour before the show is to start, there’s plenty of time to make friends with everyone around me. As per usual, I checked with the fifteen people around me to see if they were there for Coast Modern or Temper Trap. Not surprisingly, the hadn’t heard of the opener. And that’s when the real fun begins. I take every moment to tell them why Coast Modern should be their next favorite band. I brag about their funny tweets and hilarious Snap Chats. I encourage people in the moment to get out their phone and follow them right away. (Sometimes I even take their phone and do it for them. Yeah, I get a little zealous.)
Also, everybody gets a nickname. At this Coast Modern show, some names given were: Fronts (they were the first in line), Coda (he wrote computer code for a living), Brother (he came with his brother to the show), and Guy Who Came Alone (do I really need to explain it?) Coda tried to give me his real name three times. I won’t take it. We’re never going to see each other again, but he will always remain Coda in my heart.
7.) Gear Haul:
At the merch table, I load up. Usually as I flutter around to chat up the other fans, my concert guest holds all the gear. I think they do this because I will probably lose everything if left to my own devices. The co-pilot position also helps keep me on track. They help snag set lists, round up signatures, and take my pictures with the band in the most flattering angle.
8.) Party Never Ends:
The show’s over, I’ve got selfies with the band, arms full of tee-shirts, and this is when everyone else heads back to their hotel to go to bed. Not me. In my mind, once you go to sleep all the magic from your concert night ends. It leads me to work very hard to keep the party going. With the alcohol drowning rational thoughts and the venue emptying, Ladyfriend nicely guided me out the doors to call Uber. Even in a last-ditch effort, I still made another attempt to have people join us for drinks. After they graciously declined, Uber hauled us back to our hotel and we crashed. (Note: by this time I’d been awake for 22 hours.)
9.) Early Wake Up Call:
A little known fact about me when I’ve been drinking alcohol…I don’t sleep. I crash hard for about 2 hours, but then I’m up and wide awake. My companion does not share the same affliction. Usually I play on my phone for a few hours, uploading show pictures, texting other friends, and tweeting the shit out of the band with accolades. Then, still way earlier than my traveling friend wants, my stare bores a hole in their head and they wake up. While they’re groggy and exhausted, I’m bright eyed and ready to do it all over again. (In my multi-show trip in April to see Dreamers, over the course of 5 days I slept about 16 hours total.)
Hopefully this gives you a little insight into how tough my friends are. They know all this and still sign up to go to shows occasionally. God bless them for their patience and courage. So if you like the same type of tunes and think you can hang with this kind action, shoot me a text, get a lot of rest ahead of time, and we’ll rock the next show together.
Here’s a video from the show because I adore Coast Modern. Don’t tell me you watched this and didn’t fall madly in love. It’s about impossible. Also, please excuse the terrible filming — I’m having a damn good time.