Three-hundred and eighty-two miles laid before my bloodshot eyes to make it to San Francisco for Coast Modern’s final show in the Temper Trap tour. I got lost in Valencia trying to find my nostalgic Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf mocha. My head too clouded for simple Google Maps instructions about when to take that right turn. The clock ticked 9:30 am and there wasn’t much time to drive the stretch, get checked in to the hotel, and relax before my last pre-concert ritual.
The long drive gave me an ungodly amount of time to think about my previous days. Playing through all the places, people, and friends I’d seen along the way. My heart swelled with appreciation and then immediately constricted in fear. What the Hell was I doing? The four show spree lulled me into this false comfort there would be more time, more music, even more selfies the next time. My usual concert game includes trying to buy the band drinks, showering them with my appreciation, and snapping a million pictures together to commemorate the night in my work cubicle shrine. Now, here I was on the final day with no viable selfies and one last chance. I’d left all my hopes for concert success on one final night. And that’s a lot of fucking pressure.
I won’t even go into the fact San Francisco hates my hair. Its foggy haze wreaks havoc on whatever look I decide to sport. Match this with four days of hard living, no sleeping, and we can pretty much guarantee photo nightmares. With dried sweat hair pulled up in a pony tail and caked mascara streaking under my eyes, I set the cruise control on 80ish mph and headed up I-5.
My road trip companion (my phone) kept me company throughout the hours. I chatted with Bestie, caught up with Tragic Spinster, and scrolled through snaps/tweets/statuses. I even caught Coast Modern’s snaps where they were making the same long drive. I shouldn’t have been surprised after I picked up a bag of Takis for lunch that I came up on their van. For fear they might after catch a glimpse of my horrible state, I flew by at about 90 mph. Better safe than sorry. (Safe clearly being drive like a bat out of Hell while you take pictures of the scenery.)
I rolled into San Francisco traffic around 4:00. It’s always a crap shoot when you book a hotel in a city you’re not that familiar. And with San Francisco you can pay $400 for a shithole. Luckily, the hotel wasn’t bad. They did make me sign several waivers about their contracted valet service so I pretty much kissed my car good-bye when they took it.
I had slight hopes I might sleep for an hour before starting the ritual, but it was a lost cause. I found the ice machine down the hall, mixed up my last lemon drops, and started the ritual.
The San Francisco crowd was a tough one for me. You’d think it would be easier since I met up with a lovely couple I’d met through Airborne on Twitter. We’d been tweeting for months about the Coast Modern show and I was excited to finally meet in person. We introduced ourselves, they saved my spot as I bought a cocktail, and even helped talk up Coast Modern to our neighbors. It was the rest I struggled with. All the other shows, I had no problem stirring up a group atmosphere. People wanted to mingle. San Fran did not have the same vibe.
I did meet a couple girls on the front barrier who were excited to hear me talk about Coast Modern. The adorable brunette was celebrating her birthday. I asked her to promise me she would give them a chance. She even pinkie promised.
When the show started, I actually heard the girls around me swoon. No, I’m not exaggerating. And it was really nothing new from my four days following the gentlemen. I can’t tell you how many girls came back to tell me how beautiful they are. My new pinkie swearing friend was one of the most effected. When Coast Modern asked everyone to close their eyes and imagine being somewhere else for The Way It Was, she took the instructions to heart, as did all the other women around. (Her friend, not so much.)
Another amazing show. Gazillion more pictures. They’re just so fabulous.
After Coast Modern ended, I talked one of the stage crew into snagging the last set list for my trip collection. Not nearly feeling enough of my vodka soda, I bailed from the front and hung in the dark shadows. I encouraged Lovely Couple to stay upfront for Temper Trap and I would catch them after the show.
Exhausted, and a bit sad my trip was coming to an end, I headed to a side room for a cocktail and nachos. With everyone else enjoying Temper Trap, I had the room pretty much to myself and the two bartenders. And then the most amazing conversation happened as I watched Bartender #2 make my drink.
- Bartender #1: Hey you want this? (She holds up some sticker.)
- Bartender #2: What’s that?
- Bartender #1: An all access pass. I’m not going to use it.
- Bartender #2: Nah, I don’t care about it. Hey Susan, you want it?
- Me: Fuck yeah, I do.
- Bartender #2 : Don’t leave before your nachos are out.
- Me: Do you think I’m crazy?
My impulsiveness to snag this sticker didn’t give me much time to think it through. But as I sat at my table waiting for my first meal of the day, I started to freak myself out. What the Hell was I supposed to do with an All Access pass? So I took to Snap Chat for a consensus or maybe some reassurance.
I wish I captured the overwhelming response that I was an absolute dumb ass if I didn’t use the pass. Here’s the thing no one thinks about…I wasn’t invited by anyone who would be found backstage. So, here I am intruding in someone else’s private space. And clearly, I hadn’t been drinking enough. If I were drunk or with a group of friends, it’s a no-brainer. However, I had a Snap Chat brigade waiting for my update.
I enjoyed those delicious nachos, gave myself a pep talk to be brave, and headed to the stage. There was a large security man sitting in front of a door, which meant that one had to be important, right? I stopped a passing cocktail waitress and asked her how you get backstage. (Can you feel how cool I am already? OMG…I should’ve known at this moment things were not going to get better.) She asked the security guy who stood less than two feet from us and he shook his head yes. “Can this sticker get me back there?” He told me I had to wear it before he opened the door and I promptly forgot how to take the paper off a sticker.
I thought when the door closed behind me and I was on the other side, somehow life would change. I mean, this was like a dream sequence, right? Uh, nope. There was a small staircase to get to the same level as the stage and and then another small one leading to a hall with a bunch more rooms I wasn’t invited into.
To calm my nerves, I told myself this was all great research. I snuggled up at the side door and watched Temper Trap from an angle I’d never seen a show.
It was interesting, but nothing like being in the front, in the body crushing mix. The energy from where I stood was one of an observer versus a participant. It wasn’t nearly the rush I thought would come from wearing the elusive backstage pass. And then it got worse. People showed up.
For my first few minutes, I was alone in my awkward. All of a sudden, Coast Modern was there and my uncomfortableness rocketed off the charts. Everyone in their group looked a little confused as to what the Hell I was doing there, but no one said anything. I pressed my shoulder even harder into the wall hoping I could disappear. Why not leave, you ask? Well, the area is small and they’re standing opposite to me with the staircase out behind them. I felt like if I pushed everyone down to run out, I might draw even more attention. Instead, I stood there, without a word spoken, and pretended like I belonged.
And for a brief few moments, I thought “this isn’t so bad after all.” (This is what writers call foreshadowing.) Temper Trap played their last song, the crowd roared, and they started to walk off stage. In my direction. With absolutely no place for me to hide. Exit still blocked. Holy shit! And then there were about 14 people crammed in the smallest space. Everyone chatted comfortably after touring together for weeks, except for this one stranger off to the side. More confused looks. No words directed towards me. And me dying for the first person to point their finger and ask the obvious, “Who the fuck is she?”
Even though I was internally dying from embarrassment, the crowd chanting for the encore was the best thing ever. Having been in so many audiences begging for your beloved band to return, seeing it from another angle was a unique experience. And one I won’t share. Because everyone needs to have their own.
When Temper Trap went back on stage, and there was a small break in the barrier between the door and me, I got the Hell out of there. I used my pass to stand off to the side of the stage by myself behind the barrier, which was a lot more comfortable. The final Sweet Surrender played and the tour was officially over.
The crowd funneled out into the merch area. I looked for Lovely Couple, but they sent me the saddest thing. They had to leave early to catch public transportation. Concert buddy fail. I did run into someone I saw at the Coast Modern show from June. She remembered me and posed for a picture. Then the girls from the front found me. They wanted a guide to the Coast Modern merchandise booth and I did what I love best. I took new Coast Modern fan Birthday Girl to the present she wanted most.
The night got closer to ending with the crowd thinning out. My adventure slipping away to only being a memory. One where I didn’t yet have a picture to add to my work cubicle collection. This is where my pass really paid off. While I’m usually one of the last in the building, it usually ends with security ushering me out the door. (Yes, that’s true.) That little orange sticker gave me some defense and I was able to make it last a little longer. I got to work making sure I had Luke personality selfies, snap cuteness, and my final set list signed.
The night ended. I stumbled out. Uber took me back to my hotel. The adventure was over. I crashed across my bed and got a solid five hours sleep before having to get up to head home. The seven hour trek back to reality was long and somber, dreading the Post Concert Depression I knew would arrive in a couple days. It gave me time to replay through all the amazing moments I’d experienced along the way. Things I couldn’t have imagined months ago when I bought the tickets.
Coast Modern delivered every night with a unique experience. They were entertaining, charming, and created a party each time they performed. The crowds reacted differently in each city but shared the same enthusiasm. After the shows Coast Modern continued to impress with their generosity. They give time and appreciation to fans, which will always leave me 100% loyal. If this blog series hasn’t yet convinced you to give them a chance, then I leave you with my last final evidence of their extreme awesomeness. My favorite snap of all time. (And is my ring tone. Kidding, not kidding.) All these reasons are why Coast Modern will forever be one of my favorites.