I was positive we were going to be late.
It was 3:30, and I knew it’d take at least an hour to get to Richmond, maybe an hour to get to San Francisco on BART, then some time to walk to the venue (but not much time). This was exacerbated by Apple Maps’ insistence that the venue was five miles from the Embarcadero BART station and my paranoid worries about getting my car locked in the parking garage.
As soon as we’d made it onto the BART and out of the Embarcadero BART station, we were walking briskly along the Embarcadero (and the waterfront) to the America’s Cup Pavilion. I love San Francisco: the sights and smells, the people hurrying everywhere, the view of the ocean, the bridges, and Alcatraz Island. We walked hand-in-hand, me singing snatches of Fall Out Boy songs in anticipation, swinging his hand back and forth as we walked. I appreciated the signs that assured me that my Apple maps was wrong, and we were not going to walk five miles for an hour and a half just to get there.
We finally got to the venue and stood in a visually shocking but fast line of people clutching printed tickets to the concert. It took us almost no time to get in. The security attendants checked bags and tickets and joked about all the things that we obviously couldn’t bring into the venue. They slapped wristbands with yellow ducks on them onto our wrists and ushered us inside. The merch booth line was a mile long, so we continued onto the floor. I wanted a hoodie that said “Fall Out Boy San Francisco” on it, but they were sold out by the time the line was even manageable.
We stood around waiting for the concert to start. I took a few photos of the stage and was secretly happy about being a lot closer to it than I had thought I would be.
The lights went down and the first opening band, Twenty – One Pilots, took the stage.
I had a sneaking suspicion that they were signed with Fueled by Ramen, and I did a quick Google to make sure. Sure enough, they were. Being at the concert and listening to the previous bands was like going back in time, when I was fully involved and in the know with Fueled by Ramen and Decaydance and all of their bands, with Fall Out Boy at the forefront. I enjoyed Twenty-One Pilots and thought about downloading a few of their songs when I got home.
Next up was Panic! at the Disco. To be honest, I haven’t listened to them much since their first album, and was a little behind on their music. I had been following Brendon Urie on Vine, and was a little put off by his antics, and so wasn’t really looking forward to seeing them much. This “put off” turned into annoyance when I realized that I didn’t recognize any of the band members except for Brendon Urie. However, they softened my resolve a bit when they played songs I knew and I enjoyed some of their new ones. Although Brendon Urie’s antics still weren’t doing him any favors in my eyes. He was drinking beer on stage before singing and doing things with his voice he probably shouldn’t have done, but…*shrugs* it was a lot better than I expected. And I was in a good mood by the time they went offstage and began setting up for Fall Out Boy’s set.
I was expecting something of an announced intermission between sets, but people stayed exactly where they were, not wanting to lose their spots on the floor. I debated pushing through the crowd to look at the merch booth while they set up, but I didn’t want to be unable to push my way back and find Josh again. Finally, the lights went down and the screen flashed, and the crowd pushed forward toward the stage. In a few minutes, Fall Out Boy walked onto stage.
They started off the show with The Phoenix, which I thought was an excellent choice, and the amazing of the show just continued from there. After the first song, they stopped the show to pick some people off the floor and make sure someone who had passed out wasn’t getting trampled. I was amazed that someone had already passed out, but I digress.
Their set included several songs from all five albums, which I’ve always appreciated because when they toured my favorite album, I was fifteen or sixteen and not allowed to go to concerts. Being able to hear them live despite that is fantastic to me. They had a couple of moments where Andy and Joe did solo riffs on guitar and drums, and all of them seemed like they were having a blast. At one point they showed a video that distracted the crowd while they snuck around to the back of the pavilion and sat right by the bleachers to play “Grand Theft Autumn” and “I’m Like a Lawyer With the Way I’m Always Trying to Get You Off (Me & You)” with acoustic guitars. Patrick Stump also sang a mash-up of slower songs with piano accompaniment (including a badly timed Drake cover, which he still rocked because his voice is amazing, then switched into “What a Catch, Donnie”).
My only negative conclusion from the night is that although I’m only 24, I think I’m too old for floor tickets. It was packed with people, we were getting shoved every which way, you are exhausted and sore by the time you are ready to leave, there were people smoking a bong next to me (???), and having to stand on tiptoe to see anything half the time. Plus it was hot and crowded and I felt so overstimulated and exhausted. I think if we had bleacher seats, sure, I’d have been further from the band, but maybe I’d have had the energy to wait around afterward to see if we could meet them. Otherwise though, it’s my favorite band. I don’t care about the rest. I got to see them live again, which is the most important part.
At about the halfway point of the concert, they said they wanted to take a picture with us, and someone came and took a photo of the entire stadium and with them in the front. I’m amazed that I can actually see myself in this photo…and that technically means I have a picture with Fall Out Boy. (I still want a better one. :P)
After the concert completed, the floor cleared and I checked the merch booth to see if there was really anything I wanted to buy, decided to visit their online GoMerch store, and we started walking back along the Embarcadero to the BART station. The Bay Bridge was lit up, and it was gorgeous to see as we walked.
By the time we’d made it onto BART, we were so excited to be sitting down, to have some space from other people, and stretch out our aching limbs and backs. We helped someone find her way back to her missed stop and got off at the end of the line in Richmond. The rest of the trip home was a frantic line of traffic to pay the toll on the bridge on the way back, finding the gas station in Napa was still open so we could buy an armful of Gatorade and water to satiate our terrible thirst from singing at the top of our lungs for the entire night, and an empty Highway 29 all the way back. By the time I was snuggled into bed at 1:30 a.m. with my book and still thinking of the concert, it had been a good, but exhausting day. I enjoyed myself and most of my worries were unwarranted. Sure, there was the bong-smoking, and people trying to mosh (and people getting angry at people who were jumping or rocking out). But overall, I had a great time. And I can’t wait to see them the next time.
And on a last note: before the concert, Patrick Stump did one of his quick Q&As he does on Twitter. I managed to catch it at the right time for once, and asked him a question. Imagine my happy at this:
@sowensphoto I’ve started taking it a lot more seriously. Stretches, vocal warm-ups, guitar scales, a bit of piano practice.
— Patrick Stump (@PatrickStump) September 21, 2013
Yup. That pretty much made the rest of the night more amazing, plus I didn’t feel as sad about being too exhausted to wait around for them. Next time. 🙂