Monday, 22 September 2014

Bright lights. Big city. She dreams of love.

Concord :)

The Meet and Greet in Concord was outside in a patch of the greenest grass I have ever seen. It was pretty funny, really,  because the hills around were completely dry and looked like carpet. There was a barely a tree in sight. It was like being in an oasis.

Before the guys arrived, there was another free merch trivia game. I didn't play because I was too nervous (seriously, when will that stop? Oh that's right. Never.) but it was nice to listen to the questions and answer them in my head.

After what felt like forever and no time at all simultaneously, the guys arrived on a golf cart type-thing. You could immediately tell that they were in great spirits as they were laughing and joking around as they walked up to the table. They said hello to us and talked a little about the show and the tour in general, and said that it's been one of the best they've ever done.

Shannon sat down on the end of the signing table, then Jared sat down on the other end. Immediately the table started to sink because that green green grass was incredibly wet and squishy. Jared jumped off before he fell off, but Shannon laughed and said he was fine up there. He said it was like the Titanic and it would be going down but he'd still be holding on saying, "I'm good up here!" And he acted out holding on with one leg in the air. Haha. Jared got back on and sat on it for a minute but it basically collapsed so he laughed and sat on the chair instead. Shan said, "I'm still good!" but then his side collapsed and he fell off, haha. He was laughing and staying, "I wasn't good! I wasn't good!" and sat down behind the table too.

Jared said in a very loud voice, "I like your hat, Shannon!" and Shannon thought he was talking about the hat a girl in front of him was wearing, so he said, "I like that hat, too!" Jared laughed and said, "No I mean YOUR hat. What does it say?" and Tomo read it out. It said 'Los Angeles, CA. Black Fuel Trading Co., Established 2014.' Tomo asked, "but what does that mean?" in a really forced and funny way, and Shannon started telling us about HIS COFFEE COMPANY!!! He said that it's been a long time coming, but it's nearly here. He said it would be up and running soon, but not a Jared soon, but it could turn into a Jared soon if things happened, and Jared did his really adorable hair flick and flipped him off. It was such a brother moment. I loved it. Shannon asked some questions about who drinks coffee and what they drink etc, but he wasn't asking the 'right' questions I guess because Jared kept rewording them, haha. Hi, Bart! *waves* 

Shannon said that merch would be available soon and it would include things like hats, mugs, lunchboxes and t-shirts. He seemed very excited about it all. I can't wait for it to open! Jared kept whispering things behind his hand to Tomo, and from where we were standing, we could read his lips for most of it, haha. He's such a child. I love it. Someone asked if there would be a coffee VyRT, and Shannon said that there are things in the works.

After the coffee talk, it was time for questions. As always, I can't guarantee I will remember everything or that my memory can be trusted, but I will do my best!

Someone asked them about their favourite music teachers, as she is a music teacher and wanted to know how their teachers influenced them. Shannon answered first and said he was self taught and plays by ear. He said his inspirations and influences were the records that his mom had, such as Led Zeppelin, Joni Mitchell and The Cure. Tomo said he was originally classically trained, but had similar influences as Shannon. Jared asked who else had a question and she said, "but you didn't answer," and he said, "Don't push your luck. You already got two." Tomo laughed and said, "Two out of three ain't bad!"

Somebody asked an Artifact question about getting a fair deal now that everyone wants 360 deals. Jared said you can't get one without power, but he'd never sign one. He said they'll probably kickstarter their next record and then use a record company to distribute it when it comes time to do that. He said that Linkin Park had to give some of the Hollywood Bowl VyRT money to the record company, and told us about a meeting he'd had that day which just emphasized how despicable record companies are. He asked again about what we think about the U2 release, which was funny because Shannon hadn't realized that was how it got into his cloud. He'd thought he'd bought it already and just forgotten. Haha. Jared said that soon no one will buy music at all, we'll just lease it and stream it when we want to. He spoke about the effects of piracy and said that there's nothing else in the world that you could work for years on and then have people either steal it or buy it for a dollar or less. Although I would push back on that, Jared, and say that books are rapidly heading that way too. It's very easy to download the Kindle version of a book for less, and so many books on Kindle are 99c or less.

Somebody asked question about the old school weekly transmission, and Jared asked who knew what that was. Very few people raised their hands, and he said, "That's why we stopped doing it. It wasn't appreciated." He also said websites are dead and asked what we go to the Mars website for. Someone yelled out "Crowd shots!" and Jared said, "Oh yeah, crowd shots," but someone thought he said crotch shots and the entire room just lost it. The girl yelled out, "That's all over the internet! Your crotch shot!" and Jared was so confused and asked what she was talking about. Tomo said, "I know exactly what you're talking about, you perverts!" He was laughing so hard and eventually whispered it to J and Shannon. Jared mouthed "What the fuck?!" behind his hand and lost it laughing. It was epic. Shannon asked if there were any crotch shots of Tomo and Tomo said no, because he doesn't regularly grab his crotch on stage, but he can if we want. Jared composed himself enough to say he doesn't know anything about that, and Tomo laughed so Jared started poking him under the table. It was so funny. I wish I could have filmed it to share it with you all!

After more laughter and general silliness, Jared said it's time for the signing. I had some pictures of me and J to be signed, which Shannon said were really cute and Jared said were hilarious and awesome. He smiled at me as he signed them, which as you know, is pretty much the best thing that could ever happen to a person.

When it was picture time I asked Jared for a hug, and he smiled and opened his arms to me. I don't know -- nor do I want to know -- what my face was doing while his arms were wrapped around me, but I'd like to live in that moment forever please, Universe. Thx.

There was another really sweet moment during the pictures when a guy who had his back covered in Mars tattoos wanted to take a picture with shirt off. Jared said, "Yes, let's take two -- one facing the camera and one of your back." All three of them were very proud and honored by the guy's tattoos, and all three signed his back so he could get their signatures tattooed. It was beautiful.

We watched the last few people get their pictures taken, then it was time to go inside the venue. We decided to hang back in the pit because we'd had so much fun in Chula Vista, so we went inside and sat down.  While we were waiting for Mars to start I spotted Emma (an AIW rep -- Not Emma Ludbrook) handing out Mars flags, so I ran over and asked her if I could have one. She gave me one, which was just pure concentrated AWESOMENESS. I found a relatively empty place to spin my flag like a pro, and waited for the show to begin. When Up In The Air started Ander came and asked Bec and Jess if they wanted to do the balloons again, so they left to go backstage. I went a little crazy with the flag all night (I'm still sore today!) but it was so totally worth it. I always have a freaking amazing night when I'm with Thirty Seconds To Mars, but somehow, this was even better.

The stand out moment for me was when Jared ran out into the crowd for Kings and Queens. He spotted a man in a wheelchair, and went and sang right next to him, holding him and getting right down beside him. He even whispered something in his ear (it would have been amazing, no doubt) and kissed him on the head after the song. It was so moving and beautiful and I am going to cry just thinking about it. I love this band. I love them love them love them.

At the end of the show, as they were getting ready to sing Closer To The Edge, Jared starting picking people to come on stage. My heart was pounding because the night before he'd invited everyone with a flag to come on stage. Just when I was starting to lose hope, he said the magic words and I bolted, haha. I was so scared to miss it! As I clawed my way through the crowd people were trying to take the flag from me, but I held on tight and made it to the gates. I clambered onstage and moved to the back (I don't need to be on YouTube, thank you very much!) and just went as crazy as I've ever been. I can't even describe to you how incredible it is to be on stage with them. At one point on stage Reni caught my eye and she waved at me and smiled so big. It made the night even better. I love Reni. She makes these experiences so amazing. Jared danced like a crazy fool (God I love him!) and then, all much too soon, it was over. Shannon threw his drumsticks into the crowd and then we were led off the stage by the Adventures staff. I went and found Bec, Jess and my mum, and together we went to return the flag.

When we got to the Adventures tent, Reni was there. She asked us if we were doing the post show Meet and Greet, and we said no. But somehow...She worked her magic on us and we ended up following her backstage with about 15-20 other people who were also doing it. We hung out in the actual backstage area (which was so awesome!) with Tomo popping in and out to chat with us. It was incredible and intimate. Jared and Shannon came in after maybe 15-20 minutes, and just hung out for a while. It was amazing. Absolutely amazing.

After maybe 20-30 minutes, Jared said they would sign some stuff and let us all get to bed. We'd all been given a copy of the setlist for the night, which J joked was the Failing Xerox Machine Limited Edition setlist because it was pink and purple. We left the small room and went into one that was slightly bigger, and they signed everyone's setlist. They were careful to look everyone in the eyes and thank them, which just makes me love them even more. Seriously though. Is there a limit??

After that, we lined up to get another picture with them. Jared was smiling at me as I walked up to him (he was so smiley in general that night) so I decided to rest my head against him again. I've now seen the picture, and I have to say, I freaking love it. He is smiling and I am smiling and asdfghjkl I just love it :3

After everyone had their pictures, the guys came to say good night. They thanked us all for coming and said they hoped to see us in Vegas. A man stopped Jared as he walked past, and said something to him. I'm not sure what he said, but I think he must have been a solider because Jared thanked him, hugged him, and told him to stay safe. It was beautiful.
We lingered in the room a little longer until it was time to go. It was much more relaxed than a regular Meet and Greet, which made it feel even more special. As we walked out we saw Jared in the garden. He looked really happy. Relaxed. Perfect. I will remember that moment forever. We headed home (and missed Linkin Park entirely, whoopsie), and checked into the hotel to sleep for two minutes before we had to wake up and catch our flight to Vegas...
Vegas. The last show of the tour and the last show in my Mars countdown. It can't be over. I don't want it to be over.



On stage!!!

Signed setlist.

TITLE LYRICS: "Bright Lights" by Mars.

For more posts about my adventures in The City Of Angels, click HERE.