I’ve been to my fair share of concerts and shows. I’ve literally been there, done that, and got way too many t-shirts. For a while in college it was a heavy phase I went through. I would find a band on Spotify, obsess over their music for a month or two, and then scout out their next concert. In the course of my life I have been to 12 concerts and 3 comedy shows as well as Youtube duo Dan & Phil’s live show, which can only be truly categorized as “other.” While I was busy making my bucket list a few months ago, I took the time to write out the shows I had been to so that I could think of all the artists and performers I still wanted to see live. I figured I'll throw out my list, pick a few of the memorable ones to talk about, and let you know who I’d still like to see before I lose all desire to be uninhibited in a room of sweaty strangers until 1 a.m.
Britney Spears, Summertime 1999
Openers: Who fucking knows
I saw Britney Spears live at the Gorge at George in Washington with my sister at the ripe old ages of 5 and 10, respectively. My whole family went and sat out on the grass far from the stage soaking up the sun. Beyond that I really don’t remember anything until it was showtime, when it was dark and cold outside. I vaguely remember stage lights coming on and Britney emerging on stage before I passed out for the night. Years later I found out that we all left shortly after I fell asleep because 1) Britney was two hours later and 2) her performance heavily utilized a stripper’s pole.
Fall Out Boy, April 2009
Openers: Metro Station, ATL, Cobra Starship, Hey Monday
This concert was particularly exciting because it was my first “true” concert experience (i.e. I went without my parents and remembered the entire performance). I was 14, in love with Pete Wentz, and addicted to terrible punk-pop-electronica. (See Metro Station, Cobra Starship, and 3Oh!3). I danced the night away with my childhood best friend as we pushed our way to the front of the stage to scream at Pete. It was a magical night packed with fellow fans that celebrated what would be the last performance before Fall Out Boy’s hiatus.
3. For the Likes of You, ? 2012?
This show was in Aberdeen, Washington, at a sketchy club in what is the perpetual dark alley that encompasses the city. I went to see my high school friend’s band play and check out who else was on the local scene. This show taught me two things: that my friend was meant to be a live musician and that no matter how much I enjoyed post-hardcore music, I would never enjoy the shows. One need only get caught in a harrowing circle pit once to realize that the music is much more enjoyable at home without a fist in your face. That said, I enjoyed seeing young people pursuing their passion and keeping Washington’s legacy of garage bands and heavy music alive.
Update: For the Likes of You has gone on to put out a full album and successfully tour across the states. Here’s a link to their Facebook page if you’re curious: https://www.facebook.com/forthelikesofyouofficial/.
4. Fall Out Boy, August 2014
Openers: New Politics
To be brief and frank, I missed Fall Out Boy so much during their hiatus that I hardly cared what kind or quality of record they produced. All I knew is that they were back and I was going to relive the glory days of Folie a Deux. That and I had an easy in to see them at the Puyallup Fair because I was working as a carnie.
5. New Politics, November 2014
I will never forget this concert. I went with my best friend Kim during my sophomore year of college as a treat for her 21st birthday. However, both of us being the nerds we are, refused to skip our night class to see New Politics when they were in Seattle and decided that it would be more responsible for us to see them on Saturday in Boise, Idaho, instead. We drove for eight hours, crossed into a new time zone, nearly couldn’t check into the hotel because we were both underage, and had to survive my mustang’s engine nearly catching on fire. It was quite the horrific build up to an otherwise amazing night. We arrived at the hotel with just enough time to change and walk to the Knitting Factory before showtime. The venue was intimate and only had about 50 people on the floor. New Politics was fantastic live and had the best energy of any live performer I have seen to date.
Bonus: Kim and I spent so much money on merch, we got to meet the band!
6. Maroon 5, April 2015
Openers: Rozzi Crane, Magic
This show was my first ever in the Tacoma Dome and was one of the most different concerts experiences I’ve ever had. Pros: the energy was amazing, the sea of phone lights was mesmerizing, and this show helped bridge the generational gap between Gen X, Gen Y, and Gen Z, if only for one night. Cons: this was my first seated concert, I was a million miles from the stage (stupid wallet), and finding the bathroom was like running a marathon. Conclusion: even if I only got to see Adam Levine from a thousand yards away, it was still worth it to dance my heart out to the music of my childhood.
7. All Time Low, May 2015
Openers: Issues, Tonight Alive
Although I had seen All Time Low live six years earlier as openers for Fall Out Boy and hadn’t kept up with their career in a few years, I won tickets to see this show via our campus radio 88.1 the Burg. I packed my snack bag, threw Kim in the car, and headed over the mountain for the famously delicious Southwestern-style nachos from the Pike’s Brewery. ATL had a great show but I was pretty jazzed up from Issue’s set despite the whirlwind circle pit that scared the bejesus out of half ATL’s younger fanbase. Don’t worry, Kim and I saved the girls behind us from certain death.
8. Warped Tour, August 2015
This really needs no explanation. I came, I saw, I completed my long overdue adolescence. Shoutout to Blessthefall, Pierce the Veil, and PVRIS.
9. New Politics, October 2015
Openers: Griswolds, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
B and I partnered up for this concert and were not disappointed. New Politics can sing, dance, and entertain a crowd. The highlight of this show occurred about halfway through when the lead singer invited a female fan on stage for a dance off. Never have so many women rooted for a woman other than themselves to get laid. Good times.
10. Marianas Trench, November 2015
Openers: Secret Someones
For Kim’s birthday the following year, we went to the ShowBox in Seattle to see my high school favorite Marianas Trench. Josh sang shirtless, the harmonies were tight, and the falsetto was on point. A good night full of the Fix Me classics and the Astoria bangers.
11. The 1975, December 2015
Openers: Swim Deep
Bear with me as I wax poetic about The 1975 for a minute. When I arrived at university, I made the conscious decision to throw away everything that once represented me--or more rather, who I tried to be in high school. I let my box-dyed dark hair grow back blonde, quit lining the bottom of my eyes, stopped wearing Hot Topic t-shirts, and renounced my love for certain screamo/emo/post-harcord bands because I thought it made me interesting.
Upon setting up my dorm at Central, I heard this danceable, undefinable music that stuck with me. I bought their album right then and listened to it everyday, at least once, for an entire year. The 1975 fueled my study break dance parties, turned my cold trek to class into a sunny walk, and kept me smiling through many tears. Missing their trip to Portland in 2013 was devastating, so when the opportunity to see them on the eve of my 21st birthday arose I fucking jumped at it. It was truly magical to hear the music of happy nostalgia and feel the beat ring through my chest as I celebrated the next year of my life and the arrival of The 1975’s next album.
12. The 1975, April 2016
Openers: The Japanese House
Yes, I did go see The 1975 less than six months later. And yes, it was even more fantastic than the first time. One, because they upgraded from the sardine can that is the ShowBox Sodo to the palace that is Wamu Theater; two, because their album I Like it When You Sleep, For You are so Beautiful yet So Unaware of It transcended even more genre boundaries than their first; and three, their staging was captivating and effective. I danced my heart out in the same venue I first saw Fall Out Boy exactly seven years before and loved every second.
Wayne Brady, October 2013
This very comedy show marks the first night of friendship for B and I. We celebrate every year (this year with the launch of the blog and the Water Lantern Festival.
Tammy Pescatelli, October 2014
CWU Homecoming part 2.
Iliza Schlezlinger, October 2015
CWU Homecoming part 3.
Dan & Phil, June 2016
This marked a rite of passage for the 14-year-old version of me that was in love with YouTuber Dan Howell. The show may not have been geared for the 21- and 22-year-olds Kim and I had grown into, but it was nice all the same (plus we enjoyed a couple hard ciders, of course).
As I approach 24, and my second solid year with no concerts, festivals, or comedy shows I find myself wondering why I let the habit go?
Part of it was financial of course. In college I used stipends and my credit card freely to dance my way across the Pacific Northwest. Now I tend to use my money for bills, car payments, and those student loans I racked up dancing at said concerts. Part of it is time. I work 8-5, or more rather 7-6 including my commute, and find myself dozing off around 8:30 (yes, even on weekends) with just enough free time to either go to the gym or make excuses for not going to the gym.
Another part is finding someone to go with. Now that most of my friends and usual concert buddies have graduated college, we don’t see each other as often and don’t normally work the same schedule. Concerts just wouldn’t be the same without someone to scream off-key lyrics with and bolster the natural high of the night. The gravity of my concert cessation hit me as I thought about The 1975’s upcoming show this April back at Wamu Theater. I had the brief reflex to click onto TicketMaster and then stopped myself. Maybe this was all just a phase in my life?
When I stopped to talk with B a few days later I realized that what fueled my concert frenzy was my inability to travel. My wanderlust had overtaken my senses after Central’s study abroad fair and encouraged me to sign up for a year at University College Dublin. To my dismay, the finances did not pan out and my application was no more. After that I decided that if I couldn’t travel I would go to every concert I wanted and never look back. As I move into this next stage of my life I am ready to make traveling a priority and say goodbye to the habit that so fondly took its place in the meanwhile.
Editor’s note: seeing The 1975 live in England remains high on Shyann’s bucket list.