Leaving on time
All the maps that I checked before leaving said it would take a little under 4 hours to get to Grand Rapids. But I knew that with the construction on the Edens I could easily tack on a half hour to an hour to my drive time. I had originally planned to leave at noon but ended up leaving a little after 11am as I needed to make a stop at Dominick's for snacks and water. And for whatever reason, I also brought with a change of undies, socks and shirt. I really didn't know why, but thought I should have them along with my toothbrush/toothpaste and deodorant. Perhaps I was thinking that if I was just too tired after the show I could follow Angie and Katie back to one of their places and crash on the couch if need be.
After getting back in the car from the store I set up my iPod and keep my phone out. I head out to 41 and take it to the Edens. Was sailing pretty well until Lake Cook where construction begins. But to be honest, the traffic wasn't that bad. I get to the merge and that's when the traffic really hit going into the downtown area. But it still wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I took 94 all the way to Michigan, fuck the Chicago Skyway, I didn't want to pay any freaking tolls. The next time I hit any traffic was when I was nearing Grand Rapids and there was construction on I-196.
I got there in pretty good time. I thought that I was going to get there earlier than 5pm EST like I planned. But I read the directions and followed them which told me to make a right onto Wilson Ave. This took me so far away from where I was supposed to be it wasn't even funny. I ended up in farmland. Once the road changed from pavement to dirt, I decided to turn around and go back to where I made that turn and see if something was wrong. Luckily I had printed a larger map of the area and saw that I should have stayed on the road I turned off from and not listed to the directions. Ah well. This actually turned out to be beneficial to me in the end.
Since it took about 15-20 minutes to turn around and all that, Katie and Angie were already at Calvin College and wondering where I was. I let them know that I took a wrong turn and would be there as soon as I could. Now that I was on the right road there were tons of places to shop and tons of people and cars, no more farmland and cows.
Just as I had turned into the entrance to the college my car halted a bit and then the check engine light came on. I thought "FUCK!". Since I couldn't drive any faster than 15 MPH there, I didn't know that there was more of a problem than just the light. I found the parking lot with the all signs they had posted everywhere. But I missed to entrance I should have gone in so went to the alternate, which was even better as that is where the tour bus was sitting.
I pull into a spot, turn off the car and wait for a minute. I turn it back on to be sure that it will turn back on and hope the light has gone off. It turns over but the light is still on. FUCK! I turn the car back off, get my shit together and call Angie to find out where they are and let them know I'm parked by the tour bus.
At the college
Angie tells me that they're by the main entrance which is on the opposite side of where I was. So I walk around, thankful to actually be in a standing position instead of sitting. I get to where they are and almost pass them. They call for me and we go inside. I give Angie Damian's pen from the GHIII contest at House of Blues last Monday. Yes, I swiped the pen, but it was just sitting on the table and I highly doubt that anyone else was going to be using it. I let them know about the check engine light and then ask if there's a bathroom nearby as I didn't make any pitstops and drove straight through. I freshen up and walk back to where they are. We talk for a few minutes and notice that no one else is nearby so I ask if they want to walk with me to get the pixie sticks and bliss I brought with. Not to mention more water for me as I should hydrate more before an OK Go show.
We go to my car and I point out the tour bus. Then we notice a guy that looks like Damian sitting on a bench with a laptop. I'm pretty sure it's him, but it's a little hard to tell from a side/back view. We get to my car and I get the water and candy. I open the bag of pixie sticks and we head back to the building and go through the back entrance where the guy is sitting. And it is Damian. We're wondering if we should say anything or leave him alone. I make the decision in my head to at least say hi, point out Angie and ask if he'd like a pixie stick. He declines and says he's gonna be eating dinner soon anyway. We say something else and then leave him alone and we head into the building. Then we spot more people waiting. Probably a good thing we went to my car. So we go and sit by the door and talk and eat bliss and pixie sticks.
We're there for a while just talking and Dan walks out from the backstage area. I'm kinda glad no one really jumped at him and let him go back to the tour bus. Then what looks like the other band walks out, well at least two of them. One of them is wearing an Obama shirt. Angie was commenting on how kick ass it was. And it was. They walk past those of us waiting a few times and then head outside.
The crew from the college come out and set up partitions so there is a real line to be waiting in. Angie, Katie and I are two groups behind the first group. This is where I show them the sign I was going to ask the guys to hold up. And took a pic of it. We wait some more and I go freshen up again. This time taking my hair out of the bun and just make a pony tail. I wanted to wear it down, but I get so hot with all the dancing with it down. I get back and we wait some more.
Getting into the theatre and a surprise
The crew finally lets us into the theatre and Katie is the first in out of our group and runs to get us seats in the front. She scores us spots in Andy-Land right by the aisle. The guy who we thought was in the opening band is on stage finishing whatever and then walks near us. I ask where he got his Obama shirt from, he says he's from LA, but it's from San Francisco. Then he gives me a smile and pats me on the shoulder. Now we know.
While waiting I turn around and notice Tim is up by the light board. And that he's the DJ!! He played some very excellent tunes, but of course I only know two of them, the new single from Gnarls Barkley and something from the White Stripes. While waiting and listening to the great music I realize that even though the tickets said no cameras allowed, they didn't check our bags and people had their cameras out. So, I get mine out and start taking pics. Then my battery dies. FUCK! I realize I left my extra batteries in the car. So, I use Katie's stub as I misplaced mine and head out to the car to get the extra batteries. There I spy Dan playing some b-ball with the other band. It was kinda sweet.
I head back in and continue to wait for the show to start. Then the guy who I guess was running the event comes out and asks us to give a hand to the DJ. Loud ruckus ensues and he continues to talk about other events that are going to happen later and then the music comes back on.
We wait a little longer and then the lights go down and Bloodcat Love comes out. I've never heard of them before and failed to look them up before leaving home. I was quite surprised to really like their music. I was also surprised to see that people were starting to get up to the stage area. So Angie, Katie and I stand up by the stage too. The lead singer came out into the audience a few times and got face to face with many who were at the stage lip.
While they were playing I noticed Tim in the wings watching the show. I love it when the guys watch the opening act. Actually, I love it when any headliner watches the opening act. At some point Andy also came out and was by the sound board.
Once Bloodcat Love were done it was time to gather their equipment and get ready for OK Go. I was thinking of sitting back down in my seat but thought that someone would take my spot at the stage. I was already warm and there was no sign of getting out to get some water and coming back to my original spot.
While OK Go's crew were setting up we noticed the white boxes that hold the pink air things, so yay. We also noticed what looked like a confetti shooter. And they were putting out those tambourines. (I'm never gonna get a tambourine, but that's okay, I have other stuff) And the only problem we noticed with our spot was that the gong was right in front of Dan. So, not only was his drum kit gonna obscure our view, but the gong also obscured the view of the kit. I got like two pics of Dan. Argh. I tried to get a pic of the set list, but they were set at odd angles and were kinda far away.
Lights come down and we hear the rumble meaning they're opening with The House Wins. I love the guys, I like the song, but the ping, ping, ping, ping gets stuck in my head and rattles around in my brain for days after. And of course I got it on video (which will be posted once I get it uploaded to YouTube). As Andy walks out screams ensue. I think I may have squee-ed a bit, too. It's kinda funny watching him walk with the strobe effect from all the cameras going off.
The rest of the guys come out and more screams. Bam the song starts. Damian is his usual awesome self, same goes for Tim, he looks so cute when he bops to the beat. I got a lot of Damian eye contact during this song. I don't know why, but he kept looking in my direction. I've never had Damian eye contact before, well, other than when I'm actually talking to him face to face.
The set list is as follows:
The House Wins
Don't Ask Me
No Sign Of Life
A Good Idea At the Time
The Fix Is In
Prove My Love
Get Over It
A Million Ways - acoustic
What To Do - acoustic
You're So Damn Hot
It's A Disaster
Oh Lately It's So Quiet
Don't Bring Me Down
Do What You Want
During the voting procedure, someone in the audience yelled Electric Light Orchestra. Damian didn't fully understand what they yelled, "Electric Light what?" and he was looking right at me for the answer. So I mouthed "Orchestra". Totally squee-ed on the inside. And he's not the one I squee for.
It was funny at the beginning of the show because he was joking that he was trying not to swear as it was a Christian school. No one specifically told him not to swear, but he was trying anyway. Of course, after he says that he just can't control himself anymore. Though right before the acoustic set he was talking about his smelly jacket and was trying to describe it without cussing and said, "It's so hard to talk without those important words".
I really loved the acoustic set this time. I don't know why, but it was spectacular. I got video of A Million Ways but as usual my camera didn't want to focus. So, sorry ahead of time before it's even uploaded to YouTube. And the Rockenspiel is rainbow colored. So sweet.
Right before OLISQ, Damian told us to take out our things that make light like phones, cameras, what not. I pull out my phone and notice a text from Rachel. It says "Hey Andy! The Yanks are winning!" So, what do I do? I scream, "Hey Andy!" wait to see if he looks my way, he does :) and I scream, "Rachel says the Yanks are winning!" He kinda smiles and rolls his eyes. Then they start playing and during the song Angie, Katie and I yelled "Run's House" in homage to Rachel. The grin on Damian's face was so wide!! I wish I got a pic of it.
The rest of the show kicked so much ass. Especially the encore. Damian of course came out into the audience for the ELO cover. So much fun. Then it was DWYW, meaning confetti, pink blow-y things and the gong. I've seen the pink blow-y things before, but never the confetti or gong. Dude, Damian goes crazy on that gong. And he did the James Brown splits. I of course missed it, just saw him get back up. So fucking amazing. I've never seen so much confetti before.
And as they are leaving the stage Andy throws out the rest of his pics left on stage. And he threw one to me again!! SQUEE!!!! But I didn't catch it this time, but Katie and I made sure it didn't leave from right in front of us. Now I have two pics from Andy. I heart that boy.
The set was excellent. A few times I thought I was gonna faint. Seriously, it got really hot in there and with me bouncing around like a moron, I got lightheaded quite a lot. I need to drink much more water before their shows.
After the show
When the house lights came back up we gathered our shit and started to head outside. I immediately headed for the water fountain. Then we waited a bit inside. I was debating to go and get the green OK Go shirt and the Bloodcat Love CD. But I didn't. I was a tad worried about my car. Not to mention crossing my fingers that the boys would be outside and be able to chat with us.
We go outside and sit on the curb waiting for the boys to come out. There were others out there waiting for them too. Dan was the first one out. But he jumped into the bus right away, came back out and headed back into the venue. Then Tim came out. He was holding his "show" clothes in one hand and was signing things with his other hand. We waited patiently and then it was our turn to talk with him. I asked him to sign my shoe which he did gratefully. I asked to take a pic with him. Then I asked if he wouldn't mind taking a pic with the sign I made for the boardies who haven't seen OK Go in a while. He thought it was a great idea. That's when Katie was talking about his sweater. I called it cable-y. I also managed to tell him that I enjoyed his Guitar Hero move at the show in Chicago. He asked if I saw it, I said that I magically got in. He then said that that move was his favorite GH move. I asked how the whole judging thing went. He said that he didn't think they really took their comments into consideration and just went off the actual score off the game. I asked if I could give him a hug from Alice and Rachel. Of course he said I could, so Alice and Rach, he's been hugged for you both. And he's a good hugger to boot. I also told him that a girl named Susan in Germany really missed him or something like that. And I think at some point I yelled out that he was an awesome DJ while he was talking with other people.
Not too long after Dan came back. He dumped his stuff in the bus and came back out. I asked if he wouldn't mind taking a pic with the sign and he consented. I then asked if I could take a pic with him, and he said sure. I look kinda too happy in the picture though. Ah well. I think it was because he smelled sooooo good. When he went back into the venue, he went to take a shower. And whatever he used, he smelled damn good. I could have sniffed him all night. I also asked if he could sign my shoe and he said sure. He noticed my shirt and commented on the Cubbies. I think more stuff was said, but I can't recall now. I wish I paid more attention.
After talking with Dan we waited for Damian and Andy to come out. Of course when they did, everyone else flocked to them so we had to wait our turn. The first one we were able to talk to was Damian. I asked if he could take a pic with me and he said sure. I asked if he could sign my shoe. At this point I think he noticed my shirt and asked if it was a DC shirt with bears on it. I said that it was a Chicago cubs shirt and pointed out the little cub heads. He said that the DC flag is similar and since he lived in both places it was a tad confusing. Still, he liked my shirt. I then asked if he wouldn't mind taking a pic with the sign. At this point he said something about his mother reading the boards and commenting on how he didn't have a good show the previous night. His impression of his mother was hilarious. Then I think Angie and Katie were talking with him and I noticed Andy was going to be alone, so I moved over.
The first thing I did when I talked with Andy was show him the text from Rachel. The look on his face was priceless. He was like, so you were the one who yelled that out. I asked if he wouldn't mind taking a pic with the sign and he said sure. Then I asked if I could take a pic with him. Since Angie and Katie were still with Damian, one of the other fans took the pic for me. While I was still in his arms (*swoon*) I asked if he wouldn't mind taking a reaction pic. He said sure and I said, "Reaction to the Cubs winning the World Series". He thought about it for a while and then said, "Okay, well we're gonna be in hell watching it freeze over because that is the only time the Cubs would win." I rolled my eyes and then struck a pose. I kinda like it. Though I look scared and he has a WTF look. I was just so grateful that he wasn't bothered that I didn't budge after the first pic was taken.
After the reaction shot I got out of the way so the nice girl who took our pic could get a pic herself, which I took for her. I think Angie and Katie had joined up with us at that point. We talked about so much stuff and I'm gonna try to write all about it, though I'm not sure it's gonna be in the right order. So here goes. He remembered me from the Chicago show the previous Monday. adkfjasifnasldfnsifnlkf Wha? adfasdfinsfl And he was the only one that I didn't get to talk to that night. Katie was asking about putting some of the SDR songs on this awesome website that needs to go live soon!! So I asked about the contest for the DNLBATW CDs again. He said that he had it almost ready, but just hasn't posted about it yet. I said that he said that back in December. So he confessed that he was lazy, busy, Baseball was happening and he was really famous so he couldn't do it. I asked if I could give him two hugs. The first hug was from Alice and Rachel who saw them in Philly and then VA. He said sure, so I did. Then I asked if I could give him a hug for calling me on my birthday. He remembered that he called me from the LA show and I put him on hold. I said that it was because I needed to explain to my friends who he was to them. And then I said that I have lame friends. He then said that I do have lame friends and how could they not know who he was, he's really famous. I said I know. So I gave him another hug. Then I told him I was 13 days older than him. He looked a little confuzzled at that. He said, no, he was 19 days older than me. I said no, my birthday was the 23rd of February. He was like, but you turned 23. At this point I was just completely confused. So I pointed to myself and said '79 then pointed to him and said '79. Then I think it finally clicked in his head. I don't know how it got all so confusing, but it was interesting to say the least. We also talked about the number 23, I mean there's me and Ryne Sandberg, Michael Jordan, Devin Hester and he has a song titled 23. I said the number 23 was magical. I said there were more but I couldn't think of any others at the time.
I think this is where we started to talk about the first OK Go show we saw. Katie said she had seen them at Butler and how awesome they were. They talked some more about that (Katie, I'm sorry dear, but I can't remember). Then I told him my first show was an acoustic set at a Best Buy back in '06. He asked if I just happened to be in the Best Buy. I said no, I heard about it on the radio, they said they were the guys with the treadmill dance, and I thought, why not. He said that they probably sucked and that I would never buy their CD or something like that. I told him no, I went and didn't know what to expect and then when they started to play my mouth dropped open and the rest is history. Then we talked about other shows they played in MI which is Grand Rapids. Katie showed him where she lived on her palm (ya know MI is shaped like a mitten, anyway). He then told us that he had gotten in trouble a while ago for mixing up Wisconsin and Michigan and thinking WI was the state shaped like a mitten. And then we were talking about the Detroit Tigers. And Andy said something about the BoSox. So I told him that the B on a BoSox hat is actually a B for Becky and pointed to myself. He said really? I said yes. He then told me that the next time he sees the hat he'll think the B is for Becky. And since he has like the most best memory ever, he just might remember that.
And at some point during the Andy conversation Damian walked past us and I asked if I could give him a hug from Rachel and Alice. He said sure and that he was hugging them back.
I still can't believe that Andy actually remembered me not only from the Chicago show but that I was the girl that put him on hold. And I have some pretty awesome shoes now.
On the way home
Once we finished up our conversation it was time to get the hell outta there. I was crossing my fingers that the check engine light went away and my car would be okay. No such luck. I followed Angie to an IHOP for some breakfast. And this is when I noticed that my car wouldn't go above 30 MPH. My heart completely sank. I was supposed to drive home that night and there was no way that that was going to happen now. We made it to the IHOP safe and sound and I checked under the hood. Checked the oil and the transmission fluid, everything was fine. Nothing was burning. I knew that I would have to rent a room and get it checked out somewhere in Grand Rapids. We get into the IHOP and order food. Don't order the fruit bowl, it sucks and is highway robbery. But since I didn't have much of an appetite because of my car I didn't eat much of it anyway. Angie checked to see if her AAA card would be able to help me, but nope. I asked the waitress which hotels were good but cheap, she said most of them were. I then spotted a cop and asked him of a Dodge dealership or car shops around the area. He couldn't think of any shops, but there was a Dodge dealership a few miles down the road.
Katie and Angie were sorry that they couldn't help me out more and we bid adieu. I get a room at the Days Inn and try to fall asleep. I tossed and turned all night and had a dream about kittens. Yeah, I don't know either. I wake before my alarm and hop in the shower. Thank goodness I packed the undies, socks, shirt, toothbrush/paste and deodorant. If I hadn't, I would be one smelly biznatch. I got out of the hotel about 8:30 am EST. I went slowly down 28th street and found a Midas before I made it to the Dodge dealership. I pulled into the lot and hoped that they would be able to help me out. The guy behind the counter said that they could look at it, but if it was an internal transmission problem, I would have to go to the Dodge dealership to get it fixed. I waited while they were doing the inspection and hoped that the problem was something they could fix. After about an hour he called me over and said that it was something they could fix and then showed me what it was. Two of my solenoids on the outside of my transmission were dead. That is what caused the car to only go as fast as 30 MPH, the car couldn't move from first gear to second.
After about an hour and $555.00 I got my car back. I asked if everything would be cool for me to drive 70 MPH and would I be safe driving all the way home. They said it should be fine. The tech drove the car to make sure that she could switch gears and she was working. He told me that it might jerk a little in the beginning because the car was relearning how I drove it. He was right because it did switch gears a little hard in the beginning but then was fine once she had been driven for a while. And quite obviously everything turned out well as I'm home.
I had never been so scared in my life as I was stranded so far away from home. But thank goodness for being level headed when I need to be and having a credit card that doesn't really have a limit. Okay, that last part isn't the best, but if I didn't have it I'd still be in MI right now.
And to get mushy, I really think someone is watching out for me. Had I not made that wrong turn, I would most likely had the check engine light pop on while I was driving back home that night and then I would have been really screwed. This happened in a heavily populated area that had a ton of hotels and a Midas that wasn't very far.
So, not only am I safe, but I had a great night and will have good memories of it instead of being dead on the side of the road, literally.