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I am a twenty-something second year teacher living in the midwest. I am a Christian woman and proud of it! I am the middle child of three girls. I am the proud aunt of the very beautiful Lil E and Lil C!! I love TV, movies, reading, and baseball. I am in my second year of teaching , but my first year teaching kindergarten. It has been quite the journey!

12 June 2013

Best. Night. Ever.

As soon as Lil Sis and I heard that Darren Criss was going on tour this summer, we knew that we had to be there. We're lucky to be located between Chicago and Ann Arbor, so we were able to choose the better date. We settled on Chicago which was last Saturday.

We headed out early Saturday. We stopped at a local bakery for some goodies to eat as we drove. We rocked out to various Darren songs as we drove, including Glee covers, Starkid songs and Human, his EP from a few years ago. Needless to say we were pumped up.

We parked downtown and walked around for a bit. We had a lunch reservation at 1:30 back at the House of Blues, but we wandered into a few stores and hung out in the park for awhile, killing time. The sun was out and it was pretty warm.

We were both sporting our Darren Criss shirts via the Ann Arbor T-shirt company. Mine is a Darren quote, "There's nothing more badass than being yourself." Amy's is a lyric from "Not Alone" aka the best D-Criss song ever, "Our love is all we need to make it through."

We headed back to the House of Blues. As we walked I realized that I had left my regular glasses in the car (I was wearing my prescription sunglasses), so after we ordered I hurried back to the car, grabbed my glasses and made it back before our burgers arrived. We had heard about the Pass the Line deal that the House of Blues does, from an internet friend who had been to one of his other shoes. Basically we paid $20 to get a voucher, which was good for $20 at their restaurant. The voucher let us wait in a special line that got in before General Admission. It was great, because we would have had to eat anyway and this gave us an advantage :)

Then we went in line to wait. At first we were waiting in the GA line, because we didn't realize that there were two separate lines. We made friends with the people in line next to us and then ditched them without so much as a good-bye when we moved to our other line. We felt a little bad about that... I also got some cool merch while waiting in line. 
Why yes those are Darren Criss socks!
Merch Matt, the Ann Arbor T-shirt Company employee selling the gear, had a little cart set up in the line, so people could buy things while they waited in line. It also makes me so happy that Darren still uses the Ann Arbor T-shirt Company to sell his stuff. :)

We spent roughly 4 hours in line. Luckily we were able to leave one at a time to use the bathroom and such. It seemed as if time moved so slowly. Checking the time on our phones was miserable because you'd feel like 20 minutes had passed and it would be like 5... 

Finally around 6:30 we got let into the venue. Lil Sis and I rushed to find a spot as close to the stage as we could. We were about 7 people deep, pretty nearly center stage. 
This is our view of the stage with no zoom...

Then Lil Sis went to buy us shirts (Merch Matt wasn't selling shirts outside). The people in front of us offered to help me hold her spot, since there are not seats or anything. Then began our next wait until 7:30 for the opening act, Theo Katzman. We had fun trying to see if we could locate any Starkids in the house and chatting with the fans around us.
Lil Sis modeling her tour shirt after the show. I got the same one.

Theo Katzman went to Michigan with Darren, along with all of the people playing in his band. He was good. I had only heard one of his songs before, but I really liked them. I used his set to perfect my picture taking skills ;)

While Theo was playing, we spotted several Starkids in a private balcony box. In this photo you can see Dylan Saunders on the right and Jaime Lyn Beatty on the left. Throughout the night we saw Nick Lang, Lauren, Meredith, Brian Holden, Joe Walker, Jim Povolo and more, plus Darren's girlfriend, Mia. It was fun to watch them watch their friend performing. A few times they would wave to the crowd. Once Nick waved really cutely to the crowd and then pointed at Darren, like, "watch him, not us." When Darren sang Stutter, Joe Walker was dancing around so cutely! We tried not to watch them too much while Darren was singing, though...

 After Theo sang, we had to wait a little while again, but someone next to us said, "Just think, this is the last time we have to wait for the concert." We waited in line, waited to get let in, waited for Theo to sing, and this was our last waiting period.
Why yes, I wore my pink sunglasses on top of my head along with my normal glasses and did not even care! These were free sunglasses from the end of our Girls on the Run 5K. Thanks to Honor Credit Union for letting me not pay $15 for some at the concert :)

And then Darren came out. Everyone freaked out of course! and pushed towards the stage, making us even more squished. Everyone jockeyed to get a good view, but after the first song, we were all pretty settled in. At one point, the person behind me was literally pushing me forward with her body and I braced myself against the floor, so I wouldn't do the same to the person in front of me. But overall everyone was nice and polite.
He started the show wearing this jacket and singing Circle of Life. The jacket only lasted a couple of songs.

The show was amazing!!!!!!!!!!! There are really no words. It was fun and rockin' and lived up to all of my expectations. He sang almost all of the songs on his EP (Sami, Not Alone, Human and Don't You), a couple of Starkid songs (Stutter and Home) and of course Teenage Dream. He also sang several of his new songs (Pheremones, Words, Picture Perfect, Once Upon a Time...). He started with "Circle of Life," which I had managed to keep a secret from Lil Sis as that is one of her favorite movies.

 Lil Sis and I had made a pact to not watch any videos of his preceeding shows, mostly so that we wouldn't spoil the new songs. It was a little hard to make out all of the words to songs we didn't know, but they were all great! I can't wait to hear them on a real album, hopefully some time soon. I'm so glad that we went in not watching anything previously. I read a quote from Darren somewhere that he was a little sad that everyone after the first show would have already seen the whole tour before we went via youtube and tumblr. This helped my willpower; you don't want to disappoint Darren!

Lil Sis and I were ruminating on how we had seen Darren perform 3 times previously (Glee Live! tour, How to Succeed and AVPSY at LeakyCon), yet we were still so geeked for his show, like we'd never seen one before. I think part of the reason was that this was the first time he was performing as himself and would interact with the audience and just get to be his crazy, silly self. And he lived up to it. He jumped and danced around the stage, swore, rambled on and on between songs. It was just Darren being Darren.
He looked like he was having so much fun on stage and the audience was clearly having a blast. Hearing Not Alone performed live was spectacular. He had some of the children's choir from Chicago who sang with him at the Inauguration on stage singing with him, which made it even more special. It is such a wonderful song and getting to hear it live was worth the price of the whole trip. I saw someone post that if Darren came out, sang Not Alone, and then left the stage, she would have gone home happy. It is a fabulous song. If you have not listened to it, you really should.
Here it is for you...
We're going to pretend that this is from Not Alone, but really I have no idea. He did play piano during Not Alone, so it totes could be...

Sami was another great one. During some of the quieter songs, the audience would shush each other to stop singing, so that we really got to hear Darren and not the crowd, which was cool.  He played guitar, piano and some drums throughout the show. For a few songs, the band left the stage and Darren just sat on a stool, played guitar and sang. The "coffee shop" part of the show, Darren called it. During this portion of the show, he played a special request from Lauren Lopez, Good Ol' Moon. 

Home from AVPS. A beautiful song!

There was a three-song encore, including Teenage Dream (fabulous!) Stutter, which included his stint on the drums, and a reprise of Circle of Life. It was a truly spectacular show and all I could have asked for (except that he never forgot the words. There's always next time!)
The only pic I could get of Teenage Dream... too many peeps trying to take pics and video. 

Drum solo!

After the show we headed out. We had seen lots of pics and stories of people meeting Darren after the show near the buses and since we weren't able to get Meet and Greet tickets, we had decided to try it. We wandered around for a little while and then grabbed some Cokes from Subway, because we were super thirsty. There were several groups of us wandering around, wondering where a tour bus would be. We eventually found out that the stage door was actually underground and that's where the bus was, so there really wasn't a good place to wait for him or for him to come out. We met Theo Katzman and got some pics with him, which was nice. 

We made our way over to a place near where the bus was. We saw several members of the band leave and an SUV with darkened windows drive out. People waiting with us claim that the person in the backseat had curly hair and waved as they drove past. Whether it was actually Darren, we'll never know. After waiting awhile, Theo walked out past us and one of the girls waiting asked him if Darren was still there and he said no, so we left. It would have been awesome to meet him, but c'est la vie. At least we know we did all we could to try to see him.

So we headed home, listening to Darren's beautiful voice singing Glee covers and arrived home at 

The next day we were completely exhausted and slaphappy, but it was all worth it!

P.S. I'm so grateful that other people are so obsessed with recording every second of their lives. We didn't have to spend the concert behind our cameras, but now we can watch pretty much the whole concert whenever we want! That is not my Not Alone video :)

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