Chaos Attraction

Hot Chelle and Carly Rae

2013-09-18, 9:40 p.m.

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Okay, this took me forever to post because every time I do an entry with pics, it takes me about fifteen years. Seriously, it's like a month since this happened, sheesh.

So on September 18 I went to, no joke, a Hot Chelle Rae/Carly Rae Jepsen concert. Yes, I'm 35 years old and doing that. Along with bouncing in a bouncy house and buying a car this summer. At the rate I'm going with maturity, I'll be ready to have a baby at around age 85. A few months ago, I saw an ad for this and was all, "HOLY CRAP, I MUST GO TO THIS, FOR IT ACTUALLY IS GONNA EXIST IN THE SMALL TOWN IN WHICH I LIVE." Seriously, the kinds of concerts we have here are usually of the....classical....variety, especially at the hoity-toity theater we have here. I saw Buddy Guy here a few years ago and he swore up and down and all over the place, and that's as crazy as I've seen the joint go. Plus, who doesn't want to see two pop bands of which you know one song of theirs apiece? Er, you know what I mean.

Besides, CALL ME MAYBE IS AWESOME!!!1111!!!!!

This is not the normal sort of event that Ye Olde Hoity-Toity Concert Hall is known for--they were apparently being rented out for the night. Anyhoo, I found out about a week ago that Merry was also going to the concert. Her husband works at ye olde fancy-ass concert hall and had to work the event. (I can just imagine how this went down. "Hey, you were just out for 3 weeks for Burning Man, so we're gonna schedule you for THAT concert." Except he probably wasn't out for 3 weeks, but I'll have to explain that later.) So Merry gets to eavesdrop on the show for free behind the scenes...or after the first half, sneaking into the empty seats. So we figured we'd text during intermission or something. Here is a picture of the merchandise for the show. I didn't get anything, but I did like the HCR "Where The Wild Things Are" shirt.

This was...not a hit event, by any means. According to Merry, the concert hall seats 1800 and they had 320 tickets sold before the day, and ended the day at about 400. (A volunteer told me it was around 500, so that's even worse.) Right when I walked in, they told me they were upgrading my ticket. I forget where the hell I was supposed to sit before, but they moved me into the center section, center of that, row G. Pretty good, right?

The audience of this was...well, there were a lot of tween girls, who dressed up. Some had puffy paint shirts, some had silver disco sequins, some had masks (I'm not sure what that was all about ). When I got into the theater, well...I mentioned the upgraded seats, I gather at least half of my row had been upgraded. But what baffled me was that there were STILL plenty of empty seats up close. (Like...I could have been in closer? Or did those people not show up? What's the deal?) People were pretty much spread around throughout the place. I asked Merry why they weren't just upgrading everybody and she said something about how they don't normally upgrade unless you ask on the day. But I hadn't asked.... It was also an interesting crowd because it was a part-standing, part-sitting crowd. I liked that, as having to stand the entire time to try to see over other people's heads gets annoying.

Hot Chelle Rae started first--AND ON TIME. That's like, the first time I've ever seen a concert start on time. I am impressed, dudes. I am happy to report that I actually enjoyed both sets of performances and all of the songs. God knows I've gone to the occasional concert by a one-hit wonder* because I liked one song and then well, didn't like the rest of their music. Seeing The Rembrandts at the county fair stands out in particular because I liked "I'll Be There For You" and one other song and was otherwise pretty bored. Not here--all of it was on the side of fun, which I am down with. I also liked that one of the guitar players was throwing out guitar picks, and I managed to catch one. (Note to self: need to go back to attempting to learn guitar again.) HCR also did a few other covers briefly--"We Are Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together," "Without You," "We Found Love." They dedicated a song to a kid having a birthday. Aww. I think at one point the lead singer was trying to spike a tambourine.

* Though I wish these folks the best of luck in not being one-hit wonders, even if they're known for mostly one song right now.

I did kind of wonder...what the heck was the guitar player on the right doing, exactly? I hate to bitch, and god knows I don't know all that much about guitar right now. But...he didn't seem to be playing a whole lot at the start, and there was one song where only the lead singer and the other guitarist performed and the rest left the stage, and when he came back on he came in kind of late and....honestly, kind of seemed like he was air-faking plucking at the strings or something. Did his guitar break? (In which case, I was reminded of the time when my violin went violently out of tune when the high school orchestra was playing outside at Pier 39 and I air-violined the rest of it.) Either that or maybe he was a ringer--as far as I knew there were four regular guys in the group. Checked afterwards and nope, this guy was an original band member--looks like the keyboardist was the newbie instead. Anyway, I couldn't help but wonder what the deal was. That fellow also seemed to...be having the least amount of fun up there compared to everyone else. I read a book called Hey Didi Darling as a kid, about a band of girls who decided to pretend to be guys to boost their career. They had one sulky guitarist, Renee, who as "Ron" acquired a following of the demented-seeming Didi, presumably because he was tall and sulky and well, every band has to have one? Anyway, for me he was totally being "Ron."

The poor little kid next to me did not like how loud the concert was, he had his fingers in his ears the whole time. Merry reported doing pretty much the same even in the back. The people-watching was fun, especially since for once everything wasn't made totally dark at a show and you could see people getting silly in the audience. It was also fun watching the poor security guards having to stand around guarding the stage and looking bitterly unhappy.

Anyway, HCR were done after about...40 minutes or so, and then it probably took another 40 to set up for Carly Rae. They had a DJ spinning tunes before the show and during the intermission. At this point I went back to texting Merry....at great length. I normally don't do a whole lot of texting beyond trying to track people down, but since she was backstage at the time I got to ask her things like, "Where is Carly Rae anyway? They finished setting up the stage already." This is a thing I do at concerts--it always seems like after the stage is set, there's some really long-ass period of time where you're just wondering what the heck the performers are DOING back there. I always assume blow....okay, so I like making that joke, but the folks I go to see in concert probably aren't doing blow, so what the heck ARE they doing? Merry said as far as she heard, Carly Rae hadn't come out of the dressing room yet. But eventually she was out at about 8:45-ish and we were off.

It was a fun show. By about song two or so, giant inflatable balloons were being dropped from the ceiling. After a couple of numbers, a stagehand helpfully ran out and popped all of the balloons remaining on stage, which made the audience go "awwwww" sadly. Later in the concert, Carly Rae looked at the remnants of one and told us that what with all of the boy bands she usually went on tour with, she was used to them having panties thrown on stage (note: not with this crowd, I think....not unless 8-year-olds have suddenly gotten into doing this in front of their parents), and she briefly got all excited thinking that she'd gotten her first pair of panties....but nope, that's just balloon.

By song three, Carly Rae said she liked people to go home with something from a concert....and streamers and confetti dropped from the ceiling. An AVALANCHE of the stuff, which led to some very pretty pictures that I took... Kids were grabbing the streamer bundles as souvenirs and playing with them in the crowd, and the guy in front of me that was covered in confetti was stuffing it down his pants.... in his pockets, you pervs. (Later Merry was all, "Yeah, the people working here hate that stuff.")

Carly Rae appeared to be having a very good time herself--and speaking of, the duet with her and one of the band on "Good Time" was quiet lovely. During one song after some dude yelled out during it, she was all, "I dedicate it to you, stranger!" At one point she actually got off the stage and ran around the crowd....well, as best one can when being mobbed, at least. She mentioned that one song was about a bad ex who just wanted to go out every night....and that she fantasizes about punching the ex's head. Well, who doesn't?

She brought people on stage for the last song, and you can probably guess what that song was. She was asking for people who were cool with making fools of themselves on stage or had cool outfits... the guy in my row in the Carly Rae shirt got to go on stage and he was having a very good time at it. Streamers and confetti dropped again for "Call Me Maybe." The mess afterwards was quite spectacular.

Afterwards, I went backstage with Merry (no, I didn't see Carly Rae) and her husband briefly came by to drop off a broken drumstick and a setlist. Look, more souvenirs!

It was a fun night, I'm not gonna lie.


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