600 miles there. 600 miles back. 600 miles there. 600 miles back. These are the miles I drove with some of my best friends in the world from my hometown in Denver, Colorado to Kansas City, Kansas on the first and last weekend of summer to see Chance the Rapper and Kendrick Lamar. On Saturday, May 13th we’re pulling up (myself and two of the biggest Chance fans I know; my roommate Richard, and my childhood friend Gabe Baskin) to Providence Medical Center Ampitheater in Bonner Springs, KS on Saturday, May 13 to see Chance the Rapper, I tell the woman checking our ticket that we have driven all the way from Denver, CO to come to this concert, to which she immediately replies, “You’re insane.” Fast forward two months. On Wednesday, August 16th, we’re driving (myself, Kendrick superfan Ben, a newly turned 21-year-old Jacob, my girlfriend Rebecca, and Ben’s girlfriend Danielle) in a hurry through cloudy downtown Kansas City. The Kendrick concert was a surprise for Rebecca (Becca) and Danielle, and all we had told them through a torturous 8-hour drive through Kansas was that they should bring something to swim in. As we start to near the Sprint Center, we say “You’re probably wondering why we told you to bring something to swim in” as we blast Swimming Pools by Kendrick Lamar and t shirt vendors magically shake Kendrick Lamar shirts outside of the venue in the Power and Light District.
This is why I’ve fallen in love with concerts. Each concert is a beautiful, unexpected experience waiting to happen, whether it’s going alone or with people. I think it’s amazing that at every concert, you could look at any person in the crowd and every individual has a different connection to the musician performing, and every individual can tell a different story when they leave the concert. I trace my first two years of college using a timeline of concert tickets which runs up my wall, dating from the beginning of freshman year to the end of this summer. I believe music captures emotions better than any other form of expression, and this timeline of experiences captures the different headspaces I was in at different checkmarks throughout my college experience.
The timeline starts the day before I left for Penn when I saw the Foo Fighters, where Dave Grohl rocked out with a broken leg, and invited up a clearly drunk man who didn’t have shoes on who belted his heart out to the Foo Figher classic “My Hero.” I went to my next concert two weeks later and saw Big Sean, the Weeknd, and a post 2014 Forest Hills Drive J Cole. It was a lot of standing, but I still have the image of thousands of festival goers yelling they lyrics to “Wet Dreamz” while the sun set in beautiful pink and purple fashion over the Rocky museum. The concerts I’ve been to since then have been a blur of good, bad, weird and wild experiences. I saw Kendrick alone at the Trocadero in 2015, Chance at Fling 2016, Flume at the Electric Factory, Princess Nokia/Rob $tone/DRAM at the Rotunda, Seu Jorge at Union Transfer, Red Hot Chili Peppers at Wells Fargo, Kyle at the Trocadero, Lauryn Hill, Common, Joey Bada$$, and Logic at Red Rocks, and Chance and Kendrick in Kansas City. Some standout moments included: Logic going word for word with a fan in a wheelchair that he had brought onstage to Gang Related, crying when Kyle sang a cover of CuDi’s Pursuit of Happiness, screaming my heart out on the staircase of the nosebleeds of the Wells Fargo to RHCP’s By The Way because I had been kicked out of my seat, and feeling like the happiest man alive when Chance did Blessings (Reprise) and when Kendrick started with DNA. Each and every one of these experiences was completely unexpected, and completely priceless. I’m writing this on September 24, 2017, and I’m about to go to Mac Demarco at Skyline Stage at the Mann Center, tickets for which I bought yesterday. I have a midterm on Tuesday, but if you ask me a few years ago what I remember from my junior year, I probably won’t remember the midterm.
P.S. My first actual concert was Iron Maiden in the 8th grade, but I’m pretty ashamed of my metal stage in middle school so I left it out
P.S.S. Mac played a version of A Thousand Miles that ran for 7 minutes and he would only repeat “Making my way downtown”