Last night was so surreal I am still trying to decide if it was a dream or not. When MSG was announced, I felt a strange pull to go. More than wanting to see the concert and visit NYC, I felt this odd vibe telling me that it would be more than worth my while to take the trip. It was strange, because I didn’t think that there was any truth to it, but the feeling of “Kirstie, you NEED to go to this show.” wouldn’t go away. So I said fuck it, put the trip on a credit card and went. Totally out of character for me to do something like that, but man did it pay off. After what can only be described as the single best live performance I’ve seen (review to come later this week,) my friend and I went bar hopping. At around 2AM we found this little place that was completely dead and just sat down for a drink. The place had maybe 2 or 3 other people in it, but from the basement level of the bar you could hear a lot of noise; a party. We just assumed that’s where the crowd was so walked toward the stairs. Before we could reach them we noticed a security guy standing at the top of the stairs. We asked if we could go down and he said no, so we just took a seat with no mind to it. Probably some rich person hosting a private event. It’s NYC. That happens. No big deal. People kept coming up and going down the stairs, most all of them with accents from places around the world. Again I didn’t think of it as a big deal, because it’s New York and accents are so common. Then a couple gentlemen walked passed saying, “Yes, her name is Tori Kelly and…” I looked at my friend and was like, “You don’t think..?” No, no. We must be crazy, we just have Ed on the brain from the show. Then out of the basement area walks Stuart Camp, Ed’s manager who I recognized from photos. I looked at my friend Alicia and said, “I know you won’t believe me, but that was Ed’s manager. That party is for him.” She still didn’t quite think it was possible so we went on chatting with the security guard. Not like us to go where we are not invited. We just stayed upstairs. Eventually I had to go to the restroom, so I left the table and walked down the back stairs to the bathrooms. When I walked out of the bathroom I took a wrong turn and ended in the room where the party was held. I look over and there is Ed laughing, chatting it up with Tori Kelly and others. This isn’t really happening, I told myself. I thought I would get kicked out, and I truly didn’t intend on being the kind of person who forces their way into a private event. I believe celebrities and their privacy should be respected. I went to turn and leave before someone realized I wasn’t allowed in but was caught by Musa Okwonga, a talented poet and friend of Ed’s. He made a joke and we got to talking. He was so friendly and sweet. He inquired about where I was from, shocked that I had come all the way from Austin to see Ed. He asked if I’d met him yet, to which I replied no. Musa insisted he introduce me. I agreed, feeling less invasive because now I had been invited to be a part of this and relieved because no one assumed I had any intentions other than just hanging out and getting to know everyone. He walked me over to Ed, telling him I flew from Texas to see him. Musa said, “She was shy to meet you!” Ed laughed and I said, “Well technically shy isn’t the right term. I work in casting so I understand that people need their space. I wanted to respect that.” Ed smiled, shook his head a bit and sighed as if to say, “How rare.” as he hugged me. I complimented the show and we chatted for only a moment until he was pulled away by friends. Before he left he kissed my hand and said, “Lovely to meet you.” While Ed chatted with friends I got to talking with Tori Kelly. I told her how well she performed and asked her if she had any tips on haircare for curls. Girls can always bond over hair, haha! By this point Alicia had come down to meet me. We made the rounds, having wonderful conversations with Ed’s parents and friends. His mother is an absolute sweetheart with a bright smile that makes you feel welcome immediately. His dad is quite a character. Very fun to talk to and such a proud father. I met Ed’s brother, Matthew, who I was told by Musa is the honest one who tells Ed exactly what he needs to hear. I chatted a while with Tori’s vocal coach, Billy and met Antonio Lulic and Jodi Ann Bickley. Everyone was so humble, down to Earth and sweet. Musa asked me if I had gotten a picture with Ed, and I explained that I didn’t want to bother him while he was celebrating. Musa said, “See, that’s why I wanted to introduce you to him. At the end of the day we are all just people. You are obviously here just to get to know us.” I was so glad that was evident, and that even though I am a fan I didn’t come off as one with an agenda. Ed left a bit but came back to say his goodbyes. He made the rounds, giving huge drunken hugs to friends, freestyle rapping a bit with Musa before heading out. He kissed all the ladies on the cheek, one by one as he said goodbye. He came up to me and said, “Great to meet you darling.” and kissed me. He gave one last hug and went on his way. We continued to hang out with Musa, Antonio and Jodi. The night ended and the bar cleared. We said our goodbyes and “lovely to meet you”s and went on our way. As I sit typing this in my NYC hotel room that I have yet to pay off on my credit card, I realize that you can’t deny the feelings inside that urge you to do something. Had I let my fear of the unknown and spontaneous stop me, I would have not experienced last night. I met wonderful people, including an artist who I truly respect and adore as both a musician and a person. The stories you hear about him are true. Everyone there had nothing but amazing things to say about Ed, and seeing as not one time did someone ask me “Are you really supposed to be here?” it is evident that Ed and the people he surrounds himself with are all really just looking to get to know one another and celebrate life.