September 22nd…

“This is fucking unreal." I don’t know if that’s a trademarked first line that Alex says after the first set of songs. But that’s what he said after Straight To DVD show (which, apparently, a show recorded and went straight to DVD) which is somewhat something that looks like ATL’s show in Manila, only that yesternight’s show was Juliet-less, Clark-less, old songs-less, and moshpit-less.

I woke up at 12:30 PM because my body and mind went on an agreement that they would not let me sleep as easy as when I could at normal days. I passed out some time between Straight To DVD songs which I intended to play to test how much I’d be moving later that night. I was rocking out in my bed and I knew I looked stupid, only no one could see me but no doubt, I still looked stupid. My energy drained at a song which I rocked out the most and woke up with the window sun in my face and realized it’s just past noon. I got my phone and read a text which said something about our couldn’t be being on time for the press conference which made sad because it resulted to us not being there at all. I went online and set statuses in excitement. My friend told me and another friend that we should get ready to stay at Cubao early and just chill somewhere near the coliseum. I knew seastar is still at school so I helped myself refrain from texting her early because she is the one who I’m going to be with (and to save myself from excitement because I should put this somewhere at the end, but here: …and I enjoyed this night with her, and I’m thankful for her generosity and her time to be with me to make my dreams and hopes come true–my 5-year waiting for ATL to come here, she made it possible for me to wach).

I was early. Very early. At 1:30 (or 2:00?), I went to Freedom Bar/Anonas Complex to meet Marvin. I was hurrying because I wanted to be early in Cubao just to ease my excitement, but it didn’t. Thing is, when I reached Anonas Complex, I knew I forgot something, and that something is very important for yesterday’s event. My ticket, which all we know we need to enter an event or something, was left lying on my desktop table which I didn’t bother checking before I leave the house. I have no classes but I told my mom that I do and I’m late when she asked me to chop the cabbage for lunch, I didn’t and she told me that I should hurry because I said I’m late. Minutes after I bathed and dressed, I wasn’t able to find my i♥boobies baller which is something essential for the concert. I was looking in my room and still couldn’t so I asked mom and she shouted about how I’m bothered by the baller’s loss when I couldn’t even chop the vegetables for food. Maybe that’s why I forgot about the ticket, because I was hurrying to prevent my mother finding out that I am hurrying for the concert (and the excitement for it). So I left the house with the decision to just attend the concert baller-less, not that those one-inch ballers are a necessity for these events (but almost everyone wore one or many, so, I don’t know if it actually is). And so I arrived at where I was too meet Marvin and he told me that he’s going to get a haircut first and I should just head to Cubao alone. But just after he told me that, I asked him in urgency that I left the ticket at home and asked for him to text my sister which we asked to go out of the house to give us the real necessity, the pass to go inside where ATL should be filling with their music that night.

And so I got my ticket and went straight to Cubao. I left my bag at the bookstore in which I work/man/tambay in. I haven’t ate anything except for a very deserving cheeseburger which eventually wore out of filling-capabilities and I was hungry not too far from my consumption. I bought a large C2 and walked around Cubao with the large plastic bottle in hand (which made me look stupid btw) and went past too many scene kids and faux ATL fans and new school ATL fans and kids who were amazed by the new music ATL made but weren’t aware that their music were from a few years back and they made better music back then (not that they made worse music now, I just liked them more in their Put Up Or Shut Up days). I waited for LuckyAnne, the friend who told us to get ready but was the one who came later than I. I know this would be unnecessary to tell but I rented a computer to use in Gateway and I was only charged 4 pesos for a few minutes. Not even in cheap computer shops I’ve paid that cheap for rental fee. And she texted me that she might drop by at Shang because ATL is still in the function room where they held the press conference, the one that we were supposed to be in earlier that day. But we convinced each other that we should just stay in Cubao, she was on her way and I went back to the internet cafe which by the second time I logged out, I paid a more expensive fee of 14, yes, you don’t have to know. Quick (or not) story when I was on my way to the cafe, I was walking from the side of Araneta to Gateway and I saw Steve Badiola of Typecast and I was tailing him and his friends and he kept looking behind him maybe got weirded out by how I kept walking behind him. I wanted to greet him and say hi and wish them a good set and tell him that I have always loved his band almost the same time I knew about ATL and loved both bands, but I didn’t so I just walked behind him like some creep and just went a different way when I find it weird myself. Now, back to regular story-telling So I was looking for her when she told me she arrived Cubao and found her standing somewhere in the Red Gate. We walked with her friends and decided we should wait at West Gate/Padi’s Point because that’s where ATL should be arriving and entering the building. Marvin was on his way from somewhere and we were still waiting. We were shaking in excitement and people were standing near the gate, we hoped they were waiting, too because it would confirm our chance. But we also wished they leave because they could block our slight chance of taking my picture with any of them because she had two pictures with herself when ATL came and arrived at the hotel, one with Alex and one with Zack. We approached the gate when Matt, another friend and Marvin arrived to secure a space and I asked a guard when would the artists arrive and he was smiling like he was making fun of me and told me that ATL arrived a couple of hours ago and weren’t going to come out. Fuck our lives. We just walked finding some of our friends and were getting ready for the concert. Of course, our excitement grew larger minute by minute.

About an hour before that, I texted mah seastar and asked her when would she arrive and I waited for her. We walked towards the green gate, my and my friends and just laughed at things we usually do and when we arrived the gate, two girls were selling ATL shirts and we were laughing. A friend told them that they should be careful because someone could just pull the shirt and run far and they wouldn’t be able to retrieve it. Out of impulse, I went near the two girls and asked them about the shirts and while they were talking, I pulled one and the girl was cursing and flicking me off and she was totally pissed. My friends laughed and I think, that was the meanest thing I’ve ever did my whole life. Ha ha ha. And seastar came. I went to where she was, and I saw her with her father which I couldn’t just enter into the space they were in and just called her and said hi. I saw Miko which is my excitement-mate the dawn of the day. I met seastar afterwards and we went with my friends whom I fake-snatched a shirt with and she had seen how scared the girl selling the shirt when I came and went near her. I was mean, she said it even to clarify my meanness. Only an hour before the show we walked and decided to enter the venue and went the wrong way because it was our first time since a long time to go into such a maze of a venue. When we came in, we had to ask someone to escort us to our seats because (I thought) the inside of the venue was…uhh…not what I expected. I thought I’d see barricades to separate the amount you’ve paid, but no. I think they expected people to just sit in their own seats and not go forward to where you could be nearer to the artists playing. We were talking about ATL and other artists we love and times we’ve seen other bands play, shit like that. I haven’t ate anything real that night and I told her I should get food so we walked towards the arc where food stalls are located. Following Jack Barakat’s words, I decided I should "fuck” a burrito and went to a Taco Bell stall. Having seen before the 60 Php price of a burrito when we first walked in front of it, I thought the prices are still cheap inside the building but below it are the real burritos which cost a huge amount of money which we didn’t bring. So, even if you don’t have to know about it, I have to tell all of you that I didn’t eat until the end of the event (there, no more food stories). We went in again and sat and waited.

The speakers blared the sound of the voice announcing the coming in on stage of one of my favorite local bands, Typecast. Tell you what, this would include a “best” and a “worst” which I would tell in a matter of a punctuation mark. Here, I told seastar that we should come near while there are no guards securing the rows of seats because of the amount difference you have to pay for them, they just walked around and thought kids would not come forward even though they did not pay for it. “We’re so close I could cum on Alex face later,” that’s the lamest joke I made that night, but really. We were that close and Typecast played a song (Bright Eyes) and I sang in joy because it’s one of my favorite Typecast songs. I knew this would be one of the best sets I would see Typecast play, the guards secured that people wouldn’t come near the barricades to ensure safety so we went between the reserved VIP seats (which we did not pay for) and went far to the middle of the area where lots of kids started piling up until the bouncers asked us to move backwards and I’m wondering why they would do that, my repeated complain that night is in the template form of the phrase “this is not a fucking seminar, this is a fucking concert” depending on the usage and intensity, the complain template would be rearranged (or have some parts removed; one good example is when I tell you all later about a stupid concert goer and her two stupid concert goer friends). That part is the best: having seen the best set I have seen Typecast play. The worst part is this: having stupid concert goers chant All Time Low in between songs of Typecast which, I think, made Steve Badiola angry and walked out at the end of their last song (Another Minute Until Ten). At the ending of the song, Steve was going wild playing the guitar in noise and intensity which magnified my intense disappointment towards the kids who are waiting for ATL at that moment. Kids can’t wait and enjoy a very amazing performance from one of our best local bands. STUPID KIDS.

And so the lights went out.

Now is the appropriate time to shout the very much awaited band to come on stage. I was in chills, I know all the other kids are. I could not control my excitement while seastar is waiting collectedly, she was looking at me weirdly sort of trying to tell me to just calm my shit down, and I did, so we went nearer the stage to secure a better space. I was behind her and trying hard to squeeze in so could be near her because all I want (other than sing and dance to their songs) is to watch it beside my sister and just enjoy the show (though we knew it would be a long stretch of time of humping (she termed it that way because I know it felt as if it’s a dry orgy, one with too many sweat and singing and pretty much non-sexual (thank all the gods). It’s been two days so y'all probably know how the set went, the songs they played in their arrangement and too many kids have been excited and happy about what Alex and Jack have been saying on stage, when I didn’t because if you’ve watched too many international artist (well, I haven’t watched too many, but I’ve watched a plural of them) they always say the same things to take the crowd of the mood into such heights. I told you, I’ve heard the shit “this is fucking unreal” too many times from Alex (with too many times, I mean too many times I’ve had Straight To DVD in repeat, but I’m sure he had said that too many times, too). I kept singing their songs in moderation while I danced and jumped with the crowd waiting for one of my most favorite ATL songs be played. “This one is from our EP…” Alex blurted out the words and I knew exactly what they would be playing. Exactly as if it was tipped by some angel or someone from the future knowing they would play the song that I wanted to hear live for the longest of time waiting. “This song is called Jasey and it goes something like this,” just about the same way as he said in Straight To DVD so I kinda had the familiarity of how they would play it but I still danced and sang and went wild. At the most times they played songs seastar likes, I could feel the satisfaction when I see her smile with excitement in hearing the songs live and in front of her (practically 10 meters away or even less). Blah blah blah, the concert went on, blah blah blah, they played songs, blah blah blah…

But there is this one really shitty situation I was in. The show was good and I enjoyed it. But the fact that the crowd–the kids–are acting like they are the stupidest concert goers ever and the venue is filled with chairs that aren’t supposed to be there (IT’S A FUCKING CONCERT, NOT A FUCKING SEMINAR) just grinds my gears. Above all of it, there are these three people who are behind me who are just the stupidest I could ever see in a concert or in any event. Here, imagine: you are in a concert and you came wearing something that would reveal your toes (sandals, flip-flops, etc.) what do you expect to happen? If you answered something like “people would step on my toe” you’d probably a sane person. It doesn’t take being a genius to know that a concert is filled with uncaring people who just wanted to enjoy their time without having to think about your stupidity. So these three people are behind me all of them wearing white as far as I could remember (if you could read this, just skip pass through this because I hate to tell you that you are the three of the most stupid people that ever went to that concert, along with the people who chanted All Time Low while Typecast is playing) and they keep pushing me. Well, not forcefully, just the act of not letting me near them, it’s not literally pushing but restraining, I think. I know I keep on stepping on one of the guy’s girlfriend’s (the one who wore the stupid sandals and complains repeatedly) toes. I didn’t mind because I know they are just thinking of the girl’s toes welfare, as if toes had a very large expanse of welfare to be thought about. It was fine until ATL played Coffee Shop Soundtrack. I went wild at that song. WILD. I was dancing and shouting the words, struggling to my early loss of voice. I was still beside seastar trying to enjoy my time, enough to prove that the expense of it was worth it. So we all know people would keep on stepping on the open toe she brought with her on such a crowded venue (stupid), so his boyfriend wrapped his arms around her and held my shoulders as if to restrain me now (then) from moving. THIS IS MY SONG AND I COULDN’T LET ANYONE STOP ME FROM ENJOYING MY TIME HAVING TO LISTEN AND SING ALONG TO THE SONG I’VE BEEN LOVING FOR YEARS, RIGHT?! So I shoved his arm and I looked them furiously and I shouted (God, I still feel the anger) “THIS IS A FUCKING CONCERT” and went enjoying the show with lesser movements because I didn’t want to hurt the girl (and her toes) in any way. But still, the fact that he held my shoulders was just rude so don’t blame me if I treated him (them) more rudely because it’s just not right to do in a concert (I could hardcore dance and I know if I did that couldn’t care have lesser about how I’m going to hit people, that was a fucking concert).

You still know how it went, how they lined the songs up and as soon as they played the last song, it felt like they still have to play another song. It doesn’t feel complete without hearing Lullabies but I know they wouldn’t play so I quickly accepted the fact that it was still one of those moments when you just really have to be thankful to be a part of something you have been dying and waiting for years of your teenage life. People went out and as we’re going out, I feel my legs losing and as steps were stepped I started to lose the feeling of my own leg. I felt tired and smelly and very, very happy. I wanted to grab seastar’s arm and just wanted to thank her but for everything. That was one of the best (concert) nights of my life and I’m very happy I spent it with her. All the clapping (and hurting my palms), the dancing (and hurting my whole body), singing (and losing my naturalness of my voice), and jumping (and having my leg numb) are all worth it. Every minute of that night (even the couple of second when I had to shout to the stupid attendee) was worth it.

We went outside and she’s about to go to her father to go home, I called her as she walked away and thanked her. Until now, I still am thankful that she went with me and for all the stuff. My waiting for more than half a decade has been made possible by her.

A couple of days passed and until now, I could feel the intensity that I felt the first time I saw Rian play the drums. I couldn’t forget that night. I couldn’t afford forgetting that night.

.  .  .

Quick side story:

When I went to where my other friends are, they told me one two of our friends jumped down from Upper Box section to the VIP section which surpassed the unfairness that seastar and I did.