Thursday, July 2, 2015

In Which We Go To See Heffron Drive

(aka I May Be the Most Awesome Aunt Ever!)

**This is going to be kind of long, and there are pictures.  You've been warned.**

Hey Friends.

So I took my niece to see Heffron Drive at the Studio at Webster Hall last night.  If you need a recap on things leading up to the grand event, see the previous post.  I'm not linking you to it -- you can get your scroll on and find it yourselves, I have faith in you.

The plan for the day -- and I did have one -- was simple:  I go to work for half the day, pick up my niece and hop on the train, walk to the concert, do the Meet & Greet and enjoy the concert, walk back to Grand Central, catch the train home and we are done.  Easy peasy, right?  I thought so, until reality kicked in and all of my planning was for naught.

The morning was the usual.  Had my coffee, work was hectic, but everyone showed up and I got to leave on time.  I was a little worried someone would call in or be late and screw things up, but fortunately that didn't happen.

However, my awesome plan did not really account for all that much time between leaving work and catching the train, and that would be the moment when the flaws in my plan started to arise.

Stupid traffic!  It took me longer than anticipated to get home.  Literally had enough time to feed the cats (because they are the most important -- just ask them), freshen up, grab the tickets and head out.  In my haste, I grabbed my portable charger but neglected to grab the connector to actually hook it up to my phone, which I did not realize at the time.  This will become relevant later on.

We made the train with literally 5 minutes to spare.  I was starving, since I hadn't eaten and my super planning skills had neglected time for that, but whatever.  We should get to Grand Central around 3:45-ish and I can grab something there before we head out.  I'd like to give a big thank you to Metro-North and the Hudson Line for running on time with no delays.  I hate being late, and was still freaking over my poor planning thus far, so that would not have been good.

Lili (my niece) was all kinds of excited about going to New York City and seeing the concert, but was doing her best to reign it in.  Even though we were on an "Express" train, she didn't seem to realize that it was going to take quite so long to get there.  You're going from one end of the commuter line to the other, kid.  That's going to take a while.  She did enjoy the decor of our car.

Apparently it is very important -- to someone -- that no one put their feet on the seats.  Many people ignored that.  Lili also wanted to know why they needed a sign to tell people that they should not assault the train staff.  Good question, Lil.

We got to Grand Central, grabbed some food and headed out, as I figured we could eat while we walked.  I had Google-mapped it (Is that a word?  It is now.) before and it should be about 1.5 miles.  Totally doable.  Me being me, however, I decided that I should pull up Google Maps on my phone and have it going as we walked, just in case.  No way was I going to get us lost and/or axe-murdered as my mother thought.  That would a) suck, and b) lead to the biggest "I Told You So" of all time.

Now, I don't want to blame Google Maps, as the walking directions are in beta, but they failed.  They failed hard.  Maybe it was my phone, I don't know.  I was pretty convinced prior to yesterday that Apple and Sprint are in cahoots to get me to upgrade my phone, but I wasn't expecting this nonsense.  The map on my phone kind of went berserk.  It could not keep up with where we were walking, and kept telling me to turn onto streets we had already passed.  The Meet & Greet started at 5pm, so at 4:20 I declared the walking portion of our adventure over and we took a cab. 

We got to the venue and got in line.  It wasn't that hot out even though we were standing in the sun, but you would think we were on the surface of the sun from the amount of bitching about it being too hot and people's hair getting ruined that was going on around us.  Unfortunately, it must also have been garbage day in the near future, as there were many bags lining the sidewalk.  Let's just say Lili got to experience the smell of New York on a summer's day.  It also killed any thought I had of eating my sandwich, so that just went into the garbage.  I'll eat after the concert, eventually.

We were between two groups of young ladies.  The girls in front of us had apparently been to many, many Meet & Greets, and to listen to them talk they were the experts on such things.  The longer we waited in line past 5pm, the more they hypothesized how it was all going to play out.  They compared it to having met Big Time Rush, One Direction, and a couple of other groups -- one of which had something to do with people arriving on a fire truck?  I don't know.  They were friendly though, and one of them complimented Lili on the James Maslow "Save The Music" t-shirt she was wearing.

Some ladies somewhere behind us in line had apparently met Kendall and Dustin (Heffron Drive, for those who were too lazy to click the link at the beginning of this post) several times before, as we overheard their conversation, and they were analyzing every previous meeting.  I mean, it was an in-depth discussion about where Kendall had put his arm around the one girl each time they had previously met.  The first couple times it was apparently around her waist, but the last time it was around her shoulders.  Did that mean he thought they were friends?  Oh!  Maybe it meant he remembered her and liked her as more than a friend! Same discussion for Dustin's arm placement. We didn't turn around to look and see who was talking, but I raised an eyebrow at that discussion, and Lili just gave me a look.  I'm going to hazard a guess that the gentlemen in question have no freaking clue they are in such an involved relationship with these ladies.  Maybe I'm wrong.  Feel free to draw your own conclusions.

Finally, blessedly, we got our tickets checked and were given wristbands.  By the time we made it inside it was a little after 6pm.  People were getting antsy since they had been waiting.  Lili was super about the whole thing and never complained once.  My coffee had long since worn off, and I was starting to get a bit tired having been on my feet for the majority of the last 10 hours.  However, inside was fantastic!  Even if we ended up in the back, there was literally not a bad place to be.  No matter where you ended up standing you were going to have an awesome view of the stage.  Lili and I are both relatively tall, and there were a lot of shorter ladies there, so as long as we stood behind some short people we should be golden.

This was taken from the line for the Meet & Greet.  The stage is right there.  Impossible not to have a great view.

Neither of us had ever been to a Meet & Greet before, so we had no clue what to expect. We had already bought autographed copies of the cd at the merchandise table while in line.  I had a copy of Happy Mistakes Unplugged already, and had brought it with me just in case.  Lili realized people were getting autographs as well as pictures, so I gave her the poster from my cd to  get signed.  I opted not to get anything signed.  Yeah.  I get super-awkward and shy at the least opportune moments, a point which will come up again!  This would also be the time when I realized my phone was at about 20% of its battery, went to use my handy charger and realized that I forgot the connector.  Shit.

Lili went first when it was our turn to meet them.  The kid is made of awesome, and she just bounded on up there -- even kicking her foot up in the air when she hugged them..  She got the poster autographed, and her picture?  Totally precious!

I know I'm biased, but she's freaking adorable!  Kendall and Dustin are pretty darn adorable as well.

And then it was my turn.  I had hoped to be charming, witty, humorous, or at least calm and normal about it all.  Remember how I said I get awkward at inopportune moments?  Yeah, that happened.  I introduced myself to each of them when I got a hug, cause it seemed kind of weird (at least in my head) not to do so.  And then, because it is me, the woman taking the pictures said my picture came out orange. Say what?  It totally did.  I think she was willing to try again, and the guys seemed like they were willing to pose for another photo....and instead I said something about it being okay and I could fix it with a filter on Instagram. Yeah.  That happened.  Kendall was really sweet and said it looked like it had a Soap Opera filter, and I mumbled something about having to find my niece.  Told you the awkwardness would be back.  I really didn't want to impose and take up too much of their time.  I knew there was still a long line of people waiting, some of them being really excited about it, and I didn't want to lose my niece in the crowd.

Here's my picture,  Not quite as adorable as my niece, and this is after trying to remove the orangeness.  Soap Opera filter it is.

Lili, and several other people,  sat on the floor while we waited for the concert to begin, after we picked out our spots.  I didn't.  I just wanted to make sure no one stepped on her.

The concert was fantastic!  I only wanted a few pictures, and luckily managed to get them in before my phone died completely.

Janet Devlin, the opening act.  She was really good.

Heffron Drive

Lili took more pictures and a few videos during her favorite songs. Nothing crazy.

Some of the other people?  Never put their freaking phones down.  At all.  I don't get this particular phenomenon.  I kept glancing at one of the girls in front of me a bit, as she seemed to be watching the majority of the concert through the view of her phone.  I understand you want to record your memory of the concert, document it for all posterity, but I really don't get it.  The view is much better if you actually look away from your phone and look at the stage.  Maybe she was just really into filming it and making sure things stayed focused properly -- I don't know. You are at the concert.  They are mere feet away from you.  Why watch it on a tiny screen rather than raise your eyes?  

After the concert we took a cab back to Grand Central.  My phone was dead.  As we had failed to navigate our way there in the daylight I did not even want to attempt it in the dark. I had also lost part of the ability to hear in my right ear, as the chick next me was screaming the entire concert at some inhuman frequency. We arrived to discover that we had missed one train by about 2 minutes.  Now we had about an hour to kill.

I decided that it was time to finally get something to eat.  Not a lot of options left at 10pm, at least that weren't super busy with long lines.  We could not risk missing our train, as it was literally going to be the last one going back to Poughkeepsie that night.  Camping out in Grand Central was not going to happen.  We had pretzels.  That was my awesome, and only, meal of the day.  I got a coffee around 10:30, and Lili wanted a cannoli.  Sure thing, kid!  We've got about an hour and a half train ride ahead of us, so getting wired on sugar isn't going to be a problem. 

Sitting on the floor, waiting for our train.  I was so done with the day by this point.

We finally got on the train and headed for home.  I feel the need to specify that we were not in a quiet car.  Everyone was just relaxing and chatting amongst themselves.  There was a family with a bunch of kids/teenagers sitting in the front of our car.  They weren't being loud, just talking and being excited.  This woman on the other side of the car yells at them to shut the f@*k up.  One of the teens yells back to watch her language, and that they weren't being loud.  The woman yelled back, other passengers yelled at her to shut up.  I really thought Lili was going to get a first-hand demo of why there were signs up about not assaulting the staff.  Luckily the woman shut up.

We chatted the whole way back, while Lili posted to Instagram and texted her friends.  She had a fantastic time!  It came up that I had never seen Big Time Rush on television, and had only heard of them because of her.  She informed me that it was, "really funny, and we can probably find it On Demand, or Netflix, or Hulu.  You'll like it!"  So I have a feeling that a viewing is in my near future.

But the best part?  She told me, complete with a little smile, that Kendall had always been her favorite, and she can't believe she got to meet him and hear him sing.

And that moment?  That made the whole thing -- complete with all of my awkwardness -- worth it.  I'm relatively sure Heffron Drive is now her favorite band in the universe, and Kendall has stolen her heart.  

My mother informed me (my niece and nephew are staying at my parents' house, not at my place since I have to work) that any time they were in the car today Lili played her new Heffron Drive cd for them.   I was just happy to wake up with my hearing back in my right ear before dragging myself off to work.  

I still haven't told Lili that she gets to go see Taylor Swift in concert.  No offense to T-Swift, but I don't think it is going to be nearly as memorable as Heffron Drive.  

**Edited to add:  Video Lili shot of the concert, which she allowed me to post on Twitter since she doesn't have an account.**

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