Thursday, May 14, 2015

If I wasn't a Psycho Muser before, I am now!

(cross posted from a Facebook note)

The insanity began with trying to get tickets for a once in a lifetime chance for American fans to see Muse in a small venue, Webster Hall in NYC, capacity of 1500 for a band that can sell out stadiums. Predictably the site crashed when the pre-sale began, but we Musers were all committed to helping each other get tickets, planning to get the 2 allowed even if we did not need it because we knew someone would. I never got through to the ticket choosing part of the page, so Wendy Smith was my saviour, allowing me to buy the 2nd ticket she got. Similar arrangements worked out for other people, but it was a very stressful morning!

I managed to get us (Wendy, Lisa, Crystal, Maria, Amanda and me) a room in a not too expensive hotel not too far from the venue, Wendy took care of flights, so this dream was ready to come true! Wendy and Lisa's mom gave us a great head start by allowing Crystal and I to sleep over there so we could be ready to grab the light rail at the crack of dawn. I am not often seen at this time of day, so the paleness may be real.
me, Lisa, Wendy and Crystal
Soon after we were in the air on the way to the Big Apple, my first time, I got a few glimpses during descent, but our flight path did not give me a good view of any landmarks. Lisa fortunately knew her way around the subway a bit; our first ride included a dude ranting to all who would listen , seemed one part Black Lives Matter and one part religion.  We arrived at the Hotel Pennsylvania way early for check in. Once again, some luck and Muser teamwork helped. Another group of Musers had arrived early and already eaten lunch, so they offered to watch our bags while we went to lunch. Crystal found Friedman's, a trendy spot near the hotel,with her gf app,  so we had to wait a bit for a table, but it was well worth it; everything was prepared with attention to detail and the portions were huge too. The fries were amazing, so we split an order, though my giant Asian chopped salad would have been enough food. Then it was finally late enough to check in. 
Hotel Pennsylvania
I would say the Hotel Pennsylvania was slightly faded elegance, large beautiful rooms, but some minor cosmetic repairs needed in spots, nothing that detracted from being able to relax and have fun though. We had a huge suite with 4 beds and 2 TVs that never got watched :-) Soon Maria had got through customs and joined us.She flew in from the UK, and she was not alone in being a long distance traveller, Catherine from Australia of course, but also many other US states represented. So we started sorting out who was going to shower first, where and when to go to dinner since Amanda's bus did not arrive until 6:30. Then we found out people were queuing at the venue already!! So we hoofed it over to see if it was true, since I had already dressed to go out I was not wearing good shoes at the time and got a minor blister. And it was true, 8 people had started queuing! So we planted ourselves and got numbered  ( I got 11) and then figured out who was going back for our "camping supplies" Clearly I needed to change so I volunteered, and Crystal went with me on pleasant cab ride with a mellow chatty driver. We returned with sleeping bags and more suitable clothing but the second cab driver was completely different; he had the aggressive driving style I expected from a NYC cab driver :-). Meanwhile, others willing to queue overnight had been arriving, and Amanda caught up with us there. Soon some decided to order pizza since none of us had had a proper dinner. A place was within walking distance so we did not even need sidewalk delivery, and so this was how I had my first real NY pizza! We also lucked out that the weather was near perfect for overnight camping, clear and not too cold.

Our queue was down the sidewalk a bit from the venue at this time because there was a Noel Gallagher show going on. Attendees of that gig seemed pretty surprised to see us on their way out. :-) We did cause  quite a bit of comment from a variety of passers-by. Most simply wondered who we were lining up for. A self-proclaimed "sexy bum" offered his services. There were also a couple other drunks that seemed to think we would not be warm enough without their help, but Mandy, who has a way with words, was able to convince the worst of them to leave. Catherine also had some good responses "we're conducting a social experiment" or "we're actually homeless but the police won't run us off if we say we're queuing" I am not sure what time this photo was taken, before or after we got shifted around.
me, Catherine, Mandy and Wendy

Those of us numbered 10-18 or so were in front of post office garage so we knew that might not last, at some late hour we finally had to move. First we tried across the street, and one of the bouncers at the nearby billiard place came out and was very nice to us. Then about 15 min later his not so nice boss came out and told us to get lost. So we returned to the original side and a few were able to cram in, but we were kind of out of space. A few of us decided at this point to take short shifts sleeping at the hotel and then come back when Webster Hall was able to let us use more of their sidewalk at 4 am. So I got a couple hours of sleep in a bed closer to a toilet. Before that we'd been using a nearby Whole Foods or the bar across the street. Dawn rewarded us with the sight of the Muse sign going up on the marquee and not long after, the arrival of the Muse truck.  At this point, we took turns looking for bathrooms and breakfast, I got a very nice deli breakfast sandwich.  
A second truck arrived shortly and then equipment unloading began. We wondered how it would all fit on a small stage and indeed a couple things were wheeled back in. It was also challenging for the guys to get some of the bigger stuff up the stairs.] Meanwhile some who had not been back to the hotel earlier went now to freshen up. Gradually the sun hit our street in full and it started to get quite warm. I looked forward to the bar across the street opening for lunch, but that was a while off yet, so my next bathroom run was to Walgreen's and included a purchase of cold water and sunscreen. The queue started growing more rapidly now, reaching the movie theater at the corner. We grabbed shade when we could, benefiting from a truck that pulled up to repair something in the venue. Venue staff were looking out for us too, at the hottest part of the afternoon, Kristina brought us popsicles! 
Then we saw street barriers being fussed with, and figured our Muse boys were due to arrive soon. Some of the staff doing this were more prickly and squeezed us into an unreasonably small sliver of sidewalk, though before they got to that, Morgan Nicholls walked quickly by. A few of us knew him by sight and said hello. 
Wendy's photo of Morgan and me
After what seemed like forever, a shiny black SUV pulled up and our guys entered with a quick wave only as they were running late. I managed to get one decent photo of Matt.
Matt ( and Lisa's hair and hands!)

 couldn't resist zooming in on that smile

Then we tried to get ourselves back in queue order, and it was now late enough that people were getting their camping supplies put away. Then we heard some screaming and turned to see Matt, Dom and Chris leaving to go to supper. A few managed to get close enough for quick selfies with the guys, but I was not among them :-(  and after that bit of chaos , we re-ordered ourselves once more, and not long after staff gave us wristbands to identify who was of drinking age. And it seemed like a long time after that, but it probably wasn't, they began to let us in. This went fairly smoothly and those of us who got the 30 or so barrier spots were ones who had waited the longest, but I noticed the next row behind us was less orderly, People numbered both 29 and 76 were right behind me. A couple other girls further back, not sure they even had numbers , announced they needed to be on the barrier, and I told them there was no way they were getting my spot after I'd waited 24 hours! The place filled up quickly. 
looking back from my barrier spot

Bear Hands

Next I had to wait through the support band, Bear Hands, nothing wrong with their performance but it was not my thing.  Finally our 27 hour wait was rewarded ; Muse took the stage and opened with Psycho which had us jumping and moshing in no time. The floor itself was literally bouncing which scared me a bit, but this was not a new venue, figured it had been built to take it. However, this did make photography difficult, 2/3 of my shots were blurry. I managed to find a few still moments though, like this one , which I think may have been during Dead Inside.

For many of the rest, I can't quite remember which song the photo is from.

  matching drone pilot suits

The band was as fired up as the crowd, Matt managing to do a lot of jumping and twirling in the small space 

Apocalypse Please


It got quite warm and sweaty, but I kept my hair down for headbanging anyway :-) 


Reapers was amazing to hear and see live, a great rocking song where Matt's magic fingers are at their best, I almost could not believe what I was watching him do!  And it ended with guitar violence! Another special moment was Bliss, this next photo may be during that.

We had plotted beforehand to wear LED sunglasses on the barrier, similar to what Matt wore on the Resistance tour. We decided on wearing them for the first song of the encore, which was Bliss. Matt loved it and dedicated the song to us :-D  This was also my first time hearing it live. 

I was poorly positioned to get photos of Dom, so just take my word for it, he was looking buff! I did get this decent one of Chris.

Man with a Harmonica
Too soon, it was the closer, Knights of Cydonia. One last hard rocking song to test the strength of the dance floor.
Knights of Cydonia 

Then the band said good night quickly. I tossed a pair of crazy socks on stage for Matt, but not fast enough, he did not see them at all :-( I hope he got them later. I missed further chances for selfies and autographs somehow, though some of my friends were in the right spot after the show. So this set list is from Caitlyn 
Part of the problem with me being unlucky was indecision about where to celebrate- I was initially trying to save a table in the bar across the street, then we remembered one of our group was under-age, so we headed back to the hotel for a wine and pizza party. Getting a cab was impossible, so another subway ride, this one with an elderly lady serenading us with "Only You"  she was actually a decent singer, but it was surreal after where we had just been! 

So we got more yummy NYC pizza and wine.  I had no idea photos were being taken! Someone should have told me to put some pants on! 

Lisa, Wendy and I had to get up to fly back to Minneapolis though, so we did not quite party all night. We managed to get to the gate on time. I didn't really want to go home, especially knowing a lucky few friends were able to get in to the next Muse gig that night-the iHeart radio show was for contest winners only.  But I still feel incredibly lucky that I was able to be at the Webster Hall show; my number will fade, but I am keeping this wristband forever!