August 6, 2013

[LANA DEL REY] pre-show / p. 1

Let's see, how does one delve into writing about an event such as this?

If you've read this blog for awhile, maybe you've stumbled into this article about Lana Del Rey I wrote having to do with her supreme magnificence. That article will easily sum up most of my feelings I have for her and for her music. My excitement for Lollapalooza was already in full gear before the line-up had even been announced. Then of course once it was announced, you had the glory of seeing the Lana/NIN conflict, because, well, of course there was a Lana/NIN conflict. Then, to save my soul, the whole Lana pre-show thing was announced at the House of Blues. That's kind of where I thoroughly lost my shit. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? That's where I saw Florence for her first Chicago show in April 2010...and then to have the opportunity to see Lana there for her first show would take the take the cake. My god, that was going to be absolutely phenomenal. So let's just dive into that, because if we don't, it will just go month by month explaining my growing excitement towards it all and my overdose of Lana adoration.

.   .   .
[Thursday] Aug. 01 / LANA DEL REY LOLLA PRE-SHOW.

The plans were in the works for a few months leading up to this show. The real catch was that the original ticket price was about $40, give or take any fees added to that. If you know her tour habits well, you knew that this was pretty much her only U.S. show, and e v e r y o n e wanted a hold of that ticket, and they all got them on pre-sale. So 10:00:02 rolls around on the actual sale date- gone and only to be found for no less than $115 on StubHub. What did we all do? WE BOUGHT THEM. Actually, Dan bought it as I sat on the bed crying, unable to afford a ticket to see my First Lady, and I'm especially grateful for that. As time crept up, I had done all my prep work and had planned on going dressed as a mix of 'Ride', 'Born To Die', and 'Lolita'. I mean, of course I actually just wanted to dress up and look fantastic, but an 8 hour queue line would require something a bit more feasible. Accomplished.

It's like a Lana Del Rey Polyvore page.

The day's attire.

Brooke and I had planned on heading into the city early to queue because this wasn't tuned to Dan's taste. Of course, like fools, we thought we would be the only ones in line for at least a few hours. We got there around 12:30 only to find 39 other people ahead of us, (some who had been there since 5am) and I know this because I had a 39 on my hand for two days after. The queue is always a place where you find your die-hards and more often than not, people that go to a LOT of shows and know how this whole process goes. The first group of people had devised a number system where you'd have a place in line, sort of a "keep the peace" way of going about it so things were more fair to those who got there before you. Luckily, the venue complied with this and made sure we stayed in order and also would later let us in according to our number order. To be able to wait in the venue, you needed to buy a "Pass The Line" ticket for $20. This would then be eligible to use towards food/house merch/bar, which in turn ended up being kind of awesome when we were all hungry and ended up eating on the floor in the queue line. There were only so many of us that were able to stay in the actual venue part. Later in the day, a few different lines formed outside. As the hours rolled on, we met people from all over the country AND world. There were more people from out of state, than here in Chicago, and that meant people running on NO sleep or people who had spent all day of waiting, or worse- both. We (about 60 of us) ended up chatting a bunch, exchanged twitter handles, and held anxious conversation while I slipped out for smokes any time possible. You see, it was kind of different this time around because waiting in the venue all day is cool and all, except when it's gorgeous and sunny out and you anticipated being outside. During one of my smoke breaks, I ran into Blake, the drummer for  Lana. I shook his hand and we exchanged a few words while I puffed my cigarette and he snapped some pictures of the city. Two people had ended up meeting her during that day a few hours before her show, and I believe they were the only ones. Of course, that always takes effort and the additional add-on that by the time you DO find them, you're just being creepy and invasive about it. Trust me, I would have loved the chance. Oh well, all was fine with the day and the process of waiting, except for when I found out I had balcony seating, {cue to major internal freakout} there I was waiting all day for the main floor glory. I was crushed; I wanted rail, I wanted to be with all the people I had surrounded myself during the course of the day, I wanted to be close- and damn close at that. So of course, when they opened the doors to get in, I just got myself right on that main floor without any effort in making my way towards anything that meant more distance between me and that stage. Eight hours was a cruel amount of time to wait, and I wasn't going to be in some balcony.

some of the queue group!

Ten O' Clock rolls around and Lana saunters onto the stage looking perfect, as if anyone expected less, letting the words of 'Cola' escape her lungs and hit the thick venue air. The whole day I had been wrapped in anticipation to see what she would adorn herself with that night. She has a remarkable sense of style, but had no idea what to expect for that evening. Once we all confirmed this gorgeous being was on stage clad in a brown top, denim skirt, and black boots, the crowd went absolutely nuts and the venue acquired the essence of what could be described as mania. I mean, rightfully so, but why do people feel so inclined to shove as if their life depends on it? Oh yeah, because it's Lana. And we were mystified. The first time she sort of knelt down to sing to us, is when the crowd got thrust forward and pulled back like a sea taking victims in an under tow.

By the time the song was over, I was found somewhere in that sea of people being washed out to the bar area where the excitement was much more dim. My hair had been trapped in people's bags and hands and my body had been pushed into the crowd of people to the point where we had to get the hell out of that area, and now I found myself regretting passing up balcony seating. We watched the show from various distances, and I had now become distracted with thoughts of how to get my spot back or how to somewhere get closer, but we all just wanted to be closer...

 As the melodies I had been using for anthems escaped from her mouth from song to song, I lost myself in waves of tears; a representative of my extreme elation towards seeing her live and for the crowd experience that had pushed me that much further from my desired spot. This confused people; people seemed worried that I was crying, as if you wouldn't cry in the presence of a person who has made such an impact on your life. I absorbed that live music like a sponge, and then immediately seemed to be wrung out in between the notes. The thing is, a lot of people, even if they like her music, will tell you that she's not a strong performer. The thing about that is that everyone remembers a year ago from SNL when she had never performed on television or any huge outlet at all. She's been oerforming quite a bit since then, but far from the states, and most people will only see that if they go out of their way to find it. Needless to say, she's gotten a lot better with moving to her music and knowing her stage. She's a beautiful being that sings such beautiful things in the most beautiful way.


1. Cola 2. Body Electric 3. Blue Jeans 4. Born To Die 5. Carmen 6. Young and Beautiful 7. Million Dollar Man 8. American 9. Ride 10. Summertime Sadness 11. Video Games 12. National Anthem.

Lana really is fantastically gorgeous and true to her form, of course she came down and shook hands, signed vinyls, and chatted with a few people quickly while an amazing extended rendition of 'National Anthem' wailed over us in the background. The first few rows got lucky with this and of course, we initially found ourselves within those rows. How I would have loved a brief interaction with her. All you can say is "It happens.", especially when you muster a 17+ crowd and minimum touring.

'Body Electric'

Spin, Lana, Spin!

I waited until they kicked us out of the actual stage area in attempt to snag a set-list. I am typically lucky with such things, however, I wasn't really lucky with much that day. I don't know why I keep going to such a bittersweet aspect of it all. The show itself was amazing; the set list was chocked full of amazing picks and the experience leading up to it was so grand, but the whole crowd experience really left me with a displeasing taste. It's hard when you let your emotions get so tangled within the excitement of the show's events. I honestly just wish she toured more so that you wouldn't have this kind of experience when you see her. It's the kind of show where everyone should just stand and take it all in and just shut up and let her sing. I'm very fortunate I saw her here though instead of Lolla, that would not have been a much better setting, although maybe a bit more calm in some sense. I'm lucky because I don't remember everyone shouting her lyrics back at her like I heard happened at the Friday night showdown. I made all the right choices. It was absolutely vital that I saw Lana Del Rey perform on the House of Blues stage and not mixed within a crowd within Grant park, after all, it's in the name.

All in all, the whole circumstance was pretty epic and something that's hard to say you regret. Of course when you queue for 8 hours and you don't get a set-list, and you don't get a hug, handshake, or even a scribble on a piece of paper, you just feel a little bit down and out. In the end though, it's not what it's really about, though and it's so hard to keep your sights on that when you feel that meeting the artist is now only some competition between super-fans. It's about supporting your artist and getting to know the people who love her just as much as you do. I'm really grateful that I even had an opportunity to see this fantastic starlet, because I was really really hesitant about missing NIN at the actual fest. She was awesome to do a pre-show for us and they were awesome to have invited her. I can only hope she tours more and the experiences keep getting better and the crowds still hold true to their Lana love, while exhibiting a bit differently next time.


I hope you can see now that, yes, you're worth it for people to fly all over to come watch you perform.
Here's 'till next time! 

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