Concert Review: Between the Buried and Me / Animals as Leaders / The Contortionist (Part 1 of 2)

Last night, I experienced one of the best concert-filled evenings I’ve had in a long time. There is so much I want to say that I feel it easier to split this concert review into two posts. The first one I will elaborate on my VIP session, and the second one I will review the entire concert. Without further ado, here’s Part One: the VIP sesh.

I purposely left work a half hour early to save my place in line. Unfortunately, like all concerts, things run late, so I actually didn’t need to leave early. Walking around the block and killing some time, I was able to see all the members of Between the Buried and Me and Animals As Leaders walking around the venue, including Thomas Giles and his family. It was quite a cool glimpse, with all of us waiting for the session gawking in excitement. We were eventually handed our VIP passes and allowed inside.

between the buried and me vip
Photo by Kenny Norton

I’d guess there was around 40 of us in all. I had pondered all day how many of us would actually attend this session, and was thankful it was so few. If there would have been any more, the experience would have definitely felt crowded and not as intimate. I was able to strike up a conversation with two of them, one of them having never seen Between the Buried and Me before, and the other one having driven all the way from Arizona for his 21st birthday (Happy birthday, dude!). It was cool talking with others with similar taste in music. Throughout the wait, we debated which concerts to go to next, our mutual love of Breaking Bad, and even music recommendations. About a half hour after I was told to be there, all of us were let into the theater.

Moments after lining up and filing in, lo and behold seven of the eight members of BTBAM and AAL were waiting for us, the only one missing being guitar extraordinaire Tosin Abasi, who arrived a fashionable eleven minutes late (the others made sure he remembered). It was interesting to see them all in person, a reminder that these men are all just like us. I’d only heard them through the stereo, or perhaps seen them several yards away, but now here they were just a few feet from me! All of them were very friendly, and Blake was especially the funniest of the group.

Many of the questions from the audience related to their own opinions and experiences of their music. One of the audience members had flown all the way from Brazil to see this concert, a total of 6,000 miles. Everyone was in awe, including the band members; From that point on, he was simply known as “The Brazilian.” One person asked about recent ballparks they had visited during their tour, another asked for clarification of the concept behind “The Great Misdirect.” One even asked about negative comments which Tosin had received on Youtube. After several questions, I had the chance to ask them if they had discovered any new bands or albums recently. I was excited to hear that Thomas had discovered Mew’s “+/-“ recently, an album previously mentioned on this site. I was also recommended a band from drummer Blake Richardson that I will be sure to check out this week. Nonetheless, it was truly an experience seeing these men up close. After about a half hour, we had our opportunity for a photo-op., and I got to shake Paul Waggoner’s hand.

between the buried and me animals as leaders
Photo by Kenny Norton

On our way out, we received our autographed tour poster, a souvenir I can’t wait to be framed and mounted in my future home office.

For being a $65 ticket to obtain the VIP privileges, I’d say it was highly worth the cost. Having the opportunity to meet a band’s members seldom occurs, so I am glad I took advantage of the treatment. I can’t wait to experience another moment like this in the future.

Check out Part 2 of my concert review here!

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