I’ll pick you up at seven, we can drive around and see a movie!

Welcome to my first Jonas Brothers adventure! This is what I wrote in my journal: “Aaaaaaaah! in general.” Haha. My parents are good-natured enough to drive my sister and me to Columbus and sort of lounge around, eating at Buca’s and then just sitting outside Nationwide Arena people-watching until the concert was over, in 90-degree weather. My brothers, one of them was indifferent and the other was sort of envious but about 30% of the time he pretended to be indifferent. And my sister and I were and are of course terribly excited, after all we’ve been planning this forever and we bought our tickets 5 months in advance.

So this is how it goes. We pack everything necessary up [for me, this includes Mr. Darcy (my camera), a tripod, a contraband water bottle, some hard-earned cash and naturally, lip gloss] into our funny little loaner car and go careening off to Columbus. We are listening to the Archies on the way there and back. It’s random but fun.

For those of you who aren’t concert-literate, or maybe you’re just not concert-up-to-date, when they unlock the arena doors and let the screaming mobs in, you have to go through a checkpoint which scares some people into thinking their purses are going to be confiscated. No worries. All you have to do is unzip it and let the nice security guards peek inside. [If you do happen to take a snack or something to drink with you, and you would like to keep it, make sure you bury it in the bottom of your purse so it’s virtually invisible, and you should be fine. But you didn’t hear that from me.] When we get up to the doors [because part of the fun is standing in line outside the concert venue in smoking hot weather sweating–no, really, it’s fun] we obediently read the posted signs that say something along the lines of: “No weapons, no outside food and drinks, no audio or video recording, no professional photography. Personal photography welcome. For the safety of the Jonas Brothers and their friends and fans, please leave all gifts, posters and messages at the door and we will pass them on to them.” Pretty standard. So we get to the checkpoint inside the doors. The security guard sort of eyes my tripod [which I obviously need because concerts are dark and I can’t hold my camera that still] and he confers with a fellow security guard. They ask to see my camera. It is clearly not capable of recording anything other than still images, as it is a 35mm camera. And I am clearly no professional photographer out to make a quick buck, as I am wearing bright red jeans, a Dr. Seuss t-shirt, and butterfly clips. So they confer, they dismiss any initial misgivings they may have had about me, because hello, look at me, and they let me pass. I’m all clear, and all is well.

[At this point my sister, who had been playing phone tag with a friend, actually caught the friend available on the phone at the same time. Carianne is also a big fan of the Jonas boys. She asked if this was a bad time to have called, and Tara said no, she just couldn’t hear very well. Carianne asked where we were, and Tara said Nationwide Arena, and Carianne asked what we were there for, and Tara said the Jonas Brothers, and Carianne screamed. lol]

The next ritual of concert attendance is shopping. It’s probably in your best interest to shop around a little bit. If you’re in an arena setting, chances are there will be more than one merchandise booth. Try going upstairs, whether or not you’re sitting up there–you will inevitably find much shorter lines and you’ll save yourself some time and hassle. We, for all our concert-veteran-ness, did not go shopping upstairs, even though we were seated on the second level. We should have but it was getting close to concert time, and we didn’t want to give up our place in line. We make some excellent progress while keeping an eye on the arena to make sure nothing important was happening. Sometimes girls start screaming, and other girls outside the arena get scared and run in to make sure Demi Lovato or heaven forbid the Jonas Brothers haven’t started yet. These girls are clearly identifiable as concert newbies. They don’t take the time to notice that the lights are still on, no music is playing, not enough girls are screaming to actually signify anything, and perhaps most telling of all, the Jonas Brothers sure as heck aren’t going to open for themselves. [We soon learn that nothing is going on, the fanatical girls are just screaming at the screens, which are showing fan love letters and encouraging us to text this number with a message for the Jonas Brothers, and then . Far too many of the texts say something like this: “SKREEM 4 FRANKIE!!!!!!!!!!” “Scream for Big Rob!” “Scream if you love Joe Jonas!” “screeeem if you think nick jonas is spicy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” “were at a jonas brothers concert why arent you screaming.” and merely “KEVIN”–all of which inspire the masses to exercise their lungs. Very loudly.]

We are perhaps ten minutes away from the ACTUAL SALES COUNTER [some people think this is mythological but I am here to tell you that it does exist, having made it that far on numerous occasions] when the lights in the arena go OUT. Chaos ensues! It is the only possible response! All across the building, girls are shrieking in dismay, abandoning their oh-so-close spot in line to run to their seats so they don’t miss the Jonas Brothers. The opening notes of “Untouched” by the Veronicas start playing [apparently they’re a last-minute booking–they only have one t-shirt for sale among a sea of Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato merchandise]. The two girls directly behind me promptly freak out. They don’t know what to do! It’s Demi Lovato and she’s starting without them! Should they leave their place in line? I don’t know, what should they do?…I cannot stand to leave them writhing in such agony, so I turn around and compassionately share with them that it’s not Demi Lovato, never fear, it’s merely the Veronicas. Who? The Veronicas. Oh, okay! Suddenly they are all sunshine and smiles once more. They have plenty of time to move through the line at the pace of the mob and still make it to their seats in time to shriek at Demi.

The actual sales counter is a place of mixed emotions. You can’t actually see the merchandise well enough to plan your purchases out before you get to the counter. When you get to the counter you have to hurry because of all the girls waiting for you to hurry up and get out of the way already, and hello, your ticketed seat is calling your name. It’s possible that merchandise booths are set up like this on purpose to encourage impulse buying. For instance, I had planned on buying some sort of Jonas Brothers shirt, either a t-shirt or hoodie or both, who knows. But some sort of Jonas Brothers shirt. When I get to the counter, I impulsively buy a t-shirt of the Veronicas for $35 [!] AND select my favorite Jonas shirt. It happens to be the one that stands out the most, which this time means the hot pink one. Whoever prices these shirts is an extremely clever and also slightly diabolical person: while the rest of the t-shirts are priced at $30 or $35, this special t-shirt, only available in girls sizing, is $40. This is no accident. When all the little girls graduate to the actual sales counter, do you think they’re going to point at the black tour shirt and say, “Mommy, I want that one”? Oh no. All the little girls want the pink shirt. Duh. And what is Mommy going to do about it? She’s going to buy the pink one, in a plenty big size that’s going to fit for years to come. When all the shirts are this high, what’s another five bucks?

So of course this is the other shirt I bought. I know. But I’m wearing it right now with some cute purple jeans and my oh my is it nice.

So I buy my merchandise and my sister buys her merchandise. We dash up the escalator–or I dash, and she just sort of slinks up it [she has an issue with escalators, and it doesn’t have anything to do with Crocs, but it does have something to do with being fallen on] looking miserable, and then we dash down the hall to our section and then we dash to the row we think is ours. But we’re not sure, so we ask a lady sitting down, and she tells us to go around and come in the same section from the other side. We comply. There we meet a seat-finder who tells us to go back around to the side we went to first. Before we can escape her clutches, she tells me, “Oh, you can’t set that tripod up in there. There’s no recording allowed.” I reply, “I know,” and my sister replies, “Oh, she’s not recording.” She nods, apparently appeased, and lets us pass. We dash back around to the other side. We squeeze past the people already sitting down. I accidentally step on a couple toes. We are now able to sit down and we do so. It’s still dark because the Veronicas are still playing. See how efficient we’ve been? I set up my tripod so two of its feet can stand on the ground and I can hold it steady with my handy-dandy knees. It is completely contained in all directions within the space of the seat I paid for. I have taken care to ensure it won’t affect anyone’s view. I make my sister turn on the flashlight on her cell phone so I can hook the camera to the tripod. I get everything ready to go and then I leave it alone so I can sit back and watch the Veronicas play their last song.

When they finish their set and the lights come up, the seat-finder from the left and another seat-finder from the right corner me from their respective positions at the end of my row. She yells at him, “That’s her that’s got her tripod set up!” and he yells at me, “Ma’am, you’re going to have to take that down, those aren’t allowed in here” and she yells at him, “We already told her that!” She must be using a royal we, because she’s certainly the only one who has said such a thing. I suppose it’s also true that she may have an invisible friend. [Amazingly at this exact point in time, while I am being instructed to remove my FILM CAMERA from the premises, my sister is sitting there calmly recording with her digital camera. Justice does not exist in the same sphere as Event Staff.] In any case, this is enough cause for the other seat-finder to do a double-take at my apparatus. He exclaims, “Hey, removable lenses aren’t allowed either, are they? No!” I attempt to regain some kind of control in this situation by correctly stating that nowhere is it posted that tripods or removable lenses are prohibited. This is not acceptable. The prey cannot be permitted to talk back. She must silence my sass or lose the respect she imagines the entire section holds for her as they look on in mild alarm. She snarls that I must take my camera downstairs and check it at the gate. This is something I fundamentally refuse to do and I let her know it. She snarls at me again, and the other seat-finder draws himself up to his full height to look more official and all-knowing. I point out the obvious: I am not a professional photographer. This is my personal camera. If I were a professional in any sense of the word, I’d actually know how to use my flash, thus eliminating the need for the tripod I have so meticulously set up. I am not checking it. She snarls at me again. Like every true professional, I start to cry. Now she adopts a kinder tone of voice, but she doesn’t mean it. It is apparent that she doesn’t want to get booed for yelling at a crying girl who’s young enough to wear red jeans and mean it. At this point in time I decide that my sister sitting next to me has kept her mouth shut quite long enough. She is never this silent at home. I look at her and instruct her to do something. She’s like, “Oh yeah!” and affirms what I have said. I am not a professional. It is a personal camera. Nothing doing. The fan-eater to my left persists in forcibly directing me downstairs to check my camera. Her counterpart on the opposite side of the row forcibly directs me to dismantle the tripod and stow my camera away immediately. I am extremely frustrated. I put my camera in its bag and fold up the tripod. They are still watching me with hawk eyes and appear to feel vindicated. I am muttering to myself the entire time. I console myself with the knowledge that this is ridiculous but it is still material, and I promise myself revenge by blog. These criminals cannot go unrecognized for their work. Others must be warned. I am not a professional. I am not checking my camera. I am not marching myself downstairs and checking anything. You should be fired. My sister shares my sentiments, at least she is unable to contradict anything I’m saying at the present time because although I’m babbling perhaps incoherently, I am still smart and aware and I clearly know what’s going on and it would just not be acceptable. She is smart and aware enough to recognize this. She tells me to kick my apparatus as far back under my seat as I can and maybe if I ignore them they will stop watching me. It is understandably difficult to refrain from making faces at the nasties, but the Jonas Brothers too important to be spoiled by such a jerky breed of people. The rest of the section is relieved that the scene appears to be at a close and will not foreseeably result in any bloodshed.

When the lights go down it’s Demi Lovato’s turn and you can’t really understand the words of most of her songs because her CD isn’t out for another month and therefore we don’t know the words yet. Sometimes in these venues it is hard to decipher unknown words. To make up for the lack of decipherable lyrics, the entire arena of girls decides to scream, and scream loudly. The girls sitting behind us take this call to arms to heart. They scream with all their might. They scream loud enough to break windows. Loud enough to cause permanent deafness. They do not respond to multiple looks and comments that pass between those of us whose hearing is being damaged. Their cause is too important. [Demi does of course sing something we all know. At least we all know it if we are true Jonas fans. But this comes later in the show, and thus, the story. She also performed a lovely and lively rendition of “That’s How You Know” from the smash hit Enchanted.] Demi Lovato is very cute, and by golly, if these fangirls can’t quite sing along with her yet, they’re at least going to verbally acknowledge her cuteness.

When the lights go up again, all of us are very, very excited, because we all know what’s next, of course. I am not as irritable as I was a bit earlier in the evening. Apparently Demi Lovato, combined with the knowledge that the Jonas Brothers are just minutes away from performing, has restored the better part of my good humor. I have much better things to do than sit there being resentful. In the words of one eloquent fan, “were at a jonas brothers concert why arent you screaming.” Besides, my oppressors appear to have sort of faded partially into the background. I just don’t look to make sure. Everyone’s found their seats by now, and good riddance.

A lot of time seems to pass between the Demi set and the appearance of the Jonas boys. I’m not sure how long it actually was but I’m sure it was mentally lengthened by the constant screaming of the fangirls. I express my intense desire for them to shut up. I express my hopes and dreams that they will not continue this screaming all the way through the JB concert. I express my wish to remain able to hear when I turn 21. During this time of screaming and shrieking, the text-message relay screen is just rolling away. A message appears that says, “Tara loves the Jonas Brothers!!!!” and we giggle but understand we won’t find a text message up there with MY name on it. I am excited to see one possibly 10 minutes later that said “somebody, somebody, Talia and somebody luvv the Jonas brotherss!!<3 <3”. Now we both have a text message with our name on it. The girl sitting to my left is texting rapidly. Someone starts a game of Simon Says via the texts on the screen. In general it involves screaming. Slight variations include jumping up and down, raising the roof, and clucking like a chicken. We are informed via text that we are about to see the SHOW OF OUR LIVES OMG and promptly the concert begins. It is like magic.

Now beforehand we had compiled a list of songs that the Jonas Brothers would have to perform, including the beginning and ending songs. Our opening song guess is “BB Good” and leave it open to negotiation. They open with “That’s Just the Way We Roll”. If you like fire, they begin with a rollicking display of pyrotechnics. The stage lights up like the treasure room on National Treasure. Influences from the Wizard of Oz are also visible. This is, after all, the Burnin’ Up tour. In addition to all the fire, they have an amazing set of lights. They have got some super-duper ones that are reminiscent of 80s neon rainbows, or the multicolored tennis shoes that are so cute and popular now. They have transfixing green alien laser lights. They have spotlights on a white baby grand that isn’t just for show. They have elevated platforms that look like they will maim you if you fall off them. [They don’t fall off.] They perform “Shelf”, “Lovebug”, “The Year 3000”, “Hold On”. Jonas Brothers classics, and new favorites from their third CD. It is far easier to understand the words the Jonas Brothers are singing, partially because these are songs we all know and love, and partially because the screaming has given way to everyone singing along. When you know the words you have something constructive to do with your voice besides screaming your lungs out, “I LOVE YOU DEMI OMG” or “BONUS JONAS FOREVER!” It is a great relief. It is interesting to note how many fans know which songs. Everyone knows “The Year 3000”. A much smaller percentage of us know “Shelf”, “Pushin’ Me Away”, “Tonight”. It is possible to intelligently decide how many fans have bought the new CD based on how many fans stop singing when “Video Girl” starts.

Of course Nick, or as we vintage fans like to call him, Nicholas, plays “A Little Bit Longer” on the white baby grand. He tells us that his song is now our song. Actually they all can play instruments. This is very refreshing to some of us. Some of us like people with talent. They bring Demi back onstage and she sings “This is Me”, her hit song that catapulted her to Disney fame in the movie Camp Rock starring her and the Jonas Brothers this summer. She sings her duet with Joe and it is lovely. They bring a little girl onstage to help them sing it. My sister and I notice that Joe and Nick are shown onscreen more often than is Kevin. This bothers both of us. We don’t hold with none of that. We are advocates of a 33/33/33 time split. We are fans of all three. They’re all three in the band, aren’t they? In any case, I am thrilled to death to be here. It is absolutely impossible to be in bad spirits while listening to the Jonas Brothers, much less when they’re standing onstage in front of me. On occasion I whip out my camera defiantly and take some photos. There is surprisingly more light in the arena than I have predicted. Remember, the lights are fantastic. They are transfixing. They are the best. I still am not sure the photos will be clear when they’re developed. That’s why you need a tripod, for heaven’s sake. Tripods don’t breathe. Nevertheless, it’s the principle of the thing. I haven’t gotten this far not to photograph the Jonas Brothers! So I photograph them. I notice the seat-finder to my right secretly watching me. I make a point of not looking at him.

We don’t have to worry about the concert ending until “Burnin’ Up”. We have already pegged this song nonnegotiably as the closing song, and we are right. When we hear some tribalish drums we are aware that “Burnin’ Up” is beginning. With the song come more pyrotechnics, including firy video displays and a flaming logo. It is very impressive and extremely high-energy. It is the perfect ending song. After “Burnin’ Up” the applause [I almost wrote applesauce] goes on and on and some of the inexperienced concert-goers think the Jonas Brothers aren’t coming back onstage. Of course they are. Nobody goes offstage without coming back on. The musicians are still sitting there, poised and ready to play some more. They have their own traveling strings ensemble. They are very, very good. They do come back of course. They play “When You Look Me in the Eyes” which is the headliner song of their last tour. Everyone in the arena knows this song and sings along. When you get that many people singing the same thing, it sounds remarkably clear. It is a slower, less intense song. It calms everyone down. It gives us some closure. When we have some closure they sing “SOS”, which is always a crowd favorite and everyone bounces in their seats and claps and sings. So now we have closure and high energy, which is arguably the ideal way to close a concert. It works well.

I have devised a plan to circumvent the nasties guarding either side of my section. When the lights come up and we all have to leave, I have every intention of running up the stairs and crossing over to another section if need be. I examine both doorways and the nasties are nowhere in sight. I am able to leave in peace and freedom. We take the stairs, because everyone knows the stairs are faster when you’ve got thousands of people trying to funnel down the escalator. At least the smart ones of us know it. We go down the stairs and go out the main doors. We are meeting our parents at the Hawk Nelson bench. My father doesn’t know the significance of this bench, but my mother and sister and I do. The rest of our previous Revolve Tour group knows its significance as well. We meet up with them easily and they are excited and we are excited and we go look at the tour buses and the equipment trailers which are decorated with thousands of girls’ signatures and phone numbers. Mamsy points to the spot where she’s written us down for Jonas history, and we take a picture in front of it. My parents are both intensely amused and irate on my behalf at my tale. We pass the vendors out front who are still trying to hawk their full-price goods. When all the lights go down, all the kids will light up their light ups! So we are told. With great fortitude and strength, we move on. We do not cave in to commercial pressure. We have done enough of that already tonight.

After months and months of waiting, my JB concert has come and gone. We begin planning Round Two when we stop off at UDF for some hard-earned ice cream. Hahaha. :] Because you know this is just the first of many. You know you love it.

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12 Responses to “I’ll pick you up at seven, we can drive around and see a movie!”

  1. Glory Says:

    I. Am. So. Jealous. Btw- Joe is mine. ;)

  2. talialovesyou Says:

    Oh no you don’t! lol. :]

  3. Hannah Says:

    No posters? Wtf? Posters are the BEST part of concerts.

    Especially when they say things like “Jono, steal my fedora!”

  4. talialovesyou Says:

    Hahahhaha I think I spent enough as it is!
    I’ll probably go to Wal-Mart even though it’s the devil and pick one up for half as much.

  5. Hannah Says:

    No I meant…..you can’t bring posters into the concert? That’s stupid.

  6. talialovesyou Says:

    Well apparently not. Some of the smaller posters were allowed in. It’s just a sea of double standards out there.

  7. Hannah Says:

    It is.

    [/we’re the politicians]

  8. talialovesyou Says:

    Nevertheless. It was a good time.
    So now I’m apparently working at AWANA at my parents’ new church, and I just met a whole herd of little Jonas fans including one who went to the same concert as me. Hahahhaha.

    [watching for our sky to get torn apart]

  9. talialovesyou Says:

    Facebook comment from my friend Kaitlyn: “Your blog about your trip to the Jonas Brothers concert cracked me up! How terribly sad that they wouldn’t let you alone with your tripod…but i’m glad you had a marvelous time.”

  10. talialovesyou Says:

    Facebook comment from my friend Banana Bets: “holy crap that was long but very detailed! i loved it! it was almost as good as actually being there! haha”

  11. Hannah Says:

    Awana + JoBros fans = ftw.

    [/come on and break meeee]

  12. talialovesyou Says:

    Truuuuuuuuuuue.

    [/entropy and achingggg]

    He does like the word entropy.

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