And so, this is me, trying to get back into rambling about my trips. The thing is, when you have a task that is ignored, it doesn’t just disappear. It only compounds and grows. And I’ve thought lots about how I wanted to address things here: stop blogging entirely, as I kind of viewed my folks as my primary audience and they’ve passed. Just start blogging with current trip and maybe return to past/missing getaways if the mood strikes me. Or start up where I left off. I knew that I wanted to start where I left off, but just didn’t have the proper emotional bandwidth or motivation. Until now, that is. So here we are, May of 2022. And I shall attempt to blather on about the adventures (Grand and Small) I’ve had since winter of 2019. One trip at a time. As the mood and energy remains. Whether or not any family or pals are interested, this was always kind of a fun stream-of-consciousness exercise for myself (as well as providing Proof of Life for worried parents back home). Let’s see what happens, shall we?
Cast your memory back to early Autumn 2019, when My Chemical Romance announces a ONE NIGHT ONLY reunion concert in Los Angeles. (Now, all of the internet is pretty dang sure this is actually gonna be the start of a big world tour). Still, my sister had been an Huge MCR fan back in the day, and she desperately wants to go (as does half of the world, it seems). We both attempt to buy tickets in October, but they sell out in under 5 minutes while we’re still stuck in the virtual tickemaster queue (along with half the globe). Now, the concert promoters have done a pretty dang good job of locking down potential scalpers and ticket resellers, which is nice. So mostly, you either were lucky enough to get a ticket or you weren’t. We were not. Life moves on. Later into the fall, Reagan mentions she’s got a good friend with lots of connections to concert promoters who *might* be able to get Reagan tickets, but would only know for sure at the last minute. This concert is December 20th at Shrine Expo. I agree that, should the IMPOSSIBLE happen and she gets tickets, I’ll be her plus one and fly down last minute (at Christmas time!!!) to go see the show with her.
In early December, I invite Reagan to an event Dec 21st. “No. And you can’t go to that, either, as we might be in Los Angeles then.” Honestly, I’d sort of given up and forgotten but Reagan was holding out hope like this was a real possibility, getting last minute tickets to be one of the 8,000 people to see this show. In fact, Reagan’s in a panic because “what if all the hotels are sold out? What if there are no flights?” I reassure her that we will be able to find lodging at the last minute somewhere in all of Los Angeles. But I also research how canceling a flight/refundable tickets work. We do book our flight (As waiting until the last minute, at Christmas time, can get stupidly expensive) and I’m still sure we’ll be canceling and getting airline credit. Then there’s a week where Reagan’s pal has gotten ONE ticket. And Reagan still wants me to fly down with her and just hang out not attending the show. Gotta be honest, even with recently dead parent guilt and protective instincts, that sure didn’t appeal nor seem a reasonable ask. But I encouraged her to still go and have a blast, if that’s the situation. Happily, a few days later, her friend comes through and we’ve now got two tickets. So, crap, I guess I leave for Los Angeles in a few days. Huh.
I haven’t been at airports a few days before Christmas before. It’s wild and hectic and while lots of people are stressed and in bad moods, several others are trying to be joyous and celebratory. There’s garland and bows and trees everywhere. It’s kind of nice. And Reagan and I continue the airport tradition we’d started in Oct 2019. We bring along the novel we’ve been reading aloud to each other, and we’re those weird people reading a book to each other. Back in October, she was super self-conscious about it, and made us find an extremely isolated corner. It’s December, the airport is packed, and apparently she doesn’t worry about it anymore. It’s no more disruptive to others than having a conversation, we’re just reading already written-text. After reading for about half hour, a woman comes up to us. She’s fascinated by what’s happening, and asks if she could join and listen to our story time. (She lives in Alaska, and their state flies people down to Seattle for many cancer treatments and other medical stuff not available back home, and she’s got time to kill before flying back to Fairbanks). We agree, give her a brief plot synopsis, and then we’re reading “Captain from Castille” to a stranger as well as each other for an hour. It was really lovely (and happily was during some very exciting and fun bits of swashbuckling and intrigue).
Afterwards, she thanks us very much. Said it was wonderful to have some story timer and we helped take her mind off of things. Yay! Then it’s time to board the plane, leave the rainy weather and head for some LA sunshine. We survived LAX and their ridiculous rideshare lot shuttle bus, pickup situation and made our slow, traffic heavy way into town.
I’d grabbed us a room at the new Intercontinental downtown (near-ish the event and my sister’s a sucker for TALL buildings). The lobby/check-in is on the 32nd floor, right near the top! Reagan very much approves of the view.
(Although we should’ve stayed in a different neighborhood and just had a longer commute to the concert. Turns out the dining options in downtown LA are pretty abysmal. Lots of mediocre chains and expensive hotel eateries. Honestly, the food during our few days was pretty awful and expensive. The worst combination. Our final morning we went exploring to Grand Central Market, and there we had several tasty options. But previously? Blech. Still, skyscraper view.
It’s late at check in (around 7:45pm). We’re starving and the hotel boasts a fancy=pants steakhouse on the top floor. We ask the very friendly front desk if there’s any availability. He says yes, but we have to hurry. Last dining spot is 8:15pm. We take the reservation, head to our room for a quick rinse and to change into cute clothes, then off to dinner. And the view was great. And we are excited about fancy steaks, especially when they bring out their selection of steak knives (this marble slab with 8 different styles of steak knife from around the world). It’s performative and ridiculous and we feel a harbinger of delicious meats. However, it is ALL A LIE!! Our steaks are some of the most disappointing and flavorless cuts of beef either of us has ever had. Like, honestly, we were so baffled at what went wrong. Like, they didn’t season them at all. We each only ate about half. Also, nobody comes by to check on us after the steaks are dropped off. We’re left alone, with our unfinished meat, for almost 30 minutes. I guess we could’ve stood up and tried to hunt someone down to ask, but we didn’t. By the time someone comes back (different than our original waiter), we just want to go to bed (it’s now almost 10pm!!). So yeah, do not recommend. Just, shockingly disappointing.
Ah well, we crawl into our beds to sleep. The next morning, we’re off to explore Downtown Los Angeles (because that’s where our hotel is). Underwhelming breakfast at a mediocre place. Then a lovely hour at The Last Bookstore. It’s such a cool and huge institution. We remind ourselves that we’re flying home and try to limit our book purchases to a reasonable amount.
It’s strange, to me, to be in Los Angeles at Christmas time, at the dissonance of the sunshine and palm trees next to the fake ice skating rink and large snowflake ornaments. But interesting to see. Back to the hotel, for swimming, reading poolside, and relaxing.
Then it’s time to get ready for the concert. Honestly, it’s way early to get ready for the concert, but we’re both bad at waiting, and Reagan’s terrified of their being an issue (traffic, issue with security or tickets). So we get dressed and head out.
After picking up our tickets, we’re waiting in line with 8,000 other VERY excited people.
It was amazing. It was like the 90’s never stopped for all of them. The fashion is on point. Everyone is instantly best friends and pinching themselves. Doors open! It’s still gonna be 2 or 3 hours before MCR takes the stage. Reagan’s heading towards the front, but I steer her a little to the side beside a pillar. Yes!! Parking oneself beside a column or other structural post at a general admission concert is the best!!! Not only will it provide something to lean against as the night wears on, but it makes it easy to find your people (after going to restroom or merch table). It also, crucially, provides some protection from crowd surge and crushing and moshing and crowd surfing, etc. A fact we were extra glad about as the night wore on. Because this was one of the most poorly managed crowd security I’ve ever encountered. People were getting hurt, surges were happening. The venue didn’t even really have enough security up front to protect the stage and catch crowd surfers. It was pretty intense in a few moments. Also, the women’s restroom was out of order within one hour (Backed up and flooding the floor and out into the hallway!!!). This is before even the opening act has gone on stage. They just set up one lone “wet floor” sign. Wild.
Still, when the curtain came down, and the band started, everyone lost their mind and had an amazing time.
Reagan just had the biggest smile on her face. The show was darn good.
After, when the lights came back on, so much streaked mascara and discarded feather boas and sweaty pleather. Everyone looked a right mess, but full of good cheer. The ubiquitous individual grill sidewalk hotdog vendors outside the venue are always a welcome sight and smell. Reagan said they tasted great, too.
Our final morning, I convinced her we should walk over to check out Grand Central Market. Lots of tasty food vendors from old school tacos to trendy pop-ups.
We saw the Angel Street funicular car, but decided we didn’t need to stand in line to ride 300 feet up hill. But we watched others ride it while munching on our snacks. Then it’s time to head to LAX. And THAT is how Reagan should know how much I love her, not just that I agreed to this last minute holiday trip with her, but that I was willing to spend time at my least favorite airport ever. Ugh. Still, nothing bad enough happened that I don’t still remember it, two years later. So that’s good. It was an intense little two-night trip. I still can’t quite believe her pal was able to get us tickets. And this trip seemed even more silly, when it was announced that they were doing a world tour, and we could’ve waited to get Seattle tickets. That thought, of course, was from Dec 2019. So when the world shutdown for Covid in March 2020, did have the “well thank goodness she got to go to that concert, as their tour was, obviously, now up in the air.” It was definitely an intense and mostly fun show!
**edit, added Dec 2022. So, one of the issues with taking a 2 year break (emotional toil and pandemic) from writing these updates is that memory is fickle. Distance blurs things. But I just found my phone’s notes I made during the trip! They were mostly prompts for me to expound upon when I wrote the update. Some of them I don’t remember, though, and a few I already covered. So I’m just going to add them here, as is. Enjoy
“Woman at Seatac asking to join us and listen in as we seemed to be really enjoying the novel we were reading aloud to each other.”
“We reapplied our chapstick in unison. It was beautiful. We could be synchronized swimmers.”
“Total Dad Rockers.”
“Hyped audience singing along to chorus of background music “Don’t you want me baby?”
From stage, “You guys wanna hear a song off our first record? It’s pretty stabby!”
After concert, house lights come on to reveal a staggering amount of streaked mascara. So many happy tears from the crowd.
Bonding with dude as we exit the concert. Him: OMG, what is that delicious smell? Me: That, my friend, is the smell of a very smart business person” as we turn to find several women are grilling BACON WRAPPED HOTDOGS right outside. Him: BACON!!!!!!
Two women after the show, emphatically stating “Mikey can still get it! I don’t know what it is, but there’s always something about bass players. It’s like they’re all brooding and intense and shit. Plus, you know they know how to use their hands.”