That time I shook hands with my favorite musicians

Now you probably know that at some point in my teenage years I was head-over-heels for The All-American Rejects. If I remember correctly, we first saw the music for Gives You Hell on TV (ahem, back when we actually watched TV) and promptly decided that, yeah we like their music and they’re not half bad-looking.

Wow, writing this, it sure seems like ages since those days when in reality it was only a few years ago.

Anyway, for most of the year, it was all about Tyson, Nick, Mike and Chris. My favorite was obviously Nick Wheeler. Can I begin to count the number of Youtube videos of them we watched? No, but I swear I watched them all. Can I even begin to count the number of posts on our blog about him? No, and I’m not even going to try. They’re embarrassing anyway so they’re no longer up for public viewing -_-

But just so you know, every day was Nick Wheeler day for me.

Here’s a picture from the enormous AAR collection I used to have:

aar73

In the same year that we started listening to their music, they were on tour… and crazily enough, they were touring to our city. My sister and I were ECSTATIC. We were beside ourselves with joy and excitement. I started asking Mom if we could go.

I used to think that concerts were the most exciting musical thing anyone could attend but after going to our first concert (Backstreet Boys, holla), I changed my mind. The BSB concert was AMAZING and perfect and the best first concert experience ever but I did not expect to wait in the pouring rain for 4 hours nor fear getting separated from my family nor fear being caught in a stampede nor keep edging backwards because of the countless smokers puffing away. It was an outdoor concert. No, we do not have organized concerts  except maybe for the Philharmonic orchestra.

I digress.

Mom agreed that we could go to the concert. So you know what I spent a whole week doing? Calling up the radio station to win free tickets. I have never been so focused on hitting the redial button haha. I sat by the radio for a few evenings in a row, trying to get my call in. It. was. frustrating. And tiring because I had to keep listening to recycled songs on the radio for hours on end. I was finally beginning to believe that my call would never get through and that the contest was somehow rigged as the tickets were snagged by other callers when I stabbed the redial button on the very LAST attempt of the day to win tickets.

And you know what happened… My call got through. Someone picked up. The DJ picked up. I could not breathe. My mind went blank. Suddenly words failed me and I had to stutter through the entire conversation with the DJ with my mom and sister urging me on from beside me. All I could say in between my stuttering was, ‘Oh my god’. It didn’t feel real.

I won 10 ‘VIP’ tickets (which were actually normal tickets… LOL brb I’m laughing at the ridiculousness of this) AND I got 2 meet-and-greet passes. HOLY CRAP.

Meet-and-greet passes… Meet-and-greet passes… I was going to meet the members of AAR.

And I did. After a lot of pushing and shoving before the concert, we got to rock out to their concert in the rain (no less) and after the concert was over, those with meet-and-greet passes were told to gather on one side of the stage.

We were over the moon. My sister and I were going to meet the AAR members. How did that even happen? How the heck were we supposed to react when we met them? What would the meet-and-greet session even be like? We had no idea. We thought we’d get to meet them at a table and gush over how great they are and ask for a hug.

Nope. None of that.

All we were allowed to do was get a picture with them as a group then leave. Um, when I say leave, I mean be physically shoved out the door by security personnel.

I was stumped. Like, um, a meet-and-greet session means meeting and greeting them, right? If not, shouldn’t it just be called a photo op? But I was still too delirious from actually seeing them in person to question so many things at that point.

Some people were bold. Some people threw themselves at Tyson, Nick, Mike and Chris even with the big security dudes pulling at them and telling them to leave. Tyson was larger than life, no kidding. Seeing those cheekbones up close? WHO WOULDA THOUGHT?

After the picture, I looked to my right and there they were, Mike Kennerty and Chris Gaylor.

And I put my hand out without thinking much.

Mike shook my hand. That man honestly has the nicest, softest hands I’ve ever touched. He’s a real sweetheart in real life too. I mean, I didn’t say anything to him but you can just tell.

Then Chris shook my hand. :] Brb stupid smile because I can tell people what their hands felt like.

They both thanked me for coming out to the show.

Meanwhile, my sister was trapped somewhere under Tyson’s arm lol. Just kidding. I don’t know what she was doing but when I turned around, the security dudes were waving their hands impatiently, barking at everyone to get out of the tent.

My sister and I were disappointed and started to leave but at the last minute, I was like, screw it, I didn’t come this far to walk away from Nick Wheeler!!!!!!!

Now you’re thinking, she hugged him, didn’t she? SHE TOTALLY DID! SHE DID THE CRAZY FAN THING!

Um. No. I wish I did.

But no matter how I look at it, I don’t think I could ever throw myself at a celeb and squeeze the life out of them with a crushing hug. That is so NOT me. (My sister insists that I will do that to Fukuyama Jun. TIME WILL TELL! I secretly hope I do get to hug him and not regret it for a second.)

Instead, I turned around to Nick Wheeler who was holding a drink in his hand. He met my gaze (DAMMIT HAZEL EYES) and I …………….

…………. I stuck my hand out. Again.

AS IF I WAS AT A JOB INTERVIEW.

No joke. I put my hand out.

Later I would think to myself, WHY A HANDSHAKE? WHY?

And I swear he looked at my hand for a split-second (possibly to wonder why I was being so civilized lol) before shaking it and saying, ‘Thanks for coming out to the show’.

Nick Wheeler spoke to me. I’m cryiiiiiiiing.

And that wasn’t just it. He also said, ‘Nice shirt’.

Since then I haven’t worn that shirt out. I washed it but I haven’t worn it out more than 3 times.

I fumbled over words. I don’t remember what I said but I do remember turning around to grab the back of my sister’s shirt to drag her back in front of Nick Wheeler. She, too, shook his hand.

Then we floated out of the tent, delirious. Kidding. We were barked at to get out so we did.

That’s the story.

I dunno, I’d probably ask a celeb or idol if I can hug them. If they say no, I’d be totally cool with that. I’d be happy with a handshake.

Wheels, you might not remember me but I just want to say thank you for being decent. The teenager in me will always think you’re the best guitarist on Earth and look back fondly on the crappy-quality group photo from the meet-and-greet (which I can’t seem to find). The suckiest thing about meeting a band or an actor or someone you admire is if they turn out to be douchebags but Nick Wheeler certainly wasn’t one.

P.S: Nick Wheeler has a very lovely hand and a solid handshake.

Tell me all your concert stories. Have you met your favorite musician before? Were they as nice as you thought they’d be?

Raine
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