I love my brother, but I don't always like him. Yesterday, he really came through for me though. He got me tickets for myself and my friend, Maria, so we could go to completely sold out The Next Big Thing 5 concert at Coachman Park in Clearwater, FL. Then when we got there, he gave us backstage all-access passes. I will be forever grateful to him for that. Josh was at the concert because Alkaline Trio was playing and he works for them right now. And while Alkaline Trio is great and it was awesome to see them play, the real reason both Maria and I were there was to see 30 Seconds to Mars and Jared Leto. We stood on the stage while both of those bands played, for over 2 hours in all, about 15 or 20 feet from the leadsingers' microphone, and needless to say we were both partially deaf when the music stopped. But we *so* didn't care!
After Alkaline left the stage, we knew within minutes we would be seeing Jared Leto in the flesh, and had to quell our fangirl reactions to that. If we made a scene, we'd get thrown out and that was pretty much the only thing stopping us I think... that and the fact we didn't want to scare him. So he and the rest of the band walked on stage from the back entrance and I was like, "Oh my god, there he is," and did my damnedest not to stare. He and the rest of the band had a little pow-wow at the back of the stage, standing in a circle with their heads together and their arms across each other's shoulders, and then the master-of-ceremonies announced the band. The crowd of approximately 15,000 went wild! Jared was the last one to take up his instrument and microphone. He said "f-ck" or a variation thereof *a lot* while talking to the screaming masses... It was awesome. I, being the good former Girl Scout that I am, came completely prepared. I had my trusty camera with the telephoto lens so I could get good close-ups, and it's a damn good thing I did 'cause during "Buddha," Jared climbed to the top of the scaffolding and sang from 50 feet in the air. Crazy, crazy!
He climbed higher than this, but when he got above the lights, I couldn't see anything but his feet from where I was. The crowd was loving it!
Just before he jumped back down to the stage:
I couldn't believe that he did this, but I have since found out that, apparently, he does this a lot... Andrea said later when I found her in the crowd that his insurance company must love him.
They sang 5 songs. These pages, pictured below, were taped in various discreet places around the stage, I guess so everyone could remember the order of the songs. The one with 97X on it (the name of the radio station sponsoring the event) was Jared's... I suppose so he could remember the name of the station he was supposed to thank.
After the performance was over, the band all left the stage. They said they were going to be signing autographs on "CDs, posters, t-shirts, bras, panties, and jockstraps" in the merch tent. Maria and I were going to head over there, but first we had to get off stage without getting in the way of the roadies setting up the next band's equipment. Maria stayed where we had been standing the whole time to see if she could get ahold of one of the guitar picks that the band had left on the stage floor. I made my way around to the back to the passageways that led out into the open. The opening in the black tarp where people and equipment could come through from the stage and backstage areas was almost completely clogged with amps and speakers and the drum kit, so much so that I couldn't get through there. So I crouched down under a part of the tarp that was being held up by the amps about three and a half feet above the floor to get backstage. And as I stood up on the other side, I nearly smacked straight in to Jared who was standing on just the other side. He was just turning to face where I was coming from, and my eyes went wide and I'm sure I blushed and stopped breathing, and I skittered off to the right as he and the rest of the band were trying to get oriented. They seemed to be in a big hurry. I can't remember if it was Maria or Andrea who said that I should have let myself fall into him or bump into him, in the hopes that he'd actually put his hands on me and ask me if I was okay... ::sighs:: The things you think of after the fact...
Once Maria and I were back together again, we left the backstage area and headed over to the merch tent. We wanted to get our laminated backstage passes signed. The crowd was overwhelming and after repeated attempts to get it organized and under control, the band had to retreat to the backstage area because it was getting scary. Lucky for me and Maria, we were able to get through the crowd a lot faster than they did and had just gotten through the backstage security when they came through themselves, black permanent markers in hand. Maria was quick as they were walking in through the fences and got Shannon's autograph and the drummer's too? (sorry, I'm a bad fan and don't know the other's names) Then, once completely backstage again, Maria, being the brave one, went up to Jared when his back was partially turned, and touched his arm and asked for his autograph, which he scribbled quickly, thanking her, and I sidled up next to him and got him to sign my backstage pass as well. He touched my finger when he held the pass steady. The fangirl in me squealed, but outwardly I just shyly said "thank you," as he thanked me, and stepped away.
Let me tell you, it is physically *painful* to look in that man's eyes, they're so pretty. ::sighs:: They're blue-gray, ya know... yesterday they appeared more grayish than they naturally are because of the heavy black eye-liner he had on.
There will be more about the concert later, but for now, here's some more pictures. All of them are mine, do not post them elsewhere or steal them for yourself. Ask, and I'll consider it.
All of these images can be clicked on to get bigger versions of the image:
Everytime Jared would drink from a bottle of water, as pictured above, he'd chug it down as much as he could at one time and then turn around a throw the rest of the bottle out over the crowd, which just made them scream louder. He did this maybe five or six times during their set. Andrea said everytime he did that, all she could think was "yeah! water!"