Let the Memories Count the Miles and Never Be Forgotten

Its the day after Christmas. My flight out of Midway Airport in Chicago landed at 9:30 a.m. on the 23. My The Academy Is Almost Here 10 Year Anniversary Tour adventures have come to an end. As I write this, I am sitting in my room listening to the “Fast Times” album on vinyl.

Chicago House of Blues is 484 miles away from Florence, AL. Milwaukee is an hour and a half by train from Chicago. I went to both shows.

At the House of Blues, I meet up with my friends in line. I wish I had counted how many times I told them “I’m already emo and I hate this band.” While we waited in line. Of course, this is a defense mechanism from feeling the weight of sadness that hit me after the Milwaukee show at The Rave.

During VIP, I actually walked up to The Butcher and told him “I hate you.” Sisky tried to tell me “thanks for coming again.” But I was already emo. I made Beckett put on these Christmas tree green and gold sparkly glasses so our group Polaroid resembled an awkward family Christmas card. In Milwaukee, I had them do the “common white girl, we are all cupcakes” pose. Both turned out super cute. Polaroids are such a fun and nostalgic way to remember the best days of our lives. Like my pun there? I think the main thing  I told Beckett in Chicago was that since I saw him last, finals ended and when final grades came out, I still came out with a 4.0 GPA. I love when he is proud of me for that stuff.

In Chicago, I was barricaded next to Ashley. I still believe that I have grossly grown out of the whole “gotta wait in line all day to be front row” phase. But the nature of this tour is special. When the lights go dark, the curtains open & we see the band walk onstage starting their set with “Attention,” all cares are lost. The crowd roars and sings back the lyrics to each song when William turns the mic towards them. There is something so empowering and incredibly special to see TAI reunite for  ten year tour. Watching it front row (or side stage, like Milwaukee) just adds to the experience. William Beckett was born to command the stage as the lead singer of a band. From his high kicks with those long, long legs to his constant tricks with the mic stand….there is no one like him. The energy can be FELT when you watch this band front row.

Both of these Midwest shows still tugged at my heartstrings. When the band closes on “After the Last Midtown Show,” I honestly just wanted to crumple up right then and there and cry. It is so bittersweet to think this is it.

Milwaukee was a particularly hard day because it was my final AH10 show and my bus VIP date. Arriving at The Rave to a gray, fiercely cold and windy day did not help the feels. Those of us in the early crew made trips back and forth between the hotel bathroom and outside. Then when VIP finally started, I started to feel sad.

As I said some of those things to the Butcher in the Polaroid VIP, he told me I couldn’t think that way. I needed to focus on the now and what’s good. He said he hoped that didn’t affect my bus hang. I remember telling Mike that I’ve met him at every show but have talked to him the least. His reply “Ah well what do you want to know? Ask me anything!” What a good man.

The bus hang was not this soul shattering, life altering, tear inducing event. It was super lowkey. Molly, their VIP manager, lead me into their bus. Beckett offers water or something else to drink. Then when Carden and Sisky show up late, they try to offer it too. Essentially, we just talked and hung out. There was talk of animal incidents while driving, if they plan on pressing Santi to vinyl, how I’ve  handled customers at work (since I am a barista), etc. At one point, Molly starts opening this package of paint like colored bubbles. Sisky and she try to start blowing bubbles. One comes out looking like a butt and Carden comments on how it looks like a butt. We almost all go outside to light these paint bubbles on fire….that would have ended badly. It was relaxed, and I was nervous but I’m glad I had that time with the band.

I was sidestage again, and had the best view from back there, next to Butcher’s drums. I know what it feels like to be front row, singing along to every word of every song Beckett sings. But my heart swelled with even more love towards this band to see the crowd do the same. There is something magical to be said about watching the crowd react to a band.

It has only been a few days, and the tour ends in just a few more. But it is so incredibly hard to believe it is over. This tour was my second chance to see my favorite band live. This was my second chance to see William command the stage as a lead singer. I can only attempt to explain the feelings this tour has brought. I felt excitement, friendship, happiness, anxiety, sadness, joy…just to name a few. Live music honestly produces feelings that are hard to explain.  This tour and this band has allowed me to travel to some amazing shows, to see amazing friends and to see a venue I haven’t gotten to yet. I have made some of the best memories to date because of this tour. I will never forget the AH10 tour. The miles traveled was well worth every second. If this is the last tour TAI does, then I thank you The Academy Is…

TAI side stage milwaukee

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