Monday, September 14, 2009

Why MTV sucks...and why Muse is awesome!

Oh, boy, do I ever have a story for you guys today.

It's not even a grammar-related story. (We'll get back to the grammar-related stuff tomorrow.) In fact, it's more entertaining than a grammar-related story. So settle in...this is gonna be a more lengthy post than usual!

So last night, the MTV Video Music Awards happened. As part of the VMAs, my favorite band, Muse, was playing a free show for its fans (in a separate venue from the actual VMAs), and part of that show would be televised for the VMAs. I had a ticket to this show, and so I got dressed up in a pretty Betsey Johnson dress, knee-high black boots, and headed to the city.

Check-in was scheduled to start at 7:00 PM. I arrived at 5:30, sized up the line, and--knowing that venue capacity was about 950 or so--figured getting in wouldn't be a problem for me.

Except, you see, it was a problem. 1iota, the company who was helping MTV fill the seats with people, miscounted. Or maybe it was MTV who miscounted. Anyway, somebody screwed up...to the tune of 200 tickets. They kept telling us they "lost 200 tickets." Lost them? Where the hell did they go? (I'm wondering if MTV swiped 200 tickets to give to their people...seems like the most plausible explanation.)

I was about 50 people back from where they stopped letting people into the show. I was not happy. The 50 people in front of me were not happy. The--no joke--thousands of people behind me? Also not happy. (Why on earth MTV and 1iota allowed all those people far back behind me in the line to stand there knowing for sure that there was no way they were getting in to see the show is beyond me. Also, from having run plenty of events before, I'm aware that everyone overbooks venues for these types of events. But they overbooked this one by at least 3 or 4 times capacity, from what I can tell, and that's just ridiculous.)

So they made the announcement that the venue had reached capacity. This was met with more boos than a Mets/Phillies game in Philadelphia, plus a very well-organized chorus of "THIS IS BULLSHIT!" that lasted for several minutes. Not surprisingly, the sucker from MTV who had to break the bad news to us got heckled like mad, and I was actually surprised nobody beat the crap out of him. Most people, annoyed at the bad news, started to leave the area and go somewhere else.

Not me, though. I stood with a group of about 30 die-hards right at the front of the venue. This helped me re-define my idea of hell. I've decided that hell really is being about 10 feet away from the door of a venue where your favorite band is performing, being able to hear bits and pieces of the show through the door, the show sounding really effin' good, but not being allowed to go in and actually see the show. Ugh.

This group of die-hards was a very diverse and creative group. I busied myself with alternating between making snarky comments to the other pissed-off people standing with me and also trying to sweet-talk the MTV guy into letting us go stand in the lobby for the show (the latter didn't work, even though I was very charming and nicely dressed). The two guys standing behind me were busy turning their Muse sign that they made for the show into a "Fuck MTV" sign. The kid with the mohawk was trying to figure out if we could collectively knock down the barricades in front of us and stampede our way in to the concert. The couple to my left was trying to figure out what songs the band was playing (for the record, I know they played the following: "Unnatural Selection," "United States of Eurasia," "Undisclosed Desires," and "Uprising" from The Resistance; "Hysteria" and "Time Is Running Out" from Absolution; "Map of the Problematique," "Supermassive Black Hole," and "Knights of Cydonia" from Black Holes & Revelations--somebody thought they heard "Starlight," too, but I didn't hear it; and "Plug in Baby" from Origin of Symmetry).

And all of us booed any asshole who had the audacity to come to the show late, wearing a VIP wristband, and get let in. Peter Frampton (note: this may very well not have been Peter Frampton even though the crowd was convinced it was; see Ben's note in the comments. Now I'm curious as to who this may have been. I definitely recognized the dude, but I just believed the people behind me who said he was Frampton...hmmm...) was one such person. Oh, if only the people who like the band the most were the ones who actually got to go see the show...sigh.

So the aforementioned MTV sucker came over to our little group of die-hards and told us that he was gonna try to do something nice for us if we'd behave and not cause too much of a ruckus. The plan was that he'd be able to herd us all into some sort of primo spot for when Matthew Bellamy (Muse's singer/lead guitarist) was going to come out and play guitar outside for a little bit.

Well, guess what? The MTV sucker screwed up or lied. (Couldn't see that one coming, right? *rolls eyes*) He tried to convince the group of us to hang out behind Alexa what's-her-name and be on TV, but those of us who were smart figured out where Matthew was going to be and made a run for it. I eyed up the area and saw a ton of people already standing close to the barricade. Then I looked around to figure out who had a good spot who might not mind standing next to a cute girl in a pretty dress. I saw a group of guys right near the section of barricade that was by the door that MB would be coming out of. I squeezed my way in there, smiled nicely, and slid right between two of the guys. Success! I got to be right up at the barricade for when MB jumped out the elevator doors, played a couple notes on his guitar, made an adorably goofy face, and jumped right back in the elevator doors. In fact, I was about 5 feet away from him when he came out...

...which was cool and all, but it simply wasn't enough. See, I'd been out there in a designer dress and painful boots for many hours at that point, and I wanted to make it worth my while somehow. Which meant there was only one thing I could accomplish to make the night not suck:

I had to meet the band.

Luckily, I have mad band-meeting skills. No, seriously. I tend to amaze people with my stories of how I met so-and-so. Sometimes I dumb into meeting bands (the "right place, right time" approach), and sometimes I'm watchful and patient and scheme my way into it (the "Miss Penny Lane" approach...I'm a band-aide, dammit, not a groupie!).

Let me also interject at this point--Muse is not just a band to me. They're my favorite band...but they're still so much more than that. They're a huge inspiration to my writing, and there's something about their music and their lyrics that just makes more sense to me than any other band's music has. There are things about their music that have actually made me get major breakthroughs in regards to my novel. I'd go as far as to say Matthew Bellamy's my idol. I like what he writes, I like how he writes it, and I like the effect it has on my own creativity. These are the reasons I didn't just walk away once I realized I wasn't getting into the show...or once I saw MB outside for 5 seconds playing guitar...or when the show ended and the cops were trying to convince everyone outside the front of the venue that the band had already left.

I smelled bullshit. So I took a little stroll around the building. Found the back of the venue. Also found a small group of fellow Muse fans waiting there. And by "there," I mean right by the big, black SUV that Muse would be using to leave the venue. Sweet!

So I waited.

And then a couple security guards came out.

And I waited some more.

Muse's driver, already in the car, looked bored to tears.

I kept waiting.

I began to worry about my positioning. I would be on their left side when they came out of the venue. I wanted to be on the other side. There was no good way for me to get over there.

Kept waiting, though.

Until 12:15. At that point I decided I'd had enough. My feet were killing me. I hadn't eaten anything but Swedish Fish all day. And I didn't want to take the 1:37 AM train back home.

So I started to walk away.

And then the security guards brought out barricades.

And the girl who had been standing next to me called out, "Don't leave! They have barricades--they're coming out soon!"

Lo and behold, when she said that, I was...on the other side of Muse's car. The right side. Exactly where I wanted to be. In fact, I was the last person they'd see as they would get into their car. From experience, I know that's damn good positioning. And I'd just dumbed into that good position. So I stayed there.

The security guards placed the barriers in front of us, which I was actually happy about--finally, something to lean on! And then about ten minutes later...

MUSE CAME OUT OF THE VENUE.

Matt came out first, smiling and tiny in a brown jacket. He greeted the people on each side of the barricade. And he came over and SHOOK MY HAND, to which I could only smile and say "thank you." It was probably the most sincere thing I could have said. I owe a lot of my own creative inspirations to that man.

Then Dom came out, and not only was he taller than I expected, he was also a lot more attractive than I'd thought. He signed an autograph for me and said "Cheers!" in that adorable British way.

And then Matt came back over to my side of the barricade. The girl next to me started talking to him, and as he talked to her, I caught a glimpse of his pretty blue eyes. As he was still talking to her, he took the pen and paper that I had in my hand and signed it for me, and then went back over to the other side of the barricade to sign for those people. I wished I could have talked to him a little bit more--I had something I wanted to tell him, actually--but I didn't want to be a rude bitch and interrupt his conversation with a fellow fan.

Last but not least, Chris came out, and although the entire band was obviously in somewhat of a hurry (although let me also add that they were extremely nice and gracious even though they needed to leave, and it seemed like they paid a good bit of attention to everyone there), Chris seemed the most in a hurry. He only signed a couple of autographs, but he signed for me! (Gotta love that position of literally being between the band and their car...they really can't help but give you a little attention.)

And then Matt came back through, this time headed into the car. As he was about to climb in, I called, "Bye, Matt--thanks!"...and he turned over his shoulder, looked right at me, gave me a little smile and a tiny wave. I nearly died of happiness. Yes, seriously. And then Dom came through again to jump in the van, and I called bye and thanks to him too, and he, too, turned, smiled, and waved at me.

Once the car had taken off, I thanked the security guards for being so nice, and then I took off. And I mean literally took off. As in, running down Seventh Avenue, screaming into my cell phone, "OMIGOD I JUST MET MATTHEW BELLAMY!!!!"

The nice thing about New York City is that even when you act like a total maniac, nobody really gives a damn. Good thing, too, because all the way back to the train station, I was carrying on like this. It was sort of like OMIGOD DID THAT REALLY HAPPEN? I JUST MET MATTHEW BELLAMY! I JUST MET MUSE! I WANT TO MARRY THEM! ALL OF THEM! THEY'RE SO ADORABLE AND BRITISH! OMIGOD, DID THAT REALLY HAPPEN? MATTHEWFUCKINGBELLAMY!!!!!!!

I've met a zillion bands before, but I'm usually really good about keeping my cool after I've met them. Apparently this time was the exception. This time I turned into a joyful, screaming sorority girl. And I didn't give a damn what anyone thought about it.

I'm thrilled that I managed to turn what could have been a really sucktacular night into a totally spectacular night. I'm glad I've still got my band-meeting magic, or mojo, or whatever the hell it is that I have. I may have gone to the city for a concert, but I got something much, much better. I got to actually meet someone whose work has inspired me more than anything else has. I got to shake his hand, thank him, get an autograph, and have him wave and smile at me--just me. Really, I couldn't have planned it any better.

As my wise mom, MAMA GRAMMARPHILE, told me this morning--sometimes things happen for a reason. There will be other Muse shows, and I'll get to see those shows (as long as they're not free shows run by the mathematically-challenged idiots at MTV), but I may never have that sort of opportunity again.

And you know what? It was so totally worth it. The stress, the blisters on my feet, the annoyance at MTV...yeah, all of it was worth it. And if I knew the situation would have a similar good outcome...well, I'd do it all over again.

By the way? The pen I gave Muse to sign my autographs with...was red. And now it's going to be the Sacred Pen. (Gotta find some way to mark it so it doesn't get mixed up with all the other red pens I have floating around the house.) How appropriate for a Grammarphile, hmmm? Just another reason for me to love my red pen...because Matt, Dom, and Chris signed stuff for me with it!

As for the pictures above--the first three across the top row are of Matt. The last one in the first row is of Chris. The second row is all autographs. From left to right: Matt's signature, Matt's signature with the Sacred Pen, Dom's signature, and Chris's signature.

I'll still be on a band-meeting high tomorrow, but I'll be back with some more grammar goodness then... :)

P.S. In all the Muse-related excitement, I forgot to mention that I was right underneath this balcony that Gerard Butler was standing on to rehearse his little MTV bit. Cool, huh?

P.P.S. I'm still randomly shrieking. Like, not even saying anything--just shrieking. Because that's the sort of crazed energy this has given me.

P.P.P.S. When I have a day when I'm wondering why the hell I'm in NY (those happen frequently), I'm going to remember to look back on yesterday--a day I spent skipping through Manhattan in a gorgeous designer dress, basking in the afterglow of meeting my favorite band, and giggling like a freakin' maniac. These sorts of things are why I'm in this crazy city, and I don't wanna forget that.

14 comments:

MarieC said...

I LOVE this story! Not only is it a priceless encounter, but a very captivating retelling.

LadyStyx said...

Doesn't it feel great to get all fan-girly once in a while?

THE GRAMMARPHILE said...

Thanks, Marie! Not surprisingly, I'm *still* totally giddy from it all! :)

THE GRAMMARPHILE said...

HELL to the YES.

By the way, did I mention I met MATTHEW FREAKIN' BELLAMY? *squeal* Hehehe.

Kim said...

You are too cute.

THE GRAMMARPHILE said...

Hehe, thanks!

Ben said...

I loved your story! I do have to say though, I know for a fact that Peter Frampton was in Saratoga, Ca performing. I wonder who it was? If he had hair it wasn't Frampton lol.

THE GRAMMARPHILE said...

Hi, Ben--thanks for the kind words! The dude DID have hair, actually. I guess it really wasn't Frampton! Now I wonder who it was. The dude was definitely *somebody*...I've seen him before, but can't put a face with his name, and I just believed the folks near me who said that's who he was! Haha. :)

Becky said...

That is awesome!!!! I love Muse!!!! Matt is unbelievably adorable. I am jealous.

THE GRAMMARPHILE said...

Adorable, indeed--and very nice, too! :) I'm still sooooo excited about having met him! By the way--have you heard The Resistance yet? If so, what do you think of it?

Bridgete said...

I need you and your band meeting mojo with me the next time I go see Mraz.

I'm in class right now, so I can't write too much and make it obvious I'm not taking notes...but yay for you! =)

THE GRAMMARPHILE said...

Have band mojo--will travel! :)

I'm *still* all excited about this...yes, even 3 days later, haha.

tekkbabe said...

What a great story...I am sooo jealous! I was angst ridden when I found that there were FREE tickets available and I would not be able to get to NY...and the way MTV handled showing them during the televised award show broke my heart - ONE song - and although promised a second, it ended up being a missed cut with only about 10 seconds. Your recounting of your experience makes me feel as though I was there with you! Thank you so much for taking the time to share it! Hope you are still randomly squealing with delight yet today!

THE GRAMMARPHILE said...

Hi, Tekkbabe! I'm sorry you didn't get a chance to come to NY to see Muse, but I'm glad you enjoyed my story! I haven't yet seen the VMAs and MTV's coverage of the band, but when I do see it, I bet I'll get pretty sad! I think they should have gotten much more attention than it sounds like they actually got. And yes--I am still giddy and still in a state of disbelief, haha. :)