Editor’s Note: This article contains mild profanity.
I’ve never seen so many people at Regents Drive bus stop, let alone so many people on campus before 1 on a Saturday afternoon. Everybody dressed to accommodate the Maryland heat: dresses, strappy sandals and muscle tees.
“Be cutthroat,” my roommate Emilie whispered to me when the 104 Metro Bus pulled up.
We secured seats on the bus while our slower, less cutthroat peers were forced to stand. Body odor and sunscreen battled for the strongest scent as we rode toward the College Park Metro Station.
The line to purchase farecards extended all the way to the station’s entrance, making it hard for people to get in. Emilie and I, fortunate enough to already have loaded farecards, skipped the line and went up to the platform.
Again, too many people crowded one space. I thought of the scene from The Office where Dwight says we need a new plague.
Our cutthroat abilities landed us seats again, and the Metro shot off toward Washington, D.C.
“That’s a story,” Emilie said, looking away from the window to complete a private train of thought aloud. “One time I came home from a concert with half a necklace and two left shoes.”
She never told the story.
A surprisingly short amount of time later, Emilie and I found ourselves at the entrance to the concert: a big white tent with a mob of people in front of it.
While in line to have our bags checked, a man behind us said, “Do you hear Usher? He’s performing right now.”
Personally, I could not hear anything. But if Usher was performing for free just on the other side of a maze of barricades, I was not going to miss it.
“Haul ass,” Emilie said urgently.
We climbed over a gate to avoid the tedious maze, rounded the Monument and found a huge stage and a couple thousand people.
Usher was nowhere to be seen.
Sitting on a hill in the shade of the Monument, I had a cool view of D.C. To my right was the top of the Capitol Building; to my left the skyline peaked out from over the tops of trees; and directly in front of me were a couple thousand sweaty people, a huge stage and a line of porta-potties that stretched two blocks long.
“How is this concert eight hours long?” Emilie asked me. I shrugged.
Families and couples sprawled out on the grass all around us. A colorful array of blankets and towels saved people from the damp grass. Emilie and I had not been smart enough to think that far ahead.
Australia’s 26th prime minister took the stage. He talked about the importance of protecting the environment and the crowd cheered wildly at the end of each sentence.
“That’s how,” Emilie mumbled.
While the breeze and shade kept us cool, the trek to the concert was scorching. When the first act went on – an hour and a half into the event – Emilie and I went a quest for overpriced water bottles.
Roy Kim, the South Korean artist neither of us had ever heard of, sang nicely, but the screams from the audience made me feel like I was at a One Direction concert – not that I know what that feels like.
After purchasing our $3 water bottles, we made our way back to the shade when a woman holding green wristbands stopped us.
“Do you like Fall Out Boy?” she asked.
“Yes,” I answered too quickly, while Emilie asked if that was the band with Pete Wentz.
The woman handed us two of the wristbands and told us to go to the Meeting Point at 1:40 for Fall Out Boy’s meet-and-greet.
“Your hands are shaking,” Emilie informed me.
A public relations official said a professional photographer would be taking our pictures with the band and we weren’t allowed to use personal cameras, which means my Instagram picture is delayed until the official photograph is emailed to me.
“Joe is my sun and my moon and my stars,” said the middle-school-aged girl in front of me wearing a shirt that warned everyone she has more issues than Vogue.
For the uninformed, Joe Trohman plays guitar in Fall Out Boy.
The term “meet-and-greet” was very misleading in this case. I was in Fall Out Boy’s presence long enough to stand between Pete and Patrick, get my picture taken and be ushered away by the staff.
However, it was still long enough for my middle school years to flash before my eyes.
All of the shade vanished and the sun shone brightly. I felt myself getting a sunburn, despite my half-hearted attempt of spraying myself down with suntan lotion before I left my apartment four hours prior.
Mary J. Blige took the stage, receiving the most energetic reaction of the day.
“I can get into anything with a beat,” Emilie said, bobbing her head completely off-rhythm.
A girl wearing a shirt that read “on Wednesdays we wear black” walked past. I wondered if she knew it was Saturday.
We found a spot with an unobstructed view of the stage and sat down to wait for Fall Out Boy.
The presenters tricked the audience multiple times, announcing a pianist or famous actor instead of Fall Out Boy, which drew audible groans from the crowd.
However, when Fall Out Boy took the stage, everyone got to their feet.
With performers like Train and Usher, it surprised me how many people seemed to be there for Fall Out Boy. The crowd was deafening singing the lyrics, and I lost my voice during the set.
Emilie knew the words to ‘Light ‘Em Up,’ which easily made my day.
“I know this one!” she said excitedly, her face lighting up when the song came on.
When the set ended, Emilie and I deemed ourselves too sunburnt to stay any longer. Most people seemed to have the same idea, as a crowd with varying degrees of sunburn filed toward the exit.
So, Fall Out Boy, thanks for the memories. Until next time.
Maya Pottiger is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.