Day 2 of the Made in America music festival. More independent and slightly juicier than the first day.
I started with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at the main stage. I never heard of Edward Sharpe until this event, but I loved how he interacted with the crowd. He let one fan freestyle rap to one of his songs and asked audience members for stories. Good vibes all around.
I visited Travis Scott next. Now, I haven’t listened to a minute of Travis Scott, but I heard someone claim that he’d rather see Travis than Kanye, which I considered a serious claim. So I stuck around near the back of the crowd, even when Travis insisted that “anyone who’s not here to crowd-surf or rave: get out.”
His fans heeded the encouragement. People started tossing water (?) bottles, flinging themselves on top of the audience, and climbing a scrawny tree awkwardly standing in the middle of the crowd. I thought people were going batshit crazy. Not yet. Travis noticed the climbers and made his way to the poor tree. I was next to the tree. The crowd of a hundred bodies lurched forward as everyone pressed towards the tree. When he started to sing “Antidote” from the branches, the one song I recognized, everyone lost their minds. For a terrifying yet exhilarating thirty seconds, I was convulsed by my first-ever mosh pit. In other words, I nearly lost my life for Travis Scott.
Still, I’m glad I risked death for a rapper I did not know rather than waste time waiting for DJ Khaled. DJ Khaled sucked so bad. Which is unfortunate, because he does produce some great songs, but for some reason he decided to play twenty seconds of track — giving us enough time to get into it — only to stop prematurely to talk about how “they don’t want me to be on the Made in America stage.” It’s because he only knows how to entertain in short bursts. That’s why he’s so successful with Snapchat.
I started listening to Chance the Rapper because of MIA, and I am really beginning to appreciate his work — especially “Summer Friends” and of course “No Problem.” As his act started, I circled around the crowd, searching for a good glimpse of him on stage.
Then this random boy asked me to take a picture of him and his friends, and I obliged. After doing so, the guy hung around and asked me questions about college and such. He was a freshman, too, and his name was Denny. I laughed at his drunken friendliness and playfully pushed him, because he was cute. Soon, his arm rested on my shoulders.
Denny’s friend handed him a plastic water bottle that was a quarter-full of something that was clear but not water. I had drank vodka once before and subsequently claimed that it was “the worst experience of my life.” But for some reason I accepted the bottle when Denny offered it to me and sipped sparingly, perhaps half a shot. To my surprise, it was fruity, like the peach Snapples I like to drink, with a tangy aftertaste that masked its burn. Oh, that is dangerous, I thought, double-taking from the bottle.
“What flavor is this?” I asked.
Denny pulled me in closer so I could hear. “It’s New Amsterdam vodka,” he said. “Mango.” I enjoyed how close his lips were to my ear.
“It’s really tasty!” I said.
He grinned, looked at me, and tilted his head to the side as he kissed me. His tongue tasted like mango, too.
Thanks, Chance the Rapper.
After parting with Denny and seeing Martin Garrix — which was lit AF — it was finally time to see Coldplay for the second time in my life.
For most of the day, I had planned to meet up with friends before this final act but found it impossible to locate them. So I found myself feeling discouraged and lonely before seeing my favorite band in the world. Sure, I got to view artists, eat food, and make out with charming strangers at my own leisure. But at the same time, I wondered whether I tarnished my very first music festival experience just because I was bad at finding people in crowds.
Well, Coldplay has always saved me in my lower moments, so it’s no surprise that they did so again. First of all, I thoroughly enjoy witnessing people experience a Coldplay performance for the first time:
- People get so annoyed and confused about the opera song “O mio babbino caro” that preludes the concert.
- Everyone’s fucking astonished whenever Chris Martin lays down on the ground while singing.
- No one’s really sure what song’s gonna come on next.
- My personal favorite, in response to the graphics of “Adventure of a Lifetime”: “Did you see those apes getting down?”
A video I took with my iPhone:
I won’t write a track-by-track review, like I did for the actual concert I attended, but I do kind of have a Wonderful Strangers story. There was a burly young man behind me, really into the music, and probably drunk — based on the fact that he actually enjoyed the song “Birds” and more on the fact that he shouted with genuine concern “You’re going the wrong way” to anyone who left the performance. He, Tom, was in total awe of the performance — “did you hear that buildup???” “Oh my God, look at the lights! They’re everywhere, they’re in the trees!”
Anyway, I actually shed a tear during “Everglow,” because I felt so alive and so blessed to experience such a touching event. I realized it was so silly of me to feel so pettily unhappy just a short while ago, when beautiful things like this should fuel my optimism forever. I briefly turned away from the stage to wipe my eyes, and Tom exclaimed “Aw, you’re actually crying!” and we bonded as two strangers who are both too into Coldplay.
We headbanged and sang and air-guitared to the impeccable jams, much to the amusement of the people around us. I did a lot of embarrassing things, like shouting “OH SHIT” when “Hymn to the Weekend” started or screaming “OH MY GOD I LOVE YOU” when Chris Martin visited our side of the stage. But that’s the best part of music festivals: it’s weird, but you can do it. It’s such a liberating experience.
At the end of the performance, as we started to leave, Tom gave me his number and revealed that he attends West Point military academy. “I go to UPenn,” I said.
“I hope you love Penn as much as you love Coldplay,” he said. He waved goodbye. “Have a nice life, Michele.”