August 13, 2014

The 20/20 Experience World Tour

I feel like I've used the word "epic" a lot lately, but there have been a lot of moments that I haven't been able to exactly put into words, because they are things I've always wanted to do or opportunities that even just a year ago, I never would've seen coming. So alas, last night was epic as I spent a couple hours with Justin Timberlake. 

I'm always just one big bundle of nerves. When I'm excited, it turns into anxiousness, which makes me feel a little nauseous. When I get nervous, it's just really not good; feeling like I'm going to pass out. As my aunt would say, "you're a fun date," and she's probably right. I guess that's why I don't get very many dates. Haha! 

That's how I woke up yesterday morning. It felt like Christmas morning, completely wide awake at 7:45 with anticipation. It's like when you're waiting for your parents to get up, so you can really freak out and then, of course, come the presents and everything else. So, I woke up and had plenty of time to get ready, because my friend didn't get off work until a bit later - But, I thought it could end up being earlier, so I wanted to be ready for whenever. I watched some TV, then started getting ready. The time actually passed off pretty quickly and pretty soon, Viviyan was picking me up for our adventure. 

We were "all dressed up in black and white," ready to crank some tunes. We stopped at Jack-in-the-Box on the way out, since neither of us had eaten lunch. Then, I started blasting the JT music from the playlist I had made. We were chatting about guys, relationships, and life. Because that's what you do on car rides, and apparently the thing to do in your 20's...Constantly planning. And there were some laughs in there, too. We made it to LA in pretty good time and had several hours before the concert started. I had been so paranoid about making it down there on time. This was a once-in-a-lifetime thing, and I wasn't about to miss out, ya know? 

We drove around, trying to find cheap parking, but decided on one closest to the Staples Center, since it was just the two of us and the concert would get out later. It was great. We went to will call first, to pick up our tickets and everything went smooth. I opened the envelope and we looked at the tickets. SECTION 112!!!!! I couldn't believe how close we were going to be, and so much closer than *NSYNC. But, I didn't even care where I was sitting, I was just so happy to have tickets to the show. After we freaked out about our seats, took pictures and made a video of our excitement, we decided to hit the bathrooms at Lucky Strike and also got free cherry cokes at LA Live, which was refreshing. There's a nice, shady area to sit in by the Nokia Theater, so we sat down on a couple of benches. We talked and did a lot of people watching, since people were starting to show up for the concerts. It was interesting to see the ages of some people and what they were wearing, LOL. We sipped our drinks, enjoyed the warm weather (while trying to stay cool, so we weren't hot and gross before the show) and snapped some pictures. 

Around 6:30, we walked across the street to Staples to check things out and ended up getting in line. We waited around, just chatting and watching people all spiffed up. They let us in at 7. Everything was going great, and then I made my way through the metal detector. The lady searching my bag stopped me and told me that cameras weren't allowed. I thought someone had asked at the will call window earlier and I heard the guy say cameras were allowed, even though it said they weren't on the ticket. Otherwise I wouldn't have tried it. But, that's happened several other times (i.e *NSYNC said no cameras on the ticket, so we didn't bring it. We got to MGM and they were allowed), so I didn't think much of it. On the door, I thought it said that only cameras with detachable lenses weren't allowed. I tried to tell the lady I thought we could bring them in, and she was having none of it and told me to take it to the car. Viviyan had just walked in behind me, so we were trying to figure out how to exit. The lady wasn't very friendly, but told us to go back out through the door we were at. Luckily, we had gotten in with plenty of time, so we walked back to the parking lot and put my stuff away. I was also starting to wonder about my pepper spray...My aunt had just given it to me, because I thought it might be good to have when I'm at school late, etc. So I'd started carrying it with me. Viv thought it should be fine, so I just decided to leave it. We walked back over to Staples, this time entering through the back entrance, because the crowd wasn't as bad. As we were crossing the street, I saw Jason Kennedy (my favorite anchor on E! News) and his fiancé, Lauren Scruggs in the car. I was so excited. I would've loved to have gotten a picture or chat with them, but maybe next time. 

So, we make it inside and then the security guard checking my bag asks about something at the bottom of my bag. I'm like, what? Oh no, not this again. It was the pepper spray..Of course. I was carrying a bag that just had everything in the open. I did have a pocket, but it was pretty see through, so I'm sure they would've seen it there, too. It's not like I was planning to use it in there, but obviously they didn't know that. They told us we could take it back to the car, where we had just come from, and at that point, it was getting closer to show time and we still had to find our seats. This wasn't a smart move, but I just told them to get rid of it. So, there's that. I just felt really bad that my aunt had just bought it and everything, which wasn't cheap. But, tried not to let it get me down for the rest of the night. 

We made our way inside - went to the restroom, grabbed a pretzel and coke, then found our seats. Staples Center is huge and the seating arrangements are a bit weird. Eventually we found them, and right in front of us was the stage in all of its glory. We couldn't believe how close we were and that Justin would be walking out there in just a short time. A dj played music and got the crowd pumped up, since no one opened for him. We watched people get to their seats, some decked out in pretty fancy attire and others keeping it casual. It was fun to just watch the arena fill up, as anticipation started to build. I also ate my cinnamon pretzel and had sugar all over my lap..I didn't totally think that through, LOL, but it was tasty and helped me wake up a little more. There were a lot of people around us who looked familiar, and I'm thinking had small parts on TV shows or something. In LA, everyone is someone, so I felt like we were surrounded by a bunch of special people. I found out later that Thomas Rhett and Danielle Bradbury weren't too far from us, so that was exciting. 

Great moments happen every night at the Staples Center, and I've had some incredible memories there over the years, but last night was something so surreal, especially because I'd never seen him as a solo artist before. Justin walked out after his short introduction video and everyone went crazy. It's like he's larger than life. He kicked it off with "Pusher Love Girl" and everyone was on their feet, constantly going crazy. There was no option of sitting down, even if you wanted to (which I doubt anyone wanted to), and it was fantastic. Everyone was dancing, singing along and waving their hands in the air. The feeling was indescribable, watching Justin, someone who has (in a way) been in my life since I was five years old, having transformed from teenage heartthrob to a handsome legend, changing the music world. 

There were two parts to the show, both mixing new songs and favorites together, and only a 10-minute intermission separating the two. He sang so many hits, like "Cry Me A River," "Sexy Back," "Señorita," "My Love," "Summer Love," "What Goes Around (Comes Around) and plenty from the "20/20 Experience," of course, like "Tunnel Vision," "Suit and Tie," and others. Justin had plenty of graphics and an intricately designed screen that had many uses. Throughout, there were lasers, videos playing, and more. In some parts, there was so much going on, it's like you were in a video game or something. I mean that in a good way. He made the crowd feel like they were part of something BIG. Everyone was constantly up on their feet, clapping, cheering, dancing, singing along, and waving their hands in the air. They aren't kidding when they say his concerts are like experiences, the energy and feeling in the arena was unreal; like a jolt of electricity. He was always interacting with the crowd, not just with the music, but chatting with fans if he read their signs, like the girl who was celebrating her 21st birthday in the front row and just casually, since we are "Tennessee Kids" now. 

I think I took this one from Viviyan! 
My absolute favorite part of the show was the sliding stage. It lifted from the main stage and slid completely across, high above the floor and the sides of the lower bowl. The stage kept getting closer and closer to us. HE WAS SO CLOSE TO US!!! I couldn't believe it. And then he ran over to the other side. I'm so glad I got that on video, though. Some of the best 30 seconds of my life. The stage finally stopped at the back and he made his way down to the VIP section stage. His friends were also in the section. I'm pretty sure that I saw Jessica in the pit, too. Beverly Mitchell (7th Heaven) was there as well, but I didn't know until later, like many of the other celebrities (Sofia Vergara, Joe Manganiello, Lea Michele, Naya Rivera, Janel Parish, Josh Peck, etc). He played a few more songs, then made his way back to the main stage. I was recording a lot of clips from my favorite songs, until my phone ran out of space. I was sad I missed "What Goes Around," and "Mirrors," but it reminded me to just enjoy the moment and focus on the fact that I was in the same room as JT!!!!!!

By the end of the concert, my feet were killing me (and also a little numb) and we couldn't really hear anything. It felt like we were wearing earmuffs haha! We made our way out of Staples Center and I bought one of the 10$ tshirts outside of the arena, and they had several to choose from. Normally, I buy a lot of stuff at the merch table, but Justin's site had some better deals, so I just decided to wait and buy everything online. Plus, I was able to avoid the lines, which was nice. 

We made it to the parking lot and waited a few minutes before heading out, so some of the traffic would pass, then hit the freeway. We didn't run into any traffic and made it out of LA pretty quickly, which was great, because it was about midnight when we got out...Not that I was complaining. He rocked that place for about 2 1/2 hours and every single second was amazing. Some of the dancing was "interesting" and there were some risqué graphics, but all in all Justin is such a classy guy and knows how to connect with the crowd. You can tell he genuinely loves what he does and appreciates the support that crowds give him night after night. It was one of the most fun nights I've ever had. I seriously didn't want it to end. 

We listened to the radio for part of the way home, then stopped for gas in Valencia. We were going to stop to get something to eat, but neither of us was really hungry. We were both getting tired, so I tried to play some uptempo songs to get the party started. I played some *NSYNC and a few repeats of Justin, since we were still on a high from the night. I got home close to 2 a.m., and was still buzzing with excitement. It was so hard falling asleep...It makes me wonder how the artists themselves come down from the rush of the crowd and all of the adrenaline, and I had a major headache, which didn't help. Eventually, I did get to sleep. That was nice. 

I am so thankful and eternally grateful to Master Card and their Priceless Surprises. Even if I'd been able to buy tickets, they never would've been as good as what we had last night. It was such a great time to get away with one of my closest friends and to just listen to good music by one of my favorite artists. I will absolutely never forget the feeling of just waving my hands in the air and singing at the top of my lungs. That's probably the most I've ever danced at a concert and I loved every minute of it. 

Today, I slept in until 10 or so and I have what I call the "concert hangover," at least what I'd imagine a hangover to be like, since I've never had one or been anywhere near that. I'm just feeling sluggish, too much talking is annoying right now and feel like sleeping. Everything feels like slow motion and I still feel like I'm in a complete daze. Take me back to last night. I would LOVE to see Justin in concert again sometime very soon. But, even if I never do, this was everything I could have hoped it would be and then some. 

Now, it's time to rest up to start focusing on some other things this week. :)

That's all for now,
Shelby :)

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