582 Miles Later

Let me just start out this post by saying I am a changed woman.

This adventure begins with a jumbo sized bag of Sour Punch Straws, a handful of killer playlists, and three messy haired twenty year girls. We piled into my trusty PT cruiser, bellies full of Mare’s homemade cinnamon rolls and headed for Dallas. There is something about having no actual plans exceeding “getting there” and simply driving on a beautiful day in May.

As if I wasn’t happy enough cruising through Oklahoma without a care in the world, lunchtime rolled around and we rolled into the parking lot of Angel’s Diner.

In case you weren’t aware, there are two things that Aubrey Sneed is excessively fond of in this world: 1. Elvis Presley, 2. Chicken Fried Steak.Angel’s Diner was all of this and more. Pink walls. Elvis everywhere. Sassy waitress that calls you “sissy” (unless you are Piper who ordered a grilled cheese with jalapenos earning the nickname “weird grilled cheese”). A menu that had things like, “The King’s Chicken Fried Steak”, “Lug Nuts” (fried okra), “Blue Suede Shoestring Fries”. HEAVEN.

If I hadn’t earned my title of “Actual For Real Adult”over the last year or so, I feel like 2 minutes into driving in Dallas traffic I definitely leveled up. Four lanes of traffic going 80 MPH…parking garages that couldn’t have been more than 4 feet tall per story…DOWNTOWN DALLAS WEEKEND TRAFFIC…need I say more? I am not sure I have ever been more happy to park my car in my life as I did when we made it to Hotel Indigo. (Unfortunately I lost my hotel key and the piece of paper that had our room number written on it five minutes after checking in so I had to run back down and have them tell me again. “Actual For Real Adult” card revoked.)

Have you ever had to do one of those obstacle course “team building”activities where one person is allowed to talk but has to wear a blindfold, and the other person isn’t blindfolded but is not allowed to talk? Well. Even if you haven’t, I’m sure you get the picture. It’s hard. As an onlooker you feel bad for the people wandering around trying to find their way. They trip a lot. Anguished cries are let out. That was Tulsa, Piper, and I trying to find our way around Downtown Dallas.  I am being a tad dramatic and it sounds a lot worse than it really was- our aimless wandering allowed us to pass things that we wouldn’t have if we had simply (been able to) follow the map! In the midst of walking around in utter confusion, we had a delicious meal of Pho, passed a giant eyeball that is under construction, and passed Neiman Marcus approximately 748 times. Ironically enough, the cupcake bakery that we saw on Yelp! and managed to hunt down (It took us about an hour to find this place, even though our maps told us it was a 4-6 minute walk) had the wrong hours listed online, so it was closed. C’est la vie.

If I am going to be honest, the second day was a sort of blur up until 4:15 when we left to wait in line for the show. We all slept in, got up, got ready, aimlessly wandered around for a few hours, ate some bomb diggity Italian food, and then went back to Hotel Indigo for some downtime before the show. When our Uber pulled up to The Bomb Factory there was already a short but substantial line of people chilling next to the side of the venue. We were three hours early. We made small talk with the people around us for a while, I sat there, legs crossed, grinning like a crazy person, thinking about how perfect the weather was, wondering what songs they would play, when my thoughts were interrupted by Piper next to me saying, “Do you hear that??!!??” I looked up at her and saw her pressing her ear against the door we had our backs to. The song Charlie Boy was pouring through the cracks in the door and I involuntarily let out a small shriek. Hearing Wesley Schultz sing less than 20 feet (pure approximation) was truly too much for my little heart. We got a sneak peek of the line up, hearing little pieces of Flapper Girl and Cleopatra. As if I wasn’t smiling like a crazy person before, now I was like a happy yellow balloon about to burst. In between listening through the wall and checking the time, we people watched and discussed the importance of men’s shoes and haircuts and laughed as people around us got pizzas delivered to them as they waited in line.

The three hours in line FLEW by and before we knew it we were standing up to file into the building. We had our game plan down pat. After a quick evaluation of the people in front of us we knew at least half of them would be making a pit stop at the bar first. The plan was simple: B-Line around the alcohol babies headed to the bar, don’t even peek at the merch table, and run like the whistle has blown at the beginning of the Hunger Games straight to the stage. And that is how we ended up at the very. front. row. I would be lying if I said I didn’t cry a little. Birthday miracle #1.

There were two opening acts before The Lumineers. The Sleepwalkers and Soak. Both were amazing and unique, and I loved every moment that they were on stage. That being said, I have no words to describe the pure happiness when I saw the entire band stroll onto the stage. If you’ve ever been to a concert for a band that you love, you’ll know the exact feeling I am talking about. Heart pounding, involuntary shrieks streaming from your mouth, the excited bouncing on the balls of your feet.

I sang every song, every word, at the top of my lungs. I cried a lot. I danced a lot.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of them. Wesley’s marching in place, Jeremiah’s tambourine banging, and Neyla’s graceful cello playing. Just beautiful. Each song was a work of art in itself- but the stand out one for me was the sixth song they played. Dead Sea. My favorite song in the entire world. The first chords led to an instant three minute bout of tears. And it was glorious.

The show ended well before I was ready, even though they played every song I could have asked for. I found myself standing in front of the stage after the band was long gone and the roadies were clearing off the stage, just staring and absorbing what I had just experienced.

Right after the show, various band members had passed out the set lists that had been taped to the stage and even left a few behind, which left the rest of us stragglers begging the roadies and security guys to pass them over . I was aware of this going on, but it wasn’t until Piper looked at me and headed off towards the nearest guard to beg for the set list that everyone else was also begging for that I realized I needed that set list. The security guard curtly told everyone he wasn’t allowed to touch it and let us know that we needed to leave so they could finish cleaning up.This gruff voiced message cleared about half of the crowd up, but Piper and I held strong. We even had another stranger go up and talk to one of the guys with a walkie talkie, trying to get my spoiled birthday girl booty that set list. It was between myself and a guy who seemed about 16. We made a deal that whoever got the dang piece of paper would rip it in half and share it with the other.

Well. I don’t know what ended up making it happen, Piper pleading with the lady in the sparkly backpack who was packing up equipment on stage, the stranger who went and talked to the man with the walkie talkie, or my shameless puppy eyes at anyone who passed by. I had just about given up hope, and was turning around to head to the merch table and meet up with Tulsa, when I heard a “Hey!”, and an intake of breath from Piper. I turned around to see a bearded man holding out a set list and one of their personalized Cleopatra guitar picks. I probably looked like a psycho, throwing my hand over my mouth and tears ONCE AGAIN forming in my eyes. I stared in disbelief, abruptly yelled “thank you” and staggered away, clutching this piece of paper and piece of plastic that could now be qualified as my most valuable possessions.

I didn’t make it very far until that 16 year old spotted me clutching the piece of paper, and we quickly sparked up a deal where he got the encore set in exchange for snapping a picture of Pipes and I holding the treasured piece of paper.

The night ended with me crawling into bed with a belly full of Waffle House, the most comfortable band tee I have ever owned, and an expectation for future concerts that may never be reached. What an immaculate way to bring in my 21st year on Earth.

I honestly couldn’t have picked better people to go to the show with me. Experiencing the music with people who can sing every word along with you, know when to hold your hand, and which lines to scream at the top of your lungs with makes all the difference. Even if we had been stuck in the back row, it would have still been a beautiful experience simply because of the beautiful company.

Here is a link for a little compilation video of our Dallas adventures made by my beautiful and talented sidekick, Tulsa House. I have probably watched it 100 times over the last three days, so it would be an injustice to society if I didn’t share it with you. Enjoy, lovelies!

Until next time, Aubrey.





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