We’re taking it right back to the beginning of the learning curve with this one, to my amateur days. My first concert, and I’d say for sure one I wont be forgetting. September 2nd 2013, in the 02 Arena Dublin, the first date of the Paramore Self-Titled Tour. Paramore were easily in my top 5 favourite bands/artists at this point in my life and I was super duper excited to be attending this concert as my first major music event. It was a momentous occasion in my life, and just to tip the scale of how satisfying it was to be going to this concert, I’d actually had enough money of my own to buy the ticket rather than run to my dad for it. Although, on that note, I was 17 and this was going to be my first major concert, so naturally my dad tagged along too regardless.
It’s important to note at this point that not one of my friends and peers was going up to this concert, although that’s not to say that I was going to be enjoying the experience alone. In fact, quite the contrary. See, being in the age of the internet, I had made my fair share of online friends aswell, and it just so happened that one particularly good acquaintance I had made in this manner by the name of Christopher was also going to Paramore. Plans were hatched to meet up and enjoy the concert together and thus this was also the first time I’d be meeting an internet friend in person.
Fast forward to the day of the concert, me and my dad arrive in Dublin after the arduous journey from the countryside of Cork, and proceeded to figure out just exactly where on earth we were going and attempt to not be late. We booked our accommodation for the evening and made our merry and meandering way to the 02 Arena, with many a detour as we tried to gauge the correct direction. It was as we neared the venue in question that we made the fatal error, the reason I look back at this and consider myself to be such a merch amateur at the time. We passed one of those unlicensed stalls selling knock-off band merch with sub-par designs that didn’t really have anything to do with the band. The sensible thing to do would be carry on to the Arena and pick up some official merch there. But I didn’t know any better and I saw this stand and I just haaaad to have a shirt to wear when I was supporting Paramore. Even back then, catching my first sight of band merchandise, the pull to acquire it which I am so familiar with nowadays was just too strong to resist. It’s an ok shirt and I still wear it to this day, but I look back in shame on the missed opportunity to have the proper good stuff. A learning curve indeed, I didn’t make that mistake again.
We reached the 02 Arena, and the queue was larger than anything I had seen before, waves upon waves of people encroaching upon the entrance packed into the zig zagging formation of the crowd barriers. We joined the lines and I was buzzing at how close I was to seeing Paramore play live. We finally made it inside, and I quickly ditched my dad in the “I’ll find you here if I need you” corner and ran off to enjoy myself. I located Christopher, made a quick determination that he was indeed the same person as he came across as online, and probably not likely to bring me any harm. We joined forces, along with his friends he had brought to tag along, and we lost ourselves in the expanse of the crowd, managing to plant ourselves in a strong position about 20 bodies deep from the front lines.
There’s a number of emotions and thoughts that come to the forefront of my mind these days when I think back to the Paramore concert. And one of those particularly that crops up is a sense of regret. Regret? Oh come on Seán, you’re not still hung up over that shirt, are you? No, not at all, allow me to explain. Naturally at most concerts you don’t just get to see the main headlining artist, there’s also a support band involved. I had never heard of the support band in question at this particular concert, and I don’t recall paying a whole lot of extra attention to it or committing much of that portion of the concert to memory, eagerly awaiting Paramore’s entrance as I was. I’m sure at the time I thought the support act was quite good but thought nothing more of it beyond that. Well, therein lies the problem. The support act was a band on the up and up in the Irish music scene, and soon to be international scene, called Walking on Cars. Mhmm, that’s right. Guess who’s a big fan of Walking on Cars now and totally regrets not paying more attention at the time when I actually got to see them live? Yep, you guessed it. No matter, I haven’t managed to get to see them any of the times they’ve played since, but spoiler alert, that’s going to be remedied next month thankfully.
Pangs of regret aside, this concert was absolutely phenomenal and I wouldn’t trade any part of the whole experience for anything. Not even to not make the mistakes I did, because that’s all part of the process and thereafter appreciating doing things the right way (Mostly). The atmosphere was unlike anything I had ever experienced before that moment. it was electrifying and for those few hours I was the physical embodiment of pure joy and happiness. Above all I had a great time solidifying a friendship with Christopher that stands strong to this day. In fact, he is responsible for much of the music I have discovered and am obsessed with to this day, and since Paramore we have both attended a couple more concerts, with even more on the way so you’ll be sure to see his familiar character popping up here and there. On that note however, I believe I have babbled on enough on this particular post and we have reached the end. Marvel in the wondrous quality of this ‘Paramore’ shirt, unrivaled by any official merchandising company I’m sure. And remember, keep on Merching.