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24 July 2012 @ 10:27 am
Big Time Radio Tour  
A recounting of my vacation, which included two BTR concerts and a trip to see them at a local radio station. As usual it's very detailed but I do this for myself, so I can go back later and read it and remember everything again. It was so much fun and just so amazing to be near them again.

Five months ago I had an amazing BTR experience, seeing two concerts in two days as well as getting lucky enough to watch them do a photo shoot for Bop/Tiger Beat. When it was over I didn't go through the usual post-concert depression because I was on such a high and within a few days the Big Time Summer Tour was announced, so I knew I'd be doing it all over again in July. It was a long five months, but it finally came and it was so much more incredible than I could've imagined.

My vacation started on a Wednesday, my concerts were on Thursday (Irvine, CA), and Saturday (Las Vegas, NV). I had a ticket for the San Diego show as well but financially I couldn't afford the hotel and transportation to more than two shows so I went with Irvine (travel was only $20 round trip) and Las Vegas (I had a buddy to go with there and she let me stay at her house, thank God, so obviously I chose that over San Diego, and I'm so glad I did—we had a blast together).

On Tuesday I worked a closing shift, counting down the hours until I was free. Off at ten, went home with roommate and didn't worry about packing or anything since I knew I had all day Wednesday to do everything. I hopped on Twitter to catch up and saw JoJo Wright, the KIIS FM D.J. that was on “Big Time Returns,” had tweeted about the guys being down at the studio the next day. There were passes given out that I missed, and though I tweeted JoJo asking if there was any way to still get one, I got no response. I was so bummed that I missed that opportunity. I did see a tweet from JoJo that the interview was taking place around 11 A.M. the next day, and so of course my brain started working on it.

Once again, an unexpected opportunity to meet the guys had come up. This stuff always seems to happen last minute and I stay up half the night figuring out trains and buses and it's nuts, but in the past it's been worth it. I was on vacation, and the travel was cheap enough I could do it. The chances I'd actually see any of the guys was slim but I finally figured “What the hell?” If it didn't happen, it didn't happen. It was worth a shot and I was off anyway.

My goal this time was to get a letter to Logan. A few weeks ago my buddy @krysdall wrote one to Kendall and when I read it, I was inspired to do the same. I'd been thinking about it for a few months, just putting everything I want to say in a letter because even when you do meet them, there's no time and you're flustered and yeah. But I couldn't afford VIP for my shows so I figured if I was going to meet them at all, this was my chance.

I've never been to the KIIS FM studio. I've listened to the station all my life but had no idea where it is. So I researched and figured out how to get there. It would take three buses, a train, and a subway. Five hours and I'd have to leave my house at 4 A.M. I told myself I was insane to do this because even if I made it there the chances of meeting the guys were slim. But I remembered what my roommate said last year when I said I'd be crazy to take a train to San Diego on a slim chance of meeting them. I had said, “What if I go through all of this and it doesn't work?” Her answer was, “What if it does?” And once again, that was enough for me.

So I laid down and tried to sleep. It was an hour before I managed to, which made it two hours before I had to get up, and when I woke up I said, “Kellie, you're crazy.” But I got up, got dressed, and started my journey.

Things went well until I got to L.A. I took two buses, a train, and then the subway (discovered I have a phobia of subways, who knew?), but when I got off that I was supposed to take something called the Green Bus to the station. I had searched online and found nothing about it, figured when I got there it would make sense. Nope. I asked bus drivers and Metro employees, no one had heard of such a thing. Finally a driver asked where I was trying to go and said all buses for Burbank pick up at one spot, so I went there and found a schedule that matched mine but wasn't called the Green Bus, it was called the Burbank Bus. Whatever. I got on that and it turns out there are four different lines—the one I was on is the green. Again, who knew?

On the way there we passed Heffron Drive, which I recognized from my visit there with @kathrynew30 last year at this time. I hadn't expected that, it was cool. I got off that bus and started looking for the address, turned around and there it was. I'd made it! Now just to figure out how to get inside.

I walked the plaza and found the right entrance, went inside and the directory showed the station is on the fifth floor. Went up there and the elevator opens right on the lobby of the station, so I went back down to ground level to decide how to handle this. It was about 9 A.M. by then.

As I was leaving the building I held the door for the man behind me. He thanked me and walked past, and I smiled at him and suddenly realized I knew that face. It was Hal Sparks, who I had a major crush on for a while back in 2002 or so. He played my favorite character Michael on “Queer As Folk” and Zoltan in the movie Dude, Where's My Car? and I was like “Holy shit!”

So he started walking and I'm so stupid but I had to say something so I asked, “Are you Hal Sparks?” He stopped and turned around, really surprised, and said, “I'm sorry?” I asked again, “Are you Hal Sparks?” He goes, “Uh...yeah!” He was so shocked. I said “Oh my gosh, hi, I haven't seen you in forever but I love you.” He smiled, it was so cute. He goes, “Wow, thanks!” And he'd been in a hurry so I just said, “Well, it's nice to meet you!” and he goes, “You, too!” and then he left and that was that. I had a mini freakout and tweeted and it was awesome. I met Hal Sparks!

After that I walked down to Weinerschnitzel for the bathroom and managed to eat a cheeseburger. I wasn't hungry but hadn't eaten so I figured I should. Then I walked back to the station and there were a few girls there. I knew they were for BTR but they kept mad-dogging me so fuck them. Why are some fans such bitches? We're all there for the same reason and we love the same thing so why can't we all just bond over that? The same happened back in February and I didn't understand it then, I don't understand it now.

Within ten minutes a bunch more people showed up and the plaza got full but I'd staked out a bench where I could see the entrance as well as everyone coming and going from both directions.

And then I waited. At about 10:20 the people with passes were let in and then a bunch more girls disappeared, I think to stake out the side parking lot. I stayed by the main entrance.

Dustin walked by a few minutes later with two guitars and a really hot brunette at his side that I think was probably his sister Brittany. I had decided if I saw anyone at all I would give that person my letter for Logan but his hands were full and he was in a hurry so I let him go.

By 10:35 it was just me a group of five other girls across the way. It was raining lightly off and on and I stood up to stretch my legs, restless, and moved closer to the entrance. I called @_adamantine because I felt a mild panic attack coming on out of nowhere but my phone was dying so I didn't talk long. A few minutes after hanging up I looked up and there was James, turning the corner from the side of the street I'd come in on.

God, he looked amazing. How is that man so beautiful? He literally takes my breath away. He had on a black shirt under a white button-down with jeans and was wearing his dog tag necklace and just...damn. He was beautiful. I don't even know, his face just glows and those eyes when he looks at you and just...damn. He was carrying a duffel bag in one hand and something in the other but in my head I was like, “No. You're taking my letter.” Because who knew if I'd see the other guys? And this is me we're talking about—how fitting that I would give James something for Logan, right? :)

The other girls said hi first and we stood together and they asked for pics. James was really sweet about it, said, “Sure, but I have a performance in like five minutes.” It was his way of saying “I'm in a hurry” and if there had been a lot of us, he probably wouldn't have stopped. I waited for an opening and said, “Can I just give you something really quick?” and handed him the envelope. He said, “Okay,” and looked at it, then goes, “It's for Logan. Okay.” I was like “Yeeeeeeeeah. Thank you!” He said it was no problem and maybe it was rude, but I was determined to give somebody the damn thing. He nodded and two of the girls asked me to take their picture with him and I said, “Of course!” So we did that and he said goodbye and I said, “We'll see you in Irvine!” He smiled and then went inside.

The girls and I talked for a while then, and these girls were very nice. One mentioned that Fox had been in the duffel and the rest of us were like WHAT? We hadn't even noticed, we were glued to James. I missed Fox! Though I've since talked to some people that were inside the studio and they never saw Fox, so maybe he wasn't in there. But it was his carrier, so...who knows.

No one else came by and when 11:00 hit we knew the other three had gone in a different entrance. Three of the girls left to get food, the other two hung out with me for a while. Eventually they went to move their car. The first three came back looking for the other two, then we all just chilled for a while. They decided to go for a walk but I stayed because I figured it would be ending soon, and I was right.

People started coming out with autographed pics so I stood up and walked closer to the entrance, thinking I might at least get to see James again. I noticed that all five of the nice girls walked out and had autographed pics. I was like “Oh my god, you guys got in there?!” The first two said that when they moved the car, a KIIS FM guy told them the boys were all inside already. They were bummed they'd missed Kendall, Carlos, and Logan, so the guy told them to just go in. How cool is that? The other three got in at the very end, I think by the same dude, and got pics with the boys at least. It's funny, they were afraid to tell me, thought I'd be pissed. One girl goes, “I'm sorry, I felt so bad because you were sitting out here.” She was so sweet. Sure I was bummed, but I was excited for them. They felt so bad, kept apologizing. The same girl said she couldn't believe I was so nice, that “most fans would hate us.” I was like, “Don't be sorry, it's awesome that you got in and any of us would've done the same thing.” Like I would've turned down that offer? Hell no.

I stood around the entrance some more and a few minutes later the girls came and got me, said the guys would all be leaving from the side parking lot. I considered staying out front for James, knowing he'd be coming out that way, but I really wanted to see the other guys so I followed them around to the side.

There was a group of girls back there and I knew the best we could expect was a glimpse of the guys leaving but that was okay. I'd delivered my letter and now I just really needed to see Logan. We stood around for a while doing the fangirl thing and eventually one of the girls ran up to tell us all James was out front. Most of them ran for him, the rest of us waiting where we were. They all came back pretty fast, saying he'd been too far away to catch. Then we waited some more and Ranel appeared. I had already seen Carlos' car and figured the others back there belonged to Kendall and Logan.

Ranel had come out to clear the way for Kendall, who climbed into his truck and backed out with Ranel guiding him (as well as keeping us from rushing the truck, of course). Kendall rolled down his window and waved at us, called out “Hey, ladies!” or something equally adorable, then said he was on his way to the doctor. I'd heard one girl say he didn't sing his part on “Windows Down” inside because his voice is shot. The girls all told him to get better. He waved again, blew us a kiss, and gave us that cheesy Kendall grin before driving off.

Carlos came out a while after that, looking sexy as always. He kissed his fingers and flashed us a peace sign, calling out that he loved us before getting into his car. As he drove by he stopped for a second to profess his love for us again (I love that guy), then he drove away.

At one point Ranel got into his car (which was purchased at Sage's Auto, just saying) and left, but we knew Logan hadn't come out so we waited. Ranel was gone for maybe twenty minutes, then parked again and sat in his car for a while. I moved to stand on one side of the driveway, kind of being the lookout because I could see down by the cars and from the other side you couldn't. I watched Ranel get out but all he did was smoke. Then two dudes joined him and he and I did that staring thing, where I'm watching him and he's letting me know he knows I'm watching him.

We waited forever for Logan, so long that Ranel came over to tell us that he wouldn't have time to stop and talk when he came out so we shouldn't get our hopes up. He was like “I just feel bad that you guys are waiting all this time for nothing.” We didn't care, and I was stuck there until three anyway, so why not hang out?

Ranel talked to us for quite a while. By then there were only about ten of us left. He asked what shows we were going to and where we were from, and some of the girls teased him. He's so cute! Then we asked who the little dude with him was and he motioned the kid to come join us. Turns out his name is Troy, he's nineteen, he's single, and his job is to “be Ranel's bitch.” Ranel's words, not mine. When asked what his job is, Troy replied, “Whatever Ranel tells me to do.” He's a cutie. Ranel tried to set him up with the girls, made us all follow him on Twitter. The kid held up pretty well against crazy fangirls.

Ranel and Troy went back to the building and joined the other dude again, who is obviously some kind of security. I kept watching them for signs and finally Ranel got on his phone and called someone. I figured it was Logan and sure enough, two minutes after he hung up Logan strolled out. Shades, backwards hat, backpack...typical Logan. I couldn't stop smiling. I let everyone know he was coming and the girls started screaming his name like they had for Kendall and Carlos, begging him to come over.

He spun around and waved, then turned back to talk to Ranel. Seemed like a very serious convo they had while Logan was putting his backpack in the car. Logan kept nodding and then hugged Ranel, who gave him instructions of some kind. The girls were still screaming his name so he turned to us again and waved, gave a peace sign, then got into his car.

I was still the only one on my side and I stayed there, knowing he would back out like Kendall had done (Carlos turned around before pulling out). Ranel and his dudes drove out first, then Logan backed up, stopping for a second to make sure the street was clear. He waved at the girls, then turned his head my way to check for traffic. I had backed up to stay out of his way but was still pretty close to his window. He turned his head, saw me, and we shared a smile and a nod. Then he backed into the street and drove away.

After that we all dispersed. I was desperate for a bathroom and had an hour to kill, so I walked to El Torito. Had an enchilada, then walked back to the Green Bus stop. I was exhausted, of course, but so damn happy I'd gone. It was so worth it. I delivered my letter, saw the guys, and shared a smile with Logan. I'm more than happy with my day.

It was another five-hour ride back to Riverside, but rather than go home I took the bus to work where my roommate was. It's easier to get there than take two buses home anyway, and she would be off soon so I just hung out there waiting. When I got home I had so much to do, laundry and packing and cleaning my room and I still needed to sleep at some point. I was so tired. So I napped for a few hours, then got up in the middle of the night to get everything done. It was a long two hours before I went back to bed and slept until the next morning.

I took the bus to the train station and met a woman waiting for the same train. We ended up talking for the next two hours, she was so nice and we shared our life stories (why is it we do that with strangers?) and she kept me off my phone, thank God, because it's so tempting but when I travel I have to stay off it as much as I can to conserve the battery. She got off one stop before me and then I arrived at the Irvine station.

I didn't know where I was going but had printed out directions for the entire trip so used those to find my way to Irvine Spectrum and have a sandwich before hitting the bus stop. It was so hot, oh my god. I had expected Irvine to be cooler because I remember growing up around there and it was always cooler than inland, where I live now. No, it was just plain hot. Found the bus stop and rode it to the hotel. On the way we passed the amphitheatre and I saw the sign for Big Time Rush, got all excited and tweeted about it. Less than five minutes later Kendall tweeted a pic of it and I died.

I checked into my hotel and took a shower first thing even though I'd just had one in the middle of the night. I was so hot and sweaty. Had just enough time for a nap and while I was getting ready to lay down I got a DM from @krysdall that she'd gotten a reply to her letter from Kendall. He (or someone who handles these things for him, probably his mom) had sent her an autographed pic and a guitar pick, because she had mentioned in her letter that he inspired her to learn the guitar. She was ecstatic, of course, and I was, too. It was fun to fangirl with her over it, she is so precious. Finally I slept for a bit, or tried, but I ended up watching “Victorious” off and on while I napped.

I got up to get ready and walked back to the bus stop, hopped on the bus back to Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre. Snapped a pic of the huge marquee out front and found a pedestrian walkway through the parking lot. Walking through that lot to see Big Time Rush...I can't explain the feeling. You have to understand that I've seen almost every big act I've ever loved at that amphitheatre. When I first got into BTR, I hoped that one day they'd be big enough to play there. Two years later, it came to pass. I was so emotional, tears in my eyes and I was just so damn proud of them in that moment. They've worked so hard for everything they have.

I made my way to the line in front of the place and killed an hour playing Super Mario on my DS. Most of the talk around me wasn't about BTR, but about 1D. It didn't surprise me, but it did leave my heart heavy. I learned all kinds of things I never wanted to know about Niall and Harry. I'm not blasting 1D fans, you can love who you want, but I felt like if you're at a BTR concert you should be excited about BTR. Anyway, that's my rant. It bothered me.

Finally the doors opened and we were let in. I stopped for another pic of a big sign that said “WELCOME TO BIG TIME RUSH!” Again, an amazing feeling to be there in that place and see my boys. I got in touch with the two friends I know who were there (@TowelGal_13 and Rieley, who doesn't have a Twitter but is otherwise known as epicinthelibrary), but wasn't able to find either of them. We tried.

It was a long walk up the hill to the merchandise/food/restroom area, and my first stop was the restroom. Next I hit a merchandise stand. I didn't have a lot of money to spend but at least wanted some bracelets so I could give one to @Allehcat. I checked out the other merchandise while waiting and saw that Rachel Crow has nail polish? That was weird haha. But there was a poster and shirt for a band named New Hollow that I'd never heard of. I had been really really bummed when I found out that Cody Simpson wasn't playing any of my shows and wondered if he'd be replaced with someone else. The blond guy was cute in the poster and I hoped they wouldn't be horrible.

I headed toward the seats but realized I wouldn't have a chance to eat anything until after the concert and maybe not even then if I couldn't find anything open, so I decided to get a slice of pizza. Paid over $10 for one slice and a small soda, but that's a concert for you. Most of the tables were taken but some people were sitting in the grass eating so I found a spot and got comfortable.

I'd taken maybe three bites of my pizza when I looked up and saw Kevin Schmidt walk right by me with some dude. I was like “Should I go say hi?” I didn't want to bother him. I sat there eating and debating, keeping my eye on him, and he went up to the bar. I ate some more pizza and watched as a couple girls approached him, then decided “Okay, he's already stopped, now it's not my fault if he gets mobbed.” So I walked over and stood by while he posed for pics with some fans. I had like four people come up to me and ask “Who is that?” I would say his name and it was a blank, then add “Kendall's brother” and it was OH! I heard one girl apologize to Kevin for stopping him because now there were other people keeping him there and he was so sweet, said he didn't mind at all and it was his pleasure. So in between girls I snuck up and got his attention, said I just wanted to say one thing and I'd leave him alone. He was like “Sure, okay” and held out his hand. I said, “Just wanted to thank you for your tweets, they're always positive and uplifting and they brighten my day.” OH MY GOD, HIS FACE. He totally melted, I swear I thought he was going to cry for a second. He grabbed me and pulled me in for a super tight hug and said, “Thank you so much” in my ear. I had not expected that at all and I was touched because he was so touched. When we parted I smiled and said, “Have a great night and enjoy the show!” and he said the same to me.

I walked away and around a corner and BAM. I don't know why, I started crying. I was so emotional oh my god. I would've been fine if he hadn't hugged me. I think the reason it hit me so hard is because in person he looks so much like Kendall, it's the eyes. They're blue while Kendall's are green but their faces are similar and it was like watching Kendall melt from something I'd said. Or maybe it was just that something I said had such an effect on someone. I stood there crying and shaking for a few minutes until I calmed down, then took a deep breath and moved on to my seat.

Rachel Crow went on right about then, and she was so cute. The mom next to me and I talked a little about her, how adorable she is, and I tried to find Melissa again but no luck. I texted with Rieley but there was no way for me to get down to where she was in the orchestra section.

After Rachel I went down to see if I could find Kelli Goss, because I'd heard she was there, and I was hoping to find Malese Jow as well. I really really love her music and can never get an answer when I tweet her to ask if there are plans for more or an album of any kind. Walked toward the restroom area and there was Kelli on her phone. She was with the guy who had been with Kevin earlier. I got closer and waited for her to finish her phone conversation, not wanting to be rude. She was telling someone where she was so that person could come meet up with her, and when she hung up she said, “James' friends. They have VIP but--” And I couldn't hear the rest. I approached and smiled at her and said, “Hi, I just want to say I love you!” Yes, I'm a dork. She smiled really huge and said, “Thank you so much!” and I walked on to the bathroom. When I came back out she'd been joined by another girl, another guy, and Kevin. Smiled at him as I walked by and he smiled back.

I was about halfway back to my seat when New Hollow started, and after the first few lines of the song I started rushing to get there. These dudes are AMAZING. It was a heavier rock song, my specialty, and they were talented. There was even a guitar solo! Do you KNOW how long I've missed hearing songs with guitar solos? So I was in a hurry and finally got to my section, taking my seat in row PP. I watched their set and fell in love, they are so damn awesome. And so funny, they got the crowd into it. They even covered one of my favorite songs, “Hallelujah,” and did such an amazing job I got goosebumps. There were two girls in a section away from me who were obviously big fans and were jumping and screaming and singing the whole time and at one point the guys were like “We see you up there, we love you!” The girls freaked out, it was so cute! They managed to get the crowd on their feet and owned the place. Their names are Evan, Chad, and Mick, and you will hear of them soon enough because really, they are going places. Evan said they'd be doing a meet and greet after their set and I wondered if I should go. I mean, I seriously loved these guys. I figured either way I'd go down and check it out, see if they had a CD or EP I could buy. So while their last song was on I went back down the hill and found that there was a CD for sale that contained one song, their upcoming single that will be released at the end of the month. I bought it. The line for the meet and greet was already really long so I passed on that, not wanting to miss any of BTR.

As I was walking back to my seat I passed Matt Frey posing for a pic with a fan, and wow. He is really gorgeous. I thought about stopping but by then we were down to about fifteen minutes to showtime and I knew he'd only come out to probably use the restroom or meet with someone and would be in a hurry. I didn't stop him after he took the pic. I passed Kevin again with the dude and got another smile. I swear, that guy made my night.

So I returned to my section and realized I wasn't in row PP, that's the row Melissa had said she was in. I'd sat in the wrong place for the NH set. I got confused. So when I returned to my actual row, JJ, there was a girl in my seat. I tried to get her attention and she ignored me, the bitch. Finally I forced her to look at me and explained she was in my seat, very nicely, and she glared at me. Like really? You're in someone else's seat and you're not even apologetic? The lady she was with asked where her seat was and she mumbled something, finally getting up and glaring at me again and I was like, “Sorry.” Whatever. People piss me off. But I got into my seat and talked to the mom from earlier for a bit about it and she was like “I wondered where you went, thought maybe you were in the wrong seat the first time.”

Anyway, the countdown was going and we were all excited and just...wow. There's nothing like that feeling. The concert was incredible. There are some spoilers here, so skip this paragraph if you don't want to read them. The show was just so so good and I had so much fun. My favorite moment was probably when Carlos and Kendall went to exit the stage and Kendall stopped and gestured for Carlos to go first, like “After you.” Carlos smiled and it was so adorable. When they introduced “Invisible” I got super emotional. Carlos talked about what inspired the song and about how even if they don't get back to us, they get our messages and tweets and they love us so much, they see everything, and I kept thinking of the letter I wrote Logan and how I would never know if he ever got it but it didn't matter. I'm positive James gave it to him. What happened to it after that I don't know, and I never will, but I'm going to trust them when they say they see everything and just believe in my heart that Logan read the words I wrote and they touched him. Because they would if he did. :)

I cried through most of “Invisible” and the mom next to me cried, too. She didn't know the songs but was dancing the whole time and I loved her for that, she had fun. Got to see James do his spin on the stripper pole, which is always a treat. I was reminded again that bitches love Logan. Seriously, that guy gets so much more screaming than the rest of the guys. Bitches love Logan. I'm one of them. James was gorgeous as always, singing and dancing and having fun and he ended up with most of my attention but Logan got a fair share as well. I was in the Kenlos section of the crowd, which was fun when they split everyone up, and when they came up into the crowd I had Carlos right below me, about ten rows ahead. I couldn't see him because everyone was standing but Kendall was in front of the next section over so I got to watch him instead. I love that they split everything up into Kenlos/Jagan, even when joking onstage. My shipper heart was happy. They teased Logan because he took forever to come out after a wardrobe change and he goes, “I just want to look good for everybody.” The crowd swooned, I swear. Logan. LOGAN. FUCK. HE IS SO BEAUTIFUL. “Windows Down” was amazing. Probably the most fun song I've ever seen performed at any concert in my life. I already want to go back.

After the concert it took forever to get back out to the parking lot, the set-up of that place is horrible and it's like a traffic jam just walking down the hill. I was terrified I'd miss my bus and my phone was dead so I couldn't even call a cab. The hotel was three miles away and it was after ten. I was frustrated but finally got to the lot and rushed through it to the walkway, hearing “Windows Down” from every car that passed with...well, with windows down haha. Another amazing feeling, hearing BTR blasted in that very parking lot I'd been in so many times before. This time it was my boys.

I made it to the bus stop after a dark trek through a dirt sidewalk and joined a girl and her grandmother there. They'd been at the concert and were looking at pics she'd taken. I didn't say anything until the grandma brought up New Hollow and how great they were, and then I couldn't keep my mouth shut. We all talked and they said Chad's grandparents had been sitting right in front of them and they were so proud, shooting video and his grandma kept telling everyone “That's my grandson!” How precious. We started talking about BTR of course and the show, and the grandma (whose name was Lana, both of them were named Lana actually) started gushing because she'd gotten a Carlos hug when he was singing in the crowd. She was at the bottom of my section. She was so excited, and I was so happy for her, and she looked at her granddaughter (who was about 20) and said, “Who did I tell you earlier was my favorite? That's right, Carlos. And now you see why.” Oh my god, she was so funny. She asked my sign and I told her, then I impressed her by knowing Logan's moon sign and we talked astrology and BTR for a while. She was like “You know those Leos, they have to be the center of attention but Carlos does it in a way that's not arrogant.” I agreed completely. They'd gone through hell just to get into the show, originally showing up to the parking lot intending to just listen to the concert. They didn't have tickets. Finally they decided to just see how much tickets were and they couldn't afford two, but another fan got upgraded and gave her lawn ticket to the younger Lana. She didn't want to go without her grandma though so older Lana broke down and bought a lawn ticket, too. But they couldn't get up to the lawn, grandma has bad knees and couldn't make the trek because there isn't handicapped access. So she bitched out security and they escorted the Lanas to the handicapped walkway so they ended up with good seats after all. When grandma said she was disappointed in the venue and was going to complain, I said, “But you got a Carlos hug. That's why it happened the way it did.” And she got all excited again over Carlos. SO CUTE OMFG. Then she got really serious and said, “You know, there's something about these boys. They're just good boys and they're humble and you can't help but love them. There's no one else like them.” Again, I agreed one hundred percent. Even grandma Lana can see it.

I ended up missing my bus stop because I was too busy talking to the Lanas so walked over a mile in the dark but it was fine. I was still buzzing on adrenaline and excitement. Stopped at a gas station for a sandwich and drinks, then returned to my hotel room. My whole body hurt and I was hot and sweaty and so exhausted but pumped, so I took another shower and then caught up on Twitter while eating my sandwich. Crashed eventually, knowing I had to get up early to take the train home for a few hours before leaving for Vegas.

The ride home from Irvine was uneventful, caught a bus from the train station. First thing I did when I got home was find out more about New Hollow. Downloaded the few songs available on my iPod and read about them, turns out they've opened for BTR before a few times, on the last summer tour. They've actually had two number one hits on the Billboard chart without even being signed or having an album or radio play. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? BECAUSE THEY'RE THAT AWESOME. Found out my friend @ItsJustLivvy is a huge fan, knows them because they're local. So that's awesome. I tweeted them and asked if they were opening for BTR in Vegas, said they'd impressed the hell out of me and I hoped to see them again. Mick replied that yes they were and thanked me with a smiley face and I flailed haha.

After that I researched the layout of Mandalay Bay and figured out where the buses would be parked. It looked extremely accessible and unless there was security (I figured there would be) we would be able to get back there easily. Tried not to get my hopes up but was excited anyway.

I napped for a few hours and packed for the Vegas trip, catching a ride with roommate to my bus stop because it was so damn hot and she was going out anyway. Good thing I did because I'd read the bus schedule wrong and would've missed that bus. Got to the Greyhound station and waited for my bus, which didn't show. The clerk said it had never made it to the previous stop, which concerned us. Said a quick prayer for those people and that driver, figured out there was another bus leaving an hour later, and settled in to wait. My bus finally did show up about a half hour late, he'd had a flat tire. Thankfully the layover in San Bernardino was 45 minutes so I still managed to make the connecting bus there, but only barely.

And then I was on my way! I was excited about the whole thing, being back in Vegas again (I used to live there) and seeing my buddy Noemi (@Lil_Mims). We went to the L.A. concert together back in February and tried to meet the guys but it was impossible there. I was really hoping to find them for her this time, because she's never even been to a signing and has been dying to meet them for two years. The bus ride passed quickly, I spent it listening to New Hollow and learning their songs and playing more Mario, and when we got close I switched to BTR and got excited all over again. I loved it, when we pulled into Vegas “Windows Down” was playing and it was perfect, that whole “when I'm rollin' through your town” thing. And then “City Is Ours” came on and that was even more perfect. Vegas was going to be their city for a day and I was there for it. I was so excited!

Noemi and her aunt and uncle met me at the station and we drove to their house, Noemi and I excited and fangirlly and just happy to be together again. We stayed up late talking about the boys and the concert and I told her everything I'd researched and that we had a chance and we were so ready for this. I don't know how we slept that night.

We'd decided to get to the hotel around ten, knowing the guys had probably headed over directly after the San Diego show (which I realized I'd missed for a reason—had I gone, I wouldn't have gotten to Vegas until Saturday afternoon and there would no time to try to meet the band at that point, we assumed there was a meet and greet). So I was okay with missing San Diego, even though of course it would've been fun and I could've met two of my Twitter buddies that I haven't met yet. Since I'd had my moment with James at the radio station and given him the letter, I was content with that for myself but for Noemi, I was determined to get to them today. She wanted to at least see them up close if we could work that out, since the most she'd ever gotten was the guys driving by in a car on the way out of the O.C. Fair last year (which is where we met!).

So we got up early and got ready. I watched “Spongebob” while waiting for her to finish showering and stuff, and when she got out we both got sucked into the show and wasted some time watching it haha. What can you do, it's Spongebob and we hadn't seen the episode before.

We took two buses, the second letting us off at Excalibur. The Luxor is between Excalibur and Mandalay Bay so it was kind of surreal to see The Luxor again after writing about it in my story. I had to get pics. But we were walking to the tram at Excalibur and in the distance we could see the big flashing billboard for Mandalay Bay and I said, “Wouldn't it be cool if we were walking and BTR flashed on the screen?” So we stopped for a second and BOOM. A nice long advertisement for the show. We squealed and jumped and acted like silly fangirls and got all excited again, then made our way to the tram. It let us off at Mandalay Bay but inside, of course, and I had worked out that we should skirt the buildings outside to get around to the back of the property where the buses would be parked. So we tried to find an exit but we couldn't! We walked through the casino and the restaurant area and kept seeing signs for the show and taking pics and that was pretty awesome. We also saw signs that Sublime was playing there that night and we immediately thought of Kendall and agreed he would find a way to get to that concert. We had no doubt that as long as they weren't onstage while Sublime was, Kendall would be there. Filed that info away for later.

We finally made it closer to the Events Center but we needed to be behind it and couldn't get there from inside. We kept going, looking for an exit and passing by these big huge windows that looked down on the massive pool area. Noemi said, “What if they're down there right now chilling in the pool?” I doubted it but we scanned the people anyway. We spotted the stage Sublime would be playing on (it's literally right in the pool) but no boys. So we continued on and found an exit FINALLY. It took us around the pool area. We also passed two buses parked there that had “Beware of Dog” signs and wondered if it was the boys but they weren't parked near the Events Center, so we figured they probably belonged to Sublime.

As we were walking we saw a guy that looked a lot like Carlos and got closer but realized it wasn't him. Poor Noemi, she's a Carlos girl and her heart stopped for a second. We finally reached the outer perimeter of the property and walked around it. It was blazing hot, over 105 degrees, and thank God we had water even though it wasn't cold anymore. But we walked around the convention center and kept going until we found the driveway I'd seen online. There were five buses parked right there and we recognized them from the pic James' sister Ali had tweeted earlier of their mom and Fox. So we knew we were in the right place.

There was another driveway a little further on and while we sat on a curb resting and deciding where to take up residency to wait, a few carts passed us with what looked like stage equipment. They kept going into the next driveway, so we walked further and looked in, but we couldn't really see where it led. There was also a security booth, so we knew better than to try getting closer. A couple of security guys had already spotted us, we stuck out of course, so we kept walking to the parking structure on the other side of the driveway.

Once in there we went up a level and looked down. It was definitely the place where equipment was being brought in but we couldn't see the actual entrance from our angle. We eventually decided to head back to the buses and chill there for a few hours, figuring we might get lucky. You never know.

It was so damn hot and it was noon, so no shade anywhere. We stood there looking around for a place to sit that wouldn't burn our butts because our feet were already killing us and the only shade was right up against the building across from the buses. Our view would be blocked from there by the bus parked sideways along the front of the other four. I saw a stairwell leading up and down in a corner and there was shade as well as a perfect place to see anyone moving to and from the buses while we would be mostly hidden but close enough to catch anyone that went by. So we snuck around to the stairwell and settled in, and a few people walked back and forth. Noemi recognized their trainer's assistant Alec from pics they've tweeted, he went into one of the buses a few times. Kendall's dad showed up and hung around for a while waiting for people. One of those dudes looked over the wall at us and I'm like “Hi!” with this huge grin and after that he ignored us haha. Some other dudes showed up and they all got into a van and took off. We sat there a while talking and finally I decided to go up a flight of stairs to see if I could see anything from above. I discovered what we hadn't been able to see from that other driveway, that there were two buses parked right up against the back entrance to the building.

So we'd been waiting near the crew's buses and couldn't get to the boys'. Conceding defeat, we decided to go find food and a place to charge our phones. We kept thinking about those other two buses by the pool, though, with the dog signs, so we walked back over there for one more look. Couldn't hurt. Found nothing but decided for sure the buses belonged to Sublime since we knew where the BTR buses were.

As we hadn't eaten and it was after one, we were starving. We walked around Mandalay Bay looking for a place to eat that wasn't $20 per person and finally decided to go elsewhere. I knew there was a food court at Excalibur.

We took the tram back over there and ended up eating at Buca di Beppo. The food was amazing and we took our time, knowing the meet and greet/soundcheck would be starting soon and the guys wouldn't be out and about anyway. My phone was at half power when we sat down and ten minutes later it was dead. The battery was burning up. The guys hadn't tweeted a word all day except James to say he wasn't sick, just tired, which was frustrating (not that James wasn't sick but that they hadn't tweeted), but it's Vegas. Either they were relaxing or out enjoying the city while they could, so we weren't surprised.

About an hour in I had to pee so I went in search of a bathroom and when I came back Noemi was checking Twitter. I sat down and her face fell. “Look what Logan tweeted.”

Forty minutes earlier he had tweeted that he was hanging by the pool. We stared at each other and for what only be one of many times that day, I said, “Fucking Logan.” Had my phone not died we would've seen that tweet sooner. And apparently they weren't doing VIP for that show? I wish I'd known that ahead of time.

At that point we begged for our check and left in a hurry, making a mad dash across three hotels in hopes he'd still be at the pool. Good news is we knew exactly where it was by now. Everything happens for a reason! After dealing with a tram that never showed, crowded walkways (but hey, I got to walk through the area of The Luxor I wrote about!), and a stupid shopping center we couldn't find our way out of, we finally got back to Mandalay Bay and rushed toward the pool area.

We stood above at the windows looking down again and scanned the people. Noemi spotted Dustin, then we looked at the other people around him. Dude in shades and a backwards cap, I think I let out a noise at that point. Shirtless and in board shorts, and the way he moved—definitely Logan. Noemi pointed out Carlos next to some guy in a hat (he was referred to as Hat Guy after that and we thought it might be James but the hat was pulled low so it was hard to tell). They were in a row of lounge chairs and at the other end of it we found Kendall. Dustin disappeared and Logan stood over Kendall talking to him for a minute, then he went to the pool. It looked like he wanted to go in but not alone. Kendall called out to him, encouraging him with a wave, but he ended up going back to the chairs and joining the guys. The trainer dude was with them as well as a guy we called White Shades. Kendall moved closer to our end and when I saw his back I realized it couldn't be him because Kendall doesn't have a big round mole on his back. GO AHEAD, LAUGH. I AM AN IDIOT. This is where I later wanted to kick myself because DUH, KELLIE. IT'S HIS TATTOO. I swear, my brain was not working. I will never live that down. But they lounged for a bit and I remembered seeing the entrance to the pool area below. From above we found a perfect place with a view of them, so we booked it down to the pool area and watched from outside the gate. Our hope was to catch them on the way out, even though we felt creepy just watching them hang out and have fun. I was determined to get Noemi to them somehow, but in a way that wouldn't be bothering them. We agreed that we didn't want to intrude on their private time but if we happened to catch them walking between the pool and the hotel, that was fair. Logan was the idiot who tweeted their location anyway.

So we settled downstairs and watched them for a bit, and at some point Carlos, Logan, and Kendall disappeared. It was easy to lose sight of them from our perch. Noemi actually saw Carlos walking toward the pool (she had the better view), so when only Hat Guy and White Shades were left we waited a bit to see if they'd come back. They didn't.

We went back upstairs to the window and found them all over on the other side at the pool area near the stage. They played in the water for a bit and this time we saw James for sure. Kendall spun around at one point and I saw his “mole” again and that's when it clicked. I laughed so hard at myself and told Noemi why. I'm such a dork.

Eventually they all left. We lost sight of James, Carlos, and Logan, but I saw Kendall walk toward the hotel through the restaurant/bar and knew they had gone out another exit. Still, we were happy. More than happy. It was wonderful to see them relaxed and happy and just enjoying themselves. And shirtless. Yeah.

While we were standing there I saw Randy pass right below us with his lady. I freaked out a little because I love Randy like crazy and we went downstairs but they were gone. I would've felt weird approaching but Noemi said the girl's probably used to it by now. Either way, I got to see Randy and I'm happy.

After that we still had a few hours to kill so we chilled in some chairs in an almost deserted area near the convention center and I charged my phone for a while. I was relieved to see it was charging, I'd been worried it was completely dead. It felt so good to relax in a cool climate. I laid down on a bench and we got our energy back, finally heading for the Events Center at about six.

We got to our seats and I was pleasantly surprised to find we were on the opposite side of where the online seating chart had shown. This meant that it would be Logan and James running up the aisle next to us, not Kendall and Carlos. Noemi was bummed about missing Carlos but I was ecstatic. All I wanted was a Logan moment. Just one look or smile or anything, a moment with Logan. We figured out that he would probably go up the stairs just ahead of us but I hoped he'd come closer anyway. All I wanted was Logan.

Rachel Crow came out, and as always she was adorable. Noemi really enjoyed her set. I couldn't wait for it to be over (no offense, Rachel) so I could see New Hollow again.

The crowd energy was amazing, way more than Irvine had been. Rachel commented on it (in fact every act did, and I know they don't say that at every show). I felt it too, the room was alive.

Noemi did a Twitter check to see that Carlos had tweeted about going to see Sublime after the concert. We agreed to make a mad dash the second it was over and beat the guys over there, hoping to at least see them walk by. We knew better than to stop them because they'd be in a hurry.

So New Hollow came out and of course I stood up and screamed and sang and went crazy, and Noemi was right there with me. She loved them! Most of the audience around us seemed to as well—I'm telling you, this band is going to explode once they get an album out. They announced again they'd be doing a meet and greet and Noemi encouraged me to go meet them. I didn't want to because I knew the line would be long and I didn't want to miss any of BTR. People were already rushing out to line up for it and the band was still on stage. I realized, though, that these guys are going places. Pretty soon they won't be doing shows like this with meet and greet opportunities. So I decided to miss the last song and get in line.

It was already huge. I stood in it for a long time and when they came out to start it, it was fifteen minutes until BTR. I finally decided to miss part of the BTR, telling myself “You've seen it before, it'll be fine. You won't get this chance again.”

Five minutes later I left the line. I just couldn't miss my boys, not even one song. I love New Hollow, but those are my boys in there and not even NH compares. It was like a moment of clarity, and suddenly I was just so full of love for my boys that I was emotional. There is nothing like Big Time Rush.

I walked up to the table where Evan, Mick, and Chad were posing with fans and took a few pictures of them. I noticed they're not quite comfortable with it just yet, the whole pictures-with-fans thing. They'll get there soon enough, but it's still awkward for them.

As I was rushing back to my seat Noemi called me, we were at the two-minute mark. I made it back just in time and was so glad I hadn't stayed out there. I love BTR so much. Just so much. And I was emotional all over again as the concert started and the boys came out.

It ended up being the best concert yet. Part of it was having Noemi there to fangirl with, part of it was having good seats, but mostly it was the energy. It was just a damn good show that night.

During the first two songs we were a little concerned about Kendall. He looked like it was taking everything he had to make it through. He perked up after that, though, and for the rest of the show he was good. Amazing, actually, they were all just having so much fun up there. A lot of cute moments, what stands out are two in particular. When we screamed out our favorite Beatles songs, they huddled to “discuss” what they'd heard and Carlos mentioned Spongebob Squarepants. Kendall's all “Do we know the words to that?” and then sang a line. I love these boys. Also at one point Carlos smacked James' butt with his sweaty towel and then took off running. James looked like he wanted to give chase but didn't.

Every time they showed Logan on the screen my heart went crazy. My eyes kept following James, they always seem to do that, but I would get all melty when watching Logan sing. What is it about him?

So finally the time came. Staff had put up caution tape at the end of the aisles to keep us from rushing the guys when they passed. Being two seats in, though, I knew we'd at least get James, and hopefully Logan.

They left the stage and I pulled Noemi to the aisle. Logan stopped halfway to us but James was RIGHT THERE. I kept wishing Logan would come closer but he didn't, so I focused on the beautiful creature right in front of me. I was mesmerized by James. I love watching him sing and dance, it's one of my favorite things about him. He jumped down from the stack he was standing on and I turned away to see the back of Logan's head within arm's reach and moving away. My heart dropped. I'd missed Logan RIGHT FUCKING THERE. Noemi got a wink and smile from him before he turned away. I was so pissed at myself, and at James for being so amazing. Of course James came back to sing near us again and I was over being mad at him. He just has this power over me. I hate it. He was happy and beautiful and having fun and I love him so much. I love James when he's in that mode, performing and giving it his all.

We didn't want it to end, it was the most incredible concert ever. Finally it did, and the second they left the stage we booked it for the pool entrance. We made it there within ten minutes, now pros at finding our way to the pool, and hung out where people were entering. We thought maybe they'd use a different entrance but ours was right in line between the Events Center and the stage area. We knew they would waste no time, especially Kendall, and figured if they didn't show within twenty minutes we'd go. We still had a bus to catch.

Sublime hit the stage right when we got there. We watched both directions, hoping just to see them. We weren't going to stop them, but Noemi wanted just one up-close experience with them.

A few other Rushers showed up after a bit. Ten more minutes passed and we wondered if we'd been too late but I told Noemi there was no way they beat us from the concert. Our fear was that there was another entrance we didn't know about or couldn't get to.

A Sublime song I love came on and I said, “Okay, let's just wait out this song.” We really didn't want to give up. So we were just talking and a little ways down the path I see two dudes literally run by. My first thought was Kendall. Kendall would be running to a Sublime concert. I started walking that way, telling Noemi that I think I saw him, and the Rushers behind us started running. I knew it had to be Kendall, and probably Logan as well. I mean, they're always together, right?

So we headed that way, figuring we wouldn't catch them and knowing Kendall wouldn't stop even if we did want him to (not that I blame him, I wouldn't stop for someone if BTR was performing). We went around a bend and all the other Rushers were running after Kendall and Logan, but we stopped. It was a lost cause.

A small group had come out of the hotel after we walked past a door, and Noemi turned back when she realized we hadn't seen the other guys yet. I heard her hiss, “Kellie!” I looked back and she had that look we all get, that “Holy shit they're right here I'm freaking out” deer-caught-in-the-headlights look. She whispered, “Carlos!”

The group was the rest of the guys and some other people, Carlos and James leading the way. I went through that mental, “Be cool, don't scare them, be respectful” thing in my head and we moved to the side of the path to let them pass. I remember seeing Carlos and then looking up at James, who was closest to us, and after that my eyes never left him. They just don't leave him when he's near, it's ridiculous. He glanced at us and we got the little James smile but that was fine. I didn't expect them to be thrilled, they were in a hurry and missing the concert. Noemi later told me Carlos looked extremely pissed, not like at us but maybe at himself for tweeting where they'd be. She said he looked over and gave a quick smile but wasn't happy. But we let them pass, happy just to see them and be acknowledged, and when James' eyes met mine with that little smile I said, “Hey.” For a second he had that “I know you” look and considering I was wearing the same exact outfit I'd worn three days earlier and we'd spoken to each other, I'm pretty sure he at least knew he'd seen me before. So there's that. I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing with James, though haha. But he nodded in a “Hey, what's up?” fashion and I was happy.

They passed by and we were all excited and as we headed back into the hotel we were talking about how we felt bad they were going to get stopped by the other girls up ahead. And then I said I was bummed we'd missed Kendall and Logan and Noemi goes, “What? Logan was with them.” I said, “What? Right now?” “He was with them, walking right behind James! Like two steps behind him, you didn't see?”

No. I hadn't seen. I was too busy with James. Once again, Logan was right in front of me and I was mesmerized by James. Noemi said he'd been bopping his head to the music and nodded at her as he passed. The one I assumed was Logan with Kendall had obviously been Dustin, which makes perfect sense. Had I not assumed that, though, I would've been looking for Logan. Damn that James.

But all in all, we're super happy. Noemi felt bad that Carlos was angry but I told her not to, he had tweeted the location and at least we were respectful and didn't make it worse by trying to hold them up. She was ecstatic to get that close to them, except of course for Kendall, but that's fine. We really did have an incredible day and got so much more than we expected to. Again, I'm so lucky and blessed. Just so lucky.

It took us a while to get home on the buses and we spent it reliving everything. Once we got back to her house we were both exhausted, it came over us suddenly and I'd imagined we'd spend the night talking but instead we both passed out. We had to be up early to get me to the bus station anyway.

So the next morning we got up and took a bus to the station, and she waited with me until my bus came. I was so sad, I didn't want to leave! Even if the guys were already gone on their way to Mountain View (another show I'd hoped to go to but couldn't afford, but I'm okay with it), Vegas was a magical place for us. And it was so awesome to spend time with Noemi again, she's so wonderful. We only see each other for concerts but we always have a blast and enjoy fangirling because neither of us has anyone in our “real” lives to do that with. Plus it was our one-year anniversary, we actually got to be together on that day! How cool is that?

The bus ride was long but I made it home and crashed, having not slept much on the bus. I was still too excited about everything. Post-concert depression set in as I was leaving Vegas and the only thing keeping me from getting too sad is knowing I'll see them again in September, this time with Kathryn. I can't wait. Who knows what that day will bring? No matter what, I'll be seeing my boys in concert again and that's enough. Meeting them and being in their presence is the most incredible feeling, but even without that I'm content and happy just to experience the joy they bring every day.

There is nothing like Big Time Rush.
 
 
Current Mood: peacefulpeaceful
 
 
 
hardysmidgen: AiGin by yuusei_enigmahardysmidgen on July 24th, 2012 11:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you for sharing this, though I definitely know what you mean about writing it in depth for yourself/your memory. :) It was so wonderfully detailed that I felt like I got a mini tour of the concert experience through you (though I'm out of touch with following BTR so closely, so I don't know who Randy is, haha!). It sounds like you had a magical time! Hope all is well with you.
stoodupforlovestoodupforlove on July 26th, 2012 02:59 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I do this every time I have an encounter of any kind because I like to go back and read it later when life has moved on.

Randy plays bass for them haha. I love that guy!

I did have a fun time, thanks. And I hope the same for you!
Amberfeverromance on July 25th, 2012 09:29 am (UTC)
I uh. Don't have anything to say except... WOW.
stoodupforlovestoodupforlove on July 26th, 2012 02:59 pm (UTC)
Wow? Good wow, bad wow? You make me nervous, Amber.
Amberfeverromance on July 26th, 2012 03:13 pm (UTC)
Good wow, of course. What else? Just happy you got a moment with James :)
stoodupforlovestoodupforlove on July 26th, 2012 03:17 pm (UTC)
Yeah. I got that. I think I'm going to DM you because I'm having moments and they're not fun and why do I let things get to me? But I love you.