*Before I say anything else, I just wanted to warn you that this post is extremely long because I have a tendency to ramble on. I wanted to write this post down for me, so I can remember it, but I don't expect anybody to sit through and read it to the end, so please don't feel obliged to!
Last Sunday, I stuck a middle finger up to my disc injuries and took a little trip away from home to cross something off my bucket list that's been high on the list for nine years. I finally managed to see Fall Out Boy perform live!
I've been a big fan of Fall Out Boy since about 2005 but I never managed to see them play live the first time around. So when they reunited last year and announced a European tour, I was like a kid on fizzy pop in a sweet shop at Disneyland and nothing could've stopped me from getting tickets. Not even the concerns my family voiced repeatedly over the six months leading up to it. I knew I had to go.
I spent the weeks leading up to it making a plan to try to make the trip as easy as possible on myself and my physical limitations. I was supposed to be going with my younger sister, Sarah, but a week or so before the gig she slipped and suffered a bad concussion from hitting her head on a lamp post, and wasn't well enough to go. Nobody else could make it on short notice, so my older sister came with me instead. My parents were kind enough to go out of their way to drive us the eighty miles up to Birmingham so we'd make it in time, as the sister had prior commitments in the middle of nowhere and a poorly car.
The drive up on Sunday afternoon was gorgeous. It was an unseasonably warm 18 degrees Celsius; all blue skies and sunshine, and felt like an early summer's day. The fields were a really vibrant green from all that rain we've had recently. Most of the trees were blossoming and there were cheerful yellow daffodils everywhere. It was hard not to smile at the early signs of Spring.
I took these photos of the sun going down from the car and love the way I caught the rays in the photos.
I traveled up in a very rare all-black outfit, but didn't get time to take a decent photo of it. I still bloody love this Alice & You dress and can't stop wearing it! It also happens to be really comfortable for travelling in.
I wore the shrug with a black bird print dress, leggings, and studded ankle boots to the gig, but time was so tight I didn't get a photo.
We arrived at the train station at the International Airport / LG Arena around 6pm, jumped on a train to the New Street station, and grabbed a taxi to the hotel. We had just enough time to check in, drop our bags off, and change before taking another cab to the NIA arena.
I've only been to the Birmingham NIA once before- to see Kings of Leon in 2010- and it definitely isn't my favourite place to see a show. It's a bit of a dive and I think it looks like it could've been a race track for greyhounds in a previous life... but needs must. We had seats in block 12, the tier nearest the stage, which gives a pretty decent view. We were practically in the same seats as for KOL, and I'd forgotten just how little space there was to move. Sitting down, my knees were pressed against the row in front, and I'm only 5'6''! My sister is much taller and had to sit side-ways on until the show started. When everyone was seated during the support act, I got a pretty bad cramp in my thigh and couldn't stretch to get rid of it. Ouch!
We arrived in time to catch a few songs from The Pretty Reckless, the support act. I'd never heard their music before, but they were pretty good. I was impressed with the drummer. I'm going to have to check out some of their music.
I was bursting with excitement by the time Fall Out Boy finally came on stage around 9 o' clock. They opened with a killer performance of The Phoenix, wearing balaclavas (as a reference to the music video) and waving a white FOB flag.
They were incredible! They performed a good mix of new and old songs from all of their albums, including most of the songs from Save Rock and Roll. I couldn't tell you which part was my favourite because the entire set was amazing. I was blown away by how beautiful Patrick's voice is; he sure can sing live! I think he's so underrated as a musician. I was impressed with
Howard Wolowitz's Joe's guitar solo and spent most of the show entranced by topless Andy's impressive drumming. (Sorry, not sorry). I would never have really classed Fall Out Boy as a rock band, but they sure have that sound live! I was really surprised because I think the instruments are very subtle on their albums. It sounded amazing. I'd put this gig up there with the Linkin Park one I saw a few years ago!
I didn't really take any photos as I wasn't close enough for clear shots, but I did video most of it! My camera has a 14 x optical zoom and records in HD, so my videos are always so much clearer than my photos. I've added a few of the clearest ones below.
There are also a couple of short videos on my Instagram: Thnks Fr Th Mrs and I Don't Care.
I spent the show wobbling like a newborn giraffe; my legs and arms were shaking due to the pain. The sciatica in my leg was hurting me even more than my back, so I spent most of the show sitting down, which was okay as I had a clear view for most of the gig. It was without a doubt one of the best shows I've ever seen, and I don't regret putting myself through the extra pain for a second. I can finally cross the goal of seeing Fall Out Boy live off of my bucket list and I can't wait to see them again one day.
We stayed in Birmingham over night in a Premier Inn on Waterloo Street, which I'd pre-booked for the bargain price of £43. I almost always use Premier Inn's for my concert travels, and this one was in a lovely location. The buildings were beautiful, and there were some glamorous looking bars and boutiques along the street.
From our room, we had a gorgeous view. Just in front of the window and to the left was this beautiful building. Can you believe this is a Caffe Nero?!
And to the right we could see this stunning little cathedral. (I think it was the Cathedral of St. Phillip). I awakened to the sound of pretty church bells at ten to eight after two and a half hours sleep, and I didn't even mind. It was in a square just across from the hotel, and I really wanted to take a look around, but we didn't have time. It was surrounded with trees, and a small cemetery, and it would've been gorgeous to photograph. I'll have to go back one day, and I'd definitely stay in that hotel again. The staff were very friendly, and the room was comfortable; it even had a walk in shower instead of a tub- always helpful when you struggle to get in and out of the bath like I do!
The morning after, I was in agony and hurting all over, but as I had nothing to eat the day before at all, we took a taxi to the Bull Ring to get some breakfast and pay a very quick visit to Selfridges. We walked through Debenhams who had the craziest animal lamps and had a quick browse of the make up and food hall at Selfridges. The food hall floor also has a Paperchase on it... When my sister realized this, she banned me from looking as I would never have left... but I still came out with a beautiful little seahorse print notebook! Mwahahaha!
There were lots of foreign treats to browse through and I found some of my favourite Irish Dairy Milk bars, so I came away happy! Irish Dairy Milk is so much richer than English Cadbury's, but this is the first time I've found it outside of Ireland.
I also brought home some Hello Panda biscuits which are from Singapore. They remind me of those Cartoony biscuits that were around in the nineties; does anyone remember those?
By the time we went for our train at midday, I was struggling with the pain. I was glad to get on it, and thankfully, it was a comfortable journey because we booked first class seats home. I've never travelled first class before, but the tickets were only £2 more than the standard fair for the same train, so we couldn't resist. (We saved something ridiculous like £120 on our tickets!) The seats were the perfect shape to support my spine, so I was relatively comfortable and just sat back and enjoyed the view from the windows.
My Dad kindly came to pick us up from the train station in Oxford by which time I was in agony. I crawled straight in to bed when I got home, and have barely been able to move since. I slept for fourteen hours on and off on Monday night, and awoke on Tuesday evening to find everything from the neck down (the neck included) hurt like hell.
A couple of days on and the pain is still horrendous, but it's easing back from the uninjured body parts and is mostly confined to my back, torso, and left leg. I still can't so much as sit up in bed, but I don't regret going ; not for a second. It's a small price to pay for twenty-two hours of normalcy, I really do believe that. I've lost so much in my life that made me who I am... or was... and sometimes I just need to grab a piece of it back, if even just for a night. I don't know if that makes any sense, but to me it does. I love music and I love live music even more. It's one of my favourite vices in life, and I honestly can't think of many things I love more than seeing my favourite bands perform live on stage. If it turns out I have to live with back pain for the rest of my life, then I would happily put myself through this pain again and again to enjoy a new show here and there.
I crossed something of my bucket list on Sunday night, and I'm so glad I was there to do it! Fall Out Boy were incredible live, and my only problem now is that I I'm dying to see them again! Gigs are like tattoos or Pringles; when you get a taste for them, one is never enough! I can't wait for the next tour!
Have you been to a Fall Out Boy gig? What's the best band or singer you've ever seen in concert? Let me know in the comments!