By Emily Vescio
It was hot and the music was too loud for my pounding head to handle. I was in the backseat of a rental car, straddling the border of Victoria and South Australia headed to a show in Adelaide, and I was crying my eyes out. My phone was blowing up with anonymous messages from people saying I didn’t deserve to be where I was.
My friends and I had missed our early flight from Melbourne to Adelaide, and the doors to the show’s venue were due to open in a few short hours. A whirlwind decision saw us renting a car from the first place that would even look at three minors in track pants.
I wasn’t crying because of my headache, or the fact that we might have missed our favourite band on stage if we didn’t pick up the pace- but the influx of anonymous messages that were like little knives to the soul.
About once a year for the last three years, I’ve dropped everything and headed to the airport to follow my favourite band to multiple shows.
In 2019, I went to seven cities and eight concerts in nine days, and I was absolutely wrecked. I’m talking feet so sore that every step feels like it’s on burning hot rocks, embarrassingly colourful bruises on every part of my body and a flu that hung around for far longer than I ever thought possible.
People ask why I do it. “Why go through all this to see the same show so many times? How is that worth feeling like shit at the end of it all?”
I’ll tell you what I tell anyone who asks me, I would do it forever if it was possible.
There will come a day when the band will stop touring, or I won’t be in a position to take an extended amount of time off, so I plan on milking it while I can. As soon as they announce the tour I’m already planning out how much it’ll cost and saving every cent, and as soon as it’s over I can’t stop thinking about what happened and when the next one will be announced.
A couple days prior, my friends were replying to messages they’d gotten from people on the anonymous Q&A platform CuriousCat. They were all lighthearted and often kind, a few saying they’d seen some of our interactions with the band and sending us videos they had. I previously hadn’t made an account but thought there’d be no harm in making one now. What I didn’t expect was the influx i got almost immediately of people attacking me for being at the barrier at three consecutive shows. I’d spent the days lining up in the freezing cold, because there’s no better way to experience a show than to be at the front. Soon, they started to get a bit more personal – coming for my appearance, weight, and my friends.
The way I responded to these definitely wasn’t the most mature way to handle it, but after copping this kind of bullying since I was young, I hit them back with a beautiful mix of sarcasm and narcissism. I tried to keep it lighthearted and not let anyone know it was getting to me. I’m not going to stand pack and say I was an angel. I got into the middle of a couple altercations, more often than not trying to diffuse situations that arose and keep everyone focussed on the reason we were even there. Being loud and outspoken, things I say can quickly be turned and I come across rude and my intentions are spun to suit the narrative.
During the show in Adelaide, I left in the middle of the set because of a panic attack I had caused by all these messages. It hit me right at the worst moment. I’ve been to 18 LANY shows, and never once have I left, and I’ve definitely almost passed out at one of their shows before.
To this day, I have no idea who sent those messages, but I do know this: My experience wasn’t tainted by the anonymous cowards in any conceivable way- and Adelaide would’ve been shit regardless.