Following Foo for a week
There was a one week, not too long ago, where my friend, Juliette, and I chose to follow our favorite band around the Midwest. In that week, we learned how little sleep and food the human body needs to survive. It’s less than you think.
We saw 8 concerts in 8 days, and it was the best week of our lives. We are amazed at the hospitality and favors by other Foo fans. People extended so many acts of kindness, and we really do feel like family after railing with some of them.
It’s been 2 weeks, and we’re still talking about the best week of our lives and planning our next Foo adventure. Hope to see you there.
Kansas City- Chris Shiflett at Knuckleheads
Our trip started with a stop in Kansas City. We both arrived the day of Chris Shiflett’s acoustic show, which was the day before the Foo show. Juliette made it to a lunch time show, and we met up at a casino with the other friends for lunch. We had a blast, and went to Shifty’s show later that night. His opening act was a different, and had a stomp box that kept us on our toes. Shifty had an awesome acoustic set, and the sound at Knuckleheads was phenomenal. Shifty later did selfies with the audience, and a big group of us Foo friends got in one picture (possibly my favorite fan pic of the entire week). It was my first time meeting Shifty, and I awkwardly said, “I’ll see you all week,” without explaining it. However, Juliette gets the award for most awkward retort with a Foo. She met Shifty at the lunchtime show that day too. He mentioned something about her leather pants at noon on a weekday, the only thing she could blurt out was, “They’re pleather!” We joked about that the entire week, and tried not to say anything awkward to the Foos or their staff. After Shifty’s show, we discussed our game plan for lining up the next morning with our other Foo friends for the Foos show.
Time in line this week: 1 hr Sleep this week: 0 hrs
Kansas City- Foo Fighters at Sprint Center
We got up bright and early, and met our friends on the way to the venue at 5 a.m. It was pretty chilly, but wasn’t too bad outside. We were surprised, because the forecast had been rain. We got to the venue a few minutes after 5 a.m. and cheered because we were the first 4 in line. The venue told us we were not allowed on the property (ie awning near the doors) until noon, so we began our wait on the damp, barely lit sidewalk. At first, it was just cold outside. We all brought sleeping bags to sit in while we were in our Wal-Mart, lawn chairs. It stayed dry for a good 30 to 45 minutes, before it began drizzling. At first, we were semi-warm (mid 30s or 40s outside), and relatively dry in our “waterproof” sleeping bags. About 2 hours into the drizzle, we could feel the rain seeping into the bottom of our sleeping bags. Once we realized that, it started to downpour. So we voted to screw the venue, and waited under the awnings. Security noticed, and kicked us back into the rain about 20-30 mins later, while it was still down pouring. We tried to get shelter under some small trees, but nothing helped. At that point, some of us gave up on staying even the least bit dry. That morning, we took turns going back to our hotels, Airbnbs and coffee runs. We took our turn around noon, after we were allowed to move underneath the awning. We found this great place around the corner with excellent pizza. The only downside was that we had to walk around the venue and the side with the tour buses to get there. Darn. It stopped raining about lunch time, but our chairs and sleeping bags were soaked. Later that afternoon, I had to take an Uber the 5 blocks to our Airbnb, because our sleeping bags were too drenched to carry that far. Fortunately, the Airbnb had a coin-operated dryer. I was able to dry my coat and change pants, both of which you could ring the water out of by that point. The doors opened at 6 p.m., and we got into the venue with no issues. We both power walked as fast as we could to the rail. I got one spot to the right of Dave, which is exactly where I wanted. Juliette was mid-way between Dave and Pat, exactly where she wanted. The band was as energetic as they’d been in almost a year. Everyone was smiling and playing together so well. Taylor even pointed out Juliette in the crowd, and sang part of Under Pressure to her. We both caught drumsticks at the end of the show too. Everyone who left the arena had a great vibe and felt like we’d seen the best show on this tour. After the show finished about 11:30 p.m., we waited around near the buses hoping to catch a glimpse of the band. They high-tailed it out of there since they were playing St. Louis the next night, but we met Shifty’s guitar tech, Sean, and he gave us some picks. After a few more minutes, we left and packed up to head to St. Louis.
Time in line this week: 14 hrs Sleep this week: 6 hrs
St. Louis-Foo Fighters at Sprint Center
We left Kansas City about 1:30 a.m., and arrived in St Louis about 4:45 a.m. We were intermingled on the interstate with Foo Fighters buses and their red semi-trucks the entire way to St. Louis. Once we arrived, our friends checked into their hotel, and we got ready to get in line at the venue. When I told people about our trip, everyone told me to be careful in St. Louis. I kept thinking they were crazy, until I went there. We almost died….multiple times. We arrived at the venue, and our friends had warned us about the homeless people sleeping there. We drove around and saw about 20-30 of them camped out right at the GA entrance over a heat source. We decided to park across the street and wait it out there until they moved, or until the rest of our friends joined us about 7 a.m. By about 6 a.m., we saw this girl with blankets, a chair and a backpack walking right toward the GA line entrance. Juliette jumped out and caught her. She told her we’d been there for quite some time already, and didn’t want to be confronted by the homeless. She didn’t care, and said she was getting in line. So Juliette stayed, while I parked the car a couple of blocks away, and we started the line. Within minutes, the venue sent someone out and the homeless people were shooed away. Once it was light outside, we realized there wasn’t much around the venue. There were very few places to eat or use the restroom. Fortunately, we had a great security guy there, who let us use the bathroom inside the venue. He did that throughout the day, and it was a lifesaver. I was finally able to doze off for about 18 seconds around 11 a.m., when I heard a noise and looked up. Parts were flying and a car was sliding, underneath a semi-trailer right toward the 40 something people line. The Foos had a semi-truck waiting to be unloaded, and it was parked directly in between the line and the one-way street. A car had somehow hit the trailer at almost a 90 degree angle, and started to slide underneath the semi. It had been speeding and the driver texting. If that semi-trailer wasn’t there, the car would have taken out almost everyone in line. The driver was less concerned about his injured, children than the police searching his car, which contained drugs. I believe he was eventually arrested. After that excitement, none of us could sleep in the line. There wasn’t much food around, so we put together sandwiches from the cooler in our car. We were underneath a gold-colored awning all day, so it made the day slightly warmer. By show time, we were told that we would be walked in, and walked down to the floor of the pit. The venue held true to their word, and even honored our number system. So we were numerically arranged after passing through security. It was a dream for a venue to let us come inside for the bathrooms, and to be walked to the floor. We were easily able to get our same spots for the second night, and were thrilled.
There were problems in the pit even before the concert started. They served beer in the line, which we thought was awesome at the time. By the time we made it to the rail, the super drunk guy behind us had already drunk a pitcher of beer. I watched him drink 4 more cups in the pit. He kept leaning over my friend, who was sitting on the ground, then kept touching me and saying, “Sorry, that was an accident.” I ignored him. His wife or daughter was with him, and she was just as plastered. Finally after I kept ignoring him, and he kept grabbing me, he poured a glass of water all over my coat, which was tied around my waist. Security threw him out after that, and his daughter stayed. The entire show, she kept trying to get to the rail if we left an inch of open space. It was to the point, we were jumping on her, because she would put her feet underneath ours while we were jumping. Amy let another girl up to the rail for the last song, and the drunk girl tried to push her out of the way. I thought she was going to start a fight. It was by far the worst pit I’ve ever been in. Foo fans are normally pretty chill. Even with the chaos, the concert was good. It definitely wasn’t as energetic as the night before, but it was the exact same set list too. The band seemed to recognize us from the night before, and Taylor sang part of Under Pressure to Juliette again. Some of our favorite Foo friends left after this show, and Sarah entrusted us with her Spurs picks for an inside joke with Shifty.
Time in line this week: 26 hrs Sleep this week: 6 hrs
Detroit-Chris Shiflett at Small's Bar
We originally planned to sleep in the day after St. Louis, since we had about an 8 hour drive to Detroit. But, our Foo friend and Detroit native, Michael, came through with some last minute Shifty tickets. (Michael is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet) We drove straight through and were singing Foo and Shifty songs the entire way. I was running on Smarties, real-sugar Pepsi, and adrenaline. We finally arrived in Detroit about an hour and 10 minutes before the doors opened for Shifty’s show. We didn’t even have time to check in to our hotel. We literally drove straight to the venue from St. Louis, and applied make up in the car. We made it to the line in time to be near the front, and met up with some more Foo friends that we’d only met online. We had a great time talking and getting to know everyone in the line. Several people weren’t even going to the Foo Fighters show the next night, and only came to hear Shifty. The show was great as usual and the opener was Ricky Ratt (About halfway through his set, I realized I had heard him on a radio show in the mid-90s). Ricky was by far my favorite opener for Shifty. When Shifty came out I told him Sarah sent us with picks for him. He seemed amused. His set was great, and the small room at Small’s sounded good too. He was very engaging with the crowd, and even joked about switching some people to water. At the end of the show, he once again did selfies and asked how the “crazy girls” were doing that night. It was a great evening, and I’d definitely go back to Small’s in the future.
Time in line this week: 27 hrs Sleep this week: 11.5 hrs
Detroit-Foo Fighters at Little Caesar's Arena
After Shifty’s show, we made plans with our friends for the next morning, and went to check in to our Alice in Wonderland-etsqe hotel room with bunkbeds. We agreed to meet about 4 a.m., and line up then since it was a weekend show. Our friends however couldn’t sleep and got there at 2 a.m. We showed up a few minutes before 4, and were 7th and 8th in line. The first few hours were very chaotic. Several of us had called the venue to find out about the GA line, and were told that there would be multiple GA doors. Nothing stresses us out more. We were even more frantic when we compared stories from the venue, and found out that we were all told something different. I private messaged the venue on Facebook about 4 a.m. to see if anyone could help us. We heard nothing, so we lined up at multiple doors, based on their location to each side of the stage (Some of us wanted Pat’s side and others wanted Shifty’s side). The rumor was that we would all be corralled into a beer garden (possibly with beer) later on in the morning. It was very chilly out that morning, but we stayed relatively warm in our sleeping bags, until it started drizzling. By that point, we’d given up on staying dry. There were maybe 20 of us there around 8 a.m. or so when the venue staff came out, and supposedly asked for me by name (That’s a bad sign). Apparently, they were worried we would run to the floor and there would be issues, so the venue moved everyone and only opened 1 GA entrance. It worked out perfectly for us, and we were at the correct door. We also MUCH prefer being walked down to the floor. Since it was chilly and our hotel was a few blocks away, we only made one trip back, and that was to drop off our blankets/chairs/etc and grab lunch. Downtown Detroit was not at all what I expected. We were in a very nice neighborhood, and even had a Whole Foods within walking distance along with some great pizza places. Not too long after we returned, security came out and gave a heads up that they would not be honoring our number system. They told us we had 20 minutes to run errands and get back. We would lose our spots if we left the beer garden and were not back within the 20 minutes. Some of our friends had gone to a bar to grab a quick drink before the show. They were probably 10-15th in line, and missed the renumbering. They ended up being 50-60th after that, and they had been there since 5 a.m. Fortunately, we did not have an issue. Yeti also came out while we were corralled in the beer garden, and even talked to some of us and posed for pics.
Before the doors opened, the first 15 or so people compared specific spots on the rail. Oddly enough, none of us wanted the same spot, so we made sure everyone got their spots on the rail. When doors opened, we got right in and got our exact spots. The show was excellent as usual. They did mix a couple of songs up on the set list, but it was great. Taylor even sang to Juliette again. At the end of a show, the band or crew throws the guitar picks and drumsticks to fans. Juliette managed to get another drum stick, and one of Dave’s used guitar picks fell right in front of me. I begged a super nice roadie to give it to me, and he did. Night made. After the show we waited around for a bit to see if Juliette could get her new drumstick signed. Sean came out and talked to us for a few minutes, gave us some more guitar picks, and posed for pics. We told him that we were hoping to get Juliette’s stick signed. He said to wait a couple of minutes, but that Taylor was still inside. He took the stick, got it signed, and came back out. The Foo crew is the BEST! We waited a bit longer and talked to friends before heading back to our hotel room to get a few hours of sleep.
Time in line this week: 41.5 hrs Sleep this week: 14.5 hrs
Milwaukee-Chris Shiflett at Collectivo
By the next morning, we were still exhausted, but we at least had almost a full night’s sleep. The plan was to drop Juliette off in Kalamazoo to get a rental car, I would go to the Milwaukee show alone, and we’d meet up in the St. Paul line in a couple of days. We packed up, said goodbye to our awesome Detroit friends, and headed west. We got to the Kalamazoo airport to pick up the rental, but they refused to accept debit cards or cash, so Juliette was SOL. She was upset that Milwaukee was the only show she had planned to miss, so this sealed the deal. She decided to go to Milwaukee too. We felt like fate was up to something. The entire 5.5 hour car ride, she was holding the signed, drumstick from the night before. We were taking our time to get there, and stopped about halfway there to get gas. We decided to scroll through our phones, and saw that a Foo crew member had posted a picture of their hotel, which looked eerily similar to the location of our Milwaukee hotel. So the adrenaline kicked back in and we hurried to check in. We got to the Milwaukee hotel and there were 2 black SUVs out front. Very awesome. We cleaned up and walked downtown to scope out the line situation before the next morning. Fans were already lined up outside for the Metallica show that night. While I was talking to a security guard, another fan (about half my age or younger) came up and asked security where to line up, because he was going to camp out. Needless to say we freaked a bit. We had planned to get more sleep, because we knew we were on the verge of exhaustion. So we debated lining up earlier. It was getting close to time for Shifty’s show, so we went back to the hotel, cleaned up and headed to the Colectivo Coffee House. He was sitting in his SUV outside the venue when we arrived. We waited for a bit before the doors opened. Oddly enough, no one else wanted to be directly in front of the stage, so we were at the front, even though we were about 50th in line. We were able to get drinks and say hi to quite a few people that we knew beforehand. During the show, Juliette videochatted Sarah so that she was able to watch as well. Even Shifty mentioned something about it. After the show, I overhead the girl next to me, Stacy, talking about that she was going to wait for rail tomorrow for the Foo show. She was preparing to have a hip replacement a month later, so I offered to help make sure she got up front for her last pit experience. We ended up hanging out with her for quite some time after Shifty’s show, and stayed up way too late. She also introduced me to Casamigos tequila that night (I was a die hard Patron silver fan until then).
Time in line this week: 42.5 hrs Sleep this week: 21.5 hrs
Milwaukee-Foo Fighters at Fiserv Forum
We both decided not to rush to the line on Foo day, so we waited until just before 6 a.m. A few of our friends had stayed overnight in line from 11ish p.m. It was another chilly morning, but at least we knew where we were supposed to line up, and there weren’t many people there yet. Several of our other friends showed up pretty quickly that morning too. We passed the time chatting, and huddled up in our sleeping bags. By the mid afternoon, the wind picked up near our area. When we went to grab lunch or go to the bathrooms, we nearly froze. Although we couldn’t hear it well, Local H was about 100 yards away playing a set at 5 p.m. Our side of the building had been in the shade all day, so we were anxious to get into the venue that evening. We headed straight for our spots and got them. Stacy got right between us and was thrilled to be that close. Coincidentally, she and I were both in Motorhead shirts that day too. The set list that night was different. The Foos didn’t end with Everlong, but with Best of You. Juliette and I both left the arena feeling like something was off. We didn’t have the normal adrenaline high from seeing a Foos show. We were almost sad afterward. As soon as the show ended about 11:30 p.m., we had to make the 5.5 hr drive to St. Paul right away.
Time in line this week: 55 hrs Sleep this week: 24 hrs
St. Paul-Foo Fighters at Xcel Energy Center
The drive to St. Paul was a scary one. We were both beyond exhausted, and were having to switch drivers every 30 to 60 minutes. I lost count of the times we switched out. But, we were traveling with the red semis again, which was awesome. We finally got to St. Paul about 6:15 a.m. and drove around the venue once. We couldn’t believe it, we were the first two in line. We texted our friends and let them know we’d arrived. We parked and scurried to the door to set up our chairs. We marked 1 and 2 on our hands for the last time for a month, and set up our chairs. Our friends arrived a few minutes later, and then security came out. We expected to be forced to wait on the sidewalk until noon or so. But instead, security told us we could wait inside right next to the metal detectors. No wind, rain or cold! We didn’t have a hotel until after the show, and our friends, Marlo and Ali, let us use their hotel bathroom for showers and to change. Then we went back to the line and started sleeping. We both dozed on off for a bit, and finally fell asleep. I was propped up in my blue lawn chair and stool, and Juliette was on the floor, both still in our comfy sleeping bags. We woke up to people jumping over us and excitement. We were told that Yeti came out to the line, and talked to people for 5 to 10 minutes. Then he started throwing guitar picks at us. For reference, Juliette had been holding a “I Love Yeti” sign all week, so he knew us. People were jumping over us to get the picks. Needless to say, we didn’t get any of the picks and had only had about 2 hours of uncomfortable sleep. The tired really got to me that day. After I woke up, I just didn’t feel right. I ate some pizza and tried sleeping some more. By a couple of hours before doors, I honestly was not sure if I should go to the show. It was the worst I’d felt before a show ever. Looking back, I’m pretty sure it was just exhaustion. When the doors opened, a GA ticketholder’s worst nightmare happened. I’d been sitting in front of metal detector #2 all day. When the gates opened, it wouldn’t work. After about 10-15 people got in ahead of me, I jumped to the other line and rushed down to the floor. The rail was nearly full. Thank goodness for my wonderful Foo friends. Juliette and Ali saved my spot, so I had it all 5 nights. Without them, I might not have gotten anywhere near my favorite spot on rail. The concert was spectacular. You could tell the band saved up energy for it. We even got White Limo in the encore. I didn’t even bother taking very many pictures, and tried to enjoy the performance. We checked into our hotel after the show, and tried finding an open bar, but everything had closed by then. We said bye the next morning, and I drove the 10.5 hours back to my house in Indiana.
Total time in line this week: 67 hrs Total sleep this week: 26 hrs