Sunday, November 25, 2012

jeff mangum in seattle on april 16th

The following was written for Jimi Sharp's 'zine, The Fib.  He asked everyone that we were with that night to write up a quick review of what happened, and this is what I remembered . . . 

I totally waited too long to write this, so the details have been slowly slipping away . . . Seeing Jeff Mangum play was magical.  I listened to Neutral Milk Hotel with my best friend in high school so many times, took a break, and then listened to the records again when I met my husband.  When I had heard that he was playing in Seattle, I immediately knew that I wanted to go, but also immediately found out that it was sold out.  Jimi, being the sweet guy that he is, actually walked into my work that day to talk to my boss, and mentioned that he had two extra tickets, if anyone was interested in going along.  Of course I mentioned that I was, and it totally just worked out.  I got to surprise my husband with a ticket (Jeff Mangum is one of his favorites!), and on the day of the show, we were so stoked!  

Jimi showed up downtown (in Olympia) with his friend, Josh, and we carpooled to Seattle.  It instantly felt like we had made new lifelong friends, and even if we didn't make it to the show, the night was already great!  We made it to the venue with no problems, parked, and walked around the block to have dinner and meet up with more new and old friends.  Once it was finally time for the show to start, we were led to our seats . . . and then led to two more seats . . . and then finally led to our real seats!  Whoever was in charge of numbering the rows and seating totally did a confusing job, since the the ushers just couldn't put us in the right spot.  When the opening band started, I immediately was worried about how good the night was going to be.  The openers were a few members of Elf Power (who I loved SO MUCH in college!), but I just wasn't feeling it and I had the hardest time paying attention.  It seemed like everyone around us was having a hard time paying attention too, because no one would stop talking.  It unfortunately, felt like a total bummer.

Once Jeff finally came out onto the stage though, you couldn't hear a peep!  I was a little bummed at first about not being able to take photos or video (I like to document!), but when he started playing, just him and a guitar, it took me back, and I was instantly transported back to my best friend's bedroom, and my husband's house when we were first dating.  You could feel the energy in the room just bursting with excited, happy, and nostalgic people.  He played every song that I wanted to hear, and a few that I had forgotten about.  When he belted out, "I love you Jesus Christ," I lost it.  I totally and embarrassingly cried.  I couldn't help it.  It felt SO NICE to hear, and when he played "Naomi", my night was made.  

After meeting up with our buddies after the show, everyone was gushing.  It was hard not to!  While Joel and I were talking to a friend that we ran into on the street, we lost Jimi and Josh.  It turns out that they had gotten backstage somehow, and ran into the openers.  Jimi was on a mission to get a copy of The Fib to Jeff, and gave a copy to them.  That didn't seem like enough though, and as shy as we all were, we made a pact to wait about 20 minutes until 11:00pm, to see if we could actually meet Jeff Mangum.  Surprisingly, no one else outside of our group was out back, and after agreeing, "we'll wait one more minute," he came out right away.  Jimi totally amazed us all, and ran over to talk to him, while we all got a little giddy and excited for him, staying far away, until he started introducing us all from twenty feet away.  It was too cute!  We got up some guts and all walked over to say hello.  Jimi asked for a photo (I don't remember this -- I just remember hearing about it), and instead, Jeff drew him a cute picture.  A little later on, Joel asked if he could trade one of his drawings, for one of Jeff's, and he agreed.  It was too cute!  Even though everyone was standing around for quite a while talking, what I remember most vividly, is someone telling me to take a picture of Jeff drawing Jimi's photo with him, and when I did it, I got major death stares, like I had totally blown it.  I didn't realize that there is a no photo policy in general, not just during performances, and I felt awful.  The guilty feelings literally haunted me for days.  The photo won't ever be seen by anyone other than Jimi though (and he was so happy that it was worth it!), so I don't think it's as big of a deal as it felt like at the time. . . though I still feel pretty guilty just thinking about it!  Eek!  My apologies, Jeff!

After everyone said their goodbyes, the few of us that were left, headed next door for a drink and to talk, and then back home to Olympia.  I know that I said it before, but the night really did feel so magical and special.  I have the fondest memories from the night, and feel like I made forever friends in the process.  You really can't beat that.


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