if our road trip to philly hadn’t been to see the monkees, there would have been very few redeeming qualities about it. luckily, there was one heck of a payoff at the end of the rainbow and i was in good company, so we were able to make the best of a ridiculous situation (more than just once). i will keep the part about the actual show under a cut at the very end so you don’t have to read spoilers if you don’t want to.
my two cousins and i set out early saturday morning for our 6.5 hour car ride from cleveland to philly. the ride there was a breeze, we checked into our hotel, and we grabbed some dinner before heading to the show. we knew ahead of time that the venue we were going to (the mann center) was an outdoor venue, a fact we weren’t thrilled about since temperatures were near 100 (at one point it was 97 degrees outside, yuck). we also learned that doors opened at 6pm for an 8pm show, so we figured we would try to get there early to buy some merch in case they were running out again like last year and then have time to chill before the show. perhaps there was a better route we could have taken, but we ended up stuck on the exit ramp from the highway for AN HOUR. it was so frustrating to see the end in sight and not be able to GO. we joked about just parking the car there and being able to walk to the show quicker. by this point, we were beginning to worry that we actually might be LATE for the show we tried to be two hours early for. cars would drive on the shoulder and cut around the line of cars waiting to exit, which infuriated all of us sitting in that line who were waiting for an hour. other cars who didn’t get in the back of the line to exit the highway kept trying to cut in and there was NO way we were letting them do that. we were all stressed and annoyed, but tried to keep our cool.
when we finally got off the highway we entered the park near where the venue was located almost immediately. we also encountered droves of people wearing all varieties of neon apparel trying to meet up near the same area we were trying to bypass. we saw guys wearing neon tutus, people wearing glo-sticks on their heads, and too many day glo short-shorts and knee-high socks to count. we found out later there was some sort of “electric run” marathon going on at the same time as the show within very close proximity. groups of people were just walking out in front of cars without even looking where they were going. cars were blocking intersections and not letting cross traffic through. it was a free-for-all and it was utter chaos and there wasn’t even police to direct traffic or anything. by the time we got past all the mess and tried to find a place to park (which was also difficult because all the marathon runners were using the venue’s parking, so we had to park farther than we probably should have had to), it was only fifteen minutes until showtime. our 20-minute car trip from the hotel to the venue turned into a 2-hour ordeal. UGH.
we got there just in time to get in the short line for merch, then get in our 4th row orchestra seats just as the video slideshow began. it was hard to enjoy the show because it was SO HOT. i was sweating just sitting still in my seat and i was extremely uncomfortable. the guys were uncomfortable too, as they kept making jokes about how glad they were to be playing in such “frigid temperatures.” mike remarked he was glad he was wearing a coat, because he was freezing. peter tried to start a song, but had to stop because micky wasn’t ready; he was sitting behind the drum set drying himself off with a towel. during one of the songs near the end of the set, all three guys were vying for the spot directly in front of a large fan that was set off to the side of the stage and they jokingly pushed each other out of the way to get near it. but more about the actual show below.
when it was over, there was more madess as hundreds of people tried to leave a dark park when a race and a concert let out around the same time. when we got back to the hotel, we actually ended up passing it up and having to turn around and go back a second time since you couldn’t make a left turn from the street into its parking lot. the reason we missed it the first time? the big sign out front wasn’t lit up. as we pulled into the lot the second time, i joked, “what, is the power out?” as we walked closer, we noticed all the people standing around outside with their luggage (in the dark, obviously, as the parking lot lights weren’t working either) and i saw the emergency light on in the pitch-black lobby. as we walked in the front doors, one of the teenagers standing outside told us, “black out!” oh. my. god.
the people at the front desk said we were welcome to leave and get a refund and find another place to stay. we were six hours from home and had to figure out where to go NOW? they actually gave us a glow stick to navigate the dark hallways up the three flights of stairs (no elevators, of course) so that we could get to our room and gather our things in the dark. the air was already stuffy, since the power had been out for over and hour and it was still 90 degrees outside even though it was close to midnight. we grabbed our things, hoped we didn’t miss packing anything in the dark, and set off on the road towards home to find another place to stay.
we ended up at the same hotel chain that just had the power outage. they felt bad for the trouble we had, and gave us a really nice room with two king-size beds and a pull-out couch for a really good price. we thanked them, SO relieved to finally be able to rest. we got into the room and looked everywhere for the couch, but it was nowhere in sight. was it in the closet? did it pull out from under the bed? was it behind this door? confused, i called down to the lobby.
"hi, it’s the girls from the blackout hotel," i said. i heard the desk girl giggle, as she knew exactly who i was. "did you say there was supposed to be a couch in here?"
"yeah, don’t you see it?" she asked.
"well, no. we see a chair…"
she promised to come up and see if something got moved. at this point all the three of us could do was burst out laughing. WHAT A DAY. it was like a bad movie or something. from the traffic, to the unbearable heat, to getting stuck in the middle of a NEON MARATHON, to a blackout at our hotel, to now not being able to find a couch in a room where it was apparently supposed to be…
there was a knock on the door. the desk girl handed us new cards with a smile on her face, telling us she accidentally sent us to the wrong room down the hall. i was just glad i wasn’t a complete moron who couldn’t find a couch. at long last, around 1am, we finally made it to our (really nice!) new room and were able to get some rest.
while we did not have a good experience in philly, we did have a wonderful time seeing our favorite band again :)
and now for some more show details:
This was one year ago yesterday! Feeling nostalgic.