I love LP, but concerts are my own personal hell

I went to see an LP concert in Nashville last weekend. If you haven’t heard of LP, I highly recommend you look her up. My favorite song is Tightrope. Here, I'll post it so you can watch. I’ll wait.

So good, amirite?!

I’ve been looking forward to this concert for months. I first fell in love with LP’s distinctive voice about 12 years ago at a little bar in Kentucky. A friend’s band was opening up for her and he warned me that LP tends to be loud.

He was so right. She’s loud and fucking amazing.

When this short, skinny thing with unruly curly hair first came out on the stage there were whispers of “Is that a girl or a boy?” Man, when she starts to sing, there’s no question. Her voice has so much range and it’s just so damn unique.

I followed her website and saw her a handful of times in local bars. She once signed a poster for me that said something along the lines of “I like your boobs” – a joke that my then-boyfriend put her up to. There came news that she signed with a record label, and then I didn’t hear about her again for over ten years.

One day I was listening to my angry girl rock station on Pandora and I heard it – that voice.  I thought it couldn’t be, and looked at my phone screen. Sure enough, there she was. I looked her up and it turns out she’s had quite a bit of success – songs on television shows and world tours! I had tears of joy and excitement in my eyes!

A year later I found out she was touring in the states. The closest she came to Ohio was Nashville, which is only about a five hour drive, so I decided I had to go see her. My girlfriend got me the tickets for Valentine’s Day and we took a long weekend to do some sightseeing and see the concert.

My anxiety over the concert started the day we arrived in Nashville. I had already stalked the venue’s website to find out what time the doors open, what seating is like, what the parking situation is, and if there was somewhere nearby to hang out until the show starts. The parking lot is small and shared with other businesses, so they don’t allow parking for shows until 5:30. Doors opened at 7:30, the show started at 8:30. There are no seats in the venue – standing room only.

A concert venue with no seating is a short person’s nightmare. At five-foot-nothin’, I can’t see over the tall people standing in front of me. So, my goal was to get there at 5:30 to park, find somewhere to hang out until the doors opened at 7:30, and be in line at the venue by 7:00 – because of anxiety I have to be crazy-early to everything.

My girlfriend appeased me by driving by the venue the day before to check out parking and nearby restaurants and bars in person. I’m so glad she humors my anxiety quirks. We discovered a brewery a block away and she decided we could park on the street there and walk to the venue, which would save us from getting stuck in traffic after the show. We had a plan!

You’d think that would calm my nerves… but no.

The day of the concert we bounced around Nashville checking out shops and restaurants. I was never completely at ease, though. I spent all day worrying about everything that could go wrong that night.

What if we get there late and can’t find a parking space? What if I lose the tickets? What if I get stuck behind 15 people who are all seven feet tall and I can’t see LP at all? What if the crowd is so thick that I get separated from my girlfriend and spend the whole concert looking for her? What if I get trampled by a stampede of tall people?!

The evening wasn’t nearly as bad as Anxiety convinced me it could be. We found a parking space right across the street from the brewery. There was a coffee shop in the same building where we could get dinner to go with our drinks. We left the brewery in time to get to the venue at 7:00. That’s when we hit the first hitch.

Half an hour before doors opened – an hour and a half before the show started – there was already a line a mile long. No big deal. So I won’t be able to get a spot standing in the very front row. It’ll be okay. I think. I’d had a few beers so it was easier to convince myself that it really would be okay.

When we finally went inside we were able to get a spot very close to the front and right up against the wall at the left side of the stage. It wasn’t front and center, but I thought that was a good place to be in case of a crowd-induced panic attack.

And boy, was there a crowd.

The Cannery Ballroom has standing room for 1,000 people, and every inch of space was taken in that room. There were times when tall people would get in front of me and I had to bob and weave to see around them, but I had a fairly good line of sight throughout the show. There were several small panic attacks where I thought I was going to have to flee the building because of the crowd closing in on me, but I made it through the majority of the show without vacating my spot – and even then it was only to pee.

Luckily, my girlfriend is a foot taller than me and led me through the crowd to the restrooms on the opposite side of the large room. I literally held onto her and closed my eyes until we got there. While wading through that room packed full of people, I felt like I was in quicksand. I doubt it took any more than five minutes to cross the room, but it felt like hours. At one point I was sure I would stop breathing and we would never escape.

In the end we got to the restrooms safely, I bought a t-shirt, the show ended, we left, and everything was perfectly fine.

Take that, anxiety.


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