My First Airborne Experience

Posted: July 22, 2013 in Clamoring of the Crowd
Tags: , , , , , , ,

By Nicole

I am a relatively new Airborne fan (I listened to Sometime Around Midnight when it first came out, but did not pursue any further) and back in late 2010/early 2011 one of my college friends recommended this band to me. When I heard the sophomore CD, I fell completely/hopelessly/head over heels in love with the first listen. I immediately went out and bought the band’s other records.

The first thing I noticed about the Airborne Toxic Event was the extreme depth of the lyrics, and the way the singer (I hadn’t yet learned their names) conveyed so much emotion with just the tone of his voice. I loved the way the woman in the group’s vocals contrasted yet complemented the lead’s voice so beautifully. I knew I had to learn more about them.

I began watching interviews, and playing YouTube videos of their performances. I had never really had the urge to learn so much about a band before, but for some reason TATE struck a nerve. And what did I learn from all of my research, you ask? Okay, so I may have learned the band members’ names, which band members really enjoy scaring the crap out of the audience (yeah…I’m looking at you Mikel and Anna!), TATE song trivia, and random facts about the making of music videos; but most importantly I learned why people (and I mean people in general because I have never seen a band that has such a vast array of fans like Airborne) love this band so intensely.

And that is because they seem and feel like family. These five musicians are not only band mates, but best friends. They even talk about themselves as a rowdy group of siblings causing chaos in the US, city by city.

I have watched so much footage of TATE live (procrastinating on typing up chem lab reports), and they have INSANE stage chemistry with each other… puts other bands to shame, really. Mikel is constantly joking around onstage with Noah, and bumping into Steven (who is trying hard to be this serious guitarist, and I can’t help but laugh when Mikel or Anna bulldozes into him randomly. It is always good to see Steven laugh and smile.) Noah is just the classic rocker! He gets onstage, and just kills it! Daren gets the biggest smile on his face when Mikel or Anna jump up onto the drum set. Daren is just a brilliant drummer! Steven’s musicianship is incredible! And Anna lightens up the band with her constant bopping around the stage.

Their interaction with each other is what makes them so unique, and their interaction with the crowd is something that truly makes them a fantastic live band. (I mean, this band has a crowd surfing/stage diving Viola player… how much more awesome can they be???) Mikel and Anna love to entertain the audience, and just watching a randomly selected TATE video on YouTube will probably prove my point. Whether it be crowd surfing, climbing the balcony to get to the back of the venue, bringing the audience on stage… these guys know how to put on a rock show, plain and simple!

When TATE announced they were making their way to my city in the 2013 US tour, I knew my friend and I had to go see them live! I have been to several concerts in my relatively short life, but this concert takes the cake for me.

We got there early so we could have front row spots for the show (right between Mikel and Anna up against the guard rail). The wait was nearly unbearable, but my friend and I passed the time studying for our Organic final because it was at 8:00 AM the next day (yeah, we are that cool… the girl behind us thought we were absolutely nuts!).

The opening band was awesome, and their name was Kodaline. They killed their set, and they got us pumped to see Airborne. I was so anxious to see them play live because I heard from all the other fans that their live shows are magical.

Well, they finally tore down the cover hiding the Airborne bird, and dimmed the lights. The crowd was yelling, “Airborne, Airborne…” over and over! When they finally entered the stage it was a madhouse. Everyone was screaming and jumping. The funny thing was, the band was screaming and jumping too. They opened with “Gasoline” which really set the mood, and Mikel said it all when he screamed, “It’s gonna be a fuckin’ great night!”

I could not believe that I was finally there watching my favorite band kick butt up on venue’s stage, and boy did they kick butt! Anna crowd surfed and danced like a wild woman, Noah made awesome/sexy bass player faces, Steven showed no mercy up on that stage, and Daren was just a BOSS. They had the audience in the palm of their hands. Mikel frequently climbed the large amps, and jumped into the crowd.

My personal favorite part of the night is when he sat almost directly in front of me on the guard rail during Book of Love, and after the song ended and he remained, everyone kind of stared at him awkwardly taking photos, but for some weird reason I felt possessed to throw my hand out toward him and he grabbed and shook my hand like two friends would clasp hands after accomplishing something grand. It really was not fathomable the level of connection I felt just from that hand shake.

I was entranced the whole night by these five people putting their heart and soul into these songs. I did not want it to end (and in a way it really didn’t… certain parts of that night will remain with me forever just like any other awe inspiring experience), but sadly life is a cycle and the night must end. When they played their last song, the Missy medley, I felt weirdly satisfied, and I really had no reason to be. It wasn’t me up there on that stage. I wasn’t professing my heart and soul to 1000+ screaming individuals.

And it was then that I remembered what Mikel had once said in an interview about the concert being a journey of sorts. Everyone in that venue had experienced something to connect them to the subject matter of the music, and, we all survived. We were all there together in that room, living, celebrating life and joy and reliving the pain and experience.

During the Missy medley, Mikel introduced his band mates one by one. First he introduced Noah who absolutely melted faces with his bass solo. Then he introduced Steven who shyly smiled while holding up his hand in triumph. Then he called Anna up to the front, and introduced her with a brotherly kiss to the top of her head. And lastly, Daren brought down the house with his drum solo to which Mikel jumped up and down like a little kid in a candy store who was just told that all the sweet treats were free!

But Mikel never once said his own name, and he introduced each band member with, “And this is my good friend…” I just thought that said so much about him as a person, and as a friend.

Well, the band all left the stage shortly after the end of Missy. They ran down into the crowd and hugged their fans. Daren and Anna both gave me high fives. And my friend and I walked out of the venue back to our car after hitting the merch table, and chatting with other fans for quite some time. Well, we didn’t realize that we had parked near the back entrance of the venue, and we ran into a familiar face walking to the car. It was DAREN! He was chatting with some fans after the show, and we calmly (so as to not scare the poor guy) walked over to him. He took pictures and signed our tickets. He was soooooo nice – probably one of the nicest people I have ever met.

After he went inside, Noah and Mikel both came out, and I must say they are two of the most handsome/sweetest men I have shaken hands with. Mikel kept calling us darlin’s. They both signed our tickets, and Mikel said he would ‘Go fetch Bell and Stevey,” for us. It took a second to understand that he was talking about Anna when he referred to “Bell.” What an adorable nickname.

Once they went inside it took a few minutes for Anna and Steven to come out so we made small talk with the other fans waiting, which was a ton of fun! Airborne fans are the best! Once Anna (gorgeous gal who is SUPER tiny and petite in person by the way) and Steven (uber handsome guitar god) both hopped over the railing of the backstage ramp (where the Airborne team were still loading up gear), they started signing CD’s and tickets (including ours). They took photos and chit chatted.

How often do fans get to meet every single one of the band members of their favorite band? They have to be exhausted after that show because I certainly was. All that dancing and jumping (and gazing upon greatness may I add) completely wore me out. But they all seemed just so thankful! It was a fabulous meeting, and I was ecstatic all the way home! I have photos and collages of photos I’ve taken at various concerts hanging, but i cannot wait to finish this collage (with the ticket signed by all members centered and surrounded by the meeting photos and awesome live shots) hanging up. And If any of you read all of this I want to say I am truly impressed, but once again I know exactly why you read through it all. This band is amazing, and I will be a lifelong fan!

Nicole is a university student majoring in Chemistry, but loves listening to music. She was introduced to TATE by one of her good college friends, and has attended her first Airborne concert recently. Now she is patiently waiting for them to hit the road again on another U.S. tour!

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