Recap: Cologne, November 29th 2011
For Cologne, I had three goals:
1. Stand in front of Shannon
(I had already been standing at the runway in Lille and I knew I would stand on Tomo’s side in Antwerp)
2. Get into the front row and
3. Make it on stage for Kings+Queens.
My friend came to my house the day before already and we still had not decided what time we would leave. We ended up spending hours trying to find out on which time there were a lot of traffic jams at which places – and according to that, it did not matter if we would leave at 7AM or 9AM – we would end up being in Cologne at 11AM anyway. But we decided to leave at 7, so we went to bed as early as possible (which was at midnight, but well). Alarm set at 5:40AM.
In the morning I was stressing out the way I usually am before concerts. People really hate me at moments like that haha – I am stressing over every little thing and I keep running around the house like crazy. Things did not go as fast as I wanted to and the time just kept ticking. And my mind was like: those 5 minutes can be the difference between the front row and the second row.
We left at 7:15AM, I think. We only ended up in one small traffic jam, but it was not as bad as the way to Lille the week before, which took me more than twice as long as expected. We parked our car in one of the parking lots next to the arena. There were those huge signs everywhere, saying that if we were attending an event, we had to pay the costs as soon as we parked there, so not after the show. We did not really understand it but decided to just “check out” at the vending machines before we even got out of the parking lot. Gladly, that was the right thing to do :)
When we arrived, there was about 20 people sitting in front of the doors. Still a chance to make it into the front row. But there were no barriers yet, people were just sitting around the way they did in Lille. Was not too happy with that because there’s always people ending up in front of you that arrived hours after you.
We walked around the arena and saw three other Echelon sitting in front of another door. We did not actually know what they were doing there.
We sat down in front of the arena with the other fans but it started to get cold very quickly. So I went to the car to get sleeping bags and a pillow to sit on. When I came back, my friend was talking to a German Echelon-girl. Or woman, actually. She looked so young but she was married and everything, I don’t know how old she was. She had attended the gig in Frankfurt the day before.
It was about 1PM and we had found a few Dutch Echelon around. Suddenly there was this man who came to put up the barriers. Well, that kind of ended up in hysteria. Everyone was just trying not to lose their place, but we all had to leave because they obviously had to put up the barriers where we were sitting.
It took really long. A Belgian girl came to us and whispered: “do you dare to take a risk?” I asked her what this was about. She said there were three different doors that would open. There was a door at the North-side of the arena. There were only 5 people right now – all people from the Netherlands. We were doubting – we were not sure if she was right and we were afraid we would end up waiting in front of the wrong door. But in the end we decided to take the risk. There were so many people in front of us at the South-west door already that we couldn’t lose that much.
It was a great decision – we met some awesome girls! The only thing was, that there was no sun at this side of the hall. Plus, it was extremely windy, so very, very cold! We were trying everything to keep ourselves warm. After a few hours I even started to feel a little sick because I was so damn cold.
We were glad when more people started lining up at our side of the hall. A few hours before the show we were actually the only ones that were still sitting down right there. Everyone was standing but we had so much space because our fleece blankets and sleeping bags were just laying there. Which was very comfortable, actually.
The doors would open at 6PM and I decided to go put our stuff back in the car at 5. That meant: coat off, blankets gone; cold! We were glad we had this one golden foil-thing to keep us warm. We just wrapped ourselves in it together. It was quite okay, actually I wasn’t feeling as cold as I was before.
My friend and I had been speaking about Kings+Queens before the show. We promised each other to take the other one with us if just one of us would be picked to get on stage.
Time went by extremely fast, I had not been bored for a minute. At six the doors finally opened. They scanned our tickets and then we just started running for our lives! We had to run quite far, and then DOWN the stairs, which is horrible! I almost fell down because I was going way too fast. Running up the stairs wouldn’t have been this hard, actually… Same thing as when you’re running down a hill.
Well. I lost my friend while we were running. Then there’s this split-second in which you run into the hall and have not more than a second to decide where you will run to. I saw this very small empty spot in front of Shannon and decided just to go for it. I crashed into another girl that came from the right and was running towards the runway. No time to say sorry- run further! And then my hand grabbed the barrier. Actually, there was not even enough space for me to stand there, but people moved a bit. I made it. Fucking front row. In front of Shannon Leto! I was so happy that I was shaking.
I saw that my friend ended up right in front of the runway, also front row. I waved at her and we texted each other to have a lot of fun. I did not actually mind that we wouldn’t be standing there together because I do not actually like it when people I know are watching while I’m going insane rocking out to my favourite band!
At 6:50 or something the screens were showing “VyRT.net” which was really cool somehow. That really felt like Mars were near.
It was 7PM when the Vermont Joy Parade came on stage. Men with beards. An accordion, banjo, a boyish woman with a guitar… weird hats, weird glasses. I was honestly wondering if this was a joke. But – their music was not too bad, actually. I quite enjoyed it. When they were almost done, one of the band members told us:
“We are just playing here because Jared Leto saw us playing at a flea market in Berlin and invited us to join. So you see: dreams come true!”
That explained a lot and I was suddenly looking at them in a very different way. Also because I love Berlin and I know exactly which flea market they meant. There’s always a lot of artists performing there and it’s a wonderful place to be. I could exactly imagine how they were playing there and how Jared was watching. It felt very surreal because I all know it so well, there…
They went off, the screens started showing Mars videos. A Beautiful Lie (or well, part of it, it was also promo for the documentary, I guess), The Kill (I don’t know why but I completely fell in love with that song at that moment, even though I’ve known it for YEARS already), Kings and Queens, Closer to the Edge. I felt tears burning in my eyes during that last song. I had been quite emotional over it for a few days already. The lyrics just sounded completely different to me.
Next band was Our Mountain. I had heard a lot about them – people apparently hated them. But I quite enjoyed them. They reminded me of Joy Division a lot and I really liked their sound. People were complaining that they did not match the music taste of most Mars fans. But I honestly liked them.
There was this girl in the band and she was so pretty. She reminded me of Abbey Lee (in case you don’t know her; she’s one of the biggest models at this moment) but since I knew she is such a popular model it did not even cross my mind that it could have been her.
Later I found out that it was her! I almost died because I really love her.
While they were playing, I saw this woman walking up the stairs to the stage (from backstage to the side of the stage). It was dark and I thought she was wearing a headscarf and I looked at her, she looked at me, and I just looked back to the band that was performing. Suddenly I realized two girls next to me were staring and silently going crazy about something happening in the corner of the stage. I looked up again: damn – that woman was not a woman. It was Jared Leto wearing a blue cloak over his head. Not many people noticed him and I did try not to put the attention on him. I realized I was completely shaking. He looked so incredibly peaceful. Very beautiful and soft. I loved how he was just watching in silence. His eyes looked really pretty when he was staring… I think it was kind of the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life.
Jared standing behind the lamp… you can just see his face a bit, though it’s hard to even recognize him. Took the picture with my phone - in the dark, without even zooming in!
I took my camera to film it (taking pictures was not an option – he was standing in the dark and I did not want to use flash because it would probably annoy him) and he looked right at me. He started making gestures at me, that I had to watch Our Mountain instead of him, but in a really funny way. People noticed him then. My heart was beating so fast. It felt like something very intimate to see him standing there in front of me.
A minute later he just ran on stage. He mentioned something like “give it up for one of the best bands in the world! I’m just going to sit down right here and watch them.”
He was wearing his UGG slippers.
And then he sat down on the catwalk, his back towards the crowd, and watched the band. No spotlight on him or anything. People were screaming for a minute, but then everything was quite… normal. Not the insanity I expected. I loved how he just could sit down there and spread some kind of peace over the whole crowd…
He was so beautiful. I can not even stop mentioning that.
Jared went off stage after one song and the band played one more song, I think. At that moment, my night already was perfect. Maybe it was even more awesome than the actual show.
I was thinking about the way he was in Lille. How dominant he was, arrogant in some way. I did really dislike the attitude. And now I had seen him in the exact opposite way. He was one of us. Peaceful and calm. Very human (but angelic at the same time). I knew this gig would be amazing.
The last song before the lights went off, was Nine Inch Nails – Closer. Again! I loved that so much and it actually felt like the gig had already started.
What I remember of the actual gig… Well. Not too much. I always try to remember every detail and I end up not even knowing which songs they played. But, according to setlist.fm, they played:
A Beautiful Lie
This Is War
Search and Destroy
Night of the Hunter
A Modern Myth (!!!)
Closer to the Edge
(Hurricane video, not played live)
Kings and Queens
We got a Shomo kiss right before L490, again! Shannon kissed Tomo on the cheek before he took the stage with his guitar. So cute, everyone was obviously screaming.
During the acoustic set (Modern Myth and The Kill) Jared was standing at the other side of the hall and I could not see him anymore since I was in the front row. But Shannon was still standing on stage, filming the crowd with his phone. He looked so incredibly cute and happy! And then he turned the phone towards his face and started making weird faces. I was smiling like crazy.
Modern Myth really, really hit me. I had not heard it live before and it was like all those “goodbye’s” went straight into my heart. I could not even see Jared but it hurt. A lot.
Jared started running through the crowd to get back on stage and I was kind of afraid he would get killed, but gladly he did not, you would have found out about that by now. It would have kind of ruined my night if he got killed.
Well, Hurricane screening. I knew this was the moment they would pick people to get on stage for the last song. There were other security people now, all in black. They were part of the Mars crew instead of the arena crew. I realized my flirting with the ugly security guy that had been in front of me all the time was in vain.
This pretty scary guy who reminded me of Wolfgang Joop with glassed on (if you don’t know him, Google him) a lot (okay, he was called Steve, but I did not know that back then) started picking people out of the crowd. He did not smile or anything and I felt like he did not even look people in the eye. He scared the crap out of me. He passed by and no one around me was picked out. I felt kind of sad. He continued his way to the other side of the runway and I thought; my chances are gone right now. Then he walked back. People were not trying so hard to get his attention at that moment, they did not actually notice him. But I did and I managed to show off my triad tattoo on my arm – ha! He saw it – I saw him looking at him – and took my wrist. He kept holding on to it, I felt like I exploded! A security guy told me to turn around and he took me over the barrier. I went insane – I was SO damn happy! I could hardly believe Steve had picked me in the end!
I walked to the other side, where we had to wait before we were allowed on stage. When I walked passed the front row at the runway I was looking for my friend. I could not find her… But I could not keep standing there to find her so I just passed by, feeling really sorry for not taking her with me. But when I ‘arrived’ in front of Tomo’s side of the stage, I noticed my friend standing there, too! She also got picked out! I was so happy and hugged her. Then I grabbed a random girl by her shoulders and screamed “ICH FREUE MICH SO!” (“I’m so excited!” in German). She answered “me too!”. (Or “ich auch!”, actually.)
We had to wait quite a while. Jared started a very long speech, talking about that there was no other country besides the USA they had played so many shows in as they did in Germany. That he loved the country (he always says that about every country they play in, but I think he loves them all anyway.)
Then he noticed a crying girl in the crowd. He took her on stage, hugged her, gave her a kiss on the cheek. I was filming it (most of you have seen the video, I guess, haha) and I was just standing there like: “awww…”. That moment exactly described the way Jared was during that gig. He was being very… personal. Very real. He did not have any kind of arrogant attitude. He really was such a sweetheart – something I never expected to see on stage. He was not making fun of people in the crowd like he usually does. He was not trying to be super funny. I kept referring to him as “a puppy” afterwards, because he kind of was like that – way too adorable to handle. (And a ‘kitten’ sounds too strange when I’m talking about a 39-year old man.)
He asked the girl to say something funny in German. She told him to say “Ich liebe Bockwurst.” Which actually meant something like “I love frankfurter/saucages.” Something which sounded VERY funny out of a vegetarian’s mouth. He also mentioned that he had not the slightest idea what he just said. It was incredibly funny.
Then Jared started to tell he wanted to try something. We had to stamp our feet to the ground twice, then clap our hands once, and then sing “ooooh-hoooo-oooh.” It exactly sounded like the start of Vox Populi. It was incredibly cool. (Though I still don’t know what the singing was for, because it just did not fit in. I think they were recording it, though.) He wanted us all to be quiet (not to scream or talk) and it worked perfectly. Though one girl started screaming after a while – Jared did call her out, but well. I would have done that, too.
He also mentioned that he loved how organized Germans are. Something I do really agree with – they manage to make things work perfectly, as well with entering venues as… leaving parking lots, you know. Because we paid for that ticket before there were no lines at the vending machines and we could just drive out without even having to wait for a minute!
Well, then they started playing Kings + Queens and we walked on stage. I realized I had managed everything I wanted for tonight. (Oh, and I’m being honest when I say that. Jared was so cute that I did not even feel like having sex with him at that moment.)
It was quite funny to see the hall from the stage. I liked it more to see Jared standing this close, actually! And Tomo was being so cute and interacting with us a lot. Another Dutch girl we had spent the afternoon with also got on stage so we were just going insane on there.
Sarah (the woman who organizes everything that has to do with golden tickets) and Steve (the ‘scary’ guy picking people from the crowd) were trying really hard to keep people away from Tomo and Jared. I never noticed that on videos or while I was standing in the crowd. They keep you really far away from the band members.
Then the show was over, the three of us (my friend, the Dutch girl and I) took a picture on stage, and we got off stage again. I was so incredibly happy – no sadness at all. Maybe because I knew I would see them again. But probably because it was the best gig I had ever been to. I just could not believe it. I kept talking about it like crazy and I almost killed us five times while driving home, just because I was so damn happy.
But I knew that night was perfect. And I also knew I would not have two perfect nights in a row. I was kind of worried because the day after, in Antwerp, was supposed to be the best night of my life. I knew it would probably not top this, which was a pity…
I could not sleep until 4:30AM. The adrenalin rushing through my veins…
Cologne was insane. A night to remember. I will never forget.