Rob Zombie is one of the most interesting artists and people in my opinion. If I could hang out with anyone I would choose to hang out with Rob and his band. They all seem so amazing, intriguing, brilliant, and filled with positive energy. I cannot remember when I really began to appreciate his entertaining qualities and started loving his music and movies. 2013 was by far the shittiest year to date. His movies and music kept me distracted from reality. I wanted to ignore the fact that I was stuck, stagnant in life and work, at a loss for words and direction. On a whim I decided to attend one of his concerts in Columbus, Ohio during the summer of 2013. I was initially supposed to go with a friend but he had to back out at the last minute. Though I had an extra ticket, I looked forward to the solo trip. At the Columbus show I stuck out and felt quite awkward amongst the metal heads with their dreads, drunkenness, gothic clothing, and stench of pot smoke in the air. I tried to appear as though I wasn't alone. Since I was by myself I decided not to drink so that I could make the drive back home safely and so that I could remain alert among the crowd of sex, "macho", aggressive hungry men. The concert was amazing. Rob came out into the crowd, I got a hug, and it was such a badass experience and concert.
It was a no-brainer when I saw that he was going on tour in 2014; I WAS going to find a way to make it to his concert. Then, I saw that Adventures in Wonderland was offering a meet and greet...hell yes! I was taking the time to decide between Kentucky or Richmond Virginia. I decided on Virginia because the Kentucky concert was the same weekend as the Derby and the costs for hotels were ridiculous. I committed to the meet and greet in Virginia. I was incredibly nervous and immensely excited.
I headed out Friday afternoon toward PA where I would stay the night before heading to Virginia Saturday. As soon as I got on the turnpike heading away from home, I felt a tremendous amount of relief, a touch of fear, and a sense of knowing this is what I should be doing. Seeing the Pennsylvania mountains brought even more awe, wonder, and happiness. I felt like a kid exploring a toy store. I made the climb to the place I was staying, grabbed some pizza, and headed further up the mountain to settle in before dark. I slept like I was dead. Maybe it was because I finally felt safe or maybe it was being surrounded by nature, or a bit of both.
I awoke early Saturday and headed towards Virginia. I have never done anything like this before, driving so far alone, to somewhere I have never been. I was on the road for a brief period of time when I noticed a sign for the Flight 93 Memorial, there was no doubt that I had to stop. The memorial didn't open until 9am so I waited about an hour. Once the gates opened I drove about a mile to the memorial. It was still a work a progress but it was beautiful. I reflected on the incredible, brave sacrifice of those on board that flight and their heroic decision to prevent a much worse ending. Our country was founded on such bravery and courage and it is amazing that such selflessness continues.
The drive was beautiful and I felt even more at ease the further I drove. Once reaching my hotel I quickly checked in, settled in, and set out to enjoy every single minute. I headed downtown and walked around, overwhelmed with the city life and traffic. I checked out the Edgar Allen Poe museum. I was surprised to learn that he was quite the athlete, especially an avid swimmer and boxer. I felt a connection to him walking through the old house and reading various facts of his life.
I continued my exploring, made sure I knew how to get to The National for the concert and made my way to dinner. Jalapeño, honey, bacon as an appetizer....YUM!!!
Sunday I woke up with the birds, ready to enjoy the day to its fullest. I went to an organic breakfast place and while sitting at the table I was startled to suddenly hear cheering and others in the restaurant moved toward the front, where the window/doors were wide open as if just for this reason. I heard sirens and then suddenly saw motorcycles and cyclists whizzing buy, the air was filled with thunder, man made gusty winds, and screams and cheers of excitement from the audience consisting of regulars and tourists. This weekend was also the weekend for the USA Cycling National Championships!
I had to be out in front of The National by 5pm for the meet and greet. Of course I was early. Since it was just me, I was sure to only bring what was needed and to dress comfortably. I stopped drinking fluids around 4 to make sure I didn't have to use the bathroom so much. Typically I drink over a gallon of water a day so this was a challenge. Shortly after 5 we were checked in and brought inside to wait in another line. Once the meet and greeters were all inside we were instructed that the first time through we would get the autographs and the second time through we would get our picture. I was so excited, there are no words to describe it. Rob Zombie, John5, Piggy D, and Ginger Fish all came out, it was like Christmas morning as a kid. When it was my turn I walked right up, started with Rob Zombie, shook his hand and said, "Hi I'm Megan Flanigan from Grafton, Ohio" immediately thinking, wow I just sounded like a nerd. He was immediately pleasant and polite, jokingly asking if I was Italian. This band is the only band I follow in its entirety and truly love all of them! I think they are all so down to earth and badass. They all radiate such positive energy and humbleness.
The actual concert did not start until 8pm so we had the option to go back to our car and drop our goodies off or stay and make sure we got front stage. Another no brainer. I have never been front row of a concert, especially a rock concert. I got one bottle of water just in case but I kept my no fluids policy pretty strict because I was not going to miss this opportunity.
Once people start piling in I started to get nervous. I'm pretty claustrophobic but I made note of all the exit signs and didn't let fear get in my way. Pretty soon the entire place was packed. Looking out into the crowd while in the front is a bit intimidating. Immediately my anxious brain started to think of all of the things that could go wrong and so I took a deep breathe and thought, if that's how it is to be then that is how it is to be but I am sick and tired of being scared.
Ginger Fish (the drummer) came out and started us out with his music mash -ups and such. At one point he jumped on a speaker and did a yoga pose <3.
The concert was amazing, I was within an arm's reach of the stage. The energy was incredible. My favorite part was that I was able to be me 100%. No one knew me, no one cared. I was able to really let loose, bang my head off, and be a crazy fan. I forgot what that felt like, rather I think that feeling is purely foreign as I don't remember ever having felt 100% me. And in that moment, in a small concert hall, filled with hundreds of people, I was safe, relaxed, and I was having fun! It is an experience I will never forget. After hauling ass to get home in time for meetings and such I saw via the Rob Zombie website that he was working on another CD AND movie, best news ever! I cannot wait to see the movie opening day and I cannot wait to attend another concert.
Rockin Road Trip to meet Rob Zombie and band..... complete <3