After a literal year of waiting and planning, I finally got to go to my first-ever concert. It was my favourite band ever. I loved it so much that I wanted to document how the entire thing happened, what led to it, and the aftermath. It’s acting almost like a diary entry, if I was a Youtuber, this would be a storytime vlog type of deal because I genuinely don’t want to forget this night, even if I filmed most of it. There are bits and details that don’t make it into videos and I wanted to show that side as well as what it was like because WHAT an experience! I get giddy just remembering it and reliving it by telling it to someone, so this will be fun.
I first discovered Wallows in 2020, around the time the ‘OK‘ music video dropped. I became intrigued by it, watched it and loved it, I then went on to listen to other singles and eventually their debut album ‘Nothing Happens’. I became obsessed with these guys, I love their music so much. The lyrics are relatable, the singing is great but most importantly the melodies are so unique and infectious that it’s honestly criminal that it doesn’t get talked about that much. I made so many memories with their music and they helped me get through COVID because of it. I made it a fact at home, during a pandemic that one day, I will get to see them live. I didn’t care how or when or even if it was even possible, I said it with my entire heart and soul that I will get to see them live and I must have manifested it because HERE WE ARE! The announcement of a tour was made to promote their second studio album ‘Tell Me That It’s Over‘, which hadn’t even come out yet. They had only dropped the lead single, ‘I Don’t Wanna Talk’ which I wasn’t crazy about till I heard it in the end-credits of ‘Scream (2022)‘ but nevertheless I was determined to go to this tour even if I hadn’t heard the album. I joined the pre-sale by buying a copy of the album on Vinyl, it was signed and it was this gorgeous neon yellow. I also bought the cassette because it is super cute. I got the email, got the code and when the time came, I made the damned Ticketmaster account. It is so funny to me, that I’ve only ever bought tickets to one concert and yet I still had problems with Ticketmaster because it logged me out for months after buying them but we’re not here to talk about that!
I got the VIP ticket which included a lanyard ticket, a tote bag, a signed poster and early access to the venue to shop for merch and get ahead in the crowd. The thing was, I live in Malta and I bought tickets for a show in Manchester. I had never boarded a plane, let alone travel on my own so luckily my family joined and we made an entire trip out of it. I bought the tickets in January 2022 and the concert was in January 2023, so we had time to save up and plan and we had the best time. Fast forward to 2023, and we get to Manchester, I am still in denial about the entire thing and to be honest, I still am. I genuinely cannot believe that I went through that, you know? I don’t know if this is a common side-effect but it doesn’t feel real to me. Anyways, the concert was on the third day and it came so quickly, all that planning, all of those months flashed by and now the moment of truth was finally here. Well sorta.
I go to Primark and get a yellow sweater to wear it in honour of the album. I got a neon yellow sweater which was nice but it was a bit tight so I found a mustard yellow and put on a green bomber jacket on top because I feel like green and yellow really make up the colour palette of ‘Tell Me That It’s Over’. I make it to the venue, Manchester Academy and there was this insane line, I have never been through this, I do not know what I should do, who to talk to, how long it’s gonna take, nothing. Thank God, I used my two brain cells and asked someone if the VIP fans have to wait in the same line and we didn’t. The VIP line was much shorter thankfully but my god, it was a mission staying in that line. My family got me to the line and stayed with me for a few minutes but left shortly after. Unfortunately, I didn’t know anyone there and even more unfortunate, we had to wait almost an hour outside in the freezing cold. Eventually, the time passed and we were let in. Everyone got their tote bag, signed poster and lanyard ticket and we were then let into the stage room. Everyone started running around like children in a toy store, it was truly manic. I made my way to the merch section and bought a t-shirt with the tour dates on the back and a poster of the tour itself with the tour dates at the bottom. Tour Merch is so expensive, good lord! There was a bar with free drinks and I made the totally lame decision to get a single cup of water. Concert Tip: Always bring something to drink with you as your throat gets dry very fast from all the singing!
Eventually, the main crowd is let in and it was so crowded and stuffed. At this point, two hours had passed since I got there and my flatfooted feet were killing me, aching in pain. It was so bad I was starting to doubt whether or not I should make a run for it, it was BAD. Thankfully the crowd wasn’t really annoying or rude, they were quite nice in fact. Everyone was very cool and laid-back and ready to have a good time. Surely enough, the lights went down and uhhh, I forgot that there was an opening act. MAY-A, an emerging queer indie pop star, warmed up the crowd with a couple songs. I had never heard of her but her energy was off-the-charts, I loved how interactive she was with the crowd. I loved how she told stories in between, she was truly great, and it was an honour. After the opening act was finished, we had to wait, I kid you not, a half hour for the drums, guitars and plugs to be set up. I probably sound whiny but I kid you not, my feet were not handling it well at all. After trying to convince myself that it’s gonna be worth it, I tried taking a couple photos and they look quite horrible. They were playing the most random assortment of songs in the back, at one point I heard ‘Babooshka’ by Kate Bush playing and I pulled out my phone to record and that’s when the lights went back down. Wallows were here.
There was this surreal moment where I instinctively wasn’t prepared to see them right in front of me so I looked at the phone not knowing I was doing it only for it to click with me a split-second later that Dylan Minnette, Braeden Lemasters and Cole Preston were walking on stage mere fucking feet away from me. What the actual fuck? Even just writing that sentence doesn’t make sense to me like how? How?! Anyways they didn’t waste any time and got right into the immaculate setlist starting off with ‘I Don’t Want To Talk’. The crowd was so lively and ready to scream these lyrics back, I loved it so much, so much, it felt like a truly safe space where all of us were united for this moment to sing these songs that mean so much to us back to the singers that created them. Everyone was singing the concert ad-libs out loud, it was fantastic. When they played the first few fucking notes of ‘Remember When’ right after, that is when my soul left my body, I recorded it in fact and the audible shock that I uttered is so fucking hilarious because it was so genuine and every time I replay it, it gets funnier. Like, having ‘Remember When’ as the second song in the setlist, to me, is insanity.
The rest of the show was insanely fun, I was singing at the top of my lungs and looking back at the videos I took, it is embarrassing how I’ve ruined most of them with my godawful voice. I truly had a couple wishes for the setlist and I consider myself lucky that I got most of what I wanted. I wanted them to play ‘Just Like a Movie’, ‘1980’s Horror Film II’, ‘Pictures of Girls’ and ‘Quarterback’ purely to hear Cole sing. I obviously wanted them to play ‘Remember When’ but it’s a given at this point. I am so so happy that they sang all of those, I truly didn’t think that I’d get to hear all of them live so it was a super special surprise when they started playing them. However, the one I was the most excited to hear which was coincidentally my most listened-to song on Spotify in all of 2022, they did not play. ‘At the End of the Day’, I truly wish I could’ve gotten the chance to hear that live and sing it with a crowd but considering the insane setlist I got, I can’t really complain. The back and forth during ‘1980s Horror Film II’ was so fun, seeing Braeden act defeated as we sang the bridge back to him, was incredible.
Eventually, the show ended with ‘Guitar Romantic Search Adventure’ and I accepted it immediately, I didn’t want to be ungrateful and say that I wanted more. The crowd however insisted that they play one more song and I was like there is no chance they’re gonna do that but then Dylan walks back out and tells us that they were originally going to play just one more song but considering how great of a crowd we were, they decided to play two extra songs! It came out straight from my dreams to hear him say that, it was magical, I was giggling like a little girl. They played ‘I’m Full’ and officially ended things with ‘Are You Bored Yet?’ They then thanked us again and left. We all waved back at them, cheered them on and said bye, it was just magical. As the lights came back on, everyone was trying to collect themselves, reeling from the high of the concert and I was trying to find my backpack which I had lost at one point during the show. The people were very nice, they were helping me find it and they actually ended up finding it for me. My legs were officially defeated, I ran to get some water because my throat was in horrible shape. I walked out and it was pouring rain, it was insane, large groups of people were hiding out under bus stops, putting jackets on top of their heads, and I was busy protecting my tote bag and posters. I got a ride back to the hotel, fell to the floor and just reminisced on the concert all night, I couldn’t even sleep. It was the most perfect thing I could’ve ever wished for. I got my favourite songs performed, I got to see my favourite band ever live, even with a year of anticipation and expectations, they were all exceeded and it was better than I could have ever imagined.
I just wanted to share my experience not only for anyone to read but also for myself to keep in those little details that while I’m sure I’ll never forget but it’s nice to have in written form nevertheless. I want to thank everyone who was responsible for making that show happen from the crew to the opening act and the band to the guy passing out water throughout the show. Thanks for giving me a night to remember and to anyone second guessing whether or not they want to go to a concert, do it! Also, IT IS FUCKING INSANE because I really wanted that my show get this great crowd and return the band’s energy and then a day later, Dylan posts a story on his Instagram about how it was one of his favourite shows and I just felt so content I could die.
Concert Tips: Get a bottle of water with you, carry a small bag, clean your cameras and adjust brightness from the start!
Link to a playlist I made with the setlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/7tyinDSAKAvPUHcYtzBTwr?si=124144c3500a4abf