I was really excited for this show because I had never seen a birthday show before and most of my friends were traveling to see the show as well. My 3 friends that I traveled with to the event in DC camped out starting Monday morning, and I joined them Tuesday afternoon around 6. Oddly enough, I still managed to be #4 because no one arrived in between us, which was nice. I know it's completely crazy and I have never camped out for that long before (2 days, the show was Thursday), but it was fun and well worth it for front row on Zac's birthday. It was definitely interesting to say the least. Let's just say there was a schizophrenic guy who gave us God's phone number and kept proposing to my friend, in addition to an anonymous perv in a car who tried to put on a little show for us, which ended in us calling the cops and giving them the car and license plate info.
The cheap hotel I booked for showering purposes also proved to be an interesting experience. Around 8 of us split it and went in shifts to shower, but none of us actually slept there or used anything other than the bathroom. I hit a traffic snag on the way to check out, and was afraid I was going to miss the 11 AM deadline, so I called the hotel while I waited to let them know I was on the way and did not want to be charged for an extra day. We ended up getting there with a few minutes to spare, but when we got there our room door was open and all of my stuff was gone. A very tense argument with some workers who weren't 100% fluent in English ensued since our room had been cleaned BEFORE checkout time and I was being yelled out for returning to my own room that was in MY name. We finally worked out the misunderstanding; my friends were allowed to use the bathroom, and I was given my things back. Fail, Days Inn, fail!
I was a little surprised in the lack of early campers, but it worked out because all of my friends who couldn't come until late the night before still got second row right behind me. The night before the show, there were still only around 20 people in line. The walk was probably my favorite that I've been on. The weather was great, the campus at UNCC was beautiful (and not too painful), there was a really good turnout, and everyone was in a great mood. I ended up getting some really good pictures with my new camera, too (which I also found out on the walk is the same camera Zac got for his birthday).
The line got a little dramatic towards the end with a group of girls lingering next to the line about 40 people back, refusing to get back in their spots further back in the line. There was also a couple who said they had won a pass to see the soundcheck but had missed it (which I totally believe), but they then decided to just hang around the front of the line to compensate their loss. They finally left after being yelled at by everyone in line and being spoken to privately by a bouncer.
The show was great, though admittedly not as wonderful as I thought a birthday show would be. The lighting was really crappy, and the sound was off enough that if I hadn't known all the words to the songs, I wouldn't have known what was going on. I ended up front row directly in front of Isaac, though, which made for a great view. At the end of the acoustic set, I noticed a toy truck zooming around on stage, and I'm pretty sure most people couldn't see it, but it didn't last long.
Don't Stop Believing was pretty epic, as always, and moreso from front row on Zac's birthday. He ended it with a lengthier, awkward crotch grab, which I'm sure someone caught on video since there were cameras everywhere. The caking was a little less exciting because only one measly bit was thrown towards the crowd, but a small piece did manage to hit my friend who was standing next to me in the eye, and there was a good chunk next to me on the floor when we left. Overall it was good, but I think the crappiness of the venue killed it a little bit for me.
*More pictures can be found in my photobucket, linked on the right-hand side of my blog.