I’m in such a strong state of euphoria even 24-hours later. On Wednesday, August 5th, I was able to attend my first Tokio Hotel concert. The last time they came to Chicago in 2009, I had no way of getting back in the area in time. I was attending college out-of-state and did have the funds (or PTO) days to go. My heart broke and I just knew I’d missed my only opportunity. So when the announcement was made a few months back that the Feel It All Tour was including Chicago in their US run this year, it was a done deal.
I rescheduled some bills and purchased my ticket immediately. After reviewing the different VIP packages, I settled on the Love Who Loves You Back level. This includes a pre-show meet and greet (with photo-op), Q&A with the band, early access to the venue and VIP exclusive merch. To make myself swallow the extra cost more gently, I decided it was a belated birthday gift and meant I wouldn’t be going all out on another event for the rest of the year.
For this particular show, the VIP check in started at 3:15pm, so of course that meant I put in to leave a bit earlier from work. I gave myself just enough time to check in at the hotel, do a quick change into my concert outfit, toss on a little makeup and catch a taxi to the House of Blues. A huge thank you to the staff at Adventures in Wonderland (AiW) who handles all the VIP arrangements. This was such a smooth process from start to finish.
Love Who Loves You Back VIP Pre-Show Experience
It was fun getting to know some of my fellow fans in line. The group I hung out with was a mix of local fans and those who drove down from out-of-state. Only one young woman had seen the band before (and at the last Chicago show), the rest of us had no clue what to expect. From the adrenaline highs, getting hungry/needing bathroom runs, etc.–it was the typical concert experience.
When we were finally about to head in, an AiW staff member walked us through the run of show. There were House of Blues security staff located along the path the Meet&Greet location to guide us through the venue. Right before the main room, we had a space to put our personal items (cameras weren’t allowed and the pre-show package didn’t include autographs). Everyone took a designated seat on the floor (or stood in back to have a perfect view like myself). After some small talk and a few rounds of games, the band was brought in.
Absolutely surreal, you guys. I’m not one who freaks out when I meet celebrities. At least, not for many years. I’m completely impressed (why else would I pay for VIP), but these are regular people who live extraordinary lives. Seeing everyone in person was awesome. I adored how laid back each member was and how mature the fan questions were. There were some great laughs and thoughtful responses.
As soon as the last question was answered, we shifted right into the photo ops. Everyone lined up as requested while the band spoke quietly among themselves in German and had their makeup fixed. The photography team had the lighting and test shots down in maybe 2 minutes max. Security had the flow down pat. As soon as you were next in line, you had a few seconds to say hello to the band, took your mark (bright green duct tape on the floor), had the three photos snapped in succession and were guided right back the way you came. Purse back in hand, we were led back out to the start of the line we had been in until it was time for the doors to officially open, about 15 minutes later.
Of course, as soon as we were let inside, everyone moved as fast as they could (without running) to the front. I managed to get in the fourth row (standing only room at House of Blues Chicago) and dead center. In other words, where almost every fans wants to be. Space was already cramped and I was so curious how the rest of the fans were going to fit. Basically, you got to know everyone around you quite well, because any shred of a personal bubble was nonexistent. Moving around slightly to keep my pained feet from going numb, I tried to stand in preparation for the massive push I knew was bound to come once the band took stage. As long as I didn’t fall, I wasn’t worried about being shifted a bit.
So I had learned from another fan in line that there were going to be two opening acts. The first would be a local Chicago band. If you watch the Tokio Hotel TV episodes on YouTube regularly, you might remember not to long ago when Bill and Tom were discussing how they wanted to find an opener native to each city they played in. I think it’s a cool way to help the scene as they literally trek across the globe.
The band that was chosen is called Victorian Halls and they are signed to Victory Records. The songs vary in tempo, but each member has a very unique performance style. You can listen to their track, “Tonight Only the Dead” here. While they aren’t a sound I really go for, they did a great job getting the energy started for the night.
The second opening act, which has opened for Tokio Hotel’s entire U.S. leg so far, is called MXMS. This is a band I’m looking into now that I’ve heard them for the first time. They describe their sound as “funeral pop”. While that might come across more morbid that some are willing to consider, listen to the track “Oh My God” before you decide anything. The entire audience was moved when this track was performed. The emotion you could see from the band just blew my mind.
The graphic intro to the concert was fantastic. The only potential comparison I can make is Perfume’s mind-blowing performance at this year’s SXSW. Click that link only if you don’t mind knowing ahead of time. That’s all I’ll say, because I don’t want to spoil everything for other fans still waiting to attend a show.
I’m sure we all lost 80% of our hearing and voices before the band took the stage. It was just that much excitement. Anytime we caught a glimpse of the band backstage, screams rose in volume. The set list is a fantastic mix of songs from every album, with the majority of course coming from the latest release.
The band was lively and energetic as always. Bill’s costume changes were seamless and the rest of the band kept the antics and instrumentation engaging between transitions. At one point, Tom, Georg, and Gustav were all pounding away on the drums. Easily one of my favorite moments of the night.
As the show came to a close, the band had their last bit of fanfare. Tossing water bottles into the crowd and of course, Gustav’s drumsticks. This was where my night ended in such a perfect way…
I watched Gustav toss the first stick off to the left of me, towards the edge of the crowd. Doing some pro-level geometry, I realized if his next toss was within my direction (and the same distance), I had it made. Fate was on my side, because that’s exactly what he did. And thanks to the girls who had shoved me a few spots over earlier in the show, everyone ahead of me was a few heads shorter. No competition and I suddenly found myself starting in disbelief at the drumstick in my possession. With a quick nod to each of us who got one, and the crowd as a whole, Gustav did his normal exit and the night was over. Most fans hightailed it straight to the merchandise tables while I did a quick soda purchase before heading out to catch my taxi back to the hotel.
Man, this may have been my first Tokio Hotel show ever, but it just rose the bar for any entertainment events I attend in the future. Everyone always says the band puts on one hell of a show. No question, that’s an understatement. You can tell this back has 15 years under their belt. They own that stage and have the delightful balance between professionalism and saucy cheekiness. I’m so grateful this dream of mine was fulfilled and can’t wait for a chance of doing it again.