I would not consider myself a lucky person. Privileged because I live in a great area, have a steady family, blahblahblah, yes. I’m definitely privileged. But when it comes to cold, hard, straight up luck… I have always been lacking. I won a bike once, at a triathlon when I was younger. The day after I had bought, rode, and already scuffed up a brand new speedbike, I got lucky and won… a brand new speedbike. Other than that slap in the face, however, I’ve never WON much. And I guess I didn’t really WIN the MMVA wristbands… but it was definitely luck. I was in the right place, at the right time, and it turned into an amazing night.
My father believes Twitter to be a waste of time. I’ve always been adamant that if you know what you’re doing, follow the right people, and use it correctly, it can be a tool of information, and even earn you a few rewards. For me, tweeting about Ed Sheeran’s new release, the MMVAs, and directing many of them @MuchMusic, garnered their attention. I received a DM (direct message, for those outside the twittersphere) from Much, asking if I would be interested in being a part of the audience for Ed Sheeran’s in-studio private gig. After a lot of internal freaking out, I accepted that yes, this is reality. I was going to be mere feet away from the adorable, ginger-headed European, of whose music I had become addicted. In addition, I dragged my less-than-enthusastic best friend downtown to Much the week before, to wait for actual wristbands. To add to MY general unluckiness, the group of teeny-boppers in front of me were the lucky bitches that got the LAST main stage wristbands (where Katy Perry, Bieber, etc would be), so I was “stuck with” a John Street wristband–admittance for Hedley and Mariana’s Trench.
All in all I ended up having to make a compromise. However, on the day of the show, everything worked out. The line to wait for Ed Sheeran wristbands was the audience lineup for the red carpet. I left with signatures and exchanges from Shawn Desman, Jesse Metcalfe (be still, my heart), Chord Overstreet, Darren Criss, Nelly Furtado, a couple Degrassi boys, Jacob Hoggard from Hedley, Pat Gillett from Down with Webster, and a few others I didn’t recognize. I got to see Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber (admittedly one of the prettiest people I’ve seen in person), Katy Perry (whose purple hair looks AMAZING, might I add…), and even more. After the red carpet, we headed over to the studio, where we watched the first half of the show going on just outside the studio doors. After just short of an hour of excited talking, cheering at the awards, and dissecting the fashion with a few other girls I knew, he arrived. Clad in a red Roots T-shirt layered over a green long-sleeved shirt, Ed Sheeran looked adorable and extra ginger as he wore Canada’s colors with pride. He spent most of the time before his performance on the small stage in front of us, where he did some soundchecking, the cameraman tested his shots, and every girl around me melted. The chatter had now turned to excited banter about what song he’ll do.
As I walked home that night, I couldn’t help feeling a little regretful that I went alone. My best friend received a wristband as well, but (after making the trip with me) she decided to stay in instead. She had been complaining of cramps, feared it would rain, and would have had to sit through most of the show without me–I would be in-studio with Ed Sheeran. However, that regret was easily shaken off. If I wasn’t forced to do that alone and put myself out there, I wouldn’t have been as social as I had. I met new people from all over the province (some Quebeckers as well!) and grew some balls I didn’t know I needed. After Ed Sheeran’s meet-and-greet post-performance, I made it outside just in time to catch Hedley’s performance (no matter that I didn’t get to see Mariana’s Trench on the same stage–I caught the soundcheck earlier!). After Hedley, I knew the moment of truth was approaching. I was going to have to be THAT girl. The girl worming her way to the front of a crowd where people have been waiting for hours. I will shamelessly admit that. However, I wasn’t expecting it to be THIS easy. The first alley I found was crammed with people, but when you’re one average-sized teenage girl in a sea of people, nobody’s that finicky about letting you through. By some miracle, I made it to the front of the alley (that overlooked the main stage area) before Kelly Clarkson’s performance finished. Now, I’ve always been Bieber-impartial. I’ve got nothing against the guy, and he’s making a damn good living for himself. But this “Boyfriend” song is catchy as fuck, and if we’re being honest, the “na na na” bit at the end is kind of my jam. So when Katy Perry’s beautiful performance came to an end (I consider anyone who gets to see that woman live LUCKY as hell), I drew a little bit of attention to myself, cheering and trying not to lose my mind entirely. As I chilled out, they introduced Bieber, and the crowd went WILD. I took the opportunity to steal a quick glance at the shots of Katy Perry I managed to catch (hard to miss once the butterfly opened up). Apparently satisfied that I was not absolutely mad, the hulking young man who I’d be standing next to (and undeniably being dwarfed by, my head didn’t even clear his shoulders) started a bit of small talk. Now, I’d been making small talk for seven or so hours, so I was running a bit low on interest. However, it’s a bit boring being alone, so we chatted about the show as Bieber began. “All Around the World” is a super mediocre song, but the dancing was fun, and the beat isn’t bad. As I clung to the fence, straining my neck and my tippy-toes to their limits, fewer words could have been spoken to give me the absolute glee that “you can go up on my shoulders if you’d like!” shouted into my right ear at that exact moment.
I do realize I live downtown Toronto. Strangers in a big city are different than strangers in a smaller town, usually. However, living downtown means that you’ve got a responsibility to take chances, and enjoy downtown the most that you can. So after a half-second of hesitation, Bieber stopped singing, started talking, and I jumped onto the shoulders of this generous giant. As I got my bearings down (thank god there was a fence to cling to, and a wall to lean on), I looked down at the laughing man beneath me and looked back up, flinging my hair in the breeze that came with being elevated. I regret not taking a picture of that moment, but nothing could have explained it better than being there. The cold metal of the fence against my sweaty hands, the strong, sturdy man beneath me who I entrusted with my weight, and the absolute rush of adrenaline seeing myself sticking out of such a massive crowd, looking out at the thousands of people that surrounded me, and the worldwide phenomenon onstage that I get to experience FOR FREE. As I fell back into my own body, the song changed. One of my favourite things in the world is the feeling you get when the crowd recognizes the opening of a song. The surge of energy, the intense charge of emotion and recognition–there’s nothing that beats it. And hearing a crowd of (mostly) teenage girls react to one of the hottest songs out right now…I just can’t believe I was so lucky. After I got on his shoulders, other guys took the cue, and mid-chorus, I was joined by several other girls fangirling and fence-clinging right along with me. I will never see these people again, and if I do, I wouldn’t recognize them, and they would not recognize me. But we shared an incredible experience, and anyone who appreciates the intensity of a huge crowd and the atmosphere of incredible camaraderie and celebration, should absolutely come out for next year’s MMVAs. Alone or in a group, it’s an amazing experience to be a part of.