Back in March 2018, it was announced that Childish Gambino would be going on tour. They also announced that this would be his last and he would be retiring from touring once it was complete. My ears perked up, I knew Austin and I had to score tickets. We have been longtime Donald Glover fans and we had missed opportunities to see him live in the past. However, if I could help it, we would not miss this.
We had to option of attending the performances in D.C. or Philadelphia but we decided to go all out and see him perform at Madison Square Garden (MSG), even if that meant a 6-hour, round trip, drive. We made our trek to New York and arrived two hours early. As are both originally from one of the five boroughs, New York City is not super exciting to us, actually, it’s more annoying. In lieu of walking aimlessly along the streets, we decided to wait in the lobby of MSG and people watch. I also kept trying to pronounce Rae Sremmurd, the opening act for the concert.
I’m still not sure. In the words of Roger Murtaugh from Lethal Weapon, “I’m too old for this shit”.
As much as I dislike being a part of a crowd, I survived the lobby filling up with people as we approached the time for the doors to open. I even remained calm when we were all forced to stand in a cluster as we waited to find our seats. I feel like my subconscious knew something my conscious mind was not aware just yet and it was trying to keep me calm for the bigger freak-out that would ensue
If you read my poem or my post where I recount an accident I had last year, you may have surmised that I experience noise sensitivity. This is a relatively new challenge for me and I am still learning my limits. Everyday noises can send a searing pain through my head and neck, increase my anxiety, or make me incredibly irritable. It is not a fun experience. I knew going to this concert would be a challenge but my excitement and forgetfulness overshadowed my need to be prepared. After successfully finding our seats, I looked through my purse and came to the realization that I forgot my earplugs.
The crowds began to shuffle in. Groups of friends were squealing and taking selfies. People were singing along to the music playing in the background. Some people, just like to yell out for no apparent reason other than to be loud. All I could do was cringe and alternate covering one of my ears. I thought, maybe with enough time, I could become acclimated to the noise and tolerate all the different sounds; the way one would when entering a cold swimming pool. That did not happen. Rae Sremmurd started and people started screaming.
I sunk deeper into my seat as the pain spread across my head and found a home at the base of my neck. I was trying to breathe through the pain and I couldn’t do it. The discomfort was too much and tears began to flow as I was trying to decide whether to leave the arena or sit there. I was full-on bawling and no one could hear me over the music. Writing about it now makes my eyes water a bit. Austin looked over at me and saw the tears streaming down my face. I was frozen, I could see him out of my peripheral but I couldn’t speak or look over. He put his hands over my ears. We joked about him needing to do that earlier in the day, but it actually needed to happen. That action snapped me back and I knew I could not stay like this the whole time; I wanted to enjoy myself and I did not want to ruin his time either. Sometimes, when I am stressed, I can become quite resourceful and Macgyver a thing or two. While Austin positioned himself as my personal ear muffs, I ripped up my ticket, licked the paper, balled them up and put them in my ears. Okay, I know it’s kind of gross but you gotta do what you gotta do. Don’t judge me! From then on, I was able to actually enjoy the show. My makeshift earplugs diluted the sound to a reasonable volume.
Childish Gambino is an amazing performing, it truly is an alter ego to the normally reserved and slightly awkward Donald Glover. He was so passionate and used his body to emphasize each lyric. It was quite a sight! I’m so glad we were able to see him. Despite my rough start, I had an incredible time.
As I said, I am learning my limits. If this is going to be my life now, I need to be respectful of my body.
Cheers to new experiences!