Written by Aleena
If you know me, music is my life. I’ve grown up around it my whole life. I have two favorite bands: Coldplay and Bleachers. Bleachers came into my life at such a pivotal point where I needed them most. I heard this song on the radio called “I Wanna Get Better”. I’m a sucker for 80’s synth pop and anthemic jams and that song had both! Soon I was looking up who this band was and where I could hear more… and then I found Jack.
Jack Antonoff, the singer of Bleachers, was writing songs that spoke to me, that made me feel light in the dark place that I was in. I found out he was in the band fun. and that he had another band called Steel Train. I was lucky enough to see Bleachers in 2015 but had no luck meeting Jack because I had a 2 hour drive home and work in the morning. At the end of September, I got to see them again after 2 years of waiting. I got up at 4 in the morning and waited out in the chilly bay area weather for 12+ hours to be middle barricade. It was the best experience. I’ve been barricade for plenty of shows but this one felt different. I felt at home, like I was a part of something.
He covered the song “Carry On” from fun. — which is such an important song for me — and I was bawling my eyes out. The whole show was insane! After buying merch and everything, my friends and I waited out around the corner near the gates where the buses were. We waited about half an hour and I was about to get up and tell them that we needed to go because… once again, a 2 hour drive home. And then I hear this faint “hey guys give me a sec, I’ll be right back” and it was him. The man who made me feel like I wasn’t alone. The man who was the friend that was there for me when I didn’t have any.
There were people in front of me so I was getting nervous as the line trickled down, but then it was my turn. I asked him if I could give him a hug and he said “of course you can! I saw you guys up front having such a good time” and it really felt like we were the only two people on earth. I forgot that there were people behind me, that my friends were there… it was just us. I had written him a letter and I collect pins so I gave him a pin from my favorite movie. I asked him if he liked the movie Labyrinth and he said “yeah duhh, David Bowie is amazing!” and I showed him the pin (it was the worm from the movie) and he was so stoked about it! Then I brought out my prized possession: my self-titled Steel Train vinyl. He was so shocked to see it but pleasantly surprised! He said “oh wow, I haven’t seen one of these in a while. I’m glad they’re still making their way around in the world”.
I had him write down a line from my favorite song off the album: I swear I’ll never let go. People say to never meet your idols because they aren’t what they’re made out to be in the media, but Jack is different. You hear Lorde & Taylor Swift talking about how humble and sweet he is, and that’s literally what he is in real life. He never takes anything he’s gotten for granted. He’s been one of the few people that has been there for me through everything and he’ll continue to be for as long as he’s willing to keep making music.
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