On Sunday, I rapped all of Outkast’s lyrics in the middle of Atlanta’s packed Centennial Park during their twentieth anniversary concert with my fellow super fans. It was awesome and the best money I’ve spent in months. Why don’t I travel for concerts more often? Think about it, you travel for things you don’t like, why not hop a plane for something you do?
As an adult traveler, my fall schedule is usually booked up by August. I’ve got November’s Parlour trip to the Food, Wine and Rum Festival, which is fun disguised as work, Thanksgiving in New England and Christmas in California. When you live across the country from your family — I am a Cali girl living in New York City — racking up airlines miles to make sure you stay connected is a necessary and expensive evil.
In the early aughts, flights were cheaper but now an NY-SF flight, let alone during the holidays, can cost from $600-$800 or more. But when Outkast, my favorite group of all time, announced their performance schedule earlier this year and their NYC date didn’t work with my schedule I was bereft. I stared at walls and barely wanted to listen to “Reset,” a near daily soundtrack, and generally felt like crap.
Since the release of Speakerboxxx/The Love Below in 2003, I’ve been waiting to see Andre Benjamin and Antwan Patton perform on the same stage and now they were but I couldn’t be there? Jesus, not like this!
Then I realized, I travel to see other people I love, why not my favorite musical group?
Then one night after work, I was home and feeling stressed about life when I saw a tweet announcing new Outkast concert dates in Atlanta called Outkast AtLast. Early reviews from Kast’s performances at festivals like Coachella were dismal and fellow fans complained that the on-slaught of college students who only wanted to hear “Ms. Jackson” made them frustrated. But a hometown show for Atlanta’s biggest group sounded perfect. I had to be there.
The first two dates coincided with a friend’s wedding in Iowa, so I couldn’t attend. Heart. Break. But then, oh then, a sweet, blessed third date opened up , Sunday, September 28, and without a second thought, I bought two tickets to happiness.
I don’t live in Atlanta and the only way I’d be able to make this concert is if I drug my Husband from New York City to a wedding in Iowa and then to Atlanta in about 48 hours.
It was not pretty.
After drinking at the wedding the night before for hours, we left Iowa on a 6 a.m. flight to Atlanta with a connection in Chicago — the same airport where a deranged man set fire to a traffic tower. But we made it out and into the home of Andre Benjamin and Antwan Patton.
We ate fish and grits, slept off the flight and then walked over to the Outkast concert filled with thousands of fans. The Husband is an expert logistics traveller, we split duties around trip planning, and he selected a Courtyard Marriott hotel blocks away from the park. Once inside, I nerded out. Rapping to any and all lyrics by my favorite MCs, I bodyrolled to Tela, I slow danced to “Prototype” with the Husband, I swag surfed in a sea of people, I sang along to Erykah Badu’s screams on “Humble Mumble,” I laughed at Andre and Big Boi’s jokes, I bought a sweatshirt like a stan. It was amazing.
So, if ever you find yourself looking at a ticket site and wondering if you should click the “buy” button to see your favorite group in some far flung place, do it. Build a group or solo trip around the music and feed your soul. You won’t regret it. I’m still smiling.
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