I don’t know what I was more upset about: waiting in a two-mile long line for the Childish Gambino concert or the fact that it was pouring buckets. I sheltered myself underneath my friend, Emma, trying to keep my velour Juicy Couture sweatshirt dry.
“Is this line for Gambino?” I heard an annoying voice complain behind my ear. I turned around to notice a girl peering over my shoulder.
“Yes,” I replied, turning my head hoping she would stop talking to me.
That didn’t work out as I intended it to. Her name was Alex, a 23-year-old who just moved to Boston from New York and needed “new friends” to “show her around the area.” Emma and I thought we would be friendly and keep conversation going but did not know what we were in for.
We listened to her drunkenly complain about the length of the line for two hours. We ended up bugging a guy in front of us to use as a decoy. His name was Andre, a recent engineer grad from WPI who shared the same love as me for Chance the Rapper. He seemed as annoyed as we were, which I believe is why we sparked a new friendship.
As we got closer to the entrance, Emma and I tried slowly distancing ourselves from Alex. She, however, caught on and started to scream. It was our turn to get checked by the security when Alex decided to yell out, “I have heroin and marijuana in my purse!”
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Emma said as we tried to make a run for it. We explained to the security that we were not with Alex. I looked back to see her standing there–getting her purse searched as well as a full-body exam by several bouncers. She looked up at us, giggling and waving as we entered the venue.
We made our way to the bar to get rum and Cokes with our new friend Andre. We were having a good time talking about music when suddenly I heard that familiar screech again. “Hey girls!”
“Oh no,” I murmured under my breath to Emma. It was Alex. Emma and I exchanged confused looks, wondering how she was allowed in. “Security has got nothing’ on me!” Alex yelled as she sloppily leaned on my shoulder.
She slammed her purse on the bar and demanded, “Fireball Whiskey shots for these girls!”
I was not going to argue–free shots were free shots. We quickly knocked them back, thanked Alex and ran off to the stage.
A packed room separated Emma and I from the stage. In a room full of tall boys, being short was a problem. “Watch this,” Emma said as she grabbed my arm and pulled me to the front.
“Not good enough,” said Emma, “but wait.”
Emma tapped on the shoulder of a guy, who had the best view of the concert. “Excuse me,” she said in her most innocent voice “do you mind if my friend went in front of you? She’s the biggest Childish Gambino fan and I just want to make her happy.”
I did not hear much of the rest of their conversation, but I did notice the exchanges of smiles and giggles. Emma pulled me up and I let out a squeal when the stage came in clear view. “Do you know the song ‘Bonfire’?” asked one of the boys.
His name was Nick, a student from Northeastern. Emma and Nick could not take their eyes off each other, so I talked to his friend, Tom, who later explained to me that he is Internet famous for pouring a Dr Pepper on himself behind a sports newscast.
Childish Gambino came on and I immediately started fan-girling. I even bumped into Andre, my new friend from the line, and sang along with him to all the songs Gambino was performing. Halfway through, we decided to take a break and get some drinks with Nick and Tom. “Hey,” Nick whispered, as he pulled open his jacket to reveal a t-shirt that read STAFF. Tom did the same.
Nick smiled and put his finger over his mouth and said, “but don’t say anything.” Emma and I looked at each other excitedly, both having the same plan in mind. Emma leaned over to my ear and said, “You know they can probably get us backstage right?”
We continued on with the rest of the concert. The set was coming to a close and Nick piped up, “Hey, you two wanna watch the rest of the show backstage?” My eyes lit up–I was so happy that I even forgot to speak.
“We’d love to,” Emma spoke up, laughing at how paralyzed I was.
They led us backstage and brought us to the right wing. I stood there in awe, staring at Childish Gambino performing only 10 feet away from me.
“You guys want something to drink?” Nick said as he waved for us to come follow him. He got us two Cokes and led us to a room full of snacks.
I leaned against the wall and watched videos I have recorded from the concert. I looked up and there he was, Childish Gambino, standing right in front of me, along with his so-called “groupies.”
I looked at Emma and froze, and she laughed at my reaction. Gambino sat down on the couch and starting smoking from his vape pen.
“How did everyone like the show?” Childish Gambino asked the room as he took off his shirt.
I did not answer. I could not answer. I lost the ability to form words or even move. I sat in silence as Gambino went off about potential ideas for the upcoming shows on the tour.
He grabbed a bag of gummy bears, ate a few, and then passed them around the room. I ended up having some. I did not want the gummy bears but ate them anyways because Childish Gambino was eyeing us down. I immediately thought of how much money I could get on eBay for the packaging.
“I hate playing my old shit, but I have to. It seems like that’s the only shit the fans know,” Childish complained while talking about his set list.
We all spoke up and told him how we like his new album more compared to his old mix tapes.
He smirked, and I died a little inside. “Thank you,” he said, “I’m glad someone likes it.” He pushed himself off the couch and walked out of the room.
It took me a minute to take it all in. Did I just get to hang out with my favorite rapper of all time? Did I act normal and not like a crazy fan? Wait…where did my friends go?
I ran out to the hallway and saw Emma staring at Nick with the most shocked face. “What happened?” I asked.
“These boys aren’t security guards Shay,” Emma said.
“What do you mean?” I freaked out as they giggled.
“We bought these staff shirts online and we come to venues at the House of Blues and pretend we work here. They never check us for IDs. This is our third time we’ve done this. It’s amazing how bad the security is at concerts,” Nick said. “I even had my knife on me, and they didn’t once check me.”
“Wow,” I said, “I need to write a story about this night.”
“Go ahead,” Nick said. “This is the last time we’re doing this.”