I’m A Grown-Ass Woman Who Went to Jingle Ball, and Loved Every Minute of It.

11 Dec

Iggy Azalea

Late last week, I was the lucky recipient of some amazing news – my husband had won two tickets to KDWB’s Jingle Ball, and they were being bestowed upon me. And this is how I was told: “I hope you don’t have plans on Monday night.” After I confirmed that I did not, there was a long pause before he replied with, “Iggy Iggy.” I did not understand what that meant, so there was another pause before he once again sang the words, “Iggy Iggy.” This is when I somehow made the connection that Jingle Ball was on Monday, and that I was going! He’s a great husband, right? Barbra Streisand tickets for me and my mom before we were married; Beyonce tickets right after we had a baby; and now Jingle Ball tickets just for being me! (Well, mostly because he won a drawing, but I think the back-story is that he loves me so much).

My husband had absolutely no interest in going, so naturally I invited my best friend because she very much wanted to go, and she is the person that I do all the fun, random things with. You give us each a glass of wine in any situation, and we have a pretty good time. We headed out to Jingle Ball at a very reasonable hour to get there exactly as the first act started. Some people might go out for dinner or drinks beforehand, but we ain’t got no time for that since we are parents and it was a weeknight. We parked very far away, because we’re old and wise and know where the cheap parking is downtown. We walked arm in arm through the crowded sidewalks containing what appeared to be one million unaccompanied 11 year-olds. Where were their parents? And how could they walk around with bare legs in 12 degree weather?

They should be dressed like this.

They should be dressed like this.

Once we got about a block away, we were getting pretty excited. As we waited at the stoplight, I started gazing at a young woman with the most beautiful eyebrows. They were seriously perfect. Brown and thick, but not bushy, and perfectly trimmed. I muttered to my friend, “Look at her eyebrows!” And just as she glanced her way, the girl smiled at us and asked, “Do you want a Red Bull?” What? We were very caught off guard that the pretty brow girl was speaking to us, and also we felt like we were being offered an illegal drug out in the open. It felt dangerous and exhilarating. We politely declined because we were overwhelmed with the moment, but later we both agreed that we should have said yes. Watching a concert after drinking one can of street Red Bull must be an amazing experience, and now we’ll never know what it feels like.

Cat red bull

As soon as we get in to Xcel Energy Center, we head to the bar. Luckily the line is pretty much non-existent because the attendants of this concert are either underage, or the parent of an underage person who can’t get wasted because they’re in charge of their child’s safety. So that left a very small group of us to buy alcohol, which was just fine with me. It’s a good thing I didn’t want Davanni’s, because that line was practically out the door. Tweens do like their pre-show pizza. After we got our most expensive drinks ever, we headed into the arena. Oh, the glow sticks. They were everywhere. It was actually kind of pretty in a weird way. In the world of Jingle Ball, this was about as spiritual as it was going to get, so I enjoyed it.

We got to our seats just in time for the show to start. The beauty of Jingle Ball is that since it’s so many artists, there is no opener. You don’t have to sit through any crap to get to the acts you want to see. It’s a concert for the low attention span generation, and I was now happily one of them. The lights went down, and then this unreasonably long timer started counting down on the screen. I think we had to count down for 60 seconds, but it didn’t matter because the anticipation was worth it. As the clock neared 5, 4, 3… the young people were getting pretty loud. A lot of screaming was happening, and I briefly wondered how we would know if there was a fire or emergency because everyone is already shrieking like it’s happening. It was like one big false alarm.

Are you happy? Do you need assistance? I can't tell.

Are you happy? Do you need assistance? I can’t tell.

Suddenly the lights went up and Meghan Trainor was on stage. I only know that one Meghan Trainor song about being “all about that bass” and having no time for treble. I was over that song almost as soon as it came out, but I was still looking forward to her performance of it because singing along to songs at a concert is one of the most joyous things that can happen in life. She sang some new song, followed by her most current hit, Lips Are Movin, and then ended on All About that Bass. The funny part was her exaggerated warning to the crowd that it was coming – “Okay, y’all. I’m about to sing my biggest hit. It was my first single. I think you all know the words. Please sing along. It will be so fun and you’ll love it.” Got it, got it. We all know you’ll play the one song that made you popular. That was a given, so just cut your intro in half. The kids went nuts, and my friend and I sang along, and then she was done! Three songs! Now, that shit is my pace. We both agreed that if this is how the entire show is going to go, this might be the most perfect concert we’ve ever attended.

Y'all have heard my hit single about the bass? Y'all are embarrassing me!

Y’all have heard my hit single about the bass? Y’all are embarrassing me!

Next, the KDWB morning DJ’s (Dave Ryan, Falen (whom I love), and Steve-O) came out to chat up the crowd and to introduce the “co-host” Nick Jonas. Friends – I love Nick Jonas. I think he is very handsome, very talented, and I think he made the right decision to go solo. I hope he knows that I support him because I think just knowing that will make him stronger in moments of weakness. Like when Kevin Jonas is all, “Hey man, let’s get the band back together so we can be best friends and brothers like we were before!,” Nick can think of me and yell, “No! Go back to your wife and baby in New Jersey. I’m doing just fine alone, thank you very much!”

It's me. Nick. The sensitive one with the heart of gold and the voice of an angel.

It’s me. Nick. The sensitive one with the heart of gold and the voice of an angel.

After the audience calmed down from the Nick Jonas storm, the next act was introduced – Becky G. I’m embarrassed to say how much I respect Becky G. She’s just this young girl who can sing and rap so well! And sometimes it’s in Spanish! I can’t sing or rap or speak Spanish, so she’s already got three more threats than I do. (But can she eat an entire bag of Doritos in one sitting? Probably not. Point: me). I guess I’m not a big enough fan to know all of her current hits, so the first two songs were lost on me. But then she sang Shower and I was out of my seat like a bomb had gone off under it. This was my chance to dance like nobody’s watching to a 5 year old rapping at me! It was glorious.

After Becky G, the line-up gets muffled in my head, but I’m fairly positive that the next performer was Kiesza, who I had barely heard of. She sang her hit, which I had only heard once, but I couldn’t pay attention to the song because I was so entranced by her awkward dance movements. She looked like Lucille Ball taking a jazzercize class in the 80’s. It was confusing. She was a great singer, but the song was a little boring. She then followed it up with a new song that was even more boring. But that was okay, because my friend and I needed a break to sit down, sip on our drinks, and make fun of the tweets that were being streamed below the giant monitors. “I loooooovvvvveeeeee Becky G! Dying!” “Best night of my lyiffffffeeeee!!!! Gonna faint!!! Seriously!!!! Get me some water!!!!!”

Lucille Ball doing jazzercise. Am I right?

Lucille Ball doing jazzercise. Am I right?

One of the next acts was Nico & Vinz who sing the song that goes “That’s just how I feel, oooooooohh, that’s just how I fe-ee-ee-eel. Trying to duh duh duh that I can’t duh.” That’s how many times I’ve listened to it. After that, I thought it was a good moment to go to the restroom and have some “me time.” And that I did. After I got back, One Republic was starting. I think One Republic is pretty good. Like, I wouldn’t seek out their music, or play it on my own time, but when I’ve heard some of their songs on the radio, I won’t turn them off. This was my takeaway from their performance – they are so talented! These men (boys? I think they’re men. I can’t quite tell) know how to put on a show! They were really incredible. Maybe it’s all the hardcore piano playing that blew our minds, I don’t know, but my friend and I both agreed that they were amazing. I still don’t particularly want to listen to their music on my own time, but I will happily tell people that they were very good live once. And I just figured out last night that they are not the same band as The Fray, which I definitely thought the entire time I was watching their set. And all of yesterday afternoon.

Okay, so I think they're men. But they could be The Fray since I don't know what they look like.

Okay, so I think they’re men. But they could be The Fray since I don’t know what they look like.

Next up, I believe, was Rita Ora. I can’t say much about Rita – I only knew one song (and she sang a total of two, so I can’t complain).  She is super adorable and very talented. If she wasn’t a human being, I would say that she was a “throw-away” act, but she is a person, so I’ll say she was fine. At this point, I had to make yet another trip to the bathroom. Does she have a bladder problem, you might ask? Nope. I just have to pee a lot. Don’t worry. I knew that Shawn Mendes was coming up next, and you guys – the girls in this audience went APESHIT over him. Anytime his name came on the screen, the girls hyperventilated in a frightening way. So, when I was waiting in line for the bathroom, it was to my advantage that he was coming up because the girls did not want to wait for a pesky urination. They needed to leave that line ASAP in case his set started. While I was in the stall, I could hear his music beginning, and suddenly girls were RUNNING to get back. Best of luck to those 10 people, because I’m positive they didn’t wash their hands and that bathroom was germ central. Is Shawn Mendes worth the flu? I’d say not. Shawn Mendes was great, but here’s something my friend and I noted – he might be an 11 year-old in a 16 year-old’s body. His voice was still very high like he hadn’t hit puberty yet, and his teeth looked freshly braced. It made me feel uncomfortable for those few times I thought he was cute. Like, I thought I should turn myself in to the authorities for even noticing his presence.

If you're over 18 and you've so much as glanced at this picture, you're a complete perv.

If you’re over 18 and you’ve so much as glanced at this picture, you’re a complete perv.

Demi Lovato came out next and I died. She was amazing. I love her look, I love her voice, I love her energy, I love her everything. She sang four of her biggest hits, including Let It Go, which was maybe the most exciting moment in the lives of this young audience. I still have not seen Frozen, but I knew enough of the song to sing along to the important parts. I even used dramatic hand gestures, which was very appropriate in this context. Next, Jessie J came out and sang…one song. It was bizarre. To be honest, by this time it was getting pretty late and I was getting a little pooped. I kind of embraced the abruptness of her set (she did come out later to sing Bang Bang with Ariana Grande, so I guess she got her second song in, but it was still odd).

Jessie J’s set led straight into Ariana Grande coming out, who was adorned in her signature cat ears (mouse ears? I don’t really know. Some kind of house pet or rodent) and her teeny tiny outfit. She is Mariah Carey level talented, so I was beyond impressed. It was kind of a bummer when there was a slight problem with her sound at one point, and she really did not know how to handle it. She kept laughing nervously and saying “technical difficulties,” and “again?” to let us all know this happened in rehearsal. I thought that was a little immature, but I chose to ignore it and enjoy her weird dancing and strong vocals. I’m guessing she had a diva meltdown backstage, and I would have paid good money to see that.

Bat ears?

Bat ears?

Finally, the person I wanted to see most came on stage – Iggy Azalea. I love Iggy. I love her fake rap voice, I love her body, I love her whole thing. She came out, and I went crazy. She was clearly the star of the show, which was evidenced by the fact that she sang about four times the amount of songs that everybody else did. I wonder if the other musicians cared about that? Or maybe they were like, “I just made my many thousands of dollars for performing three songs, so you can do all the work. I’ll go pet a small dog and sip champagne on my private jet now.” I’ll go with that.

The show ended as every show should end – with a lot of confetti. It could not have been a better night, and I would even consider paying for tickets the next time around. If I do go again, I will keep this newly learned life lesson in mind: always go to the bathroom right before the boy every young girl is in love with goes on stage. You’ll pee so much faster. And take the time to wash your hands after. It’s worth it.


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