By Larissa Smith
At the Warped Tour date in St. Louis (2018), my friends and I had gotten to the venue as soon as it opened and ran immediately to the Waterparks tent (my faves) to try to get meet & greet tickets. However, they had already ran out somehow and I was left feeling kind of gutted that I wouldn’t be able to see the boys. Feeling a little deflated about it, we walked around the venue and checked out some other bands while waiting for the ones we actually came to see. I think it was about 1pm when I had to go to Awsten’s TEI class (by myself bc my friends weren’t huge fans & didn’t buy in advance like I did), so I headed over to the tent and waited in line.
Waiting in line, I met another gal who I kind of stuck to because she was super nice and she was also by herself. When we were able to go into our area, I saw it was mostly under a tent, but there were a few spots in the front (in the sun), so I dragged her up there with me so we could get a better experience/closer one. Awsten and Jawn came out and immediate happiness spread all over everyone. We all chatted and made jokes, and I ended up getting Awsten’s attention and gave him my drawing to sign (which he made everyone give me a round of applause for), he actually drew a picture of me and gave it to me, and we joked about how scary St. Louis is. Towards the end of the class, he walked to the opposite end to get a group photo, and that’s when we were dismissed to leave. I really wanted to hangout and try to talk more, but security was trying to get us to get out. Moving with the crowd outwards, as I was about to step out of the area I bumped shoulders with someone and when I turned to say sorry, it was Awsten! We both looked at each other at the same time and laughed, and I wanted to ask for a picture so I ended up freezing up, and he laughed and just asked if I wanted one (thank goodness he read my mind) and I got a pic with him! He also complimented my shirt I had made that said “optimistic black hole” from the song Lucky People. In the moment I was holding a little scarf that had 4-leaf clovers on it and I panicked and shoved it at him (wow, rude) and said “this is for you” and he laughed and said thanks, and was about to say something else but someone else came up and asked for a picture too :) Security was still ushering everyone out, so being content with our lil meet, I went out to find my friends and squealed about the class and being able to meet him.
It was such a nice encounter that I really needed at the time because I had just pretty much dealt with a weird dating scenario with a guy that had me thinking I wasn’t worth anyone’s time. But just from that short moment of Awsten listening to me and taking a moment to snap a picture, it made me feel really good about myself and realize I was worth the time :) (sounds cheesy, REALLY cheesy, but it helped, ya know?)
After a long and exciting day with my friends, it was about 98 degrees Fahrenheit outside and we were hot & gross, so we decided to leave the venue around 5:30. We got lost trying to find the exit gate, so we ended up walking past the Waterparks tent a 3rd time. Finally seeing the gate, we were marching along and I was taking a look at everything around me, just trying to take in the day—and that’s when I saw Otto & Lucas walking the opposite way. I just stopped walking and yelled, “OTTO!” He turned and saw me, and I laughed awkwardly and said “HI!” He smiled and said hey, and we both kind of stood there for a moment and I asked for a picture, and he said “Of course! Get over here!” So I dragged my friends over with me. When I stood next to him for the picture, I realized how gross & sweaty I was from the day, and apologized for being that way. He just laughed and was like, “nahh it’s part of it.” We took the pic and he stuck around for a moment to chat, and then he & Lucas left for the tent.
So in the end, I met 2/3’s of the band, and would’ve loved to have meet Geoff, but it didn’t happen. I was very, very grateful for my time though with Awsten and Otto, and those few minutes of talking with them have made a definite highlight in my life.