Furthest Lengths You’ve Gone To See A Band?

You know how it is. Your favourite band aren’t set to play your home town/country for another six months. That YouTube live clip that you’ve racked up 700 views on is beginning to lose its potency. So what choice do you have but to trek thousands of miles/queue for five hours/sell a kidney in order to see them live? I canvassed NME’s staff and writers to find out the craziest lengths they’ve gone to to see their favourite band live…

Hamish Macbain, Assistant Editor
“I queued up for 18 hours outside Shepherd’s Bush Empire to get a ticket to the Oasis ‘Noise & Confusion’ tour in 2001. Bearing in mind the last time they’d played London was over two nights at Wembley, demand was high; we got there at 6pm on the Friday night (tickets went onsale at 11am the next day), thinking we’d get shitfaced until about 4am, then just get in the line and pass out.

But at 6pm, there were already well over 500 people there, so we had to just get shitfaced in the queue. Imagine: 1,000 Oasis fans all getting hammered for 18 hours straight, in a queue. It was fun, gruelling and intermittently terrifying. Still, the person stood next to me ended up becoming one of my best friends – weirdly enough, he’s now also NME’s Art Director – so add that to two of the best gigs ever and it was definitely worth it.”

Priya Elan, Assistant Editor, NME.COM
“I went to Washington to see Fleetwood Mac. It was an amazing surprise birthday present from a couple of years ago. The Mac were on their ‘Unleashed’ tour and they hadn’t announced European shows, so it seemed like the only chance to see them during one of their not-so-regular live treks. They were playing in this big sports arena in the middle of town and we were sat in front of a group of women who were dressed up like Stevie Nicks; all vaguely terrifying black lace gloves, veils, big 80s blow dried hair and bellowing Southern voices.”

Tom Hawking, writer
“I once camped out all night to buy tickets to Radiohead on their ‘OK Computer’ tour. My friends and I slept in the doorway of Ticketmaster all night to make sure we were first in what we assumed would be a colossal line when tickets went on sale at 9am that morning. In the event, the next people turned up at about 8.45am, and they were buying tickets for Ozzy Osbourne. Everyone else booked by phone. Curses.”

Rebecca Schiller, writer
“Mind you, this was when I was really, really young – I remember begging my parents to drive me from our house in New Jersey to New York City so I could meet Aaron Carter at a meet-and-greet to promote his new album. It wasn’t that far away, but I waited a good six or seven hours in the queue to get him to sign my CD. I also wrote him a letter and slipped it to him while he posed for a picture with me, but I never heard back… Aaron, you out there?”

Laura Snapes, Assistant Reviews Editor
“Having seen The National play five times in six days last November/December, I started to get withdrawal symptoms around January. A quick look at their gig dates proved that they were playing Holland at the end of February, and I could fly there for £60. Sod the hotel, we’d stay up all night. Bargain. I persuaded a friend to come with me, we went and had a brilliant time until the point where the pubs shut at 4am and we had to run around the airport carpark to try and stay awake before our flight left at 8am. I say “we” – she did all the running, I slumped in a corner. Worth it though.”

Dan Martin, writer
“I can probably win this. I flew to Cuba to see the Manic Street Preachers three weeks before my finals and had a little bicycle holiday. At the gig we got to be in the same room as Fidel Castro. It was quite immense.”

Ailbhe Malone, writer
“When I was roughly 14, I tried to sneak into a concert without my parents knowing. In Dublin, very few venues allow under 18s in, so this was a challenge. I noticed that the day of the concert, there was a ‘May Day Street Party’ on in the city centre. Aha! The perfect excuse. So, I went to the concert with a friend and was delighted with myself. Alas, when I went home and had a look at the news, the ‘May Day Street Party’ had turned into the video you can watch below. In my infinite wisdom, I had pretended to be at a riot so I could go to a gig.”

Leonie Cooper, writer
“About four years ago I bought tickets to see the Magnetic Fields play two nights in a row in New York on hearing that they probably wouldn’t play any UK dates. Of course they announced some London shows after I’d bought my plane ticket. I then proceeded to fall asleep halfway through the first gig because of jetlag. Still worth it though.”

Kelly Murray, writer
“In 2008, two mates and I got a train from Manchester to Finland to see Converge play at a festival in a forest. I sat, “slept” and puked on six trains and a ferry for three days. This included attempting to sleep on a 12-hour night train across Germany where I had to give the conductor my passport till I got off. He couldn’t speak English and I really couldn’t speak German. It felt like a runaway ghost train, it was a rough as hell journey. We shared a cabin with a Canadian man who farted all night and the bunks had bars where pillows would usually be. Converge were bloody brilliant though.”

Adam Kennedy, writer
“I went to Chicago on my own at about two days’ notice five years ago or so basically because I wanted to see Big Black at the Touch & Go 30th Anniversary festival. Ended up randomly hanging out with the editor of Playgirl, which was mainly exciting as she shared my love for Ted Leo & The Pharmacists. Slept at the airport and in a Hilton that cost $200 because I planned things so badly that I couldn’t get in touch with friends I was staying with. What an idiot! Still, Big Black were awesome.”

So, what’s the battiest thing you’ve ever done to see a band? Share your tales of deranged fandom in the comments below…