To all the friends I saw at the Wonder Years show yesterday (and of course the ones didn’t see as well), thank you for making it one of the most fun nights of my life. Thank you for caring and buying a ticket and stage diving and singing along.
Last night felt like a triumph. The Wonder Years have been my favorite band for at least three years, and they’ve been an inspiration and a force in my life for even longer. I’ve laughed and cried to them, and their records have been the perfect soundtrack to my highest and lowest points. They are the band I want to share with every single person I meet because I realize that some people might not have ever felt like I have while listening to “New Years With Carl Weathers” in a freezing cold Toyota Camry or yelling the words to “Woke Up Older” when it mirrors your life all to closely or being moved to tears by the emotion in a live performance of “The Devil In My Bloodstream.” Everyone deserves to feel that deep, visceral connection with an album. It’s what music is all about. To see so many of my friends, some of whom I introduced to The Wonder Years and many more of whom I met through their shows or because we were both fans, experiencing that connection in the moment last night was truly incredible.
But that isn’t the only reason last night felt like a victory. It wasn’t just who was there, it was where we were. Since attending my first local shows during my freshman year of high school, I’ve worked as hard as I could at building the music community in Bloomington-Normal. At first, that meant inviting all of my friends to every show I went to, but then I started a band (and then another and another and…), and then I started putting on my own shows. With every step of that journey I wanted to grow the scene meant so much to me, and the fact that a few pop punk bands can sell over eight hundred tickets in the middle of Illinois is vindicating in some small way and proof that our scene can still be the powerful, important place of community and self-discovery that it was for me.
I’ve never been more proud of where I’m from