WARNING: If you’re planning on going to Starkid’s SPACE Tour and don’t want to know what'll happen, READ NO FURTHER. From here on out, there will be spoilers galore.
A few weeks ago, I got a call from my friend Tara. She shouted in my ear, “STARKID IS GOING TO BE IN ANN ARBOR, HOLY CRAP!” and I yelled back confusedly, “But… that’s where I am!” because I simply could not imagine occupying the same space and breathing the same air as Team Starkid. Predictably, my attempt at buying the tickets on Ticketmaster could be considered the greatest American face-palm since the Bay of Pigs. I mean, I got the tickets eventually, but at one point I was saying things like "Abort! Abort!" and Tara was yelling, "THERE'S NO TURNING BACK NOW! NEVER SAY DIE!"
So last Friday, Tara came down for the show. She proudly donned her Starkid T-shirt, and I threw on my Gryffindor scarf and Golden Snitch necklace, and we sprinted to the theater forty minutes early. We were delighted to discover that we had just happened upon the greatest concentration of nerds ever amassed outside of Comic-Con. People were exchanging Red Vines, comparing costumes, and singing, “I am so in love… with Choooooo Chaaaaaang…”
“Look look LOOK!” I kept saying excitedly. “Potterheads and Nerdfighters and Whovians! Oh my!”
Tara nodded, basking in the nerdiness of it all, and said, “I feel like I’ve come home.”
I introduced her to a few of my college friends, and then Charlene Kaye opened the show. I was only vaguely aware that Charlene Kaye was a person who sang things, because it said so on my ticket, but she totally won me over. The girl is TALENTED, and I’ve been listening to “Dress and Tie” on repeat for four days with no end in sight. There was a quick intermission, and when the lights finally dimmed everyone practically broke their ankles getting to their seats. And then… and THEN… well, then Team Starkid appeared and I internally combusted.
First point of observation? Joey Richter is a DREAMBOAT, with his hair and his tight jeans and his face. I mean, I knew this going in, but I was unprepared for the sensation of dying and being born again that I experienced upon hearing him sing “I Wanna Be” from Starship. Just… wow. Then the whole cast dove straight into “Harry Freakin’ Potter,” and in response the theater exploded.
In addition to Joey, there was Lauren Lopez (Draco Malfoy), Joe Walker (Voldemort and Umbridge), Brian Holden (Lupin), Meredith Stepien (Mega Girl in Starship), Dylan Saunders (Dumbledore) and Jaime Lyn Beatty (Ginny and Rita Skeeter). But anyway, I’ve decided I want to be Lauren Lopez when I grow up. She and Jaime just had this boundless energy. Also their hair looked really, really good. This was essentially a cast of supermodels. Apparently I wasn’t alone in thinking this, because you would frequently hear these half-demented screams of “I LOVE YOU, JOEY!” like perhaps they thought Joey Richter would enjoy it if they interrupted his bits with declarations of love that prevented everyone else from hearing what was being said onstage.
When Joey and Lauren teamed up for “Granger Danger,” I just about died. Meredith sang “The Coolest Girl,” and she, Jaime, and Lauren did “No Way.” Joe sang “Stutter,” which made me deliriously happy, and Dylan sang “To Have a Home” like a boss. They did a few songs from their other musicals and a few from their band, Jim and the Povolos. (Jim Povolo was the guy who played Goyle and Firenze. He, Nick Lang, and Matt Lang were in the audience with all the Starkid parents and I was this close to walking straight up to them and simply frothing at the mouth to show my love and adoration, but Tara said no.)
It was particularly touching to hear Meredith saying how this was all so unbelievable because, as she put it, “We’re weirdos, you know” She was talking to an entire theater of people who thought dressing up as Lauren Lopez as Draco Malfoy and rolling around in the aisles during intermission was socially acceptable, so needless to say the response was thunderous applause.
The last half of the show was big on Starship songs. Tara and I nudged each other every five seconds to whisper-scream, “Oh my God, this SONG!” They sang “The Way I Do,” turned “Status Quo” into an adorable quartet, and then capped it off with “Beauty.” By this point everyone in the audience had their arms around each other and was bemoaning the fact that the show had to end. The applause was deafening as they left the stage. Tara said, “I’m clapping, and I will continue to clap forever like a perpetual clapping machine if that’s what it takes to get an encore!”
And then, and then, and THEN they came back out and did the mother of all encores. They said, “Here’s a song to get you all through the cruel Michigan winter,” AND THEN THEY SANG “DAYS OF SUMMER.” Oh my God. Just oh my God. It was like a dream. And then they seamlessly slipped into “Goin’ Back to Hogwarts,” the result of which was a veritable TSUNAMI of emotion. I swear I wept tears that regenerated to form more tears. They sang the whole thing in its entirety, with various cast members taking Darren Criss’ parts. Dylan Saunders sang his trademark “Weeeelcoooooooooooooome…” that goes on for about five years, but instead of Hogwarts he sang, “…all of you to MICHIGAN!” which got an appreciative roar of applause. You may or may not remember that the University of Michigan is their alma mater, and it was just so beautiful because they really had come back to where they began. I saw a few tears shed onstage with lines like “Back to the place where our story begins,” and when they finished it off with “Man, I’m glad I’m back!” the theater exploded for real. And then, as a collective entity of diehard Starkids, we all proceeded to applaud, sob, and dance our way out of the theater.
If you won’t be able to attend any of their shows, fear not. You were there in spirit. And I sang just loudly and off-key enough for all of us.
WOW. That was the best concert we ever attended, and we weren't even there. How many of you teared up just READING this? BE HONEST.
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