I Was VIP for Niall Horan's Today Show Concert, And This Is What Happened

I Was VIP for Niall Horan's Today Show Concert, And This Is What Happened

Pulling an all nighter and traveling into the city for 3 AM isn't that bad when it's for Niall Horan...

Getting a VIP Fan Pass to see Niall Horan perform on the Today Show is a huge deal, especially if you have been a huge of a fan of his for as long as I have (since late 2011-early 2012). Fan passes, let alone VIP fan bases, are not easy to come by. Sure, there are radio contests...but those contests can seem nearly impossible. Luckily for me, my friend Jessica won a pair of VIP passes a few days before the Today show concert (which took place on Monday, May 29, 2017).

As a Today show concert virgin, let alone a VIP Fan Pass virgin, I had no clue what to expect. The night before the concert, I could not sleep. Not even for a minute. Granted, Jess and I planned to leave her house at 2 am. And so we did! Before Jess and I knew it, it was 3:45 AM on May 29th and we were standing in a VIP fan pass line to ensure that we would get a good view. From 3:45 AM to about 5:15 AM, Jess and I stood in a line in a cold, rainy, New York City street. We befriended two girls in front of us, but primarily stood in silence hoping for the rain to stop. It was totally worth it.

Eventually, VIP fans were given our lanyards and were allowed to enter the space where the concert would be held. It's about 5:20 AM, and in that moment all I can remember feeling is a huge sense of relief and excitement. Our view is going to be incredible!! Even though there were annoying people surrounding us--who felt the need to spread their bodies to prevent people behind them (like Jess and I) from inching ourselves any closer to the stage, there was no time for thinking negatively. Because in a short hour, Niall and his band would be taking the stage for the first time for their soundcheck. Sure, the rain and our lack of umbrellas/ponchos made us easily prone to sporting soaked clothes for the concert, but we were at the concert and we were going to enjoy it no matter what.

Flash forward to around 6:35 AM (I can't remember if it was 6:30 or 6:40 ish...the timing was a blur), Niall's band takes the stage: Gerry Morgan on drums, Jake Curran on guitar, John Bird on bass, and Louis Querelle on keyboard. The band warms themselves up on their instruments, allowing fans like myself to take in this new and exciting environment. I've loved Niall for over 5 years at this point, so having him work with a new band is a very exciting time. Although I've seen pictures and videos of the band online and on television, seeing the men in person offers a whole new perspective. They seem friendly, confident, and talented right off the bat. No one would ever question Niall's choice in band, nor his choice in music, but I have to admit- his band is the perfect fit. Each artist that Niall now works with adds a puzzle piece to his new genre of music, something that can be categorized as a mix of rock-pop from his first three solo songs. And I LOVE it (I grew up listening to the 70s and 80s, and Niall has revealed that he did the same. #ThanksDad).

I wrote a brief blog post about my concert experience for my blog, but in that post, I talk more about the importance of feeling happy and important, and how music and artists can bring out feelings of happiness and importance in fans. I don't really talk about how Niall--or his band--brings happiness upon fans like myself though, so I'd like to address that here.

When you look up to an artist for many of your teen years, you tend to grow up with the artist. When I first started listening to Niall, I was a freshman in high school. Now I'm an incoming junior in my undergraduate academic career. Time flew by, and as time went on, I matured. As did my favorite artists, including Niall. Don't get me wrong, I still jam to One Direction music all the time. There's no way anyone can discredit or forget about beautiful 1D songs from the early albums. But now as we're in our 20s (we being Niall and fans like myself), it's refreshing to have more-mature music to add to the jam sessions.

As a singer and a performer, you have to be mature and serious. Niall and his band are definitely mature and serious, but they add a lot of fun into the mix. And that makes the concert even more enjoyable.

Niall currently has two singles out This Town and Slow Hands (I'm OBSESSED Slow Hands). He sang both of those songs, along with his song On The Loose (which has been played live before but has not yet been released on iTunes) for both soundcheck and the concert. After not seeing or hearing Niall live for over a year, I cannot describe how amazing it felt to hear his voice from a few feet away, rather than through a phone or a computer. Because this is his solo music, I knew that this was the music that Niall was proud of. These are the songs Niall wrote and wanted to share with the world. And they're absolutely incredible.

Because I didn't know when my next opportunity would arise to see Niall, I took it upon myself to try to get at least one decent selfie with him...from a distance. Mission accomplished, as I not only got three-four selfies with him (and a mix of band members) in the background, but I also tweeted one of the earlier selfies (where I was soaking wet from the never ending rain). That selfie made it to the big screen on the side of the stage where Niall was performing, and at numerous points throughout the show, my "selfie with Niall" (aka my selfie with Niall in the background) aired on the big screen next to Jake and Louis--Niall's guitarist and keyboardist).

Not only did my face pop up numerous times throughout the morning and the concert, but the Today Show captured a moment of Slow Hands where Niall was singing and my face was right next to him on the screen. I managed to save that video thankfully, so I can cherish it forever. Don't judge me!! This could be the closest I ever get to being next to Niall (hopefully not!).


Because my view was pretty darn good, I was able to get a really good look at all of the band members. Although there's only five of them including Niall, and there were thousands of people in the crowd, I could've sworn that during the concert I made eye contact with Niall and a few of the band members. I'm a tall young woman (six-foot-one to be exact), so you can't miss me. However there is definitely a good chance that I mistook the mutual eye contact for me trying to make eye contact with Niall, Gerry, Jake, John, and Louis while they were all taking in the crowd behind me. I'd like to think that we made mutual eye contact though, thank you very much.


Although Jess and I--along with many other fans-- were on our feet from approximately 3:30 AM to 9:30 AM, and our feet and backs were killing us, I didn't want the concert to end. I didn't want to have to leave the concert environment where all I was feeling was happiness, nostalgia, and confidence. Instead of being in my head, worrying about little things like insecurities, I was able to pay all of my attention to Niall, Gerry, Jake, John, and Louis and enjoy their music and energy.

Walking out of the concert space (who are we kidding, I mean limping, after standing in one spot for so many hours), I was in shock of how incredible Niall's new music was. I cannot wait for Niall to release his album, and cannot wait to see Niall, Gerry, Jake, John, and Louis on tour. Sure, fans like me may go overboard sometimes (like sending links to our blog posts to personal band accounts--oops!), but we do it out of love. I have had a whole lot of love for Niall for about five and a half years, and I have a newfound respect and love for his band. My experience at the Today show concert could not have been better...okay, maybe it could have if I were able to befriend Niall, but that would be a long shot anyhow.

Seeing Niall, Gerry, Jake, John, and Louis on stage made me all the more excited for Niall's solo career to rise. On the slim chance you read this, I love you, Niall, and I'm so thankful that I was lucky enough to see you and get to see your new band at the Today show concert! Hope to see you soon!

Cover Image Credit: Brianna Siciliano

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Walt Disney World Tips from a Pro

Even the experts need tips.
Dixie
Dixie

I've learned a thing or two about Disney from my frequent trips there growing up. Although I would consider myself a "Disney Pro," even the pros need some help from time to time.  Here are 16 tips to take in mind during your next trip to Walt Disney World. 

Value Resorts have just as much to offer as Moderate or Deluxe Resorts.

I always hear that Value Resorts don't have as much to offer as Moderate or Deluxe Resorts, but I believe they have just as much to offer. You get the same perks you would if you stayed at Moderate Resort. Personally, I prefer staying Pop Century- this will always be my number one choice for a hotel when I go to Disney.

Get the Park Hopper Option.

Disney's Park Hopper option is a lifesaver, especially when you plan to spend 4 days at Walt Disney World. You get to experience 2 or more parks each day, which means twice the fun! My tip: try and visit all four parks in one day during your next trip!

Get the Disney Dining Plan, not the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan.

My parents made this mistake on two of our vacations. You become too focused on when you have to schedule a dinner and use your credits, instead of enjoying your trip. It will be worth it in the end.

Get Memory Maker.

Get Memory Maker to help make your trip a little easier. I recommend getting it before your trip because it is cheaper. Plus when you get home, you can customize you photos by adding boarders and stickers!

Get tons and tons of pins.

Disney has a variety of pins (they are free!) that you can get to help make your trip more magical. They have a first trip pin, a birthday pin, a celebrating pin, a just engaged pin, a just married pin, and even an anniversary pin. Make sure to grab yourself a few pins to take home!

Wear Matching Shirts.

Matching shirts bring humor to your trip. You can look back and see how silly you look wearing these over the top shirts. I used to be against them, but they are growing on me and are now a tradition in my family.

Buy Mickey Ears or a Mickey Hat.

No trip is complete without Mickey Ears or a Mickey Hat. Buy the pair that speaks to you or go with the classics. If you aren't a fan of ears, grab yourself a hat! You can customize the ears to make your trip more special. My favorite ears are my Star Wars ears (they light up), whereas my favorite hat is my graduation ears I got to remember my special day.

Download the Disney Parks app.

The Disney Parks app is a completely free app, which helps make your trip easier. You can get wait times in real time, as well as book dining, make FastPass+ reservations, and even look at your Memory Maker photos!

Character Dining isn't just for children.

You will not regret having breakfast, lunch, or dinner with the characters (even if you are an adult). Character dining helps make your trip more magical, knowing that you get to see the characters without having to stand in line. I think my personal favorite character dining has to be either Tusker House at Animal Kingdom (breakfast with Mickey and his safari friends) or Cinderella's Royal Table at Magic Kingdom (breakfast with Cinderella and the princesses).

You will have to stand in line at some point.

Unfortunately, you will have to stand in line at some point, whether it be to see a character or get on a ride or waiting for the bus, you will have to stand for long periods of time. My tip: wear comfortable shoes, it makes all the difference.

One word: FastPass+.

Get FastPass+ reservations 30 days in advance (if you have a reservation). FastPass+ is a game changer for Disney. Make sure to get FastPass+ for rides you really want to get on or for rides you know will have a long wait time. I recommend getting FastPass+ for Peter Pan (always over 120 wait time), Space Mountain, Seven Dwarfs, Splash Mountains, Test Track, Frozen Ever After, Avatar: Flight of Passage (absolutely amazing!), Expedition Everest, Aerosmith, and Tower of Terror.

Visit the Countries.

EPCOT's countries are one of Disney's best attractions (in my opinion). When I went to Disney with my best friend, I truly discovered the beauty of each country. My tip: take a photo in each country to show how each one is different.

Be sure to check out each resort.

If you have the time, go check out the resorts you would like to stay at. You can check out different resorts by simply hopping onto a bus or hopping on the Monorail to check out the resorts near Magic Kingdom, it's eye-opening to see how each resort is different. My favorite resort to visit is Disney's Grand Floridian, this hotel is so beautiful!

Spend time at your resort.

It's nice to spend a day or an evening taking in your resort. Whether it be spending the day at the pool or walking around to see the different themes, you paid money to stay there. I love staying at Pop Century because each group of rooms is based on a decade. Typically, I stay in the 50's and I love going to the Flower pool.

Ship your merchandise back to your room.

Disney's free delivery option makes spending money easy. You can get everything you buy sent back to your hotel, free of charge, as long as you fill out the form. I use this option because I typically buy glass ornaments or jewelry, it makes my life easier knowing it will be at my hotel instead of having to worry about it.

Splurge and get what you want.

You never know when you will be going back to Walt Disney World, so splurge and get what you want. Typically, I get Alex and Ani bracelets as my splurge item, but during my last trip, I got a pearl from China. It's my favorite piece of jewelry, worth every penny!!

Dixie
Dixie

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Poetry On Odyssey: On A Dark Road

Let's talk.

Let's talk. For a while now, every week a poem has gone up from me, and every week I have been somewhat apprehensive when posting it. There's something about revealing one's innermost thoughts through writing that can be scary, and having something artistic like a poem somehow makes it worse in my mind. But, as of late, I've realized that it doesn't matter.

Much like singing and other forms of art, poetry is a tool for a performer, writer, or author to express themselves. It IS an extension into the mind of the author, and their perception of the world around them. It ISN'T a reflection of a person's worth, or of their humanity. Sometimes I feel like we lose sight of that, and I'm talking to the performers out there when I say this, not necessarily to the audiences. We all tend to beat ourselves up over things that are inconsequential, or are harder on ourselves than reasoning dictates we should be, and we should be aware of this.

My hope in saying this is to make people realize that the better we treat ourselves, hopefully, the better we will treat those around us. Gosh, wasn't this supposed to be a poem? I'll get off my soapbox now, apologies, and I hope you enjoy.

The dark road,

The night sky,

The lantern lights,

That pass on by,




The horizon black,

Resurgently clear,

Uncertainly manifested,

A thin veneer,




Mysterious in every way,

Hiding from the light of day,

Only coming out to play,

On a night,

so black and clear,


A trail without start,

Nor end,

A place for weary souls,

To mend,

Two lanterns bright,

Light the way,

Distracting us from our pain,

and sin,


We travel for the journey,

not the end,


We cruise on down,

'Round the bend,


The clouds open,

and stars shine,


On a dark road,

Without end,

Cover Image Credit: Pixnio

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