Travel Bug: Kansas City (feat. P!ATD)

Oh, hello there. As you can see, I'm horribly congested and feel like I'm on the verge of death, but! I have returned from Kansas City. I had a weekend away with my sisters where I got very little rest, but I still managed to have all the fun. We got to town at a reasonable hour for having left after two of the others got off of work, so naturally we went to Bo Lings.

Now, if you're not from the Kansas City area and you're unfamiliar with  Bo Lings, let me help you out. It's some of the best Chinese food I've had in my life (and yeah, I'm counting Mings in south Wichita on this list). What I love is that each restaurant looks different to fit the vibe of the area it's in, but the food is solid across the board. I have absolutely never had a bad experience at Bo Lings. We never have much of a wait, the servers are always friendly but efficient, I just love it there.

Look at that honey walnut chicken. Look upon it and weep, because that's pretty much all I want to do when I see it. I had a mango martini (well, two) and I almost cried, it was so good. Clearly there was a lot of crying going on in that restaurant that night. I didn't take any pictures of the interior because, well, I was starving and distracted - but this was taken at the restaurant in the Plaza.

The next day we pried ourselves out of bed and tried to decide on breakfast. After a failed attempt at a nearby restaurant, we headed to The City Market for a place called Beignet, which is as N'awlins themed as you can imagine. It's tucked away inside an entirely-too-small location but the food. Oh, the food. I had one of their scrambles with shrimp and sausage; I really don't like eggs, but I can't eat much gluten anymore, making this the safest choice I had - and at that point I'd never been more excited over eggs in my life. It was savory and rich, served with a cold bean salad and cornbread that rivals my mother's. For about thirty minutes, I actually missed living in the south.


And then that moment passed.

We explored the market a bit, none of us really knew what it was - which is weird for as much time as we spend in Kansas City - and I instantly fell in love. It took me back to Borough Market in London, but with more of a warehouse vibe. I loved the mishmash of cultures, you can find just about anything there, and the buskers were phenomenal musicians.

If I had to recommend any of the shops there, first on my list is Dragonfly Tea Zone. Their lavender milk tea was soft and sweet, light and refreshing. The next time I'm in K.C., I'll be pretty adamant about stopping there because it was so delicious. They also make crepes! I didn't have one, but they looked delicious.

Next, Becky and I wandered over to Dutch Flowers, an eclectic array of gifts/lawn ornaments/other random stuff. Outside seems to be a haven of lawn ornaments, statues, and super nifty wind chimes - something you may not know about me is that I have a thing for wind chimes, but only if they're tin or glass. Once you weave through the mishmash of stuff, you find your way indoors and it gets weirder. It's a lot like a vintage thrift shop, but I don't know how much of it is actually thrifted. Either way, it was super cool, and if I had the money to blow, so much of that stuff would have been mine. When I'm looking to redecorate in the future, I'm definitely making a trip back.

 

While we were exploring Dutch Flowers, the other two broke off and found Candy Wizard and Level One Game Shop. If you've been following me on Instagram for pretty much any amount of time, you'll swiftly figure out that I and my family are a bunch of nerds, so of course they'd pick those two things off a sign and go for them. Candy Wizard is worth a stop in, it's really cute, but Level One is one of the better gaming stores I've been in.

Naturally it has the scent of unwashed dudes, so that takes some adjustment, but once you're in then the staff is super friendly and there's a surprising amount of space. Their selection is great, there's room for people to go and play without being on top of each other, and their dice selection is A+. My only real request is that they invest in Febreze or some candles, something.

Maybe free deodorant.

I digress.

By the time we got out of there, it was almost time to head back to the hotel. We grabbed some coffee and eventually worked our way back, because if you've ever had to get ready with women who like makeup, you know this is gonna be a hot minute. We took an Uber to the Sprint Center because, you know, we're not dumb enough to try and find parking with an event of that size, and then we waited. About an hour and a half. I've stood in line for six or seven hours for smaller bands, so in the grand scheme of things, this wasn't a bad wait.

Once we were inside, we had a mission. Find The Amazing Beebo and get our fortunes told. There are only 500 given out each night and two of my sisters went to the Tulsa show, so they knew what was up. There was some fast paced walking, I may have gotten yelled at by security when I was trying to catch up but whatever, we made it. The video's on my Instagram if you haven't seen it yet, but it's the best $5 of my sister's money I've ever spent.

I never have cash. Every time I mean to have cash, it magically disappears into something else, but that's my cross to bear. Anyway, we got our fortunes, two of the four of us got their beers, then it was down onto the floor to find our seats. Where we ended up was actually pretty perfect, not super close to the stage but close enough to the other cool things that happened that night.

The opening acts were Betty Who and Two Feet, people I'd never heard of until they walked on stage. I looooved them. Betty Who is fun, her music's kind of sexy, she looked like she was having a great time on stage. I haven't listened to her much since I got back, but you know who I have listened to? Two Feet. The dude behind this music seems pretty down to earth, his music has this earthy-jazz vibe with a drum beat you can feel in your soul, and I was so, so into it.

If I had to recommend songs from either of those bands to give you a feel for what their overall sound is like, I'd recommend "Human Touch" by Betty Who and "Had Some Drinks" by Two Feet. If you like either of those songs, you're gonna like most everything else they have to offer.

Then we moved on to our main event.

After a ten minute countdown that left the entire arena buzzing, the stage (and crowd) exploded in a flash of color and sound as Panic! At The Disco took the stage. I've been a fan since 2005, though less active in the last several years because I've found new bands/my tastes have changed a little bit/sometimes I forget to check in on people. I can tell you right now, teenage Marah shrieked in a way adult Marah has never managed the minute the lights went up and "(Fuck A) Silver Lining" came on.

The first fifteen songs spanned every album except for the first one, which kind of bums me out, but I get it. They don't feel like those songs work as well live as songs from later albums do - I mean, I disagree because I'd personally love to hear "Time to Dance" or "Camisado" live but, you know, maybe I'm a minority. Maybe the songs are about fifteen years old, but they are alive and well in my heart, man. I can't go for a run these days without those songs.

But what I did like about the selection was it reminded me how much I loved Death of a Bachelor and Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die!, in spite of my gripes from years past that their sound had changed. I really do love the jazzy, broken-spirited-20's vibes they give off. Pretty. Odd. will always largely be a miss for me. I appreciate what they tried to do with it, it was a massive departure from the sound they had established about three years prior, but it was not my thing. I think there's a specific kind of novel bouncing around in my head, waiting for me to use that as its soundtrack, but I'm not there yet.

Now the lighting for this show is absolutely incredible. I'm short and the people in front of me were tall, obviously I couldn't see the show, but I could see the lights. At smaller shows with general admission seating, I'm always squirming to be at the very front so I can see, but I love being part of the crowd because there's an energy in it that can't be replicated anywhere else. This concert was like a party with thousands of your friends, everyone was dancing and screaming along to the music - it was everything a show of that magnitude should be.

And Brendon Urie brought it, man. I'd never seen him perform live (I was always too broke or busy when a tour came close enough), so I wasn't aware of how good at it he is. He's a massive ball of bright, beautiful energy and the man can sing. From what I could see on the handy, dandy screens framing the stage, he was having a fantastic time, and I live for a musician who loves what he's doing. I've been to some shows where it felt a little phoned in, where the singer obviously wasn't feeling it as much as they could have been, but this was not one of those shows.

It was halfway over before I could even comprehend how long we had been there. My oldest sister turned to me and said, "You're gonna wanna have your camera ready for what comes next." I've never been more grateful for a warning like that in my life. At this point the show, Brendon came down through the center of the crowd, shaking hands and giving hugs on the way to the center platform, and I was absolutely crushed in the frenzy of people trying to get closer, trying to get a picture. They were climbing on chairs, on people, there was so much screaming I thought my ear drums would actually burst. This is the picture I got:


And if I'm completely honest with you guys, I feel like this picture is kind of dark. This is a man who has sold out an arena based on his amazing musical ability (and that of his band, I don't want to leave them out), but if he didn't have his staff there to keep him safe, I'm not entirely sure he wouldn't have been swallowed whole. This is the price of fame. There is a lot of love there, a lot of devotion, but there's also a lot of inappropriate touching or kissing that happens during this walk, stuff his staff have to warn against on Twitter before they're ultimately going to be forced to shut that part of the show down.

Which would be a shame, because look at what comes next:




He gets on this platform and starts playing the piano as the damn thing just lifts into the sky. I haven't been to a lot of big shows like this, I don't have a precedent for things that happen when the band is this magnitude of famous, but this was an incredible thing to see. He got up from the piano and wandered around the platform singing, looking directly into the crowd below him. This is a man who appreciates his fans, this is a man who wants a way to safely connect with the people who have boosted him to this level.

And I would be so, so sad if he didn't get to experience this kind of joy in every city he plays; I would be sad for the fans who wouldn't get to experience just how awe-inspiring this is, because it really is something you don't see every day. And the Bonnie Raitt cover was absolutely incredible. Better than Bon Iver's, and for the record, I freaking love Bon Iver.

When he made it back to the stage, it was a bright, beautiful fever dream to the end. The effects for each song were on point, though the only shots I got that came out decent were for "King of the Clouds", one of my least favorite songs on the album that is actually a joy to hear live. I wish I could add the picture of it in here, but it makes the entire blog layout kind of weird, so I'll probably use it as my Instagram shot (unless I can find a better one).

Right at the encore, we were treated to a farewell speech that gives any other artist's farewell speech I've heard to shame. It was heartfelt and genuine, I did a lot of crying while my sister laughed and hugged me. I've been going through some stuff lately, man, and for a minute and a half I felt extremely validated. Life has a way of making sure you hear the things you need to hear when you need to hear them, you just have to be paying attention. Anyway, the shot I have next to this is from earlier in the night, but I think it gives off enough of the vibe from the encore to fit here, and my confetti shots from the end of the night can't top this one. "Say Amen," "I Write Sins Not Tragedies," and "Victorious" were a wonderful way to end the night because I finally got to hear a song from their first album sandwiched between two high energy songs, all of them managed to make me feel a little hungover when the lights went up.

I don't have any pictures from the return trip, it wasn't very exciting. We went to The Majestic for brunch, and if you've been reading this blog for the last few years then you already know how I feel about it. We had to stop in at the Oak Park Mall for Lolli and Pops because I needed my sparkling rosé gummy bear fix, and Lush because they've been dragging their feet coming to Wichita (if you think we can't support a Lush, I assure you, I alone would keep them in business here).

And that's it! That was my weekend. I have another incredible trip planned for this spring that I can't wait to share with you (but I'm keeping that under wraps until it happens). My next review should be Uzumaki by Junji Ito, I just have to bust open the bottle of wine I bought to write it and get into it.

See you,
Tamarah

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