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Photolog:

Nashville Pride, 2022-06-25


I read the news: Walk the Moon was going to play in Tennessee at Nashville Pride! Except: "Are you crazy, man?" I live in Canada, and to get to Nashville Pride I had to cross the border, circumnavigate technology hurdles, and drive 4000 kilometres round-trip.

Why? Well to begin, I've been in practical desperation to see Walk the Moon for half a decade! I missed the 2021 tour because it was US-only and the border was nearly impenetrable at the time due to COVID, and I missed the 2019 and 2018 tours because for twenty months, I was completely occupied with graduate school and obtaining Canadian permanent residency to the complete exclusion of all else. This was my first chance to see the band perform since 2017! What's more, I'm queer myself, and Walk the Moon and Pride are two things that go together like a hand in glove. This performance just felt as if it was meant to be. If I missed this, I knew that I would regret it forever.

Highlights of the day...

  • Nine hours before WTM were scheduled to go on stage, I walked through the gates, looked up at the stage, and what did I see? Walk the Moon! They were doing a soundcheck, and rehearsed two songs and various fragments of others.
  • Then...I got to speak to Nicholas Petricca! I waved...he waved, and wandered over to the edge of the stage to say hello. He loved my rainbow helix tattoo...and was awestruck when I told him that the design had been inspired by two of his songs, and that I had designed it myself! Many famous musicians are notoriously egotistical, but Nick couldn't have been nicer. I just wish I had said more...
  • At one point during the soundcheck, Eli noticed me taking a picture, and waved...and I put the camera away, feeling embarrassed. That evening, he noticed me in the crowd and waved again!
  • The last time I had seen WTM, I was stuck in the back of the crowd and could barely see the stage from where I was. This time, I was right on the barrier...my view was perfect, and the band was barely ten feet from my face! I sprung for an upgraded VIP festival ticket, which provided access to a special viewing area and other amenities such as free drinks...which was worthwhile, when you're spending an entire day in the Tennessee sun.
  • I was hoping that the festival would give me a chance to meet and interact with other die-hard fans, but it seems that the bulk of attendees at Nashville Pride were there for reasons other than Walk the Moon. I only saw a single other person in a WTM T-shirt until about an hour before the show.
  • The issue at the top of everyone's minds on this day was the Supreme Court's precipitated assault on abortion rights. This is especially poignant in Tennessee, where far-right legislators have rode roughshod over secularism and the rights of queer and pregnant people for years. Early in the evening, the band Bully performed against a backdrop of abortion resources and links, with a QR code. Walk the Moon were introduced to the stage by a drag queen who called out and addressed the issue, and so did Nicholas himself.
  • I was surprised and extremely heartened to see an interpreter on stage, who ensured that even the festival's deaf visitors wouldn't be entirely shut out of enjoying the performance!
  • Walk the Moon entered the stage shortly before dusk. Nicholas started his performance wearing a mesh shirt with wings attached at the back. He was extremely energetic, keeping the audience engaged with stage moves and gestures. I'm sure this also made him quite hot, and he shed several layers as the night wore on.
  • This was the first time WTM had performed at a pride event since Nicholas made his "official" coming-out announcement two years ago! (And yes, he mentioned this during the show.)
  • The set list began with "One Foot," and featured a mix of the band's latest songs ("Giants," "Heights," "Can You Handle My Love?") and a scattering of older favourites. WTM also performed David Bowie's "Let's Dance" and a few bars of Bill Withers' "Lean On Me." The emotional climax of the concert was "Lost in the Wild:" It's a bittersweet song that encapsulates the feeling of living in uncertain times, and it's the WTM song that simultaneously makes me dance and cry. The crowd favourites were saved for the end: "Shut Up and Dance" and "Anna Sun." I was hoping for "Can't Sleep (Wolves)" or "Sidekick," but you can't win 'em all...
  • The three constituent members of WTM were accompanied on stage by an unnamed bass player with a patterned shirt and blue hair. (But...who was he?)
  • On a light note...early in the day when I was walking to the festival grounds, I ran into a kid who literally thought that I was Nicholas Petricca!! I was a guy in his thirties festooned with arm tattoos, glasses, and a "Timebomb" T-shirt...I guess I matched his description!
  • At the end of the show, Nicholas gave his setlist to a child who was in attendance with his mother. It was an incredibly kind gesture, and one that I'll remember.

The concert was absolutely exhilarating, and the songs carried themes of perseverance and hope. My only problem was that it was short...just an hour long. But that one hour may have been the happiest hour of my life.


Click on any image to enlarge:

Soundcheck

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Eli Maiman.

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Sean Waugaman.

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Nicholas Petricca.

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Eli sees me!

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Rehearsing a new song.

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Nicholas Petricca.

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Everything is working and ready to go!

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Waves and goodbyes.

Concert

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Announcer.

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One foot, in front of the other.


Maybe if I had a little more money,
Maybe if I had a little more sex,
Maybe with a little peace and quiet,
Maybe I could make a little more sense of it.

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