So, here’s the thing: I fricking love Starkid. For those of you who actually know me, this is as obvious as saying the sky is blue or the Pope’s hat looks funny. If you have no idea what Starkid is, you’re not alone. About half the people I tell about them have never heard of them, which makes me sad because they’re just so fantastic. In a nutshell, they’re a musical theater company. They’re also Internet sensations, ridiculously talented, and the most adorable group of friends ever. Although Darren Criss is undeniably the most well-known of the Starkids, the names Joey Richter, Dylan Saunders, Lauren Lopez, Jaime Lyn Beatty, Brian Rosenthal, Jim Povolo, Brian Holden, Meredith Stepien, and Joe Walker will one day be just as well known. There are a number of other Starkids who are just as talented and will be just as famous, but I’m too lazy to list out every single one of them and went with just those who were on the tour.
Starkid has a sometimes terrifyingly devoted fanbase. For instance, this is the second time I’ve seen them in concert and both times, my best friend Caity and I spent the night before slaving away making cookies for them (this time, with Dani’s help as well, yay!) and figuring out exactly what the perfect gift bag would be for them. This time, we also brought them some barbecue sauce (since they probably didn’t get a chance to explore much of KC), a six-pack of Boulevard Wheat Beer (which was totally fine because everyone involved in the exchange is over the age of 21, except Dani, who never even touched the beer), and some coloring books and Mad Libs for the long bus rides. Some people (my parents, coworkers, friends, fiance, etc.) think we’re crazy and oddly attached to these people that we don’t really know at all. That may be true, but to most Starkid fans, we feel like we know them. They don’t know us, but we certainly know them (which isn’t as creepy as that sounds).
For me, Starkid is the key part of my self-care. When I can’t deal with the world and the shit that goes on in it, I turn on a Starkid show or listen to an album and am instantly cheered up. Their shows (A Very Potter Musical, Me and My Dick, A Very Potter Sequel, Starship, and Holy Musical B@man) have these beautiful messages of friendship, love, and acceptance. Yes, a musical about a boy’s relationship with his penis is actually incredibly touching when Starkid does it. Pretty much all of them put themselves out on Twitter and are gracious enough to allow the fans glimpses into their lives. When everything else might be going wrong, Starkid is always there to remind me that there is something right in the world.
So, all this being said brings us up to the day of the concert. Caity, Dani, and I prepared our gift bag to bring to them. Caity and I made matching T-shirts (the front side read “Somebody’s Buddy,” and the back said “Flying in the Friendship Ship KC Apocalyptour 2012”). We spent the whole day counting down the number of hours to the concert, while I kept texting Caity at work to remind her how close it was. Finally, we hopped in the car and drove downtown. After stopping at Quik Trip to try to remedy an unfortunate carbonated water explosion and screaming at my GPS as it seemed to take me all over the sketchy parts of KC, we finally made it there.
Caity and I were fortunate enough to have Golden Idol tickets (meaning we got to go in early and have a meet and greet with the Starkids), thanks to a graduation present from my parents. I wish I could remember the exact words we actually said to them, but it all went so fast and I was so flustered by trying to keep my cool that I didn’t really get a chance to take it all in. Brian Holden was nice enough to also sign Caity’s little sister’s Superman shirt and I know I talked to Charlene Kaye for a quick minute about how much I love her new album and how I listen to it nearly every day on my way to work.
Then we headed into the theater. For those of you who have never been to the Uptown Theater, it has a very interesting decor inside. There are all these weird, half-naked statues up where the balconies are. There’s faux candlelight and a really huge disco ball. As Meredith apparently described it, it has a very Hogwarts feel to it.
The concert started with Charlene Kaye, who while not necessarily a member of Team Starkid (in that she doesn’t act in their productions), is a close friend of theirs and often does concerts with them. I first heard Charlene when she recorded a duet with Darren called “Dress and Tie.” From there, I started listening to her other music and I completely fell in love with it. Her newly-released “Animal Love” is one of the best albums I’ve heard in a long time. During her set, Charlene primarily played music from that album, although she also brought out Dylan to sing “Dress and Tie” with her and sang Magnolia Wine from her album “Things I Will Need in the Past.” The highlight of the set, though, was undeniably “A Million Years.” Charlene asked for silence while she sang it and the crowd complied. Once the song got started, it was so beautiful that I hardly even breathed during the song. The crew turned on a disco ball (which Charlene described as the “biggest disco ball [she] had ever seen”) and the room was bathed in the soft lighting from it. The song, which is all about finding your soulmate, nearly brought me to tears (and definitely made Caity cry a little bit). I found a video of a performance of it from another stop on the tour, where the audience also stayed quiet to allow her to sing. The video does allow you to hear the song, but hearing it live was even more hauntingly beautiful.
After a short break, Starkid finally came out to the deafening screams of all the fangirls (as well as the fanboys). The basic premise of the show was that the Mayan Apocalypse was coming and Starkid could only save the world by putting on an amazing show to please the Mayan deities. If the Mayan deities weren’t pleased, then at least the crowd in Kansas City was having the time of their lives. They performed songs from all of their shows. As much as I love the Potter musicals, it was really nice to hear some of their other music. The greatest part of the show, though, was the interesting mash-ups they did. They would combine songs from several different shows and it worked so well together.
For me, the best was the mash-up of “Dark, Sad, Lonely Knight” from “Holy Musical B@man” and “Not Alone” from “A Very Potter Musical.” Caity and I keep singing to each other the part of “Dark, Sad, Lonely Knight” where it goes “I wanna be somebody’s buddy, somebody who can be my buddy back” and that was the inspiration for our shirts. So, we grabbed each other’s hand during that song and sang it to each other. Then when they launched into “Not Alone” right after that, I just about started crying. “Not Alone” was my bridge into the Starkid fandom. Even though I knew who they were, I didn’t really become a fan of theirs until after I got hooked on Darren’s character on “Glee.” Around then, I was having a really hard time and Starkid became my source of light and hope. “Not Alone” is my most played song on iTunes and I don’t even know how many times I listened to it when I was first getting hooked on Starkid. There was one night in particular that I think I listened to it on repeat for two or three hours while I just sat in my room and cried. That song became my anthem and to hear it right after this other song that I’ve come to associate so much with my best friend just about moved me to tears.
I don’t want to spoil the other mash-ups because they still have several stops left on the tour and I know I enjoyed the concert even more because I didn’t know what was coming. After the concert, Charlene was nice enough to draw something on my tote bag of hers that I bought. So now, about 24 hours after the concert, I am still insanely sore from standing up and dancing for so long. I got my voice fully back after screaming so much. I’m drained of energy from the emotions of the concert and the whirlwind trip to KC and back to Columbia. And I have a kickass tote with an awesome picture of a giraffe, as well as an autographed picture of all the Starkids on the tour. Basically, it was one of the best nights of my life and the best concert I have ever seen. Now, I just anxiously wait for my next opportunity to see them, whenever that might be.