I'm still in my last year of college, trying to be responsible, but the void of being on the road grows by the day. Luckily, I was given the opportunity to join Good Charlotte for a few days on their Youth Authority Tour. I also had the chance to work with Big Jesus, an Atlanta based rock band who just released their debut record, "ONEIRIC". This tour was stacked with the other amazing bands, Four Year Strong and The Story So Far.
I took a 9pm to 5am bus from Boston to Philadelphia, slept about two hours and arrived at 30th street station eager, but exhausted. When I got to the venue, I was greeted by Spencer from Big Jesus and he took me to the craziest backstage I had ever seen. The Fillmore in Philly is unbelievably modern and beautiful; there were giant models of Star Wars TIE fighters hanging from the ceiling, killer sound, amazing lights, and gorgeous chandeliers hanging in the main room. Good Charlotte were incredibly welcoming and gave me their trust to do whatever I felt necessary to get the best content possible. If you've had the chance to see the Youth Authority tour, you know that they put on one hell of a show for the fans. The set list is an amazing combination of new and old and they touch everything from, "Little Things" to ,"Life Changes" and through each one the crowd is singing at full force. I had so much fun I forgot that I'd only had 2 hours of sleep in the past 24 hours.
The next day was Rhode Island. I had never really explored Rhode Island before but spent the day wandering around Pawtucket and I fell in love with the quaint New England architecture. The venue was old, rustic with an intimate space. I remember looking down from the balcony and seeing how close the stage was having no idea how a Good Charlotte crowd was going to squeeze in. Next, I prepared for one of my favorite parts of this tour, the meet and greets and Q&A's. I heard so many touching and beautiful stories about people rebuilding their lives, making friends, falling in love and more through Good Charlotte's music. The Maddens would always humbly reiterate that the people should give themselves the credit for doing all of that. Come showtime, I'm in the photo pit and I get called back on stage by the tour manager to have Benji and Joel tell me that they want to do the Mannequin Challenge mid-show. I was so confused but they just said be ready to film after, "Riot Girl". Song ends. Joel makes an announcement, "We'd like to do something special with you guys. Have you heard of the mannequin challenge?" and at that point I was just super nervous to not mess it up. The guys crushed it, and the crowd was pretty perfect! Rhode Island was crazy but so much fun.
With a day off, we then came full circle back to Boston. I love the House of Blues Boston, it's my neighborhood, I know the building, it's the largest HOB in the country, and to top it off, we had a sold out show. We're going through the daily meet and greet and then Benji and Joel stop me from filming and say, "Ryan, you should go to do another mannequin challenge with the line out the door". I'm normally fairly social, not the best with public speaking but I didn't want to disappoint! I stood at the beginning of the line looking anxious for like 5 minutes just trying to figure out how I was going to do this. I just had to talk real loud to 20 people at a time, explaining the challenge, then moving on to the next group and so on until I got around the corner. The line was huge. This took awhile. Then I ran back to the beginning of the line and following a countdown we had everyone yell, "FREEZE" and the the line was extremely impressive! Nearly perfect. The show went off without a hitch, I was running around from behind stage, to side stage, to the pit, balcony and front of house crowd shots. I was tired, sweaty and my voice had gone from singing along behind my camera. If you've ever seen me shoot a show, you know I'll sing while I'm shooting because I honestly can't help it.
The Youth Authority tour was amazing, I did some of my favorite work to date and got to experiment with a lot of video content. So thankful to the MDDN crew as always for giving me this opportunity!