I have kept you all waiting in suspense long enough – it’s time for the big reveal of number one.
If you know me even a little bit, you’ve already figured out who it is. However, in true Gina fashion, before we get to the story of THE number one concert, I’ll have to set the stage for you.
The year is 2003 and it’s the summer between my 5th and 6th grade years. I was awkward and probably annoying and my older sister was 16 and much cooler than me. She had just purchased a 1994 Pontiac Bonneville, cherry red, and was seriously the coolest person I knew – pretty sure she wasn’t my biggest fan, because young and annoying and we shared a room, but you get it. It was over that summer that she won a CD on the radio, from the rock station 99x nonetheless (so cool), and basically my entire life changed. That CD was I Am the Movie – debut album from Motion City Soundtrack.
Are you surprised?
Didn’t think so.
It was through this CD and a summer with my sister who chose to hang out with me because maybe I wasn’t all that bad that not only did I gain a lifelong love interest with an amazing band, but I gained a best friend. An actual whirlwind romance began with these guys that my 11 year-old self didn’t know what to do with. And honestly, going to their concerts was the only continuous concert-going experience I had in my life at the time. It became an obsession, an absolute necessity that when Motion City was near, we were there. That all started in March 2006 when I went to my firs MCS concert and met the band for what would be the first of *insert ridiculous number here* times.
I could write a book on the experiences I’ve shared not only with Motion City but with my sister, because of these guys. When she moved away to college sometimes the only times we would see each other was when Motion City was in town and we met up to go together. We bonded over timeless songs and moogs and the most perfect string of lyrics. Her and I share a deep love for words and all things poetic and if you’ve never listened to a Motion City Soundtrack song it really is time for you to change that.
But a concert with Motion City Soundtrack? That is something that will be difficult for me to fit into a well thought-out few paragraphs, but I’m going to try.
I don’t remember much from the first one other than meeting the band behind the House of Blues in Orlando right next to a dumpster. It’s an experience that we continued to recount with them every time we met with them after that, especially when I got them to sign that picture for me the next time we met them. They talked about it in my very last conversation with them – but we’ll get to that.
What I can pull from that first concert was, as absolutely obnoxious as this is going to sound, being changed. This was the first time that I ever actually FELT music. Again, I love words and I feel songs all the time, but I’d never had my body shaken by a drum beat or had the electricity from a favorite song being sung by the crowd flow through me like it did then. There was no stopping the love train after that.
My sister and I have tried to count how many times it has been and we both have our own lists. We’ve not always seen them together, there’s probably 1 or 2 missing each other, but we’ve always managed to make it up. I can’t possibly go into so much detail about them, but we’ve done a lot of the “only crazy fans would do that” things for Motion City Soundtrack.
There was a 2x4x7 tour where they performed all 4 albums from start to finish over two nights only in 7 select cities; which just so happened to be when we both lived in New York City.
There was an additional New York City concert that also coincided with our residency.
There was a 10-year anniversary tour for their 2nd album Commit this to Memory.
There was a comic book festival in Miami.
There were multiple random club concerts in Orlando, one of which we listened to their new album on an iPod in the smallest dressing room ever – note awkward picture.
There was the first tattoo.
And then, there was the final tour and the 2nd tattoo.
In March of 2016, Motion City announced their farewell tour and I’m pretty sure mine and my sister’s hearts both broke. It’s a weird feeling when something you’ve loved for song long feels like it’s coming to an end, but we had no choice than to figure out how to see them one last time. There were ZERO dates in Florida when they announced, so we started looking for plane tickets, dates that worked, who we knew in what area, etc. We were getting ready to book VIP packages for some random city across the country when the Florida dates came. August 12, 2016 in Fort Lauderdale……and August 13, 2016 in Orlando. In true Rossi sister fashion, we bought both. There was no way we would only see them for the last time…once. Though we did have separate meet & greets – we were both able to say So Long, Farewell, in person, for one last time.
Before the shows, my sister & I felt like we needed to commemorate this time in our lives somehow. As you’ve seen, I already had my first Motion City tattoo so when she said she wanted one too, I knew we had to do it together. A week before the last concert of theirs we would ever go to, we got matching tattoos.
The feelings that came with those two concerts, the very last one in Orlando being the very best of them all, leaving it all out there, crying, screaming, singing, was the most I’ve felt in a very, very long time. It was an exciting blast from the past seeing some openers that we’ve watched them perform with a hundred times. It was bittersweet knowing I was scream-singing my favorite songs for the last time; there’s only so far a car-ride karaoke session can go. All of these things I’m saying are so cliché and borderline pathetic but it all just felt magical. Like I was a part of something that was so much bigger than me and bigger than my sister & I combined, but just being a part of it was enough. Every time I listen to MCS since then, or every time I look down at my arm, it’s like I’m in on an inside joke and that’s a really fun feeling.
I thank Motion City for everything they’ve given me – including my sister as my best friend. I’m sure we would have figured it out eventually, that whole being sisters thing, but we will forever have that bond that was created by 5 guys and some really out-there music; and that is committed to my memory.