Darien Lake, NY to Philly, PA

This weekend was sponsored by 5 hour energy (extra strength). My friends, Jamie, Sam and I bought tickets to see R5 at  the Darien Lake Amusement Park up in Buffalo NY. Friday night was the last night of sleep I would get until Monday since we left around 7am and headed to NY. I gotta say, it was a good drive. I stayed up with Sam while she was driving and we jammed to music the whole time. 5 1/2 hours later we finally got to the amusement park. Right before we were about to get out of the car it decided to pour….keep in mind we were all did up in our make up and hair done. The rain finally let up and we booked it to the entrance. I personally was not a fan of the amusement park. It wasn’t busy but it was also confusing to get around especially considering it took us about 15 min just to find the place we were supposed to go check in. It seemed like forever before we finally checked in with the bands’ dad and manager. This was the long stretch… waiting to finally meet the band. When we finally got up there we each went and instead of having a photographer, they had an iPad that took 3 pictures like a photo booth. Although many people complained I thought it was pretty cool especially since the pictures uploaded to the website instantly. The best part was that Rydel told me she saw my Eiffel Tower tattoo on Instagram. I don’t know how but she loved it. 

We were told the show was general admission until we went into the stage area after the meet and greet. Although we got to pick our own seats, we had to stay in those seats, we weren’t allowed to go up to the barricade which I didn’t think was fair.

Ryland was the only opener for this show and the show started a little after 6pm… I’m not entirely sure why, I just know the park closes at 10 which is when shows usually get over. R5 finally came on and opened with If. Riker saw that we weren’t against the barricade so we motioned to him the gap as if saying, “what the heck is this, why can’t we be closer??” and he motioned to us saying he will see what he can do. He went over to the dead mic and started talking with his hand on his hip. Whatever he said worked because shortly after, Mark went over to the security guard and told him that’s what they wanted so we all ran up. From that point on it was nothing but a good time. We jammed out to the best songs and they even sang Want U Bad which was a throwback for sure. All of a sudden, we see Ross running through the crowd with his guitar. There was a spot in the middle of the seating where he stood and started singing a couple songs solo like Waiting on the World. When I looked back on stage, I saw his mom watching from afar with such pride in her eyes. It was such a heartfelt moment. The last song they sang was Did You Have Your Fun? which was a great way to end the show because we did have plenty of fun (cheesy but true). We were all so hungry so after the concert ended which was literally 8:15pm, we ran to get food before heading back to Jamie’s house in Pennsylvania. We each took a 2 hour shift driving that way the other could sleep but I think I got a solid half hour total. Although I had the 5 hour energy drinks, I was still tired enough to doze off. Once we finally got to Jamie’s we all jumped in the shower, got ready and was back on the road within the hour. We got to the venue at around 5am… yes we know that’s crazy but we really thought more people would be there by that time. Let’s just say, people didn’t start showing up until 10am. There was not much happening between the time we got there and the time check in came except many trips to Starbucks and a delicious cheese steak from Jim’s down the street. For this show they had the option for Ultimate VIP which included a 15 min session with the band. As much as I wish I could have done it, I didn’t have the money for it. It was time for regular VIP to go in. When the band sees all my friends and I, they’re always so genuinely happy. Rydel was wearing a short blonde wig so we were twinning. If I would give any advice for this meet and greet it would be to take your time and tell the band what kind of poses you want to do before the button is clicked since the pictures go pretty quickly. Unless you’re like me and couldn’t think of the other poses I want to do and wind up saying. ” can we do….crap” and of course Rocky had to have a smart remark about doing crap in a picture. After the pictures we all ran to the front of the stage where we all were lined up towards Riker’s side since everyone always goes towards the middle.

First up was Alexander Jean. They were incredible. Mark Ballas and BC Jean have such chemistry on stage which I admire so much. Even if I didn’t know the words to the songs I still felt like I could jam out to them. Mark even sang some Frankie Valli from when he was in Jersey Boys on Broadway. Next up was Hailey Knox. I’ve never heard of her before today but her style was definitely different in a good way. I liked the way she put her own twist on the songs.


R5 came out again and their set was pretty much the same as the day before except they added their cover of Let’s Go Crazy by Prince. Ross also tap danced which was pretty amazing to watch. He’s such a talented human being.

The most memorable part of the show was when they sang Smile. Smile means a lot to my friends and I because of the line “I wanna see you smile.” We always want to see each other smile and be happy so for the past couple years that song has meant so much. There has yet to be a show that I haven’t cried when they sing it. Since most of our group was at this show, we all grabbed hands (like we always do during this song) and belted the words out. When the chorus came,  I started crying, I don’t know what came over me but I couldn’t stop. It was like a domino effect and the rest of our group started tearing up. They all stopped playing and looked at us. You can see in their eyes how appreciative they were and you can tell they KNEW how much they’ve impacted our lives. Ross made a speech about us all coming here together and how amazing it feels and thinking back on good times. He stated that we have impacted their lives more than they’ve impacted ours which I believe the feeling is mutual. After the concert we all stuck around for awhile and took pictures. Definitely one of the best nights I’ve had in awhile.

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“a picture is worth a thousand words, but the memories are priceless…”

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