Ed Sheeran’s “Castle on the Hill” was a nostalgic look back at his childhood. His concert, for me, brought up emotions of the first ever concert I attended at the age of 13. It was in Kuala Lumpur and a part of the My World Tour. If you haven’t guessed it, the first artist I watched live was Justin Bieber. My second concert experience, however, was very different from my first.
The tickets went on sale in mid January, and immediately sold out; At least that is what I thought. Two weeks before the actual date of the concert, I found out that tickets were still available. The weirdest part was that it came from a post I shared on Instagram detailing my frustration for not being able to go.
My immediate reaction was frantic. I had no idea how to make this happen, but I knew there was no way I was about to miss out on the second chance that the Universe had provided me with. Naturally, the first two people I text-ed were my best friends. They were up for it, and had somehow managed to convince their parents to let them go as well.
Everything was aligning perfectly. Now if things always went as smoothly as we hoped it would, then it wouldn’t be life. And our short getaway did not come without its own set of challenges.
I arrived at the location just before 7:30am to find that I was not the first person there. And it should be said that Ed Sheeran was only set to come on stage at about 9pm later that night. There were at least 15 people before me, some of them had been there since 10pm the previous night. I quickly made friends with some of the girls there who kept me company until my sister and friends arrived just after lunch time.
When they were finally ready to lead us to the gate at about 3.30pm, it started pouring. My sister was forced to run to one of the mini stalls nearby to buy rain coats for about 10 of us in total. They made us line up in rows of eight and slowly led us to the gate of the stadium.
After hours on the floor and in the sun, things only got worse from there. The rain was so heavy that despite the raincoats, we were all soaking wet. The tickets we printed out to scan at the entrance were unusable. We stood there, drenched clothing, body to body with strangers as lightning struck and you could hear the thunder.
“Let us in!” “Open the gates!” Everyone protested as loudly as they could. Occasionally we would all resort to singing an Ed Sheeran song just to calm ourselves. People were fainting from dehydration and everyone was starving because we weren’t allowed to bring food in.
Almost four hours later, they were finally about to open the gates. And once they did, the only way to describe the whole thing is The Hunger Games. Everyone was pushing each other, shoving each other, running towards the ticket scanner. Once we step foot into the stadium, things only got that much worse.
Everyone kept stepping on my shoelace so I kept tripping over and almost falling. My best friend was in front of me so I held her hand and she led me to the front. My sister and other friend were somewhere else completely. We tried to reach them and take them to our spot but the people there would not let us get through again.
Eventually the opening act One OK Rock came out and all of us fell in love with them. They’re a Tokyo Rock Band and their music is catchy, fun and overall I am so grateful to have been able to watch them live. Some of the songs that they performed and stood out the most were “Push Back”, “The Beginning” and “Stand Out Fit In”.
When Ed Sheeran finally came on in his white shirt and tattered jeans carrying his guitar, it was as if everything we had gone through the entire day was worth it for that very moment. I wasn’t thinking about anything besides how I was so close to the stage. We were four people from the front and to be honest, that was the perfect place to stand. When you’re too close to the front, you have to look up to see him and two hours of it will only make your neck ache and kind of ruin the experience of it.
We were so close he would look down and be able to actually see our faces. I loved every single second of it and I made sure to stay in the moment. I took out my phone a couple of times to take pictures or videos but besides that, I wanted to make sure to stay present and enjoy the moment.
The biggest challenge came after the concert. We had initially thought that we could take a grab to McDonald’s in Bangsar to eat and we’d all be fine. But that did not happen. It was impossible to get a grab car. The concert ended at 11pm and at 2am, we were still sitting outside the stadium trying to find a way to get home after a long tiring day. We eventually had to call my dad to ask one of his friends to pick us up.
We had to wake up at about 9am the next day to all shower, pack and leave to get back home. It was all over and it felt weird but it was all worth it. I would not have given up this experience for anything in the world. It’s something I will always remember for years to come.