Updated: May 25, 2020
Oh Emma... where do I even begin? I never had a younger sibling, but I didn't have to, because I had this little bundle of joy to grow up with instead! Emma has been in my life for 22 years now, I met her around when she was born, and was there from when we played barbies in her closet to when I took her bar-hopping for her 21st birthday. My relationship with Emma is unlike any other one I've had.... one moment we'll be watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding for the 50th time quoting every line, and the other moment we will be annoyed with each other after spending 10 straight days together in the Phoenix oven. But that's what makes her a sister to me, and I love her to death! We supported each other through our intense stages of life: her so-called "rebellious" phase in high school, the Glee phase, Webkinz, Tumblr, when she became a "Belieber" (I distinctly remember being there when the Bieber perfume arrived which she still hasn't opened 9 years later), our Twilight obsession, our Harry Potter obsession (current),... and I plan on being there when she loses her hearing at the age of 40 because of the concert phase.
Emma is fiercely independent and has been since her twin brothers breathed their first breaths. I have loved seeing her do life with such tenacity and bravery as she's done so many great things, from traveling all around, to graduating from college early and getting an awesome job. Wait until you hear about her little concert hobby below, and take some travel advice from her too while you're at it:
Q: Tell me about your background with concerts and what you are currently doing for a living
A: I’ve been going to concerts since my mom took me to see The Cheetah Girls as a third-grader in 2007— 13 years of concerts! I’ve attended concerts of almost every genre, and I even had a little gig where I photographed and reviewed concerts for a while. It’s one of my absolute favorite things to do. Live music brings a joy to me that is unlike anything else. I’ve been to 105 concerts and seen 188 bands.
My job right now is working as the media relations assistant for the Phoenix Conventions and Visitors Bureau called Visit Phoenix. In a lot of ways, it’s my dream job for the season of life I’m in as a recent graduate.
Q: Who are your top five artists?
A: This is really hard and changes a lot. Number one has been twenty one pilots for almost five years. The other top four currently are as follows:
2) Vampire Weekend
3) Kings Kaleidoscope (I actually haven’t seen them live yet— they’re top of the list once concerts are safe again)
4) Judah & the Lion
5) Young the Giant
Q: Where have been your favorite place to travel to so far?
A: I’ve been to a lot of cool places, and my favorites are all for different reasons. Recently I’ve actually been loving traveling around the U.S. because each state is truly so different. I also love Europe a lot, especially because I have a lot of friends there now. Portugal is probably my overall favorite because of the culture (I’m a little biased there because my mom’s side is Portuguese) and the landscapes. It had my favorite overall atmosphere, and it was cheaper than the other countries I visited. I also love Northern Ireland— there are so many hidden gems there and the cliffs are just unreal. Norway is the prettiest place I’ve visited and Italy has the best food and attractions for sure. So many amazing places— can’t wait to explore more of them.
Q: Best pieces of advice for concerts?
A: This is a great question. There used to be a whole system I went through to get tickets and plan ahead to make it the best time. Twenty one pilots has the most insane fan base I’ve ever seen, so I learned a lot of my ways from navigating those concerts. However, a lot of it depends on the type of concert, the venue and the kind of experience you want to have.
Ticket buying doesn’t usually have a strategy anymore because Ticketmaster and Live Nation have a bunch of presales now. Definitely get on the mailing lists of your favorite artists and follow them on Spotify— sometimes they send out the presale codes which can get you early access and help avoid all of the verified stuff they started doing. It’s a whole other ball game with Ticketmaster verified fan sales— just pray you get the presale codes.
In terms of attending concerts, if you have pit tickets, you should definitely get there before doors to be closer to the front. The bigger the band and crazier the fan base, the earlier you should arrive. I slept on the street overnight for a twenty one pilots concert once. It also depends on the experience you want to have. I also went to a couple of twenty one pilots concerts at doors without waiting at all. If you don’t mind chilling in the back of the pit or making your way towards the middle once you get there, there’s no need to get there early. Part of getting to a concert early though is for the experience and the memories. Some of my favorite memories with my friends from high school are us waiting in line and going nuts at concerts.
Another note: wear earplugs if you frequent concerts often. They don’t hinder the sound quality if you get good ones, and they protect your ears. It’s something I wish I would have done way earlier
Q: Best tips for traveling?
A: Look up the dang baggage fees before you book flights. That is the killer in terms of additional expenses when traveling. Also, travel as light as possible... it’s way more fun to travel without having to lug your stuff around with you. My favorite discovery when traveling in Europe was BagBNB— for 5 euros you could store your luggage while you travel around a city for the day.
If you have the time and are traveling to places that have train travel, travel by train. The views were some of my favorites.
There are really cool travel bloggers out there too that are super helpful for budgeting if you’re into that. There are certain things you have to book in advance, but a lot of things can be spontaneous when traveling. I like to have a balance of both.
Essentials for Europe are definitely the travel pouches that are anti-pickpocketers— they are just the perfect size. Cash in whichever currency to avoid foreign transaction fees, portable chargers, adapters for your plugs.
Q: What has been your worst concert experience? Best?
A: Worst concert experience was probably this hard rock concert I went to for this band called Alesana. It was only rough because I didn’t like the music they were playing. For bands I actually like, it largely depends on the venue. There are a couple of venues here in Phoenix that are pretty garbage for acoustics. The sound quality was also really rough for Night Riots and CHVRCHES when I saw them, on separate occasions at different venues.
The best concert experience is hands down twenty one pilots— I’ve seen them seven times. None of the other bands I’ve seen even come close. They do so much at their shows that no other band does— one tour, Tyler literally got in an inflatable hamster ball and ran over the entire crowd in the pit. It’s absolutely the best ever. I also love going to music festivals— they are exhausting but so fun because there is so much good music in one place.