Kopp Vs. Monday Blues: My Concert experience in London.
Sometimes being brave really pays off as our friend Danae Koulourioti proves when she tells her story of going it alone.
By Danae Koulourioti
I was going to travel with a friend to London since we both love traveling and it was a great opportunity to see my favorite band, at last, live. Two birds with one stone. So we booked the tickets, our motel room, and looked forward to it. She still lives on the island we grew up on so she had to take a ship first to get here to Athens. The whole week before our trip the national ship workers were on strike, but we were assured they would be back on the job by time she was scheduled to leave. She went to the port to only to find out they had renewed their strike. She called me crying and I cried with her because our amazing trip was lost. I talked to my father and to the people on one of the Third Eye Blind groups and they motivated me to go alone. So I did. My mom was so worried I would spend a week crying, but I went anyway.
I arrived there on November 6th, and the next day was the concert. So of course, I arrived at the bus stop of the venue two hours early and looked for the venue. I saw two guys with green hair and thought, "these two probably know where they're going" so I followed them, they walked in a narrow dead end, they realized I was totally stalking them and they stopped and turned and watched me. I pretended I was looking at the opposite building. Then, they walked in a door, so I did too because why not? There were two more doors in front of me: "dressing room" and "make up.” I didn’t have VIP tickets so I said “oops” and left. I walked back down the narrow street and saw that this was indeed the building they were performing in so I just stood in front of it. A little after, people started arriving and asking me if this was the place. I got to meet Donna Smits from the Third Eye Blind group. When the doors opened I was so excited that I forgot my manners and didn't even get to tell her a nice to meet you. I was in a hurry to get a good spot on the balcony. I couldn't book the tickets to the ground floor because of capital control in the country, but, a ticket on the balcony was still better than anything else I could imagine. So after the concert that was SO AWESOME! OH MY GOD! It was actually life changing for me, the mood that we all left the concert was such company-ish, we were all having a good time together while exiting the building that it's still unbelievable to my mind. Then, I realized that I wanted to say a nice to meet you to the people I met in the line, so I waited outside of the doors to find them. But people stopped coming out so I thought maybe they are in the backstage!
I walked back down the narrow street, seeing that there were a few people waiting for the band. But when I arrived, the people I was looking for were not there. That moment, a security guard came out of the doors and told us "they are not coming out, you are wasting your time!" left a couple of traffic cones and closed the door again. A woman there said "They are SO coming out from here, I am sure of that!" But I trusted the old man and left. While walking back that street, I saw a few girls talking on the corner of the main entrance street and the narrow one. They were almost as excited as I were, so I told them "Can I talk with you about the concert cause I am here alone and I am so excited right now!" (I was about to piss myself from the excitement to be honest) and they told me “Sure, come here, tell us how come you came here alone!" So I told them how my friend Irene got stuck on the Island, and while we were talking, security guards walked outside and said "Come on people, the party is over, go home.” Then we said how we were feeling bad for the people still waiting outside of the backstage, we were then all sure that the band had already left, the building was being locked down. Then Alex Kopp walked out the front door with a couple of other dudes for a smoke and I couldn't believe he was 7 meters away from me. I turned to the other girls and said “OMG look who just came out that door” and they started pushing me towards him, encouraging me to go talk to him and tell him how I came here on my own. I turned towards him, he noticed them pushing me and me having the most awkward expression ever, I could tell because it was interesting enough for two out the three of them to stop talking and watch me instead. So I took a deep breath and started walking towards him REALLY awkwardly. He then turned his entire body facing me and kind of smiled, so I smiled back and said "I came from Greece just to see you," he then really smiled back and side slid towards me, spreading his arms as if he was doing a dance move and I said "Why'd you take so long?" I had just reached him, he touched his hand on my back and accepted me to talk with them. So I told the Irene story once again, they were impressed that a girl my age went there on her own. We continued to talk about the immigrants - that was the reason those people were on strike- and I asked if we could take a photograph. He told me sure so I gave my camera to Ricky, he took one but I was terrible so Ricky said let's take one more! I said, "If you insist!" they laughed, Ricky started counting down from five, took a photo when he reached three, handed me the camera and said, "Spontaneous ones are better.” I thanked them, walked back to the girls.
I fangirled with them for a while and advised them to go talk to him as well since they were all so cool, but they had to leave. They left and I stood there on the corner too excited to even think of what to do. Alex and his friends were gone, so were most of the people waiting backstage, and I just stood there with a big smile on my face. Then the singer of the opening band, one of those guys with the green hair, walked by and I told him I loved his energy onstage and he told me he loved my accent (I do an embarrassing thing every day...). A couple minutes after the two guys that had been with Alex came out of the building with some very nicely dressed women. They saw me standing there on my corner and one of them asked me what I was still doing there. "I'm too excited to go home" I replied. "We are going to a pub, come with us!" I remembered I only had 30 pounds for the week and asked how much a beer would cost, "Don't worry about that, it's on us! If I had a girl friend in another country on her own, I would want her to have someone look after her while she was there." So I thanked him and accepted the invitation. We started walking and he turns to me and tells me, "The band will be there, by the way."
While walking to the bar they told me that Ricky was Alex's friend and Matt was a designer that works with Alex and they had no idea 3EB was going to the UK and Alex randomly invited them to the concert. We arrived there, we run into Donna and her friend and I got to tell her the nice to meet you like I wanted, then Matt introduced me to Jazz, the PR of the band, they got me a beer, we started dancing and singing and then the whole band except Kopp walked in. I couldn't believe how tall Stephan is. Alex LeCavalier sat on a chair across me, Kryz and Brad stood a little away to my left and of course two of the girls immediately started dancing with SJ.
I then started looking at LeCavalier’s hair, imagining him softly moving his head and how his hair would fabulously behave. He noticed me before I noticed and I freaked out and tried to cover it by mumbling to him that I loved his performance on stage or something like that, but he was too far away too actually listen to what I said so he nodded a “what?” I took a step closer and said the same thing again, a little louder, which he didn't listen again so he stood up put his ear in my face while holding my back and I told him the same thing for the last time which he appreciated and thanked me. The excitement was too much for me so I decided to be safe and go pee.
When I returned, I went back to my spot on the bar next to Jazz, took a sip of my beer, and started looking around at the details of the pub, awkwardly moving my hands and head around since I can't dance when I felt someone staring at me on my left. So I turned around to see SJ standing right in front of me, huge and all, with the expression people have on their face when they are really into the song they are listening to (like whistling) and I spontaneously did a dance move with my head which he immediately mimicked, so I panicked, realizing he was copying me, I froze, stood to a halt and slowly turned my back to him, faced the bar, drank my beer, not believing I actually had just turned my back to fucking SJ. Then “Bohemian Rhapsody” came on so me, Jazz, a couple of waitresses and the company of girls next to us all sang together even though we had no idea who the fuck each other was.
The pub closed so we had to go and while I was putting on my scarf and jacket, Matt came to me and told me, "We are now going to go to a club nearby, would you like to come to that one, too?" So, of course, I said "Sure!" "Great, wait with Jazz outside, I'm going to get Ricky." So, I started to the door walking and felt someone on my left once again and it was SJ again and I decided I wouldn't regret not talking to him for the rest of my life, so I turned to him. I saw the cut on his forehead that he had during the concert. I was kind of shocked that it was so big and that he had a bump under the cut too so I told him something about that, he told me something about how he felt being on stage. I was terrified, so I remember almost nothing of that conversation, just that he friendly patted me on the back when we were suddenly outside and that he walked towards the rest of the band.
While waiting for Matt to get drunk Ricky, I once again dosed off to LeCavalier's hair but someone stepped between him and me, so I tilted my head like a dog to still see him without getting closer to Jazz. He, of course, noticed me this time too, forcing me to admit that, "I'm just creeping on you, don't mind me!" He didn't listen again and I felt bad having to admit it again, so I made a gesture with my hands that here means 'don't mind me' but he obviously didn't know so he playfully walked sideways towards me like a penguin and put his hand on his ear again and I told him, "I was just stalking you, don't mind me" to which he replied, "I am totally cool with that" and he made a joke that he wouldn't mind me stalking him back to the hotel and we laughed, and they all left, and Matt arrived with Ricky, so we walked to the club.
On our way there, they introduced me to the other two guys Jazz was talking to who are reporters who work for music magazines in Europe that promote bands. Don't worry, I told them they were doing a pretty shitty job on promoting 3eb, but they liked the concert very much so they assured me they would try to do something about that. Anyway, we arrived there, I decided water was the best choice so that I could remember everything from that night.
While the rest of us were having drinks Jazz, Ricky, and Matt went outside to have a smoke. Me and the reporters shared shitty dance moves since we all sucked at dancing. After a while, the guys returned and Alex Kopp was with them, along with two staff members. I was not ready for that so I stood as far away from Alex as possible. “Welcome to the Black Parade” came on and the emo teenager in me and Jazz woke up and we did a duet while the by then drunk reporters were laughing. When we were done singing, the two members of the staff walked up to me and one of them asked me,
"Are you the one that came from Greece?"
I was shocked and nodded a yes and he continued,
"And it's the first time that you are visiting London?"
"And you came here on your own?"
"Yes, I did..."
"and how old ARE you?"
"I am 19 years old!" I replied.
"And why did you come here on your own?"
I just nodded to Alex who was at the time chilling with his beer and felt embarrassed when he saw me nodding at him, the two members of the staff and jazz turning and looking at him, to which they both reacted to as if it was the coolest thing they had heard in a long time and they started searching their pockets and so did Alex and they gave me three picks with the band's logo on them and two have Stephan's name printed on the back and the other one has Alex Kopp's name, unfortunately LeCavalier didn't have something to give me but I was more than satisfied with the three picks.
After a couple of songs it was time for the club to close. As I started walking towards the door I waved goodbye to Alex. He asked if I was leaving and I nodded yes while continuing to walk to the door. He then spread his arms open and my reaction was to stop walking and tilt my head like a dog again. He then gestured me to go on and hug him so I did and while we were hugging he told me "Thank you for coming."
Sweetest man ever.