Aug 202017

A few months ago, I saw that Shawn Mendes and Charlie Puth were coming to Pittsburgh in August. I thought this would be a nice “Chooch & Erin are Loose” event because he loves Shawn Mendes and I like Charlie Puth a lot. They were playing PPG Paints arena (#foreverConsol) and the cheapest seats were going for $18.50. Reasonable! Especially since we didn’t care about super close.

If you read my KCON posts, I mentioned in one that I was just a casual Charlie Puth listener until we were in some broad’s Uber in Newark on our way to the convention, and whatever radio station she had on was talking about his current single “Attention,” and how there is a part near the end where his voice sort of cracks/cuts off. They mentioned this because most pop singers would have re-recorded that part, but Charlie opted to keep it because it showcased the emotion he was feeling when he sang that song.

Then they isolated that part for the listeners and I was in tears in the backseat of this stranger’s SUV, and just like that, “Attention” was forever changed for me. It was no longer just a pop song that I heard a lot on several radio stations.

Prior to this, I only knew him from that song he sings with Selena Gomez, “We Don’t Talk Anymore,” which is heartbreaking, too.

Flash forward a month or so. Things were calming down, the G-Dragon show was over, Warped Tour was done, so I figured that I better get those Illuminate tour tickets while I was thinking about it….


….no, it wasn’t sold out per se….

But there were like NO SEATS LEFT HARDLY. I counted nine of the cheap seats available and none of them were together. And then there were a sprinkling of seats near the stage, but BACK, at an angle, so you would be basically looking at the sides/backs of the performers. Plus, those seats were $65 before all of the fees that Ticketmaster takes in order to pay off the Devil or whatever the fuck it is that they do with that extra shit. Fucking criminals.

I mean, I like both of these singers, but not $65 worth.

So I gently broke this to Chooch who was just like, “Oh that’s fine. As long as you get to go to all YOUR concerts, Mother.”


But I mean, he’s not wrong, lol.

The next day, Henry was all, “Hey Star 100 is giving away Shawn Mendes tickets to caller 10” and I was like, “Cool story bitchboy, but I’m at work, so this is officially your mission.”

And that motherfucker won!

Well, kind of…

He was caller 10 but his piece of shit phone was crackling or something so they hung up.

I was so angry and made sure that everyone at work knew what a deadbeat dad he was.

The next day, I was on late shift so Chooch and I sat in my room, next to the radio, with our fingers ready to dial as soon as they said “caller 10.”

It was around this time that I actually listened to what they were saying on the radio and it wasn’t actual tickets to the concert: it was two passes to a PRESHOW PRIVATE PERFORMANCE with CHARLIE PUTH!

And then out of those winners, one grand prize winner would win tickets to the concert too.

This seemed like a sweet enough deal to me, and even Chooch was like, “Fuck yes, I want this even more than concert tickets!” and for him it’s probably because he weighed his options and a fifteen minute sit-down performance seemed more convenient to his lifestyle than a two hour concert in a big arena.

I have never won SHIT on the radio, so I wasn’t holding my breath. And true to form, it was just busy-busy-busy.

“Oh well, I’m sure they got a winner by now since we’ve been getting a busy signal for the last 5 minutes,” I sighed and by sighed I mean that I punched a hole in the wall and kicked a fucking puppy I’M JUST KIDDING.

It was just one of Chooch’s stuffed animals, and my fist didn’t go through the wall.

This time.

“How do you know it’s busy?” Chooch asked after I called the lady who won a cunt for not even sounding excited when they put her on the radio.

“Because….of the noise it was making? The busy signal?” I said slowly, emphasizing the words in a condescending fashion because that’s just how I do.

“Oh, I didn’t know what that noise meant. I thought it was just a special ring tone,” Chooch shrugged. And yeah, I guess he really wouldn’t know what a busy signal sounds like! Ugh, every new generation gets weirder and weirder.

Meanwhile, Henry was still trying to get through every hour after this since I couldn’t do it once I was at work*, and I even had my mom trying to win for us.

*(I mean, I could but I rarely make personal calls at work so why start now, sorry Chooch.)

An hour after I got to work, Henry texted me and said, “I won.”

Yeah right, I thought. This motherfucker!

“That’s not even funny. Don’t joke about that, Henry,” I texted back.

But he swore that he wasn’t lying. And he wasn’t!


Today was the day of the performance, and we had to be at the Cambria Suites by 1:15 to get checked in. Henry had arranged with the radio station to put it in my name instead of his, since ID was required. He accompanied Chooch and me on our voyage downtown today anyway, and I like to believe it was just as a precaution in case it was still in his name, and not because he was chaperoning us which is what he was clearly doing, ugh.

Just kidding, I was happy he was chaperoning. I didn’t want to be responsible for things like, “How do we get to the Cambria Suites” and “Do I need to feed my kid at some point, or are we good for a few more days?”

We arrived shortly after noon and the Star 100.7 broads told us we could just hang out on the patio until check-in started. So that’s what we did and it would have a lot better if I hadn’t been so fucking anxious and sweaty like I was waiting to see a dentist and not some pop singer who is kind of famous but not all the way famous.

Henry was happy because the patio was right outside of the hotel bar and since we took the trolley downtown, he treated himself to some daydrinking.

I made Chooch take pictures with me because everyone else was taking selfies and being all happy together and I wanted that too, goddammit. He was such a little fucker about it though. I guess he was mad because I made him wear these blue pants that I like but “make him look like a clown.” My days of dressing him are coming to an end.

As it got closer to 1:15, more and more people were rolling up. Mostly soccer mom types escorting their daughters and their friends. One super annoying guy had three little kids with him, so did he win twice?! I was mad because they were one of the last people to arrive and somehow of course made it second in line.

Chooch and I were about 20 people back from the start of the line, so I was satisfied with that. When we signed in (my ID worked thank god, because Henry was cozy at the bar by then), I also signed up for a chance to win a meet & greet with Charlie. My hands were shaking really bad because my nerves know no bounds anymore, so my name was like, “Erin Kell—-”

I shrugged and stuffed it into the box, never thinking about it again because I don’t win things, remember?

So we’re in line, and it’s almost 2pm at this point which is when the performance is about to start, when one of the radio ladies was all, “Hello we’re going to do the drawing now! Unfortunately, there can only be five winners because Charlie really doesn’t have much time.”

Understandable. There were other radio stations also giving away concert perks (I know because we were trying to win everything in hopes of actually scoring tickets in the process) so I didn’t doubt for a second that the guy was busy as fuck.

She starts calling out names.

One of them is “Erin Kell—–” and she shows it to another radio lady who says, “Kelly. Erin Kelly.”

I was only mildly paying attention, more interested in people-watching as usual, when hearing my name snapped me out of it.

“Oh wow that’s me!” I said jovially like some Midwestern mom, and walked away to get my meet and greet passes!

Drunk Henry was sitting fifteen feet away at the bar and didn’t know that I won!

“What was that for?” he texted me.

So I sent him a picture of the pass and he was all, “Oh wait, you won!?”


I was fucking trembling at this point. I hadn’t let my brain imagine this far ahead. Now I got to actually meet the guy too? Oh god.

“I’m going to ask him if he loves Bambi,” Chooch said, grabbing one of the passes from me. Have I told you yet that Chooch has been calling Drew “Bambi” and then recently also became obsessed with the movie and tried to get us to buy it at Target but I was like, “I’m not paying $25 for a cartoon that gave made me feel suicidal without even knowing it as a child!” I yelled. And then on Friday, after G-Dragon’s birthday festivities died down, Chooch “accidentally” bought it On Demand, and I don’t just mean he rented it for like $6 or something; no that little bastard bought a digital copy of it for $22 so now we own the fucking movie and Henry was originally going to call the cable company and dispute it but then was like, “FUCK IT, IT’S YOURS NOW. BUT YOU’RE GOING TO PAY FOR IT.”

Then he watched it twice on Saturday and sent me all these crying GIFs.

So anyway, his new thing is asking everyone if they love Bambi and it’s so embarrassing. He yelled it into CVS when we walked by last night and the automatic doors opened.

Finally, the door to a small banquet hall-type room was opened and we were all ushered inside. Rows of chairs were lined up. Chooch got the last chair in the second row and I saw behind him. It ended up being perfect because all of the seats in my line of vision were occupied by small children so my view wasn’t obstructed at all.

Before Charlie came out, one of the radio ladies was like, “Does anyone have a question for Charlie that we can ask him when he comes out?” and Chooch immediately sat up straight in his chair and tossed me a devilish look over his shoulder.

“Don’t you even fucking dare!” I hissed and then he thought better of it. YEAH, THAT’S RIGHT.

Anyway, Charlie came out before she even had a chance to finish introducing him because he said he didn’t like introductions and right off the bat, he was so real and down to earth! I loved him even more and was really hoping that it would go this way and not like, “Ugh, let’s get this over with. #obligations”

He talked about Primanti’s, the fact that he didn’t know that Wiz Khalifa is from Pittsburgh until he was on his way here today (he did a song with Wiz and it’s currently the #1 most-viewed video on YouTube, apparently), and congratulated us for having a lot of bridges. Then he was like, “OK let’s do this” and dove right into “We Don’t Talk Anymore.”

Some lady behind me screamed afterward, and Charlie said, “That was an A,” and demonstrated by pressing down on a key of his keyboard. “That means you’re really high-pitched. You could probably even do a D,” and then he played that key too. “Sorry, that was so nerdy. Now this just sounds like a lecture.” And we all laughed.

I just read recently that he went to Berklee so that gave him some extra cred in my book.

Guys, he sang “Attention next and I was shook.

And he beat-boxed! I really like this song a lot. Anytime I’m upstairs and I say my jam is on, Henry knows it’s this song because I keep Top 40 radio on in the bedroom and he mumbled once, “It’s the only American song you like right now.”

It’s true.

So he only did those two songs, and some people were bitching about it later; the lady who called Henry with the info for today’s event mentioned that he would only be singing two or three songs, so this wasn’t shocking and I wasn’t disappointed. I was just really glad for this opportunity because he’s pretty well-beyond the whole “intimate venue” stage of his career it seems.

And how are you going to bitch about something that you didn’t even have to pay for? Some Americans are never happy.

Right after, they made everyone who didn’t have the meet and greet passes leave the room. Charlie came back out and we all got to have our picture taken with him.

WHY am I still so awkward at 38?! Chooch and I got up there and even though I was rehearsing things like, “Thank you for doing this for us” and “You sounded wonderful!” all I could say was, “HI YOU’RE AWESOME.”

That’s my fucking socially backward go-to.

Because he doesn’t already know he’s awesome.

Or that this is what his fans think.

He was just like, “Oh, thank you!” and then the radio people took our picture before I was ready and we left.

Then I had the excruciating task of waiting for them to post it to INSTAGRAM. Ugh, fml.

Ugh, whatever. It’s fine. I’ll take it.

I just want to give a shoutout to the Star 100.7 girls who were running the show today. Everyone was so nice and things seemed to go off without a hitch, and they more or less were on time with everything. I don’t involve myself with radio stations very often because none of the music I REALLY like is played on the radio, but I have had bad experiences in the past with DJs from the local alternative station, so I was kind of braced for rudeness. But nope — just a very pleasant experience!


Afterward, we hung around downtown. We had lunch at Noodles in Market Square and then went to Millie’s, where Henry had a bitchbaby moment when Chooch and I each ordered the two flavors he was considering so he did that annoying, “Then I just won’t get any” bullshit sob story. God, call your mom. It’ll back up her theory that I’m an asshole girlfriend! But then he ended up getting a scoop of strawberry. How generic.

(Sike — it’s Millie’s strawberry, so it’s probably amazing and gilded with the sweet kisses of the actual Strawberry Shortcake.)

Chooch had cherry pie and I had blueberry lime graham.

So good. Millie’s is the best ice cream in town. I hope someone brings Charlie Puth a pint after the show tonight!

Henry, with the excuse that he was tired from having three beers and not just that he has a sleeping problem, fell asleep waiting for the trolley.

(I took this picture accidentally, with flash, even.)

Then he fell asleep ON the trolley.

Chooch and I were incredibly slaphappy after a day of meetin’ & greetin’ and ice cream and Henry tripping on a curb at one point downtown, that I straight up peed my pants (JUST A BIT) after we got off the trolley. Chooch knew he had me right where he wanted and kept antagonizing me over and over, making up dumb jokes about Henry that weren’t funny at all but I was fucking delirious so a few more pee drops escaped and then I hit my head off a corner of a wall and couldn’t even talk properly without all of my words coming out slurred and janky from the laughter. I looked like a real Brookliner, you guys. A real fucking druggie weirdo.

Came home and immediately changed my clothes on account of the pee, and then spent the rest of the day watching my Instavids over and over because YOU JUST WANT ATTENTION, YOU DON’T WANT MY HEART, BLAH BLAH BLAH TODAY FUCKING RULED.

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