The Virtual Self show was incredible. I don’t even know where to begin with this post. My brain is still whizzing with adrenaline. In the last 30 hours, all I’ve consumed is sugar and caffeine. I’ve also only had about 3 hours of sleep.
First of all, I think it’s important to note that the closest Virtual Self show was about four hours away from where I live. During the UTOPIA pre-sale, I bought two tickets without a concrete plan. All I knew was that I was going to see the show with my little sister. It’s also important to note (though I probably don’t have to) that I am a huge Porter Robinson fangirl. I am Porter trash, and I am not ashamed.
A few of my Twitter friends’ tour dates were ahead of mine, so seeing their excitement and pictures really hyped up the event.
I was also told specifically by my friend Gabe to make sure not to miss EPROM‘s set. My response was that I intended not to miss a single second of the show. I was not missing anything.
Something really exciting was that every so often, I would see pictures of my friends actually meeting Porter after the show. Low-key, I was hoping I’d be able to do the same. However, I generally have bad luck associated with these kinds of things, so I didn’t want to get my hopes up too high.
Since the event was happening very close to home, the main pre-show activity was to meet up with my parents and little brother for a nice family dinner. After my sister and I drove for four hours, we all met up downtown for some sushi. The five of us demolished about seven rolls of various flavours, as well as three servings of dessert.
I ate so much that I was worried I might vomit at the show. Thankfully, that didn’t happen.
We chatted and caught up on life, since the last time I had seen my family was the beginning of August. Afterward, we took about a half-hour’s worth of pictures outside. My sister and I finally said our goodbye’s, and headed off toward our next adventure.
Waiting in Line
We got to the venue a little early so my sister could add some last-second finishing touches to her “Rave Fit”. She hadn’t really gone to anything like this before, and I had been promising to take her to a rave for the last five years. I just realised it has been five years since I was 16. Wow, I’m really getting old.
While Kaylin was getting ready, I started really doubting the possibility of being able to meet Porter after the show. I told her I felt like it just wasn’t going to happen. She said it probably wouldn’t, simply because I felt like it wouldn’t.
Something kind of interesting was that Escape the Fate was also playing at the venue at the same time, so there were two separate entry lines. After we secured our spot, we talked about how excited we were for the show, and how crazy it was that we were even there in the first place.
By no means would I consider myself a “celebrity”, but God, did Richard make me feel like I was famous. He came up to me while we were waiting in line and asked if I was telepathics. I froze, nodded, and he asked for a picture.
He said he wasn’t trying to fanboy, but that he had been “following” me for a while now, and that he sent me a WIP on one of my Opus streams. I felt really bad that I didn’t recognize his handle. We probably hadn’t previously talked on Twitter, since I’m generally pretty good at remembering usernames. He assured me it was fine, but man, I feel so bad about that.
The fact that he recognized me by my person alone, without any written or verbal prompt, absolutely blows my mind.
Richard got pulled away by his friends because it was about 8pm, so the doors were opening . He had one of those fancy-pants passes that lets you into the venue first. I was in the middle of telling him that sakuraburst came up with my Snapchat username, but I was awkward and didn’t finish saying that as he left. My anxiety will never let me forget that moment.
Other Silly In-line Interactions
After Richard left, the guy behind us in line said something along the lines of, “excuse me, didn’t mean to overhear that conversation with your fan, but do you stream?” and I just about lost it. I told him I make music. He said he loves supporting local talent, so he’d check me out!
One of the venue photographers came wandering down the line and was taking pictures of everyone. He asked if I wanted to be in a picture, and I kind of shied away. My sister made the comment that I only like being in pictures if you can’t see my face, and the photographer said, “don’t worry, I had an emo phase once too.”
Virtual Self Merch Pick-Up Failure
To preface, a week or so prior to the show, I saw a post on reddit asking if anyone would be able to buy Virtual Self merchandise for them and ship it over. I commented that I would be able to if no one else reached out to them. This led to a couple of other people messaging me about potential merchandise proxying, and I was actually really, really looking forward to helping these guys out (and pimping out their packages with some fun treats).
As soon as my sister and I got into the venue, we headed straight to the merch booth to pick up stuff. Codie, the VS Merch Guy, told me that a bunch of the clothes people wanted were out of stock, so I stood out of line for a second to contact them and see if they wanted different sizes or different items. No one was really responding quickly enough, so I just asked if I could grab what I could, and I’d come back after the show to finish up my job.
Unfortunately, no one really got back to me, so I refunded the people I couldn’t help. I’ll probably also send them cute little apology packages for getting their hopes up.
Preston & Daniel
While I stood outside of the merch line waiting for Reddit responses, my friend Preston (who I’ve internet-known for years, and, despite living in the same state, have never met) walked past. We quickly exchanged hugs and hello’s. I wish we got a picture, but he seemed in a hurry to get to the front of the crowd.
Since the day the SLC Virtual Self show was announced, I’ve been messaging my friend Daniel if he’d want to go with me. We planned on it, especially since we went to Shelter Tour together. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to meet up again for this set, but we were messaging each other the whole time, up until his phone died.
Opening Acts for Virtual Self
I hadn’t heard of Raito or EPROM until the announcement of the opening acts for the Virtual Self tour. Personally, I have a lot of respect for set openers, especially for big names like Porter Robinson and Virtual Self, because it is extremely anxiety-inducing to have the majority of the people watching you not know who you are.
Richard was an extremely cool guy and helped Kaylin and I push our ways to the front of the venue, so we had pretty decent spots.
Raito was the first opener, and it was my first time hearing about him. I actually really enjoyed his set, and I even texted Quentin about him, because it reminded me of the type of music he loved dancing to at Electric Forest.
During Raito’s set, there was only one interesting character development in the crowd: a guy with his shirt off pushed through the crowd into the middle of where we were, motioned for everyone to make room, and started dancing. It was kind of aggressive, but eventually he just left. I didn’t see him again at all that night.
Richard turned back to me at one point, and asked if I wanted to try meeting Porter after the show. He said there were no promises, but he and his friends were going to try. I started getting my hopes up again.
As aforementioned, I was told specifically not to miss EPROM’s set. I am so glad that I didn’t. I was completely immersed in the first half of his set.
Unfortunately, throughout the second half, I was slowly pushed farther and farther back, away from Kaylin and Richard. I ended up getting sandwiched between two large groups of friends, and I just tried to continue having a good time anyway. I absolutely loved EPROM’s set, but some of the people around me were complaining about it, since they were eager to see Virtual Self. It dampened my mood a lot, but I ignored them and continued having a blast. Eventually, Richard looked back to find me and, quite literally, pulled me back up to the front. I even grabbed onto the rail… for the entirety of the Headlining Act.
This was it. I had both hands on the rail, and I had a center spot. To my left, I had Richard, my new friend. And, to my right, I had a couple of his friends, introduced later as Claire and Rokket. Behind me, his friend Hayden, and my sister.
As soon as Porter was visible on stage, the room was filled with screams. I’m pretty proud of myself for staying off my phone as much as I did. Though honestly, I feel like I didn’t need to record much, since Rokket recorded literally the entire set.
Throughout the set, I was in a state of complete awe. For the majority of it, I was definitely just staring awestruck at Porter, especially since I was right in front of him. The visuals were gorgeous, the music was incredible, and Porter was adorable. I am so happy with how perfect everything was.
Honestly, the only complaint that I had the entire night was that there was a drunk couple next to use who kept yelling “PLAY SAD MACHINE!” and I wanted to whack them upside the head. Please don’t ruin this for me.
My favourite parts of the show were obviously when he played songs from Virtual Self, since I don’t listen to much of the genre outside of him. I went pretty hard to ANGEL VOICES in particular, since I had been picturing how glorious it would be to experience live since the day it came out.
After the Virtual Self Show
Remember how I said I had my doubts about meeting Porter? After the show, we all gathered outside of the venue to wait for him. An hour passed by, and we were all just getting to know each other. It was me, Richard, Louis (Richard’s shy friend), Claire, Rokket, and Hayden. My sister popped in and out of conversation, her friend came to the venue to meet up with her while we were visiting. We made friends with a guy called Keltano, who also popped in and out of conversation. He has cool hair and snowboards at Brighton.
Claire said that 2am was the “general time” people online had said Porter came out to meet fans, and it was getting very close to that time. However, she also said that Porter was a bit of a drama queen, and would probably wait even longer until the crowd severely thinned out. Claire knew exactly what she was doing throughout the set (she studied other uploads and has gone to several of Porter’s shows), so I trusted her.
Will It Into The Universe
Now, it was getting closer to 2:30am, and we were all starting to lose hope. Actually, we did lose hope. We watched two tour busses drive away, including one that we thought we saw Porter and EPROM riding in. Our big group split up into three smaller groups. We joked about how we weren’t going to meet Porter, because there were some doubters among us. We needed to will it into the universe, and then it would happen. Then, we all started to say our goodbyes, and headed out.
I was kind of let down, but honestly, I was content at the moment. Meeting Porter would have been the icing on the cake, but I just witnessed an amazing Virtual Self set, which I had been imagining and looking forward to for months now. I also met some really cool people, who I hope to keep in touch with. My sister and her friend wanted to take pictures together before we left. I actually didn’t want to get out of the car at first; I was just ready to go home and pass out. But I finally agreed to be their photographer, and I am so glad I did.
As I stepped out of the car and put my sister’s camera strap over my head, Kaylin and her friend started hitting me and motioning toward the front of the venue. I looked over at the small crowd of people that had circled around a single voice. Porter Weston Robinson. I sprinted over as quickly as I realised what was happening.
I lost pretty much all motor function at the sight of him, but I managed to pull open snapchat and tell Richard to COME BACK. PORTER IS HERE.
I didn’t even have to contact Hayden, Rokket, or Claire, since they pulled up immediately. Do you believe in fate? I honestly didn’t up until this moment. Their car battery died or something, so they were stuck, and they saw Porter as they were finally heading out. Louis and Richard were stuck in their parking garage for a quick second, and were late coming out, so they weren’t far at all when I sent out the message. And my sister and her friend pretty much forced me to get out of the car.
Meeting Porter Weston Robinson (aka Virtual Self)
Everyone took turns talking to Porter and exchanging pictures and autographs. I kind of summarized the whole experience in this one Reddit comment:
I am still shaking. I clammed up and I didn’t know what to say, but I told him I love him and I went in for a hug. We took a couple pictures, and my sister reminded me that I wanted his autograph on my phone case as well. I really wish I got a back-up autograph on my wristband, because his sharpie started wearing off almost immediately, and now there’s hardly anything left…
As he was signing, I told him that his music means a lot to me. His music is a benchmark in my life. Whenever I have big changes, I listen through his entire discography. Then, we had a really awkward long pause. I loved every second of it. Finally, I asked for another hug and ran away. He was very kind about the whole encounter!
I have a very special attachment to Porter, since his music has been important to me since his Spitfire days. I’m Porter trash and I am not ashamed. This was was one of the best nights of my life.
It’s been a few days now (I’ve had to put off writing this post because my apartment wifi died yesterday), and I’m truly feeling the rave withdrawal. While putting this entry together, I’ve been listening to Virtual Self, Worlds, Shelter, Spitfire, Language…
Here are some pictures in one of the shirts I proxied for a Redditor (don’t worry, I asked if I could wear it before I sent it out).
I am so incredibly grateful for everything Porter has done. His music has introduced me to a lot of people; not just in real life, but I bond over Porter religiously on Twitter.
Absolutely cannot wait to see what else Porter has in store, both for his personal project and for Virtual Self.