New writer Victoria sent us this piece to catch our interest – a fans-eye view of meeting Papa Roach on their recent UK tour. We know there’s a lot of discussion about the validity or even “fairness” of meet and greets, so it’s nice to get some perspective from someone who (it seems) very much enjoyed theirs!
What is it about music that makes you really feel alive? Is it that when you feel down it helps you drown your sorrows or lifts you up from a dark place? Or is it that when you are happy it allows you to express your excitement and immerse yourself in the thrill. Music speaks to a person inside you that you don’t even know that well yourself!
I love music of all genres, but there are some bands who seem to touch my soul on a deeper level to others. Queen, Pink Floyd, Slash and Nirvana all have songs that resonate on that level and then I discovered Papa Roach….
I was amazed that my life encounters and self-discoveries were spoken in their lyrics and songs – a feeling from within was embraced and understood way beyond my comprehension, and I knew that Papa Roach had become more than an enjoyment to me, they were an essentiality.
When I first saw Papa Roach at Leeds Festival on the main stage I knew they were special, their live performances blow you away but then experiencing their show in a smaller venue at Brixton Academy in London was a turning point for me. As Jacoby questioned in his melodic vocals whether he needed help in Papa Roach’s probing song “Help”, I knew that I did, and it was in their songs that I would find my liberty.
From that encounter, I saw Papa Roach several other times in London and Leeds, and then I discovered that there was the opportunity to go to a Papa Roach gig and meet the band members on their Who Do You Trust? tour. My husband has been a fan of the band for the last 20 years. I was a late bloomer and have only followed their music for 10 years and my sister is also a fan, with my nephew starting to have a deeper interest and inquisitional following of the band over the last couple of years. I knew this would be the perfect family gathering for us to celebrate the Easter festivities, so I booked 4 golden tickets in late 2018 which was followed by months of anticipation leading up to the event.
Although I live in London, I decided to book the meet and greet tickets in Leeds as the Leeds O2 Academy venue has a smaller capacity which I thought might make the experience more intimate and is close to where I am from originally. As we arrived at the venue on the day, I was not sure what to expect. I only had insight from watching videos on YouTube of others who had done the meet and greet experiences at other shows, but the format of our event was rather vague. We had received an email the day before about the schedule which said that we would meet Papa Roach at 4.30pm so by 4pm my nerves had grown volcanically. I didn’t want to lose my cool under the pressure!
A small group of us were then taken around to an entrance at the back on the building to meet Papa Roach. The wait to see them took longer than expected but was welcoming as it gave me time to reflect and digest on what was to come. Meeting a band whose lyrics have dissolved into your spirit and had motivated you to make positive changes to your life, was quite a daunting proposition but clearly life changing as well. “They are human too,” I thought. With so much to say them, I knew that perhaps just delighting in being in such close proximity to a band you admired, would be far more gratifying than making a long speech about your adoration, no matter how cheated I felt at the prospect of such.
We decided to meet Papa Roach as a family group; in my eyes an experience is something to cherish and reminisce on with the people you love. You can do amazing things in life but without a shared experience, there isn’t one to hold on to or recall. A living memory is relished together. We laughed nervously with each other as we found ourselves at the front of the queue. As we were ushered to meet the band, I pushed my husband and nephew in front of me as I realised how unprepared I felt for this moment.
As we turned the corner, I looked up to see Jerry standing in front of me as I held out my hand and introduced myself. “Hi,” he said. “I am Jerry.” Recalling his elaborate guitar playing on stage and mesmerising riffs, I laughed to myself. Did he really think I wouldn’t know his name? But his humbleness was captivating, and his warm manner put me at ease. I proceeded down the line, being introduced to Tobin and then to Jacoby, who I couldn’t help but embrace in the moment. It was Papa Roach’s music that I nurtured but Jacoby’s story that gave me a better understanding of myself from his own exploration of himself through his songs. I recalled Jacoby’s melodic recital of Papa Roach’s poignant song, “Scars”, at the last gig we had been to, where the fans chanted back the song to him word for word. It wasn’t just me who Papa Roach’s music had affected; their words rang true for many.
Tony then very politely introduced himself at the end of the line with such a friendly and approachable disposition. Imaging the pounding deafening sound of his drums on the heavier Papa Roach songs such as their infamous “Last Resort” that took them to new heights in their music careers as well as newer songs on Who do you Trust? like “I Suffer Well”. These two personas somewhat contradictory, but we are all allowed to be more than one person, this was all part of the self-searching and finding often described in Papa Roach’s songs.
We then had some time to chat with the band. I was overwhelmed in the experience and rather than attempting to make any permanent impression, I turned to the ease of chit chat, asking about their future shows and whether they were enjoying being in the UK. I hadn’t expected time to just talk to the band in a normal conversation – it felt as natural as it would with any new people that you meet. They certainly looked like rock stars, but they were as honest and true as we were – they hadn’t lost themselves in the stardom that they had encountered over the last 20 years, they had an authenticity that felt tangible. It was a moment that I could hold in my memory to recall my better than life experience on Easter Sunday in 2019.
Thank you Papa Roach for your awesomeness!
Header image courtesy of Victoria Hamilton