So, I got back this morning around 3 am from the best weekend ever.

I was in Chicago from Friday through last night with members of the Darren Criss Street Team for his concert at the Northalsted Market Days and our DCST Flash Mob πŸ™‚

What an incredible, incredible weekend. I was with a group of people I had never met before in my entire life and walked away with a group of new friends, hundreds and hundreds of pictures, and a weekend full of memories that I will never forget.

When we got into Chicago on Friday, all we really had time for was to change into our dance clothes and take the train to the rehearsal space.

I have always wanted to be in a flash mob, though I am totally not a trained dancer. However, I ended up being a temporary dance captain and was in the front row for the entire flash mob. Still trying to wrap my mind around that…

So, yeah. Flash Mob rehearsal was super fun! We only had 2 group rehearsals but everyone brought it and I think the end result was amazing. A million props to the admins of the Street Team and the girls who put together this flash mob. I love you all and I am so proud of you and the whole Street Team for proudly representing what we are all about – our unwavering pride and support for Darren Criss πŸ™‚

After Friday night’s dance rehearsal, we took the train back to our hotel and slept for maybe an hour and a half before we had to be up for our last rehearsal.

After practice, we walked over to Market Days and bummed around for awhile because we weren’t going to perform until the afternoon.

Our performance time kept getting bumped because of this epic rainstorm that just poured down on us about an hour before we were supposed to dance.

We finally went on close to 4:00, I think. It was such a rush and a blurr all at the same time. Literally moments before we went on, Darren came out to watch our performance. A bunch of people flipped out (it’s Darren freakin’ Criss…), but then our music cue came on over the loudspeaker and it was time to dance.

I don’t know how I remembered any of the steps. I was in the front row and Darren Criss was literally 20 feet away, perched on top of a barrel, taping the flash mob with his cell phone. During the performance, I was able to look over at him and see that he looked like he was thoroughly enjoying himself. At the end of the routine, we all turned around with our pink sunglasses on to pay homage to him and he motioned for us all to group together so he could take our picture. What a surreal moment… we just flash mobbed to Darren Criss music for Darren Criss himself and he appreciated it πŸ™‚

He disappeared as quickly as he appeared and the rest of us went about our business. I found myself near the front of the stage (a group of us bought VIP passes) awaiting his concert. We had to wait awhile, though. Before he came on, Maxine Nightengale performed. I was familiar with a lot of the songs she sang, but I was super wet and cold (it poured a few more times that afternoon).

Probably an hour or so after our flash mob is when Darren finally came out to perform.

What a friggin’ AMAZING concert. His set list was so good. I mean, it was mostly stuff he sings at all his other concerts, but to see it being performed live just was a whole different experience πŸ™‚

Singing In The Rain – He doesn’t sing this at his concerts, but I’m guessing he did at this one b/c it was raining. A lot.

I’ll Make A Man Out Of You – YES!!! Who doesn’t love Mulan music?!

Animal – Gah, I love this song. But only when it’s him or the Warblers singing it…

This Love Is Misery – Maroon 5 at its finest

Human – If you don’t have Darren’s EP already, do yourself a favor and pick it up/download it (legally)

Part Of Your World – ! (The Little Mermaid will always be one of my favorite Disney movies, and his covers of PoYW always makes me smile)

I Still Think – One of my favorite Darren songs of all time. I LOVE it with a band… so money it hurts.

Sami – Extra special because I was with two girls named Sam and Sami and watching him sing that with them standing right in front of me was super adorable πŸ™‚

Jealousy – Great song. Guh-reat song. (Again, it’s on his EP. Buy it.)

Another Love Affair – Totally fangirled on this one!!! This is a “new” Darren song, and by “new,” I mean the full-length version to the “New Song Interlude” that a bunch of us had been obsessing over for awhile now. It was so awesome to hear the whole song and know that this was the first time he was playing it at a concert!

Status Quo – One of my favorite Starship songs. I like Joey’s version, but Darren’s versions will always be my favorites.

Not Alone – Buy. His. EP.

The Coolest Girl – I love his female-empowerment power ballad.

Teenage Dream – He (once again) asked the audience not to sing along so he could just emote to the audience (my words, not his). However, part way through the song, his phone went off and totally ruined the mood, but it was super hilarious all the same.

Don’t You – So good, so good, so good. Buy the EP. Do it.

One Fine Day – Gah, I love his version of this song. One of my favorite oldies of all time. (It was before I ever heard him sing it, and it will continue to be until the end of time.)

Granger Danger – He brought Lauren Lopez out to sing with him! Now I’ve gotten to see her perform this twice live, which is really cool πŸ™‚ This song is adorable, as were the two of them singing it.

That’s All (included in video of Granger Danger above) – Encore song #1. I’m glad he went with another oldie instead of a Disney song. Hopefully it’ll make his younger fans more aware of awesome music from the past.

Stutter – Encore song #2. “Remember that time?” cue SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMSSSSSSSS from all his fans. People f-in’ love this song. I mean, I do too. I was a bit bummed that I missed seeing his drum solo because I couldn’t see the drums from where I was standing. God bless youtube πŸ™‚

So yeah, AMAZING set.

Here’s some of my pictures from the concert. I took several hundred, but this is all you get for right now. πŸ™‚

After he left the stage, some of us went back to his merchandise table to help out a little bit. 10 or 15 minutes later, a girl from the group I was with the whole weekend came up to a few of us and told us to go find another girl from our group because we were going to be allowed backstage.

Yep… I got to go backstage and meet Darren Criss

(See, told you it was the best weekend ever.)

I don’t have access to a picture yet of this joyous occasion, but once I do, I will post it.

I got to shake his hand, then we posed for a picture, and he signed my pink sunglasses I wore during the flash mob. We talked for a little bit. I told him I listened to his music while I wrote my thesis. He asked about what school I went to and what my degree was. I told him that my mom likes “Raise Your Glass” and refers to him as Blaine and told me to tell Blaine she says hi. He chuckled and said he would tell Blaine if he saw him. I think we shook hands again (it was a total blur moment) and I thanked him again for the great job he did during his concert. Darren Criss is one of, if not the nicest famous person I have had the privilege of meeting.

Even though I was soaked to the core and beyond tired, I was on cloud 9 the rest of the night. The flash mob was a success. The concert was amazing. And I got to meet Darren Criss. I am just so thankful to be part of the Street Team and have the opportunity to spend time with other members and get the chance to make amazing new friends and experience little moments like these.

That night at the hotel, the group of girls I was with went through videos and pictures from the day. We had full intentions of celebrating, but instead crashed like whoa because were all so exhausted.

The next day, we went to Navy Pier to see the Chicago Shakespeare Company’s production of Pinocchio because one of our favorite StarKids, Dylan Saunders, was in the cast.

What a cute show! We had front row seats at this gorgeous little theater-in-the-round. After the show, some of us got pictures and autographs with the adorable guy who played PInocchio and then we were able to chat and get pictures with Dylan.

After lunch, a group of us went to see the Glee Live 3D Concert movie. I saw the tour, but getting to see the movie with a group of Darren fans/StarKid fans/Glee fans was just icing on the cake.

I can’t emphasize enough how totally awesome it was to spend the entire weekend with people who love the same stuff I love. To be able to share favorite songs or stories or experiences with such an amazing group of girls was something I really valued and appreciated.

We left Chicago around 6 or 7, so I didn’t get home until after 3 am.

I was so worn out driving home, but the ridiculously happy thoughts I had from this whole weekend were more than enough to keep me awake. Plus, I was basically shouting the entire Book of Mormon soundtrack on my drive… “ORLANDOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO”

My parents were glad to see me, and I was glad to see them. I told them my stories and showed them pictures. I was glad to be home, but I was more glad that I stepped way out of my comfort zone to go on this trip. I had the best time and I will never forget it πŸ™‚

But for now, I need sleep.

I have work tomorrow and then, thankfully, a day off. I will be out of whack for a few days (I napped for 6 hours today and am still way tired), but it was totally worth it.

Have a good one!