BRAD

After spending four days in State College for Arts Fest, it was time for us to move on to our next destination: New York City! We woke up early Saturday morning to pack our bags and hit the road. With concert tickets to see Dispatch and John Butler Trio at Madison Square Garden later that night, we made sure to leave State College by 11:00 a.m.

The drive from State College to New York turned out to be a nice change of pace compared to the same old drive from West Chester to State College. While Leslie slept most of the ride, I enjoyed the view from I-80 (when my eyes weren’t focused on the Jersey drivers). Along the way we stopped at a scenic pull-off with a beautiful view of the Pennsylvania countryside.

A scenic view from a highway pull-off

A panoramic view from the scenic pull-off

OUR FIRST AIRBNB IN OVER A YEAR

The last time we stayed at an Airbnb was June of last year, when we stopped in Cleveland for a few nights on our way to Chicago for summer internships. This time around we booked a private room, due to the high cost of entire apartments in New York City.

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The apartment was located on West 115 street in Harlem, just a few blocks north of Central Park. When it came to parking, we planned ahead and booked a parking spot in a garage online. Lucky for us, one of the cheapest garages was only two blocks away from the Airbnb; however those two blocks felt like two miles carrying all of Leslie’s bags our bags.

We couldn’t be anymore pleased with the apartment we chose. The host was kind and generous, the bedroom was spacious with a private bath, and it was a block away from a subway station. To see the apartment and hear what else we thought of the apartment, check out the review we left on the Airbnb listing.

NOTHING LIKE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

LESLIE

After settling into the apartment and buying some necessities (pretty much cereal and shampoo), we got ready for the concert. Knowing something was bound to go wrong when figuring out the subway, we left with extra time to get to Madison Square Garden. Well what would you know, we had a minor setback the moment we got to the station.

The machines that issue MetroCards at this station only accepted cash…which wouldn’t have been a problem if Brad didn’t only have a $50 (the machine issues change in coins, so it couldn’t give us change for that large of a bill). Fortunately, I was there to save the day with just enough money in smaller bills to buy our MetroCard for the weekend.

MetroCard in hand, we paid our fares, waited for the next train, and took a direct line to 34th street – Penn Station. Before the show began we grabbed a bite to eat at the nearby District Tap House. The food was reasonably priced and tasted great! Brad ordered lamb meatballs and a side of fries, while I went for the chicken dumplings.

DISPATCH AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN

The first (and last) time I saw Dispatch was with Brad in 2011 at the Bryce Jordan Center during our first week at Penn State. Even though it was a seated venue the concert was one to remember. Brad saw them again when he traveled to Amsterdam in February 2013 while he was studying abroad (Here’s this poorly edited video Brad made with some of the Amsterdam concert footage…be warned Brad is not that great of a singer!).

Dispatch performing at the Bryce Jordan Center in State College Pennsylvania

Dispatch in State College

Dispatch performing in Amsterdam Netherlands

Dispatch in Amsterdam

Regardless of past concerts, it was clear this would be the best Dispatch performance we have seen. After breaking up the band in 2002, Dispatch played one final show together in Boston in July 2004. It wasn’t until three years later in 2007 that they came back together to perform a concert at MSG benefiting charities in Zimbabwe. Not only did the band become the first independent band to headline at MSG, but they were also the first independent band to sell out MSG (which they did for three consecutive nights).

Eight years later, Dispatch was returning to MSG and we would be one of the lucky people to see it in person! This time the concert would benefit hunger in America. On top of the significance of the venue, we were sitting center stage two rows back (Thank you, Ticketmaster gods)!

John Butler performing Ocean at Madison Square Garden

John killin’ it with Ocean

John Butler Trio performing at Madison Square Garden

All of John Butler Trio

The opening act was none other than John Butler Trio, another one of our favorites, who we saw perform at Lollapalooza in Chicago last summer. We were so close we could practically see the twelve strings on his guitar. While they didn’t perform for as long as we had hoped, John was able to mesmerize the crowd with his hit instrumental “Ocean” for ten minutes straight.

Dispatch performing at Madison Square Garden for the Hunger concert

Dispatch!

All 18,200 seats in MSG were nearly full by the time Dispatch came on. The crowd seemed to explode as the band took the stage and didn’t let down until the end of the show. They played all the classics, including Two Coins, Flying Horses, and Bang Bang, as well as their new song, Bound By Love. But we would be lying if we didn’t say the encore performance of The General was our favorite part of the show.

Dispatch performing at Madison Square Garden

Nothing gets Brad more excited than seeing men walk out on stage with giant instruments…;)

All in all, the concert was worth every penny we spent on the tickets, public transportation, parking, and the apartment. If we were to rank our favorite performances we’ve seen live it would definitely be at the top right next to Lollapalooza (which isn’t bad considering Lollapalooza was a three-day festival, a few blocks from our Chicago apartment, with performances by Vance Joy, Kings of Leon, Eminem, Arctic Monkeys, etc.). So in closing, if you ever get the chance to see Dispatch perform…TAKE IT!

Have you seen Dispatch perform live before? If so, tell us about your experience in the comment section below!