Lessons learned from two hours of rock stardom


My college roommate Kelsey was (and still is) one of my favorite friends to adventure with. We had a “before we graduate” bucket list during our four years of school, full of your typical “college no parents” aspirations…

A list of bands we wanted to see, festivals we wanted to attend, road trips we wanted to take and tattoos we wanted to get. I’m pretty sure that in those four years we knocked out almost all of them, too.

There was this one unchecked item on the list, though: Dance on stage with Girl Talk.

If you’re not really into the electronica/dance party scene, allow me to educate you: Girl Talk is a DJ. At all of his shows, he pulls 20 or so people out of the crowd to dance on stage during his set. They get to shoot the toilet paper/confetti guns, throw beach balls and giant balloons into the crowd — it’s epic.

Well it just so happened that our “last hoorah” festival in May 2012 had Girl Talk on the lineup. It was the weekend before graduation. I was getting married and moving away in six weeks. This was our chance.

So Kelsey and I, with a few other friends, were walking across the festival grounds at Beale St. Music Fest on our way from the Florence + the Machine show (which I highly recommend if you ever have the chance to see her) to where Girl Talk was going to play. As we passed by the stage and headed towards the crowd that was already gathered, we noticed that on the other side of the fence was the group of people they had selected to go on stage.

Dang it. We missed it.

Or maybe we didn’t. They’re not on stage yet. We have to get back there.

So we did what made logical sense, and we ran around to the back, where the trailers and tour buses were.

Lesson Learned No. 1: If you act like you know what you’re doing, people will believe you.

So one of our friends told the security guard that we were supposed to be with the group going on stage, and they let us in. It was that easy.

We got to the crowd, tried to blend in, and caught the last little bit of instructions from the production manager.

“Don’t stop dancing! If you stop moving, we will pull you off stage. You are a part of the show. We will bring you water. Leave your phones back stage. Have fun.”

Seconds later, we were on stage. It was pitch black, you could literally feel the screams of thousands of people, and the whole time I’m thinking, “this can’t be real.”

Then all of a sudden the lights went up, the bass dropped, and the show had started. For a split second Kelsey and I looked at each other like deer in headlights — and then we did what we knew must be done. We danced like crazy.


So maybe I broke the “no phones on stage” rule for a few seconds.

Lesson Learned No. 2: When you find yourself in a place you never thought you’d be, embrace it. When there’s an open door (or in our case security gate), run through it. When there’s music, dance. (I realize there are probably a few exceptions to this, but you get the point)

We danced for the entire two hour set. Two hours! I’ve never sweat so much in my life. It was a blast. I was busting moves I didn’t even know I had (you run out of ammo after like 45 minutes!). I had adrenaline pumping like never before.

Lesson Learned No. 3: I totally understand now why so many rock stars have drug problems. That adrenaline high several times a week cannot be easy to come down from.

Here’s what that whole experience taught me, in all seriousness. Pushing boundaries can be worth it. I hope I’m pushing all your rule following buttons just by saying that. And hear me when I say, in your relationship with God, let Psalm 16 be your compass. The boundary lines have fallen for you in pleasant places.

But God knows my heart, He lives there. And when there’s a tiny opening for me to do something crazy that I’ve always wanted to do, I’m taking a risk and blowing right through that opening, believing that He left it open for a reason.

Usually taking a risk involves breaking some ideal or principle or rule we’ve set up for ourselves, and we question it because “this is the way it’s always been done.”

A bleeding woman pushed through crowds she wasn’t supposed to be in and touched Jesus. That was countercultural and totally boundary pushing. (Matt. 9:20-22)

Zacchaeus climbed a tree just to see Jesus pass by. How many rich dudes have you seen climbing trees lately? (Luke 19:1-10)

Mary washed His feet with her hair. OK, that’s just kind of weird, right? (John 12:1-8)

But the reward was great for all of these people! They saw an opportunity to do something a little crazy, but worth it, and they went for it without looking back.

I dare you to break a rule today. Don’t break a law or a command, but break a rule. I think you’re all wise enough to find the difference. Break a rule and dance like crazy. 


Found this photo taken by someone in the crowd on instagram. That’s me at the end of the arrow.

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