A man in a deer mask covering half of his face sits in front of you in the theatre. Soon after, a woman in a tulle dress with fairy lights glowing softly from underneath the fabric enters as well and takes a seat somewhere behind you. And you’re here, too. How do you keep forgetting that? You’re here to see a show.
Welcome… To Night Vale! *cue intro music*
At the beginning of the month I had the honour of attending the second ever show of Welcome To Night Vale in Warsaw. That night was their last European stop on tour, where they performed a story entitled A Spy In The Desert.
Now… Where do I even start with this? It was my first time seeing them live. When I first heard about them, it was just about two months before their show Ghost Stories came to Poland for the first time. Needless to say, I was disappointed at first that I missed them. But luckily it gave me a lot of time to catch up on the story, so that when the right time comes and they visit us again, I would be ready.
And yet listening to the episodes a thousand times each would have never prepared me for the emotions of that night.
Sceptics might say “why would a podcast team go on tour? What is the audience supposed to do then? Stare at people reading stuff into microphones for two hours?”.
The answer – YES! Yes, and so, so much more.
In fact the episode itself begun way later than I thought it would. We were maybe forty minutes into the show when the opening theme played. Before that we had the pleasure of listening to Meg Bashwiner (aka. the “proverb lady” and Deb, a sentient patch of haze) talk about the rules of the show. Can she please talk about the rules of everything from now on? Thanks.
Not long after the episode started, I was strongly reminded of one of the reasons why I love this podcast so much. The voice acting of everyone in the cast is supreme. Which makes live shows even more challenging, as they are seen by the audience, so they very often engage their entire bodies into playing their characters. Everyone gave their absolute 100% that night, with no exceptions. Those who stood out the most to me however, were Cecil Baldwin and Symphony Sanders. I don’t know how those two have harnessed so much energy after such a long tour. Not to sound too millennial, but – they didn’t have to go that hard for us. But they did. And I am thankful #blessed
There was something absolutely magical about the show. When they were in character, I somehow stopped seeing the actors and actresses, but instead saw the characters interacting with one another. It was like a spectacle that was simultaneously happening onstage but off of it as well. The effect it had on me was absolutely entrancing. And did they need any decorations to make it more immersive? Not at all. Just some purple light and we’re good to go.
A town, any town, is nothing without weather. And boy, was the weather lovely that night. Touring with WTNV was Mal Blum, a New York-based musician with an electric guitar, dazzling personality and a beautiful voice. They acted as the weather AND an opening act, and I couldn’t be happier about that. Their performances, as short as they sadly were, were two things in one – a concert, and a stand-up comedy routine. Or at least they felt that way to me.
One of the many things, again, that I love about WTNV, is the fact that the music that appears in the show as the weather is incredibly diverse, and it has never happened to me that I have heard a weather before, outside of the show. The same thing happened with Mal Blum, and I’m so happy to be exposed to this many new bands and solo artists thanks to the podcast.
There is certain unwavering loneliness to living in Europe and liking things and creators that live anywhere but around here. The night of the show was simply magical, but soon enough each of the people we saw onstage went back home, which is far, far away from where we last saw them. And even if they aren’t in your own country, but still somewhere around here, it can bring you so much joy. After the show I did a teensy bit of lurking on the cast’s social media, and it was glorious – some stayed in Poland for a couple days more, some went to other countries for sightseeing and otherwise fun activities, and some went back to America quicker than others. It was such a joy for me to know that they are around. And until I meet them again, I think I won’t feel alone, either.
Because you see, for some reason attending the show felt like coming back home after I’ve spent my entire life wondering where it was and walking around completely lost. I felt like I belong, even in a room filled with nothing but strangers.
If you ever have the chance to see Welcome To Night Vale live, then please, do it if you can. Not only will you support a bunch of awesome, impossibly talented, creative people this way, you’ll also give yourself a tremendous, extraordinary experience. There is nothing like it, truly.
Stay tuned next for a longing stuck in your chest, making it’s way under your ribs and clawing at your lungs whenever you hear the name of the person you once loved.
Goodnigt, Night Vale… Goodnight.