The trip up was fairly uneventful. We took turns driving and packed Lunchables to eat on the way. Once we got into the city, however, we weren't really sure where we were going. We wanted to go to Navy Pier, so we put that into my phone. I think we had to circle twice to find out where to park, only to then find that it was a flat rate of $21 to park. That was disappointing, seeing as how we were only planning on spending a few hours at the most there anyhow.
After that, we decided to go ahead and find the hotel. We drove past it - yep, there it was. Now where the heck do we park? More circles around the city were made. Once we found the lot around back there was more confusion, as there were apparently two different levels of valet parking. The cheapest you could park your car was $39 a night. Yeesh. We were so clueless, and the guy working the lot guessed right off the bat that we were there for the concert. He advised us to leave the car there and not drive anymore, because he said the traffic was going to get horrific. "People walk down to the stadium. It's just a mile or so." Ah, no thanks. That sounds terrible!
We went to check in to the hotel and were 20 min before check-in. Here's my first official trip picture I took of us standing in line to get our room keys at the Congress Plaza.
We were pretty pumped to finally arrive in our room. We both got some pictures of the place before we even set our bags out.
Here's the view from out our window.
The only big thing that I didn't like about our room was that the air conditioning was really only a fan. Normally on those units on the wall there is 4 settings: fan high and low, and air high and low. This only had fan settings. We should have brought a small fan for us to plug in.
Also, the bathroom door squeaked something awful. And we found out that although the room next door to us could lock us out of their room through the conjoining door, we couldn't lock them out from our room. I know that the building is old and all, but you would think that they would have fixed an issue like that. We had to get a technician to come up to our room and put a long screw through the door so that the people in the other room couldn't sneak into our room when we were out.
We did end up going to the Navy Pier, but took a taxi instead of driving and paying to park. It was only $8 plus tip to get there.
One of my favorite places to eat that you can't get at home is Bubba Gump. It's themed after the movie, Forrest Gump and has delicious seafood. Leah had never had it before. As you can see from the selfie I took, I was beyond excited!
Here's my dinner. Crab stuffed jumbo shrimp in garlic sauce, with melted cheese on top. Feel free to drool.
After dinner, we walked down the pier a bit. The water was beautiful and there was a nice breeze.
From the pier, we took another taxi to the stadium. Our first driver assured us that there would be many drivers available to take people home from the concert. Leah and I assumed that we would be able to catch one back after it was over. Clearly, we are NOT city girls.
Here's our seats for the show. We pretty much had the row to ourselves until about half an hour before JT and Jay Z took the stage.
I know this picture isn't very clear, but the guy that is up on the tiny stage there is DJ Cassidy, the opening act that wasn't specified. I had a feeling that the concert wouldn't really start at 8, but I also didn't think that this guy would be spinning music for close to an hour and a half. We got restless and sleepy.
My phone doesn't take good night time pictures, so I'm waiting to see the pictures that Leah took with her camera. We were standing and dancing the full 2 hours that they were on stage. Unlike most concerts where the acts perform separately, Justin and Jay Z went back and forth, trading off the stage. A lot of time, Justin played along on the keyboard or guitar while Jay Z was doing his songs. It was awesome! They also had a few songs that they sang together, and they also dialogued with the crowd a far amount. I woooooohed my face off.
Clearly, these three are at the concert only for Jay Z. Justin comes out on stage, and their phones come out. Come on, guys. Even if you're not a big fan of his music, he's still a great performer worth watching.
I've got to be honest - I wish I would have had a pair of binoculars to get a better look at what was going on onstage. Maybe one of those tiny pairs with the stick on one side to hold them up.
The girls in front of us took our picture, and we did the same for them. I'm glad that everyone in our section was nice. I was also relieved that the girl sitting (standing) on the other side of me could sing on key.
Towards the end of the show, Justin came out to the side of the stage and sang the Broadway song, New York, a capella. It was a surprise for sure and we weren't quite sure where it was leading. But then the stage lights came back on full blast and Jay Z started his song, New York. Ah! Clever, gentlemen. The song ended with Justin coming back out to do a reprive. It was really a nice touch.
A bit later, Justin had the crowd chant at the end. He started getting faster and faster. Leah said, hey, that's faster than it is on the CD. And right about then, they transitioned into one of Jay Z's songs. It was truly amazing how they mixed their music together so flawlessly. There was never any gap time where someone wasn't singing on stage. I've never seen anything like it before.
The concert ended with Suit and Tie, followed by their version of Forever Young. Even though we hustled out of our seats in attempt try to beat as much of the crowd as possible out, we still got stuck in a perpetual cow herd. Leah and I held hands to keep from getting separated, because people were being rude. We went back to where our taxi had dropped us off, hoping that we could get picked up there. Nope. I tried asking one of the guys standing there as security where we needed to go to get a cab and he annoying said, "Up the walking bridge". Gee, thanks.
Arm in arm we went, up, down, and across this bridge that seemed like it wasn't going to have an end. If I weren't already so exhausted, I might have mooed as a joke, because that's how many people were shuffling along with us. When we finally reached the end of the walking bridge, we found ourselves on a residential street with no idea where we were. All we could see was that there were no taxis.
At this point, we input the hotel's address into the phone so that we could at least be going in the right direction. Luckily, that's the way most people were going, and we were able to pretty much follow the crowd. The hope was that we could somehow manage to get a taxi somewhere along the walk back, but that just didn't happen. The ones on the road already had people in them. There were guys hanging out onto the road waving $20 bills to try to flag one down and didn't have any luck.
At one point during our walk home the wind started blowing so hard that construction barriers were blowing over. I'm fairly certain that had Leah and I not been holding onto one another, one of us would have fallen over. I half expected a Wizard of Oz type tornado to come at us.
Towards the end of our walk we saw a girl who was very inebriated, hollering in the middle of traffic. There was a thin concrete median that separated the two sides of the road and she was balancing on it, shouting at her friend who was on the sidewalk to trust her - she knew how to get a cab. When that didn't work, she actually stood out in the road. It's a wonder that she didn't get run over.
2 miles later, we were back at our hotel. It was about 2am, our time. We both guzzled water when we got to our room. 2 days later, and I still have blisters on the bottom of both my feet. But it was worth it! Thanks for the great time, sis!