Welcome to Night Vale is one of the most beloved podcasts of Millennials around the world, and it came through Pantages Theatre in Minneapolis last night. Under the premise of a radio news show for a fictional town, Welcome to Night Vale is full of strange happenings, shady government surveillance, and a giant glowing cloud that rains animal corpses and controls minds.
Night Vale is one of my favorite podcasts to listen to and whether I’m cleaning the apartment, working out, or driving for days on end, it keeps me entertained and in good spirits in the most boring of situations. So, naturally, when I came across the tour announcement in January I immediately knew I had to finally catch it live! When the day finally came I showed up about fifteen minutes before showtime and found myself waiting in a line halfway down the block. Waiting with me were people of all ages in all sorts of outfits. Older couples in suits and dresses, teens in full cosplay of their favorite Night Vale citizens, and everything in between. Once I stepped inside and got patted down, I grabbed the pretty purple Night Vale themed drink from the bar and made my way to my seat.
After a warm welcome and rundown of the rules by Meg Bashwiner, the woman who voices the credits of the podcast, musician guest Erin McKeown took the stage with an electric guitar and a maroon blazer. She was incredibly charismatic and woo’d the crowd with stories of how she got to be on tour with WTNV. Her songs ranged from clap-along, crowd participation heavy ditties to politically charged rock anthems. McKeown left the stage and the audience was waiting for Cecil Palmer (voiced by Cecil Baldwin,) the voice of Night Vale, to take the stage.
First, Disparition, the man who puts music to the “radio show,” entered the stage with a gracious nod and wave. As he begun to play spooky background music, Cecil took the stage in black skinny pants, a purple shirt and a distressed white jacket and was greeted with roaring applause from the crowd. Many guests joined him on stage throughout the evening as he informed the audience that the Glow Cloud had taken control of nearly every mind in Night Vale. There was a reading of the community event calendar that outlined the plans for the replacement of “Tuesday” with an Applebee’s and the changing of the week’s schedule to repeat every Friday for the rest of the year all in a row. “Every day will be a Friday, with that amazing ‘it’s time for the weekend’ feel every single day!” the host explained. There was also a horoscopes segment and multiple times where the crowd had to repeat after Cecil and edge their reverence for the Glow Cloud. These attempts to appease and satisfy the Cloud eventually *sort of* worked and among the many twists and turns of the of the evening there were some mysteries resolved.
When the night came to an end, the audience filed out of their seats and into the merch line, buying shirts, tote bags, and CDs until their hearts were content. I left feeling so glad that I had finally gotten to hear my favorite “radio show” live, and may or may not have had a strange urge to find and bow down to an ominous glowing cloud.