Review: Welcome Back BBQ was cold and that’s kind of it

It was 3 p.m. when I saw the messages begin to pop-up in my group chat.

“hey i’m not feeling well, gotta bail tonight, lemme know if you know anyone who wants my ticket”

“also can’t come, I got called into work, sorry guys 😭

“same”

I felt a wave of panic rise in my stomach, glancing at the gloomy sky outside the window. The all-knowing weather app flashed a “78% precipitation” notice at me — I took statistics, so I knew those weren’t good odds. If I hadn’t promised to write this article, I probably would have shrugged, taken the $30 ticket loss and called it a night. If all of my friends AND Lil Nas X could cancel on Welcome Back BBQ, then I could too, right?

But alas, I promised to write this article.

Weighing my options, I figured that waiting in a 30-minute line and listening to someone named Murda Beatz alone was a better option than waiting 75 minutes in line. Plus, at that point I’d only make it in time to listen to... Lil Mosey?

Wait a minute, I’ve heard of that guy before! He’s the one that got destroyed by Megan Thee Stallion in the 2019 XXL Freshman Cypher… Oh well, we can’t all write a country-rap anthem that topped the Billboard charts for a record-breaking 19 consecutive weeks.

In fairness, A$AP Ferg has serious clout and “Plain Jane” is a certified bop.

I arrived in front of the Nest and any RedBull-fueled energy I had left in my body drained when I saw the line. I reconsidered every decision I’ve ever made as I stepped into the mass of drunk, swaying frat boys and far-too-lively 19 year olds. How had this happened to me? I am a grad student, far too old to pretend like this was enjoyable. As I took a few meager steps forward every couple of minutes, the rain soaking through my hoodie, I began contemplating my lowly existence.

I remembered going to my first AMS Backyard BBQ in 2014, with some dude named Ryan Hemsworth headlining. I remembered my youth, my innocence. I’m sure I had looked just like the 19 year olds in line today. And now, here I was, graduating with a Master’s come December — what would come next? Where would I go from here? Long gone would be the days of classes and exams and Welcome Back BBQ’s. Suddenly, life felt just like a Lil Mosey song: “In a foreign switchin’ lanes you can’t catch up.”

Wait, no. No, that doesn’t even make any sense.

By the time I realized that I was beginning to lose grip with reality, a security guard was patting me down and scanning my ticket. I’d made it inside in time to catch the second half of Lil Mosey and I think I may have heard the song where he sang that oh-so-relatable line about switchin’ lanes. I wish I could give you a truly insightful musical run-down of the performances, but I was mostly just focused on staying warm. By the time Ferg came on stage, I was shivering so violently that I didn’t even need to dance. I bounced around with the crowd of strangers, thriving off of their intoxicated energy. When I heard a song I actually knew, I didn’t hesitate to yell out the lyrics.

At some point in the night — if you can classify 8:30 p.m. as “the night” — I recognized that events like Welcome Back BBQ aren’t really about the food trucks or the cheap beer or even the music. Even though I was technically alone, I felt a sense of camaraderie with the crowd. We were all just a bunch of UBC students trying to make the best of our time at university. Even though the line felt like an eternity, my first BBQ in 2014 and my start at UBC felt like yesterday.

It’s like A$AP Ferg said, “these rappers is on my entrée, eat ’em like cookies, Chips Ahoy.”

Shit, that’s not relatable either. Where’s Lil Nas X when you need him?