hamiltunes-SF-el-rio
The first Hamiltunes SF event at El Rio. Maybe you'll recognize me front and center; I had just come off the stage after doing my best Maria Reynolds impersonation.

There's a very good chance that we've reached peak Hamilton, and that some people reading this might be rolling their eyes. I hesitated to even write this (is this the right audience?), but overall, decided to stick with what truly was my most unique experience with music in 2016...even if it wasn't the typical concert/album/whathaveyou that would normally grace these pages.

After finding myself addicted to the Hamilton soundtrack earlier this year, I caught wind of the first Hamiltunes SF event, a Hamilton sing-along happening at El Rio. At Hamiltunes events, people sign up to lead songs on stage, and the audience sings along. Pretty straightforward, but also not something I've ever been to before.

I decided to go. By myself. I had no idea what to expect as I boarded BART from Berkeley to SF. At worst, this could have been the epitome of a bad karaoke night — poor attendance, people singing half-heartedly and off-key, and even worse (since this was Hamilton), some truly terrible attempts at rapping. As it turned out, this couldn't have been further from the truth.

I arrived a few minutes early, and the back room at El Rio was already packed. Once the action started, I didn't even dare go get a beer because I would have lost my halfway decent spot in the middle of the room. Not only did the folks on stage leading each song do so with incredible enthusiasm (and in several cases, with legit talent), but there was full, nonstop participation from the audience throughout the night.

No one was timid or half-assed; everyone was in it just to enjoy themselves. The air was thick with energy and body heat (I seem to recall going to shows with actual mosh pits that didn't feel this intense), and by the end, we were all sweaty, hoarse, and smiling from ear to ear.

I've gone to some amazing shows in my lifetime, and I never would have expected a random sing-along (of all things) to rival some of those experiences. But, here we are.

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