Much like the bands whose concerts it chronicles, MTV News' You R Here had humble beginnings but continues to entertain an ever-expanding audience. Born as a blog in the heat of the summer concert season, You R Here has evolved into a full-fledged online community, where anyone (including artists themselves) can upload photos, videos and reviews for their fellow concert lovers to rate and comment on.
The best of the best is spotlighted on the You R Here blog, and even on TV — or, in this case, in the year-end roundup you're reading right now. Let's take a look back at the first half-year of You R Here ...
June 14: A crew from MTV News kicks off the You R Here blog at the onetime hippie haven known as Bonnaroo, answering such questions as: What do 80,000 bored, hungover music fans look like in the morning? What's Lily Allen got against tie-dye? And why are people laughing at a tattoo of a horse with a knife on its head?
June 23: A reader in Baldwin Park, California, is on hand for No Doubt's surprise reunion at a Gwen Stefani gig in their old stomping grounds of Orange County. She left no doubt about just how exciting it was, via the excessive number of exclamation points used to describe the night!
July 7: It's festival time again, with Live Earth taking place across the globe to raise money for ... wait, they're not raising money? To make matters more confusing, the "New York" show was staged in New Jersey, where environmental awareness seemed to take a back seat to Bon Jovi bikinis (yes, bikinis) and lower-back tattoos.
July 13: Paramore check in with the first of many You R Here updates, introducing themselves to the YRH community, and then later sending in a video tour of their bus, photos from onstage and other sights and scenes from the Vans Warped Tour.
August 3: Hot, muggy Chicago weather, bad dancing and an ultra-eclectic lineup can only mean one thing: Lollapalooza, and You R Here made sure You (we)R(e) (t)Here for Ted Leo's onstage spill, I'm From Barcelona's onstage mob and Iggy Pop's stage-humping.
August 29: Jermaine Dupri puts down the champagne long enough to send us a blog update and some photos from the invite-only grand-opening party of his new club, Studio 72, in Atlanta.
September 6: You R Here, along with the rest of MTV News, descends on Las Vegas to make sure that what happens in Vegas during the 2006 VMAs doesn't stay there. Our cameras and yours captured everything from 50 Cent's latest face-off to Pete Wentz's buffet tips to Hayden Panettiere's front-row seats.
October 8: In what is officially our longest-distance You R Here submission, Talib Kweli blogs about his visit to China, where he toured Tiananmen Square, tasted chicken feet, performed with Ozomatli and scoped out local hip-hop clubs, learning that indeed, people really are pretty much the same all over the world.
October 16: Not quite as high-profile as the big summer festivals but just as important to the industry is the CMJ Music Marathon, so of course we (and you) were there too as Biffy Clyro's frontman tested out his mic-chucking abilities, Tiny Masters of Today stayed up past their bedtime and Mixtapes & Cellmates suffered through an admitted "train wreck" of a show.
October 23: Cobra Starship join the list of bands blogging on You R Here, filling us in with updates from their tour with the Academy Is ..., capturing for future posterity their Wal-Mart shopping lists and a musical morning wake-up call delivered to frontman Gabe Saporta.
November 5: It's not always fun and hijinks that we hear about from touring artists who write in. Kenna recounts for us a scary incident in which he was rolling down the freeway in Arizona when all of a sudden his bus caught on fire. To clarify, "It wasn't a small fire, it was a fiiiiiiiiiiirrrrrreeeeee!!!" he wrote.
November 22: Our own Tim Kash, in London over the holiday break, catches one of Kanye West's first shows since the loss of his mother. Blogging about the passionate performance, Kash recalled what happened when it came time to deliver "Hey Mama": "Spitting every word from the heart, it was one of Kanye's finest moments, and only at the very end of the last verse did the emotion become too much, causing 'Ye to cry briefly while holding his head in sadness and grief. A truly touching moment."
And no doubt 2008 will hold many more touching moments, which you'll be able to read about — and share yourself — in MTV News' You R Here.