I’m not really a concert guy. Not that I don’t enjoy them, I just haven’t gone to very many.
Last nights concert was inspirational, emotional, hugely entertaining, and enlightening. Let me share with you why:
First, I have to tell you that my fiance, Carla, has been wanting to see these guys in concert for years. There is a story behind why, but that story is for another time, and for her to tell. When I heard on the radio that they would be in Phoenix, AZ I immediately texted her at work and told her about it so we could buy tickets before they were sold out. The tickets were expensive for us, simply because we have been focusing on getting “debt free” and it wasn’t an expected expense, but I knew we had to go. It was important to me for the simple fact that it was important to her, and you just do things like that for the people you love, right?
I’ll be honest: I didn’t know much about Blue October. We listen to some of their music sometimes at home while cooking or cleaning. I’ve never paid attention to the words. She has told me a little bit about the band over the past few years, but I really didn’t know what to expect.
The day finally came. We were looking forward to this concert all week! As we were getting ready I could see and feel the excitement in her face. “Money well spent”, I thought. We took a few pictures in the family room and then we were off to the concert!
We got a parking spot at the venue and started walking toward the building. It was an hour before the concert and already the parking lot was filling up fast. As we got closer to the front door, people were converging from everywhere into a line that started at the top of the stairs. A big security guy was wanding everyone with a metal detecting device or something and we were goofing around, acting stupid and taking pictures. As we neared the front of the line we became more and more excited. Behind the security line we could see the girls scanning the tickets and people rushing inside to find seats, get food or drinks, or meet up with family and friends.
The security guy wanded Carla. No problems. She left her purse with her weapons behind in the car. As I stepped up to get wanded, the dude put the wand down and asked me to turn round, away from him. I must have looked a little concerned because when I looked at Carla she started laughing and told me I was getting frisked. For those of you who don’t know me, I’ve been busy working my ass off and raising kids for years now, so I’ve made it a point to stay out of trouble and I haven’t been to many places that would require me getting frisked. I really didn’t know what that meant. Sure, I’ve seen it on tv and in the movies, but when that big ol’ dude grabbed my chest from behind and started patting me down, my entire body reacted. I stiffened, stood straight up and started getting nervous. I felt my face turning red and I’ll be honest-when his hands wrapped around my thighs and started moving upward I got a little flustered and let out a little girl squeal, my eyes bulging out of my head. Carla was cracking up, with that goofy, sexy laugh she has, and the poor guy finished his job with an awkward grin on his face. I was all like, “Nobody has ever touched me like that before.” It was a first for me that I wasn’t expecting. I would totally be okay never getting frisked again.
We stood in line and had our tickets scanned. We went inside the building and through some doors at the end of the lobby into the area where they were putting on the concert. There were those stationary, cushioned fold up chairs everywhere, positioned in a circle, with the stage at the center. On the stage there was a drum set and equipment, and because we were in the front row, over the rail in front of us we could see down to all of their boxes that the instruments had traveled in and extra guitars, which were hanging up on a rack.
After finding our seats, we went out in to the lobby to get some food. We stood in line for about five minutes, then decided were weren’t hungry enough to stand in the line anymore and opted for drinks and popcorn instead. We hurried back into the auditorium and hunkered down and talked and laughed and people-watched until 8:00. A few fans at the top of the room started blowing fog down onto the stage. During the show, the fog would serve as a really cool way to enhance the lights and colors into a light show like I’ve never seen before.
As the lights dimmed, everyone started yelling and cheering and a guy walked onto the center stage, amidst all of the equipment, with a violin. I came not knowing what to expect, but I kind of expected the band to take the stage and start playing all of their instruments and singing. Instead, some guy wearing jeans and a cool vans t-shirt started kicking ass on a violin. I’ve never heard anything like it. It was loud, amazing, and the energy in the room changed immediately. Everyone was going wild, and I leaned over to Carla and yelled, “Who in the hell ever thought playing the violin would be the cool thing to do when we were growing up?!” I mean, I was in band and choir, and that was considered pretty nerdy back in the day, but orchestra? Shoot. That was the lowest of the low in the musical world when we were in middle school.
It was the perfect way to warm up the crowd. He played for about 30 or 40 minutes, then walked off the stage like a boss while everyone cheered and the lights came back on. Everyone started walking out, and I was wondering what the hell was going on. “Was that it?!” I wondered. Carla told me it was intermission. Time to pee and grab another drink.
The band kept us waiting for about another hour before they finally came on stage and so while we waited, we talked, ate popcorn and enjoyed the atmosphere. I thought it was sort of a small place but I liked it, and the fact that it was an indoor venue with assigned seating and out of the Arizona heat with everyone so close to the stage made it personable.
Thinking back to the concert, the music and the raw energy and the inspiring message of the songs, I’m surprised that it wasn’t held at a much larger space and that there were not thousands more people there for the experience. The concert was life-altering.
When the band came out the crowd went wild. It was exciting. It was so damn loud! They were all so close to the audience it seemed as though they made eye contact with each and every person at sometime during the performance. Every one of those guys was so musically talented. We watched throughout the show as their support group ran instruments to the musicians, untangled the mic cord as the lead singer walked around the stage and got caught on the equipment and taped a wire down the symbol stand that was pissing off the drummer. “What team work” was all I could think as I watched them sprint around all night. I had no idea so much went into putting on a show like that.
When the singer talked about stepping over a ledge and wanting to end it all, I kind of lost it a little. I remember a time in my life when I felt the same way. He talked about grabbing his pain from the inside of himself, with all of his frustration and self-hatred, and throwing it out and up to the moon and watching it spread out like glitter and float down and fall into the ocean. This led into another of their songs, and I realized by the end of the song, with tears rolling down my face, that I wasn’t alone in my pain. I looked around, and so many others were also standing, holding onto the people they came with or grabbing the hands of those next to them, tears rolling down their faces as well, and we were all connected in those moments in our energy, in our pain, and in our healing.
I came to the concert not knowing much about Blue October or their story or history or struggles, but I feel like now, after just a few hours with them, I really know them.
Thanks guys, for sharing your stories and time and energy with us.
We are all connected. The older we get and the more experience we have in this life, the more we have in common with each other. Pain, healing, bad health, accidents, rehab, addictions, loss of loved ones-whatever it may be, you are not alone.
It is entirely up to you what you choose to do with every moment of the rest of your short life from this very moment and on. Make the most of it.