A couple of weeks ago I told you a story about my very first concert. After I open this beer, I’m going to tell you about my most recent concert.
I chronicle tonight from the great state of Arkansas, I made the decision to forego any human contact in a bar, and replace that stimuli with:
- Pandora Radio set on Lyle Lovett because I’m on my way to Texas
- Monday Night Football on mute because I don’t care about either team but football is football
- A 6-pack of Boulevard Pale Ale out of Kansas City because I enjoy the finer things
- A loaded #9 sub, from Jimmy Johns because I’m hungry, and Jimmy Johns makes the most delicious sandwiches on earth
All these things and more from the comfort of room 217 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Springdale. These things make me happy, so it’s the perfect environment to tell a tale.
A few weeks ago, on a chilly Sunday in November, my wife and I went with another couple to see Barenaked Ladies in concert at a small, very intimate venue at the Salamanca Casino in southeastern New York. This casino is owned and operated by the Seneca Nation, Native American tribe. It is a well run, well kept, nicely appointed, public smoking lounge. I’m guessing that casinos are the last bastion of hope for the smoker who feels they must indulge inside of a building. It’s been so long since I’ve seen someone smoke inside of a building it’s almost shocking when I see it.
As I have Chronicled before, one of my many psychological maladies revolves around the lack of ability to look forward to anything with an emotion other than dread. As the day of any event draws near, I start thinking of all the things that can go wrong, and all the trouble it’s going to be; how much it’s going to cost in money, time, and lost sleep. You may find this worth a slight chuckle as you read, but try living with it every stinking day of your miserable freaking life…it’s exhausting. I could easily talk myself out of a weekend trip to the beach where I would share…with spousal approval… an oceanfront beach house with a group of single, disease free, strippers and Hooters girls (working their way through Med school of course), who were all crazy about large, bald, sales guys, with excessive back hair. I would rationalize that because it was more than a three-hour drive, I would be certain to get a speeding ticket on the way. It just wouldn’t be worth it.
Slight exaggeration? Perhaps; but the only exaggeration is that I doubt that I could ever get spousal approval for that kind of thing.
So I roll out of bed and start that late autumn Sunday with the mindset of trying to get out of the concert. How do I sabotage the plan?
The kids are looking forward to the babysitter coming over, my wife is looking forward to the show, dinner with great friends, and a night out without kids…the neighbors are looking forward to the band – they are HUGE fans, and I’m trying to figure out how to break one of my fingers, or get a sore throat, gout, salmonella or Ebola. I just don’t want to go. Again, it’s exhausting.
But I go of course, and of course, I had a great time. Why wouldn’t I? Seats dead center, two rows back, watching a band loaded with skilled musicians. I’m watching and listening to seasoned, road savvy performers, playing songs that I absolutely love. (Imagine how much better it would be if I knew how to look forward to it)
I have been to a lot of concerts, shows, and plays; I have NEVER had seats this good – this close. The chairs were padded and spacious, and so close to the stage that I could see Ed’s eyelashes. I could see that he was using a green pick on his Taylor guitars. I watched the front head of the bass drum flex in and out while Tyler Stewart pounded out the foundation groove for It’s All Been Done. This was an unbelievable treat for a music lover like me. I made eye contact with these guys and them with me. After the show, my neighbor just walked up to the stage and picked up a guitar pick. It was about as intimate as you can get without exchanging body fluids.
But… being the half glass empty, drama queen, diva, malcontent guy that I am, I find a way to turn this into a problem as well.
On the ride home something occurs to me: Now that I’ve seen a show from this vantage point with a big name band, how do I go back to lawn seats? Can anybody honestly expect me to go to Red Rocks in Denver and sit on a bench style seat to watch Earth Wind & Fire again? Can I go to Wolf Trap in D.C. and watch Lyle Lovett while seated in the loge? I DON’T THINK SO!
Nose-bleed seats for Bruce Springsteen at the Capital Centre are fine when you’re in your early twenties, and if I never had this Barenaked Ladies experience, it may have been okay in my fifties too – but not now. Floor seats that were 150 rows back for my very first concert experience were fine – it was a magical moment and a memory that will be forever treasured…but now, if I ever see the Doobie Brothers again, I want to smell their sweat. Who wouldn’t?
I go through this in my “day job” as well. Most of you know me as a storyteller with a big heart, a keen appreciation for the moment, chiseled pecs, and poor grammatical skills. What you may not know is that I’m a sales guy too. I travel all over the world, and most of Texas, telling people about the amazing goods and services produced by my daytime employer. Because I’ve been doing this for a while, I have built up some loyalty points with most travel related companies I deal with. When I stay with a hotel chain that I frequent, I usually get upgraded to a suite. When I rent a car, a class upgrade happens with just about every transaction. Because of so many miles flown, if first class is available, there is a Large Man sitting in seat 2A. This is a nice environment to work in. The pain of being away from those that love me so, is numbed slightly by the warm chocolate chip cookie that awaits me in First Class on Delta flight 327. It’s great…
…until no upgrades are available. Then it’s not so great, because it’s difficult to go back to coach.
As a matter of fact, on this very trip to the Razorback state I had to ride with the unwashed coach passengers on both connections. I swear on the ashes at the temple of Aetos (the Greek God of Frequent Flyers) that somebody at the airline thought it would be hilarious to find the two heaviest guys on the plane and put them right next to each other.
Buffalo to Charlotte: Seat 14A sit’s The Large Man. Seat 14B a 300lb human bowling ball. I’m thinking, OK, it’s good to get this out of the way now – it never happens twice on the same trip. The trip to Fayetteville will be sweet!
Charlotte to Fayetteville: Seat 21B The Large Man. Seat 21A a 400lb armpit. Now I’m thinking I was wrong.
I can’t go back to coach. I’m not a rich guy, but I’ve been able to do too many rich guy things. This is torture, absolute torture.
As you might imagine, the cost of the tickets to see these Barenaked Lady fellows up close and personal was a bit steep. I make a decent living with my day job, and while I’m certainly a successful blogger in the sense of the emotional enrichment I reap from telling these tales – the financial enrichment has yet to be achieved. I swear on the ashes at the temple of Cassius (the Roman God of cash) that this will change one day, but as of now, we’re still clipping coupons at Casa del Large Man. So if another concert opportunity rolls around in the next few weeks, unless it’s a “once in a lifetime” event, my bride and I would have to look at a more budget minded pair of arena seats. Dare I say, “General admission?” I don’t know if I can do that anymore. I saw Ed’s eyelashes!
While the concert was amazing, and the experience amazinger, in the future, if I can’t be in the first 5 rows, I might as well be flying coach. I can’t go back to coach.
Until next time,
The Large Man
Thanks for reading…thanks for commenting if you dare – I cherish any and all feedback. Thanks for forwarding to friends and family, reposting on Facebook, and being patient while I pound this stuff out. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org Become a fan on Facebook by searching Fan of The Large Man Chronicles.