“The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure.” ~Joseph Campbell
Heading into the last of the Cheap Seats concerts has me looking back at the adventure that was the summer of 2015 and then some. It started with Dylan at DPAC and will end in a few weeks with Jackson Browne at DPAC. What was in between was an amazing adventure. It was not easy to set out on this journey. There was trepidation and lots of excuses as to why we couldn’t do this…save the money, we aren’t “concert people,” what if they don’t sound good? Etc. Etc. Etc.
There were the known elements of the bands we wanted to see and the unknown discovery of music that has been on the peripheral rim of my listening. Usually intimidated by going into new venues and crowds of strangers, I am renewed and encouraged that the world out there is good. I have forgotten that in the small jar of Greensboro where I’m still finding out where I belong.
I’m intending to continue blogging on the concerts – I believe I left off with the Rolling Stones and will get on with the Foo Fighters 4th of July Jam in a few days or so (my second Foo Fighters’ concert if coming up). I am feeling the need to share the experience of the season today.
The people – Jon and I met really great, happy people at every single concert. As homebodies, we don’t venture out much because we aren’t “cool” (we are not IPA drinkers, foodies, or hip with big crowds), we work our asses off 6-7 days a week, and really do enjoy just hanging out with our dogs, our kids when they are home and we kinda like our typical date night of walking around in Target and grabbing a bite to eat before heading home to Netflix. So you can see our world of people is small and we occasionally run into familiar faces in our going out tracks. But this summer, we got to meet people standing and sitting next to us in lines and in the cheap seats. We got to chat with vendors, staff and the friends that we invited to join us on the tour. It’s so funny, because Jon and I are introverts and typically don’t start conversations with strangers, but this was different – we were amongst our tribe – the people who love to listen to music, are happy to be hearing the music live and are in the moment without pretense. This past weekend we ran into an acquaintance through our son’s former lacrosse club and chatted with him and his daughter while standing in the GA line. That spread out to the man and his son behind them – recent transplants from NY – one common theme – we all love music and were here to soak it in. I love getting back stories from everyone on the stuff going on behind the music – you know the trivia and minutia that hours of googling and reading liner notes will get you. These conversations are “in the moment” experiences that I practice on my yoga mat to get. So here I am in line at rock concerts with my fucking iPhone turned off, patiently waiting for the gates to open and enjoying the company around me.
I love having different friends join us on the tour. Everyone that has joined us has brought something different to the experience – Steve and Bill brought information and insight into navigating the list of concerts that will be in the area; Brett (my son) brought the deep background info of the musicians and he actually passed me the spark of light that turned me onto Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings and Tedeschi/Trucks many years ago; Lynn brought the party! She was along for the ride on her birthday toting bubbles and glow sticks and it truly was a party – right down to meeting Sharon Jones and her singing Happy Birthday to Lynn! Sandy and Carlos went along for the big trip to DC and helped us hold down the fort in RFK stadium through long lines, sunshine and lightning evacuations – they also helped us find the best beverages, food and souvenirs – Sandy is a line ninja and could get to the front of the lines in the blink of an eye! Sally, an astute planner, was hands down the best tailgater – adult frozen beverages, personal sized bottles for a little buzz for Van Halen’s set, and great shopping savvy.
We went to Booth Amphitheater the most and figured out to go to the employee entrance to get the best shot at GA lawn seats. In that enlightenment, we made friends with the retired Navy officer that mans the employee entrance with his scan gun. We listened to Cheap Trick’s sound check with him and gained insight into his work world at Booth. We also met other couples just starting out on their own concert adventures and we met seasoned veterans who shared their tales of seeing Led Zeppelin back in the day in Raleigh.
Can I just say that we love getting to the venues early – seriously early so we can not only get in line, but also to mingle with our fellow tourists. Seriously loved being in the parking lot for the Rolling Stones and talking to the people around us – why there were there, what they were looking forward to, and just getting into the happy bubble that is these concerts.
It has been about raising the vibration, making connections in a real, happy way and listening to the music.
So cheers to the people of the Cheap Seats Tour! While the music drew us there, you made it a great experience and reminded us that the world is a good, decent place and that music is the vibration that lifts us!
The world got bigger with some of the bands we heard.
This weekend I was turned on to Kenny Wayne Shepherd. I was thinking, blah blah – country music. I was blown away by KWS – liking his familiar Blue on Black but getting my birkenstocks blown off by Voodoo Child at the end of his set. I immediately bought some KWS tracks to marinate in for the next couple of weeks. New fan of KWS.
The Pixies have been in my periphery for many years, but I actually forgot they were opening for Robert Plant and was delighted to hear them live and to be reacquainted with them. Clearing more of my listening time to the Pixies!
I’ve heard the rave about the Avett Brothers and have some in my music collection, but now am a fan after hearing them open for the Rolling Stones. What really sealed the deal with their father walking up to me and Jon and introducing himself and thanking us for coming to the concert. I will never forget how happy he was and full of pride for his kids. Actually saw him through the binoculars standing back stage during their set. An amazing moment for him and glad we witnessed that.
Doyle Bramhall II – Mystery solved! We’ve seen him play in big tribute productions like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, but never knew who he was. He is an amazing, unassuming musician. He seems to be really well respected in the world of music and he is pretty amazing in his guitar style. One of the reasons we wanted to spend not cheap seats money on the Lockn’ Festival (didn’t happen this year).
My music world has gotten larger thanks to these opening acts. I will never skip the opening acts and am still amazed at the late arrivals at concerts.
Venues – DPAC, Koko Booth Amplitheater, RFK Stadium, Carter Finley Stadium, Verizon Amphitheater – all great places. Will find out about Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park soon enough. Booth was by far our favorite – from the great parking, the chalk drawings on the sidewalks, the magical paths through the woods to the venue, the great food, sweet lawn seats with close proximity to the stage and the helpful staff. We are actually contemplating season tickets if the line up is right.
Man, I don’t want this summer to end. Can’t wait to see who is playing in this area next year. It’s a hearty YES to staying on this journey!