Rain or Shine. The Show You Don’t Want To Miss.

Sting. Just the name has elicited emotions in me that were simply too deep for words. His music SPOKE to me. His lyrics were about my LIFE. When I was a teenager, I wondered how it would look, the day we finally met…the day he realized I was the one he’d been singing of, to, night after night…and, he, too, would feel complete, at last. This infatuation, admittedly, did not end with my teenage years. No. For a gal who has never been star struck, I was utterly enamored by Sting. I knew obscure details (stalker alert) of his life. I also knew his favorite venue in the world was Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado. (It IS the best venue at which I’ve ever experienced a concert, and happens to be the favorite of many artists.) I have seen Sting more times than I can remember, in more locations than I can count. I’d never met him. I’d come close. But, it just wasn’t our time. I was patient. Then, it happened…the night I’d waited for my entire life. I’d been on a trip back east and had arrived home in Colorado only to discover, upon landing, that Sting was playing the following night at Red Rocks. Universal sign #1. I’d made it back , just in time. As soon as I arrived home from the airport, I didn’t bother taking my luggage out of the car. I was online looking for tickets to see Sting in less than 24 hours. The next day, I called my friend, Tracy. I told her to get ready, I’d be picking her up in 3 hours. I didn’t tell her why. Tracy isn’t spontaneous, so she was a bit flustered that I wouldn’t disclose the evening’s agenda. I arrived at her house a bit early, to allow for traffic, and let her in on the plans. She was ecstatic. She loved Sting, as it turned out. All dolled up, we took my hotrod , and we were off to Red Rocks. This natural amphitheater requires a long approach from the parking lot to the gates. Along the way, I kept my eye out for any scalpers. See, the show was sold out, but there was simply no way I was NOT seeing Sting. I wasn’t even worried. As Tracy picked up on the fact that I had no tickets, she went from frustrated to angry in about 3 minutes. I assured her, we’d get in. Not to sweat it. With no scalpers anywhere in sight, I resorted to bribery. I’d taken $600. I made my way to two staff members, working the show. They were easily identifiable in their bright yellow shirts with large, blue “STAFF” lettering. I offered them $200 each for their shirts, plus a concert shirt to change into. More money than they were making at the show in a night. The first kid jumped all over it, the girl with him was terrified and said she thought we should leave. When I upped it to $300 each, she called security on her little radio thingie. One very angry Tracy and I departed the area, quickly. As one kind soul took pity, he caught up to us and said, “I happen to know if tickets aren’t picked up at will-call by 8pm, they’re fair game.” YES! “Ok, where is will-call?”…”Well, that’s the thing, it’s about a mile around to the other gate, so I’d hustle.” Now, we’re DEFINITILY getting in…there HAD to be at least TWO people who had not shown up out of the thousands attending. But, we had to hustle, the man said. So, the now irate Tracy and I were running, to will call. The farther we ran, the more sparse the crowd. Eventually, we hit a road, and (you can’t make this up) a VW Bug made to look like the head of The Joker pulled up next to us. “You ladies headed to will call?” Nearly breathless, I indicated that we were. He said there was no room in the car, because it was all speakers and amps inside, as it belonged to a radio station and he was a dj. Dressed like, you guessed it, The Joker. But, he said if we stood on the fender, and held onto the “hair” on top of the “head”, he’d give us a ride. Do you think I had ANY shame, at this point? Tracy refused for all of 5 seconds when she saw I was mounting this joker, with or without her. I could feel her head turned staring directly at me the entire… ride. We arrived at will call, I thanked the joker/dj guy and ran up to the folks manning the desk. My heart sank when I heard, “Yeah, we had two tickets left, and that couple just bought them,” the lady gestured at two twenty-somethings who had MY tickets. I said nothing, but turned around and was running, again. I caught up to them, now a sweaty, desperate mess. They thought at first I needed medical attention. “No…no…I’ll give you $600 for those two tickets.” I didn’t have time to negotiate, Sting was singing Mercury Falling, and I could hear it bouncing off the walls and my insides were sizzling with anticipation, a bit of fear, and a lot of adrenaline. Miraculously, the guy handed me the tickets as I was handing him the $600. The second before the transaction was finalized, his date intercepted. She yanked the tickets out of his hand and (rightfully) yelled, “It’s my birthday! They’re not for sale!” The guy pointed out that only one of them was hers. Yes, I was this ruthless. I handed him $300, he handed me one ticket, and both my friend and his girlfriend started screaming simultaneously. Kind of a low blow, but I REALLY didn’t have time to dote over her feelings. He was on song #3 and I still had to go in the OTHER gate, a mile away. As much as I’d like to paint a better picture, I was deserting my friend and feeling ok about this guy’s girlfriend attending the concert alone on her BIRTHDAY. My relief of being a ticket holder was momentary, as their fight escalated and her screech was drowning out Sting’s voice. The dude, accepting defeat, handed me my $300, begged for the ticket back. The 4-way stand down was something out of the wild west. We all had different agendas and not one among us were allies. Tracy was mad at me. I was mad at the girlfriend. The boyfriend was mad at the girl. The girl was mad at me. I was mad at Tracy for ‘her’ selfishness. Tracy was mad at the girl for not being able to wrap it up faster. And, the guy was mad at Tracy for fueling the fire. Song number 4…reluctantly, I half tossed the ticket back at the dude, fixing absolutely nothing. Everyone’s night was sufficiently ruined. Pretty sure they broke up after the concert, based on all we could hear until they were out of earshot. Defeated, We stood on the dark road, ticketless. Tracy spoke some language I’d never heard her speak, through gritted teeth and seething. I was pretty sure it wasn’t the time to tell her I didn’t know she was bilingual. As we began the long trek back, you guessed it, The Joker pulled up, once again. His green mohawk glowing and his make up looking too real, but, his voice soft and apologetic. He offered us a ride to my car. Without a word, we angrily took our spots on the fender, holding onto the “hair” for balance. We should not know this routine… Tracy would have knocked me off and not thought twice about it, had she not needed both hands to avoid sliding off. As we got into my car, I sat for a minute and was able to apologize, seeing my complete and utter selfishness. She remained silent. Then, laughter that could have easily been mistaken for crying. When I was sure tears weren’t next, I laughed, too…No words, just two girls, dressed up with no place to go, as our plight began to fully sink in. I asked her if I could at least buy her a beer. “Oh, you’re buying me several,” she said. We pulled into a bar with a neon sign promising live music. We ordered a beer, and I sent $10 and a scribbled request up to the stage with the server. My request simply said, “Please play anything by Sting.” Within minutes, our beers arrived, and at that same moment, the worst rendition ever, of Every Breath You Take started playing. It was one guy with an acoustic guitar. I  thought he was just going for some weird artistic twist on the classic song, but, it became apparent that he truly could not pick up the tune. And, while you can’t hear it, you have to imagine it… more of a “talk-through” of the words, with the occasional strumming of a single note. It went something like:  “Everybreathyou taaaaaaaaaaaaaaake. Everylittletinylittle moooooove……youmake. Evvvvvvvry stepyoutake. I’ll beeeeeeeee watchingyou. You can’t escape my Private eyeees….watchingyou watchingyou watchingyou..Private Eyyyyes” Without verbalizing so, we slammed our beers, determined to be the first to down the pint as quickly as possible in response to the entire evening’s events. We stayed for one more set, one more beer and then walked outside. We sat on the wooden steps of the middle-of-nowhere bar, looked up at the stars on one the clearest nights I’ve witnessed, to date. In our nice clothes, we stood up, walked out to the grass on the side of the building and stretched out, taking in the expansive Colorado sky. Finally, my friend broke the silence. “What. Was. That.” More laughter. Staring up at the Milky Way, everything just fell into its proper place. My perspective shifted drastically, and I thought of Sting, the man, not the myth or the legend, for the first time in my life. I remained a true blue fan and went on to see him many times since that night, but I had a forever-changed view of his place in my life and MY place in my life. I was never made to be a frantic spectator. Angrily shouting at teams or praising an artist through tears.  I’m not cut out to be a fanatic about anything or anyone that doesn’t serve me or another human, for the right reasons. If you can relate to anything in this rambling, I truly hope it doesn’t require a Joker VW Bug and public humiliation to land you back into your own life. Before that night, I was obsessed with football, too. Somehow, even that changed. I enjoy it. If I’m not out participating in my OWN life vs spectating another’s. But, 99% of the time, I am. And, that’s how I choose to live today. If today’s rainy rant has a tip-of-the-funnel point, I’d ask you to weigh in on how much time and energy you are expending on things and people that aren’t promoting your own growth. Stay aware. It’s so easy to get caught up in the end, we drain ourselves in the means. I will likely see Sting again, if I am not busy and we’re in the same city. (Ok, I’ll totally be there.) But, I will never, stand on a fender, heartrate elevated, throwing $600 away for staff t-shirts to see a guy who totally left me hanging at will-call. You’re all rockstars. Peace, Warriors.

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