Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Best Surprise

"Are you ready for tonight? Stay calm, be friendly. Remember?" That's what Patrick said to me before we walked into the Gexa Pavillion. To know why, you'd have to know a few things about our history, one being this story.

I'd been counting down until this Saturday for a month. Patrick told me he had a surprise, and wasn't handing out any hints. We'd already started counting down the days to this concert a couple of months before, when we purchased the tickets. We'd been waiting two years to go again. Two years too long.
We poached the perfect parking spot, on a beautiful breezy day, started up or tiny charcoal grill, and set up our area for the early tailgating to begin.
I had to work the night before, so I double fisted to be safe; one hand grasping my Redline, the other with a secure hold on my Vodka Lemonade. And then I waited with escalating anticipation...........
"What's my surprise? What's my surprise?"
Patrick had packed everything, so I wouldn't wonder why we weren't bringing the lawn ticket's blanket, and saved our tickets at WillCall so I couldn't see them until before the show. The answer was not disappointing, because I was going to pee my pants from excitement induced incontinence when I saw that our tickets had been upgraded to Pit, standing in front of the people that bought front row seats! Thank you DMB Warehouse! 
"So that's why you kept telling me to wear comfortable shoes!"
We ate our delicious charcoal kissed upscale picnic food while other people around us drooled over the smell of turkey bacon, bell pepper, hot sausage links, and fresh corn floating their direction, timing our fire outing almost perfect, to avoid trouble from the bitter mooded venue worker that tried to tell us open flames weren't allowed in the parking lot.
After avoiding a hostile confrontation, in a crowd where everyone was going to the exact same reserved area, with a man that got mad at us when he thought we were cutting in line, we claimed our crowd stance for the night, with merely one row of standing people separating us from the stage. We couldn't have been surrounded by better people. We exchanged past concert experiences with our neighbors and got to know each other a little better, since we'd be sweating on top of each other for the next several hours.
The opening band, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, was casually announced by Dave himself. We grooved to their tunes and gawked at their old school presence with ratty clothes, ungroomed hair, and hairy legged woman.
Dave came back on stage to play the tambourin with their most popular song, "Home is Wherever I'm with You". The very song I heard on Pandora last week while running and thought of how closely it related to Patrick and I's life. How ironic that I'd no idea the band even existed before.  
The girl in the blue dress played the accordion, the tambourin, and the keyboard. A million people in the band, and they still have to have multitaskers!
I can only imagine what it would feel like to look out onto a crowd like that, gathered just to hear you play, and listen while they sang every word to your song, without any prompting, because they knew it so well and love it so much, they just couldn't help themselves. 
When the sun set, the vibrant lights appeared, and the big band of the night made their debut.
Patrick was so excited his hair stood on end.
I kept gawking at how close we were to the stage.
The lights were beautiful, the sound was perfect, and the people that surrounded us were so cool. Everyone kept us a roomy pocket, so I could dance. And dance I did. I only accidentally hit someone in the face once, but she said it was her fault for getting too close. I patted her on the cheek and apologized. She probably hates me.
"Look how close we are!"
As always, every time Dave grabs a new guitar, everyone around tries to guess which song he's going to play on it. It's a fun game.
The tiniest 12-string I've ever seen.
This action jam shot is gives a similar feel to the way we all felt.
Dave played the piano for us. I laughed so hard when I guessed "Out of my Hands" and was right! 
"In yo FACE Pat!"
I can't fathom anyone going to one of these concerts and not falling in love with the music. It's physically impossible not to sway, moving with the rhythm and enjoying yourself with a big goofy grin on your face.
Every musician in the band is so ridiculously talented that they play their instrument with smooth elegance and have so much knowledge about art of music, that the notes practically play themselves. It's like watching each of them release their inner beast, freeing their body of any worldly thing that ties them down.
Tim Reynolds has said he used to hate playing songs. All he wanted to do was jam, but playing with Dave is a whole different experience. The songs have a pulse that sends out a message and creates a space to inspire jams within. That's one of the reasons every song lasts 10-20 minutes; they're just out there having fun!
Despite it all, they remain completely modest in their capabilities and seem utterly thankful for having fans. Dave says sometimes during a concert he gets an overwhelming feeling of joy that makes him want to laugh and cry at the same time.
Carter gave away several drum sticks and one of his cymbals after the concert! He handed one of his sticks to the lady in front of me. Do you have any idea how jealous I was?
I love to watch him play. I wonder if his face is sore after every concert, because he only laughs and smiles for 2 hours straight. I had to smile for an hour straight once in a beauty pageant and my cheeks hurt so bad after.
We came home giggling and talking non stop about how much fun we had, discussing our favorite parts, while eating Whataburger, our favorite late Saturday night snack.
Our last two bracelet experiences have been extraordinary ones. Good enough to go down in the memory books. And for the record, I don't like to wait for surprises, but this one was worth the wait. The best surprise Patrick's given me, aside from when he asked me to marry him.

What's the best surprise you've ever received?


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