There are days when you just have to shrug and figure, "well, at least I got a semi-entertaining story out of it." Like, say, this past Monday. Yours truly was all ready-set-go for the Foo Fighters/Jimmy Eat World/Against Me! gig this week up at Toyota Center (which I'd never been to before; okay, and I guess technically I still haven't...) -- I'd gotten a review of the Foos' CD up on the site, cool PR guy Eliot had kindly offered 2 tickets to the show itself, and I'd coerced an, um, "friend" who happens to love the Foo Fighters to come with, so we were all prepped and everything.
The day of arrives, and I'm not feeling so good. Partway through a 3-hour work meeting, my legs start to ache like hell, making me fidget and stretch so much I feel like people near me are eyeing me and thinking, "ah, that poor guy's probably got some kind of medical condition." Nevertheless, I survive the meeting & head on home, but by the time I reach the house I can tell something's seriously wrong with me. I feel cold even in the well-heated house, my head hurts, and I'm getting a little wobbly. A hot bath helps a little, but I still feel like I'm on the verge of crashing. Oh, shit, this is bad -- I really should just lie down and forget about the Foo Fighters...
Then I marshal my near-indomitable (yeah, right) endurance, say "dammit, The People (and the PR Guy) are counting on me!" And besides, The Rock cured me of a really horrible stomach virus once when I disregarded my health and went to see the Ramones (no, seriously), so maybe the Foo Fighters and/or Jimmy Eat World could do the same? I figure we'd better find out, so we bundle up in sweatshirts & yes-I-know-I'm-old-but-I'm-still-cool-dammit tees (well, I did, anyway; Dwayne, you rule for commenting on it...), get some cash, and run for the door. In downtown, there are swarms of hundreds and hundreds of people -- not all kids, which is nice to see -- converging on Toyota Center, so we join the throng & head for the "Will Call" line. The lady at the ticket window takes my name and searches her list: nope, not on there. She then asks who was holding the tickets for me and goes to talk with her manager.
After 20 minutes or so of back-and-forthing with the amazingly friendly, helpful, polite ticket window lady, somebody miraculously produces an envelope with my name on it. In the meantime, I'm starting to feel worse and worse, and my shivering is only partly due to the cold and rain. But hey, the clouds have parted, and we have our tickets -- on we go. Or maybe not. Walking towards the doors, we open the envelope to find...one odd-looking Foo Fighters sticker with my name on it in marker and the word "Press." Holy crap, it's a fucking press pass. Heck, that's even better (usually)...but wait, there's only one? Oh, no.
We dash back to the ticket window, where the ticket lady says she's got no idea what the sticker thing is -- she says they're not allowed to open the envelopes they get from the performers or promoters. We ask as pathetically as we can if there's any way we can trade the one press pass for two actual tickets, and she says she'll see if any tickets are released that she can give to us. So we step to the side and wait.
My friend now starts telling me to just go in, go for it -- it's a backstage pass, she reasons, and it'd be a shame to waste it. The problems are that A). I drove, and she can't drive my car, which means she'll be marooned in the nothing-to-do wasteland of East Downtown Houston, B). I'm already feeling like shit, and the prospect of feeling like shit alone in a packed arena isn't a good one, and C). most importantly, I'd be the Biggest Schmuck in the Universe if I ditched her like that, especially for a band she'd really like to see herself. No go, I decide; it's both of us or neither.
Another 20 minutes go by, we hear Against Me! start their set, and I'm now shaking like a leaf and hurting bad. Time to go. We tell the ticket lady thanks for all her help, but we need to leave, and she asks us if we still want the press pass. "No, that's cool -- just give it to somebody else," I say, but she pushes it back through the slot. "I can't do that," she says, "but you can."
Ah, crap. Who the heck do I give a one-person press pass to? Everybody walking by either has tickets, is in a pair, or is scalping tickets. I start calling friends, and homeboy Mel recommends calling Dwayne (of Radio Pioneer fame/infamy), so I give it a shot. Sure, he'd love the pass, definitely, so we get his address and make our way back to the car. Over to Montrose, the old 'hood. We do the handoff, and Dwayne is very appreciative, saying with a laugh that it was such weird timing -- right before we'd called, a friend had called to say he'd sold weed to the Foo Fighters' manager.
Anyway. I drive unsteadily home and collapse in the fetal position on the couch, where my wife kindly covers me with blankets and tries to warm me up. After about a half-hour, I crawl to bed and pass out and don't wake up 'til nearly 11AM the next morning.
The next day, I get a call from Dwayne -- did he get in? Well, yes, but not in the way expected. Turns out he took the press pass up to the gate but was turned away because he didn't also have a ticket. Crap. He ran over to the ticket windows, where he somehow ended up getting in the line of the same very kind ticket lady we'd dealt with earlier in the night. She said, "oh, I remember them, they were here earlier; here, I've got two tickets for you!" So then he was the proud owner of one press pass and two tickets.
Some more phone-calling ensued, and eventually Dwayne and Ryan Chavez (of Panic in Detroit/Smoking Popes fame/infamy) headed into the Center to grab their seats. Not together, unfortunately, but both were front-row, so hey, can't beat that. And it turned out the press pass was only good for letting Dwayne get up at the front of the stage at certain times, so we'd have been out-of-luck even if I'd tried to go it alone. Weird, that.
At any rate, I'm still sore but no longer feverish, which is good, and it feels like this thing's in its final stages. Just my freakin' luck that I get the 24-Hour Flu exactly at the start of when I've got free tickets to see one of the biggest/most interesting rock bands on the planet. Oh, but I'm forgetting -- there's that semi-entertaining story I mentioned earlier...
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