Backstory: Six years ago, I saw one of my favorite bands for the first time–at their final* show ever. After that, I decided I needed to see all my other favorite bands BEFORE they broke up, and this became a new goal in my life.
So I saw a couple of my bands, but I’m nowhere near the mark. One major lapse has been with the band Guster. I had tickets for their show in Pittsburgh in 2006, but they had to cancel due to illness. The only show they ever canceled! So they tell me.
And when I say THEY, I mean Guster themselves. In person. But we’ll get to that.
And they haven’t been back to Pittsburgh since. They went to D.C. recently, and I will (and have) gladly drive that far for a band I love–but the show sold out before I could get tickets. FOILED AGAIN!
In April, I found out that Guster was playing the Three Rivers Arts Festival in Pittsburgh (naturally). For free. This, I could not, would not miss.
So The Husband and I make preparations. We book a room at the Hilton (super cheap–he’s the king of the bargain hunters), RIGHT across from Point State Park, where the festival is being held. The weather is icky that day, so I wear my oldest pair of Chucks. We bring the camera.
We are READY.
As it happens, my friend Jamie** is being all environmental at the festival, standing by a recycling station to tell people what goes in compost, what gets recycled, etc. We arrive at the hotel, and I send Jamie a very creepy picture of the park from our hotel. I could see her from my room. Really, it doesn’t take much to amuse me.
So we go see Jamie, and we go see Frogtographer Steve, who’s got a booth at the festival, showing the infamous tree frog pics. I got to listen to people walk past and question whether his photos are real or not, and I wanted to be all, “HEY! I have VIDEO PROOF that this is real. And is my job. I’M A WRANGLER, IT’S A REAL THING, SHUT UP.” But I didn’t.
Then Jamie meets us for dinner, and tells us that she was spotted being green and was thus signed up to win backstage passes to meet the band. We made a lot of jokes about how it wasn’t going to happen, yeah right, and I should totally have them sign my bra, no, I’ll have them sign my shoes, I mean let’s be realistic here.
We ran through a massive storm to get to dinner, and walked into the restaurant dripping wet. I worried about the quickly approaching OUTDOOR concert, but yay! The weather cleared up perfectly. The park was a muddy mess, but that’s why I wore my old Chucks, right? Right.***
Before the concert, the staff announced that winners of backstage passes would be texted at 8 p.m. Jamie joked that, if she won, she’d make me impersonate her–I’m a superfan, and she doesn’t really know many of Guster’s songs.
No impersonation needed, it turned out. She got a text–she’d won, and she got to bring a guest. Have I ever mentioned that I get really shaky when I’m excited? It took me several tries to type out simple “OMFG I’M GONNA MEET GUSTER” texts to my friends.
The concert was, in a word–well, awesome. They played all my favorites, and they were funny and entertaining between songs, and the night was everything I’d dreamed it would be. And about to get better.
So we go backstage after the band’s had some time to cool down. Jamie got a gift bag with a t-shirt, a CD, and a program, the last of which she gave to me. I debated–should I have them sign the program…or my shoes?
Once in a lifetime opportunity. The shoes.
To be fair, I gave the very first Guster I talked to a choice. Program or shoes? He immediately crouched down to sign my Chucks. That’s how great these guys are. One of them gave me his knee to prop my foot on, and the other held my muddy shoe in his hand.
Photographic evidence of the evening:
Please forgive my hair in the above pic. It was taken several long, rainy hours after I had last had contact with a brush.
Also, THE SHOES:
The Husband and I ended up seeing 50% of Guster a bit later at the hotel bar. I did not, to my credit, make a nuisance of myself–I basically walked past their table, said, “Hey, you guys signed my shoes earlier” (to which they replied, “We remember!”) and “You played an awesome show, have a great night!” I don’t want to be a pest, but you know, I can’t ignore them. That would be rude.
There you have it. The best weekend ever.
So…how was yours? =D
*They ended up reuniting a couple of times to raise money for charitable causes. Those shows sold out almost immediately.
**One of my absolute besties, has known me since second grade, and in fact we have a picture from Halloween that year, in which I am dressed as a cheerleader and she is, no lie, an ant. We’ve reached that stage where we don’t even need to speak–we notice the same things at the same time, and we giggle wordlessly. This is friendship.
***Husband kept pointing out big muddy spots for me to avoid, and I was all, “Seriously, this is why I wore my old shoes.” That attitude changed drastically around 10 p.m. or so.