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It's Been a While
Hi, everyone. I hope some of you remember me. I'm Prairie Lily (Deborah) from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. It's been quite a while since I've posted here, mainly due to a crisis in the family, but I've really missed this forum and I feel ready to get back into life again. So let me tell you what's happened since we last chatted:
March 4, 2006
My oldest brother Larry passed away from cancer. He was 59. His death hit me very hard and I basically withdrew from life. He was one of my heroes. Some of you may recall that I was born with a physical disability and so I use a wheelchair. One of my fondest memories of my big brother is of a visit with him, his wife and two sons at their home in Calgary, Alberta. We were all sitting around the kitchen table one evening just chatting and laughing. I mentioned something about having a tub bath but that I'd have to wait until I got back home. Larry had a two-storey house and the bathroom was upstairs. Well, one thing led to another and Larry single-handedly carried me in my chair upstairs so I could have a bath and not have to wait. You see, to him I was just Little Sis. It wasn't like the chair didn't exist, it just simply didn't matter to him. Like I said, he was my hero and I miss him terribly.
It was June or July, I just forget which, when Regina was knocked out of its collective sockies. The news arrived that the Rolling Stones would play a concert here in October as part of their "A Bigger Bang" tour. This was the biggest thing to hit this town in... well.. in my lifetime! The Stones had never played here before. But Chris (my significant other.. more about him later) and I are on a very limited income and we knew we'd never be able to afford tickets. Luckily, though, the concert was to be at Taylor Field which is the local football stadium. We live only about 8 blocks away. So we planned to walk over and hang out outside the stadium where we could at least here the legendary band. If the weather was bad, we figured that we could very likely hear them from our house. We felt it was a good compromise.
As time went on, however, I became more and more depressed at the thought of missing my one and only chance to see The Stones. I remembered when they first hit North America. Seeing one of their shows live was always a pipe dream of mine, one I knew would never happen because why would they come to little ol' Regina?? But they were coming! In fact, the show scheduled for October 8 sold out in a record 20 minutes so they added a second show for October 6! We would be the only city on their entire North American leg of the tour to have more than one performance.
Friday, October, 6, 2006
We spent the day working on the garden with my mom, pruning roses and digging potatoes. Mom left around 3:30 pm and Chris was all played out so I said "Oh let's just stay home." Chris said, "No! We are going to have a Rock & Roll Adventure! You get ready. I'm going to the bank!" Chris figured that we could maybe buy two tickets from the scalpers he knew would be outside the stadium. Scalping is not illegal here, at least not at this time. We decided to go for broke (literally!). This was a chance of a lifetime and so I agreed to let Chris draw out what little cash we had left. Normally, I would never have done such a thing but Chris convinced me. Bless his heart, that man can and has talked me into all sorts of things I would never normally do (and no, I'm not going to elaborate on that!! Ha!).
So off Chris went, first to the bank and then to Canadian Tire. They had a sale on a folding stool for $3. He figured it would come in handy if we had to sit outside the stadium. When he got back we had to hurry so we rushed to get dressed and ran out the door for the 8-block walk. When we got there the place was a madhouse. People all over the place and everyone in a big hurry. We made our way to the west entrance as Chris was sure that's where the scalpers would be selling tickets, and they were. Most were $300+. One guy had one for $1600, just outrageous! The closest we came was one guy who had 2 tickets, $200 for the pair. Chris offered the guy $160, all we had, but he blew Chris off and with that our hopes were dashed. We sat there for a short time then made our way through the crowds to the north end of the stadium. At that time there was a spot where you could look through the fence and see the stage. So we stopped there and Chris pulled out his stool and sat down.
Just then two girls approached from the other side of the fence. They asked us if we had tickets for the show. When they heard we didn't one of the girls said "My boyfriend is working backstage and has some extra tickets." She called him on her cell phone. He had just given away his last spare ticket. Argh!
Soon after that a man came walking towards Chris with a sign around his neck. "Need Tickets," said the sign. Just then a man walking the other way stopped and said "Yeah, I got extra tickets. Two of them. Yours for $115 bucks." Chris just about fell over! He rushed over to the guy and asked if he had any more. He didn't of course, but the guy with the sign offered to sell Chris the sign for $5. Chris said "No, thanks" and came back over to me. He stood there and started to call out, "Tickets! Extra tickets! Anybody got extra tickets?" He did that several times and finally someone behind him said "Yeah, I have 2 tickets." Chris turned around to see a guy and two women, smartly dressed, inside the stadium fence. One of the girls was holding two tickets.
"$100 each," she said. Chris said "I'll give you $100 for the pair." She said no, the best she would do is give them to us for $185 and that was half price. Chris said "I'll give you $160 for the pair. That's all I have." She still said "No. $185 or no tickets." Chris looked her in the eye and said "In a few minutes, your going to have some real expensive souvenirs." She thought about this for a minute and finally said "Okay, it's a deal" and bang! A bigger BANG!! WE HAD TICKETS FOR THE SHOW!!!
We couldn't believe it! We had to open the envelope and look at the tickets a few times to make sure they were real. I held onto them with a death-grip as Chris pushed my chair to the west entrance. This was the only one we were familiar with, as we'd only been to the stadium once before. We were a little apprehensive because these tickets were not for handicapped seats. But we were determined to flub our way somehow. We got to the gate where they took our tickets, only to be told they were for seats by the east entrance. Yikes! Another end run around the stadium and the opening band was starting it's set. We weren't sure if we would be able to take the little stool Chris bought in with us as there was so many restrictions as to what not to bring, and chairs were one of them. We had the stool hanging on a string on the back of my chair. Would we get rejected because we didn't have handicapped tickets? With trepidation we approached the gate. The first guy took our tickets and waved us through. The two guards searching people (everyone was being searched!) took one look at us and waved us through without a second look. We were in!!
Oh, the magic feeling of being inside the stadium! We wandered around looking for our section number. We didn't see a wheelchair sign directing to the wheelchair seats so we found a hostess and asked where they were. She wasn't sure and told us to follow her while she looked for the head hostess. We found her, but she was busy with other people and told us to wait right there and so we did. Soon she returned and asked to look at our tickets. We showed them to her and she looked puzzled, then she asked someone on her radio, "Do wheelchair tickets look any different than regular tickets?" Our hearts were in our throats. Fortunately for us, the reception on her radio was so bad, she couldn't hear what was said. She said, "What did they tell you when you bought these tickets?" We said we were told there was handicapped seating on this side, so she led us to the handicapped section which was on the north end of the east bleachers. The stage was at the south end and there was a lighting tower covering 1/3 of the stage, but we didn't care. We were there! We would see the Stones!
We looked around. We were the only people in the handicapped section besides security guards. The opening band wrapped up and the stadium lights came on. There was a security guard sitting close to us. Chris remarked to him how odd it was that we were the only ones in the handicapped section. The guard said there was another handicapped section identical to this one on the south end of the bleachers, close to the stage. He said he thought it would be packed. Chris asked him if he would use his radio and ask someone if there was room for us down there...and he DID! And there WAS! He told us how to get there and off we ran out across the front of the bleachers and down through the crowd and checkpoints. He must have radioed that we were coming because none of the security guards gave us any hassle. They just moved aside and through we went, down to the south end of the bleachers and that stage just kept getting bigger and bigger! Once there, a guard moved a barricade for us so we could get back to the ramp up to the handicapped section.
When we got there, everyone in wheelchairs were clustered close to the bleachers which left a wide open spot between them and the railing surrounding the section. So Chris unfolded his stool and we sat right up at the railing as close to the stage as we could get. It was the perfect spot. We were ten feet off the stadium floor with a clear view over everyone's head and about as close as close could be to the stage.
The crowd of around 45,000 started to do the wave and it wasn't long before Chris and I joined in. Suddenly the lights went down. The crowd shrieked! The Stones trademark giant lips graphic filled an enormous videotron above center stage. Other graphics followed and spread into two other slightly smaller videotrons which flanked the stage. Fireworks exploded and the sound of a guitar cut through the night with a deafening rif. It was Keith Richard, saying hello. A spotlight picked him up as he swaggered out onstage. Mick Jagger stepped into his own spotlight and started singing "Jumpin' Jack Flash". The stage lights came up to reveal Ron Wood and Charlie Watts and all. The show was on. The spell was struck. Magic chimed out in waves of sound and light. The crowd went berserk and so did we. What a night!
There they were. As seen on album covers. As seen on TV and heard on the radio. As seen on posters, magazines, t-shirts. Everywhere and forever, it seemed, and now here they were in person. Forget those annoying "aging rocker" remarks or any other dumb thing you may have heard. They were here! The REAL THING! The Kings of Rock 'n' Roll. A performance so perfectly dazzling in every way, delivered as only The Rolling Stones can. What's not to love?
It was over too fast. Only when we had left the bleachers did we notice how cold we were. We were outside in less than a minute and walking home. What a night it had been. But wait!! Read on, as our rock & roll adventure doesn't end here.
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Great time. The Stones, my favorite. Glad you folks got to see the show.
I thought you'd deserted us Debs!!! It's soooo good to hear from you again. Welcome back my friend.
Very sorry to hear about your brother's passing PL. He will undoubtedly always be a hero to you.
Forgot to add, welcome back!
I'm so sorry to hear about your brother.That kind of lose is very hard to take.
My condolences for your brother and my jealousy about the Stones
Sorry for the loss of you brother PL.
So sorry about your dear brother. I'm sure he would be thrilled that you got to your concert.
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