Nov 9, 2010

Vegas lights, Sheryl quits, and we get Ugly.

When we last checked in with our intrepid concert goers, they found themselves in Petaluma, CA; smack dab in the middle of California’s wine country….

For anyone unfamiliar with Petaluma, it’s really a nice little city. It’s a little too big to call a town, but it’s still a little small to call a metropolitan area. With a beautiful downtown area, a marina on the Petaluma River (a tidal estuary which snakes down to the San Pablo Bay, providing access to the Pacific Ocean), and access to the sprawling vineyards that cover the rolling hills throughout the region, a person can literally do nearly anything from the city proper with little to no effort whatsoever.

As I was driving home Sunday morning from said city, D and I were both thinking none of these things really mattered. For our hopes had been dashed to pieces by a cruel twist of fate called Illness.

(I should say, though, the weekend wasn’t a total loss. We did eat at Guy Fieri’s restaurant, Johnny Garlic’s. We only had lunch there, which for us, consisted of burgers. But they were really good burgers. I would wager, based on what little experience we had there, the rest of the menu is pretty solid as well.)

Time moved on. We told our story to friends and family, who all chuckled at our misfortune. All in good nature, we took it in good stride, and we simply decided we would try again. As mentioned in the previous posting, the rescheduled concert was set for the end of June. D was off to New York City and Ben was with me. Figuring the logistics of it all simply were unfavorable, we didn’t go.

But we were undaunted in our goal to see Brandi live. And so we kept our eyes open for another show to see. At the same time, we started thinking about what we wanted to do for our third anniversary. The idea if catching a show somewhere came up, and I quickly went back to the tour page of

What did I find there, you may ask? Well, none other than a show with Brandi and Sheryl Crow at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas! Jokingly, I made mention of this, and to my complete shock and awe, D was all for it; and seriously too. There wasn’t a hint of sarcasm in her voice. Well, it wasn’t too much longer and we had reserved a flight to and hotel room in Vegas. The actual coordination of this trip was far more extensive, and horribly complicated, but that is really a story for another time.

As soon as this trip became a reality we started bragging to our friends, Francis and Meghan, who had actually seen Brandi live in our place in Petaluma. And it wasn’t too much longer we were making our plans together. After all, why not visit Sin City with good friends who can sin with you? It makes the whole experience so much better.

So the fateful weekend arrived. Concert tickets were in hand, bags were packed, spirits were high, and the wallets were full of spending cash.

We arrived in Vegas, checked in to the New York, New York Casio and Hotel, and quickly got ourselves settled into the business of soaking up everything Vegas could throw at us. We ate some good food, we drank a few drinks, we played cards, we played craps, and we wandered the strip and did thing tourists do with cameras and things like that. But, let’s face it: With all the things to do in Vegas, we were there for a very specific reason. And everything up until that point was just so much fluff.
(Outside the New York, New York on the replica of the Brooklyn Bridge.)

Don’t get me wrong, the fluff was fun. We hit every major casino on the strip in the course of two days. We spent quite a tidy sum on souvenirs, on food, and of course on the slots. Vegas has the cream of the crop when it comes to the slots. They are new. They are flashy. They have sweet mini-games. And they practically call to you in your sleep. What little sleep I actually got there was inundated with visions of spinning reels, flashing lights, and big wins.

Surprisingly enough, I managed to go most of the trip without making too much of an ass out of myself. Probably the biggest blunder I made was guestimating the walk from the strip to the Rio to be “not that far.” It was probably about 95 degrees out. It was sunny. And it was easily over a mile. And it should suffice to say, we hadn’t been drinking enough water. The four of us made it there, and we even managed to stay on speaking terms through it all. But we also took a cab back to the strip.

Saturday morning came along, and Francis and I met down on the casino floor for a lesson on Craps. Some Guido looking guy gave the lesson, which was entertaining and serious all at the same time. Once the lesson was over we met up with D and Meghan to plan out our day. After all, we had to be out at the Hard Rock early enough to get ourselves situated comfortably for the show. I was sitting at a ginormous Wheel of Fortune machine and I had just won seventy dollars and we were gleefully chatting about the evening’s activities, wondering how we could possibly fill our day when our anticipation of the evening’s event was foremost in our minds.

Then, my phone buzzed, and the chime that signals a new email sounded. Most of the time I ignore this sound and catch up with it later. But for whatever reason, I pulled my phone from my pocket and read the subject line.

I don’t remember what it actually said, but in my mind, it looked something like this:

From Ticket Master: Your concert has been canceled. You are a loser.

What the #*%?!?!?!? Really? How is this even possible? Thanks to the advent of the smart phone, I was able to hop on the internet and check Ticket Master. Sure enough, it was posted that Sheryl Crow was sick, and the event for that night had been canceled. Yes, I said it was canceled. Now, Brandi had missed two concerts. Brandi, who previously hadn’t missed a single performance, had now missed the two we had been trying to see.

We sat bemoaning our fates, drowning our sorrows in free drinks and deluging our senses with the sound of slot machines. They no longer held the same magic though, and bells and whistles now seemed far off, like a fog horn blowing in some distant bay in the middle of October when it’s socked in with fog.

We did our best to rally from this devastating blow to our scheduled activities. And instead of going to the concert, we went to Coyote Ugly. Are there any readers out there that have seen the movie which shares the same name as this chain of bars? I don’t know if the movie inspired the bars, or if the bars inspired the movie. But in the end, they are pretty much just like each other. And dirty. And not the kind of dirty a little kid gets into when he goes out to play in the schools football field just after a heavy rain. However, to keep mom (who I know will be reading this post) from going into apoplexy, I’ll reassure her that was largely a spectator in this endeavor. For the rest of you, I’ll include the following picture (and only this picture, but rest assured I have many more).
(Again, to the defense of my character, I was mostly a spectator here, mostly. However, there were some things that happened here, that I saw with my own eyes, that I would have thought never actually happened in really life.  Go figure. Also, to the defense of my character, going here was not my idea.  Of course, I don't exactly remember objecting very strenuously either.)

The next morning, we did our best to wipe the sleep from our eyes and haze from our minds, and made our way to the airport. All in all, it had been a fun weekend. However, the sting of disappointment after losing some money, missing yet another concert, and nursing a little bit of a headache was all to real.

And so, again, we headed home with our tails between our legs. But still undaunted, now determined more than ever, we would try again. This was no longer just a show to see. It was past something of an obsession, it was now far beyond a mere goal to see Brandi live.

It was a quest, a mission; it had become our calling in life. We were now determined more than ever. We would succeed.

It would be less than twenty-four hours later, and our next attempt would be set in stone. But of course, that’s a story for another time (which will more than likely be tomorrow).

Stay tuned.

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