I've never said this out loud before. I'm not particularly proud of it. And, yes, you can laugh if you want. But . . . anyway . . . here it is:
Tomorrow night will be my 30th Dave Matthews Band show
There. I said it. Yes, I've seen DMB a lot. And, actually, I don't care who knows.
I've seen a lot of shows in a lot of places, including:
- Fenway Park, Boston
- Busch Stadium, St. Louis
- Peidmont Park, Atlanta
- Citi Field, Flushing
- MGM Grand, Vegas
- Joe Lewis Arena, Detroit
- RFK Stadium, WDC
- Madison Square Garden, NY
- Randall's Island, NY
- Some random minor league ballpark in Charleston, SC
In fact, if you count the times I've seen Dave perform with Tim Reynolds (including multiple shows at the Theater at Planet Hollywood the past few years), the above number goes up by five....
Tomorrow's show is "local" ... at Nissan Pavilion, about 40 miles west of DC. The Poker Barrister's friend from grade school, "zeen," is coming into town for the festivities. The scene is set for debauchery: general admission "pit" tickets in hand . . . hotel secured within walking distance of the venue . . . local bars scoped out . . . The plan is as follows: pregame beverages . . . walk to show . . . in-game beverages . . . walk back from show . . . post game beverages . . . sleep . . . wake up . . . try and remember what we saw the night before . . .
Indeed, the last time DMB played Nissan Pavilion, a similar game plan was put into effect. However, as is often the case, the plan ran into some roadblocks.
As I recall, the evening began innocently enough, with a few beers at a local restaurant while watching the FOX Saturday baseball game of the week. Sometime thereafter, things began to devolve, beginning with the decision to abscond with a glass of Redbull vodka -- a "road cola" -- for the walk. I make it past the outdoor patio and to the parking lot before being chased down and nearly tackled by an over-zealous waiter. Really? You can't just look the other way?
Undeterred, I stop back at the hotel to reload and holster a few Coors lights for the walk. Nothing tastes better than a beer you should not be drinking . . .
Now, Nissan Pavilion is sort of in the middle of nowhere - basically farmland with the occasional random shopping center. It's near Manassas Battlefield, as a point of reference. I don't know the area well. But I have a Blackberry and can pull up a map. I begin the 1 mile walk to the venue. Forty minutes later, I'm cursing RIM's mapping / GPS technology. Lost. No idea where I am or where the venue is. Show starting in little over an hour. I make the decision to head back to the hotel to grab a cab.
Eventually, I'm let off at the entrance. Lights set to go down in less than 5 minutes. I get through the gate and make a dash for my seat near the front of the stage. No time to even stop for a beer. Next thing I know, I'm face down on the concrete. Fucken legs! Still, I feel no pain. Just the trickling sensation of blood rivering from the source at my knee and down my left shin. Whatever.
Lights go down, band takes the stage, and I'm fifth row. About as close as I've ever been. Later, a few songs in, people crowd the aisle and I'm able to slip even farther towards the front. The show is watched practically leaning on the stage, just a few feet from Boyd Tinsley. Not a bad evening.
Show ends and I'm determined not to repeat the mistake made on the way. No way I can get lost again. Hotel is a mile a way . . . and it's basically just down one road. No worries...
30 minutes later, it's nearly pitch dark, I'm surrounded by farm land and lost as shit. No buildings to use as reference. I walk some more, not sure whether I'm moving closer to the hotel or further away. I come across a gas station. Lots of people are there filling up their cars and buying drinks and snacks, presumably on their way home from the show. I can't be far from where I'm suppose to be. I go inside to ask for directions back to the hotel. I approach the kid at the counter. I open my mouth to speak. Words, however, do not come out. Just some strange, slurred sounds. It's funny, because my mind is working fine. The mind knows what it's trying to ask. The mind is fully cognizant that directions to the Hampton Inn are necessary. The mouth, however, refuses to cooperate. The mind KNOWS that kid behind the counter is staring at me like I'm an idiot. The mind is now thinking: "wow . . . you sir are fucked !!!" The mind curses the mouth.
I leave the gas station convenience store with no more information than I arrived with. For the first time, I consider that I may be forced to sleep in a field and attempt to complete the journey home the next morning when the sun comes up. But, the thought of spending another night in a field seems unpalatable (yes, another night . . . the first occurred about eight months early in State College, PA, on a Saturday night after the Little Brown Jug . . . perhaps a story for another time . . .). I push on. Blackberry GPS of no help. Not sure I could read it even if it worked.
Somehow, as if by some miracle, a cluster of stores and restaurants appears in the distance. I walk towards . . . Then, I see it. The Hampton Inn. It's glorious. As glorious as a two-and-a-half star hotel can be. I've made it. I look at my watch. Twelve thirty. Hell, I can still make last call. I head toward the Pizzeria Uno, wondering whether they'll recognize me from the Redbull Vodka incident earlier in the evening. Then, I look down and notice my blood-covered left leg. I doubt I'm adequately presentable for a joint of this caliber . . . Plus, the mind recalls that the mouth is out on disability. My last call has apparently already come and gone. Indeed, it's time to put this tale of debauchery to bed.
I'm confidently going on record now that I will not get lost tomorrow. I've got an iphone. And I've got zeen as a co-pilot. I've got no worries at all . . . The Poker Barrister learns from his mistakes. Hell, I'm even bringing my own Red Bull and Vodka this time . . .