We never saw it coming. Someone in our ranks surely did a good deed recently, for lady luck was smiling on us indeed. You see luck is a hard thing to pin down. But Solley definitely got lucky as he stepped outside in downtown Cincinnati and ran into Boyd Tinsley, violin player for the Dave Matthews Band. Jason, being the congenial go-getter that he is, took the rare opportunity to strike up some conversation with the Caleb. This lead to an unlikely exchange wherein a group of teens from the DCLA conference ran up to Jason screaming, but failed to recognize the greatness that they were in the midst of. For whatever reason (luck?) Boyd took down the name of our little band and said if we came to the show, he would “give us the hook-up.”
Holy cow. The hook-up. Who hasn’t wanted to run into someone famous, whom your actually a fan of, and have them tell you that they are giving you the “hook-up?”
Now, we needed to be realistic. Sure its exciting and all, but what are the odds of a guy who plays hundreds of shows a year to sold-out crowds and meets God knows how many people to remember to give a piddly little band “the hook-up?” Regardless, we would have been stupid not to go for it.
Part 1: The front gate.
We could hear the music a mile away, which is about how far out we had to park the van. The walk was long and hurried and made more dramatic by the ongoing soundtrack acting as a constant reminder of how much of the show we had already missed. On rounding a corner we finally saw the front gate, but the box office was closed, as was the will call window. Not a good sign. We convinced a ticket taker to go into the office and check to see if we were on the list, but to no avail. Our names were nowhere to be found. With some gentle prodding, he pointed us to the backstage entrance, where he believed we might have some better luck. With this, we were off.
Part 2: The backstage entrance.
The backstage gate was positioned just beyond the medical building, where first aid workers tended to once enthusiastic partiers that pushed the envelope too much for their own good. A pleasant middle aged lady was standing guard, but was unsure as to how to deal with our problem. Could we talk to the head of promotions? No. How about a manager? Nope. Ok, what about security? Could we talk to someone from Security?
Bingo. She made a call, and we passed the time by watching ambulances drive back and forth to cart off those that were too far gone to be helped by the on site personnel. The music stage was just on the other side of the fence next to us, the band blazing through one song after another. They had never sounded better, and it was making us all of all the more anxious to be inside the gates. It wasn’t enough to hear it. We had to see it.
And then he came, like a knight on a shining golf cart. His name was Jim. His position, head of security for the band. He listened to our plight, told us to hang tight, and that he would see what he could do.
Our nerves were killing us. The waiting seemed like murder. Time had slowed down to a snails pace when we saw the bumper of his golf cart emerge from in between the tour busses. Our answer had arrived!
Well, he said, I can’t find any notice about you guys. The best I can do is just turning you loose on the lawn to see the rest of the show.
Good enough. We were ushered to a side gate with a staircase just on the other side that led to the lawn. Just as we had resigned ourselves to sitting in the back of the venue we heard someone calling after us. It was another security person sent to tell us that Jim wanted a word.
Shoot, we thought. We haven’t been inside for more than a minute; they can’t possibly kick us out now! Jim was waiting at the bottom of the staircase from which we had just ascended. We got it worked out guys, he said. We have your tickets at the front gate, so meet me there. He drove off.
Incredible. What had happened in the last two minutes to completely change our fortunes? We set off in the direction of the front gate. Jim was waiting for us when we arrived with seven tickets in hand. He gave them out and said rather cryptically to meet him stage left after the show.
Although we were curious to know what else lay in store, we were too excited to think about it too much after examining the tickets. Row N. That’s the fourteenth row. We entered the venue and set off to our seats without a moment’s hesitation.
Part 3: The payoff.
We caught about the last half of the concert. They were truly in fine form, and no one could remember having a better time at one of their shows. After the last encore, as the mobs moved towards the exits, we made our way to stage left. Upon arriving there were several security guards watching over a gate that couldn’t have lead anywhere but behind the stage. After a few moments Jim appeared.
I talked to Boyd, he said, and he just forgot to drop your names off at the front. Here are your backstage passes, so just hang out here for a minute and we’ll head in.
Whoa. No way.
A few minutes passed before we were told to line up along with a handful of others. We were then ushered along a pathway that wound behind the stage and into a large tent with tables and chairs set up in one corner. They instructed us to take a seat, put away our cameras and cell phones, and that Boyd would be with us in a moment. Sure enough he soon came through the tent entrance, and began going to each table individually. When he got to ours, he took a quick glance at our slack-jawed expressions and wasted no time in saying how sorry he was for the mix-up.
He told us he was sorry. Wow.
He shook each of our hands in turn and asked how our show went that night.
He asked us about our show! That’s so cool!
We made some small talk, said that it was nice to meet each other, and he took off. The whole exchange had lasted about four to five minutes. As we made our way out of the backstage area we chatted with Jim a little more and told how grateful we were that he had trusted us. There was never any reason that he should have acted on faith and let us in, much less find Boyd Tinsley directly after a concert and ask him about us. No reason in the world. But he had, and it blew our minds.
With our faith in man restored and warm feelings in our bellies, we made our way back to the hotel or a late night Waffle House run or whatever else we were up to. We had a new hero, and it felt good.