My Evening with Five For Fighting

(Top left: I begin my 3 1/2 hour wait in line. Three of those hours were spent alone. Top right: My reserved table. Bottom left: John Ondrasik singing to me (all right, he was singing to everyone) Bottom right: John Ondrasik telling me I'm the most awesome fan he has and someday he'll write a song especially for me. Just kidding, but we did have a nice little visit.)

Every once in awhile, luck tosses a good day your way. She tossed me one today.

In 2004, my sister and I were working on some sewing projects together. Because we both had little children, most of our sewing was done between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. We often had music videos playing in the background. One video that we often saw was "100 Years" by Five for Fighting. We fell in love with the song. I've been a fan ever since.

So Tuesday, as I was listening to my Five for Fighting playlist, I decided to check and see if tickets were on sale for the accoustic concert we'd heard about. Much to my surprise, the concert was going to be Wednesday evening and it was free. I called the venue and learned that there was limited seating remaining and it would be first come first served, with the doors opening at 6 p.m.

I wanted to see the concert. Worried that we wouldn't get in, I arrived at the venue at 2:40 p.m. expecting a line to have already started forming. None had. I pulled up a little cafe chair and sat down by the front door, my book and cell phone in hand and started waiting.

This is where luck began to smile on me.

The van for the radio station sponsoring the concert arrived an hour after me. (I was still alone in line.) After the van had hit a flower pot and a tree trying to park just right on the sidewalk, I stepped up to help guide the driver into the right spot. He thanked me and went inside the venue. I returned to my chair and my book.

A few minutes later, the door opened and the grateful radio man said, "Since you're the first one in line, here's a wristband to get you into the Meet and Greet after the show." I thanked him and excitedly returned to my book.

Across the street, an enormous line was forming--four or five deep and stretching all the way down the block and around the corner. They were there for Snoop Dog and Ice Cube, who were performing at the Gallivan Center. I continued to sit alone in my line.

A young couple walked down the sidewalk, several feet apart and the boy yelled to his girlfriend, "If you're not going to hold my hand, you're not going to be my girl." She scooted over and held the charming boys hand.

Twenty feet away, a group of five loud men were sitting at cafe tables drinking and cursing. A police officer stopped and began talking to them. They got louder and more obnonxious. Before the police officer left, two of the five had been cited for disorderly conduct.

I heard some faint music and turned around in my chair to look through the window. For several minutes I watched John Ondrasik (who is Five for Fighting) doing a sound check at the piano and then on the guitar. He went through two songs. I took a blurry picture through the window. At one point, he looked my way and I could tell he'd noticed me. I turned around feeling rather stalkerish and returned to my book.

About three minutes later, my luck when through the roof, when the door opened again and the owner stepped out. "John said he wants you on the front row, so I need your name and the number that will be with you."

JOHN WANTED ME IN THE FRONT ROW!!! To be honest with you, I couldn't decide if I was more excited or more embarrassed to have been caught watching him from my chair outside the venue at the front of the line that hadn't even started yet. I decided to be more excited.

Finally, a line began forming, my brother and sister-in-law arrived, then finally my husband stepped off Trax. The doors opened, we showed our ID and we were led by the owner to a table on the front row that said "Reserved for Karey White." The place did fill up. I guess 250 seats go quickly.

We enjoyed a good dinner and then a wonderful show filled with amazing music and great stories. We were so close we could almost touch him. A highlight was an acapella version of his song "Hope," which was inspired. He was patriotic, charming, funny, entertaining and real. He was also pretty cute.

After the show, I was one of about 15 people who got to go have a picture taken with him and get a signed photo. When it was my turn, he said, "Thanks for waiting out there." I felt a little silly but told him I'd wanted to be sure we got into the show. I told him I appreciated how outspoken he is about his love of America and he said, "It's the greatest country on earth." His enthusiasm made him even cuter.

It was a lovely, lucky evening and I'm an even bigger fan now!


Mindy said...

SO awesome! I love Five for Fighting too. Good thing you've got some stalker tendencies! ;)

Lisa said...

i'm so disappointed that i didn't try harder to be able to come join you. lucky duck. i just have one true roland orzabal and eddie rabbit fashion...did HE wink at you?

Karey said...

Actually, Lisa, it wasn't Eddie Rabbit. It was B.J. Thomas and no, no winks. Just a smile, a little chat and a hug. Good enough!

Unknown said...

Thanks for a delightful evening! Kara and I said afterword that we need to look for more opportunities like that to get out of the house and enjoy the genius of artists all around us. John Ondrasik is a gentleman and a class act. Thanks again!

Kristi said...

That would have been awesome to attend. I'm glad lady luck was on your side and you had such a great time. Next time you come up we need to check the Britt Festival and see if there is something we can all go see together.

Five For Fighting Fan Central said...

Great story and congrats for joining the Five For Fighting groupie club and supporting John! I've been to 17 shows and followed John's tour 3 times already! If there's one thing I learned, not many people show up real early to a FFF show! Planning to see his 3 So Cal shows this coming tour! Went to his Depot show in 2007. Maybe we'll meet someday! Take care! Wynne
PS I have my own blog...Five For Fighting Fan Central! Check it out! :)

Leslie said...

wow. what an experience you had. it makes me laugh that you were there alone for that long... but it paid off.