Twenty Seven thousand fans are packed into Red Rock, one of the best music venues in the world. The arena is carved from a mountain of giant red rocks. The sold out crowd is watching Ben Folds rock out on the piano.
I emerge from a backstage hallway right next to the front of the stage. A security guard stops me, but lets me pass when I point to my badge. "Working", it says. I'm not working.
In front of the whole crowd, I walk across the stage. Ben Folds lifts one of his hands from the piano, locks eyes, and waves at me. A little startled, I wave back.
This isn't a significant event. He doesn't know me - he was just curiously staring at my hat from the table next to mine during dinner. John Mayer was on the other side of my table.
Still, I think back to the only other time I've given Ben Folds a second thought. He did a stunt with a group called "Improv Everywhere". I slumped in my couch and watched the video. It was amusing, and I thought it would be the last time I thought of Ben Folds.
It's that connection that fascinates me. If I were to consider likely future events with this musician in the video, I'd never think that he'd wave to me in front of 27,000 fans. Why would I ever think that? Maybe I could fathom going to one of his shows, but eating at the neighboring table in the tour's cafeteria? Being personally recognized
What about when I first read about pickup artists and dismissed it as "stupid". How could I have ever predicted that I'd live with them and steal the best one's girlfriend? In high school I heard about the tunnels under UT. Later I was on the news for breaking into them. In high school I played blackjack for the first time at project graduation. Years later I was a professional gambler. McDonalds used to be my daily haunt. Now I'm a vegan. The list goes on...
When situations like this come up, I always pause my brain and think about them. I try to consider other crazy things that might happen that I would never guess. That's a game that can't be won, of course, since the whole point is that these things can't be predicted.
What I love about these amazing insignificant events are that they constantly illustrate the unpredictable and exciting nature of life. I get excited trying to imagine the possibilities that I can't imagine. Although any given day may seem routine or ordinary, that's no guarantee that tomorrow won't be extraordinary.
This is the second most interesting blog online. Love your posts. It really is amazing how life unfolds. For instance, I moved to LA, and ran into a guy I met at a party at my house over 3 years ago. He's now a really good friend.
When Stan Lee came to UT Austin, everyone was trying to get tickets. Except for me. Stan Lee, for those who are too cool to know, is famous for creating Spiderman, The Hulk, and other comic book characters. I've never once read a comic book, and despite being one, I have no particular affinity for superheroes. The night that Stan was to talk, one of my friends came over. He had somehow gotten ahold of several VIP tickets to the appearance. VIP tickets were up front.
The year before Ben Stein had come and gave a very interesting speech. Afterwards I went up and got him to sign a one dollar bill. In retrospect, I wish I had a Doubly Deuce at the time. I figured that I would temporarily suspend my gangsta lifestyle and see what this nerd comic book crap was all about.
[I know this seems like it will be a boring story. It won't be, so stop whining and read to the end. Then leave a comment and tell me I was right.]
While at work Friday, Melissa and I were checking out an events website online and were surprised to see Ben Folds Five were coming to Seoul... SUNDAY. We immediately bought tickets. One ticket was $100. I know, it seems really steep but it’s Ben Folds Five and my high school angst would not allow me a missed opportunity to cry and question my sense of self. At 30 I feel this is the only acceptable venue to get emo and ramble on about the band’s side projects and how much their music has “evolved” over the last decade. I can go to a Ben Folds five concert and no 14 year old is going to look at me like “What the hell are you doing here?"
When we walked into the venue I noticed it was relatively small and intimate, much like the Austin City Limits stage. We were about second row standing from the stage. 95% of the audience were Korean and half of them were sitting in the balcony enjoying the show. There was no pushing, no one trying to shove their way to the front, no one even touching any part of my body. However, there was a lot of clapping in unison, swaying during slower songs, and one-finger pointing towards the stage during the faster songs but that never hurt anybody. I stood comfortably for 2 hours.
Some clever Korean girl passed around bags of neon colored paper airplanes to throw on stage during “Army.” It was awesome. You know what else was awesome? Ben Folds Five performed “Brick.” The bass guitarist broke a string and to help tune the new bass the band jammed to Eye of the Tiger. Most of all having Ben Folds Five sing these lyrics to a Korean audience:
Oh-oh if you’re feeling small, and you can’t draw a crowd
Draw dicks on a wall