by Paul Kashmann
Those of you who know me solely by
my monthly presence on these pages of the Profile know
but half the man.
The workplace affords a limited context within which to
reveal the varied facets, that, brought together, form the whole of any human.
readers will know me as a man liberal in political and social perspective. One
who embraces the responsibility each man and woman is graced with by birth, to
occasionally set aside individual concerns and take a moment to contribute to
the well-being of the community at large.
You may have gotten a hint from pieces I’ve
written about family that I’m a bit of a soft-heart, and from numerous
off-handed remarks I’ve made over the years, you’ve probably taken away the
impression that I can be – at times – a bit of a smart-ass.
But unless we’ve met in social circles or
you are privileged to circulate in the rarified air of my five zillion Facebook
friends, you may not know that, next to my family, the great love of my life is
While I play enough guitar
to pound out the basic structure of a tune I can sing to – rather than
classify myself in any way a true musician – I am a fan.
I love Dylan, Jesse Winchester, Bruce
Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, Susan Tedeschi,
Derek Trucks, Ruthie Foster, to name a few. In days gone by I was a diehard for
The Band, the Dead, the Allmans and many more.
Local musicians can ring my chimes as well,
from Rich Moore and Molly O’Brien to Chris Daniels and The Kings; Danielle Ate
The Sandwich to Blind Child Rockin’ Blues Band. It’s
about the music, not the marquee.
While I have a reasonably representative
collection of CDs and DVDs to choose from when in need of a musical fix, it is
live performance that touches me at the core.
And with music, as with real estate, where I
sit is very important. Location, location, location. I
need to be part of the experience, not just in the building. I want to see the
artist’s facial expressions, and to watch fingers glide across the keyboard or
down the neck of the guitar. I want to be enveloped by sound, not just hear the
tunes. I want the seats that people die for. Sometimes first ten rows,
sometimes back by the sound board. Center section is a
Back in the day when tickets were only sold
by – and to – live humans in brick and mortar ticket outlets, I
spent many overnights on a chaise lounge on the sidewalk outside of May
D&F, holding my place in line ‘til the sun came up and the box office
finally opened some four hours later.
I’ve slept on the concrete outside of King
Bee Records (now Spanky’s on E. Evans by DU) to get
my kids great seats for Michael Jackson’s Victory Tour at Mile High Stadium.
Now, in the time of cyber-ticketing, I’ve
developed my skills for the 21st century. Generally, I’m on line a half hour
before ticketing begins, with the exact time displayed by atomic clock in a
split screen format. I refresh the ticketing page approximately four seconds
before the ticketing hour in hopes of hitting the nail precisely on the head.
Once tickets are in hand, if it’s a general
admission show, my friends know I’ll be in line as early as possible, winter or
summer, rain or shine. If it’s an 8p.m. show that’s going to draw a big line,
it’s not unusual that I’ll get there at 9a.m. and sit for hours with a handful
of other compulsives until the crowd starts arriving six hours later. My buds
all tell me I’m crazy, then thank me when it’s show time and I’ve held them
spots so close to the stage you have to dodge beads of sweat, and need ear
plugs to preserve what’s left of your hearing.
Or if it’s a primarily standing-only venue
like the Ogden, the Bluebird or the Boulder Fox, I’ve secured room on the pit
rail to support aging bones over the course of a three-hour show.
And, yes, I’ve crossed the line a few times
between assertive line behavior and aggressive. I’ve cut people off running for
seats at the Botanic Gardens, run when I was told to walk, jumped over seat
backs and raised my voice when it was I who was victimized by such abhorrent
behavior. For all those sins I am ashamed. I am quite sure I will be banished
to the upper balcony in the afterlife.
Having fought the good fight for seats for
the greats of my generation and my children’s, I faced the greatest challenge
of my ticket-buying career last week when word came that Justin Bieber will open his world tour Sept. 29 in Glendale,
Ariz., in a stadium setting mere minutes from the home of my soon to be
8-year-old granddaughter, Asher, who owns my heart and soul and has already
pledged hers to Mr. Bieber. Tickets would go on sale
the next day at 10a.m. MST.
“Dad, I hate to ask, but Ash and I will be
at a doctor’s appointment,” came my daughter’s plea. “Would you mind?” Two
later calls boosted the ticket request to four, and then six, meaning the hopes
and dreams of two other eight-year-olds and their moms now rested on my
shoulders as well.
Needless to say, I was at my computer at
9a.m., to be sure all was in order. Checking my Ticketmaster profile, I
realized my account was still connected to an old credit card, which could have
jeopardized the entire transaction at the 11th hour. I updated my billing,
verifying all passwords were in order. I was ready to rumble.
Next, I called up the seating chart for the
arena in question, called my daughter to verify that behind the stage
was unacceptable, and then listed the remaining sections in order of
desirability. This is a science, people. Do not try this without a spotter.
As 10a.m. MST approached, I refreshed my
page a few times to see how many seconds elapsed, so I could hone my plan to a
razor-sharp edge. The tension was building. I noticed a slight tremor in my mousing hand.
Four seconds before 10a.m. MST I refreshed
the page to no avail. The ticketing page did not come up. I tried again. And again no success. And again. And again. And again.
Over the next 15 minutes, with sunken heart,
not understanding where I had gone wrong, I called upon my skills and my God to
see me through this unexpected catastrophe. Surely all the good tickets were
gone by now. Reviewing my procedures, I saw I had followed all proper protocol.
There must be some other explanation.
My office mate, O’Leary, a former Phoenix
resident reminded me that Phoenix observes MST, but not daylight saving, and it
was then only 9:10a.m. MST in Phoenix. Aha! Perhaps we
were back in the game. The clock ticked slowly over the next 45 minutes, and
like a pilot preparing for take-off, I went back over
Correct URL in the
bar, check. Atomic clock visible, check. All credit card information at hand
for verification if needed, check.
At 10:59:56 MST Denver time I refreshed my
screen to no avail. I depressed the mouse once more, and voilá, we hit the promised land. I was elated. Ticketing
had begun. I quickly but calmly determined which of the six available quantity
boxes to choose from, entered the number “6”, clicked on “purchase tickets” and
was directed to that cursed page that asks you to enter two character jumbles
correctly to separate man from machine.
Success once again! The computer accepted my
entry, sending me to the page saying, “We are searching for your tickets.” I
was in a cold sweat as I awaited the next view which
would either tell me all seats were sold out or reveal what level of success I
had achieved. In this case there would be no gray area. It was either the
mountaintop of success with seats to be proud of, or the pit of shame.
Suddenly my journey was over. Section 101,
Row H, seats 11-16. I glanced at my list of priorities, and found 101 sitting
third from the top! Two sections back, stage left, eight rows up from
the floor. Killer sight lines to the stage!
Folks, I’ve been front row for numerous bigtime shows, and first ten
for dozens more. I’ve found
ways to acquire seats to sold out shows from which others had been
locked out. There’s a handful of stools along a railing by the bar at
the Fillmore that make a show there a Cadillac experience – I consider
them my private domain.
And never, ever, have I been as excited over
a ticket-buying experience as I was to purchase those six ducats so three moms
and three eight-year-old daughters could see Justin Bieber
at the Jobing.com arena.
love live music, and I love great seats. Apparently, I love little Asher a
little bit more. Even if her heart belongs to Justin.