Last night was Wilco at the amphitheater. It was album release day for the band. It was a gorgeous early autumn night in Raleigh. It was a happy crowd. There is much that I should write about Wilco: the evolution of sound, and the craftsmanship of the guitar solos, and the magic blend of musicians that make up this band, and Jeff Tweedy’s singular voice. But what I really want to say is this:
My seats were front row, center stage.
I hate to be cocky. But feel like I earned it. I bought tickets to three amphitheater shows on the same day. The first two did not go particularly well. One was a sticky, broiling evening, and I thought the band sounded like the Muppets. Another was an amazing band, who was washed offstage in a deluge while the crowd swam to safety and tried to avoid lightning strikes. I was worried about a three-peat, a trifecta of concert disasters.
Front row, center stage at Wilco was my reward, my return on the summer amphitheater investment. How did I score front row tickets, you ask? Am I sleeping with a band member (or at least a roadie?) No. Did I pay an exorbitant fee? No. Did I hover at my keyboard, with all of my information at the ready, waiting for online ticket sales, so that I could hit “purchase” at exactly the right second? No. I hesitate to reveal my secret, but I did it by accident, so it’s only fair. I went old-school. I walked over to the box office, beside Meymandi Hall. Those people will hook you up, man. They care about their customers, and they like it when real live people step away from their computers and come say hello. I was something like seventh in line. And they start selling tickets at row A, seat 1 and work inward. So when they got down to me: seats 14 and 15. Dead center stage. It’s magic I might not be able to work again. But I felt like a rock star myself.
Oh, and the show was amazing. Y’all check out the new album. And next time, I’ll see in line at the box office.