Without fail, whenever I have a concert to attend, it rains. However, having to bear the elements always sets the mood of the story. "We stuck it out in 5 inch heels in the dead of winter for 6 hours straight" is a line that shows up in almost all of my concert re-tellings. Fro-ed out, frizzy hair is pretty much a guarantee, no matter how smooth it was when getting ready. When the band hits the stage you're too caught up in the magic of experience, transfixed by the music to give a crap about what you look like. Rain storms, other than emphasizing what I'll withstand for rock, and making my hair a frizzy mess, have made me superstitious. If it rains on a show date I'm pretty sure that night will be a magical rock n' roll experience. I've never been wrong.
As I made my way downtown to meet my friend at the Gramercy theater, I recounted my crazed, groupie fan girl days. In the past, I'd arrive an embarrassing number of hours before the show to secure my front row spot - now I was cool with showing up only an hour in advance. Over the course of my fandom, I went from buying tickets on Ticketmaster and Craigslist, to prearranged comped tickets, VIP passes, and band's guest list. I went from having my ribs slammed into the barricade by drunk, sweaty beer stenched men, to watching the show backstage with plenty of room to dance and breathe, standing next to Tommy Lee. After a few years out of the scene, spoiled by the rock-star treatment I was back to Craigslist.. compulsively checking for overpriced scalper's tickets. The trade off of being an insider is having to be on your A game at all times. You're not going to let on how much of a crazed, screaming fan girl you really are while standing next to Tommy. The trade off for being just a fan is having to deal with the travesty of acquiring tickets through Ticketmaster, Craigslist or the scalping agency fronts for Ticketmaster.
At 4 pm on the day of the sold-out show, after a week with no ticket options other than a $400 ticket from a scalping agency...I got a call from someone willing to sell me his tickets. Apparently, he and his girlfriend got into a fight and weren't going to the show. My adrenaline was rushing at the thought of tickets, so I ignored all of the "too good to be true" signs. I absolutely believe there is no dream too good to be true, but when something in reality seems too good to be true, run. When the guy showed up to deliver my ticket I asked him a few questions, gave him the money and jumped for joy inside that I’d be finally realizing my dream of seeing STP in a teeny tiny venue. Stone Temple Pilots are a stadium band and they rarely if ever play theaters. This small show was a special exception, a taping for Jimmy Kimmel Live.
The idea of being scammed didn’t even enter my consciousness until the dude online next to me told me he bought his ticket on the street from a scalper and had a feeling it was fake. He asked to see my ticket and mine was just as dull, thick, and blue as his. The couple to my left had purchased their red, thin, shiny tickets at the venue. My heart stopped and all the tell tale signs came flooding through me.. how overly eager the seller was to come to my location, the lack of perforation on the ticket, the fact that he sold them to me for only 20% over face value, and most obviously... his thinking that Stone Temple Pilots was a punk band. It's humbling to write this. Around 10:30 pm they started letting us into the venue. The moment of truth. The group of guys in front of me who purchased tickets from the street scalper were scanned first. "Fake, Fake, Fake, and Fake" the scanner girl said. "Sorry, you have to be careful when you buy tickets from scalpers.” I was shaking hard as I handed over my ticket to the scanner. “FAKE!” She ripped up my heart and my tickets. I was too numb to feel my friend tugging on me to leave. "You need a drink" he said. "There’s no point in standing here torturing yourself.” I turned to him and said, "No, I need to punish myself and feel this." I was naive and deserved my fake tickets. My adrenaline rush had overpowered my sixth sense. I stood on the other side of the barricade watching grinning STP fans, with authentic tickets in hand make their way into the venue screaming "woo hoo." How far I'd fallen. I was standing behind the barricade holding back tears, telling myself I deserved my humilation, what a chump I was buying tickets from a dude who thought STP was a punk band. I deserved my fate. Suddenly, a woman with a staff badge came outside and started calling out for the guests of the band to come up front. I was the farthest thing at this point, a peon. Her eyes caught mine. She said "Are you waiting to go inside?" "No, I bought tickets from a scalper on craigslist and they turned out to be fake. My tickets were ripped up." I said. "You look devastated. I can tell you're a real fan. You know what?" She reached into her VIP staff badge pocket. "Is this better?" She held up two hard-tickets. "These are for you, enjoy the show." I was in utter shock. All I could do was hug and kiss this angel sent from the hard rock heavens.
The show was magical.
The show was magical.
Post show, I was in a state of euphoria. We hung out at the Gramercy Hotel for a bit enjoying our post show high and then took a little walk. We walked past the theater and noticed a few diehards waiting for the band. We saw our fellow scammed friends. They ran over and hugged and kissed me. As it turned out my admittance of defeat had helped four other scammed people get into the show. The hard rock angel took pity on them too. Suddenly out walked Eric Kretz, STP's drummer, who posed for a pic and gave me a huge hug. Minutes later, Dean Deleo came out in an amazing denim buttondown with red rhinestone buttons, and gave me a massive hug and kiss and told me "beautiful women like you are the reason I love my job." I guess I stood out as one of the few women amongst STP's grizzly, sweat-soaked, male fan base. Robert Deleo came out and we chatted about the new album. He looked and smelled amazing and was very friendly. Scott Weiland had left the venue earlier. With all I'd experienced, how could I be disappointed?