Point of story -----> Ray LaMontagne.
Hot damn that guy can sing.
I mean, he can really, really, sing. And play the guitar. AND SING. I knew that already, of course, but it was nice of him to confirm it for me in person.
We had terrific seats, Ray was awesome, his band was on fire, and we could have just left it at that. There was really no need for David Gray (who was also great, though stylistically not so much my cup of tea), and there was certainly no need for anyone to give me backstage passes.
I should never be given backstage passes.TO ANYTHING.
Something happens to me in the presence of the passes.
What the pass says:
Larry stayed upstairs with the male half of the couple we were with, while we ladies made our way down to the bowels of the arena with limited assistance from security. We kept pointing to our passes saying, HI! WE HAVE THESE! SO, LIKE, WHAT NOW?, and the security guards would sort of shrug and point down another darkened hallway, like, if you don't know, we ain't gonna tell you. We must have walked at least six or seven miles (uphill, barefoot, in the snow, both ways) before we found the little room with the band standing outside.
Ray's drummer was a lovely man. He said something about being from Maine--or having just come from Maine--I can't be sure. As soon as I heard the word MAINE, I was all MAINE! WAIT! I KNOW THIS ONE! And I jumped into his arms and asked him to hold me while I showed him the slides from our family vacation to Kennebunkport. Nice guy, that drummer.
Then we went into The Room, which was just, like, a room. With fluorescent lights and a cooler of Heineken and Sierra Nevada.
AND NO BOTTLE OPENER.
This was very harrowing. Because you can't not partake of the free beer when it is given freely for free.
My friend and I looked at each other.
"MAYBE IT'S A TEST!" I said. "TO SEE IF WE ARE WORTHY!"
We started to chat with the nearest two gentlemen. Charming guys. Perhaps they would say a riddle! And it would give us the secret of the bottle opener!
They did not say a riddle. They were friends of Ray LaMontagne's road crew. But one of the two guys happened to be Audrey Niffenegger's driver, and I was all OMG! (POM-POM SHAKE!) I LOVETHE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE! Because I do. I love The Time Traveler's Wife. It was an excellent novel. I haven't gotten up the nerve to dive into her second book, because some idiot reviewer on Amazon said it was GAH! AMANDA! FOCUS. FO-CUS.
------> BACKSTAGE. FREE BEER. NO BOTTLE OPENER.
So the two men did not have a riddle for us to solve, but Audrey Niffenegger's driver did have a lighter. And luckily, according to Larry, there are two things every woman should know. One is how to change a flat tire. And two is how to open a beer bottle with the butt end of a cigarette lighter. I am a master at both.
Once I got the bottle open, Ray appeared. Just a few steps away and to my right. I could see him out of the corner of my eye, talking to a small group of people who seemed to know him. Smaller than I'd imagined. Little Ray! So thin and young and suspicious of strangers. We waited a few minutes, hoping for a chance to say hello, but he wasn't making eye contact with anyone, and David Gray was starting, so we made our way out. Until we were stopped and told not to go one step further with our glass bottles. Which. Clearly. Was a sign.
A sign that I needed to go back and shine my light on Ray LaMontagne.
When we got back to The Room, Ray was standing outside, talking to a group of people, who looked as if they might be members of his extended family. It would be inappropriate to interrupt a family gathering, and yet.
My beer tank was full.
When my beer tank is full, it does not matter. There is nothing to discuss. When my beer tank is full, I am going for a drive down I-Love-You Lane, and you can either hop in or prepare to be FLATTENED BY MY PRAISE.
Vroom! (Pom-Pom shake) "HELLO THERE, TALENTED SIR!"
I must say, Ray did not look all that happy to see me. "This looks like your family," my friend said to Ray.
"It is my family," Ray told her. (Subtext: my family of which you are not a member WHY ARE YOU HERE, BLONDIE?).
I waited for him to say something else, but he was not in a sayingkind of mood. He seemed to be in more of a GO AWAY kind of mood. So his aunts started introducing the whole family to us while a little thought bubble appeared over Ray's head that said FOR CHRIST'S SAKE, AUNT MARVENE, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO INTRODUCE YOURSELF TO THESE WOMEN. THEY ARE ONLY HERE FOR THE FREE BEER. SPEAKING OF WHICH, HOW DID THESE TWO BIMBOS FIND THE BOTTLE OPENER?
Ray stood there, not smiling, while I told him how awesome he is, and how much I enjoyed his show, and his band, and ...
This seems to be Larry's and my specialty.
Praising celebrities who would prefer to see us go f*ck ourselves.
See also: Shawn Colvin.)
... and then, unable to enjoy basking in his hatred of me any longer, I did a double round off, and a split.
I don't hold it against Ray that he found me intrusive. I found myself intrusive, to be honest. But I was intruding because I enjoyed his concert, and I wanted to tell him so. WITH POM POMS! And for god's sake, if you don't want strangers backstage, don't be letting your management give out backstage passes to strangers!
AM I RIGHT?