Sneaking Backstage at a Weird Al Concert Part 2 by Michael T. Foley
For Episode 1, click here.
Brent: Oct...October 29th...WEIRD AL IS COMING TO THE HALIFAX METRO CENTRE ON OCTOBER 29TH! Mike: F**K OFF!
As soon as I felt the word slip out of my mouth, I cringed. From behind me, I heard the distinct sound of a parent's head exploding.
Dad: MICHAEL! Watch your language! Mike: I'm sorry, Dad. Brent just told me that... Dad: You better be sorry! You sound like a stevedore! Mike: Dad, I know but I got excited because... Dad: You weren't listening to your sister's SWEAR TAPE were you? Mike: Dad...no... Dad: I'm going to call her right now. Quick, where is she?! Probably out smoking CIGARETTES with those DREADED TEENAGERS! I gotta go find her! My cat Shadow walks up the stairs and looks at him. Dad: Out of my way, ya stupid looking cat!
And then he exited down the stairs quietly muttering to himself about swear tapes, stupid looking cats, and cigarettes. You know, like a crazy person.
I should tell you that I actually had been at a Weird Al concert back in 1994. However, I was only 7 at the time and I don't remember it all that well. We went to the show with my cousins and we were way back in the balcony looking down on him. I remember having a great time and getting an awesome Alapalooza t-shirt, but not much else. This time, I wasn't going to forget a thing.
That night, I had a dream that I was back at the concert in 1994. Only this time, it was just Brent and I. We sat in balcony seats very far away from the stage. From a distance, I could make out Al on the stage and we started cheering madly. But then I blinked. Suddenly, the stage seemed further away. I looked at Brent who didn't seem to notice anything different. I blinked again. Now the stage was even further away. For all I could see, Weird Al looked more like Weird Ant.
Mike: Brent...what is going on?? But Brent couldn't hear me over the music. I blinked again. Mike: Brent, something is wrong. There is something wrong with my eyes. I think I'm going blind...
Suddenly Weird Al stops singing and begins to speak from the far-off stage.
Weird Al: I hear there are two HUGE fans in attendance who have very special choreographed dance routines to MY music. Mike and Brent, come on up to the stage and DANCE with me as I perform the final few songs!
What. Oh dear sweet heavenly crap. Brent turns to me and shouts. Brent: Oh my God, did you hear that??? Ahhhh! Mike, lets go!! Mike: But how?? It's so far away!
I blink again. Brent is gone. The stage is now miles away. All I can see is miles upon miles of Weird Al fans. I really start to freak out now. I faintly make out two distant, echoed voices from the stage. They belonged to Brent and Weird Al.
Weird Al: Welcome Brent! Now where is Mike? I can't wait to see your carefully choreographed dance moves! They must be SO cool. Brent: Oh boy! They ARE cool, Weird Al! We have kicks and twirls and everything! But I don't have my dance partner. Where are you, Miiiiiike?? Why are you so far away?? I already have my shirt off! Let's dance! This is the moment we've been training for!! Miiiiiiiiiiiiiiikkkkkkkkkkkkkeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Weird Al: Miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiikkkkkkkkkkkkkeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!! Dance for meeeeeeeee!!!
I burst into tears and screamed with every ounce of might.
Mike: I CAN'T DANCE FOR YOU WEIRD AL, I'M BLIND!!!!!!
And that's when I was awakened by the sound of me actually screaming the words "I can't dance for you, Weird Al! I'm blind!" Yep. Why did I have to sit so far away? If I was in the front row, that never would have happened! Then seconds later, my Dad bursts into the room with his daily wake up song:
Dad: Ohhhhhh it's time to get up, it's time to get up, it's time to get up in the morn-ing! Mike: Not now, Dad! I'm stressed out! Dad: Oh nobody likes a GRUMPY GUS!
I ran to the phone and called Brent.
Brent: Hello? Mike: Brent, we NEED to get front row tickets. It came to me in a dream! Brent: Oh my God, I was just going to call you. I had a dream too! It was awful! We NEED to be in the front row. Wait, what was your dream about? Mike: I don't want to get into it...the wound is still too fresh. Let's just get those front row tickets. Brent: Yes! We WILL get those tickets. Why? Because we are MEN. And men sit in the FRONT ROW. Mike: YES! MAN UP TIME, BABY. Manly Mike and Badass Brent! ROARRRR! Brent: WE WILL DO ANYTHING IT TAKES TO GET THOSE TICKETS! YESSS!!!! ROARRRRR!!!! Mike: BRING IT ON!!! ROAARRRRRRRRRRR!!!!
Yeah, we actually roared like lions. It was weird. Let's move on.
So we came up with the best plan ever to get front row seats. Tickets were going on sale at 8am on Saturday morning. Remember, this was before the internet so we had to physically go to the box office to buy tickets. Back then, we didn't have the option to shoot our money into outer space and have outer space shoot us back concert tickets (that's how the internet works, right?). The closest ticket outlet was in the local Sobeys grocery store. We HAD to get front row tickets. We roared about it and everything. The only logical solution was to camp out overnight in front of Sobeys. Brent and I had it all planned out. We'd bring our sleeping bags, our discmans, our Weird Al CD's, some snacks and we'd just sleep on the pavement outside of Sobeys. We could even chat up the drunk people stumbling out of the Big Leagues tavern fifty feet away! BEST PLAN EVER, RIGHT? Those front row tickets were OURS!
Finally, it was the day before tickets went on sale and Brent and I were packing our bags. My Dad walked in and asked what we were doing. We knew he was going to LOVE this great idea!
Mike: Dad, get this...Brent and I are going to camp overnight outside of Sobeys for Weird Al tickets! Dad: Michael, you're not sleeping overnight at Sobeys. Don't be ridiculous.
Wait, what? WHAT?? What did that old man just say to me? Did he say we CAN'T camp overnight? I was shocked! Flabbergasted, even! Now I knew my father. Whenever he said no, I only had one shot to argue my case. After that, it was final. Brent looked at me with a sad face that I can only describe as "helpless puppy having a panic attack". He couldn't do or say anything. Wallace wasn't his Dad. He was mine. So it was up to me. Front row seats to Weird Al were at stake. I took one long, deep breath and spoke.
Mike: But Dad... Dad: Yes?
Ok, here we go. Time to put up or shut up. I imagined the first row tickets fading away from me Back to the Future-style. I flashed back to my nightmare. That's when I felt my first dose of truly adult anger coarse through my body. I saw red and I snapped.
In an instant, I grabbed my father by the collar and lowered him to my height so I could look him straight in his cold, black eyes. I made sure to speak into his good ear so I knew he could hear every chilling word I had to say. I began to whisper:
Mike: I'm going to be very quiet about this because I don't want to embarrass you in front of Brent. But you listen to me and you listen good. Nobody is going to stop me from getting those front row Weird Al tickets. Nobody. Are you willing to die for this, father? Because I am. If you get in my way, I will f**king END you.
Yeah, things got SUPER dark...
Ok, that didn't really happen. What actually happened was far less exciting:
Mike: But...but...Dad! Dad: Yes? Mike: Uh...Please??? Dad: I made my decision, Michael. Mike: But...but...aw man...well...*sigh* Come on, Brent let’s go eat some bagel bites.
While eating the saddest bagel bites in the world, we came up with a Plan B. Brent would sleep over and we'd set our alarms for 3:45am. We figured, if we get there at 4am we'll probably only be tenth in line and we'll at least have a TINY chance of getting front row seats. How many seats are in a row anyway?
So at 3:45am the alarm went off and we RAN LIKE GAZELLES to Sobeys. Would we be even able to get tickets? We were sure the lineup would be halfway down the parking lot. Would it sell out that quickly? Damn you, Wallace!!! Why wouldn't you just let us sleep next to the rowdy drunk people?? The lineup is going to be too long and our front row dreams will be RUINED. After an incredibly tense run, we sweatily arrived at Sobeys to see...
That's right. Nothing. No line-up. Not a single person. What the hell? Then panic sets in: What if we were wrong and the tickets aren't on sale here? It can't be right because there should be hundreds of people here! Were we too late?? Nope. We were at the right place. It turns out nobody else in their right mind would get up at 4am for Weird Al Yankovic tickets. So we sat down and we waited. After about seven minutes we were already bored. Brent was looking awfully pensive. He clearly had something on his mind that was distracting him. He sighed and began to speak.
Brent: Mike, do you think there's a reason why we're the only ones here? Mike: What do you mean? Brent: Look at us. We've never really been the cool or popular kids in the school. We spend our time doing stuff like Weird Al choreography and writing joke books. None of the girls talk to us.
I was shocked. Was Brent having an identity crisis? He continued.
Brent: Plus we're terrible at sports and even the ones we do play are super obscure. We're certainly not scoring "cool points" at March Break Squash camp or at the Curling rink. Mike: Brent, how could you say that?? We both got certificates that named us each a Curl-a-saurus! I got mine framed! We are CURLING DINOSAURS, BRENT. How can you get any cooler than that?? We hurried, Brent. We hurried HARD.
Brent's sad eyes pierced into my soul as he ignored everything I just said.
Brent: And now here we are. Alone again. This time, sitting in line for a Weird Al concert. Mike...who are we? Mike: I don't know, Brent. Who do you think we are? Brent: I think we're two badass mother f**kers who were going to be sitting front row at a mother f**kin' Weird Al Yankovic concert, that's who! Mike: YES! Oh man, you scared me for a second. Brent: Are you kidding? This is the most important morning of my life! It's so fun messing with you. Mike: Man, don't ever do that to me again. I can't do this alone. Brent: Of course. You and me, bud. You know that. Mike: Word. Hey, did you like my "hurry hard" joke? Brent: Yeah, man. Killer curling joke. You might even say that joke..."rock"ed! Get it? Mike: YES! Like a curling rock! That was friggin' wicked. Add that to our joke book!
So that goes on and on for 3 and a half hours. Lets fast forward to 7:40am.
We are only twenty minute away from the box office opening and after 3 hours and forty minutes of waiting alone, ANOTHER PERSON ARRIVES! And people continue to trickle in until there's about a dozen of us waiting in line at 8am. At 7:55, the lady from Sobeys told the rules to the lineup: walk calmly in a single line and do not run. Seriously, lady? We were waiting four hours for this moment. Hell, we were waiting our whole lives for this moment. I didn't know how I was going to react to the pressure. There was a very real chance that at least one of us would go clinically insane with excitement. But we were going to give it our best shot.
The door finally opens and Brent and I manage to calmly speed walk towards the box office. I was so proud of us! But all of a sudden, VROOOOOOOOOOOOM! The guy standing behind us since 7:40am runs right past us!
That's right. A grown man butted in line in front of two 13 year old kids who had been waiting for 4 hours. In case it's not clear: this man was a turd. But we were not going to let this turd steal our front row tickets! We had gone through wayyy too much just to see our front row dreams foiled by this big weenie. Brent and I had no choice but to dig deep and find the inner lion living within us. Suddenly, we were no longer plump, excitable children. We were now Weird Al Warriors and nothing could stop us! With adrenaline shooting through our bodies, we managed to catch up to the man just as we got to the desk. It was a tie. Who would get to buy their tickets first? It was up to the Sobeys lady to decide.
The Sobeys lady looks at us and then the man.
Sobeys Lady: Sir, these kids have been waiting here for hours. Get behind them in line.
WAY TO GO, SOBEYS LADY!! Brent and I smirk at the man and then turn back to the lady. We did it. We actually did it. Now, it's just a matter of buying the tickets.
Mike: We'll take front row centre, please and thank you! Sobeys Lady: Ooh, sorry. Most of the front row is unavailable. Those tickets are reserved for contest winners. The best seats we have available are second row centre. I have them held in the system now. Would you like that?
Our hearts dropped. Desperation time.
Mike: Are there ANY front row seats that we can get?
Sobeys Lady: Well, there may be a few on the far left side but I don't know for sure. If I go check, these second row centre seats will be released and you'll lose them.
Neither of us knew what to do. This whole time we wanted front row seats. We were obsessed. Now, we had a choice to make and we didn't want to make it: do we take the second row centre seats or try for the sides of the front row? The pressure was crushing us. Having to make important, stressful decisions like this is why I could never be a doctor. But before we had a chance to decide, we heard a shout from the Turd behind us.
Turd-Weenie: Hey if these two kids aren't going to take those second row seats, give them to me!
Pfft...screw that guy!
Mike and Brent: We'll take the second row seats.
And that's it. We failed to get our front row seats but we at least did succeed in screwing over a Turd-weenie. We walked away from a long morning hoping that we made the right decision. I guess we were going to find out soon enough.
And YOU will find out soon in Episode 3: The Concert
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