(click to enlarge and sharpen)
Sometimes caution and the wind are meant to meet.
For about two months Shannon had been looking forward to seeing Daughtry at Taste Addison on Saturday night. You’ve heard of them, right? Chris Daughtry‘s band? He made it to the final four on last season’s American Idol, and I enjoy the few songs I’ve heard.
Shannon found other fans who wanted to go and nudged a couple of her closer friends into it. A couple days before the concert, two of the girls canceled on her (she had kind of talked them into it, anyway, and one was celebrating her son’s birthday the same day), and a couple hours short of when she was to leave, the others backed out, too (although they seemed fired up about it).
She wanted to go, but not alone. After much wracking our brains to figure out who could watch Ben while I went with her, we decided to make it a family outing. We loaded up on snacks, water, and wax earplugs for Ben and left the house to Cassie. If Ben and Daughtry didn’t mix, then I could pull him aside for Bonkers the Clown and the clog-dancing, bluegrass-warbling Napper Sisters. Please, God, let him be fine at the concert.
Daughtry was slated to start at 9 p.m. We hit our exit offramp at 8:20, with only about a mile or so to go, and promptly turned the wrong direction. The Mapquest printout somehow had baffled both of us. I turned Homer around.
That’s when things got hairy. And very slow.
We passed several $10 parking chances because we had no cash — there were plenty of ATM’s inside the event, but none along the way, not even near the ticket booths. Once we committed ourselves to the traffic SNAFU (one lane crawling stop-and-go each way), all our options were gone. Shannon didn’t want to let me just drop her off at the gate, for fear of not being able to gain admission with a debit card.
The snaky road took us past the front gate and back to a bridge over the tollway we had left nearly an hour before. We crossed over it and saw a Wal-Mart with a bank branch (and ATM!). Shannon scurried inside and grabbed cash, and we parked there for free.
Ben running alongside Shannon holding her hand, I led the way and let them know when each of the two four-lane crossings was clear.
As we raced along the sidewalk, 10- and 20-story office buildings on each side of the street, we heard Daughtry’s performance coming from speakers near the ticket booths. Shannon sang along like a giddy schoolgirl.
Officially “in” within 10 minutes of parking, we squeezed our way through crowds content to watch the show on oversized TV’s, and finally saw the band live, in the flesh, at about 9:30. Had we taken that exit and parked at Wal-Mart in the first place, we would have been there well before 9 o’clock and wouldn’t have missed a single note.
Might have even got a spot closer to the stage. The pic below is a full frame after I walked forward about 50 yards from Shannon and Ben, using a zoom lens maxed out to 315mm.
Ben was amazing. At first, Shannon held him while I shoved wax into his ears. Arms weary, and wanting a better vantage point, she handed Ben off to me. For the rest of the time he stood there, completely content, munching raisins and Goldfish while I made bad recordings and shot half-baked pictures of a very good show.
One step in any direction and we would have swapped sweat with other concert goers. That kind of crowd would intimidate anybody less than four feet tall. For Ben, one false move could mean a face full of ass or crotch.
Which, for most people in most situations, is not desirable.
For a brief moment (he asked to get down), Ben sat on my shoulders, and Shannon said his face lit up.
See a couple more of my pics on my Daughtry picture page. Next time, I have to get closer to the stage.
After the show, we took Ben to ride a little fire truck and to try to pick the winning floating duck. He ended up with the default prize for buying three chances, which made a pretty good sleeping buddy on the way home.