The Waiting Game

Concert parking catastrophes

I'll skip what's really on my mind - how CONCERT PARKING SUCKS - because I am in the doghouse about it over not filing my Live Shot on ZZ Top show. I won't go into details about a 55-MINUTE LINE INTO THE PARKING LOT or why it annoys me that the Backyard misspells "glen," a small valley, as "Glenn" like the man's name. After attending music events for more than 40 years, I've reached my limit of doing the came-upon-a-child-of-God-he-was-walking-along-the-road march to Woodstock, ACL Fest, or any other place that requires me to park a ridiculous distance and stumble with a bad knee to the venue.

Except for the Rolling Stones. I'll walk, skip, hitchhike, fly first class, or take enough painkillers to limp anywhere to see them.

My most notorious concert line incident occurred in 1969, waiting to see Blind Faith at San Antonio's HemisFair Arena. With a portable tape recorder stashed in my purse - you could do that then without being a Deadhead - I stood with friends at the front of the line, huddled together while someone split a tab of acid. We alternated between saving a place in line and going to the water fountain to swallow the acid.

Two of our group had no tickets but we devised a plan: I'd go inside and meet them around the side of the arena and let them in. About an hour before the show began, the doors opened. We winked at each other and I walked in with my friend Debbie. We strolled along the bank of glass doors until we found what looked like a good place to throw open the door. Unfortunately, the two without tickets had blabbed the plan to some other have-nots. About 14 people stared at me from outside, waiting for the moment.

Debbie was the lookout. She gave the signal and I dashed to the door, pushing it wide open. Just then two cops came around the corner. I tried to slip into the crowd but one spotted me and gave chase. I ran, dodging hippies, and ducked into the bathroom. It was the men's room. The floor seemed to give way under a yellow-green florescent light. The acid had kicked in.

The cops followed. "This is the one who let them in!" he crowed triumphantly as he grabbed my wrist and dragged me out of the bathroom, throwing me out of the arena. The people I'd let in were inside and scattered, save two who just stared at me through the glass, the ingrates. Holy shit, what was I to do? I was desperate to see Blind Faith.

I still had my stub but it wouldn't get me back in. Concocting a lame story about losing my ticket, I called my mom and cried. She drove all the way downtown and bought me another ticket as I desperately tried not to look her in the eyes for fear she'd bust me for tripping. I got back in just as Delaney & Bonnie began their gospel-injected blues-rock and melted into my seat, tape recorder going.

Thanks, Mom!

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ZZ Top, Backyard, Blind Faith

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