View from the front

Decades ago, my then-boyfriend, now-husband drove me to Omaha and promised somehow we’d get in.

We didn’t have tickets to see Bon Jovi but surely some sad scalper would have two overpriced seats in the nose-bleed section.

We spent the evening haggling with suspicious characters in a parking garage across the street from the old civic center – and heard wisps of Bon Jovi music coming from the building whenever the main doors opened.

That was it – we didn’t even get in the building. But I fell in love with the guy who tried to make it happen.

Many years flew by and my Bon Jovi moment never came. There was too much standing in the way with kids to raise and work to do. But my husband and I spent many memorable moments listening to my favorite music.

Then one fine day, my dreams came true. My husband surprised me with tickets to see my favorite band in concert. The seats were great – up just high enough to be almost even with the stage and off to the side. It was close enough that at one point I made a run for it, charged the stage’s runway despite six body guards and asked Jon Bon Jovi for his hand.

He obliged and for five seconds, I was in rock and roll heaven as the beautiful lead singer squeezed my fingers, gave me a wink and told the guards to leave me alone. I even fell down and hurt my knee as I ran back to my real leading man who was busy photographing the whole incident (if you look on the left side of the photo below this story, you will see me having my Jon Bon moment). It was a magical night. I figured it was my one and only.

Years later, I was having a particularly trying day. I was driving down the street when I saw my husband driving in my direction. He stopped, I stopped and we rolled down our windows.

“You having a better day?” he asked, smiling.

“Sure,” I said. “It’s fine.”

“Well, this might help,” he said, handing me some folded pieces of paper.

“What’s this?” I inquired, as I stared at the graphics on the front page.

That’s when I realized I was looking at a concert logo and saw the words which sent me into orbit, had me running from my van and grabbing at the man in the other vehicle. I shrieked with delight and jumped for joy.

“Does that make you happy?” he asked, laughing. I assured him it did and he informed me the Bon Jovi concert was in just a few days because the band was making a quick stop in Omaha during their world tour. He also noted that the seats “were pretty good.”

Well, the night of the concert, I found out not only how great the seats were, but also how fabulous my husband is.

I noticed he was in a particularly good mood, considering it was difficult for him to take off a Monday night to make the wife happy. Little did I know, he was harboring a wonderful secret.

Once inside the concert arena, we made our way to find our seats. Typically, we’ve run along the massive corridors with hundreds of other people to sit high above the stage. But this time, on the main floor, we walked toward a man in a suit who was standing in front of dark curtains.

My husband showed the man our tickets and a woman wearing a similar formal get-up asked us to “come right this way, follow me.”

First of all, I was stunned someone was going to be escorting us to our seats. The husband just grinned. Soon we were on the very main floor of the massive venue, stories below the puny little seats high above our heads.

“Oh my gosh,” I whispered to him. “We are really down on the floor!”

We followed the suited woman who proceeded to guide us down a walk-way between only about 100 seats.

Row by row, we continued to walk toward the stage.

“She is still walking, we are still walking!” I exclaimed as we passed by row after row of chairs.

“We are still walking!” I said.

“We are still walking!” I repeated.

“I can see the microphone stand and we are still walking!” I gasped.

The suited woman turned to look at me and just laughed.

“She doesn’t know where we are going,” the husband told our escort, I suppose to explain my strange behavior.

We walked and walked and walked and walked. The stage became larger and larger and more in view. I realized we were getting so close to the stage it was as if it was only going to be us and the Bon Jovi crew that night.

“Here we are,” the lady said with a grand arm gesture indicating I couldn’t have hardly gotten any closer – unless of course, they were going to let me play the keyboards.

I stared at my husband, laughing and crying at the same time. I couldn’t believe it.

“I told you that someday, I’d get you really good seats,” he said.

Wow. It only took 25 years and he so pulled it off.

I quickly realized seats such as this have other perks besides the incredible view – there were hardly any lines for drinks or bathroom stops. Never experienced that before.

The lights dimmed and I realized that somewhere in the course of time the thousands of seats high above us had filled with what looked to me like tiny little faces and lit cell phones a mile away.

The room began to stir and I looked to the incredible stage. There we were, literally sitting underneath the massive light and sound structure – my phobic mind told me that if it fell, it would surely crush us. What a way to go out, I gushed.

And then, the boys from Jersey came out onto the stage.

We danced the night away and I marveled how not only could I not see the overhead screens because we were too close, I didn’t even need them. I could see everything with my own aging eyes – everything down to the shoes Mr. Bon Jovi was wearing.

We were about an hour into the fabulous musical extravaganza when I noticed people were marching toward the stage next to my seat. Instantly, guards came rushing, commanding these infiltrators to go back to their seats, that they didn’t belong there. A guard told me to go where I belonged.

“But this is where I belong,” I said, noting this was my assigned placement.

“Oh, yeah, you are fine,” he said. “The rest of you back off.”

That’s when I happened to look up and saw Jon Bon Jovi was nearby — he seemed to be looking right at me.

My eyes met his and I carefully mouthed, “Are you looking at me?”

That’s when I saw Jon’s face crinkle in a smile and slightly nod his head in the affirmative.

What in the world was happening, I asked myself as I realized we were having another moment.

Suddenly, I felt a sense of camaraderie with the superstar and a wave of confidence washed over me.

“Sorry!”  I yelled to him, looking him straight in the eyes. “I can’t get any closer! Oh well!”

Thank God for my ability to read lips because that’s when he flashed me the famous smile and actually spoke.

“Oh well!” he said back.

“Oh well!” I responded.

He gave me a look which seemed to say “See you soon” and our moment was over.

“See you soon,” I said, smiling over my fake and momentary friendship with the guy whose posters covered the bedroom walls in my teenage years. “See you soon.”

And then I turned to the real guy in my life and realized I just fell in love with the husband all over again.

“Thank you for the best night of my life,” I yelled, wrapping my arms around him while we rocked out to “Dead or Alive.”

Everyone deserves to see life from the front, even if it takes several decades to get there . . . especially when you are standing next to the person who makes your dreams come true.


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