On April 23, 1984, I loaded up in a car with three of my high school buddies and made the long drive from our home town of Arimo, Idaho to the big metropolis of Salt Lake City, Utah. Why? Because Billy Joel doesn't perform concerts in Arimo, Idaho.
On November 29, 2017, I loaded up in the mini-van with my wife and made the long drive from our family home in Santaquin, Utah to the big city of Salt Lake. Why? Because Billy Joel doesn't perform concerts in Santaquin, Utah. (And because my wife loves me very much.)
|My golden ticket!|
For some reason I was in Salt Lake City with my family on April 6, a little more than two weeks before the concert. Tickets originally went on sale much earlier, and I had heard they were sold out. But, a few more seats opened up behind and off to the side of the stage, so I went to the ZCMI Center mall and purchased four tickets for $15 each. (I had to borrow money from my Mom until the other guys could pay me back.)
|Yes, I didn't just keep the ticket, I kept the darn receipt!!!|
(I definitely have some hoarder tendencies.)
Tickets went on sale in mid-February and, unbeknownst to me, my wife purchased a couple of seats. She then spent Valentine's Day peppering me with cryptic emails featuring quotes from Billy Joel songs until finally revealing that she got us tickets to the concert as a Valentine's gift for me. I don't know how much she spent on the tickets. (And I probably don't want to know.) But, I do know that we spent $15 (the cost of a ticket in 1984) just to park the mini-van.
It was a Monday, and we got in the car and left for Salt Lake as soon as school was out. We were three seniors and a sophomore, and the Billy Joel concert was one of the biggest events of our lives. We clenched onto those tickets as if they were made of gold.
It was Wednesday, the day of the concert, and I couldn't find the tickets. I frantically searched the house, looking everywhere I thought the tickets might be, and many places I didn't think they'd be. Eventually I gave up and sheepishly texted my wife at school (she teaches junior high math) to see if she knew where they were. She quickly texted back that the tickets were digital. When she explained to her students why she got a text from me in the middle of class, they laughed, and one of them said, "That sounds like something my grandpa would do." (It's not the first time I've been compared to a grandpa.)
After the concert the four of us spent the night "sleeping" on the living room floor of the brother of one of my friends. (Thanks, Raymond!) And then we ditched school the next day. We were rebels living on the edge!
My wife's parents came to our house to babysit our kids, because we couldn't just ditch them. (Thanks, Grammy and PopPop!) After the concert we raced home as quickly as we could. We felt bad for keeping Grammy and PopPop up past midnight, and we needed to get some sleep ourselves because my wife had to teach school the next day. We have responsibilities, you know.
|No, they weren't the best seats. But, any seat at a Billy Joel concert is a great seat!!!|
(I don't have any pictures from the 1984 concert. Back then there were no such things as smart phones, just dumb phones with long cords and no cameras.)
The concert was fantastic!!! Billy Joel sure knows how to put on a show! We were just four rows up, sitting right behind his piano, so we had an incredible view as he came onstage and pounded out "Prelude/Angry Young Man." Sure, when he was away from the piano at the front of the stage our view wasn't as good, but when he left the stage at the end of the concert he walked down some stairs right in front of us as my friend Chuck screamed like a madman. It was a great concert!
The concert was fantastic!!! Billy Joel still knows how to put on a show! He didn't get up and run around as much as he used to, opting to spend most of the night at the piano. (He is 68 years old now, after all.) But, it was still a great performance. Sure, we were in the nosebleed section, but enjoying the show next to the love of my life was incredible! As Billy was singing "She's Got a Way" and I sat there with my arm around my wife, I actually started to tear up a little bit. It was a great concert!
So, if I had to do it all over again, which concert would I choose? The answer is obvious: both! (You may be right. I may be crazy.) (But it just may be a lunatic you're looking for.)