after a long 8 hour day of training yesterday, i called my friend mitchell, who was in town for the day. we had a pretty exciting plan for the evening--grab a bite to eat, and then go see andrew bird playing a hometown, sold-out, small venue show featuring new material from the album he was about to go on tour to support. there was just one problem, though: we didn't have tickets. so our getting in would require a little extra work.
our first move was to head down to the venue a few hours early and see what might develop. we took the train and then walked to the address and found ourselves in what pretty much seemed to be a shipping yard. mitchell and i began to wonder if perhaps andrew bird was part of an elaborate crime front, and there wasn't really going to be a concert. finally, though, we found the venue, and decided to walk around back to see if anything was happening back there. sure enough, we could hear the sound check through the back door, which had been left open juuuuust a crack. mitchell and i looked at each other, and then headed in. one exploratory turn inside the building found us a foot from the stage and the band, much to our delighted surprise. they looked at us and then went back to work, so we sort of stupidly stood still, staring like dumbfounded cows. this would have been a good time to come up with a plan for the next move, but instead we just watched. so when the sound guy came and asked us what we were doing, all i could manage was a weak mumble about not having tickets and maybe we could watch the soundcheck. sound guy said that'd be up to mr. bird, who made just enough of a motion with his head to indicate that he in fact heard this statement, but without visibly responding in any way to show support or opposition to the idea. so sound guy escorted us out.
as we walked back to the front, we met the bouncer and chatted him up, doing what the corporate (or myspace people) call "networking". as mitchell and i walked away from the venue and talked about various things we might have done or things we might have said and wondered what, exactly, is the etiquette for offering bribes to bouncers. we got some food and decided to go back and try our luck with the bouncer again. at this point i elected mitchell captain of the team on the grounds that i could drive to see the show in indianapolis so i wasn't as invested as him (but secretly because i fear confrontation). we headed back hoping to find the bouncer, but instead met jessica, who booked the show and who told us there was no way we were getting in without a ticket. when mitchell insinuated that perhaps some financial resources might change the situation, jessica responded that if she was even a little bit unethical, she could have received all kinds of favors in exchange for entry to the show. i asked if there was someone more unethical we might talk to, but she said they were all ethical in there. so we started to leave again, but this time we saw our friend the bouncer through the window and waved at him. he smiled and waved (this big black bouncer guy, smiling and waving at us!) and came out. "have you talked to those two?" he asked jessica, but old jessica just would not back down, so we left again.
this time we regrouped in the lumber section at the nearby home depot instead of over italian beef sandwiches in lincoln park, and we decided that if we came back after the doors had opened we might just see the bouncer, who we felt was pulling for us in this matter. so we killed some time, and came back to the venue. the doors were opened, but no one was waiting outside, so we shuffled up to the front door and went in, where the bouncer was waiting to check IDs. he said it was up to jessica, so he called her over again, and mitchell, pulling out our very last unused trump card, said, "here's the deal. we came all the way from nebraska, and we saw that it was sold out, but we thought..." "you did not come from nebraska! show me your driver's licenses!" jessica exclaimed, sort of smiling (it's good to have good-looking friends!), and i knew we were in. we produced our proof of residence (GO 'SKERS!!!), and she asked us how many times we'd seen andrew before, and where. and then she let us in, and mitchell and i paid and got our hands stamped and then found a place to hide in case they changed their mind.
(i'm sure some of you are thinking that technically i didn't come from nebraska to see the show, but like lots of people have probably said at various times throughout history, don't let the facts get in the way of a good scam. so let's leave it at that, eh?)
and then, there was the show. everyone, go see andrew bird if you can--it's an incredible experience, and andrew bird is a rare phenomenon: a gifted songwriter AND a virtuoso performer. he must have played 10 songs from his new album, which i can very confidently say will be AMAZING. and if you don't believe me, ask mitchell. it was really good.