Sunday, August 21, 2005

Jacob's 2004 Adventure: Part I- A Long Expected Concert

About a week before the concert I began to feel more excited than I’d been in a very long while. In a matter of days I would finally be seeing them. I would be feet away from these people who had helped me so immensely through such hard times over the years without even knowing it. It was then that I got the idea: write a letter to them, tell them your story and thank them.
I spent two days before the show pouring my heart out onto sheets of paper. I wanted to make sure they knew how truly thankful I was.

The 21st arrived. The day I’d waited roughly five years for. I literally woke up with a smile on my face that morning. Excitedly, I got ready and my parents helped me make a few signs for during the show.

We got to the venue around 5:30 PM and joined the small crowd out back by where the tour buses were parked. I met some great fans, a few of whom had even come from outside the US to see this concert. After a little while I heard a small commotion in the crowd, then I looked across the street and saw the reason: Keith Duffy was heading in our direction.

I was so struck by the fact that The Corrs’ bass player was standing right in front of me that it didn’t dawn on me until later that the two gentlemen he was with were Anto Drennan and Kieran Kiely, the band’s lead guitar and keyboard players respectively. Though they seemed in a bit of a hurry, Keith was gracious enough to sign my copy of Corner to Corner for me.

Having until 7:00 when the doors opened, I hung around for a while in hopes of catching a glimpse of the band. We saw Jim for a split second in the distance, but that was about it.

Things were going great, my energy level was high, and a little after 7:00, we decided to go in. As they looked at my ticket I got a bit nervous. Were they going to stick me in the disabled section? Thankfully, things continued to go well. While I bought the tour program and a poster at the souvenir stand, they sent someone ahead to move some chairs for me!

My parents and I wandered the venue for a little bit and finally got to our seats just minutes before the opener, Sophie B. Hawkins went on. She played for around a half an hour and put on quite a show. It was unique to say the least.

In between acts I got to meet some other Corrs fans that I had met on an internet message board dedicated to the band. It was great to put faces with the names and to be together sharing this experience.

Time passed and the sun set. Through the curtain at the back of the stage I watched the moon rise as night fell across Cleveland. It was nearly 9:00 and I was glowing with excitement.

Shortly after nine the lights went down. The audience began to applaud as the intro music began. One by one Keith, Anto, and Kieran took the stage along with Keith’s brother, Jason Duffy, who was filling in for Caroline who was too far along in her pregnancy to play. Then Jim crossed the stage and took his place as the cheering intensified. Next was Sharon, again the cheering intensified. Finally Andrea came on stage, the crowd exploded with cheers and applause and in that moment time slowed down for me. After waiting for so long, there they were, The Corrs (minus Caroline) were assembled on stage right in front of me. That was the moment it fully hit me. All the waiting and hoping had led me to this moment, it was finally happening. All the energy built up and I'm not ashamed to admit I nearly cried, but Andrea took the mic, the band burst into “Humdrum,” and I used that energy to dance along all night.

The seats were incredible! I had never been in a better spot for a concert. I held up one of the signs I brought, it read “Welcome to Cleveland!” Upon reading it I saw Jim smile, that sent my energy level even higher.

After each of their first few songs, the audience kept giving standing ovations. The band, especially Andrea, seemed taken aback by the response.

During “Joy of Life/Trout in the Bath” I switched to my next sign. It read “Andrea- Can I Have Your Tin Whistle?!” Once again, time slowed down. I saw Andrea’s eyes as she was reading the sign, then they raised and met mine. As Andrea was playing and looking right at me, she nodded. I was speechless. As if being feet away from them wasn’t enough, I was now interacting with The Corrs.

About halfway through the show, Sharon set down her violin and took center stage to sing “No Frontiers.” Though Caroline was missed, Sharon’s performance was absolutely flawless and left me with my jaw dropped.

Towards the end of their set, they played “I Never Loved You Anyway” and Andrea introduced each member of the band before being introduced herself by Jim. At the end of the song Andrea made good on her nod. She came over in front of me, bent down, handed her tin whistle to my mom for me, and then she blew me a kiss. Every time I tell this story to someone I say this and mean it: that moment alone was worth the five year wait.

The last song of the set was “Goodbye.” It was even more beautiful now that I was hearing it live. At the end of the song Andrea left the stage, shortly followed by Sharon. They put down their instruments and left the stage just as they arrived, one by one. In the end there was only Jim left. Eventually he stopped playing the keyboard, said “Good night,” and left the stage.

Minutes passed and the audience was on their feet, then the band returned for an encore. They started with “Breathless” and once again I switched signs. The final one read “Can I have a hug? Okay, I’ll settle for an autograph.” Jim started to read it, but the bottom of it was in the shadows, so Mom lifted it up for him and he started laughing. Then the cutest thing happened, Andrea forgot the words to “Breathless.” It was so great how the audience’s singing helped to get her back on track. Later, Mom told me she thought Andrea messed up the lyrics because she was reading my sign, but I wasn’t sure.

After “Toss the Feathers” they took their final bows and the show was over. I had been to some great concerts in my life, but that was the best. Finally seeing them and practically being a part of the show had surpassed even my expectations.

On our way back to the van, tin whistle in hand, it dawned on me: I still had the letter! The letter I had worked so hard on was still in my possession. We quickly made our way back to where the buses were, but found that the band had already left.
I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to give it to them, but the rest of the night had more than made up for it.

Continued soon...

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