A long Chicago winter had finally concluded and warm breezes teased us as we hurried through the streets of Lincoln Park that Friday night. Rico and I were on our way to see a funk band. We stopped for dinner on the way so we were running a little late. By the time we arrived at the venue, we were greeted by a sheet of paper taped to the front entrance that read: SHOW SOLD OUT.
This was unexpected. Yet the more we thought about it, the more we felt like armatures. We decided to split up in search of extra tickets. Rico headed east and I ventured west.
For the first time in my life I found myself outside a sold out concert without a ticket. Awkwardly holding my finger in the air, I approached every passerby with three little words, “Got any extras?”
Most folks shook their heads no and some even wished me luck. One lady in a fur coat stared me down like I was crazy, obviously unaware of the sold out concert taking place just up the street. With each rejection the idea of giving up grew a little larger in the back of my mind.
Surprisingly, there wasn’t a single scalper trying to rip off unprepared concert goers like myself. I definitely had enough cash to cover the cost of the ticket and then some. I am not sure how much Rico was willing to part with, but I knew he was better at making those types of back alley deals than I was.
My focus turned to the yellow cabs dropping people off in front of the venue. They seemed like a good bet, but time marched on and I was still ticketless. Eventually the number of cabs delivering potential extra ticket holders started to dwindle and I was began entertaining new plans for my Friday night.
I met back up with Rico to discuss the possibility of giving up. I knew the opening act had already begun to play based on the lack of activity in the venue’s lobby, which we could see through the clear glass doors that were guarded by security. Rico insisted we give it one last try before we drank away our ticket money at the closest bar.
So, once again, we split up.
This time around I chose to linger around the venue. Eventually, I lost sight of Rico and decided to head around the corner to where the band’s tour bus was parked. I debated gathering up the courage to knock on the door with the odd chance of connecting with someone who could pull some strings. Surely they would have some sympathy for a cute girl in a short skirt. But before I got a chance to pimp myself out, I noticed a middle-aged couple hastily crossing the street towards the venue.
The woman’s long brown hair bounced in the wind while her escort’s shiny bald head reflected the streetlights above. They didn’t seem like your typical concert goers. In fact, they looked like money. Her leather cowboy boots were the real deal and his pinky ring screamed bling.
I approached them with a warm smile, “Any chance you guys have extra tickets? The show is sold out.”
They stopped immediately. The woman’s eyes got big as she soaked me in, “Actually, I think we each have a plus one on the guest list, don’t we?” She looked up at the man intently.
I beamed. “I have a friend that needs a ticket too. He’s just around the corner. And we have cash,” I was starting to get ahead of myself as hope grew inside my chest, “How much for the pair?”
“Oh, no no no darlin’,” She shook her head, “We could never take money for something we ain’t payin’ for!”
The man half smiled at me as he put his hand behind the woman’s back, motioning her towards the front entrance.
I practically ran to find Rico. “I got us tickets… for FREE!” the excitement exploded out of me. I had never received a free ticket to a concert before in my life, especially in this fashion. Back in the day I used to sneak into shows and festivals, but this was different. I was practically high off my good fortune.
We found the couple as they were checking in at the box office. Rico and I were still in awe as they each handed us a small blue raffle ticket. We thanked them profusely as the four of us walked through the doors and entered an already heated venue.
“Now you two have fun,” the woman flashed her million dollar smile and gave us a wink. The couple hurried into the show, leaving us alone in an almost empty lobby.
Still in shock, I turned to Rico, “I can’t believe that just happened!”