If you’re lucky you realize before it’s too late that time and life is passing you by. It wasn’t until my husband and I had reached far into our middle age years that we realized the true meaning of this adage. There were so many things we had planned to do, yet they were left undone. Time was not going to stop or slow down for us, we had to take charge if we wanted to make a change.
We started by creating a list of artists we wanted to see in concert. We had started listening to them on vinyl then moved on to cassette tapes, to CD’s, to now listening to digitized files on our iPhones. Forget the ongoing debate regarding which format offers the best sound, the hands down winner is a live performance. Being in a room with a few thousand like-minded people, as the chords of treasured songs are brought to life, is a feeling that cannot be replicated.
Some of the artists we wanted to see ventured to our little city of Reno. Many gave Reno a pass. To achieve our goals we would have to do a bit of traveling. First we ventured to San Francisco to see Billy Joel and Elton John. We spent an enchanted long weekend wandering the streets by the bay. Next we drove to Sacramento, in a snow storm, to see the Eagles. As we sat perched on the side of the mountain at the Donner Pass, hoping the tire chains would prevent a down hill slide when we crested the peak, we contemplated the wisdom of this adventure. As the first few harmonic notes of Seven Bridges Road were struck, we knew what was to follow was worth our troubled journey.
Next on the list was Phoenix and Tom Petty. The idea of Phoenix’s perpetual summer intrigued us, as it does the 300,000 or more snowbirds that visit the area every winter. So while fall approached, we planned our trip. In preparation we tirelessly listened to Tom Petty favorites and introduced ourselves to his latest releases. We read reviews of his other tour dates, noting the changes in song line-up. We debated which songs were his best, which would make the play list for our concert. Our excitement almost reached the breaking point as we boarded our Southwest flight on Friday afternoon. Saturday was spent basking in the dazzling sunlight while we explored downtown Phoenix. Saturday evening, before the concert, we had reservations for dinner at a restaurant with white table cloths and the promise of an exceptional dining experience. It was perfect, everything fell into place. As we leisurely talked over dinner, our conversation drifted to the anticipated concert. We bantered about the songs we were going to hear.
Off to my right was a table of three couples, of an age similar to ours. The laughing and joking indicated they too were having a good time. All of this was comforting back ground noise for our evening. My ears suddenly pricked up at a note of dismay. Although talking quietly, the table next to us appeared to be alarmed by some news. I heard the words “Tom Petty” and then “canceled”. I watched, riveted, as one gentlemen presented his phone to another, as if in confirmation.
“They’re saying the concert is canceled.” I urgently whispered to my husband. As we sat in confused silence, my husband’s phone buzzed a jarring note. He examined the screen and shook his head.
“It’s true,” he uttered, “I just got an email. The concert has been canceled. Tom Petty is sick.”
“We flew all this way,” slipped out. “I have been thinking about this for months,” joined those dejected words.
I felt defeated. My heart was heavy. I had waited almost thirty years for this concert. How after all the planning could it just slip away? My husband look stunned. Disappointment lay on the table between us. Lost in our own thoughts, we journeyed to the same conclusion. We were both dumbfounded at our absurd situation. I’m not sure who broke first, however the silence between us filled with laughter.
“I can’t believe we did this.” The words tumbled out of my mouth. “We just flew 744 miles to NOT go to a concert”.