Concert 42 – Cleveland, Ohio The Alchemist
August 27, 2009
I am in “rock star” love with Mike Bedard, the drummer and music director in Jordin Sparks Band. Mike is 34 and has been touring with bands since he was 14 years old.
More on Mike and our spontaneous conversation in a minute.
We drove from Columbus to Cleveland last night. I wanted to sleep in a bed, take a shower, and be close to the venue. I was so tired that I pulled over to sleep for 15 minutes. Somehow after 5 minutes I was wide awake and ready to drive. The coffee I bought at McDonald’s was still too hot to drink. Eventually, drank the coffee, drove to Cleveland, and found the hotel easily. Arrived at the hotel around 3am.
The day was a cloudy, rainy day. The weather had changed and it felt like fall was coming. It was the kind of weather that lets you know the summer is over. Gather your acorns. Get out the winter clothes. Chop the wood for the fire. Simmer a hearty soup on the stove.
It felt like things were coming to a close today. This was the last concert in the United States. Jordin Sparks has started to tour with Britney Spears and tonight was her last concert. (Found out later that she will be in Toronto and Ottawa)
I was sitting in the mall next to the Ritz Carlton. Groups of teens were trying to find ways to spot the Jonas Brothers. I had already passed Kevin Jonas on the street with his bodyguard and the little dog that he and Danielle have together. I was driving around the corner to enter the parking garage. Very little traffic on the road. I stopped and rolled down my window to tell him that tonight was the 42nd concert for us this summer. He said, “Thank you.” Another one of my ungraceful stalking, star struck moments.
Now at the mall, I sat at a table finishing a blog about California. Looking for the words to describe other concerts, too. Looking around me at the words that pop out from signs in the store windows. One of my favorite things to do. Look at the words, songs, and people who cross my path.
I checked some Facebook messages and this one popped out at me: It was from Raphael Araujo, from Toronto: Life is not about what you can do. It’s really about what you can BECOME. Spread your wings and FLY!
In the mall, the words that pop out at me are: Love All, Serve All. Celebrate. The quote from Raphael and the words from the wall bring me into a deeper place of reflection.
I sit here asking myself questions. Some days I ask myself questions like: why am I sitting at the mall? Or why am I going to 45 concerts? Or the biggest why, Why am I alive and what have I come to do, to be, to experience?
Today that is the question: Why am I alive and what have I come to do, to be, to experience? I roll around the words: Love All, Serve All.
Walking by my table, as I write are Garbo, Caroline, Ryan, Christa, all members of the JB band. I say something to Caroline and then see that she is on the phone. She smiles and waves. I say, “Hi” to Garbo and Ryan. They smile and nod. They pause, as if I look familiar but the quizzical looks on their faces tell me they are not quite sure who I am.
Christa Black is the amazing string player who is writing a blog this summer about her life and her thoughts http://www.christablack.blogspot.com/ She walks by my table on the level below. Sunglasses, hair pulled back, earphones connected to an IPod.
10 minutes later she passed my table and I decided that it was now or never. This may be the last time I am close enough to thank her for the summer. I want to thank her for her music that stirs my soul, for the impact she is having on my daughter, Hannah. She listens, nods, lets me know she understands, thanks me and then continues to walk around the mall to wake up. Just enough time for me to really feel a moment in time connection with her.
After talking with Christa, I thought for a minute about why I need to say anything to her or anyone in the band. Why should they care? I don’t want to bother them. I don’t want to interrupt a moment of silence or privacy. And then I think of you, the readers, the travelers along our road and all of the Jonas Brothers fans. It warms my heart when we talk. I am so disappointed when I read that you didn’t want to bother me. The interactions with each of you has been special and precious. Yes, take the time to share the journey with the members of the band and with Hannah and me and with anyone else who moves you.
At the arena in Cleveland, I walked quietly along the path. I took pictures of the last venue that will have all of the sponsors I have traveled with for over two months. Summer camp is really over here for the sponsors and all of the people who have traveled and worked since June. Some will take a break and then continue with a different band, some will go back to college and others will look for another job. The memories of dancing, playing, connecting and evolving this summer linger in my mind.
About 25 feet from me, I saw Mike Bedard, the drummer for Jordin Sparks. I thought that this was his last concert on the tour. I did not want to waste the opportunity to tell him how much I enjoyed his performance this summer. I was expecting this to be quick. I didn’t want to take up his time. I was sure that he had some reason to go inside and get ready for the show. It was 4pm.
I told him that the journey began as a way of connecting to my daughter after my husband died. He stopped, said he was sorry and then hugged me. I big ole bear hug. Wow. I haven’t had anyone react that way ever. He wants to hear more of my story. At one point, he asked if I had read the book, The Alchemist. I said, Yes. Actually I read it last summer and really connected with the book after going to 15 Jonas Brothers concerts. I felt I had been on a healing journey.
Here I was talking to Mike Bedard and we were relating to the moments we all have of coming to the edge of the cliff and taking a step. Not sure why we are called to the journey and yet, knowing that there is something for us here. We talked for about an hour. The production manager, Mike Schaeffer (?), not sure if that is his last name, was also there, nodding and understanding.
It was so unexpected to have this moment of deeper reflection about the journey of concerts this summer. He was amazing and interested and supportive and a deep thinker. It was so cool!
It was time for them to go and Mike S said something about, did I have tickets? I said no, not yet. He looked shocked, said, hold on, made a phone call and turned to me. Got my phone number and said he would call in 30 minutes. An hour later, Mike, the drummer came outside with two comp tickets. (Just as aside, comp tickets are usually gone by this time of day. I know for a fact that in LA, one of the band members could not even get tickets for his MOM! This was a miracle!
The show was phenomenal. It was one of the highlights of the trip. I am in “rock star” love with Mike Bedard. The tickets were a bonus after an incredible conversation.
Here is a brief description of a part of, “The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo,” as summarized in Wikipedia.
“Central to the novel is the concept of a Personal Legend. Santiago first learns of one’s Personal Legend from The King of Salem, who tells him “It’s what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their Personal Legend is.” He expounds on this, saying “…there is one great truth on this planet: whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it’s because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It’s your mission on earth.” The King also tells Santiago of the importance of following the omens on the journey to realizing one’s personal legend. Coelho follows this advice himself; he will only start writing a book after finding a white feather.“
(Now a day later, as I entered the hotel room outside of Montreal, there was a feather on the door threshold! Yes, even going to 45 Jonas Brothers has feel of a personal, alchemical journey.)