Bon Jovi, Xcel in St. Paul, April 7 2013

photo via Pioneer Press :: pretty sure Jon is reaching out for us here 🙂

This is the longest post I’ve written in a while – but I’ve got a story that so full of awe-inspiring goodness, I couldn’t stand to leave out the details. Ready to rock?

Over the past 24 years, I’ve lost count how many times Bon Jovi has performed in Minneapolis, but I’ve been there every time. And last fall, they announced they’d be coming back on April 7, 2013. YES!!! I was thrilled. This band has provided a soundtrack for my life since I was in my early teens and I’m so into what they’re about as human beings: compassion, persistence, service to others, seizing the day and doing what you love. (Oh…and…um…I might still have a schoolgirl crush on the lead singer. So, there’s that.).

I’ve attended shows with a wide range of friends and family over the years, but I had someone extra-special in mind this time around:  my 10-year-old, Ryder. My dad had taken me to my first big concert – yes, BON JOVI – when I was 14. Just the thought of doing the same thing with my own kiddo got me all choked up.

But I needed some help to make it happen. 

I turned to my buddy Michelle, who is a concert junkie known for her amazing ability to snap up the best seats (seriously, you should read some of her stories here). She gave me the pep talk I needed, reminding me the perfect tickets would find their way to us. See, Michelle doesn’t go for just any seats; she always taps into the power of intention, visualizing the perfect seats for each concert, fully believing they’re possible to get, and trusting her instincts about when and where to purchase. Knowing that I approach many things the same way, she encouraged me to take some time to envision the perfect seats at the perfect price. I did. I pictured us to the left of the stage, a few rows up, and on an aisle so that Ryder could see everything clearly (on the floor, everyone’s at the same level and his view would surely be blocked). I could feel the excitement, the thrill of it! I didn’t need to know how it would happen; I just needed to trust it could and would.

Months passed and I occasionally checked the ticket sites, but didn’t see anything enticing. The original section I’d envisioned us sitting in was 118 – and the ticket prices seemed to be rising there and everywhere. Even though Ryder and I really wanted to go, I couldn’t justify spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on tickets for each of us. I tried not to worry and kept telling myself that if we were meant to go, we’d find a way.

But nothing materialized.

Last week rolled around and I started checking sites every day – Ticketmaster, StubHub, TicketKing, Craigslist, eBay. The tickets in 118 and most of the lower level were crazy-expensive and I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of sitting in the nose-bleed seats for Ryder’s first show. Then, several days before the concert, lead guitarist Richie Sambora backed out of this leg of the tour. For many bands this wouldn’t be a big issue, but Richie and Jon are an iconic pair and amazing performers together. Honestly, it made me feel a tiny bit better about potentially missing the show.

By Sunday, the day of the concert, I still had no tickets. And folks…I was feeling a little low.

My heart was still all-in – but my head had already decided it was too late. I spent the day working on taxes in my pajamas (could there be anything more depressing?!). Eventually, I went upstairs to take a shower and settle in for a quiet evening at home with the fam. It was 4pm; the concert would start at 7:30. I thought about the band arriving in the Twin Cities, glad they had a sunny day to greet them. I thought about them prepping backstage, about their crew making final tweaks to the stage and sound system, about the thousands of fans giddily getting ready for an incredible night. And that’s when it hit me: a wave of clarity and a voice in my head, asking me what the heck I was doing just standing there. I thought about much I would regret not taking a chance to make a memory with Ryder; I wanted him to be able to say, years from now, that his first concert was Bon Jovi – and that he went with his mom.

In mere minutes, I went from feeling down in the dumps to all fired up!

I rushed downstairs and revealed my new plan: Ryder and I would drive down to the arena, ask our angels for some serious help and find two perfect seats at the perfect price, somehow some way. Ryder was worried: “But what if we don’t get in!?” Brad smiled and said, “I know your mom. You’re getting in.” Ha! Loved that!

We rushed to get ready (so much so I forgot the battery for my camera – gah!). Everything was working against us – time, ticket prices, ticket availability – but I had to quiet the doubts in my head and just follow my heart. As we hopped in the car, I continued whispering to my angels and envisioning those same aisle seats I’d been eyeing all along. The only tickets I’d seen available in section 118 were going for over $400 and that had been days earlier. So, I told myself that just getting in the building and sharing that experience with my boy would be exciting enough…but I told my angels that 118 would be especially heavenly. ;o)

We made a quick stop at the ATM; as I withdrew $300, I felt a twinge of anxiety. Would it be enough? Would it be too much? Would I regret spending all that money on crappy seats? I stopped myself from diving down the rabbit hole and set an intention, choosing to expect that the money I spent at the concert would swiftly work its way back to me – maybe through a new client, a few ecourse signups, whatever. That allowed me to move forward without any guilt or worry attached to it.

Meanwhile, Ryder’s biggest worry was whether or not the concert would include his favorite song, “Shot Through The Heart” (a.k.a. You Give Love a Bad Name). 🙂

Okay, this is where the story gets really good…

We arrived at 6:50pm (40 minutes to show time!!!), practically flew down the stairs of the parking ramp and spotted a scalper on the next corner. I knew the seating chart by heart and knew exactly where his tickets were – way too far from the stage. He walked with us over to the arena, where two of his cohorts had more tickets on-hand. Friends, these guys were sleazy…but they had some decent tickets. One pair was to the right of the stage, which they first offered for $350. Couldn’t do it. $300? Still no. $280? Okay, maybe (that’s actually what I had left after paying for parking!). I almost agreed to the deal, but a great big guy with kind eyes leaned in and said, “Ma’am, when you’re done with them, come see me. I think I have some tickets you might like.” This, understandably, ticked off the three stooges, who were yelling at me to make a decision. But I was curious and needed to know my options, right? I took a couple of steps towards the big guy and he handed me two tickets: Section 118, Row 16 for $260 total.

I’m pretty sure I stopped breathing for a second. 

I had not said that section number out loud to anyone but Brad, Ryder and the angels. “These are aisle seats,” the big guy said. “So you know your little guy will be able to see.”  Holy crap. Was he an angel?? I said YES, of course – and he was kind enough to walk us into the arena so we could be sure the tickets were real before I handed over the money.

Ryder and I were so excited, we squealed and jumped up and down as we made our way through the crowd. When we got to our seats, they were awesome – just up from the stage and Ryder could see perfectly.

Before the Bon Jovi concert, section 118!!!

The lights went down, the crowd went crazy and Jon’s voice rang through the crowd: “SHOT THROUGH THE HEART…AND YOU’RE TO BLAME…YOU GIVE LOVE A BAD NAME.” Ryder and I just looked at each other and screamed! We couldn’t believe the one song he hoped to hear was the very first song they sang. Seriously, those angels pulled out all the stops. 

Jon Bon Jovi, St. Paul, MNAt one point, the band played one of my favorites – Lost Highway. I put my arm around Ryder and we swayed to the music…and I started to cry. Thankful for that first concert 24 years before with my own dad (and knowing he was with us Sunday night). Thankful for angels who rock it out every time I put my trust in them. Thankful for the enduring power of intention and for people in my life to remind me of it. Thankful for a band that has cheered me up and pulled me through so much. Thankful for such an incredible moment in time with my boy – one neither of us will ever forget.

The night was amazing – and it ended on the perfect note. After the concert, Ryder called home from the car to give a full report to Brad. He excitedly told him all the details and then Brad said he had something to share. While we were gone, he decided to go through Saturday’s junk mail, which included a plain white envelope he nearly threw away. When he opened it, inside was a check for a deposit we’d made years ago and never thought we’d get back. It was just enough to cover our tickets, our parking, our drinks and even Ryder’s new Bon Jovi hat. Yes, really.

See why I wanted to share the whole story!? I hope that it not only made you smile, but also serves as a reminder that when we lean into the power of intention, lean on our support systems – angelic or otherwise, and lean toward the notion that anything is possible…guess what? Anything is possible. Rock on, fellow sparklers.