Friday, May 18, 2018

#464 Chills and Fever

Even though I’ve been to many concerts in my life, I still have a few “must see” names on my list.  Some are permanent, as they are either deceased or no longer touring (Bee Gees, Burt Bacharach, John Denver, Tom Petty).  One is still going strong, and I made plans to see him last weekend.  That would be Sir Tom Jones. 

About 15 years ago he was performing in Fort Wayne (?).  At the time, I thought the distance was too great.  I don’t recall the particulars – the day of the week, the cost.  Regardless, I didn’t go and have not seen his tours come close to me since. 

In January I randomly did a tour search and saw he was performing at the House of Blues in Chicago.  After discussing with my friend Krista, also a Tom Jones fan, we decided to make a weekend of it.  Everything fell into place – I found a reasonably priced hotel and parking garage within blocks of the House of Blues.  Yes!  We would finally see him! 

Being the “Girl Scout” that I am (not really a girl scout, but always prepared!), I checked the Chicago weekend weather.  High 64, low in the mid 50s.  Some rain.  I brought a light sweater and an umbrella.  When we arrived Saturday afternoon, it was in the mid 40s.  Home had been in the 80s so it was a brutal slap in the face.  Darn Lake effect! 

To avoid the cold, Krista and I had an early dinner at Ēma, which is attached to the Hilton Place.  Everything we had was outstanding [asparagus risotto, pan-roasted Romanesque cauliflower, chicken kefta and king salmon (both meats were kebabs, which came with rice).  Krista had a sticky date cake for dessert.]  After a quick, brisk, windy walk to the House of Blues we stood in line for around 30 minutes until the doors opened.  I snagged our tickets at Will Call and we managed to find seats at a tall table with a decent view from the second balcony. 

For those unfamiliar with the House of Blues, most tickets are standing room only.  Not ideal.  I did get a call a few days before the show asking if I wanted to upgrade to VIP seats, which would provide reserved seating, among other things.  “How much extra is that?” I asked.  The woman replied, “It starts at $300…”  I promptly cut her off.  “Oh no, that’s not going to happen.” 

By the time I bought my tickets, the only available spots were the balconies.  Tom had postponed his HoB show from last September when he had hip-replacement surgery, so a lot of the tickets were already spoken for. 

We spent our 1 ½ hour wait before the show chatting with our table mates Glen and Barbara, a nice couple from Wisconsin.  They were supposed to go to the September show and had seen Tom five times before. 

Pre-show and pre-disappointment.  

 At 8:05 p.m. Barbara what what might be keeping Tom.  And then, the “voice of God” came over the loudspeaker and announced that the show was postponed.  Barbara thought it was a joke.  Everyone was stunned.  About 10 minutes later, the voice spoke again.  No joke.  The house lights came up and the roadies started breaking down the stage.  Why, why, why??! 

We checked social media to see what had happened to Tom.  No information.  Of course, I thought I had killed him, as celebrities tend to die when I’m out of town (See Post #84).  Did he have a stroke?  A heart attack?  A family issue? 

Eventually we said goodbye to our new friends and walked back to the hotel, stopping this time at the Ēma bar to have a drink (the You’re a Peach was delicious!) and wallow in our sorrows.  Sunday afternoon Krista forwarded me an announcement on Instagram that Tom had a throat infection.  Which is ironic, since I woke up Sunday morning with a slight sore throat.  Oh, how I wish I’d caught it from him. 

So now Krista and I stand at 0-2 with our attempts to see Tom.  First time, we didn’t try.  Second time, we tried valiantly but ended up with an expensive girl’s weekend.  With a little luck, there will be a third, successful time. 

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