Our journey to the U2 concert two weeks ago was more complicated than driving from our home to the stadium.
I bought the tickets for Mike in October 2009. No, that is not a typo.
I gave them to him for Christmas that year, as we had always dreamed of seeing U2 live. Seeing them in Seattle was second only to seeing them in Dublin, so we were both thrilled it was finally happening.
Like thousands of other fans, we were crushed when we got the email in March 2010 that Bono had hurt his back and the concert would be delayed. We were absolutely slayed when they decided to delay it by an entire year to June 4, 2011; it felt like they had said, “Whatever date sounds like it will absolutely never arrive — that is the new date of the concert.”
Toward the end of 2010, a couple in our Bible study announced their engagement. We were utterly thrilled for them and so excited to watch them take the next step in their relationship. We didn’t give a thought to the date they chose, because their wedding seemed close, and we thought the concert was impossibly far away…
…until one day in mid-April I was driving to lunch from work and heard the announcer on the radio excitedly mention the concert coming up on June 4. I nearly careened off the road as I dove for my phone to call Mike in a panic. He said we could talk about it that evening.
Talk we did. Many times. We even prayed about it, because the last thing we wanted was to hurt our friends’ feelings. Finally, after much discussion, we figured out a way to honor their wedding and make one of our dreams come true — we would do both. Thankfully, the fabulous bridal couple graciously understood.
I forgot to mention one little factor. They planned to marry in Yakima, which is 2.5 hours outside of Seattle.
The wedding was at 4PM. The concert was at 7PM. This was going to require some
James Bond Mike Reph driving skills.
We dressed for the wedding, packed alternate clothes for the concert, and made sure our tickets were in the glove box. We hauled tail over the mountains to Yakima and made it there at 3PM so we could help with wedding duties. The wedding was beautiful and we were so thankful we didn’t miss it.
We pulled away from the church at exactly 5PM and by 6:55PM we were circling Qwest Stadium. Mike shaved 35 minutes off the drive time. If that’s not James Bond, I don’t know what is (luckily Lenny Kravitz was the opener, so we took our sweet time snubbing the $50 parking lots in favor of the $15 spots half a mile away).
After arriving at the stadium, we realized we couldn’t find our section. We walked back and forth between 236 and 238, but section 237 started to feel like the 13th floor of a hotel…nonexistent.
A concerned stadium guide saw my baffled expression and asked which section we were looking for. “Oh!” she said. “You’re on the club level! It’s one more flight up!”
I didn’t buy Club seats! I am far too cheap for such extravagance. But buying them without knowing I was being a spendthrift was too good to be true.
We walked inside and gaped at the difference — 75% fewer people, no lines for the bathroom, and a far greater selection of food and drink. Then we found that our seats were a mere six rows back from the balcony, our view was stellar, and we were on the aisle.
The whole situation was beginning to feel like a winning lottery ticket covered in sprinkles and delivered by carrier pigeon with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing the Hallelujah Chorus in the background.
Without a doubt, the concert lived up to what we had hoped it would be. I can’t believe I’m admitting this, but I actually cried — more than once. I couldn’t get over our deep sense of gratitude, the beauty of the music, and the magic of seeing the greatest band on Earth.
Knowing exactly how cheesy it would sound, but unable to contain myself, I turned to Mike in the middle of the concert and said, “Merry Christmas!”
He just laughed and pulled me in for a hug, which is how we stood for the rest of the song.