August 2, 1998
The trick about this show was that the venue was changed TWO days prior. But I thought it was a blessing in disguise because the venue they ended up playing at was in the heart of Ball State University. So, there would be a lot of people around the area and we might have a lot of "walk-ins".
I had been playing a vicious game of phone tag with Bryan Beller up until the day before they were going to be here. I had been prepared to let three or four of the group stay at my house since they had an RV. But, as everyone knows, the RV broke down and I didn't have enough room or bedding for everyone so I bought them three hotel rooms with "the works" so everyone would be comfortable and not have any worries. I even gave the girl at the desk Bryan and Mike's names so they could just check in without any worries. Their
With everything under control so far, I headed to the venue. I wanted to get there early to make sure everything was on schedule. The band was to arrive for load-in at 5:15 and it was now 4:30. Everything was going very well so it was just time to wait for them to show. Promptly at 5:15 Bryan came in and introduced himself. He then wanted to know where to load in and they began a very quick load process of getting the gear in the venue. Once everything was in, each member of the BFD entourage introduced themselves to me. They were all so incredibly nice. I felt bad for Cami (she's incharge of the merchandise) because she was sick but as the night went on her spirits rose quite a bit. The last person that came into the venue was Mike. He stopped to talk with Thomas Nordegg for a second and then came over to my table, introduced himself, and sat down. Mike was so nice and we talked brieflyand he thanked me for everything that I had done so far. I had to pinch myself for a second because everyone that I had heard so much about, watched on video, and listened to, was there. I talked with "J" (BFD's video guy) for quite a while. He was too cool.
After they finally got everything set up and soundchecked, Bryan yelled for everyone in the BFD group. They were deciding on where to eat. Once that was decided they proceeded to zip out of the venue. I was talking with some friends and I saw that Bryan had came back into the venue and heading straight for me. He said " What are you doing? Let's go get some grub!" So my girlfriend Janice and I gathered our things and headed out with him. Mike and half of the group went to a eatery call "La Bamba" and the other half went to a bbq place called "BW 3". After everyone was done it was decided that it was time to get changed and get ready for the show.
I headed back to the venue to see how the crowd was shaping up and the band went to get changed and warm up. We tried to make everyone feel as comfortable as possible. My girlfriend Janice was so on top of things. She was just as much of the "guest host" as I. She noticed that "J" and Cami had run out of cigarettes and she shot out of the venue and went across the street and bought them more without their knowledge. They were knocked out that she did that. Later in the evening, "J" was having trouble with his eyes and he was asking around if anyone had any Visine. Without hesitation, Janice shot out of the venue and went and bought Visine. What a trooper! But these guys deserved it and more.
In the parking lot I talked with Thomas Nordegg (road manager) for quite a while. Thomas is an incredible person. He couldn't convey enough how much Mike has risen to such a higher level than where he has been. He's hitting new territories and Thomas was just at a loss for words. I knew what he was talking about but I also knew that I had to see it to believe it. Boy, was I in for an awakening!
Showtime finally rolled around and Mike/BFD took the stage. I would say at this time there were 150-175 people there. Very intimate but very cool. I heard Mike calling my name so I headed up to the stage and proceeded to thank the powers that be and introduced Mike and the guys. And away they went.
This is where it kinda starts to get a little glossy. I had taken out my video camera and I was just going to capture some moments but about three songs into the set I just stopped. There was something more happening here that video could not capture. I really don't know how to explain it. Mike and the guys were so on it and I knew it. I could not take my eyes off of Mike....he was definitely reaching deep inside himself and everything was flowing and they were having a great time onstage. Being a musician myself, I know that feeling but Mike was somewhere else. During one song, I can not remember what it was, they were near the end and Mike was just holding this one chord and playing it over and over and that's what did it for me. Mike was no longer playing the music- he was the music. He was not here anymore and I knew it. It was an incredible moment and it truly moved me. I know that sounds pretty damn deep but that was the most intense performance I had ever witnessed and ever will. Thomas turned and looked at me after that song and he didn't need to say a thing. There were only 175 people there but it could have been 10,000 by the reaction they received.
After the show was done, Mike and the rest of the guys mingled with the crowd and signed everything. Janice and I helped Thomas tear down the equipment and load out. The guys were really surprised we were doing that, but it was the least we could do.
After everything was done, there were hugs all around. Everyone was full of "thank yous" but it was us who needed to thank them for gracing us with their presence. I have been to many shows/concerts before but this was the be all-end all. It was a magical evening.
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