While the story I am about to tell you will garner all sorts of accolades about my generosity and kindness and blah blah blah, the reason it all came about is solely due to my finely honed laziness. Sometimes we just have to stay home. Sometimes we don’t have to be at everything. Sometimes we just have to stick close to our adult kids whether they like it or need it or not. This long planned trip to Austin Texas with a friend to see a Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real concert with the Avett Brothers thrown in for good measure just took an uneasy turn. And those, my intuition always tells me, are always for the good.
I love Lukas. He is an extraordinary singer/songwriter but more than that, he has an energy and aura on stage that is unmatched. I came across him about three years ago in a chance Facebook video. Where else does anyone our age get news today? He was doing his dad, Willie’s, You Were Always on My Mind, which I always manage to confuse with Andy Hill’s, Still Very Much on My Mind. It was from 2013 on a cruise ship in the lounge with a couple of old timers, one on the piano and the other on trumpet. Not a formal show, just a late night hang, that is still one of the most breathtaking musical things I have ever seen. I posted it on my FB page. Fast forward a month and a few friends of mine are raving over him. Well, irritated, I asked them, where the hell had they been since I posted him over a month ago. We started an FB messenger chat and within an hour, I had tickets for the four of us to see him play in a small club in Sacramento in July. There were no other solo shows closer to us, meaning just Lukas and his band. I had no interest in seeing Willie, nor do I ever go to all day music festivals in the dirt. I am too damn old for that. I need comfortable seats. We flew to Sac, saw the show, met him afterwards and got pictures with him. We had a great night out with girls who I had just met a year or two before. Lukas, by this time, had added another show in October at the Fonda Theater right in our backyard in Los Angeles. So we went to that as well and signed up a few more Lukas Ladies to go with us. Both shows were spectacular and reasonably priced. And then that annoying re-make of A Star is Born happens and Lukas pretty much takes off. This February, his $30 ticket at the Troubadour went for close to $480 bucks at first. I was so mad. I wrote his booking agent and asked, what the hell were you thinking letting the scalpers get all the tickets. Why on earth didn’t we get a fan pre-sale at least? He wrote me back a very nice email sort of apologizing.
And that is how I came to buy two tickets to see him this Friday, May 10 in a place called the Whitewater Amphitheater in New Blauvelts, Texas outside of Austin. Now mind you this is not the name of the town, it is actually New Braunfels but for some damn reason this addled brain of mine refuses to accept that fact. I’ve long since stopped asking my mind how it works. My friend has a son that lives there and so the plan was for us to go visit him and his wife and then see the show. She has never seen Lukas; so initiating a new Lukas Lady was going to be fun. Besides it was cheaper to go to Texas than the Troubadour at that point. We had two GA (general admission for the non concert goers among us) tickets, which I was sure I could use once the knee problem got better. It didn’t and so last week I picked up two more preferred seat tickets so that I could be guaranteed a seat as I would never make a four hour standing only show. I could have gone to the Troubadour in Los Angeles twice at this point.
I now had four tickets to get rid of. I hate seeing tickets go to waste. The idea though this morning, of the incredible hassle of actually selling these tickets to people in another state was more than this lazy Lukas lady could stand. About four days ago, I had joined a new Facebook page Lukas had created for fans only called the Realers after his band. I decided I would sell these tickets for karma bucks instead of cash bucks. I would see what happens and so I posted this:
“Stuff happens in life and I always like to put karma bucks in my bank. I can’t go to the Whitewater Lukas show in New Blaunfels Texas after all, so I just want to give my tickets away. I have 2 GA tickets. Private message me. I also had 2 preferred seating but I got a message on those. They are all email tickets so I can email them to you. Just send me some video! Love Maddie! I’ll have to wait to see our Boy when he comes back to LA!”
And then I met Brandee Rockett. Now mind you, when she first sent me a message, I was a little skeptical of that name. No offense, Brandee, but it’s a great burlesque name. Brandee is a 38 year old mom to a 17 year old boy who lives in Austin and is in the process of moving to Denver. Brandee is a thyroid cancer survivor and a huge Lukas fan. She so wanted to see him close to her house but medical bills made it a luxury she can’t afford right now. So what if I’m running my own Make A Wish program. This Friday, Brandee and her 17-year-old son will be seeing Lukas and the Avett Brothers. When you start your day with a message from a perfect stranger that says (Brandee has given me permission to reprint her words):
“Thanks for making a difference in my life. I saw this concert was 30 minutes from my home and was so sad (at first) that I couldn’t attend. My husband and I used to attend concerts on our date nights. One every 6 to 8 weeks and would be planned months ahead. All of that stopped with the cost of cancer. And I mean not just financially. So thank you so very much for this. I am so grateful to see him near my hometown and one of my all time favorite venues before I move. It’s like an acknowledgement of reclaiming my life. That’s how much it means to me. It means everything”
I’ll let you guess how many tears flowed down my face reading this. The power of music. The power of gratitude. The power of laziness. Well it is I, of course, and I turned Brandee on to my blog site and so I made another reader. What is that, ten of you now? She liked the first thing she read. And that is enough pay back for this writer wanna be.
The next set of tickets were the two preferred seating ones. I had received a message first from a 61-year-old gentleman who just had knee replacement surgery two months ago and wanted to take the new knee out for a concert spin. How perfect was he for the tickets I had to buy because of my bad knees? At the same time, I had also received an email from a lovely lady who is a TV producer for an Austin show called Support Live Music. I wondered about her and why she couldn’t just get comp tickets. She even offered a shout out on her TV show for what I was doing. We chatted a bit and then I thought well maybe I should just split the tickets up and give one to Robin A, the knee guy, and the other one to her. I wrote Robin back a message and asked if he wanted one ticket. What he wrote back earned him both. He said he was grateful and all and he would love to see Lukas, as he was a big fan and had never seen him, but he could not go without his wife. Wow, that is love! I would have dropped my husband like a bad habit to go see Lukas with an offer like I made. So now Mr. and Mrs. Robin A will get to see Lukas for the first time and Robin will have lots of time to read my blog since he is still recuperating. It didn’t hurt that Robin is a huge Beto fan either, per his Facebook page I snooped around on.
I told the TV producer why the tickets went to the knee replacement gent and wife and she understood and loved the story. I asked why she needed tickets as she told me she works with Lukas’ people when he releases new videos. What she said would warm the hearts of all my musician friends. She said she never asks for comp tickets. She pays for them herself. The saying at her TV show is “ Pay the Cover, Tip the Band and Buy the Merch!” Now that’s a girl after my own heart!! And she ended her last message to me with ‘just love you and you are funny, too’! So I do what I do best. I sent her to the MY BACK PORCH page and to Midnight Missives and Musings to read me.
I racked up a nice chunk of karma bucks this morning, all before 10:30. It allows me to be a little bad. I like it. Can I afford this all? Hell no!! Will I get crap from certain people about me wasting my money? Hell yes!! Do I care what they think? Hell no!! I don’t get my religion from a bible or a pew or my high from a pill or a powder. I get it from walking around and thinking of interesting things to do and see what happens. The joy I experienced today, not to mention picking up three new readers of my writing and maybe more since I also posted my blog site on Lukas’ fan page, is better than any drug or organized religion on the planet. And maybe, just maybe, it lightens things a bit for those I love the most to hear this. Well, must go, just heard Lukas is playing the Fillmore in San Francisco at the end of the month! Who’s in?