8.17.2006

Driving Miss Peaches

Rachel's company has sponsored a series of concerts this summer called ZooTunes at the Woodland Park Zoo. Last night's performance was Etta James and Rachel was wise enough to sign us up to volunteer for the event. So we showed up and breezed by the front gate thanks to our awesomely hip Wahington Mutual volunteer t-shirts. We showed up to the volunteer tent to check in, they didn't have any "Joe" name tags, so I was christened "Mike" for the evening. We then sat down for a spell while the opening act finished and the volunteer coordinators tried to decide where to put us. Rach had volunteered a few weeks prior and ended up at the gate stamping peoples' hands for reentry where she couldn't even see the band. A woman approached us and offered the crappiest volunteer job available. She needed somebody to walk around and use a yard stick to measure the lawn chairs the spectators were sitting in. If they were above 24" we were supposed to destroy the chair and promptly escort the perp to the exit.....well, no not really, but she did want us to politely ask them to fold up the chair they hauled in from the parking lot and sit down on the grass. Rach and I bluntly explained to her that this job did not sound like fun and we were merely here in an attempt to see Etta James for free and that we had even considered changing out of our volunteer T-shirts shortly after entry to the event. She wasn't really expecting anybody to jump at the chance to harass complete strangers about the dimensions of their camping chairs anyway. It was a good thing we held out too. After all the joking with Rachel about being assigned to Etta's personal security staff and carrying her to her limo bodyguard style while kicking the menacing paparazzi and reporters square in their faces, our assignment came. Shortly before Etta took the stage, one of the volunteer coordinators approached us and told us to report to Henry at sidestage. I wasn't actually Etta's body guard, but was pretty close, they gave us a radio and put us at the side of the stage. We were to allow only Etta's family, friends and those with the "all-access" passes to come backstage. Along with that we were charged with enforcing Etta's strict no-video, autographs or photography rule. So, in short, we ended up about twenty feet away from the legendary singer and had damn near the best seats in the house. We're pretty sure that Etta was giving me the eye too, though I fell out of her favor when an onstage fan was blowing in her face and she said "Somebody turn that SHIT off," and some fat stagehand came to her rescue instead of me... Oh well, she put on a great performance and had everybody up out of their 24" high lounge chairs dancing, clapping and singing.

4 comments:

Big Daddy said...

Etta must be doing the zoo/garden circuit this summer. She was at our botanical gardens a month ago.

What a voice!

Anonymous Midwest Girl said...

ha! that's awesome. if only you'd been able to make it to the fan first....

joanne said...

soooooo cooool! Joe, I am sure Etta would have preferred your valor anyday. I am so jealous!

Anonymous Midwest Girl said...

Chris and I bought a tent! You guys need to come back and go camping with us!