December 12, 2010
By stephvch BRONZE, New Orleans, Louisiana
stephvch BRONZE, New Orleans, Louisiana
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

I looked around the brightly lit bedroom, lit only by the shining sun from outside. It pays to have windows around your entire bedroom sometimes. Music was blaring throughout the house, my brother’s way of preparing us both for the monumental concert we would soon be witnessing. Clothes were thrown carelessly around every surface of the room, making it seem as if a tornado had passed through. “I’m only packing for one week,” I thought to myself. So why was I having such a hard time finding just the right things to bring? Not to mention my lack of motivation was greatly impairing me from completing the task at hand. I looked down at the empty bag by my feet, well, almost empty; it seemed my kitten was trying to help me pack by burrowing herself deep within the duffel. I hated leaving her for more than a few days, but it was a sacrifice I had to make.
My large red duffel bag was finally packed. I struggled to close it, overflowing with clothes, but once I finally did I was relieved. Funny how earlier I had had such trouble deciding what to pack, when in reality I packed almost everything I own. Shows how much discretion I have. I rolled the bag down the long hardwood hallway and placed it next to my brother’s bag, already by the front door. Sad, I thought; he had been ready for this trip before I was, and he is famous for being last minute. I managed to overlook the fact that he had been prepared days before me though, mainly because I knew that in less than twenty-four hours, I would be back in New York City for third time, for the moment I had been anticipating for months.

The flight from New Orleans was nothing special or exciting. And when we reached the hotel, I realized how exhausted I was; the jet lag was unbearable, as was the hot July weather, so I ended up sleeping away my first day in New York.

The next evening quickly followed, the one I had been waiting for since early February. I toured around the hotel room taking my time enjoying the cityscape outside the window. In the distance I could see huge towering skyscrapers, and right below, the hustle and bustle of the New York City streets. Normally, the sight would enthrall me, making me love the city even more, but today was very different; nothing could take my mind away from what would come in just a few short hours. My mind whirled as I thought about the event to occur and lyrics rushed through my memory, making sure that I was fully ready to witness history. “Distance is short when your hand carries what your eye found,” my favorite lyrics played over and over in my head. The anticipation was more than I could handle.

Quickly I dressed, and, with my brother, made my way out of the hotel and through the busy streets of New York, lit up by the glaring afternoon sun. We had the entire evening planned to exact detail and from our hotel room we knew that our trip would be exactly three blocks to the nearest subway station, where we would take the metro four stops, transfer, and then ride for another eight stops. We began our journey down the street, our strides were wide, both of us rushing with excitement. When we finally arrived at the corner of the subway station, we descended the stairs to an underground tunnel. We swiped our bright yellow Metro Cards and pushed past the rotating blockade. After waiting for what seemed like hours, we finally boarded the subway, and continued our previously planned route.
“Next stop: Madison Square Garden,” the cracking voice of the subway controller spewed through the intercom. The subway cars screeched to a stop and the sound of the brakes on the metal rails was shrill and piercing. The force of the stop practically lunged me out of my seat, but it was no bother, I was already on my feet, waiting to get off. My brother and I exited the subway as fast as we could, practically running past the swarms of people trying to get home, and some trying to get exactly where we were going. We ran through the underground tunnel and up the stairs leading to what was now a nighttime cityscape. Once we surfaced, we saw the crowds of people migrating towards Madison Square Garden for what, according to independent music lovers, was one of the most historic and anticipated events ever: the reunion of Dispatch after years of being broken up, for their final benefit concert for the aid of Zimbabwe.
The buzz from the crowd was almost incomprehensible, but every so often, I would catch a few words from another music fan, like one who had said he dreamed of this moment since Dispatch first announced their “break up” just about three years before. The massive crowd was nothing compared to the one already inside, and even that was nothing compared to the total number of people that had flown and driven in from places all over the world. I heard another fan remark about how amazing it was that what had been intended to be a one-night only concert had sold out in less than eight minutes and how they decided to hold the concert again the next night, which had then sold out in less than fourteen minutes, and was extended again, to a third night, which sold out in less than twenty-five minutes, proving that their fan base was both extensive and dedicated. I know for a fact that I fought for my tickets, waiting patiently at my computer for the exact moment that the tickets would go on sale. I missed the first night by a matter of seconds, but when the second concert night was announced, I was ready.
Finally, we managed to make our way inside the huge arena and up a slew of escalators and stairs, eventually finding ourselves to our seats where we would witness history.
Over the next hour, the entire arena filled up with strangers that had come together under one common interest and, for one night in a strange city, became not only friends, but also a family of music lovers. Inside the arena, there was no barrier between race or ethnicity, students sporting their college team paraphernalia socialized without restraints with students wearing opposing teams, the young embraced the old, and country flags from not only the US, but also from Spain, France, Germany, Australia, South Africa, Egypt, and everywhere in between, were hoisted into the air, to show spectators that music had no boundaries. Looking around, you could see people staring in awe at the stories from the strangers sitting around them. Even the strangers sitting near my brother and I offered their condolences and admired our strength after discovering that we were from New Orleans and hearing our accounts of Hurricane Katrina. We all realized the truth in the lyrics, distance really is short. For once there were no differences, only similarities, bringing a strange peace and comfort to everyone in the crowd.
The lights began to dim inside the arena; thunderous roars of cheers and applause erupted from the crowd to show welcome to the three men who had brought the world together, for not just one night, but for three. The screens to the side of the stage lit up saying “all ticket sales and proceeds go to benefit Zimbabwe,” videos of poverty stricken families, left hungry and homeless in Zimbabwe played across the screen, and phone numbers flashed stating the lines were already open to take donations. Throughout the crowd cell phones, including my own, lit up against the blackness of the arena, already making pledges that varied from five cents to fifty dollars. The crackle of a microphone resonated throughout the room, the crowd fell silent, and finally, a voice announced to the patiently waiting fans, “Ladies and gentlemen, we bring you Dispatch: Zimbabwe.”

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