Strange things happen when you least expect them. That’s been true at many points in my life…
I had broken up with my girlfriend just weeks before the Iron Maiden concert at the Long Beach Arena. We had booked a limo, I had paid an ungodly amount of money for fifth row seats. It was going to be a night to remember. But due to one falling out and many hurtful words, we went our separate ways. In doing so, she took one of the tickets, I took the other. So on the day of the show the limo pulled up in front of my house and I got into it alone.
When I arrived at the show she was already there, but she was no longer in the seat next to mine, but instead sitting with a couple of guys in the third row. So there I was, standing all by myself as the lights went out and the music exploded from the amplifiers. It only took a couple of songs in when I noticed her in the arms of the guy just to her right. She would occasionally glance back at me to see if I was watching. But when she would look back again I would be gone. Not the money spent, or the band could make me stay another minute. So I walked through the tunnel under the seats and out onto the walkway. As I made my way to the exit I happened to look down at the ground. Stuck the concrete floor was a back stage pass. What luck, I thought. For only a few weeks before I had stumbled across a Metallica backstage pass.
I leaned over, pealed up the sticker, stuck it to my shirt and began my journey to go where not just any one has gone before. I found the entrance guarded by two very large men in yellow shirts. I walked right by them, chest out and pass showing. I thought that for some reason the powers that be felt sorry for me and therefore decided to help me out by laying a lost pass at my very feet. But as I rounded the corner to the area behind the stage, I had to began to wonder.
There was nobody back there except for a handful of people. There was a couch, a juice bar with a man standing behind it, a couple of tread mills and a few scattered empty chairs. There were five women sitting in a circle of EZ Boy recliners and a couple of children on the floor playing with a big red ball. There were maybe six people standing to the right of the speakers and a few roadies place in various spots under the scaffolding holding up the floor to the stage. It was then that I realized that the person who had lost their backstage pass didn’t lose it at all, but tossed it aside on their way out the door.
There were no half-naked girls, no tables filled with rock stars and lines of cocaine, no empty beer bottles stacked in shapes of pyramids, no clouds of smoke, as was the case at the Metallica show. No this was quite the opposite. For being a die-hard metal head and a huge fan of Maiden, I sure felt completely out-of-place. I sat down on the couch all alone once again.
A few moment later a man approached me wearing a bright red jumpsuit and holding a devil head-piece in one hand and a glass of milk in the other. He sat down next to me and said, “Hi, I’m the devil”. I said hello as I reached into my pocket and pulled out a cigarette. He then looked at me and said, “Oh no, there’s no smoking back here”. I didn’t say a word. I mean what was there to say really. The lights from the stage went dark and he said, “Well that’s my cue”. He then stood up and put the mask over his face. He looked down at me and told me that if I wanted to see something really cool to follow him. So I lifted myself from the couch and followed him the a small platform under the center of the stage. He told me that when they lift him up there will be an opening where I can stick my head through and be able to get a fantastic view of the show. So as the intro to Number of the Beast came over the amplifiers, the platform began to move. The lights came on, the devil leaped from his perch, Bruce began to sing and I was able to see everything.
I looked out at the crowed of thirteen-thousand screaming fans. Dickinson danced around just inches from my head. The drum riser was behind me and the vibrations from the bass rattled my entire body. A feeling of excitement rushed over me as I raised my arm high into the air and extended my fingers into horns. Just then I saw my x-girlfriend embrace with this guy in a polo shirt with the collar flipped up around his neck. She was kissing him. If it wasn’t bad enough that she was with someone so soon after our break up, but it was a polo wearing someone.
Just as the song ended and the devil jumped off the floor board and onto the cement ground below I looked up to see her looking right at me. The spot lights had lit up the percussion stand which shinned down on the top of my head and shoulders. Everyone could see me emerged from the stage. I looked out at the crowd and saw my x looking right at me with her jaw dropped to her cleavage. I stopped for a moment, frozen in some kind of pinochle shock. Then all in a moment I flipped her the bird, the fans went crazy and I felt someone grab my legs and pull me under the riser. The two men in yellow shirts swiftly and aggressively extorted me to the exit and pushed me through the doors to the outside streets.
I got into my long white stretch limo, popped opened a beer bottle, and sat back to pondered on my night as we drove home. After all it’s not every day you get to flip the bird to your x while on stage in front of a sold out crowd of people while Iron Maiden provides the background music and two video cameras project your finger onto four jumbo screens. Sometimes life can really suck. I guess if you don’t let it get to you and you just walk away, it rewards you too.