Take Back the Night…

Take Back the Night.

In the words of Justin Timberlake’s recent song, THAT is exactly what I would LOVE to do… again! EVERYONE needs this kind of experience from time to time to put this crazy, sometimes depressing world in perspective.

You see, I recently attended the concert of a lifetime, with seats to die for! Think of your favorite singer, musician or band and be close enough to actually make eye contact and interact with him or her.

JT photo

Dream come true, right? Well that’s what recently happened to me on a recent warm evening in Detroit, Michigan. With my girlfriend Mindy by my side, we reverted from Mommies in the hood to giggly 16-year-olds.

There’s something about the anticipation of attending a big concert; the road trip there, deciding what to wear and attending the pre-party before. (Yes, our seats were that good.) You’ve been waiting for so long for this day and here it is right in front of you. Now you’re on the road, jamming to tunes, dancing in the car and laughing so often you sometimes even snort. There was a part of us that wanted to paint the car or wave flags to tell everyone that we were head to the “D” (Michiganders’ nickname for the state’s biggest city) to see JT and Jay-Z! On the way we called our husbands and our kids to share our excitement. A couple of Facebook posts and texts later (not from the driver, of course) we arrived.

Can I get a “What?!! What?!!!” 😉

There we were, checked in and cranking up the tunes in our room as we danced some more while getting ready. We opened a bottle of “Celebrate” champagne, raised a toast to the night and were off. I may or may not have had a minor shoe issue, but that was fixed by a quick run back up to the room and we completed the short walk to Ford Field.

We located our party package area and the moment came to see where we would sit. We already knew we would be on the floor (which was fab already) but when Mindy opened the envelope, we literally whispered a “F*** Yeah!” to each other as we smacked hands. (Intense high fives can sting.)

OMG! 2nd Row! Center!

2nd rowI could feel my heart beating faster and faster. We tried to eat in the party room but anticipation was killing us. We grabbed another drink that I happened to drop, with an apologetic “sorry” to lady next to me. Then we were off to our “kick a@@” seats.

The bass  was already thumping…the house DJ was spinning tunes as we “danced” our way past three (yes we were that close!) check points to get to the floor! We kept “dancing” closer and closer to the bright red stage…boom…boom…boom. We grabbed a Bud Light® from the vendor and waited in anticipation as we high-fived our seat “neighbors” in front, behind and on the side of us. We were ALL about to share this concert experience!!!

 Then…the lights go down, the bass gets turned to eleven and the band starts toward their instruments. Boom…Boom…Boom. The crowd is chanting…clapping…screaming!! You hear his voice first, and then Justin Timberlake slowly appears on the left stage. Wooooooo! OMG! Jay Z appears on the right. Justin Timberlake is walking this way; closer and closer until he is standing directly in front of YOU…looking into YOUR eyes for at least 10 seconds (well maybe 5) but you’ll take it! Your heart is beating faster and faster. There are 50,000+ people in the stadium that evening… and he sang to YOU. Can this night get any better?!!!! Yes, it can! How about some head nods from Jay-Z, some dance moves from JT and a little point in YOUR direction!! Yep. 🙂

Good Lord, EVERYONE needs to have an evening of moments like those Mindy and I enjoyed. I truly didn’t want it to end. If only… we could “Take Back the Night” and do it all over again. We left the weekend with a life changing experience, one that rates right up there with births of our babies and wedding days. Yes. It’s true.

So, I thank you for sharing in our adventure by reading and now I turn to you…

Who would YOU want to see, up close and personal? Who would transform you back into a hyped up teenager and why?

(On a side note: We seriously contemplated if it was possible to become “groupies” and travel around on his new world tour that starts this month. Would there be a way to get paid to “review” each concert in each city? Could we “hang out” with JT and his band “The Tennessee Kids?” Hmmm….I know we are moms and wives and all that… but is it possible? (Hint, Hint) I’d like to believe it IS! Mindy and I would be REALLY good at it. (Wink, Wink)

P.S. Here are a few more photos that we took from our seats that we never actually sat in… ( because we were DANCING!!) Did I mention that I happen to be a “fan” of Justin Timberlake? 🙂 Oh! I also left a fan of Jay-Z as well. I also included a link below to preview or purchase the new album.

The Complete 20/20 Experience – Justin Timberlake

JT photo2 JT 2 JT 1

5 Things I Learned from My “Date” with Mitch Albom

Mitch AlbomOkay, so it wasn’t a real date.

But the thought of having an hour and a half conversation with an inspiring author and sportswriter makes me happy. So join me in my mind as we order some wine. (I’ll have a glass of Riesling, please.)

I recently attended a recent National Writers Series[1] event at the City Opera House in Northern Michigan that featured Mitch Albom. I graduated from Michigan State University’s College of Communication Arts & Sciences[2], so I had a professional as well as personal interest in what he had to say. I also consider myself a sportsperson. I enjoy watching football, basketball and golf, and dance is as athletic and graceful as any other sport. I became a fan of Mr. Albom when his first book, Tuesdays with Morrie,” was recommended to the world (and me) by Oprah.

ESPN is on continuously at our home. Its recaps of big games are great, but my favorite segments are the “tear jerking” stories of REAL people with REAL stories of TRIUMPH over adversity. Mr. Albom excels at this type of story in his Detroit Free Press [3]column, and on his own web site[4]. (Hmmm…I think I’ll have beer instead.)

My own ‘Tuesday with Mitch’ (The date was Tuesday, July 2) was an enticing, intriguing, entertaining conversation about life, sports, social media and the never-ending changes in journalism for both print and television. During the event, he shared humorous stories about his sports column, the effort to complete the biography of University of Michigan’s Bo Schemblecher and his coverage of Olympic events. It was a VERY entertaining evening.

His most memorable moments, along with the discussion of his charity work, however, were his thoughts about the many best-selling books he has written. Ironically, most seem to deal with “death” and “after-life.” This fact became of point of laughter with the audience. Some of the 500 or so with me on this ‘date’ wondered if he has some obsession with dying. He responded by saying that even though most subjects involved death in some way; the most important point to take from those stories he told was “HOW to LIVE.”  (Disclaimer: I am not quoting “my date” Mitch in anyway, I am simply sharing what I remember, what I “heard” and what I specifically learned that evening.)

Doing a thirty-second recap of inspiration for those who could not join me, these are the top 5 things I learned from best-selling author and sportswriter, Mitch Albom:

In 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…. (On air)

1.     Life is hard, have a sense of humor. Writing can be lonely, have a sense of humor.

2.     Authentic journalism is hard work. When you make a negative or rude comment about an article, remember that hours of research, development, etc. went into writing it.

3.     When looking for a story or writing a story, make an effort to find that unique angle…something that you can feel in your gut, or makes your heart beat faster. If you can physically feel something within yourself…. write that story.

4.     Being a “Storyteller” can be a powerful gift. People will come and go in your life for different reasons, but sometimes when you listen to their stories, you can be inspired to tell it to the world.

5.     If you can have a positive impact on somebody else’s life with your stories or things that you write…even one person… THAT should be considered SUCCESS.

One more disclosure in the interest of true journalism: my ACTUAL conversation with “my date” Mitch Albom was more of a “fleeting ‘Hi, I love your work, can we take a picture although I know you need to move the line along,” moment. Not memorable in any way to him, no doubt, but to ME…LIFE-CHANGING. (I DID get the picture, however.)

Thank you, Mitch Albom for inspiring me with your work, your stories and for our “evening out.” I am striving hard to be a “Storyteller” like you.

P.S. I am anxiously awaiting your next book, that we happened to get a sneak preview of: “The First Phone Call from Heaven – A Novel.” (Scroll down for amazon links, if interested)

Mitch Albom Books