this is the first time i`m flying into DC but i`ve been there before under a very interesting set of circumstances too.
in 1998, i took a hiatus from my job and went to NY and interned at an art gallery in the east village for six weeks. while i was there i managed my editor in trinidad and the pr company for the tibetian freedom concert that my coverage would be a good thing. i think this story is more interesting that the one i submitted.
so after much back and forth between my editor and the pr company, i was told to pick up my tickets at the will call window of rfk stadium in dc. at this point i had no idea how i was getting there, limited financial resources, no idea where i was staying [it was a two day concert], but i was going. two days of the best performers, i had camera, i had notebook, it was free, i just need to get there. it was all part of the grand adventure.
i work out the cheapest way for me to get there was by bus. getting there was no big. now here was the rub, i had no idea where i was, where the stadium was or the distance between the two. luckily i ran into the two kids, i can`t even remember their names now, but they couldn`t have been older than 16.
they like me, were from out of town and just as clueless, but we decided to pool our meagre resources and took a cab to the stadium, the ride itself seemed straightforward and took about 35 minutes. keep this in mind, because it`s pivotal to our hero`s tale.
when we got to the stadium, we split up while i went to get my passes and find a vantage point to take in the day`s performances. i can`t remember most of the acts that crossed the stage that day with the exception of dave matthews. typing this i have goosebumps. he was amazing and the most spectacular cover of all along the watchtower.
there are pictures, somewhere, i know there are and when vic and i finally unpack my copious amounts of crap, i`ll scan and post them. this was pre-digital days.
after dave, i wandered around taking pictures writing notes, pondering my budget and how i was going to eat and not get dehydrated on the money i had. suddenly, i noticed a flux of people with passes similar to mine heading into an enclosed area, i had found the holy land, nirvana, the press tent.
perhaps i should explain, at an event with this many stars, this volume of international press coverage and managed by a pr firm, a press tent is an oasis in the desert. it usual means, phones, internet, food and drink. and i was right.
i got bumped by someone famous who was exiting an interview, but at that point it didn`t matter, i had shelter, i had food and i had what passed in those days for highspeed internet connection. i didn`t have a story to file, but i could just sit and enjoy the cool and watch the event on the monitors.
sadly it was not to be. this is where it got really exciting, about 15 minutes after i got to there we were advised we all had to leave there was a tornado warning in effect. puzzled and stunned i filed my way out along with everyone else and struck up a conversation with a report for one of the local affiliates and was angling my way into finding somewhere to crash for the night. and even more shit happened.
remember the girl that got struck by lightening at some concert in dc? it was this concert and i was there. the rain was falling and all the media deziens were sitting on the some steps to the back of the stadium when the buzz started. someone got struck by lightening. inside the stadium. they were stopping the concert. it`s funny for people who job is supposed to factual there was a lot of hearsay and gossiping going on before the formal annoucement. when everything was confirmed all hell broke loose, my new friend and possible source of housing bolted with her camera crew to cover the story and i was pretty much left to my lonesome with the non-english speaking media and fanzine guys.
as if this weren`t bad it enough at this point, the heavens opened up and poured. i like rain. hmmmm, let me qualify that, i like warm tropical rain. not that cold stinging shit that was being dumped out of the sky on me. and that point, i had no choice. the concert was over for the day, i had nowhere to stay and not enough money for a cab. so i began my trek in the rain back to the bus station.
now there is a long standing joke amoung my friends that i`ve sold my soul to the devil for parking and an unfailing sense of direction. the parking thing is scary but is a tale for another day. however the sense of direction has served me in good stead and none greater than that cold, damp saturday in dc. i had no real idea where i was going, i was just walking and picking streets at random because they looked like they would take me where i was going and lo and behold there was the bus station. i`d found my way back.
wet, tired and disappointed i made my way back to new york and caught highlights of the next day on tv. funnily it was only during the following week i remembered the one person that would have put me up no problem, but then i wouldn`t have this tale.
washinton, dc, tibetian freedom concert, 1998