I slept as much as I could on the bus, but the scheming K and I had done on the way to Michigan kept turning in my brain.
Stay, my intuition urged. Stay.
Intuition, or newly intensified Lindsey obsession? Not sure. But whichever it was, stay was its message.
CHICAGO, DAY ONE
This part of the story starts about two or three weeks earlier. Several of us found out about a contest being run by a Chicago radio station, WXRT, where the first 100 callers would win two tickets to a private Lindsey show at an intimate local venue.
N called. She didn’t win.
I called. I didn’t win.
My friend L, who I was staying with while in Chicago, called.
And she won!!!
I found this out, along with the fact that I was going to get to be her guest, in the middle of a workday and spent most of the rest of my shift randomly jumping for joy.
And now, the big day was here!
My bus arrived in Chicago around 4am Central time. It was still pitch black outside, and having never been to Chicago I had no idea what kind of neighbourhood we were in or where I needed to go from there, so I found a seat in the terminal to wait.
While waiting, my mind kept spinning.
Stay. See that second show. Stay til Wednesday. Just. Stay.
As the sun began to rise, I made my decision.
Without getting into the sordid details, I had a plan, and I put it in motion.
I drained my savings, made some calls, and suffice to say, I was staying.
I headed out of the bus terminal with a purpose. I didn’t have a map, and there were no smart phones then, but I knew I needed to head north.
This was one of the many times in my travels that I was grateful for my innate sense of direction. I had no idea which way was north, but I happened to choose correctly.
I found a Kinko’s, and went online to find my next destination. I kept walking, located the place, and completed my mission.
I exited the ticket sales agent triumphantly, ticket for Wednesday’s show in hand. Again, all three Chicago shows were general admission, so my lateness didn’t matter – all I needed to ensure great seats was determination, and I had that in spades.
With the whole day ahead of me, I decided to make my way towards the venue, but enjoy the ride. I walked around a little more before hopping on the El train.
I would end up becoming incredibly familiar with Chicago, its streets and transit system on this trip. I had to travel pretty far across town, both on foot and by train and bus, and I was fascinated by everything in this famously Windy City. There was an energy about just being there, that was giving me an extra bounce in my step as I explored.
This was early in my travels, one of the first places I’d been on my own. And combined with having spent the last few days in Lindsey Dreamland, my whole world felt brand new. Real life was, literally and figuratively, a thousand miles behind me.
I felt free. And it was amazing.
2006 was a very good year, but a hard one too. Early that year, an old car accident injury came back with a vengeance, and I’d had to go through physiotherapy to rehab my right knee, literally relearning how to walk properly. I lost my full time, well paying job, and subsequently my apartment. I was living on Sister Coyote’s futon in her living room, questioning my life choices and wondering how I was going to move forward.
Meeting Lindsey and Glenn were dreams, and they had come true. But I always wanted to do it all: go to college, film school specifically. No small feat for a high school dropout. I wanted to have a career, and buy a house, a car. Have stability.
Instead I had a GED that no Canadian university or college seemed willing to accept, a part time job paying $8 an hour, and the aforementioned futon, and if I didn’t get enough hours at work I often skipped meals.
To get here I saved money I should have used on food, because I needed the escape. I needed to get away for a while. I couldn’t sit and think about it all the time, stay home and face my failures every single day.
This trip was about as far from life as I could possibly run, and it was fantastic.
I arrived at the venue hours ahead of time. L worked standard business hours, and the show wasn’t until the early evening. I stayed near the venue for awhile, hoping to catch a glimpse of Lindsey. It was incredibly cold, though, and eventually I needed to go inside, so I explored some more and found a Starbucks.
Pumpkin spice lattes were the official drink of the Under the Skin tour for me, apparently.
As showtime drew closer, I decided to head back to the venue. On my way, a man stopped me to ask where I had gotten the coffee – he was from out of town, and looking for a Starbucks everywhere. I explained I didn’t know the address, as I was an out of towner myself, but I pointed him in the general direction.
As he thanked me and set off, his lanyard flapped in the breeze.
Revealing a Lindsey Buckingham laminate.
Too late I realized I had just given vague coffee directions to Lindsey’s guitar tech!
I kicked myself all the way back to the venue, where I discovered a small line forming. I called L to let her know I’d try to hold our spot, and settled in for another wait.
Shortly before the doors were set to open, a car pulled up and a man got out. I paid no attention to said man as he was ushered in front of me, towards the entrance, bypassing the line.
Suddenly my eyes focused as the man accompanying him opened the venue door.
“Hi!” I chirped, eyes wide.
He turned back.
“Oh hi!” He replied, surprised. He was whisked inside then, and I fully descended into the surreal.
Yep, this is me, KC, this is what I do now. Hang out in major American cities saying hi to Grammy winning millionaire musicians. This is normal.
L arrived just in time, and we grabbed our passes and headed inside.
Unfortunately, due to my blown away state, I remember very little of this show. I can picture it clear as day; I just can’t recall much of what was said, nor what Lindsey played. I think he did Big Love, maybe Never Going Back Again. It was only him and his guitar, and a host from WXRT moderating, and interviewing.
I remember it was incredible. But unfortunately, though I can replay the majority of my experiences like beloved movies in my mind, some of them are lost. Not to time; some were simply too much for me to comprehend. And this was one of them. A private, intimate, 200 person or less show you had to win your way in to? Pinch me, except please don’t cause I never, ever want to leave!
The show was over much too quickly, once again, and even more so because I want to say this one was only about an hour because of what it was. At the end of it, most people flooded out, but a few flocked to the front where Lindsey stood, stage left, signing a few autographs.
L and I headed over, hoping to get our passes signed.
Lindsey was signing a few albums for a girl, and glanced over at me, smiling in recognition. I was next in line.
If you’ve read the first 2 parts, you may know where this is going.
As he signed the final couple albums, his assistant told him it was time to go.
Pass and Sharpie in hand, I once again smiled and said no problem, I could get an autograph next time.
Spoiler alert, because otherwise I’m gonna keep telling this story and sound like a broken record: I never did get an autograph on this tour. I was always the one after the last one.
But I carried that pass to every show after that, hoping one day would be my day.
It took until Providence in 2012, and it sure isn’t legible, but I finally got that thing signed!
We basically floated out of the venue, through the streets of Chicago, and home to L’s house on the train.
Having been up for over 24 hours, interspersed with only a couple hours of bus sleep, this wound up being an early night. I took a much needed shower, and headed to bed.
The next day would be an early one, a long one, and one that I would never, ever, ever get over.
To be continued…