November 19, 2006 was a good night. I’d went through college, graduating in 2005, listening to a wide range of music. Bob Dylan, Pearl Jam, The Cure, Johnny Cash: all of these were some of my favorite musicians and musical groups, but when I heard Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground I was hooked. I had to find out about this group called The White Stripes. Their music was simple, coarse and it had me intrigued. I found the pale faced duo and their shy demeanor a refreshing alternative to the even tanned boy bands that had flooded the air waves since the ’90’s. And when you found out that the front man Jack White was an immortal on the guitar it made you swoon. All gushing aside, The White Stripes were legitimate.
From the first time I heard the band in the university’s fitness center, I knew I wanted to see this act live. I’d been to several concerts in the previous years and enjoyed them all. In 1997 I saw Pearl Jam at Thompson Boling Arena in Knoxville, TN and was quickly made a fan of them and rock and roll. In the 1990’s I’d seen The Charlie Daniel’s Band, Deena Carter, Third Eye Blind, Matchbox Twenty, Mud Honey and a few other good and not so good concerts. I would later go on to see Pearl Jam two more times before I graduated college. All of the experience were unique and gave me some lasting memories with family and friends. Then came the opportunity of a life time.
In early November 2006 I got a call from my sister, who lives in Nashville, who asked me if I wanted to go to a concert. I was working at an ATV shop in Crossville, TN at the time and was at a point in my life where things in my life were at a crossroads. There were career choices pending, education choices pending and also relationship issues needing addressing. At the time I had began to get more serious with a girl that I’d been friends with for over eight years and there was a new girl that had just been introduced into my life. When the chance to get away from life, even if for an afternoon, came about I jumped at it.
The concert was The Raconteurs, a group that had been around for some time but had just collaborated with a established artist. Jack White! I couldn’t believe that I was going to get to see a rock legend in concert and what made it even better was the intimate venue, The City Hall in Nashville, TN.
The music could be felt not heard. The aged floor pulsed with the blood and rhythm of fans chanting some archaic, primal praise caused by the bending of notes and clashing of cymbals of the dedicated rock and roll band. And when the whining, shrill voice of Jack White call out the verses and chorus of known and unknown songs my joy exploded into the air along with the other fans. But what made the night even better was the buzzing in my pocket. As my phone rang several times, I finally answered it. I could hear the voice on the other line, but we couldn’t communicate with each other. I sent the text, “call u later”.
That night, as I drove the empty road of Interstate 40 back to East Tennessee, I returned the promised phone call. The voice on the other line was tired and somewhat irritated, but she hid it well. We talked for only a few minutes, but those seconds would be the moments that changed my life forever. We planned a date for the following week. The concert was great and left me exhausted emotionally, but the call took the breathe right out of my lungs. Just a few hours earlier, I’d heard a rock idol of mine in concert and now I’d just made a date with the woman who’d become my wife. Like the time I first heard the White Stripes, I now had another addiction. I would go about trying to find out everything about the girl on the phone and wait for the moment to see her face to face.
Best concert ever.