Remembering Wrigley 2010
By Richard Barone
April 16, 2012
I made a comment to my wife right after seeing DMB in early 2010: "Well, I finally got you to a show, next up on the list is to see Dave at a ballpark."
Fast forward a week, my sister was in town visiting from Chicago, when the announcement came out. I still have the e-mail. Dave Matthews Band to play Wrigley Field. I totally freaked out. Not only was Dave announcing another stadium show, it was at Wrigley Field. I am a die-hard Cubs fan living in Ohio, still proudly wearing my "1908 World Champion's" shirt. Wrigley Field holds a special place in my heart, I grew up right outside Chicago in Buffalo Grove, moving to Ohio in the late 80's, my first baseball game with my dad was at Wrigley Field, I remember Harry Caray hanging out the press box saying, "Ah one, ah two, ah three, take me out to the ballgame", to this day the name "Bartman" is a curse in my house.
So we put our ticket request in and prayed. The days seemed to last forever. When I was notified that request were up, I checked. I leapt, screamed and danced around the room. We got the tickets. We only got night one show, but that led to another great experience. So we started to make the plans. My wife was unable to go, we have 5 kids, so it ended up being my brother and his wife, my sister and her husband, my mom and me. It would also mark my first ever show with my mom, first with my sister and first with my brother in 12 years, as he had been deployed for quite awhile. My sister lives 4 blocks from Wrigley so no parking or hotel accommodations were required.
The day of the show, 9-17-10, arrived. I was so excited. We did a bit of pre-partying at her condo, and then started the walk. As we got closer it was an awesome site. As we walked under the famous "EL Train", Wrigley Field rose majestically, and DMB fans were everywhere. We walked around to the home plate side of Wrigley, to take pictures of the famous sign. Then we started to do "fire dancer" poses with Wrigley in the background. I was flying high, and the show was still two hours away.
Finding our seats and enjoying Jason Mraz, my anticipation and excitement grew. Only disappointment was that even though we arrived 2 hours early posters were sold out. We jammed our way through the Mr. Mraz, as he left the stage I was ready to explode.
Finally the boys took to the stage, to say the crowd was electric would be an understatement. Opening with "One Sweet World" seemed perfect to me and a surprise. But hearing the song and looking up to the starts and out to the city, then turning and seeing my family, I could tell the night was going to be an epic experience. Six songs in came the surprise of the evening, "Burning Down the House." Having seen Dave perform it on T.V. for the start of the NFL season, it really was a dream come true, however short that dream lived. Dancing with my sister for her favorite song, which she still brags about ?calling? it in two notes, "Proudest Monkey" is something I will never forget, which the boys did not disappoint following it classically with "Satellite". "Why I Am", for me was incredible to hear, there is the obvious LeRoi overtone, but for me it was the first DMB song that my 4 year old son sang. Hearing "Don't Drink The Water" so late in the show was a nice change, and followed up by "Everyday" with everyone singing "Honey, honey" could only bring a smile to your face. Closing out the set with "Ants Marching" brings chills to me to this day. I turned and saw my mom and brother-in-law singing along, justification to the point that DMB shows are living breathing thing. My favorite song of the evening was "Watchtower" which was the closing song of the encore. That song drove the atmosphere into the stratosphere.
Walking home was fun, stopping to chat and reflect with tons of fans, I could not wait for night 2. As, I previously explained we only had night one tickets, however my sister being from Chicago knew of a little secret. Whenever there is a summer concert at Wrigley, the police shut down the surrounding streets. And as long as you behave yourself, they also turn an eye to partying in the streets. We did need to take care of the poster issue. So my brother and I had my brother-in-law drive us to the stadium at noon, the next day. We found a merch truck on the first base side. First two there and we were not leaving. We spent most of the early afternoon chatting with a teacher from Minnesota, and her husband. She explained how she told her principal that she had an important doctor appointment on Friday, so she would be excused. They both made night one as well. A bit of excitement happened as a sound check began, we could not tell who was playing, but the unforgettable riff from "Welcome to the Jungle" rang out. As the line grew, our interactions with more and more fans brought the whole "DMB Family" to the forefront. Amazing how when you are surrounded by love and people just as obsessed as you are you feel normal. Around four o?clock in the afternoon the merch truck opened and we got our posters, mine is #483/1260, we wished everyone best wishes and returned to the condo.
We loaded up the rolling cooler with a case of beer, a bottle of Champagne and a thermos filled with wine. When we arrived outside of Wrigley we found ourselves on the third base side, just behind the foul pole, and a stones throw from the fire station on Waveland Ave. The chatting with people I did not know started. Hearing stories, and finding out where people had trekked from. Then after Mraz finished his opening set, we saw two white unmarked vans pulling out onto Waveland Ave from the "backstage" area. It was Dave and the boys, we went running down Waveland chasing the van, like it was going to stop. We walked back to our spots, just in time for the show. We could hear the show perfectly. I remember when the encore opened with "Christmas Song" my brother and I looked at each other with the look of confusion and excitement, we both knew it had been almost a full year since they played it. Ending the two day set with "Last Stop" was perfect. There I was drinking and dancing on Waveland Ave, in the city I love with the people I love. My mom asked my sister "How does he know all these people? He looks so happy." My sister explained that I actually didn't know anyone, but the Love of DMB brings people together like family. We enjoyed that night singing and dancing arms around each other, more pictures of us posed as "Fire Dancers", people laughing, smiling, belonging.
The two nights at Wrigley Field will probably never compare to Central Park or The Gorge, but the experience is something I will take to my grave making me smile every time I see the night two poster framed and hanging in my living-room, next to our "Fire Dancer" pictures.
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