You would think that after 16 years I would have learned my lesson, or at least, have matured. Sorry, folks…
This is Chante’ Moore we’re talking about…
This is ME is we’re talking about.
(If you haven’t read Parts 1 and 2, which took place in 2003, I suggest you CLICK HERE to better understand and fully appreciate this story.)
You see… Chante’ returned to town this past July…
…and where class and discretion are the key, once again – all bets were off, baby…
Hey, you all have Michael, Prince and Beyonce. I’ve got Chante’, so HUSH.
God knows my love for her, which is probably why He derailed my chance to go on the Fantastic Voyage cruise with her, years ago. He probably foresaw me banging on her cabin door as she sat on the floor of the opposite side screaming, “Oh God, PLEASE!!! Leave me alone!! I’ve got a gun! The buffet is open!!! Take yo’ pudgy rump down there and get a biscuit!!”
(I’m kidding, but that was the running joke among my friends.)
Let’s start with what went wrong. Concert tickets went on sale March 29th, 3 days before I went in for knee replacement surgery and a month of rehab in an extended care facility. Because of recovery and pending projects, I wasn’t entirely sure that I was going to make this concert, even though seeing her is more important to me than anything else in life. So I opted out of ordering tickets on sale day. Of course, when I finally GOT my tickets, they were good, but not perfect, seats. There was ONE handicapped spot (or “handicapable” or “seating for persons with disabilities” – whatever they’re calling it these days) available up front, but since I was with my wife and one of my four sons, I had to find seating for three. Well, I didn’t HAVE to, but, you know the deal.
Second problem, this concert was held at the Ohio State Fair. Nothing wrong with that in itself, but this was July. NOBODY goes to the fair (in 90 degree) weather, without having to walk from the parking lot and through the fair, stopping to eat, drink, take in the sights/”street” shows, hug friends we run into but don’t care to talk to and maybe jump on a ride or two, all to kill time. So this all presented a different dynamic: in that weather and under those circumstances, it’s not the wisest thing to attend a concert dressed “To The 9’s”.
Why DO people dress up for concerts anyway? I ask myself that over and over. The artist ain’t gonna see you! Waaaaait. Correction. She DID see me back in 1993.
Which presents problem #3: Because of that sticky, stuffy, 7 p.m. weather (concert started at 7:30), I was faced with the dilemna of having to separate my melted flesh from itself, while seated damn near on top of someone’s shoulder in the interlocked seats. Solution: Resume Plan “A” and dress for HEAT, not NEAT. Besides, this wasn’t intended to be like last time. I didn’t plan on seeing her. although I wished I could.
The show started on time and as expected, “my baby” did not disappoint! Dressed elegantly in white and glowing in celestial fashion, Chante’ literally came here to “light up the night”. She powerfully opened up with one of her biggest hits, “Chante’s Got A Man” (which still bothers me because she didn’t put me in the video. I mean, my baby was talking about ME, right? RIGHT?. Oh well…). Immediately, she captivated the crowd. She followed with recent hits “Real One” and her latest release, “Fresh Love”. I ran back and forth from my seat to the front, grabbing that unclaimed seat for some better shots (didn’t take my DSLR camera this time – I’m regretting it now, oh so much, especially since I’m a photographer now).
I was swimming in her siren sound with every number, and then it happened.
Cue ominous music.
My baby called me onto the stage…
Well, not quite. She called for a man, any man, to the stage. As ready as I was to seize the moment, I gave pause. The one thing that caused me to hesitate was the immediate realization and reminder that I was wearing my weathered Chicago Bears T-shirt and some gray shorts. My love for her gave me all the energy I needed to jump up, gesticulating wildly as I screamed her name to get her attention. The part of me that could actually see the future knew differently:
I could possibly be on the nightly news in a brief concert clip (as local television often does), looking like I was at a backyard barbecue, ready to throw some wings on the grill.
The “consider the consequences” part of my personality, psychologically known as the SuperEgo, reminded in a microsecond that I could possibly be in Chante’s loving arms…
…looking like a glazed donut and smelling like “aggravated ass”.
And someone got her attention before me.
Opportunity soon became jealousy and misery as I watched this casually, yet smoothly dressed brother walk to the stage (who couldn’t sing, when she asked if he could – DAYUM!) and dance the night away, with my baby in HIS arms, as she sang, “WEY U” from the “Waiting To Exhale” soundtrack. Yes, through my hesitation, my previous question had been answered.
Now you know why you dress up to go to concerts…
I soon got over it (no I didn’t) as she sang me right back into the clouds, where Chante’ was life and life was good. Every note she graced us with was its own symphony. Chante’, once again, at her greatest. She closed the show with my second favorite song, “It’s Alright” (bested only by “Love’s Still Alright”, which I consider its sequel). The crowd went crazy as she finished the chorus and lifted off into whistle register, hitting notes that could raise the ears on a dog in a painting. By this point, I’d migrated back to the front area, recording her and trying to keep my phone steady as tears of nirvana streamed down my cheeks, reflecting the glow from, say it, “my baby”.
After her portion of the show, I mulled over my methods of conning my way backstage to see her like last time. It was gonna be tough. There were only two entrances, one on each side of the stage, each guarded by a single State Trooper (Damn, no supersized ape security guards for me to con this time. These brothers don’t kid around. Doggone State Fair…).
Entrance #1: As the show continued and the audience stood, dancing to Carl Thomas, I weaved through the side aisle to the trooper, explaining that I needed to meet up with Chante’ Moore, who told me to find her while she was in town. I know it was weak, but it was a “feeler” before trying to confuse him with a barrage of nonsensical and confusing excuses. Before I could get too far, he told me that any and all entrances had to be made at the other side.
Entrance #2: Short version. Zip. Nothing. Nada. The conversation wasn’t working and to make matters worse, he said he believed that she had already left the arena. As a last ditch effort, I yelled (amidst the music and crowd noise), “Prove it! Go check please!”
“What did you say?” he asked, sounding challenged, with adjusted body language.
That’s when it hit me. Dude probably thinks I said “MOVE it!”
Take the “L” Kenny. You can’t win this one.
“Never mind. Thank you!”
I returned to my seat and ignored the remainder of the concert, looking at pictures I had taken, all the while cursing myself for dressing for the family reunion barbecue.
I uploaded a recorded portion of “It’s Alright” to social media and went back and forth in text conversation with people who remarked about her awesome skill as Lyfe Jennings closed the show. I honestly wasn’t paying much attention to him OR Carl.
And exactly why WASN’T she opening the show?!?!? Why wasn’t she performing by HERSELF that night?? Ugh!!! Folks love taking up my possible time with “my baby”.
One cool thing: They pumped Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September” through the speakers as we exited the arena. If you know me, you know that’s my all-time favorite song and my all time favorite band.
The shocker of the night? I later saw an Instagram post from Chante’, thanking the fan that dance with her onstage and the wonderful time she had. She also talked about leaving the show and going out into the fair where she met another fan and enjoyed a meal with her.
All – I – Had – To – Do – Was – Leave – The – Arena – And – WAIT!!!
But the night wasn’t a total loss – well, it wasn’t a loss at ALL. I saw Chante’ Moore.
I didn’t get to talk to (you know the words) “my baby”, but I got a huge surprise, later that night.
I received a notification that several likes had appeared on instagram. I logged back in and guess what I found…?
Take THAT, random stage crasher! You, you, you smoothly dressed, handsome, well-groomed,well-dressed, non-singing woman stealer!
But in the end, there’s this…
I didn’t get the dance, I didn’t get the song, I didn’t get the embrace…
…but someday, some concert, I will.
And I know just the non-barbecue outfit to wear, which is currently two sizes too small.
*Finishes cramp-inducing crunches and grabs salad without dressing*
EPILOGUE: By the way, this arrived yesterday…
But you know me. When it comes to (say it with me, for the final time, loud and proud…) “MY BABY”…
…I’m cool as the other side of the pillow…
Chante’, you’re the greatest. Sing on, sistah!
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