The Bonnie Raitt Day

There I was. Innocently looking at puppy rescue vids on YouTube. Sad puppy covered in fleas rescued from abandoned house, starving puppy rescued from garbage bag thrown on side of busy highway, sad puppies found in field during rain storm. The usual heart-tugging footage of abused puppies saved and adopted out to nice homes. Okay.

What do I see but Bonnie Raitt will be in Boise on August 14. Get your tickets now!

It’s May. I dither for a day or so, check the prices, which are jaw-droppingly expensive. I have not attended a concert since…um…Aerosmith? In Boise? Years and years ago? Yes, that’s the case here. I finally take the plunge, get my ticket at the cheapest price I can find. Wahooo! Going to Bonnie Raitt at the Boise Botanical Gardens.

Birthday present to myself.

Time marches on. It’s August all of a sudden. I’ve been job-hunting, sobbing over my lack of abilities to land a job and then, get a job. At a hotel. I am slated to start trainings the day after the concert. I figure that will be fine, it’s only four hours, whatever.

No no no. As Ugh, the post before this says, I started training the Thursday before the concert. I had to nix Sunday as it cut into my going to the concert time.

Did I mention where the concert is actually taking place? An open field. Bring your own chair. A list of instructions a mile long, plus hey, don’t try and park near the event. Take the shuttle! It’s here, on this vague map! Outlaw Field, to be exact, beneath the big hill with the cross on it. I spend two fucking days looking for a chair. I have to buy a chair. Or stand there for two hours. I also get myself a water bottle. Where I work is right by the local Wal-Mart.

I get this email from the event center on Friday. The concert is Sunday.

By Saturday, the night before my birthday present– I’m a tired, used up tube of nothing. Front desk is exhausting, confusing, bewildering.

I wake up Sunday exhausted and spent. Don’t wanna go nowhere! Have actual thoughts of just staying home. But no, I have a small royalty check that needs to be deposited. I found and bought a chair! Twenty bucks, little director’s chair, it’s perfect. Comfy and low. I can get in and out of it without embarrassing myself. So instead of loading up my route on my phone at home, where I have the internet, I, sigh…yeah. I attempt this in the next town over and guess who didn’t think about how phones and connections works because she’s tired and stressed as hell over new job?

But! Intrepid me also typed out directions for the parking garage in downtown Boise and where the shuttle is and how to get out of downtown Boise and back to the freeway!! Thank goodness.

Boise, by the way, is a confusing mass of one-way streets downtown. It’s just a giant rat’s maze. I, however, know that W. Front Street becomes the freeway. If you can find that one way, you can get back to I-84, which can take you back toward Ontario or forward toward Mountain Home. There’s also lots of construction going on. Which can reroute you and…I didn’t hit any of that.

I manage to find N. 8th Street. No parking garage. I park on the street, after asking at the little gas station on the corner of 8th and W. Fort. Very nice guy helped me. He didn’t have to. I do mean nice, genuinely nice. I have to circle about, and nearly get lost trying to get back on 8th. No parking garage, so I just park on the street, being careful about no parking zones, or meters. I leave my GMC there, locked up, get my chair and backpack with my bottle of frozen water– so I’d have ice water at the concert. I know the shuttle stop is, allegedly about a ten minute walk away, by the Wells Fargo bank.

Fuck me running, can I find this place? No. I go up and down the streets it’s supposed to be one or near. Nada. Nothin’. An hour of this. It’s six. The concert starts at seven. I’m a sweaty, dripping mess.

I get back to the gas station. I have to beg the attendant for help as I have no internet connection on my phone. Can’t find a wifi that’s free in the area to use. It’s Sunday eve. Uber? Taxi? Taxi, it is.

I get one to show up. At six thirty. I breathe a bit easier, the place isn’t that far off if he quoted me a reasonable price like that. Twenty five bucks, plus taxes, etc. Sure. I just want to get there, I have cash. I’ve spent nearly the cost of the tickets on taxis, chairs, gas– because I forgot to fill up at home on the farm gas tank–and so forth.

Taxi shows up. He’s also very nice, a hustler but I don’t care at this point. I would have handed him my torn off arm if he could get me anywhere near where I was supposed to be. We hit concert traffic and it’s a crawl. It’s L.A. traffic time. And the minutes are ticking. I help the driver take down an address as he blanked on how to spell ‘highway’. He’s got an accent I can’t place, but it sounds Eastern European. He has to send a driver to Lowman, Idaho, about two hours away from Boise, to pick up a guy for the airport. Three hundred plus dollars. The airport is his bread and butter.

Finally, close to seven, I get let out near the Boise Botanical Garden. 40 bucks. I’m fine with this. He was great, got me there, got me as close as he could, hustled me a bit, sure.

I see hordes of other people, with chairs. I follow them, get in line, wait another half an hour, with the opening act, Mavis Staples, already slinging the blues into the evening air. She sounds fantastic.

Did I mention the strap on my little backpack keeps breaking? I finally hook it to the plastic thing that allows you to adjust the strap…if the strap wasn’t broken, frayed and bad.

I’d drained the melted water in my water bottle so I’m very thirsty. But read, in that email, that there’s a water station to refill bottles. M’kay.

It’s probably a hundred or more, btw.

I wait in line. I get my backpack and chair inspected; I pass. I get waved with the wand for security. I get my ticket scanned. I’m in!

It’s a giant field. There’s a banner that announces it’s Outlaw Field. Mavis is still performing. I see some space at the very edge of the grass and decide to just plop it there. Done. Get my chair unfolded, I sit and slump, almost shaking with how much I’ve done to get here.

Mavis finishes. Bonnie Raitt will be on stage in probably half an hour.

I try to get some water, as my ice isn’t melting very fast. It’s ten bucks for two tokens or something. I ask where the water station is. It’s across the entire field, next to the stage. I walk over that way, find it, fill my bottle up twice. I drink down the first one, refill. I feel a lot better and less shaky.

Did I mention the two cuties who sat next to me? These two cute friends [or girlfriends], with tons of food and just happy to be there smiles. Very friendly sorts.

Bonnie takes the stage at last. She’s in a bright turquoise top and her red hair can be seen from space. Nobody is supposed to take pictures or record anything. But. All around me are people doing just that on their phones. I, too, snap a few pics but the security taps me and tells me to stop. Nobody else around me taking pictures got talked to but I did. Sigh.

She sounds wonderful. Relaxed, at ease, a total pro. She sings Angel From Montgomery. I’m just so happy! She does some new stuff, some old stuff. There’s plenty of blues slide guitar. She says nice things about Boise and how beautiful it is there. The night starts to fall and I’m glad I went.

Okay. So I leave when everyone else starts to leave. I’m mad determined to find this shuttle and see where I went so wrong.

Find the shuttle!! I’m asking everyone like a dork where it is and the guy directing traffic points behind me with the look of ‘right there, idiot’ on his sweaty face. Did I mention it’s a superhot day?

I clamber aboard, with my chair. I stand in the very back, as it’s already full. A guy gives me his seat, I take it. We’re off into traffic! It’s wall to wall cars leaving the place, of course but eventually, the bus gets us back to the Wells Fargo stop. My jaw drops. I’ve been here before. Ugh!

I calculate that I am parked directly down from the bus stop.

I walk and walk and walk, in the dark, carrying my chair and my about to fall apart backpack. Yes, that building looks familiar. I remember that church.

The numbers are going up as I trudge down N. 8th Street. Is that my GMC??

It is! I made it back to my car!

Getting back to the freeway. Of course I go the wrong way on 9th street but I do a u-turn and find W. Front Street, and the freeway and home. I left at three or so and got back at midnight.

Will I ever attend a concert there again? Probably not. But now I know where everything is and how to get there and back again. Experience added into my brain cabinets. I got a souvenir hat.

The end.


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