Sunday, November 27, 2011

No, Seriously; Concert Cursed

Remember Skip Serpico’s Concert Adventures? Remember how I used to go to concerts on a semi regular basis? Well those days appear to be over.

And remember when I told you how I was Concert Cursed? Um, it’s looking like that’s a pretty accurate assessment of the situation.

Allow me to explain.

So, two weeks ago I was all set to see Fitz & the Tantrums at 9:30 Club. I’d purchased my ticket months ago, when Fitz actually guilted me into it on twitter. I figured if they were coming all the way to D.C., I could make the trip down to D.C. to see them.

Of course getting from Baltimore to D.C. can be a chore. Now weekdays you can catch the MARC train down and if you finish up early enough you can catch something back to Baltimore at a reasonable hour.

On a Sunday however things are different. The MARC train isn’t running, it being a commuter line, so you’re left with Amtrak as the best way to get to D. C. Amtrak is more expensive than the MARC, but it’s usually as reliable. I mean, it’s a business and not a government run enterprise.

So, back to two weeks ago, I’m excited about going to see Fitz & the Tantrums. I’ve got the day off, I’ve got my tickets to the show ($35) and for the train ($45). I’m all squared away.

I get to Penn Station around 5:30 to catch the 5:48 train. I’m talking to Ma Serpico on the phone and we’re discussing the whole Penn State situation. Eventually I look up to see the board with arrivals and departures. I match up my train number and see that my train is now set to depart 6:48.

Now it takes about 45 minutes to get from D.C. to Baltimore by train. So, with the 5:48 that I was aiming for would have gotten me to D.C. around 6:30ish, which would have allowed me plenty of time to get to the 9:30 Club right around the time the doors opened at 7pm.

But now, with the train running late, I wasn’t going to get to D.C. until 7:30ish and I wouldn’t get to show until around 8pm when the opening act was probably going to be starting up.

At this point, I feel the need to point out my escape plan from D.C. The last train from D.C. to Baltimore is at 10pm. Most concerts don’t wrap until after that. The first train from D.C. to Baltimore is at like 3:15am. And that was the train I was aiming for.

D.C. isn’t all that fun between 10pm and 3am, even moreso on a Sunday. When I went to see CAKE I milled around the city and I was a cool experience, because the weather was nice. But right now it’s rather chilly to be wandering around the nation’s capital.

To put things in perspective, I’d be getting at D.C. rushing to 9:30 Club to catch a two hour show and end up being stuck in until 3am. It didn’t really strike me as appealing.

So when the train was further delayed, now scheduled to depart Baltimore at 7:23, I began to weigh my options. I could continue forward, arriving in D.C. a bit past 8pm and rush to the club to miss most of the opening act, catch the headlines and then be stuck for four hours, or I could cut my losses and return to the crib.

I checked with the Amtrak agent who told me that I was eligible for a refund because the train was so late. I really want to see Fitz & the Tantrums, who are one of this year’s genuine success stories in terms of musical acts piercing the pop culture consciousness. But at that point, things just didn’t seem to shaping up in my favor.

I like to think of myself as someone who pays attention to signs. I follow my instincts and try to tune into my surroundings. And the fact that the train was now a hour and a half behind schedule seemed to me to be a sign that perhaps I wasn’t meant to be in attendance at this concert.

And then the train was pushed back to 7:33.

I went to get my refund. I went home.

Was my night ruined? No not really. I went home and played some Super Mario Bros. Wii. Obviously I’d have preferred to go to the concert, but I can’t really complain about missing it because of a late train. I could have missed it because something horrible happened to me or to someone in the band causing the show to be cancelled. So, I’m not really mad that I missed the concert because of a train that refused to show up.

Hopefully next Sunday I’ll be checking out Jessica Lea Mayfield and Ryan Adams at the Lyric.

I’ve got my fingers crossed.

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