Friday, October 21, 2011

The B52's at the Amway Center

It had been raining all day. I was putting finishing touches on an illustration for the Orlando Opera Theater Company when I got a text from Rick & Terry Loewen, "Free concert. B52's." I wrote back, "Your kidding! Now?". "Amway Center let them move the concert indoors. You guys need to come. We will save u seats." Terry was with Amanda watching "Ides of March." I texted her to let her know about the free concert. I was going to see the movie with them but I ended up driving to the wrong movie theater. When the movie was over (they didn't like it) Terry called and agreed to pick me up and rush over to the concert. The warm up band, Logan Belle, was just getting started.

We drove downtown in the pouring rain. Terry couldn't see the lines on the road and she kept slowing down. She took a wrong turn and we got lost on side streets. She missed a second turn to the road that lead to her office where we planned to use the parking garage. She did a U turn on Orange Blossom Trail and relocated the street. When we parked I fired off another text letting Rick and Terry know we were on foot. She let me know they were seated behind an orange Hooters table. When Terry and I stepped out into the deluge we heard a Train horn blast. There were train tracks between the parking garage and the Amway Center. We jogged towards the tracks. The barriers hadn't dropped yet. As we ran across the tracks the horn blasted again and we were blinded by the locomotive's light.

When we entered the Amway Center Terry had her purse checked. My sketchbook was tucked in my belt like a pistol. My pallet was in my rain jacket pocket. I wasn't frisked. My artists contraband made it through security. We asked several people where the Hooters table was and we were told we needed a wrist band. When we asked about a wrist band we were told we didn't need one. VIP's had seating on the floor for $150.We took an escalator to the second level then walked down to the floor. The place wasn't crowded. Half the VIP seats were empty. Rick and Terry waved to us and we grabbed our seats in the third row.

I started sketching as the B52's took to the stage. Our seats were on makeshift aluminum bleachers. Everyone was dancing and jumping up and down to the music. The bleachers rocked and swayed. I relaxed and let my lines flow with the turmoil. Terry shouted at a lady to sit down in front of us. Many of the early songs I didn't recognize. When the band began playing "Love Shack!" I knew my sketch was done. Terry and I agree that this is our song. We danced and shouted out the lyrics. I grabbed Terry by the waste and we bumped hips to the beat. I can check this item off my life list. I believe everyone should hear "Love Shack" performed live at least once in a lifetime. On the floor of the Center everyone continued to dance to "Rock Lobster".

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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