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Taking a moment to acknowledge my yesterday, a long day, but a great one.   I looked out the hotel room window last night, curtains open just a bit for some light.  I was wrung out from headbanging for 2.5 hours and shouting myself hoarse, so I committed my body to the sketchy sheets of a king bed touching memories, hoping I wouldn’t forget them this morning as I drove home.

Thank you to Sanctuary, the Iron Maiden tribute band, who put together a pre-concert meet and greet at the Hard Times Cafe, complete with t-shirts and heaping plates of delicious nachos.  You brought old friends together and we made new ones complete with class picture after the gig was done.  Thank you, Rob, for donning the giant Eddie shroud once again so everyone could get their picture taken with you.  Rob, you make great memories for us, and I’m glad you’ve been a part of what’s become a Sanctuary tradition.

I suppose I should say thank you to Iron Maiden, for they are the reason we all became friends, the reason we come from near and far, congregate and hug and sing.  Yesterday as I stood in the tavern watching Sanctuary play, I looked around and saw people of all ages, shapes, and stripes. Looked at the younger ones who are here with their mom or dad, I felt like the night should be called “generations.” Maiden keeps playing, we keep returning, and the music/vibe will live on through the kids. Well. I hope, anyway.

Shifting gears to the lawn, which is the back end of an ampitheater (shed)  venue.  I guess I should be grateful I even got a lawn ticket because the place was sold out.  This was my first Maiden show on the lawn, and you know?  I rather liked standing barefoot in the cool grass, the moon shining overhead.  Thank you, Kent, for keeping me company during the opening act, a band I had no desire to see but they proved themselves to be tight musicians. Not thrilled by their shtick, but like you said, everybody’s gotta have one.  (Still not gonna buy their music, though.)   It was nice chatting with you, and how you randomly found me out of 30,000 other bodies I have no idea. I didn’t steal your purple sneakers as promised, so you’re lucky.

Thank you, two nameless teenagers who were more interested in dry humping during the opening act. First time for seeing that, I must say, and I have seen a lot of things. Little girl, you gave quite a show on that blanket on your back, three knuckles deep in your pie, and your boyfriend getting into the act.  You made a lot of guys happy watching you. Perhaps the world will become a happier place if more of us came in public? Who knows.

Thank you, nameless young father who brought his 4-year-old to his very first concert.  I noticed that when your son, Bear, had enough during the Maiden show you and he curled up in blankets and went to sleep. Thank you for putting your son first. It gives me hope for our generations.

Thank you, two guys who stood next to me during both bands.  (You shall remain nameless as one of you did something he kinda of knew he shouldn’t have and wouldn’t want his name broadcast.)  It was a pleasure meeting you and watching your banter, the product of a close and long friendship.  Thank you, Mister X, for allowing me to watch you as you experienced your first, and possibly last, mushroom trip while seeing Maiden.  I got to see your journey, and yes, it WAS beautiful. Thank you, Mister X, for being concerned that I was alone at a concert, aghast that Kent “left” me to take his place down in front, no matter how many times I told you, it’s OK, I go to shows by myself all the time!

Thank you, Iron Maiden, for playing a tight show.  Nicko’s drums sounded better tonight than I’ve heard in a long time (though… the guitars are still a little fuzzy here and there.)  Bruce, your energy and enthusiasm unflagging as always. Thank you for acknowledging the fans who came from other countries to see you, as they always do, pressed together down front, and reminding us in banter and song that we are all “Blood Brothers,” a family.

People who I would not like to thank, which probably has no place in a “grateful” post, but oh well! To the trains who trundled past and blew their horns not 300 feet from my hotel room three times as I clung desperately to sleep…to the person who thinks it’s a great idea to charge $5 for a bottle of cold water, to whoever designed that “parking lot” — that gravely bottlenecked rats maze a rat couldn’t find its way out of, and to the merchandising team who wants me to pay $45 for a t-shirt…. SUCK IT!   (And as an aside, I’m betting more than half those people behind the wheel were not able to be designated drivers.)  *yikes*

Back to grateful:   I don’t know how you did it, Kent, being down in the front (pit) area to finding me in 30,000 other people as we’re walking through the concourse, but whatever it was….  thank you for helping me find my car in that ridiculous parking lot.  Next time I will be more diligent in noting where my car is on the grid, but your company was appreciated.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, thank you 2001 Lexus for getting me there and back again.  You have been a faithful, reliable prairie schooner, and I couldn’t have done it without you — or the the man who helps keep her steel wheels on the rail.  Thank you.