Why Concerts Help Me Forget About My Disability

It was in early 2003 when I discovered a passion of mine that had been lying in wait my entire life until it finally burst forward, exploding into my life after an electrifying small-venue concert: The Stereophonics at The Fine Line Music Cafe in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

It was an incredibly cold, late January night when we ventured out into the into the sub-zero temps to brave the dark, desolate streets, to find a parking spot for my accessible van. But we succeeded. Proof in itself that we were meant to make it to the show that night, -30 windchill and all. Once inside the bouncers ushered “the girl in a wheelchair” to the very front, right by stage (it was General admission, standing room only). They do this out of fear that the crowd might trample me at some point, staving off what would ultimately be a lawsuit by me on them (a nice “bonus” to having to use a wheelchair I guess). At least the concert “seats” are good.

Anyways, back to the show. This unknown-in-the-US-but-widely-known-in-the-UK moody rock band began their set and I was instantly hooked. They started with “Alcoholic” (one of their best known songs), and everyone in the crowd began singing along. A huge wave of energy I had never experienced before filled the room, and I was floating on air: The loud, pitch-perfect sound system, the ecstatic crowd, the hoots and hollers and the clapping; it was all just out-of-body and I was taken, up, up, and away, out of my wheelchair, forgetting for those amazing 90 minutes that I was even disabled.

Needless to say, since that fateful show in early 2003, I’ve been to dozens of shows since and have even seen my idol – David Bowie – live TWICE during his “Reality” tour. In fact, it’s Saturday today and tonight I’ll be heading out – once again – to the mystical Fine Line venue for “Glitter Ball,” a ’70s Glam Rock tribute with 100% of its proceeds going to the Minnesota AIDS Project.

Lucky for me, the concerts never stop. And I’ll never stop going.

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