Where is Clayton?
Travel Blog

   Over the years, a handful of ever-passing people have mentioned or recommended that I listen to, or even go see live, a band called The Black Keys. While in Los Angeles, a very lovely young lady extended an invite to a Keys show which would take place on my birthday. My drive home for my day o’ birth celebration made a trip back to L.A. less than ideal. A viewing of the band would have to wait. While attempting to stay current on local musical performance options (I recommend iLike on Facebook or cell app), I learned of The Black Keys’ scheduled for Cain’s Ballroom right here in Tulsa, OK. Because the show was advertised as "sold out," I did not see it fit to arrange my schedule around the event. I figured if I happened to be off the day of the show then I would make my way to downtown Tulsa to investigate. And that, I did!
   The night of the show I found myself off work and, subsequently, wandering around outside Cain’s Ballroom, looking for my opportunity. "What opportunity," you ask? One that would provide a ticket, or the less ideal, a route to sneak in. The latter being the road less taken, but not completely unfamiliar. Maybe I am naive but, in such circumstances, I have a feeling of peace in the fact that things always work out. My belief is, if you put yourself in a place to have your desires met, opportunity to attain them is assuredly present.
   I happened upon a work acquaintance, Lindsey M., who was looking for tickets. She informed me that scalpers were asking one hundred and fifty dollars per ticket. If I were a die hard Keys fan, and said show was destined to be a landmark event, then I would have entertained spending such a price. My wandering and investigating eventually brought me back to where Lindsey was standing and seemingly purchasing tickets from a shady looking scalper. I walked up after she asked if I still needed a ticket and the scalper was eager for me to hand over my cash. "I’ll give you two dollars," I told him with a big smile on my face; the offer heavily influenced by my disgust with people who are out to empty the pockets of music fanatics. "I’ll meet you here tomorrow," he replied in jest, and I was back to my inquisitive stroll.
   After a few steps down the sidewalk I noticed a pretty girl walking towards me who was carrying what appeared to be some boxes of food. She stopped briefly to speak with a guy in all black, and I paused near a bench, just a few feet away. The tags hanging from their necks were undoubtedly provided by the venue as identification of a position far more important than just the viewing audience. I was hesitant, but pushed the words out confidently, in spite of my apprehension. "Do you have any extra tickets," I said. "No, sorry" they both said and she began to continue on her route. Not a moment later, she turned back toward me to asked if I was alone. After I confirmed my solitude, she told me to follow her. She asked my name and she told me hers was Nicole Atkins. She informed me she was a part of the opening band. Arriving at the will call window, she told the attendant that I was her cousin and he passed a ticket over without question. Ticket in hand, I continued through the door with her and expressed my gratitude as she hurried away to prepare for her set.
   As the lights dimmed and the opening band, Nicole Atkins & The Black Sea, began to play, Ms. Atkins walked out on stage in a black dress with a tambourine in hand. I thought her set was a unique and enjoyable musical performance, so I picked up her CD, Neptune City, and gave it a listen upon my return home. Check her out if you have time; her myspace page has some music for your listening pleasure.
   Later in the evening, as The Black Keys took the stage, I couldn’t help but be a bit distracted by the preceding events. Most importantly, I wasn’t familiar with any of the music they were playing which seemed to be the catalyst for my ADD taking over. I did my best to enjoy the unknown tunes and bobbed my head accordingly. In the past, I’ve come to thoroughly enjoy a band only after seeing them live, then later finding the motivation to further investigate their music. This is the reverse order of how my ideal music world would play out and yet, nonetheless, this approach can be justified by the end result. Lastly, I have to be honest about my enjoyment of the show. The experience Mrs. Atkins provided just as much entertainment as the better known The Black Keys, all things considered.
   In closing, I realize The Black Keys performance was supposed to be the crescendo of the evening, but sometimes the unexpected happens and great things ensue. Expect amazing results, put yourself in a position to receive them and, though the path may be unforeseen, the journey will change your life.

Thanks to Jessie Parker for editing and direction.
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