Plaza Of Nations - Vancouver BC Canada May 4, 1998
It was Wednesday, April 29th, 1998. I was sitting on the couch watching
TV. It was still very early in the day, so nothing good was on. I
grabbed my CD player and Cool For August CD. Before I had time to put
the head phones on, the phone rang. I picked it up, knowing it would be
“Brittany, guess who I’m talking to!” She said in a very excited voice.
I could tell that she was talking to somebody important. After I had
made a few unsuccessful guesses, she finally told me.
“It’s Shane! I E-mailed him and he remembers us!” she said. She was
talking to Shane Hills, the drummer of Cool For August, on the
We had been to their concert about a month ago in Seattle, and we
to him afterwards. It was really exciting that he remembered who we
“He says that they will be with Matchbox 20 on May 4th in Vancouver
When she said that, tons of thoughts were racing through my head. I
knew that somehow, we had to be there.
With Kelsey still on the phone, I went to the backyard where my dad was
cutting down some bushes.
“Dad, Kelsey is talking to Shane right now online and he says that
they’re coming to Vancouver on Monday with Matchbox 20! He says that it
only takes about 2 hours to drive and we have to be there! Please,
please, please will you take us?”
This was very short notice. The concert was in 5 days and we didn’t
information, or a hotel reservation. Dad said he would take us, but
if Mom said it was OK.
After I relayed the message back to Kelsey, I hung up the phone and
called Ticketmaster. They said that for 3 tickets, it would cost 105
dollars. No problem, I thought. Between me and Kelsey, we had about 500
dollars saved up, just in case something like this ever happened.
Four hours later, Mom got home from work. I ran up to her, gave her a
hug and told her that I loved her. I grabbed the grocery bags from her
hands and started putting everything away. She had already talked to
on the phone, so she knew what was going on.
For the rest of the day, I was really nice. I even helped set the table
and clean up after
dinner. We sat down and started discussing this in greater detail. Mom
said, “For me to even consider this, you will need to help out more
around here. Since we’re getting ready to move, you will need to help
your dad in the yard more often and be ready to clean this house out.”
I eagerly agreed. I would do anything to get to that concert. Even if
meant spending all my free time working on my house.
On the morning of May 4th, the day of the concert, I woke up with good
things on my mind. In just 3 hours, we would be on our way to Canada to
see our favorite people in the world. I got all my things ready to go.
had to pack all my clothes, since we would be staying in a hotel that
night. I also packed two stuffed animals to throw on the stage, all the
things I would have them autograph, my camera and 6 rolls of film.
First we had to go to school to get our homework for all the classes we
would be missing. It was probably the longest 2 hours of my life.
I was sitting in science when they finally called me down to the
Kelsey was already waiting in the office with my dad, who was picking
up. We went to our locker, got our backpacks, and left the building. We
had to go back to my house to pick up our bags for the trip.
After everything was packed in the car, including Kelsey and me, Mom
came out the door, got in the car, and backed out of the driveway. The
time had finally come. We were on our way!
The drive there only took about 2 hours. We slept a lot in the car
because it was going to be a very late night. I was awakened by my mom
who informed me that we were at the border.
We got through customs very quickly and made our way to downtown
Vancouver. Everything was different in Canada. The road signs, the
and even the buildings looked weird. It was really exciting, but not
nearly as exciting as what would happen later on that evening.
After a few wrong turns, we finally found our hotel. We checked in and
asked the friendly clerk how far the Plaza of Nations was. He replied
with, “It takes about 20 minutes to walk there.” We thanked him then
decided to take a taxi.
As we got in the taxi, the driver asked us, “Where to?” My mom replied
with, “The Plaza of Nations, please.” We arrived there just 5 minutes
later, paid the money, and got out of the taxi.
We arrived 5 and a half hours early. At first, we didn’t know where to
go, so we walked around aimlessly for a few minutes. Then we saw the
stage. It was outdoors, but covered under a huge glass structure. It
much nice than the venue in Seattle. We finally found the line, which
only consisted of about 5 people. We were the 3rd group in line.
Now, pretty much everything was set. We were definitely going to get in
the front row, and now we had the tickets. They only thing left was
meeting the bands. We stood up and looked through the gate that blocked
off the stage. We could see everything. We saw a small white tent
that was behind the stage, and lots of crew members were walking out of
it. We were watching all the people, hoping we would see one of the
from Matchbox 20 or Cool For August, when all of the sudden, Andrew
Shives, the bassist of Cool For August walked out. We immediately
started freaking out, trying to get his attention, when he disappeared
behind the stage. A couple minutes later, Gordon Vaughn emerged from
“Holy Wow, Brittany, look, it’s Gordon!” Kelsey told me very
enthusiastically. We stood there waving at him, looking like idiots to
everyone else watching us, but we didn’t care because he smiled and
After all this was over, we sat back down and waited for about an hour
while my mom went to buy us something to drink. When she returned, she
sat down and let us go exploring around the venue. We sat down on a
where we could see everything going on inside the stage area. At that
moment, Gordon Vaughn, the lead singer of Cool For August- the one who
waved to us-casually walked by. I immediately froze up. I could not
speak, stand up, or even move my hands. All I could do was stare at him
in awe. Luckily, Kelsey spoke up and asked him to come over to us. He
smiled at us again, then sat down right beside me. I was still in shock.
“So what’s your name?” he asked me.
“Um...” was all I could say.
He laughed and replied, “You can’t remember?”
At this point, I looked up at the sky, struggling to remember what my
parents had decided to call me.
“Her name is Brittany, “ Kelsey reminded me. I shook my head in
agreement. He took our CD covers and signed them both, then handed them
back. I thanked him then whispered to Kelsey, “Ask him how he’s
Gordon had fainted just 2 days ago at a concert in Atlanta, due to a
really bad case of
bronchitis. It was rumored that his band might not make it to
because Gordon was in the hospital. But thankfully, he got better.
“Oh, I’m doing a lot better. My voice is doing great, but my throat
still hurts, and I’m still coughing hard.” We told him about how it was
really good that he was doing better, and thanked him again. Before he
left, we got our pictures taken with him.
The second that Gordon left, Shane Hills, the drummer from the same
came out of a stand up comedy club called Yuk Yuk’s. He had just gotten
back from taking a shower. Feeling a little more confident, I was able
to talk to Shane. We reminded him that we had both talked with him on
the Internet. He remembered us. We got more pictures taken with him and
got his autograph.
After Shane left, Andrew Shives, the bassist of Cool For August came
out. We eagerly ran up to him. We were the only ones talking to him
because nobody else had ever heard of their band. Andrew said that he
remembered us from the Seattle concert and asked how we were doing. We
talked to him for a while but then he informed us that he had to go
a $100 shirt that he had lost. We said our good-byes then got back in
Now we had gotten almost everything that we wanted, except Matchbox 20.
These guys were more popular than Cool For August, so we knew that we
would have to wait after the concert to meet them.
“Open up your bags please,” one of the security guys said. “Finally,” I
thought, “Now we get to go in!” After they had checked out bags and
frisked us, we raced up to the very front row on the right side. We
still had an hour to wait before the concert started.
I left my mom and Kelsey to go buy some T-shirts. When I returned, the
guards were climbing over the barriers. I knew what was going to happen
next. I stood up very quickly, grabbed my mom, and pulled her up to the
front of the barrier. All of the sudden, 4,000 bodies were pushed up
together. My mom had a worried look in her eyes, like she was going to
die. I told her that if she wanted to get out at any time during the
concert, the guards could pull her out and she could wait for us. I
her that it would get much worse once the music started, but she said
that she could handle it and stayed with us.
The lights went out. Shane, Andrew, Chris, and Trevor emerged from
behind a curtain and started playing their instruments. About 30
later, Gordon ran out on stage and started singing. I screamed. Me and
Kelsey were probably the only ones there who knew who this band was,
it was still cool.
Gordon grabbed a bottle of water, twisted off the cap, and sprayed the
crowd with water. I got the side of my head wet. I looked down at the
ground and saw that his bottle cap had fallen off the stage. I asked
security guard if he would be as kind as to get it for me. He agreed
reached down to get it. That bottle cap now rests on my necklace.
I reached down my hand into my backpack and pulled out a sign that
“WE LOVE YOU CFA!” I held it up and started screaming again. Now Gordon
saw this, stood right in front of me, and blew me a kiss. Andrew, from
the other side of the stage saw it too. He smiled and waved at me.
Trevor, who was playing his guitar right in front of us, saw it and
nodded his head in
About 4 songs later, Gordon slipped off his shoes. I knew what was
coming next. I started screaming, “Over here!” trying to get his
attention, but it failed. He jumped into the crowd just about 2 feet
away from me. I was hoping that he would jump over my head so I could
help catch him.
During the rest of the show, Gordon did his crazy dances was very full
of energy. The show was, in 3 words: theatrical, energetic, and
After Cool For August left the stage, they started setting up for
Matchbox 20. When
everything was ready, a small screen dropped from the roof. We watched
short “movie” about cars and ringing phones. A countdown began.
“5...4...3...2...1...” The crowd chanted in unison. The huge black
curtain fell and the guitar melodies of “Busted” rang through the
stadium. We watched the whole concert wide-eyed, starting at them in
awe. It was hard to believe that our idols were standing just a few
in front of us. We see these people on TV and hear their music, but
a whole different experience seeing that they are real people.
As I was watching the performance, I remembered the stuffed monkey that
I had put in my backpack, planning to throw on stage. Since Kelsey was
behind me, I asked her to retrieve it. She kindly did so and asked if
she could throw it. I agreed. About 2 minutes later, when the song was
over, the monkey went sailing over my head and landed between Brian
and Adam Gaynor. Adam motioned with his head that Brian should pick it
up. Brian reached down and placed it on a speaker.
During the last song, Rob Thomas, the lead singer, jumped off the stage
and started shaking everybody’s hand. Nearing us, we all reached our
hands out, which he slapped. Some stupid person behind grabbed his arm
and tried to pull him into the crowd. I could see the startled look in
Rob’s face, but he kept his cool and remained singing. Since he was
standing right in front of us and singing, some of his spit landed on
Kelsey’s face. She thought that was the coolest thing that ever
to her. Instead of wiping it off, she let it dry on her face so it
remain there forever.
Matchbox 20 provided the audience with a great show. Each song was
filled with a great amount of energy and passion. They really did an
amazing job! After the show was over, the remaining guitar pics from
Adam Gaynor were thrown into the crowd. Kelsey reached her hand out and
was lucky enough to grab one.
The crowd eventually started leaving the venue and the lights started
going out inside the stadium. The crew rushed in to clean up the stage.
But the night was still young, and we still had a mission.
We left the stage area just like everyone else. We had no idea where to
go, until I
remembered where Cool For August’s tour bus was parked. We quickly ran
to see if it was still there, but sadly, it was gone.
When we returned to the venue, Kelsey left my side to talk with folks
other places and left me standing all by myself. During this time,
walked up to me and the waves of conversation washed over us. He
commented on my “Freak” shirt then asked what I was doing. I told him
that I was waiting for Kelsey to return so we could find Matchbox 20.
Then I proceeded to tell him that Cool For August did a very good job!
He thanked me then politely informed me that he had to go find his
friends who were waiting for him out front. I said goodbye then found
Kelsey and told her
what had happened.
Knowing that we would be here for a while, we bought a beverage. As we
were walking to the drink stand, my eyes came across two bookmark type
things that read, “Matchbox 20 After Party @ The Rage! Free Admission
With Your Ticket Stub.” The Rage was a nightclub and we were underage,
so I made my mom go ask the door guard what was going on. When she
returned to us, she explained, “Matchbox 20 isn’t going to be there.
It’s just a party, nothing else. But that guy said to go around the
stage and look for the building by their tour busses, and that’s where
they’ll be.” So that’s exactly what we did.
We got to the building and waited for about an hour. To pass off the
time, we laughed at the drunk people acting like fools by the bar next
door. The bar was outdoors, so we could see everything that was going
inside. Then we spotted one of Matchbox 20’s guitar tech people, but we
weren’t allowed to go inside and talk to him.
It was now 11:45 PM. I was getting worried. “What if they don’t come
out?” or “What if they already left?” I thought. It then occurred to me
that we could sneak backstage. I had always wanted to try it, and now
was the right time. Two girls wearing backstage passes were leaving the
venue. I said to Kelsey, “Hurry up and let’s ask them if we can have
their passes!” We ran up to them and very kindly handed the passes
They warned us, “Be careful, they might not let you in.” We thanked
then slowly walked up to the building. I asked a guard where we were
supposed to go to meet Matchbox 20. He told us to wait then he slipped
into the building. When he returned, he said, “I will escort you to
He led us inside the nice building. The room downstairs was really
but bare. The only thing inside was a fake tree. We started walking to
the escalator, which would lead us up to the top floor, where the boys
of Matchbox 20 were hanging out with the rest of their fans.
All of the sudden, another guard came from behind us and told us to
on for a few seconds while he talked to the other guard. While they
talking, I looked through the window outside the building and saw all
the other fans watching us. Envy, jealousy and hate were all the
emotions I was feeling from them. Now both guards walked back up to us.
The new one asked me where I got the passes from. I buckled under the
pressure and gave him a lame excuse that I wouldn’t even believe.
“I’m afraid I can’t let you upstairs. Now please give me the passes and
I will lead you out.”
We gave him the passes which he ripped up and threw away. We looked at
the guard who first let us in. “Sorry guys,” was all he could say. So
left the building and once again waited outside.
Rob Thomas was the first one to come out. There was only about 15
waiting, so the crowd was very small. We ran up and watched him talk to
all the people who were waiting before us. I watched other girls give
him a hug and thought that I could do the same thing. When it was my
turn, I handed him a picture that I printed off the Internet of him
sitting on a box. He asked me where I got it, so I told him, After out
short conversation was over, I gathered up all my courage and asked him
for a hug. When he said yes, I hesitated and bumped his nose.
“Oow...geez, break my nose!” he jokingly said. I apologized about 10
times than thanked him.
I turned around to find Kelsey talking with Adam Gaynor, the rhythm
guitarist. She was spelling her name for him when I walked up. After
they were done and Kelsey had given him a hug, I asked him if I could
have one too. He replied, “Only if it’s not a wimpy one, you have to
make sure that it’s a nice, big hug!” I eagerly agreed and hugged him.
After I let go, he growled at me. That brought a big smile to my face!
Adam was much taller than me, so even if I tried, I couldn’t hurt his
nose like I did with Rob.
I handed Adam my CD cover which he signed. He then asked me, “Can I
over to your house?” I excitedly started giving him directions to our
hotel. “Are you sure? I like to eat a lot and watch TV all the time!” I
shook my head yes, but he laughed and said he was only joking. We then
got our pictures taken with him.
Next, Kelsey and I made our way over to Paul Doucette, the drummer.
Kelsey handed him her CD cover first. After he finished signing, he
looked at my wrist. “Ooh, what do these say?” he questioned. I lifted
hand and showed him my bracelets that had each of their names written
beads. I found the one that said his name- Pauly. “Oh, that’d be me.
That’s what they call me.” He was referring to the “Y” added to the end
I then handed him my CD cover. He was writing something on it when he
asked me, “How do you spell bracelets? There’s an ‘e’ between the ‘c’
and ‘l’ right?” I said yes, then he replied with, “I should have gone
He handed back my CD cover which said, “Brittany, I like your
Doucette.” I gave him a hug then we all posed for a picture. I thanked
him and then found Kyle Cook, the lead guitarist.
We walked up to Kyle who noticed that me and Kelsey were both wearing
“Freak” shirts. He commented on how “Freaks were cool.” We both gave
a hug. He was nice enough to pose for 2 pictures with us. He signed my
CD cover, “Brittany- Freaks Rock! Kyle Cook”
Meanwhile, I wanted to talk to Paul again because he was so nice to us.
I remembered that we still had another stuffed animal in my backpack.
was a stuffed dog. Paul has always wanted a dog, but since Adam is
allergic to them, he can’t have one while on tour. Paul saw the dog and
said that it was cute. “It’s for you,” I said. I handed him the dog,
which he took. In his hand he had a very expensive Nike watch given to
him by another fan. He handed me the watch in return and said, “You can
have it, I’ll never wear it.” My mom was standing with us and was very
suprised that he gave it to me. I thanked Paul many times again. He
making the stuffed dog bark at me.
The only band member left was Brian Yale, the bassist. At first, I
didn’t see him, but I was really happy that he was there! He noticed
Kelsey’s Freak shirt first, because when I walked up to him, he called
me “The Other Freak.” I was really happy! Brian had to hurry because
they had to leave soon and the security guy who kicked us out of the
building kept telling him to get on the bus. Brian signed my CD cover,
“Brittany- No Time! Gotta go! Brian Yale” We posed for one last picture
then watched them climb onto the bus. Paul made the dog bark one last
time at me, then got on the bus. We looked inside and saw Adam already
sitting down on a couch. We waved to
him and he acknowledged our presence by giving us a warm smile and
As we walked away from the building and towards the street, I couldn’t
help but feel a little sad. Our magic night was over. That was, by far,
the best night of my life! I knew that I would remember my couple of
hours spent with both bands for the rest of my life. If I had been
killed by a taxi that night, I would have died the happiest person in