It Don’t Come Easy…Or Does It?

Ringo Starr_Jacobs Pavilion_Cleveland

Front row to Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band.

How did we do it, you ask? It was easy! But only if you know the whole story.

*   *   *   *   *

On our bucket list for several years has been a trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland, timed to also include a cool concert in the city. We finally made it happen last weekend, and it was a powerful reminder to us that when you embrace what you love, things do come easy.

We made our way from Minneapolis to Cleveland, a city we had never seen before, and planted ourselves at a downtown lakeside hotel, right by the museum. The plan was to spend a day and-a-half at the museum and then enjoy the concert before the weekend was over. We were so excited!

Michelle Stimpson & Bill Stimpson_Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Outside the museum

Part one of the bucket list: Felt like we were “home”

As soon as we walked inside the museum doors, we both felt like we belonged there. The place had our names written all over it! Bill and I have been music lovers forever and are deeply drawn to classic rock.

Inside, all the stories, music, and memorabilia was so moving to us as we got to have a sneak peek inside the lives of legendary musicians who have impacted us – and the world around us – tremendously. As our friend, Tunie, said, “You two have to be the most qualified and fervent fans to tour this museum!” Cheers to that.

From Joe Walsh’s handwritten lyrics to “Life’s Been Good” to a big-screen video clip of the Bee Gees’ Hall of Fame induction to Jimi Hendrix’s outfit from Woodstock…it all touched us to the core. We paused with reverence for ‘life’ so many times during our visit there. We were in the presence of greatness, feeling the passion for music all around us.

Michelle Stimpson_Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum

I was completely awe-struck…

Michelle Stimpson_Rock and Roll Hall of Fame_Cleveland

Living the life you’re meant to be living

As a Life Coach, I help my clients live the lives that they are meant to be living. I think that’s why I was so profoundly impacted at the museum – we were surrounded by the stories and legacies of people who were doing what they were meant to be doing here on earth.

My mission in life is to embrace the things that bring me joy and then inspire others to do that in their own lives. It’s why many of my clients hire me to be their Life Coach – they see me living with such joy and intentional purpose and want to create that in their own lives.

Obviously, one of the things that brings me great joy is music. However, I never played a musical instrument, and I never wanted to. I never sang, and I never wanted to. But what I did always want was to let music fill my soul – connecting me to my spirit, to others, and to the world. And a concert is a perfect place to do it.

I’ve been seeing my favorite concerts since I was 13 (and not surprisingly, so has Bill!). Together, we love to see our favorite classic rock artists play their hearts out, live and in-person…up close. The last several years, we have watched tour schedules and let dates and cities serve as a catalyst to get us to different parts of the country – and then we have fun and show up as ‘tourists’, enjoying a new city.

I simply can’t get enough of that experience. That’s essentially what this bucket list weekend was all about, immersing ourselves in what we love; in what we’re meant to be doing…so that we can inspire others to do that in their own life. The significance of the weekend was even richer because the concert we were seeing would be led by a Beatle! Talk about a musical legend involved in helping to shape our history. Wow!

Part two of the bucket list: Ready for the concert

After a day and-a-half at the museum, we were getting really excited to see Ringo at a smaller outdoor pavilion along the river, downtown. We had fourth row seats – not bad, huh?! Before we left our hotel room, we set our intention for the night, as we always do before a show. We said out loud how grateful we are that we get to do what we love and are so appreciative of the experience. We trusted that all would unfold perfectly that night and our paths would cross with the people, opportunities, and circumstances we were meant to encounter.

Bill Stimpson & Michelle Stimpson_Shooter's_Cleveland

Happy hour and dinner before the show.

We found a great spot along the river for dinner and drinks before the show. Afterwards, we walked to the pavilion, eager to experience a new outdoor concert venue. Once on the grounds, we headed straight for the ticket booth. Bill went to one window to pick up our will-call tickets, and I instinctively went up to the window next to him. We had decided earlier that if, by chance, front row opened up, we would love that (understatement!). And if that happened, we’d buy the tickets and sell our original ones.

So, while Bill was doing business at his window, I said to the guy behind the glass in front of me, “Hi! So, have any front row seats opened up yet?”

“Well, the best I have is…” as he clicked away on his keyboard, “…two tickets in row A, center section.”

Wait, so was he telling me that yes, front row had opened up? He didn’t really answer my question! He seemed so nonchalant about it so I wasn’t sure what he was saying.

“You mean you’ve got tickets available in the front row?” I quizzically asked.

Again and totally non-impressed, he said: “Yeah, those are in the front row. Would you like them?”


I couldn’t believe it. Just then, Bill finished his transaction at the next window over and whipped out the credit card and gave it to my guy behind the glass without saying a word. I was stunned, shocked, and completely speechless.

We were the proud new owners of front row seats to see the legendary Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band!

Be specific in your request, right? After all, I did ask for front row!

My heart was pounding. Not necessarily because we were going to be in the front row (although, let’s not kid around – I was over-the-top crazy excited), but really because of the divine timing and how this happens for us again and again (and again!). If you’ve read any bit of this blog, you’ve seen a sampling of how we have the most magical concert and front row stories…unfolding in the most synchronistic of ways. I’d venture to say that it’s mind-blowing. And every time we are completely awed and incredibly grateful.

Paying it forward and sharing the joy

After a quick celebration and recovery from yet another ticket “miracle” experience, we approached a few people to see if they’d like to buy our fourth row tickets, but they all already had their seats.

Then we saw what looked like a father-daughter pair. Before they got to the window, I asked if they were looking for tickets. The dad said they were just planning to purchase some general admission seats, which were on the bleachers at the back of the venue. I noticed his 15 year-old daughter wearing a Beatles t-shirt and, curious, I asked her if she was a big fan. With a huge smile, she said her dad turned her on to the Beatles when she was very young. You could feel her bubbling over with giddy excitement for the upcoming show.

So…we asked if they’d like to sit in the fourth row. They had such wonderful energy, and we were elated to pass along our initial great seats. We sold them the tickets for the general admission price – a fraction of what we paid for our VIP tickets, and wow, that felt gooood.

Over the course of these last several years, I think I have identified my favorite charity: Paying it forward and sharing the music and the joy – and most importantly, concert tickets! – with true fans who least expect it. Each time, it’s such a spiritually deep experience for both Bill and me.

To look back from our seats during the show and see Marty and Molly loving life together from the fourth row was priceless, and we exchanged enthusiastic waves in between songs.

Marty & Molly_Cleveland

They were so grateful and we were so happy.

The show

I went nuts during the concert. Ringo was right in front of us! And his band? They blew us away. They all loved being there and we knew it. They were doing what they were meant to be doing in life, and that inspired the heck out of me. It felt like an affirmation, of sorts, for me to keep doing what I’m doing. Thanks, guys.

Michelle Stimpson_Jacobs Pavilion_Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band

Following my joy and doing what I’m meant to be doing. :)

It was a hot, sultry, sweaty summer night. With a purple sky as the sun set, sailboats and yachts were slowly sailing behind the stage as a backdrop. And I’m not kidding – I couldn’t make that stuff up! Several times I looked up at Bill with a huge smile and tears in my eyes in appreciation of what we were experiencing.

It felt like a moment in history. Wow…

Bill Stimpson & Michelle Stimpson_Jacobs Pavilion_Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band

Loving life in the front row!

We danced our asses off. The air guitars – and drums and keyboards – came out. We shouted along to every song…surrounded by all of our new best friends from Ohio.

Gregg Rolie (founding member of both Santana and Journey), sang a line of Santana’s “Black Magic Woman” to me:

Gregg Rolie_Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band_Jacobs Pavilion_Cleveland

Steve Lukather (of Toto), and I exchanged heartfelt thank you’s:

Steve Lukather_All Starr Band_Jacobs Pavilion_Cleveland

And Ringo sang a line of “With a Little Help From My Friends” to me:

Ringo Starr_Jacobs Pavilion_Cleveland

I loved the special “connection” with these guys. It’s so cool when musician and fan can “see” one another and honor each other for their unique role in the shared experience. I don’t think my smile could have been any bigger!

Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band_Jacobs Pavilion_Cleveland

Ringo on drums.

Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band_Jacobs Pavilion_Cleveland

Gregg Rolie and Steve Lukather

Todd Rundgren_Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band_Jacobs Pavilion_Cleveland

Todd Rundgren

Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band_Jacobs Pavilion_Cleveland

Steve Lukather and Ringo

Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band_Jacobs Pavilion_Cleveland


Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band_Jacobs Pavilion_Cleveland

Steve Lukather, Warren Ham, Richard Page.

Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band_Jacobs Pavilion_Cleveland


Halfway into the show, Bill darted out between songs to get us some cool refreshments to combat the intense heat. When he came back during one of Ringo’s songs, barely able to carry two cocktails and two bottles of water, he crouched down as he walked in front of the stage. I watched him sheepishly look up at Ringo as though he had been ‘caught’, and Ringo smiled at him. As he was singing, Ringo reached out an open hand to Bill with a “Can I have one?” gesture. Then Bill held up one of the drinks as if to offer him one…and Ringo smiled and shook his head with a “No, I’m just kidding” look. Ha, I loved witnessing that exchange!

What a joy to be in Ringo’s presence, with his happy-go-lucky, carefree, and smiley demeanor. He’s so upbeat and just wants everyone to have fun. I loved how at the end of “With a Little Help From My Friends”, he launched into aerobics class-style jumping jacks and clapping to keep everyone engaged and on their feet. :)

Todd Rundgren_Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band_Jacobs Pavilion_Cleveland

Todd Rundgren

The most emotional part of the night for me was when band member Todd Rundgren sang one of my all-time favorite songs, “Love Is the Answer”. It was almost exactly a year ago that I sat in the front row at another outdoor show and saw John Ford Coley sing it (he made the song famous in 1979 with England Dan). I met John after that show and told him how much the song had touched me through the years. And he told me, as much as he’d love to take credit, it was actually Todd who wrote the song. So, now here I was back in the front row, one year later under the same beautiful summer night sky…this time hearing it live from its creator.


John Ford Coley & Michelle Stimpson_Sail Rock_MN

With John Ford Coley last summer.

The serendipity of life

When you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing and trust in the divine timing of everything, magical moments of serendipity await.

And our evening couldn’t have turned out any better.

Marty and Molly were supposed to have that special up-close experience together as father and daughter, and the timing was perfect. However, everything didn’t necessarily go as we had planned. In fact, looking back, what led up to that perfect moment included these “mishaps” on our way to the show:

–The elevators in our hotel weren’t working right and contributed to significant delays from our room on the 18th floor

–There was an unusually long wait for a cab that required two separate phone calls

–Torrential rains from a passing thunderstorm surprised us and caused all sorts of issues, including re-routing our cab ride to pick up a jogger who needed help

–We encountered a railroad crossing malfunction that caused a crazy traffic backup, with no trains anywhere in sight

–We had dinner at an understaffed restaurant that delayed us getting to the venue

But all those bizarre delays were required for:

1) The divine timing of our arrival at the ticket booth

2) Getting our front row tickets

3) Our “chance” meeting with Marty and Molly

What a beautiful reminder that all does unfold in its right timing – no need to worry or get stressed out or try to make something “fit”. Just do what you’re supposed to be doing and let the rest unfold. All you need is a little faith and trust, and belief that all will work out. In my work with clients, I see over and over that when they’re “in the zone”, doing their best and believing that good will come, it always does. I love how life works.

Sidenote: In hindsight, we should have known the whole trip would be amazing. When we arrived at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport ready to head out for Cleveland, we got front row ‘rockstar’ parking right in front of the door – the best of thousands of parking spots! No coincidences, right?

Front row parking_MSP Airport

In summary

An excerpt of Marty’s email to me the day after the show: “The experience that you provided for us is one that Molly will never forget. I also emphasized the fact to her that despite all the trouble in the world, there are still people out there that are good and realize that money is not always where it’s at. As Ringo would say: ‘Peace and love’ and thank you again.”

Right on, Ringo – peace and love. Thanks for both the poignant reminder and the magical opportunity. However, we’d like to add our two cents-worth and say that…it does come easy.

Ringo Starr_Jacobs Pavilion_Cleveland

Author’s Note: Do you have a bucket list? Check out what happened on our first ‘bucket list’ adventure last year with the Rolling Stones and maybe you’ll wanna create your own! :)

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24 Responses to “It Don’t Come Easy…Or Does It?”

  • Marlene Stimpson says:

    Thanks, Michelle, for the great story. Larry and I often shared how grateful we were as the years passed. We could never have planned or imagined when we first were married how our lives would fall into place, and the lessons we learned along the way. Love, Mom

  • Janice says:

    Perhaps the best of all you’ve written and shared with us.

  • Tracy says:

    Oh, Michelle & Bill!!

    This made me cry. You two are spreading your love and joy in the coolest of ways. I just love it. Molly will always remember you two. More importantly, she’ll remember what you did and how she felt. I have no doubt both she and her father will pass it along. How awesome. Just amazing and wonderful.

    Pat yourselves on your backs. There is no other way to say it other than you both kick ass. I love it!!

    Thank you for sharing!


  • Patti says:

    Unbelievable what you guys run into! Your luck never stops–in my next life I am coming back as Michelle and Bill–so happy for you both on your great trip. Have a great summer! love always, P&B

  • Jeff says:

    That’s freakin’ awesome, Michelle & Bill! Thanks for sharing that.

  • Nancy says:

    Like like like like like like! FANTASTIC. The best part is the email from Molly’s dad.

  • Heather says:

    What a great story Michelle…and so fun to watch your life’s joys and adventures unfolding, as they were meant to!

  • Joni says:

    Love, LOVE your story, Michelle & Bill! Thanks for sharing your joy!

  • Donna says:

    Awesome story Michelle and Bill, made me tear up, and what a great read to start my week. Thanks for sharing!!

  • Sharon says:

    Awesome awesome story!! goosebumps for you!…I need to get “back in the Zone….”….I’m trying but it’s so difficult! I know that I “am in my own way”…but this heart and mind block are toughies!

  • Joal says:

    Love the story! I also like the reminder of intention, great inspiration for today!

  • Cindy says:

    Fantastic Michelle! It Does come easy. :)

  • Michele says:

    Absolutely fantastic! I LOVE stories like this. Thank you for sharing!

  • Leann says:

    Oh my goodness did I enjoy reading your story! What a wonderful adventure!

  • Julie says:

    Yay! The power of intention! Keep writing about it Michelle.

  • Susan says:

    Ohhhh what a beautiful example of living your best life. Love your most recent adventure … And you!

  • Cheryl says:

    You are amazing! Thank you for sharing your stories! It brings me light, joy and chuckles each time I read one.

  • Michele Dettloff says:

    Awesome story! I love how you wrote that your favorite charity is paying it forward at rock concerts. It’s so perfect for you and Bill. You two rock–literally!

  • Jill says:

    I love this story – your story. Two things stood out: How you see your ticket giving as a charity. I like how you see it that way. So many times giving money to a cause can seem so removed. I can sure see how you give someone a chance at your awesome tickets and it makes their night and they walk away with a different perspective and surely pay it forward. That is bigger than any monetary contribution in my book. You’re moving people!

    And, I especially took note of and reread the many delays that took place. I can appreciate the little things that have to take place in order for the magic to happen. Love it!

  • Stacy says:

    Michelle –
    Another amazing & magical concert story for you & Bill! :) I am so happy for you both!! :) You make me smile! Thank you! So glad you had such a great & memorable time! You guys are too cute! Keep the adventures & the great stories coming!! Love them & you! :)

  • Deb K. says:


    Once again, you’ve brought forth a dream and a desire that you can share with the world in a way that most people don’t look at life.

    Many people stay in the mindframe as you stated in your story as “mishaps” and not just let the “mishaps” go but rather make the rest of their evening a “Why me” negative story. I’ve learned that when you let the “mishaps” go in that moment and keeping striving for what you want, normally, things do fall into place.

    What you send out comes back-always. With your positive outlook at life, I believe this is why the good happens for you. It’s all about attitude and how you send it out to the universe and you, my dear, obiviouly send out a positive energy, a good energy, consistantly.

    Thank you for sharing another amazing story. I love your stories!

    With gratitude and appreciation,


  • Deb says:

    I adore you and the spirit you bring to the world. I loved this post so much because you shared the mishaps as well. When I see those things that went wrong, I know so many people who would have allowed those things to get them down and then they wouldn’t have been able to receive the special moments that came later. Thanks for sharing the ups and downs that go into those magical moments you create in your life!

  • Kathy says:

    I love reading about your classic rock concerts on your blog! I am teary eyed at the end of reading each one – music is such an important part of my life and it is so awesome that both you and your husband have that same passion. The metaphor that you make a rock concert on how to live a purpose-filled life is beautiful!!!!

  • Wow, feeling so blessed and grateful to: 1) Experience this “story”, 2) Be able to share it with the world, and 3) Receive and breathe in all of your heartwarming and supportive comments and thoughts. Really, that’s what makes it all come full-circle! It’s such an honor for Bill and me to embrace the things that bring us joy…and know that it inspires others along the way. Thank you so much for taking the time to read about our experience and share your thoughts – that is a huge gift to me! With love!

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Michelle Stimpson: Editor/Writer

Michelle Stimpson Hi and thanks for visiting - so glad you're here! This blog is especially for cool people who want to experience joy and live a life of purpose. Welcome!

Here you'll find great stories that will inspire you and remind you that life is good, and there's an abundance of joy all around us. Simply put: When you follow the things in life that make you come alive and bring you joy...the magic begins to unfold.

Start by checking out the "Best Of" page and be sure to consider subscribing above. Thank you and cheers to joy!

Michelle Joy Stimpson
Executive Editor & Writer
Life Coach, LifeShine

Bill Stimpson: Partner-In-Crime

Bill Stimpson Hi! Not only will you see me “show up” in many of Michelle’s stories and posts here, but I also serve as Michelle’s editor, helping her clarify intentions and make her posts shine.

One of the great joys in my life is being involved with this blog! It’s a constant reminder for me to focus on the things that bring me joy. It also feels great to be sharing so many of these joys with you - in hopes that you, too, will find ways to focus on your own joyful experiences.

Here's to an abundance of joy in your life!

Bill Stimpson
Hubby & Associate Editor

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