When Bill and I got married 20 years ago, I’ll never forget during the reception when the DJ grabbed the mic and said, “When the bride and groom hand me ‘The Bee Gees 20 Greatest Hits’ CD, you know we’re gonna have a party!” And everyone on the dance floor cheered.
I flippin’ LOVE the Bee Gees.
Fast forward two decades later. We just returned from our 20th anniversary adventure which included the beautiful wine country in Napa Valley, the majestic Redwoods in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, a visit with cherished family in Sacramento, and a gig in Chicago to see the legendary Barry Gibb in concert – woohoo! We simply had to get in on this historic event and support and cheer on Barry, the oldest and only surviving Gibb brother.
Sidenote: Did you know that the Guinness Book of World Records lists Barry as the second most successful songwriter in history behind Paul McCartney? And that the Bee Gees have sold more than 120 million records worldwide, making them one of the world’s best-selling music artists of all time? Wow!
For the concert, we had awesome 5th row seats on the inside aisle. We also happened to have an extra pair of 6th row tickets to sell, which we had posted on a ticket re-sale site. Most of the tickets listed for re-sale ended up selling…except for ours. We were certainly hoping to sell them since tickets were pretty pricey for the show. But as show time grew nearer, we knew there was a chance we might not be able to. Hmmm…
Ready for a great night
In our hotel room, as we were getting ready for the big night, Bill was blasting Bee Gees tunes and we were getting really excited! Before we left, we set our intention for the evening (as we usually do before our concert adventures) and said that we trusted the evening would unfold exactly as it was meant to. We looked forward to magical synchronicities and knew, on our path, we would meet whoever we were supposed to meet.
And then we were off…
We had a crazy shuttle ride to the arena which was full of rowdy middle-aged women in sequins. The driver had “Jive Talkin'” cranked at full volume, and in the short two-mile drive, this small bus turned into a night club on wheels. Being in the minority, I think Bill enjoyed the extra attention from all the ladies, who were all relatively tanked and eager to dance!
When we got to the arena and hopped off the party bus, it was raining, and neither of us wanted to stand outside in a final attempt to sell our extra tickets. Thinking back to our conversation in the hotel room, we had said we wanted to be ‘led’ down the path we were supposed to go. So, we went inside the arena and knew exactly what to do.
We immediately made our way up the escalators in the back of the arena all the way to the top concourse in order to locate two unsuspecting fans…and make their day with these tickets.
Our life purpose
We’ve passed along great tickets several times before and the joy we experienced was literally off the charts. Individually, and as a couple, part of our mission in life includes embracing the things that bring us joy…and then inspiring others to do the same for themselves. So, it feels pretty wonderful when we honor our “purpose”.
It’s funny how we didn’t think of giving away these tickets before, but sometimes we get lost in our heads and do the ‘practical’ thing. In this instance, we only thought of selling the extra tickets previously and getting our money back.
Up on the third level, my heart was pounding as we walked around the concourse. Interesting – when my heart pounds like that, it always indicates something big is about to happen. It was so important to me that these tickets go to two people that would fully and wholeheartedly appreciate the concert experience. I knew how much it meant to me, and I wanted to connect with two people who would equally share that feeling.
But how would we find them?
I scanned the crowd as we walked and thought to myself, “What about them?” Or, “They look nice!” Anytime we’ve done this before, it always works out perfectly, and I knew it would this time, too. We just weren’t feeling it, though, and didn’t feel called to approach any particular concertgoers we saw.
Just then, Bill instinctively said, “Hey! Let’s go over there!” So I followed. In one of the hallways, we saw two guys together leaning on a railing overlooking the arena below, which was slowly filling up. Without Bill or me saying anything to each other, I could sense that we were about to make our move. We leaned up against the railing next to the guys and asked if they were excited for the show.
What happened next would be our first indicator of whether or not we had a match; a “Yeah, sorta” response would have been our cue to move on.
But instead, they both gave us a genuine and enthusiastic response of how excited they were. Instantly, we could tell these guys were cool and very happy and grateful to be there. We also confirmed that their seats were way up high and far from the stage in the back of the arena, near where we were standing.
The guys were brothers – and lifelong Bee Gees fans – and said their dad turned them on to the music when they were kids. Their father was no longer living, they said, so they were there in memory of him.
Again and without any words, Bill and I gave each other the all-knowing nod and asked the guys if they would like to sit up close. We explained the deal to them, and then handed them the tickets – in memory of their dad.
The tears started flowing all the way around.
The price we paid for those tickets came nowhere close to the joy we experienced in this meaningful human interaction.
Ron and Rick were put in our path that night for a reason. I bet when we initially bought those tickets a few months ago, the divine plan was that those specific tickets were meant for these guys. How perfect.
As they left us to go down to the floor with their new tickets in-hand, I saw these brothers turn the corner and smack each other high-fives.
Seeing that, I cried all over again.
The magical night continues
Who knew that the tears early in the night would be an indicator of more to come? The show was incredibly emotional and nostalgic as Barry paid elegant tributes to each of his three younger brothers – Andy (who died in 1988 at age 30), Maurice (who died in 2003 at age 53), and Robin (who died in 2012 at age 62). Barry also talked about his wife, Linda, of 44 years (!) with such love and devotion and then dedicated a song to her. Geez…
There were quite a bit of tears in the section all around us. I would imagine that the night touched something different in each person. I heard my sweet guy next to me sniffling, too, and he later claimed that he was a “blubbering fool” for a good portion of the show. :)
When the crowd gave Barry a standing ovation in the early part of the night with lingering screaming and cheering that did not quit, it was so touching, and it seemed that Barry was overcome with emotion, too.
Bill and I have seen a couple hundred concerts, mostly our favorites from the classic years, and this experience will surely live on in the top ten. Barry was one of the most gracious, appreciative, humble, loving souls we have seen perform. He’s a true class act. We are so honored to have been in his presence that night. He sang all the Bee Gees classics, and his voice was as beautiful as ever – the same as 40 years earlier.
Every song was steeped with emotion and feeling, as I posted on Facebook the next morning: “Wow!!! An emotional and nostalgic night with the legendary Barry Gibb! I got a smile and a wave from Barry, and I thought I was going to lose my mind when the disco ball came down and he launched into ‘Night Fever’. Can’t. Stop. Smiling!”
Thankfully, someone captured that incredible moment in time on YouTube:
Thank you, Barry, for lighting up the world with your music for over four decades.
You and your brothers leave a tremendous legacy of joy.
Thank you, Ron and Rick, for coming in to our lives and experiencing the joy with us. As Ron wrote in an email to me, “When we were younger, while my dad and mom would be driving, my dad would play the ‘Best of the Bee Gees’ on 8-track. My brother and I would sing all the harmonies along with every song. To this day, we still sing together and loved the fact that we were able to share this new memory together at the concert. I, too, believe that people cross each others’ paths for a reason. I also believe that my dad had a part in bringing us all together. We are forever grateful!”
Yes, this is the kind of magic that happens when you’re in the zone and following your joy and sharing it with others. I love how life works and continue to be awed by all the goodness out there.
What a meaningful and joyful way for us to celebrate our 20th anniversary…and life.
Cheers to Following Your Joy!