I love Beyoncé more than you do.
My eternal admiration can’t be reduced into words, so just trust me when I say that her concert last week was one of the finest spectacles I’ve ever seen, second only to the sight of the people of China crowding Tiananmen Square on China’s National Day. (I’m following an impulse right now as I type this and am thinking I’ll refer to Beyoncé as God from now on, k? Kewl.)
That said, what I can do is describe the series of unfortunate events preceding the magic that happened at Roseland Ballroom in New York City last Friday evening.
This is the story of how a man called Jeff saved my life.
Cheese or chocolate.
Chocolate and cheese.
Cheese but no chocolate.
Two days before my trip to New York, these were the thoughts filling my head while my neighbors and I readied ourselves for a lip-smacking fondue meal at The Melting Pot. As I browsed the Internet, I inevitably ended up on God’s website (“God” seems disrespectful, yes? Let’s go with “G-d.”) and clicked on the Events tab. The following popped up: “Beyoncé will take to the stage at New York’s famed Roseland Ballroom for 4 Intimate Nights with Beyoncé, where she will perform her new album 4 in its entirety to a standing room only audience.” As I journeyed to the Ticketmaster site, my heart started racing like hearts do while in the face of greatness or love or both. Without looking at the price, I clicked “Find Tickets” and waited for the computer to confirm what I already knew in my brain place: All four nights were sold out. Sold out. Sold out. Sold out. The words started ringing in my head like I imagine that “I’m breaking up with you” movie line would sound if actually delivered in real life.
My heart sank.
Now, dear reader(s), you should be asking your smart selves, “If you’re the world’s biggest fan of G-d, how did you not know this?” And to that inquiry I must say: I really have no excuse. But please. Let’s move on.
My next move was instinctual: Browse Craigslist. I immediately sorted the sketchy dealers from the relatively sane people (Standards must be readjusted when dealing with Clist, penis references—images often included—characterizing the former and somewhat more vague penis references defining the latter.) and called someone who was willing to have a friend meet me with the tickets when my bus arrived two days later. Too convenient that I’d found a $116 ticket for $50? Yes. But when you love someone as much as I love G-d, emotions soar and potentially hazardous situations become just a little less so.
After programming Craigslist Man as “Beyoncé Guy” in my phone, he communicated details to me via text and two days later I got off a bus at Penn Station and began looking for a man in green. Life Lesson #1: If a man is simultaneously wearing a green hat, a green shirt, and green shorts, promptly walk away. Green Man grew antsy as we closely observed the tickets, so after failing to verify their authenticity with Ticketmaster and the venue box office, we decided to play it safe and walk away.
My heart sank even deeper than Rose’s necklace did after creepy Granny Rose secretly dropped it into the ocean at the end of The Titanic.
Later that night, I met my comrade Tyler to see the Broadway adaptation of “Catch Me If You Can.” After being slightly shaken by Eerie Green Man, my world was turned upside down and I found myself questioning everything I encountered that night. What was real?! What wasn’t?! Could “CMIYC” be adapted for Broadway when it’s such a brilliant movie?! In any case, I was thinking about G-d throughout the duration of the show. I knew her album well enough to know which song she was performing while I sat across the street at the Neil Simon Theater as Aaron Tveit rolled around in boxers. (This would be the only circumstance under which I’d neglect a near-nude Aaron Tveit.) Then I went home and angrily fell asleep.
It was now Friday, the last day of G-d’s exclusive engagement. “There’s no f-ing way I can happen to be in New York during an exclusive G-d engagement and not be a part of it,” I said to myself as I trudged around Manhattan, head down. I immediately hopped on my cell phone and decided to browse Clist one last time. The first ad read: “1 ticket for tonights show! Hard ticket in hand. First come first serve. Asking $140 or best offer.”
I sent a response immediately and got a call soon after saying from a man who told me his name was Jeff and that he was in line with an extra ticket. I told Jeff (“Zeus” sounds better, eh? Sorry to attribute erotic escapades to you, Jeff.) to stay put and that I’d be there before he could say, “G-d rules all.” As I walked briskly toward the Roseland Ballroom, my uncertainty as to why a straight man would be seeing G-d was quashed by my overwhelming fear that I was somehow going to be scammed. This ticket search had transformed me into a walking ball of anxiety. Was Zeus really Green Man in disguise? Was he going to laugh at me when I ran up to him in excitement to see G-d during her live exclusive engagement? Was he going to be a plump girl wearing wide-rimmed glasses and sweatpants?!
When I got to the venue, I just knew it was going to go to be a good night when everyone stared at me as I searched the line for Zeus. I was one of the only white boys on the block, rendering me Waldo in a real-life game of Where’s Waldo? But then a smiley man waved at me and I just knew everything was going to be all right because sometimes you just get gut feelings about things. I met him in line, gave him all the cash in my wallet (Stop guessing how much I paid for the ticket. You can’t put a price on G-d.), and finally secured my place in line to see the goddess herself, thunder thighs and all.
As the concert began four and a half hours later, I could’ve easily let the night’s negative elements ruin my experience: The rain. My wet feet. My aching back. The girls taking Paul McCartney’s picture. The dolt next to me who shrieked every single song at the top of her little desperate lungs. The other annoying dolts who recorded the entire concert on their iPhones, therefore watching the entire show through the screens of their smart phones instead of watching G-d in all her live beauty like they paid $116 to $800 to do. But I tried to be understanding. Everyone was just trying to connect to the music in his or her own way. And I wasn’t going to let anybody—not even Mrs. Dolt—prevent me from doing so on my own. Sometimes, when a man called Jeff presents you with an opportunity to reunite with G-d, you just gotta jew what ya gotta jew.
As I said at the top, I really can’t reduce the concert experience into words. The show was transcendent, and I left with the knowledge that 1) G-d is one of today’s best performers; 2) I can achieve my dreams if I want to; and 3) People with smart phones really, really suck.
If you’re interested in the concert itself, look out for the concert DVD in a couple months. Look for me. I’ll be the one in the front suffering from uncontrollable spouts of cries and shouts and then more cries.
And that, dear reader(s), is how a man called Zeus posted an ad on Craigslist and saved my life.