One Night at Benaroya

I’m convinced that some of the most memorable experiences in life can’t be replicated. That was the case about 10 years ago when Kim told me Tracy Chapman was coming to Benaroya Hall in Seattle. At the time, I didn’t work too far from Benaroya, and I mistakenly assumed I could stop by the box office on the way to work to purchase two tickets the day the tickets went on sale.

When that day arrived, phone lines and the website were jammed, and tickets sold out in 10 minutes.

I’d heard of Chapman before I met Kim but didn’t own any of her music. I was hooked the first time I heard “Talkin’ Bout a Revolution”

And finally the tables are starting to turn
Talking about a revolution
Finally the tables are starting to turn
Talking about a revolution oh no

Over the next couple of weeks I scoured Craigslist and Ebay for tickets. I hit a number of dead ends, but finally found a man willing to sell me two tickets for five times face value. I had no idea where the seats were located, but the concert was approaching and I’d heard the acoustics at Benaroya were excellent from any section. I  paid the scalper cash and prayed the tickets weren’t counterfeit.

I’ve been to a number of sold-out concerts, but none of them approached the electricity outside Benaroya the evening of the concert. Kim and I stood on the sidewalk among a sea of Chapman fans with tickets in hand. People were dancing and singing. Many were holding signs trying anything they could to secure tickets.

Two women  that night are still etched in my memory. A mother and daughter had driven three hours from Portland with hopes of finding tickets. The daughter was crying when she realized tickets were not going to be easy to come by if at all. She wandered through the crowd offering $800 for two tickets. I turned to Kim and said, “Would you sell them for a thousand bucks?”

I didn’t have to wait for an answer. Tracy Chapman seldom goes on tour, and this might be our only chance to see her in concert.

And thank goodness we decided not to sell. After a short wait, we entered the concert hall, the home of the Seattle Symphony. I was blown away at the workmanship and architecture of the structure. I had no idea where our seats were located so I handed our tickets to an usher. He instructed us to follow him. He lead us to the balcony and continued towards the stage. I kept turning to Kim. This couldn’t be happening. No way could we have lucked into such great seats. We took our seats on the balcony that overlooked the stage. We could not have asked for better view of the stage.

Tracy came out dressed in black from head to toe with a black guitar slung over her shoulder. Her band joined her on stage, and we listened and watched the most inspiring performance either of us has ever seen. I felt like the only person in attendance who didn’t know the lyrics to every song. I didn’t regret deciding to hold on to the tickets although I sat there hoping the mother and daughter from Portland were experiencing the same.

I often think back to that night and realize it will likely never be duplicated. Kim and I have attended a number of concerts since that night. On the way home we’ll talk about how much we enjoyed the concert, and discuss our favorite songs. But, inevitably, one of us will say, “Tonight was good, but remember that one night at Benaroya…?”

3 thoughts on “One Night at Benaroya

  1. I’m happy you loved that concert that much, I wasn’t there BUT a bootleg of this concert exists and I have listened to it sooo many times. Would you like to have the .mp3 files?


  2. Thanks for sharing. You inspired me to do a YouTube search to find a video of my favorite Tracy Chapman song. Fast Car. I haven’t been as fortunate to see her in person. Maybe someday.

    I actually listened to a few of the videos of this song, but liked this one the best.


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