August 29, 2022 Pretty Reckless in Prospera

Published by Victor Barr on

I stood in the rafters of Prospera Place in downtown Kelowna and surveyed the scene below. The chains dangled while the motors climbed them and the speakers were assembled. It was a satisfying feeling seeing the rigging turn into a stage. Cauldrons were rolled onto the stage and the lights were lifted to the ceiling of the arena. A setup that has been done in dozens of venues across North America was completed.

And I was a part of it.

It was one of the biggest rigs I have done in the last five years. I have been working in the rafters of Prospera and SOEC setting up concerts, and other events as a way to supplement my income and be able to see concerts for free. 

But I bought tickets for this show. I wasn’t going to miss seeing The Pretty Reckless in my hometown. 

I have been waiting for a long time to see The Pretty Reckless live in concert. As soon as the tickets went on sale I bought four, one for my wife and myself and a pair for our neighbours Jeff and Tanya.

Other people were going to see Greta Van Fleet, the headliner of the show. I was there for Taylor Momsen, Ben Phillips, Mark Damon, and Jamie Perkins from The Pretty Reckless. 

I was disappointed that The Pretty Reckless was not the headline act but the fact they were coming to my city was pretty sweet. And Greta Van Fleet was a great act to tour with. 

I walked out of the rink and went to my bike to load up and head home – a job well done. I was pumped for the upcoming show and could hardly wait. I looked through the fence as I put my helmet on and loaded my motorcycle. On the other side of the fence stood a slender blonde wearing a hat, sunglasses, and tall shiny boots. 

Could it be Taylor Momsen?

No, it couldn’t be, she was smoking a cigarette. The young lead singer of a band like The Pretty Reckless couldn’t be a smoker? Could she? 

My instincts told me to say hi, to ask if she was the lead singer of my favourite rock band.  I wanted to say something, but she was probably just some blonde having a smoke. She sure looked like Taylor, but if it wasn’t her, she’d probably think I was some creep. 

But she was smoking, it couldn’t be her.

I wondered if I needed to learn to follow my instincts…

A lady with long black hair came up to her and they both turned and went into a store. My chance to find out was gone, I jumped on my bike and drove home.

Time went by in a flash and my wife and I climbed on my motorcycle and cruised downtown with plenty of time to spare. The concert was starting at 7;00 and we left home at 5:45. Lots of time, right…

We couldn’t believe the size of the line as we reached Prospera Place. It stretched down the block. We stood with the people and waited for our turn to enter the arena. I was surprised at how long the line was.

But it was a sold-out show. I should have known better, except we have not seen the home of the Kelowna Rockets that full in years. 

It felt great being back in a sold-out rink feeling the buzz, the rush of a live show.

It soon became apparent why they chose not to host the next Memorial cup in Prospera Place. The concourse was filled with people and it was hard to move around. The lines for everything were huge.

A connection and excitement flowed through the crowd. We had dinner in the bar and caught the end of the opening act Her name was Hannah Virkerk and she sounded good, she rocked the rink and warmed the crowd. We made our way to our seats and waited for my favourite band to climb on the stage. 

I beamed with excitement and looked at the people in the seats behind me. 

“I want to warn you, I am going to dance for the next band, they are the best!” I said to the man and lady behind me. 

They didn’t even know who The Pretty Reckless was!

I soon realised that the majority of people were there for Greta Van Fleet. They have been compared to Led Zeppelin, but I don’t think they are in the same class. The Pretty Reckless on the other hand… 

The first notes of their newest song, Death By Rock And Roll filled the air and my body began to respond.  

They rocked everyone out for the next 40 or so minutes. I looked at Taylor and noticed she was wearing the same shiny boots as the girl from the afternoon…

Then the music took control and I was lost in the songs.

They began their song ‘Heaven Knows’ and Taylor implored the crowd to join in. I sang at the top of my lungs. Too bad the crowd in Kelowna was so lame, they hardly sang at all. Their loss…

My body and my soul was released in musical ecstasy as the band played some of their best tunes. Taylor sounded amazing as her voice rang through the air. I gyrated in my seat and stood to dance for the final song. 

It was over too soon.

I turned to my wife, “I am glad we bought the trip to see them in San Diego as the headliner.” When the concert date neared I saw the band announce a few headlining shows including one in Seattle. But the price was a bit too high to stay in Seattle and the timing was wrong. I looked at where else they were playing headline shows and one stood out to me – The House Of Blues in San Diego.

Someone told me YOLO – You only live once. 

“I can’t wait to see them be the headliner…”

The curtain dropped on the stage and they transformed it for the main act. 

Greta Van Fleet took the stage and rocked the arena. I tried to feel the music like I could feel The Pretty Reckless – I couldn’t. Don’t get me wrong I really like GVF but they don’t affect me the same way.

I checked in with the crew as the last songs rang through warm Okanagan air. It was time to take down the show. Security was tighter than I’d ever seen and it became apparent that it was a good thing I had tickets to the show. It wasn’t like the last concert with Shinedown where I could just go backstage by telling people I was a rigger – no one cared, they wanted to see a pass, a pass I didn’t have.

The rig-out went quickly and I left the arena at 1:20 in the morning. I walked to my bike and lo and behold both bands were standing in a circle hanging out in front of the tour buses. 

I smiled and said to them, ” great show, you guys rocked!” What else could I say?

“Thanks, glad you enjoyed it.” the drummer for Greta Van Fleet responded. 

There she was, Taylor Momsen standing in front of me wearing black shiny boots, a black skirt, and smoking a cigarette. It was the girl from the afternoon. It was her, I was right… Why didn’t I say something earlier? 

What would I say now?

I could see Mr. Security walk toward me. 

“Hey Taylor, I can’t wait to see you in San Diego at The umm House of umm… The House of Blues! It’s going to be awesome.” I fumbled with my words.

She smiled back at me and took a drag on her cigarette “Nice…”  was all she said.

What a jackass I thought to myself as I walked away. My one chance to tell her how great she was and how sorry I was the crowd was lame…

The crowd in San Diego won’t be lame. They will be there for The Pretty Reckless. 

Energy flowed through my veins as I got to my bike and put on my helmet. Why didn’t I say something more, why didn’t I say something that afternoon? My chance to meet my idol. But I’m 52, I shouldn’t have idols anymore, yet I felt like that teenage kid at his first concert… 

It was a moment to remember and I quickly let go of my regret. I got to see a rock hero, and soon I will get to see them again. Music fills my soul and in the end, it is what fills our souls that we live for.

Categories: Daily Journal

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