The Birthday Crashers
[Note: Continuing the series of article contributions from Hoboken411 reader Andrew – who has volunteered to share his perspectives of the world we live in. Share your thoughts in the comments section!]
The Birthday Crashers
By Andrew B.
Would you ever consider crashing the birthday party of a Nonagenarian (fancy way to say 90 year old)? Neither would I… until a recent Sunday night.
With zero expectations and not a clue of what awaited us at Madison Square Garden we hopped on the PATH and headed in to celebrate the life and music of a man we barely knew. A five o’clock concert?! I suppose it was an early bird special for his fans who have been following him since the beginning (1919!) but this show tripled as a birthday bash, concert and fundraiser to benefit the Clearwater Project, whose mission is to preserve and protect the Hudson River.
Forty-eight hours before our journey to Pete Seeger’s 90th Birthday Celebration began, I barely knew who he was, but by pure luck I had four box seats land in my inbox lap. I’d heard his name but mostly knew about the influence he’s had on the musicians and bands that I consider myself a fan of. In the interest of spreading the wealth I invited three of my buddies to join me and a friend from work to join me in an awesome suite that we had absolutely no business being in. But we took over and crashed Mr. Seeger’s five hour party! In the words of Lloyd Christmas, “Hey, I guess they’re right. Senior citizens, although slow and dangerous behind the wheel, can still serve a purpose.”
(The Birthday Crashers, continued…)
With all due respect…
To all of the Seeger Heads I owe you a belated apology. We completely crashed the party and probably should have never been allowed inside the arena let alone some of the best seats in the house for what was a terrific concert, an enlightening experience and an opportunity to see and hear 10 current or future Hall of Fame artists on one stage at the same time. Oh, and I hadn’t seen Oscar the Grouch live either so I can cross that off my bucket list as well. In addition to taking in all of the incredible music in “ The World’s Most Famous Arena”, we had a full bar and private bathroom as well as VERY understanding attendants who catered to our every need (Translation: leave us alone and don’t call security).
Between videos showing the lives enriched and rivers cleaned up by the Clearwater Organization, a birthday letter from President Obama (apparently Pete Seeger was one of the musicians invited to play at the Inauguration), a random Tim Robbins appearance and the killer duo of Bruce Springsteen and Tom Morello we clearly were in the right place at the right time. I like to think that we gave something back as well. Mr. Seeger’s life goal is to get people involved whether it’s leading people in song, community service or by taking care of the land that surrounds them. He has spread his message for over 60 years through his voice and lyrics to as many people as will listen. As he and many of the other performers reminded us throughout the evening, it’s a message that transcends age, race, religion and generations.
Planting seeds for the future
We gave back the way that he had hoped. Inevitably we ended up buying a ticket for another friend (face value $19.19 for his year of birth), from some guy who had an extra.
We sang along, joined in when Pete harmonized the audience for “Amazing Grace” and most importantly spread the fun to those around us. Well, most of those around us. There were certainly some heads turned and jaws dropped when one reveler from our suite made the bold announcement, “I want Warren Haynes’ Seed!”* Following the mixed silence, laughter and downright shock, the reveler deadpanned to those who had heard him “Well someone had to say it.”
Yes, clearly someone had to say it and it obviously had to be someone who was crashing the party.
* Warren Haynes is not a farmer