Night with a legend
USC has a program called Visions and Voices that “features theatrical productions, music and dance performances, film screenings, lectures and workshops” in an effort to “affirm the human spirit.” I don’t know about all that, but what I do know is that because of this initiative, I got to see a rocking concert put on by Elton John!
Tickets for all these performances are free, so you can imagine the number of entries into the lottery for the limited seating available at Bovard Auditorium on the University Park Campus. I was one of the unlucky majority to be placed on the wait list, but decided to show up early anyway hoping for enough extra tickets to get a seat. There was already a long queue, but I sat down and read a book for several long minutes before making friends with a few freshman behind me. They were about to leave (a huge mistake!), so I decided to teach them how to juggle.
We were about 70 or 80 people back in line and, right before the show began, they finally started letting people in 10 at a time. When we were about five people from the front they stopped us and we got worried that they ran out of tickets. Turned out they were collecting their few remaining VIP seats and my two new friends and I ended up with orchestra-level tickets! What a rush.
And did I mention all these events are completely FREE!?
Elton John was still rocking the house at age 66. He played a bunch of older songs and the place was jumping. In the middle of the program, they did a brief sit-down interview with him, where he shared a lot of old stories as well as some of his feelings about new music and his new album. Then he played some songs from that album and finished things off with a bang. As “Rocket Man” echoed in my head, I burst out from the auditorium and happened to run into my two new friends. We shared a hug and they were clearly ecstatic, yelling out “This is why we go to USC!”
One of the many reasons why.