TicketMOMster review: David Foster & Friends Miracle Concert @ MTS Centre
How to attend the David Foster & Friends Miracle Concert after the sudden death of your father in 30 easy steps:
- Wonder how you’re going to get through this on three hours of sleep.
- Realize losing a parent is a very difficult life event and it is perfectly acceptable to cry in public at any point during this process, even if it makes others feel uncomfortable. Grief is normal and natural. Feel a strange sort of relief over this realization.
- Feel grateful your Husband works for a company that bought a table to the event and invited you, free of charge.
- Feel grateful everything was planned and ready to go before the death of your Father. The less decisions the better.
- Drive to the hair salon because even when you’re not drowning in grief, you still can’t do your own hair. Sit in the salon chair with your eyes closed because you can’t speak without crying and you need rest. John at Aevi Salon is gentle and kind. Tears roll down your cheeks as he works and he hands you a Kleenex. He creates a masterpiece that’s soft and elegant.
- Drive to The Bay. Bobbi Brown makeup artist, Melanie hugs you over and over. You describe your dress and she gets to work. You wonder if this process is futile since you can’t go an hour without crying. You pray for a miracle. Melanie delivers a miracle. She holds up the mirror after she’s done. She has erased the pasty color of intense grief on your skin. The bags from crying and lack of sleep under your eyes are gone too. You look fresh and beautiful. You look brand new. You resist the urge to cry and hug her again.
- You drive to your Mom’s house to get dressed. You’re worried your gown isn’t going to fit properly. Ordinarily, you’re underweight but you’ve lost four pounds in four days and that’s a lot for you. Your bones are sticking out and you feel weak. You slide into your gown, slip on your heels and look in the mirror. You’re…stunning. You try and smile at yourself but it feels unnatural…forced; like you’ve never used those muscles before.
- Your Husband picks you up and you notice his eyes pop out of his head when he sees you. It pleases you, but you can’t seem to show that emotion on your face.
- As your Husband drives to the gala you talk to him about how overwhelmed you are by people’s kindness and love. Sending flowers, making food, offering services for free; everyone around you is going out of their way to help make this difficult time easier on you. It feels like people are coming out of the woodwork to support you and show you love and kindness. You’ve noticed and appreciate everything. The only words you speak that feel genuine are these: Thank you.
- You arrive at the gala. Everyone looks fancy. Your Husband finds his coworkers and you all check in and walk down the purple carpet to get your photo taken. It’s a physical struggle to walk with your back straight; your shoulders weighed down by thick blankets of grief. You don’t feel like smiling, but you force a smile, knowing it’s the most fake smile you’ve ever created in your entire life.
- Small talk feels pointless and painful while waiting to take your seat.
- You walk down the stairs to the ice level of the MTS Centre, carefully trying not to trip on your gown. The floor is covered with purple carpet and there are fancy tables everywhere. You’ve never been to an event like this before. You find your seat and admire a salad with edible flowers in front of you.
- Michaela Pereira hosts the show and she’s both funny and charming. A bagpipe band leads the head table to their seats and the dinner begins. You eat as much of the fancy salad as you can, but your appetite just isn’t there. A beef dish comes out next and it’s tasty but you can only eat half of it. Next is a berry mousse dessert surrounded by chocolate musical notes. It’s delicious.
- The 2016 Visionary Awards (created by Maarten Schaddelee) are given to Gail Asper, Bonnie and John Buhler, and Hartley Richardson. Their speeches are funny (Hartley sings) and you smile, politely.
- When your Dad passed away you talked with your Husband about being organ donors, but you both didn’t know how. Tonight, you learn how (register at www.signupforlife.ca/). You also learn that ONE donor can save up to EIGHT lives and that Manitoba has the lowest organ donor rate in Canada. Only 1% of Manitobans are registered as organ and tissue donors; you’re shocked and vow to register as soon as you get home.
- Next you hear Piper Coffin’s story about living with Alagille Syndrome and how she needed a liver transplant. You learn about the financial burdens that are placed on the family during these unbearably difficult times. You hear how the David Foster Foundation steps in to help relieve these financial stresses so the family can concentrate on helping their child. The idea that a family can go bankrupt due to financial stresses while their child is almost dying is appalling and it makes you angry. You can’t imagine the struggles this family has gone through and you say a silent prayer of thanks that your child is healthy.
- Then the money starts flowing. $10,000 dollars is required to support one family through a year of organ transplant surgeries. You have no idea how much money is in Winnipeg, but you’re about to find out. It starts slow, one table decides to support one family for a year. Then another individual decides to support three families for a year and then it snowballs. Individuals and businesses support five and 10 families for a year. Some donors are from other parts of Canada, a few from the States, but most are from Winnipeg. You can’t believe how much money is moving and the speed in which it’s being raised for those who are struggling through some of the worst pain imaginable.
- Then come the auctions. Private island vacations and race car vacations are offered and they start the bidding between $10,000 and $50,000. There are six auctions and they’re all sold for more than the starting bid. The last vacation is offered twice to two bidders and $280,000 is raised. You’re both overwhelmed and flabbergasted. Why are you sitting in this room? How did you get in here? There’s no way you can afford any of this stuff but it’s fascinating to watch.
- One of the auctions is “Bright Lights, Big City, Broadway, Bocelli”. It’s a VIP trip to New York to attend the Broadway show Hamilton as well as an Andrea Bocelli concert at Madison Square Gardens, complete with a meet and greet. Your heart clenches painfully as you watch Andrea Bocelli sing on the big screen. Your Dad loved Andrea Bocelli. You reach into your purse and pull out his watch. You slide it on your tiny wrist and wish he was there with you.
- During the auction, the arena fills with audience members who have purchased tickets to the event. You watch them enter. They’re you. Why aren’t you sitting up there with them and how in the world did you end up in this gown on the floor with all these fancy people?
- The show starts. The lights are lowered and David Foster appears playing a piano with the rest of the band. You wonder if this is what the Grammy awards are like; everything is so luxurious and posh. You’re completely out of your element, but it feels wonderful at the same time.
- Jackie Evancho takes the stage. You’ve never seen her perform before, but a couple of days ago, you were going through your Dad’s CD’s and you found one of hers. You caress your Dad’s watch and listen. You instantly recognize a song your Dad would have loved. You’re not sure of the name, but think it might be O Mio Babbino Caro. Tears well up in your eyes as you listen, holding his watch.
- Next up is The Tenors. They start on the small stage in the middle of the floor and make their way to the main stage. Their voices are impressive…and you have to go to the washroom. On your way out of the washroom, you’re stopped by a woman who tells you she’s one of The Tenor’s Mom’s and she loves your gown. You thank her politely. She’s the fourth stranger that has complimented you on your gown.
- You feel a bit sorry for Carly Rae Jepsen, having to follow two musical acts with amazing vocal range. What Carly lacks in vocals, she makes up for in energy, dancing and prancing around on stage. Carly jumps into the audience and many of the women get out of their seats and dance with her. Your Husband asks if you want to dance too and you decline. You’re not ready yet.
- Then David Foster goes into the audience and brings back local You Tube sensation Maria Aragon to sing Lady Gaga’s Born This Way. You always enjoy seeing Maria sing on stage, she’s humble and real. Her song throws David for a bit of a loop. It sounds like it’s going to end and he races back on stage to get her, but she keeps singing and he backs up off the stage. This happens three times. It makes you smile every time.
- Sinbad is next and you’re kind of excited because you always thought he was funny. He IS funny and the most amazing thing happens. At first you don’t realize you’re doing it; you think you’re just sitting there listening to him, but then you realize your mouth is smiling and the sound of laughter is coming from YOU. You haven’t laughed since your Dad died and it feels nice. You telepathically thank Sinbad.
- Michael Bolton starts his set in the middle of the arena and the women get out of their seats to take pictures of him. You stay in your seat. He has a nice voice, but he’s not really your style. His jokes are a bit lame and then he sings a song by Luciano Pavarotti, another one of your Dad’s favourites. You smile after it’s over because you can hear your Dad’s voice in your head saying “Well, that was a good try, but Pavarotti is better.”
- You’ve been waiting all night for Seal to take the stage and he does, accompanied by Michael Bolton on It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World. You check your face and glance at your Husband to make sure he doesn’t see you drool. Because…hubba hubba. Seal sounds a tiny bit off key at the end, but it’s not a big deal and you enjoy his performance immensely.
- The show ends and purple and silver confetti shoots all over the arena while “$3.2 MILLION DOLLARS” is projected on the big screen. Impressive, Winnipeg.
- On the way home you watch a video your Husband took at the end of the gala. The confetti is flying and the band is pumping out the music. He pans over to you and you’re smiling, trying to catch confetti. There you are. It’s you. The “you” not overcome with waves of unbearable grief. You’re still in there somewhere. You realize that you’re not lost even though your world will never be the same. It’s going to take time before you can come out again, but you’re still there. And you’ll come out again when you’re ready. You’re thankful you forced yourself to go to this event. Your Dad would have loved it.
TicketMOMster is a Rock and Jazz-loving Mom; single-handedly keeping Ticketmaster alive in Winnipeg. Follow her musical journey here: www.facebook.com/TicketMOMsters