Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Dispatch live at the Kennedy Center 6/12/09

This is a documentation of a journey to see one of my favorite bands, Dispatch.

It all started with an email from Dispatch....



DISPATCH plans to reunite for a special acoustic evening at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC next Friday, June 12th. They will be joined by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of Zimbabwe in celebration of the transformative power of Citizen Service around the Globe. Frequent over the next 24 hours for the Official Announcement and ticket details.

I knew right then and there that there is no way that I was going to miss Bonnaroo AND Dispatch, especially when Dispatch was playing a mere four and a half hours away. I was already extremely excited about the prospect of going to the concert that I had began to lose sleep. I woke up bright and early and logged on to my computer on the day when tickets were going to be sold. I had learned from Dispatch's Madison Square Garden concert that these tickets were going to be sold pretty fast, especially because the Kennedy Center's seating capacity is only 1,200 seats.

Being both excited and worried I logged in to State Radio's (Chad's band) Red Letter Tribe to see if there were updates on the forum. Some of the comments reassured my fears about not getting a ticket to the show. One RLT user stated that :"The 1st MSG show, which holds 20,000, sold out in like 20 minutes so a 1,100 seat venue will be gone within minutes." Things were not starting to look good.

I was all ready on the day that tickets were going to be sold, I had already logged in to the Kennedy Center's website and I had their phone number on speed dial. Then the unthinkable happened. I watched my spot in line jump from a relatively low number to over 2000.... and to top it all off the site was slow. It looked like my online ticket purchases were not going to happen so I tried calling only to find that I could not get through.

After a ton of frustration it was made aware to me that the concert was sold out. I sat in disbelief and I decided that I was going to try to go to this concert no matter what. This had already happened to me with Bonnaroo and I am definitely not going to miss this concert.

The next few days were filled with searches on Google, craigslist, ebay, and RLT only to find that my fears had been actualized. A ton of scalpers had gotten a hold of a bunch of tickets and they were selling them for insane prices. One scalper was calling it Dispatch Zimbabwe (which was the Madison Square concerts) and selling 4 tickets up front for 4000 dollars on ebay. Seeing that the tickets were 20 dollars each this guy was attempting to make a 3920 dollar profit to a band that was invited by the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai, to play a special show.

It was June 10th and I still didn't have a ticket. I was growing more and more upset and I was conjuring up ways to come up with the ridiculous amounts of money to pay for the scalpers tickets. It looked like I had been beat.

But that night I had received a response to one of my craigslist posts and agreed to buy 4 tickets at 150 dollars each! A ton of money...but worth it.

After I had gotten the tickets, I still had to find a place to stay and a way to get up to DC. After the original group of people bailed on me...A plan came together at the last minute to drive up at 6 in the morning up to DC with my friend Ryan to experience something that so few could get the chance to experience: Dispatch live in a fairly small venue playing acoustic... It brought me back to remember when I had first heard Brad's Senior Project recording at Middlebury College in 1996. If this show would be ANYTHING like that it would blow my mind.

The day had come. I could hardly sleep, I woke up at 5 and proceeded to get everything ready for the adventure before us. We packed ourselves into my 1996 Saab and drove up to DC, stopping only once for gas and food. We decided to park at the Kennedy Center and dish up another 17 dollars while we used an iphone to try and sell our extra tickets. While we were waiting, we decided to hit up the Natural History Museum and the Air and Space Museum. We made sure that we would be present for a jam session with other Dispatch fans!

We arrived at 5 to find NO ONE there. We were so confused, this is Dispatch where is everyone? After searching around the Kennedy Center we found some other members searching for a jam session. We posted some more information on both RLT and facebook and proceeded to wait until more people came.

At around 6, people started to show up with instruments and jamming commenced, along with hula hooping. I joined in and we were all singing / playing very rough versions of Dispatch songs. Then...Dispatch came out.
I had heard rumors that the band may make an appearance so I had brought along my old school Under the Radar poster and proceeded to have all of the band members sign it. We all talked to Pete, Chad, and Brad and soaked in how wonderfully awesome each band member was. We continued jamming and Brad joined in singing right next to me. And like a flash, it was all over.

It was time for the concert and the scalpers were lining up and down the stairs / walkways to the Kennedy Center. There was no way that my balcony seats would even compare to the scalpers orchestra seats at prices like 25 dollars a seat. But, the scalpers had realized that they were not going to sell all of their tickets so they gave them all to us. We had about 14 Dispatch tickets!...Let me say that again... We had 14 Dispatch Tickets to a SOLD OUT CONCERT!!

Me and Ryan traded our crummy balcony seats for two Orchestra seats and decided that we were going to give them away to people. We gave away almost all the tickets, some to people who had never even heard of Dispatch or about the trials and tribulations of the Zimbabwean people. After brief talks of praise and information we proceeded to give away Orchestra seats and Balcony seats to people. They had no idea how lucky they were.

We sat in our seats and waited for the show to start. Morgan Tsvangirai was introduced and we sat and watched a short video about Zimbabwe that I had watched multiple times since it was put up on the internet. (posted below)

The crowd could hardly contain itself through his speech and his dance moves. They were all excited for Dispatch. Well, not everyone. The guys behind me decided to talk about "the market" and business through out the entire concert... they were really annoying and obviously did not appreciate what they were seeing.

The show began with one of my favorite songs, Questioned Apocalypse!!! Passerby had a few mess ups in it that were corrected happily by the crowd's loud singing. And It only got better from there... The band played all of the crowd favorites like Two Coins, Bang Bang, Flying Horses, Elias, and the General. We even screamed out one request for Remake Me! The band decided to give us a little tease of the song and we all cheered very loudly. Steeples started with a progression of strumming that each band member would play right after each other. For those that were not there and can not tell what I am talking about, I found a video of Steeples on youtube that shows the very end part of goofy intro.

The band proceeded to amaze us with a cover of "War", followed by an awesome version of "Elias", followed by a Zimbabwean Sing-a-long. I can not even begin to describe how awesome and catchy this sing-a-long was. I just hope that this concert will end up on either a disc or DVD so everyone can experience what I was able to!

The show went as followed:
1) Questioned Apocalypse
2) Two Coins
3) Passerby
4) Outloud
5) Bulletholes
6) Bang Bang
7) Spades
8) Flying Horses
9) Bridges
10) Past The Falls
11) Carry You
12) The General
13) Steeples
14) Remake Me (tease)
15) War
16) Elias
17) Zimbabwean Song-a-long

*promo images are from Madison House Design*


  1. I cant believe you wound up with that many tickets... that makes me want to cry considering how hard I tried to get them. It sounds like a great time dude, I really hope they do another dvd or disc.

  2. I know it was really ridiculous! And I hope that they do come out with a disc or DVD. I saw 2 big video cameras so it may be a possibility.

  3. nice write up...i was at both the hatch shell and msg, was lucky enough to buy 5th row for this show...and got to live the dream...see your fav band play an acoustic set in a small venue.....

    LOL SO TRUE it reminded me of the Middlebury concert from 96.....all it was missing was "Desert Sky" and a flute...

  4. True... and Matador! if they opened with Matador into Questioned Apocalypse that would have been sweet!

    Yeah, I went to the MSG show and it was great but this was a completely different type of show. They were both great.

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  6. Hey, did they ever hint at another reunion show in the next couple of years? I live in Colorado and would LOVE to see them play at Red Rocks in Brad's hometown!

  7. Sorry for the late response T Harps, Actually they did kind of tease at the fact that they have played in both Chad and Pete's hometowns and the next last concert will be in colorado. But that of course was a while ago. We can always keep our fingers crossed though.



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