We were invited to the concert and meet and greet several weeks ago. We always say yes to things and then decide at that morning if we're going or not. That's the way we have to do things. We never know when a bad day is coming. So we say yes today and confirm later. Every family we know also has this policy.
Chaz's awesome OT Stephanie volunteered to watch the cuties. When she showed up we were out the door and headed back to Walter Reed to meet the bus at the Malogne House. We had a super comfy bus for our less than an hour ride.
We got to go and park back behind the stage. We unloaded and we were escorted backstage. It was really cool to go back there and see all the truck lined up and organized. The guide explained to us how everything worked. The I walked towards the stage so I could see the rockstar view! I took several pics.
Then we went back to our buses and had some pizza and waited for Rick Allen to arrive. He came and just sat down and just chilled with us. He talked and listened and he told us his story. For those of you who don't know, Rick was in a car accident when he was 21 and his left arm was severed because the seat belt was not properly fastened. He told us how he was laying in the hospital bed and decided he could not let his band mates down. He said they put this thing at the foot of his bed to help him sit up and one day he started tapping his feet on it. Then he realized he could still be a drummer and began to figure out how to adapt his drums. He said it was that simple. He just didn't want to disappoint anyone and that drove him to keep moving forward. Then he told us about how his body just adapted and everything just became easier everyday.
Then he told us about how he got involved in the Wounded Warrior Project. He said he wanted to just show the soldiers that he carried on and that he wanted to just help them. But instead he was inspired by them. He said at that point he decided he would meet as many soldiers as possible. He then went around and met all of us. When I introduced us as Chaz and Jessica Allen, Rick said, "No way, you're an Allen too. That's really your last name?" I told yes it is. It was so funny, he said he'd never met another Allen before. I told him around here, there's a ton of us. We all then went to take pictures.
The whole time we were there, I thought of my big brother, John. He is a huge Def Leppard fan and I mean huge. I know all of their songs because of him. We took our pic first and were off to the side and it dawned on me I bet he'd take a pic for John if I asked. Another lady had a similar thought and called her mom and Rick got on the phone and said hello. I then said hey can I take a pic for my brother. He said here let's call him. I said that's a great idea but unfortunately he won't be able to hear you. I explained to Rick that my big brother lost his hearing due to rocking out to Def Leppard in his car after our Mom told him many times to turn the music down. Rick said, "No way." Chaz said, "Yes way he has a hearing aide for both ears." Rick says, "Then we need to send him a great pic." He asked, "What does your brother do now?" I said, "He runs his own business tinting windows, putting in stereos all of the above." He said, "So he lost his hearing and still rocks out?" I said, "Everyday just like you." We took the pic and then I got a big hug. Chaz and I would have given anything for my big brother to have been there! But we shared his story with Rick and we took lots of pics just for him and even got him a T-shirt. I was texting with John all night too!
Rick of course had to get back to his rockstar duties and we had to go find our seats. Unfortunately the row they gave us did not have a handicapped accessible seat so the event floor manager moved us to even better seats! The staff at the concert was so helpful and they made sure we had everything we needed and even checked on us during the night. We did have fun freaking out the teenagers. You see we only had one ticket and it was for me, because they forgot Chaz's. This is why management had to get involved. So when we left our seats and tried to get back in the teeny-boppers would flip. "But you only have one ticket," one teen said. So I pulled Chaz off to the side and said to the girl ,"See that lady, she's your manager and she knows what's going on, so go send your buddy to go ask her." But luckily the manager saw us and came over to take care of it. She apologized and we told her, hey they are just trying to do a good job. We were all teenagers once.
I made Chaz happy because we found Italian Ice and popcorn. Of course we had to take out a loan and sign Deryn's college fund over to get them, but he was happy. I did notice the concessions were operated by a High School Music program and they got a share of the proceeds so that was pretty cool.
The concert was awesome!!!!! Heart and Def Leppard know how to entertain and rock the house. If they are coming to a town near you, go see them! I know I'd go again, I bet Chaz would too!