Live in Concert Series: Some of the most rewarding travel experiences are live events. We can attend them at home or in another state or country. As a big sports fan, I started the Accessible Gameday blog series last year. But I’m also a big fan of music and theater, though I don’t attend these performances as often as I’d like to. In a new blog series, Live in Concert, I plan to bring you reports from live events at venues around the world. If you’d like to share your own experience from a concert or event, consider submitting a guest blog post!

Last month, I traveled to Huntsville, Alabama for the 2017 Travel Bloggers Exchange, a conference designed to make me a better wheelchair travel blogger. I met many great people and gained several new friends, but the most exciting thing that happened was an unexpected coincidence.

John with Tracy Ferrie in Huntsville, AlabamaDuring the conference, I elected to stay at the Huntsville Marriott at the Space & Rocket Center. On my first night there, I was outside after making a phone call, when a luxury motor coach pulled up. Off stepped the popular 1970s classic rock band BOSTON, responsible for classics like “More Than A Feeling,” “Peace of Mind” and “Don’t Look Back.”

Their arrival gave me the chance to meet and talk with Tracy Ferrie, the band’s current bass player and a former member of the bands Stryper, Plumb and Strange Celebrity, among others. He is an absolute stand-up guy and after talking for about an hour, he offered me tickets to the band’s show in Huntsville, on May 6th at the Von Braun Center.

The Von Braun Center, named for the rocket scientist Dr. Wernher von Braun, is a multipurpose events center, with space for meetings, conventions and performances. Boston played in the center’s newly expanded Propst Arena.

Von Braun Center Propst Arena seating chart

My tickets were in section 221, to the left of the stage. The band had set me up with some of the arena’s best wheelchair accessible seats, with quick access to the concourse, concession stands and bathrooms. There was also no one in front of me to block my view, which is a major letdown of many concert venues. The ADA seating area offered plenty of room for wheelchair users and their companions.

Since I had been given two tickets, I invited my friend Jen from Jen on a Jet Plane to go with me. We arrived a bit late, after coming from the TBEX closing party, but had a fantastic time and heard all of Boston’s greatest hits.

The band Boston onstage at the Von Braun Center.
The band Boston onstage at the Von Braun Center.

The stage design and accompanying light show was fantastic, and something I was surprised to see at a classic rock concert. The performance was well attended, with just about every seat occupied. The audience was a diverse group in age, race, gender and ability! I was thrilled that so many turned out to hear great live music.

After the show – and a well-received encore of a few songs – we were able to go backstage to meet the band. I was thrilled that Tracy had included these passes, so I could thank him once more for his kind gesture.

Backstage with Boston's Tracy Ferrie and Beth Cohen in Huntsville, AL.
Backstage with Boston’s Tracy Ferrie and Beth Cohen in Huntsville, AL.

In addition to Tracy, we also met Beth Cohen, who joined the band in 2015 as a singer-keyboardist-guitarist. Two down-to-earth people in the music industry who put on a great show and really made us feel welcome!

Final Thoughts

The greatest joy for me in travel is meeting people, whoever they are. We’re all special and have something to offer the world, and I was excited for the opportunity to cross paths with a band that has added so much beauty to the world through music.

When you travel, never pass on an opportunity to say hello. Whether it’s your hotel bellman, your taxi driver or a band that has just pulled up – start a conversation! Your meetings might turn into incredible experiences like the one I had in Huntsville, Alabama!

And, if you ever do find yourself in the Rocket City, be sure to enjoy the hospitality and accessibility at the Von Braun Center.

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