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I Did My Best To Notice When The Band Took The Stage

, , , , , , , | Friendly | August 30, 2022

I’m the author of this unbelievable story from my time living in Virginia, about forty minutes south of Washington DC.

At the time of this story, my mother is engaged to a man who is high-ranking in the Secret Service. (He is now retired.) [Mom’s Fiancé] is on Presidential Protection; He escorts the President personally and is paid to potentially take a bullet for him.

[Mom’s Fiancé]’s job has had some fun perks for my sister and me while we live with them, like getting invited to certain events. White House employees are always invited to the Christmas party and a few other major holiday celebrations.

It’s the second of July, 2010, and Barack Obama is in office. My mom calls and asks if I am interested in going to the White House’s Fourth of July party. She quickly confirms that, no, we won’t be meeting Obama, as he’s in Hawaii visiting family. (We previously got to meet George W. Bush at the aforementioned Christmas party, so this wasn’t a totally insane expectation.)

The invite is so late because [Mom’s Fiancé] was supposed to go to Hawaii with Mr. President but has to stay in DC for reasons he isn’t allowed to talk about. (That happens a lot.) I am bummed we didn’t get a meet-and-greet with the first black president, but I still want to go.

I scramble to get my shifts covered, and I am ultimately able to attend the party. I am aware that there will be a USO show of some kind, but my mom can’t remember who will be performing, and I don’t take the time to look up anything else about it.

The party is on the absolutely massive lawn behind the White House. We settle in a little bit further uphill from the stage, where Cedric The Entertainer is doing stand-up comedy. After his routine, he greets people from behind a waist-high metal fence that leads to a cordoned-off area backstage. He’s extremely friendly and a celebrity I recognize, so it is fun to say hi really quickly.

Another fun fact: I am seven and a half months pregnant with my first child. I am normally fairly slim, so my baby bulge is very noticeable. It’s hot and humid, so I stretch out on our blanket, sip my (nonalcoholic) beverage, and settle in, fully intending to not move for the rest of the party. My little sister is sitting with me and we’re chatting away. Meanwhile, a sound check is going on, so I’m dimly aware that a band will be up next.

We hear applause welcoming the band, but it is not introduced by name. My sister and I are facing away from the stage, deep in conversation, and not really paying attention, when we hear some music blaring out of the speaker. It’s quite distinctive and I immediately recognize it.

My sister and I go silent and lock eyes in mutual shock. Without a single word to each other or the rest of our family, we get up and run toward the stage, me with my third-trimester belly and everything.

We manage to squeeze in pretty close. I would’ve gotten even closer if I wasn’t so pregnant! Still, we are less than ten feet from the stage, shocked and ecstatic that one of our favorite bands is right there and we are watching them! It is an amazing set and we have a blast!

Looking back, I think this was my favorite concert experience because it was a complete surprise. The shock of recognition and our sprint to the stage made it all the more exciting. It’s one of those moments I’ll always remember very vividly.

The band? The Killers. That first song? Human. Best Independence Day ever!

Creepy, Cut-Off, and Caught!

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