With my family living in the UK, I get a bit messy around the holidays. So last month, in the midst of some nothing to look forward to blues, I saw an ad for Stevie Wonder’s upcoming show in LA. The last time I tried to see Stevie I bought $350 tickets and ended up watching a variety show, in which Stevie sang 4 songs, I whined about it here.

Smarter than I was a year ago, I bought a $50 dollar ticket and determined that I would roll solo. I don’t need anybody, I just need Stevie, right? So I put my ticket on the fridge and smiled at it for a month. Apparently I still have a lot of lessons to learn about expectations causing suffering.

The night of the show I got a call from another fan, letting me know that there were a few other performers- bad sign. Stevie’s on another level and when you see him in concert the lights go down, he blows your mind, and the lights come up, end of story. So I drove downtown with the forewarning that I had to sit through Kero-one and Bruno Mars. Sheesh, the shit I will tolerate for some Stevie church.

The show was for Toys for Tots, so I brought some toys and dropped them off in the boxes outside of the theater. I’d arrived late, hoping to miss the opening acts, but unfortunately the mockery of my dreams had only just begun. When I got into the venue Stevie was on stage finishing a Christmas carroll in a Santa suit and then was escorted off the stage, had I blown it? Did I miss Stevie?

Doug E Fresh was the MC. Bruno Mars was a no-show. Kero-one is a Chinese American rapper. Some random girl with long hair sang Al Green and then flipped her hair. Another chick came out and sang Rhianna’s “Diamonds”, and I realized I was at karaoke. Not fair.

Stevie came back out and his throat hurt so he made some excellent blind jokes and then played a little harmonica.

Stevie Wonder Please Play A Real Concert i

Then Doug E Fresh danced as an unseen DJ played a terrible medley of hip-hop jams including “Hip-Hop Hooray” and “It Takes Two”. The crowd got on their feet, but he didn’t even perform any of his songs. “No human beat box here tonight folks, nothing to see here.” Adding insult to injury they offered up this turd from the television show “The Voice”. I was half way up the aisle to the exit before he’d completed the first verse of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You”.

I called my friend on the way out to vent that I’d been had. At the crosswalk I noticed another fuming woman with fire in her eyes and smoke coming out of her ears. She looked at me and said, “Don’t even get me started.” I replied, “What the fuck just happened in there?” I demanded a hug, because I’m a hugger and we both stalked away to listen to Stevie in our cars.

I learned this one a while ago, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. I’d probably go for it again, because the memory of seeing Stevie Wonder at Radio City Music Hall in 1994 is seared into my memory, but maybe thats the lesson: I gotta let go of the dream that I can repeat ’94. I’ll be forced to endure lesser moments in time until I can let go of expectations.