Suzy Snapper
Thursday, September 07, 2006
The Gamble
An Open Letter to Kenny Rogers:

Dear Mr. Rogers,

Last night, we had the opportunity to attend your concert in Richmond. I had originally purchased the tickets as soon as they came available for sale, as it was part of fulfilling a dream for my mother. We were fortunate to be able to buy 4 tickets, front row centre in the 5th row.

You see, my Mom has advanced COPD which means every step for her is a challenge. Each breath a victory. She's tough though. You'd never hear her complain or ask for help. I've watched her health decline over the last year to the point that she now can't leave the house without a lot of difficulty. Recently, much to her chagrin, she was issued a disabled parking license. She is very embarassed about that, but for us, we know it's a new lease for her. We know now she may be able to get out of the house more - something most of us take for granted.

Your music has been an inspiration to her for the better part of 4 decades. She has every album, every movie and pretty much anything you have ever done. She has been to each concert you have performed in Vancouver and still talks about the shows back in the 70s as if they were yesterday. In fact, you were the first concert that I ever went to as well as she took me when I turned 11. That was the year you toured with Dolly Parton, in the concert-in-the-round style. It was an amazing night.

Actually, you may want to know a funny story. My Mom used to play 'Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town' so often in my childhood that to this day, when I spent extra time putting on my makeup or doing my hair, I will hear that song flow through my thoughts. "You painted up your lips, and curled your tinted hair" will sing in my head as I put on my makeup. Not a happy song, if you think of the words, but for me, it reminds me of happy times. Of a carefree childhood.

When I heard you were coming, I decided to go overboard. I bought 4 tickets. For my Mom, my Dad and my Mom's sister. My Mom's sister is a tough old girl. She's buried her husband and two of her children and now at the age of 76 is helping raise another grandchild and nursing her eldest daughter through breast cancer. Trust me when I say they don't make 'em like that anymore. When I told her she was going, she cried. I don't think I've ever seen her cry. Even through her husband's brutal death from cancer, nor through all the trials and tribulations that she's been through. But she cried about this and you know why? She had never in her entire life been to a live concert! And your music was so moving to her, that it often reminded her of her late husband.

I am telling you this because I need you to understand how incredibly important this night was to us all. It is becoming more and more precious to be able to have these family moments and to create these incredible memories.

So when you showed up on the stage obviously drunk, I was beyond disgusted. It was all I could do not to walk right out. You stood on that stage, swaying back and forth in a shirt that wasn't even done completely up. Your hair was standing straight up as if you'd simply gotten up off whatever couch you'd been lying on right before popping on stage. Did you not look in the mirror before you walked out? Did you not, even once, consider that we - your fans - paid dearly for this night?

Your attempts at humour were degrading, in poor taste and downright rude. 'I told them to turn up the lights so I could watch the stupid looks on your faces while you watched me', you cried out. Why? We were there to see YOU, not the other way around! If it had stopped at that, I may have been able to let it go, but for you to single out people in the audience and shout 'You! The one with the red hair? Do you realize how funny you look? Don't get out much do you?' If that had been me, I would have been mortified.

You then picked another man out of the audience and berated him for not being a true fan, even to his protestations. The man told you straight to your face how much he enjoyed your music and what did you do? You laughed and told him he was lying. Looked up at the audience and told us 'I can tell liars a mile away'. Then you proceeded to throw money at him, telling him to buy a CD and find out but 'don't buy that Garth Brooks crap'. He may have taken your money, but I doubt you bought his loyalty.

You sang the hits, I'll give you that. But without soul. You giggled through the middle of ballads. When we attempted to sing along with you, you told us we 'sounded pathetic'. When we stopped trying to sing along, you shook your head at us with some sort of disappointment. What did you think we would do?

I left feeling very angry. You, sir, are a disgrace. You talk about your 'incredible' career but did you ever realize why that career happened? You have a great voice, sure, but so do a lot of people. Your fans are what gave you that comfortable lifestyle you live in.

Take Glen Campbell for instance. He came to Vancouver last week and provided a free concert to his fans. People are still talking about what a fantastic night that was. He was very down to earth, and while I was never a big fan of his, I would definitely give him a second look if he was to come into town again.

To show up inebriated is intolerable. I wouldn't dream of showing up to my job under the influence, so what gives you the right to show up to yours in such a state? To think I spent nearly one weeks' pay to see your concert and to give my family a special moment makes me ill when you clearly have such a lack of respect for those around you.

You have had your last dime out of my wallet.

Vancouver, British Columbia
A patriotic Canadian full of visions of a better Canada, random thoughts and a lot of hot air. Who am I? A struggling writer and photographer trapped in a corporate buyer's body. Steel shopping by day, and freeflowing prose by night. One day I hope to have the nights become my days, but am intimidated by the sheer amount of people who share my dream. So I read. A lot. I learn. A lot. I push myself. A lot. The world is a small place, and getting smaller every day. I'm proud to have friends in every corner of the earth, and abide by the old adage that there are no strangers, only friends we haven't met yet.
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