12:59 PM, Oct 14, 2007
James took the pager last night because he was doing maintenance. That gave me, from 8pm to 4am, the freedom to run around and do what I want. The eye of the storm, once might say. But regardless of what may have been going on afterward or before, I was free for 8 hours. I met Brad at surprisingly quiet Harry's Country Club at about 8:30, and it actually only got quieter the longer we were there. Even when a party bus unloaded its douchie payload, the place was pretty dead, especially since they all had just one drink and immediately piled back in.
I had a mind to try to be close to the Sprint Center
as Sir Elton John was breaking it in that night as its first performer upon its official opening. So, after a beer or two at Harry's, Brad and I said good-night to Gretchen and went to one of the least likely bars to visit in downtown Kansas City: the Zoo Bar on McGee. As you stand in front of the door, looking south down the street, the Sprint Center fills your entire view. The streets were lined with hundreds of concert-goers' cars.
We stepped inside and there was a small crowd of about five or six regulars bellied up to the bar. I asked Carol behind the bar if they were expecting it to get busy when the concert got out. She said they hoped so, but still weren't sure. We sat and talked with the people at downtown's friendliest bar about fluff that nobody remembers now. We were soon accepted as "all right," and some of the people there began to buy us drinks.
And so it was when the droves of people leaving the concert passed the unknown bar: We were merrily enjoying the evening as would old friends, in the best seats in the house. As if a flood was released, the Zoo Bar was inundated with patrons in minutes. According to the austere staff, no rush like that had ever been seen there, but it stands to reason that they can expect a crowd like that any time there is a major event at the Sprint Center.
It was wonderful. I have thought for years that there is more to do in downtown than any other individual part of the city, but I had never quite put my finger on the fact that whatever fun there is to be had is multiplied beyond reckoning by eager, enthusiastic crowds of merrymakers. We befriended the people around us, sang with them, drank with them, and talked excitedly about the future of downtown.
On October 13th, 2007, it was as if a curtain was drawn on downtown Kansas City, bringing it into the minds of the masses. Just as we were sitting in a mostly empty, intimate dive bar for hours before the rush, so it feels like I have done in living downtown for several years before the curtain was pulled aside. I think the next year is going to be one of the most eventful and prosperous years in many decades in Kansas City, and it honors me to be a part of it.