To stop myself from starting another blog, please excuse me while I blog here about something that has absolutely nothing to do with Photography.
My husband and I returned last night from a 4 day trip to Toronto. We used every single airmile we’ve collected since 2001 (plus some) to get there, begged and pleaded with friends and relatives to watch the kids for us, and it was all to see Oprah! Again.
She was in Toronto on Monday, for 2 shows. The early show was recorded and will be shown on OWN in a couple weeks, and the late show, which we were at, was live. Well, the last 2 hours were. The show was 5 hours long. The first 3 hours was for Oprah’s guests. Deepak Chopra, Iyanla Vanzant, Tony Robbins and Bishop TD Jakes, all took turns doing their presentations of inspiration and goodness. But first, before I get to all the GOOD stuff, let me get this out of the way…
This was a very poorly planned event. What should have been a very positive experience, has left me a little jaded and disappointed. I understand that my expectations may have been set a little too high, after our last Oprah experience, but I have to vent a little.
8500 people were at each show, and there was no assigned seating. To put this in perspective; the Garth Brooks’ concert at the Saddledome in July will be for 15,000 people. So imagine if you will, more than half of the people that are in the Saddledome for a concert, in a huge room, with no assigned seating. There were different sections of seats – premium, and general admission. But the majority of the seats were general admission, which meant lining up for seats on a first come, first served basis (at $160 a ticket – this is an absurd procedure). So, we lined up. At noon. For a 4pm show.
The doors were supposed to open at 3:15, but it was after 4 when they did. The line up was insane. Again, there were 8500 people at the event, most of which had general admission tickets, so most were in the line. Around 3pm, I started feeling sorry for the people that were showing up then, who didn’t realize this was how it was going to work. That quickly changed when we began to realize how many people were trying to sneak into the line up. We only saw 2 police officers, and a couple security guards, and the women who had been waiting in line as long as us, and longer, were understandably very upset at what was happening. Finally some fences were brought in, but it was tense, and there was yelling. After standing for more than 4 hours, the excitement and anticipation, mixed with all this negativity and tension – I was shaking.
Then the doors opened. We were met by the Metro Convention Center’s staff and security guards (oh there they were!) – yelling “DO NOT RUN!”, so we followed (quickly) the swarm of women into the convention center, down about 3 sets of escalators (I can’t remember – it was chaos), and into the room. It was huge. It was chaotic. Everyone wanted the best seats possible, and were running and yelling. Mike and I just grabbed the first seats we saw in the general admission area. We were, at best guess, in row 70. Which was not great. Until I looked behind me. There were at least another 100 rows behind me. There were a bunch of huge TV screens so we could see what was going on, which was good, but in the end left me thinking I could have just watched it from home. For free. It cost us more than $2000 to attend this event, with travel fees, hotel, etc.
Would I do it again? Absolutely. (I would pay for premium seats next time though!!)
The guests were all incredible.
The show was opened by Brett Wilson. One of my favourite Canadians! (Who, by the way, has a really cool website – check it out!). The MC was Jessica Holmes, who did the funniest Celine Dion impression ever.
Deepak Chopra – so deep I have to watch again grasp all he said. Not the most lively of presenters, but every word that comes out of his mouth is full of DEEP insight.
Iyanla Vanzant -way more inspiring than I ever thought, although she’s very, very kooky.
Tony Robbins – absolutely incredible and Mike & I may start stalking him. Have just added going to one of his workshops to my bucket list. One complaint is that almost all of what he said during his 1/2 hour presentation, he said on the Lifeclass show he did a few weeks ago. But it’s good stuff, so it was good to have it reiterated.
Bishop TD Jakes – also amazing. If you get a chance to watch the Lifeclass show with just him – ‘Living with Purpose‘ (was on last week)…do it.
And then Oprah came out. And this happened.
That’s me doing the ugly cry.
This is the moment that made it all worth it. Being in the same room with Oprah, again. Me, her, and 8499 other people.
This is the show that we were at, which was about Forgiveness. So now, after venting, I will re-watch the show, and forgive the event planners, and forgive myself for my high expectations, and then I will be left with gratitude for being able to experience this. Because that’s what life is all about…experiences!