Step one: Get drunk.
Drinking is great for boosting your confidence and making you feel all loosey-goosey. If you're going to undertake a covert operation, you can't be nervous. After getting lost in Chinatown for an hour, we asked a cop for directions to a liquor store (I watch Law & Order; every cop keeps a flask in their desk). The officer served and protected us by directing us to the least sketchy liquor store in the area. We bought a pint of rum, then hit McDonald's for two Cokes.
Step two: Make an entrance.
We showed up at the concert just as The English Beat finished. Damn. Some fans were leaving, and others took advantage of the intermission, so we got a prime spot up front. I'm not going to bother telling you about the concert itself, because you don't care. I'll just tell you that it was great, and I did not win a tree (yes, that's a thing that Cake does).
Step three: Formulate a plan.
During the last song, we began to scope out our target. There's no backstage area, as it's an outdoor venue, but the area behind the stage was cordoned off. There was a big gap in the metal barriers. No gate. No rope. Just a six-foot wide space that anyone could walk through. There was one gentleman "guarding" the entrance, and by that I mean he was standing thirty feet away, texting. Perfect.
Step four: Blend in.
Running through the barriers would obviously call attention to us, as would tiptoeing in, cartoon style. So I asked my drunk self, "How would you act if you were supposed to be here?" We strolled up confidently. I lit a cigarette as I breached the barriers, then turned to the guard and gave him a courteous nod. He nodded back. Success! As we passed the craft services table, we each grabbed a bottle of weird hippie soda. Only invited guests would have those, right?
Step five: Get what you came for and get out.
We leaned against a wall, looking casual, until I spotted the lead singer. "John!" I called to him, hand extended. "Great show!" Still blending, still blending. We chatted for a bit. We asked if he'd mind posing for a photo. His friend graciously offered to take it. We posed, thanked them, and high-tailed it out of there before someone asked us who the hell we were and how we got in.
Once we were far enough away, I pulled out my phone. Remember, this was waaay back in 2008, when only 80% of the population owned camera phones. Sure, my phone literally could not have been easier to operate, but somehow, this guy had screwed it up. We had no picture.
But at least we have the memory.
This post originally appeared on In the Powder Room.