“You are square. Go back to your hotel.”

Anita and I bought tickets to see Andrew Bird this Saturday night at a venue called Tripod. Tripod is a ten minute walk from our place, in a converted train station. The tickets were waiting at the box office.

There are two other music venues in the same train station: Crawdaddy and Odeon. I walked past the train station more than once a week, and yet I didn’t know where the entrance for Tripod is. So on Friday afternoon, I walked completely around the building. Tripod was closed, of course, but I still couldn’t find anything resembling a box office or an entrance. My best guess was that Crawdaddy and Tripod shared an entrance on the ground floor, since Tripod was on the first and second floors of the building.

No worries — we just left a little early on Saturday.

The website and the receipt said, “Andrew Bird, 19:30,” so we left at about 18:45, walking through the cool and misty night air. The train station was just as dark and quiet as Friday afternoon, so I went with my instincts and walked into Crawdaddy. The black-clad employees were just opening the doors, and an Amy-Winehouse-looking girlfriend sat, looking bored. “Tripod?” the bartender said, “Just around the corner and up the stairs.” Okay…that took us back the way we came. But we did see some guys unloading the tour bus on the street back there, so it seemed reasonable.

I won’t try to describe the architectural configuration of the renovated train station and the neighbouring office buildings. It will suffice to say that there were three different sets of stairs, two balconies running the length of the station, an exit to a parking lot and an abandoned lot, and absolutely no lights of any kind.

I’d explored all that the previous day, but it looked a lot more sinister at night. Now, Anita and I were very glad that we’d left early. Anita checked the time as we ascended the stairs to the last possible nook that could hide a door — it was 19:10. Not bad. At one point, we walked past an Irish couple that seemed similarly lost, so maybe we weren’t walking past some kind of uniquely Irish entrance.

The next plan was to return to street level and either see that the entrance was open at last, or ask someone at the tour bus. We found an open entrance underneath the Tripod sign, and walked up the stairs. A black-clad woman stopped us at the first flight and asked, “Are you lost?”

“Well, maybe,” I said, “but I’m here to pick up some tickets to tonight’s 7:30 show with Andrew Bird.”

“Oh,” she laughed, “you’re here early. The doors open at 7:30. That’s not the starting time.”

“Rube,” continued the voice in my head, “Coming early like this is the Down-Home Spectacular in Branson.” We thanked her and went back down the stairs.

Obviously, it was time to have a drink, and the Odeon was back around the same well-traveled corner of Harcourt Street and Hatch Street. Anita looked great, in her black lace shawl and high boots. After the Tripod woman’s laugh, I felt like an American stationary salesman on a golf vacation in my Dockers-and-blue-sweater outfit. The Odeon is fairly hip, so it was good that we were early, because there was almost nobody there. But it did make me all the more conspicuous when I interrupted the DJ, his friend, and the bartender to order two drinks. They were all ten years younger than me, and they should have had thought balloons above their heads, saying, “You are square. Go back to your hotel.”

The Odeon has a gorgeous interior, and it must be great on Brazilian nights (Sundays) when the place is packed with dancing beautiful people. Needless to say, Anita and I aren’t attracted to the idea of being there for that.

We admired the building, finished our drinks, and walked back to the stairs to Tripod. We were early again, but not mortifyingly so — the people behind us were earnest fans of Andrew Bird who wanted last-minute tickets. Plus, there was a bar within ten meters of every seat in the house, so we had no problem amusing ourselves until the music began.

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you about the concert itself.