Two Styx fans wait almost 12 hours outside Belly Up |

Two Styx fans wait almost 12 hours outside Belly Up

Judy Hiser, left, and Stephanie Waldeck drove 11 1/2 hours from Wichita, Kansas to see Styx play at Belly Up Thursday night. The friends arrived at the club's entrance around 10 a.m. Thursday to spend nearly 12 hours outside in the cold in order to guarantee a front row spot for the show.
Lauren Glendenning/The Aspen Times |

Dressed in winter clothing and in heavy-duty sleeping bags, two women from Wichita, Kansas, spent all of Thursday sitting outside the entrance to Belly Up.

They drove 11 1/2 hours to see Styx, their favorite band, play the club Thursday night. General admission tickets wouldn’t guarantee them a spot right in front of the stage, so they braved temperatures in the teens to ensure the best vantage point for the show.

Judy Hiser and Stephanie Waldeck have been best friends for 26 years. They’ve been traveling to Styx shows together since 1996, the year the band launched its “Return to Paradise” tour — its first tour after the band got back together in 1995.

Thursday night’s show marked Hiser’s 101st Styx concert, while Waldeck estimated it was her 106th or 107th.

“They put on an amazing show, I mean, they do ­— they just give it their all,” Hiser said.

After seeing that many shows, it’s no surprise the women have met the band members a few times. But that’s not why they go.

“We’ve gone backstage a few times and met them, but it’s more about the music,” Waldeck said.

Their excitement was mounting around 6 p.m. as they entered the home stretch for the 9:30 show time. They were drinking hot chocolate to keep warm — surprisingly, just the first cup for each of them during their day outside, which began at 10 a.m.

They took turns getting up throughout the day for bathroom and food breaks — they ate McDonald’s for lunch — but mostly, they stayed put in their foldable chairs and sleeping bags. The sunshine midday was a relief from the chilly morning, they said.

Waldeck has a family member who lives in Eagle, which is where they planned to head back to after the show before hitting the road back to Kansas today.

In just a little over a month, the women will be back at it for more Styx shows closer to home. They were already counting down the days.

“They just put their whole heart into it,” Hiser said about the performances.

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