It has been a November to remember, indeed. The month started off by seeing the Alan Parsons Project Live. A good friend of mine bought a front row ticket and the meet and greet package for Alan. I believe it was like 90 dollars, which is pretty good considering most meet and greets are $100 and that doesn’t include the ticket! Anyway, he also bought tickets to see Gary Wright and Al Stewert who happened to be playing the same night but in a different city. So he gave me his Alan Parson’s ticket with the stipulation that I had to get a few things signed for him. That was a no brainer.
The show was great and the fans that bought the meet and greet lined up to meet Alan after the show. I got 2 albums for me and two cd covers for my friend. It was a great way to start off the month.
The comedy duo Cheech and Chong made an appearance in Northeast Ohio too. After the show, there were about 10 fans waiting for them. A security officer (one that I have not seen before) comes over to us and says “They are not going to be signing, they just had a paid meet and greet. Why would they sign for you for free?” Well, we weren’t moving. A few minutes later, Tommy Chong comes out and we ask him to sign and he comes right over to us. His son told us one each. No problem. Cheech also comes over a few minutes later and happily signed for the fans and also took pictures. The lesson here is, let the artist tell you no, not the security or managers. I was happy to get my album signed.
Folk-rock legend, Art Garfunkel also came to town on a solo tour. There were about 10 people waiting for Art to come out after the show, including 3 priests! I figured that was a good sign. After a little while waiting, his manager came over to us and said “It’s getting a little late and Art is tired. I’m not sure if he will come over or not, please understand if he doesn’t. I would ask you to please put your camera’s away if he does come over. If he sees a camera, he will walk away.” Art comes out and gives us a wave and we ask If he would come over. He sees the priests and smiles and comes right to us. He was very gracious, talking to each individual and looking over the various items that people had. Sometimes you can just tell when you shouldn’t try for more than one, and this was one of those times. I decided to start a new Rock Hall poster so I decided to have Art sign that instead of a solo record. I told him I taught the History of Rock and Roll at a high school and I was just about to teach a unit on folk-rock. He said “If you are on the ‘60s, please tell the kids about the Beach Boys. They are so important!” How humble! I was very happy to get one.
I decided to shoot and review Jeffrey Osborne’s show at the last minute. I am glad I did! He is an old school entertainer who still has an incredible voice. He signed at the merch table after the show and I was happy to add him to my “We Are The World” album.
Akron’s own Chrissie Hynde came to town the Saturday after Thanksgiving along with the Pretenders for a headlining show. I was surprised to hear original drummer, Martin Chambers is touring with them since he did not play on the new Pretenders record. A couple of friends and I decided to try them before the show. After waiting over an hour and a half, the bus rolled up and Chrissie got off. There were just five of us and we asked Chrissie to sign. She came right to us and her manager said “One each.” I again decided on the Rock Hall poster as I already had one album signed by her. She was very quick with the pen and was done in about a minute (she signed huge, but only Chrissie H.). My one friend asked if he could take a picture with her and she said “No thank you!” and walked in for sound check. Martin Chambers then came over without us even asking. He was more than willing to sign anything that you had and also took pictures with the fans. This once again proves my theory that British artists are generally better at signing/taking pics than Americans.
Finally, the big one, the one I’ve been waiting for, Bruce Springsteen. I have been a fan of Springsteen for over 30 years. My first concert experience with him was in 1985 on the Born in the USA tour at old Cleveland Municipal Stadium. I have gone on to see him with and without the E Street Band, as well as solo acoustic shows. No other artist has had a bigger impact on me than him. I luckily got online and got a ticket to the Chicago “meet and greet.” It was well worth the 6 hour drive from Akron. Even though I didn’t get an album signed, I did get a signed book and I got a picture with him. When it was my turn, I walked up to him, shook his hand and said “thank you for all of the music” he said “no problem!” We took the picture and as I was leaving I said “In Jungleland, who are the Rangers: the cops, the gang or the hockey team?” He put his finger to his ear and made a circular motion and said “whoever you want them to be.” With that, I left the stage smiling, but yet a little disappointed. I then realized that was perhaps the best 10 seconds of my life.