This was one of those nights that you think nothing unusual will happen. But by the time I left the club I had a head full of people and events that stood out like a red wool coat in a milky white blizzard.
It happens a lot lately-- people see me coming and they kindly step aside. This night they did more than that. I was physically pushed, pulled and even dramatically fondled by one woman eager to get me a better spot from which to shoot pics. The fondler wrapped her roving arms around me, moved many others aside and maneuvered me to the front edge of the stage, practically against my will. When the fondler finally let me go I was about five feet from Waite with nothing but the longest lens I own so that his face filled the frame entirely. Not too many people can stand that kind of camera scrutiny but I think Waite holds up well. :) See more pics here...
Waite came out after his set to sign autographs but ONLY if you bought something. I bought a CD and waited to get a photograph with him. A friendly man cut in front of me then chatted up a storm. However, he never gave up his turn and stood in the very spot where the photo was to be taken, even ignoring my request that he step aside so I could do my thing. He was caught up in the 'I get to talk to one of my idols' mindset. Suddenly John Waite flew the coop and my chance for a photo vanished with him.
Back at his dressing room Waite's watchdog would appear through a crack in the door, call out to people, then slam it shut, sometimes in someone’s face.
A patient trio waited him out because their need was of historic significance. The woman's father, a man she barely knew, had been in Waite’s band in the 70’s and she was now trying to piece her life and relationship to her father together. She had flown out from a southern state to meet Waite at this show, her first courageous step on the journey. Their meeting was too brief. As Waite walked away she and her friend both burst into tears. Probably a combo of frustration and relief.
Even as I watched this whole thing unfold I could never have guessed how truly important a moment this was. Taking me into their confidence, they explained it all to me afterwards. It gives you some perspective on life, family and humanity when you see things like this.
Later the fondler came rushing towards me again with hello’s and more fondling frenzy... Her boyfriend as it turns out was the very man who stepped ahead of me in line, all apologies by then. No worries, I assured him, I got the picture. Waite, on his final stride for the exit had suddenly stopped and turned back to me then kindly posed for the photo.
Kudos to Larisa Bryski
and crew who put on an amazing acoustic set and left me humming their closing tune 'Everything' for days afterward. Wish it was on a CD now but she says that my friend Mark Gilmore
of Local Licks fame has a copy and plays it on his show. I'll have to keep an ear open for that open Sunday nights!