Wow, I'm still reeling over what fun yesterday was. Well worth the 3 1/2 |
hour drive in from Illinois. (And yes, once in Indiana, I did stop to buy
Powerball tickets. (g))
I met up with fellow RITA member Amy Williams before the show. I had
met Amy in person the year before at the Indy Night Ranger show and
there we just hit it off. We've been good friends ever since.
It was late afternoon so we thought, what the hell, let's try to get into the
soundcheck. We thought to introduce ourselves to Keith, the tour
manager, to see what he said. And I had a little gift to give him. My
husband, Ray, designs computer software for a living and he had made
me a Night Ranger screensaver for my birthday, which was July 26th.
(Ray will put the screensaver on his website soon and then you all can
download it.) Ray had copied this program on to a few disks and I was
going to give one of these disks to Keith.
No sign of the bandmembers, but a roadie pointed us in Keith's direction.
So, Amy and I introduced ourselves to him and told him I came to the
show from IL. I told him about the gift and asked if his laptop was an IBM
compatable. Well, wouldn't you know, he's got a Mac. :-( But then he
says, "Fitz has an IBM. He's right there, you should give this to him."
And, sure enough, there Fitz was! What a sweetie he is. I had the nicest
little conversation with him. I told him about the screensaver, and he and
I teased Keith about having a Mac. ;-) Then I told Fitz about how Amy lives
in Ohio and I live in Illinois, and how we met online and became good
friends because of Night Ranger. And then I told him about this mailing list
and how here 140+ members can talk Night Ranger every day. And then I
wished him a belated happy birthday and told him that there had been posts
about his birthday recently, etc. He seemed really pleased about all that.
In the meantime, Amy had found Jeff and was telling him all about her Jeff
Watson website. (Amy, you'll have to fill everyone in on those details!) We
asked Jeff and Keith if we could stay for the soundcheck and they were
totally cool with that, so we got to stay! :-)
The soundcheck was a big highlight of yesterday for me. First was just the
usual stuff... a bandmember hitting a few notes, then stopping as whatever
needs adjusting gets adjusted. No full songs...at one point, they ran thru one
verse of one song (Rumours, I think it was) and later about half of another.
But then it came time to do a full song. Three other fans were at the sound-
check and they were yelling out stuff like "Sign of the Times!" and "Kong!"
and the guys were going back and forth about which one they should play.
But then Jack notices the videoscreen in the venue which is showing a slide-
show to promote upcoming shows. And he says, "Hey! .38 Special is coming
here soon. Let's do a .38 Special song." And then he start laying down bass
notes and singing "I here you're asking how I'm feeling, I guess I take it day
by day." LOL! .38 Special! That didn't last too long, tho. Then a Foreigner
slide comes on screen. Jack says, "Hey, Foreigner is coming, let's do a
Foreigner song. (bomp, bomp, bomp) 'I would climb any mountain, sail across
the stormy seas...'" The whole band joins in and yes, Night Ranger does about
half of Foreigner's "Feels Like the First Time"! And from then on, the Night
Ranger soundcheck was about 15 minutes of cover tunes! They did a whole
ZZ Top song, Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water," a Beatles song (complete
with Liverpool accents--LOL!), etc. Since Night Ranger does no covers in
concert, I was just dying that we were there getting to hear all of this. It was
One footnote on the soundcheck. Kelly and Jack didn't hang around the
audience area at all, so we didn't get a chance to approach them. Brad was
hanging around, but we just saw him in passing.
OK, so as to the show... Last year, in Indy, the fans didn't approach the stage
to stake out a spot until about an hour before NR hit the stage. This year, I
was shocked to see the doors open and zoom! People made a beeline for the
stage and the front row was filled up immediately and I was SOL. But I spotted
former AOLers Tony and Dawn right infront of Jack's mic (I had met them last
year), so we went to stand behind them. Amy brought Judy over and we had
a nice little group to pass the time (ugh--2 1/2 hours) before NR took the stage.
The crowd turn out was extremely good, I think. We had heard that the
Saturday before, the Black Crows were there and they drew 5000 people.
Well, this was no 5000 (hey, it was a Wednesday night (g)), but I bet AT
LEAST 1000 people were there. :-)
Night Ranger hit the stage, and I had brought along a few CDs to hold up. I
held up Neverland during the Neverland songs and Jeff noticed and smiled.
I held up my Seven during "Sign of the Times." At the end, Jack says that
"That was a song off of our new album, which hit stores last week. Yeah,
there's a copy right there." And Jack points right at ME! Be still my heart!
(g) Like Kelly Fitz said, I think there were only two copies of the new CD
being held up in the audience, me and one other person, who was standing
on the Brad side. (Kelly, was that you or one of your pals?) C'mon, people
...bring those CDs to the show!
OK, so we are rocking during the whole show, singing along to everything,
of course. On the drive down to the show, Ray (my hubby) and I were
listening to the NR live CD from last year and commenting on how Jack now
always, always, always adds the "Jack Daniels!" comment after "Comin' off a
hard night of drinking" in "When You Close Your Eyes." And then Ray
commented that at House of Blues, Jack kinda paused at that point, expecting
the audience to join in and say "Jack Daniels" with him, because he adds it all
the time and we know this by heart now.
So, we are getting to that point in the song and I am nudging Amy and Ray
and saying "Here comes the 'Jack Daniels' line." And then Jack gets to that
part, totally pauses, and doesn't say anything. He's wants the audience to fill
in the blank. So, we of course all yell "JACK DANIELS!" and (oh my God!)
Jack points right at me and says into the mic, "Yeah, I know *YOU* know
what I'm talking about!" !!!!!!!!!!! What a thrill!!! I had to ask my husband later
if I dreamt that. He said, "No, Jack was pointing at you!" (And the ironic
thing is that I'm not much of a drinker and I've never tasted Jack Daniels in
my life. (g))
After the show, we are trying to figure out where to go to try to meet the
band. And security is giving us the usual runaround "Clear the area."
"They aren't coming out of this door." "No one can go backstage." "You
have to step back." Blah, blah, blah. Well, we were waiting forever but
finally Jeff comes out and sees Amy. He gives her a HUGE hug and she
is whisked right past security. (You go girl!!!) Judy is with her. I'm trying
to get closer but this security guard is pushing me back and telling me to
clear the area. I can't get too mad at him... just doing his job, I suppose.
But, hey, I'm a fan and my job is to try to meet the band. (g)
Well, Jeff spots me. (I think Amy might have pointed him in my direction.
God bless you, Amy!) And Jeff says, "Elizabeth! Come here!" And Jeff
steps right past security to give me a kiss on the cheek. (Wow--Jeff "calls
my name" (g) *and* I get a kiss?! (swoon!)) And then I get to go past
security, too. HA HA on you, Mr. Security Guard.
So, we got to hang in this little hallway and chat with Jeff and take pics
with him. And he just cracks me up. He did the same thing this year when
he took a pic with me as he did when I met him briefly last year. I'm 5'11"
so when I stood next to him to take a pic he says, "Wow, you're as tall as I
am" and he stands on his toes so that he can be taller than me in the pics.
So, we are there in the hall and then Kelly and Jack and Fitz come into the
hall and start walking past us. And God bless Amy! I'm standing there
speechless and she has the presence of mind to say "Hi, Jack!" So Jack
stops to say a few words to her. And then Jack turns to me, points and
says something like, "I saw YOU out there in audience totally rocking!"
Oh, be still my heart again!
Well, Jack, Kelly, and Fitz didn't stay long. They went out to the bus
and signed some autographs and took some pics with the fans out there.
So, we didn't get a chance at an autograph or picture with them, but, oh
well, I can't complain. Brad joined them and the four of them left in a limo.
When last we saw Jeff, he was still at the venue, probably signing auto-
graphs for fans inside.
A few random thoughts on the show...Jack cleaned up his language for
the show. :-) During his House of Blues stage banter, he must have said
"f*ck" like ten times. At this show, he didn't say it at all. The worst he
said was "sh!t" and that was only one time.
My Night Ranger fandom must be rubbing off on my husband. He was
totally into this show and was so thrilled that he caught a pic from Jeff. I
thought Ray might give the pic to me. Nope, haven't seen it! I think he's
keeping it! (g)
So, no t-shirts for sale, but the marketer in me was glad to see at least
selling autographed CDs for $20. A good way to increase CD sales and
throwing the autographs on them and charging more is an easy way to
increase that profit margin.
Thanks to Becky for mentioning in a post from the other day that the
very young roadie is Kelly's son Jeffrey. I went up and talked to him.
I figured that he might be into computers so I gave him a screensaver
disk. He's a sweet kid.
Well, that's about it for now. If you're still here reading, thanks for
staying with me!
- Elizabeth Konopka