I had so much anxiety last night and today. "Why am I doing this?" "what
should I wear", "what should I say?" "Maybe I will ask him about Red
Rocks..." "Shouldn't I have lost weight before meeting Pete" "Am I really
I have a love/hate relationship with Chicago. I went to grad school here. I
hated graduate school. I had a hard time separating that from Chicago. I did some good stuff here, too - studied improv comedy, wrote a paper on
comedians, hung out with great people. However, I began spiraling into a
younger version of me once I got here last night.
I didn't get to the preshow in time to be there for very long. Met Mark
Wilkinson of "I wrote a book about Pete" fame and then Ozzie and I went over to Martyrs. Rumors were bouncing around - "there are no chairs - its
standing only", "the meet and greet is before the show"....
Before the show??? NO, it's supposed to be after the show - I am not
We walk past the people already in line and see Deni & her friends, who had just gotten there. By the way, it was freezing!! I much prefer Chicago in the summer! Deni has brought some fun stuff for Pete to sign and her friend Bob has a book full of posters he has reproduced. Pretty nice stuff. None of us know what is performing, if Simon is going to be there, etc. Ozzie is rooting for Jakob Dylan.
We were lined up by the windows and could see in to the sound check/rehearsal. That was cool. There was Pete, on stage, with two guys I didn't recognize. Crap, that is Pete right there. My anxiety was increasing. I am just rooting for them to let us in.
Lauren, Stef, illegalnameguy Chris, Cynthia and Jon from Michigan show up. Jon from Michigan was a big Wholapalooza supporter, which I've always loved him for. I think Jon is Chris until a few minutes later. Ozzie calls me on my phone - he is somehow inside at the bar. I decide I want to be there, too. But I end up getting him kicked out! Sorry about that. I thought you wanted me to come find you!
They open the doors for the M&G people. There's a bit of a rush and the line kind of breaks down. There is some real concern on the part of a few that it will be the HOB "where the elite meet to eat" thing all over again. It seems to sort itself out ok.
We all end up sitting near each other, more or less. I am hit with the stifling obsessive-geekiness energy pretty quickly and I instinctively want to run. I can't help it - it's just how I react. I have a hard time believing that I, too, am one of the obsessive geeks. But I am. And in many ways I love all of us geeks for it.
After a while Rachel comes up and announces that they will be coming around to meet people and that everyone should stand up and mingle. But what actually happens is a whole bunch of people zoom over to where Pete is.
So now there is long line of people formed to "greet Pete". Ozzie and I walk over. I can't do it - the line thing is too obnoxious. The scene is nothing like I had imagined. I thought it would be like a party and Pete and Rachel would mingle, but instead it is like waiting in line ..... to meet Pete Townshend. I catch a glimpse of Pete talking to the first few people. My eyes well up with tears. Jesus, I all of sudden feel the past 30 years of "my life with Pete" just hitting me. All those hours I spent in my room, listening to the music, wanting so badly to be able to talk to him about things. I was so fat then (not that there's anything....
But who are all these people? In my mind, the meet and greet was like 30 people. There are about 100 people here.
Ozzie stays and I go back the other way to talk to Jon and Cynthia. After a while Mark W. comes over. He's also uncomfortable with the line and wants to back off a bit. Jon and Cynthia are doing a good job in helping talk me down. I relax a bit while I'm with them.
Time is passing, and I'm remembering Ozzie and Bob's tale from LA and how you are not supposed to wait until the bitter end. I relent and get on the line - Mark W. comes with me. Eventually Jon comes up behind me, and Cynthia does too, I believe. Jon is being very wonderful - he know how uptight I am. He tells me "just speak from your heart".
Mark and I talk quite a bit. Pretty soon, it's Mark's turn with Pete. I ask Ozzie to come over to take his pictures, since digital cameras aren't my thing. I'm mentally preparing myself for my turn. After Mark walks off, two big guys come up, cut right in front of me and the rest of the line and take some photographs with Pete. That irked me a little bit, later it irked me a lot.
They finally leave, and there is a giant space between me and Pete. It feels like I am supposed to perform a piano recital.
I start walking towards him, and he also starts walking towards me. That's
weird, I think.
I realize I am shaking.
He's in front of me now, and looks like he has something to say. I say to him "I'm shaking".
He says, almost at the same time, "we are nearly having to finish this up
now...", looking like he feels horrible for having to say that. He seems to
be telling me "hurry up, you are the last one". He gets his pen ready. I put my hands up towards him a little and say "No, I don't have anything for you to sign. Can I just shake your hand?" He gives me his hand.
I am looking at his eyes and his face and I can only think about how beautiful I think he is. I am shaking his hand, and I say "I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you because, you and your music made me feel so less alone". I know he sees the tears in my eyes and the emotion across my face. I can read in his face that he needs to go, and that he knows this is a "moment" for me. I am literally having flashbacks from the past, and I am pretty overwhelmed with all of the feelings.
Any thoughts I might have had about saying "My friend Charles really wants you to come to Red Rocks", or "My friend Bob wants me to kiss you for him" or "Hey, I met Dr.Billy in 2002!" or "Do you think women every really recover from sexual abuse?" or "Hi, I'm Trish" or
"Hi, I run an internet group called Relayers" or "God Speaks to Marty Robbins may be the most beautiful song you've ever written" or "I've been in love with you for 30 years" have all vanished from my mind. Well, all but that last one. Can you be in love with someone who doesn't know you? I don't know, but I am all of a sudden 17 years old and so unsure of myself.
He says "thank you", and then he is gone. There are 5 or 6 people behind me, including Jon, who didn't make it. Jon had been able to meet Pete at Joe's Pub, so he seemed ok with it. I'm wondering about Cynthia as well. Pete was very distracted during my 8.5 seconds with him, because they were telling him to go. It felt kind of empty. I feel rather stunned. Like I had a hit
and run. I suppose I did.
I need to go sit down.
Ozzie has fulfilled one of his purposes and has taken a picture of me with
Pete. The picture is really beautiful. Ozzie seems to have captured whatever brief connection passed between us. That's cool. Looking at the picture makes me happier.
Ozzie asks if I am ok - I am not sure. I'm shaken and stirred.
All of a sudden I spot Simon walking over to the performers table - my heart skips a beat. Hurray! Simon is here! There is a cheer when everyone starts to see him. It's a real Simon-friendly crowd.
The show is great - very enjoyable. I'm about the third chair back from the stage. Mikey is good, Simon is great. "Sex Change" is a pretty cool song. I like angry Simon songs. The two guests, Joe Purdy and Alexei M... are both very good, albeit not anyone I'd ever heard of. Pete sings Bye-Bye Love with Joe Purdy.
Pete has a few good stories onstage and sings both "In the Ether" and "God Speaks to Marty Robbins" with grace and beauty. YES, Seth, I cry during "Marty Robbins". That song just gets to me. "A little ship a'bobbin'". He told a little story before it about Roger and who gets to sing what and how Roger let him have Marty Robbins because "it's really mine".
Let's face it, I was stone cold in love with Pete Townshend tonight. I'm ok with it, because I know both Ozzie and Rachel would get it for what it is.
Pete and Rachel are lovely together. I still bristle at how young she is,
but they certainly have something.