Keeping His Memory Alive: Part Seven: Interaction
The concert venue on Saturday, November 28th, 2015 was a beautiful church in Fergus, Ontario. It was my sixth concert since I first saw Steve Michaels (aka Stephen Michael Kabakos) on September 13th, 2015 at the Avalon Theatre at Fallsview Casino. As I parked my car, I could almost feel the stained glass windows shake from the vibration of the band and the power of Steve's voice during rehearsal. It was a cold November evening, and since it was too early to take a seat, I went for a cup of tea. The only coffee shop nearby that was still open, was also getting ready to close. The owner was kind enough to sell me a cup of Earl Grey, and take a moment to chat. He told me he was in the process of making dinner for Steve and his crew, and it was almost ready for delivery. I jokingly offered to take the prepared food over to the church; but of course that wasn't going to happen. He said it was prearranged that someone from Steve's staff would be coming shortly to pick up the food. I noticed two flyers on the café bulletin board advertising the evening's concert, so I boldly asked if I might have one of them. The café owner was very accommodating, and I happily walked away with my first souvenir of the evening. By the time I returned to the church, the doors had opened and concert goers were quickly filling up the first-come, first-served seats (or more correctly, pews). For some reason, the two ladies who entered before me took the second pew, which meant I had the front pew all to myself. No one sat next to me because some of the equipment on the low stage blocked the view.
The concert was everything I hoped it would be. Stephen looked great in his white Aloha jumpsuit, and with a low stage and intimate setting, I felt that I was part of the concert. I knew from other concerts that scarves are normally handed out during "Suspicious Minds". When the crucial moment arrived, as much as I wanted a scarf, I couldn't get up the nerve to be the first to approach the stage; but when the lady behind me ran to the stage without hesitation, I was dragged along by her enthusiasm. When Steve placed a scarf around my neck and said, "It's nice to see you again," it was paramount to Prince Charles saying to me, "I hope you haven't come too far," as he shook my hand after his Dundurn Castle tour. After the concert, the crowds dwindled down until there were only five people left in the church: Steve, his stage manager, the concert organizer, the church lady, and me. I blame the crazy November full moon for my inability to leave. It was such an unusual circumstance for a fan to be placed, and I wanted to savour every moment. Everyone of the 1500 fans who saw Steve daily in September would have done the same thing given the chance. I knew when they started talking business, it was my cue to leave. I haven't shared this experience with anyone, except my family, for fear of sounding foolish. I have since learned that other women my age have their own sentimental, and sometimes kooky, story to share.
At a recent ETA concert, a 71 year old lady told me that she gave Gordon Hendricks a glass of wine at his concert in Grimsby, Ontario while he was on stage. It was the same concert that I attended, and I remember the moment very well. She proudly told me that she has a photo of him giving her a hug.* I have my own stories to share about Gordon Hendricks. At the Hamilton, Ontario concert, I asked Gordon if I could interview him. I was surprised, and pleased, when he said "yes". On our second meeting after the Grimsby concert, I mentioned that my table was so far from the stage that he wasn't able to make it to my seat during his audience walkabout. After hearing this, Gordon reached into a box of CDs and handed me a copy of his CD, It's a Matter of Time, which he later signed. Little gestures go far in securing fan loyalty.
*I would be remiss if I didn't add another story involving the 71 year old lady. After a concert we attended ended at midnight, she told me she was driving from Flamborough to Belleville so she could be first in line to purchase a ticket for her favourite ETA's upcoming concert. What makes this story so amazing is that she was going to drive all night, and stop only for naps in her car on the way. Now that is one dedicated fan!
In Part Eight: Connected, I explore the unique relationship between ETAs and their fans.