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Author Topic: Meeting Elaine, Dane and Jon E Gee  (Read 6554 times)
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« on: April 10, 2011, 01:32:47 pm »

This was originally posted on CCB, but someone recently asked me to re-post it.

The Fresno and Stockton shows will go down as the Shows of a Lifetime for these two Mellenheads…

Through a connection with the production company we were given backstage access and a ticket for dinner in the hospitality area in Fresno. We walked in to dinner and immediately saw Jon G and Dane sitting there. Tom was wearing an Indiana basketball jersey and I was wearing a Monument Circle T-shirt with the Hoosier Daddy logo on the back. Jon G immediately acknowledged us with a wave. When Jon and Dane were done with dinner we approached them and told them how much we liked their playing over the years. They were both very nice and appreciative and agreed to take a picture with us.

We went back to our table and a few minutes later saw Elaine, Speck and Hud coming in for dinner. I was sitting on the end of the table and Elaine looked over and saw my tattoo of Life, Death, Love and Freedom symbols from the last album. She got out of line and came over to say “Hey, nice tattoo.” Someone walked in between us just as I said thanks and I figured my chance to talk her was gone.

We hung around as long as possible in hopes of talking to Elaine, but finally decided we should go outside. We kicked back and listened to Willie Nelson for a while. Elaine finished her dinner and was walking back to the trailers and walked right by us. I said “Hi, Eliane” and she said, “Hi guys, I’ve been admiring your tattoos. Tom has “…Aint that America…” on his arm and was stoked that she noticed his tattoo as well as mine. Tom and I introduced ourselves. I told her that I hoped she would relay a message to John about how much the music has meant to us over the years and especially for me Life, Death, Love and Freedom, which came out a few weeks after my father passed away last year. I told her that in my opinion the only way to describe the album is with the word "masterpiece." She seemed genuinely thrilled and assured us that she would relay the message to John. I also told her that my wife and I had seen her in the Vogue exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York earlier this summer. She said, “Well that’s always nice to hear.” She again said she would give John our message and asked where we were sitting. We told her that we had general admission, but were headed backstage to see the production guys and thank them for the passes. She said, “Well I’ll be on Andy’s side of the stage" (as if we wouldn’t know that!) and told us to flag her down and she would bring us up for “a few songs.” We were absolutely giddy with excitement.

We went back stage and thanked the production guys. We also saw John’s motorcycle with “Lil Bastard” painted on the tail. We went back out front and moved as close to the stage as possible. We knew the opener would be Pink Houses, which is Tom’s favorite song, followed by Paper in Fire and we didn’t want to miss that. When My Aeroplane started we worked our way around to backstage and looked for Elaine. She wasn’t there, but we saw a production assistant that we recognized and flagged her down. She said she was headed back to the trailer and would tell Elaine we were there. We decided to wait it out for two songs and head back out if she wasn’t there. Not 3 minutes later Elaine appeared with a huge smile and waved us up. The security guy at the bottom of the stairs told her she didn’t have the authority to bring anyone up on stage. She just smiled and said OK. Not a hint of “Do you know who I am” attitude. She told us to wait, went up on stage and got Harry the tour manager to give the security guard the high sign. That was it. We watched the rest of the show from the wings stage right. When it was over we thanked Elaine for the incredible thrill. She said, “No problem, I’m glad you guys had a good time and we’ll see you down the road.” I said, “Well you’re playing tomorrow night.” And she said, “OK, see you in Stockton.”

Now we had not originally planned to go to Stockton, but hadn’t Elaine just basically invited us? Some quick calls to the contacts secured two tickets in Stockton again with backstage and hospitality access.

We had some time to kill, so we stopped at the Table Mountain Casino and took them for a combined $250 at blackjack in about 35 minutes. It was then that we official dubbed our adventure the Good Karma Tour. (We had given away for free our fan club presale tickets after getting the production company tickets and figured this was coming back to us.)

Got to Stockton around 4:00 and immediately saw Mike Wanchic riding his bike in full cycling gear. I called out the window, “Have a great show Mike.” He stopped, clearly surprised that someone recognized him. He turned and said thanks. I said, “We saw you last night in Fresno.” He responded, “Well don’t expect much different tonight.” Tom and I both said, “Why would we?!”
As we turned into the parking lot, Dane was standing there looking up the row of cars. Tom said “Hey Dane.” Dane seemed to recognize Tom and said, “Do you know what street this is?” We said no and Dane told us he was waiting for some friends. Tom then jumped on his iPhone to get a map and as soon as we parked he walked over and gave Dane the street name.

We picked up our tickets from will call and went inside to the hospitality area. As we went around the food line we saw Jon G sitting at a table with Troye Kinnet and Jon immediately said, “Tom and Pat! I saw you guys on the stage last night.” (Jon had pointed at us during the Fresno show when he saw us.) We told him that he killed it last night and I asked if we could join them at the table. Jon said, “Sure, we’ll make room” and warned Tom off from sitting in Dane’s seat. We had a nice talk with Jon about the show and how glad he was that the tour was over. He said he hadn’t seen his kids since July 5. We talked about Jon’s band and the one he performs in with Dane on the side. There was also a singer at the table whom we did not recognize, but Jon and Troye were talking to him about playing in his band a little along with Dane. It was totally incredible to be sitting there listening to this conversation.

Jon and Troye finished their meals and headed out we told them to have a great show. We saw the tour manager who had gotten us on stage and gave him a nod. We waited around in hopes of seeing Elaine so we could say thank you one more time, but by now all the Mellencamp people had left and the Dylan crew was showing up, so we decided to leave. Just as we came out of the tent Elaine turned the corner with a crowd of friends around her. We decided it would be bad form to interrupt. We hung around back stage as long as we could, but after seeing Andy, Jon G and Troye head to the stage we decided to go. We had already agreed that it would be too much to ask for a repeat on stage invitation and were really hoping to just tell Elaine thanks again.

We decided that since we had seen Pink Houses and Paper in Fire from the front in Fresno, we would stay backstage for those two songs in hopes of seeing Elaine and if we didn’t we would just go out front and watch the show. Elaine, Hud and Speck all accompanied John on his walk to the stage. Just as John took the stage, Elaine noticed us and waved us up again. Incredible! We again thanked her profusely and she said, “No problem, just glad you have a good time.” We watched the entire show from the side of the stage. At one point the guitar tech noticed me and said, “Nice shirt.” I figured that was my in and later asked him if I could have a set list after the show was over. He said, “I’ll give you one from last night right now of you want.” I said, “Well I was there last night!” He went to a box and pulled out a sheet of laminated paper with the Fresno set list on it. How cool is that!?

We had seen Speck and Hud around a little and said hi to Speck. When he came on stage with Elaine to get ready for his performance on Authority Song, Elaine gave us a big smile and a wave. I saw Speck ask Elaine, “Who are those guys.” She said something like, “They're just big fans of your dad, look at that tattoo.” Speck came over and checked out my tattoo. He ended up standing right next to me before he went on and I told him to kill it. He said thanks and then he went out and killed it.

After the show we thanked Elaine profusely and she was just really cool about it and said she was glad we had a good time and that she would see us down the road. I restrained myself for two days and finally couldn’t hold back any more so I said, “Elaine, no one is going to believe us when we tell this story, will you take a picture with us.” She said absolutely. Speck was headed down the stairs and I said, “Come on Speck, you have to be in the picture.” Elaine said, “Yeah, you have to have the cool guy in the picture.” That got the first real smile out of Speck that we had seen in two days.

The sound quality in Stockton was significantly better than in Fresno. The set list was the same: Pink Houses, Paper in Fire, My Aeroplane, Check It Out. John then went solo acoustic for Cherry Bomb and Don't Need This Body followed by the newly recorded Save Some Time and Small Town. The band came back and ripped through Scarecrow, Troubled Land, If I Die Sudden, Crumblin' Down. Absolutely rocked our faces off. Speck then joined in for the finale on Authority Song.

We left both nights before Dylan played a single note. We were there to see John Mellencamp, the poet of our generation.

So that’s it. Back-to-back experiences of a lifetime for Pat and Tom. We will post some pictures in the gallery soon. I'll post to this thread when they are up.
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« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2011, 05:39:57 pm »

supercool Smiley!
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