I’ve sat down several times over the past few days to pen this blog. The end result has been the same every time. As soon as I start to write, a smile creeps across my lips and all coherent thoughts vanish in a cloud of twinkly stars.
For several months, Thursday 4 Dec has been marked on my calendar- Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators (aka SMK&C) at the Hydro Glasgow. When the tickets were purchased, this show was scheduled to make the dream of finally seeing Slash play live come true. That dream magically became a reality on Nov 7th as I’ve blogged previously. Last Thursday, however, turned into a completely magical “once-in-a lifetime” experience.
Through the wonders of rock music and social media interaction, I’ve become friends with a lady from Indiana, USA. Over the past few months, we’ve chatted online and the friendship has grown. To cut a very long story, that is her’s to tell, short- HINT HINT about that journal, young lady!- the final stop on her European Tour 2014 was also to be the Hydro on Dec 4th. Finally, I was going to get the opportunity to meet my FB friend face-to-face!
There had been whispers of promises of great things for the evening that I hadn’t dared to get my hopes up about. Mid-afternoon, she confirmed she had a treat in store for us.
Chaperoned by my usual teenage minders – Boy Child, Girl Child and FB Son (Boy Child’s friend) – plus one of my Rock Chick friends, this Rock Mum headed out to play.
One minor issue – how do you find someone that you’ve never met in a crowd of circa 10 000? Easily as it turns out!
As we queued to gain entry to the arena’s bowl, I spotted her coming through the main door, looking all round her. Waving and calling out her name, I caught her attention and she came rushing over to greet us. With the hugs and introductions complete, she opened an envelope and passed me five green triangular stickers – one for each of us. Clearly written across the sticker it said “Slash Aftershow TDK”!
With arrangements made as to where to meet after the show, we all headed into the arena. It was the rock show to end all rock shows! Despite sound quality issues the first support act, Twenty Two Hundred, did a stellar job in front of quite a small crowd for such a big room. As the rock fans piled in, the second band of the evening took to the stage. This was Glenn Hughes’ new band California Breed. He may be over sixty now but boy can that guy sing! Fabulous set! With the crowd roused to the brink of ecstasy, California Breed left the stage.
Shortly before nine, the house lights dimmed and the creepy clown freak show music began to filter out signalling the imminent arrival of SMK&C. For two hours, SMK&C ruled the stage and commanded the Glasgow crowd. The set ran to some twenty one songs and was a fantastic mix of new and old SMK&C material, classic Guns N Roses and a sprinkling of Velvet Revolver. They played almost all of my personal favourites. Throughout the entire set, I drank in every note, watched every movement and, to be honest, was completely and utterly mesmerised.
The band had a treat in store for the Scottish fans. At the start of their encore, they welcomed Glenn Hughes and Andrew Watt out on stage and played a fantastic rendition of the Deep Purple classic “Burn.” An incredible sight to behold!
As the confetti rained down (guess who forgot to close over her handbag- oops!) during the show closer “Paradise City”, I could feel my nervous excitement mounting.
If watching these guys rule the stage wasn’t enough of a dream-come-true moment, part two was about to commence.
As the rest of the audience trooped happily towards the exits, with trembling hands, we applied our magical “green triangles” to our shirts. Along with a couple of dozen other lucky fans, we were ushered through a door beside the stage and along a maze of backstage corridors into a very basic room, littered with tables and chairs and instructed to wait. While we waited, we all began to chat, introducing ourselves and forming friendships. After about an hour, the door opened and The Conspirators came quietly into the room. Well, two of them did. One definitely failed to slip in unnoticed! It was bassist Todd Dammit Kerns’ birthday and his arrival was met with a loud chorus of “Happy Birthday” that he lapped up with a huge grin.
The next forty five minutes were magically surreal. Even now, five days later, I have to pinch myself and look at the photos (any excuse!) to remind myself it actually happened. The content of our conversations will remain private as these few moments are treasured memories. I became a very proud Rock Mum as Boy Child and Girl Child politely chatted with these rock stars, neither of them the least bit fazed. Much to my great surprise, it was Rock Chick friend who was a tad shy and star struck – meeting Todd Kerns left her completely tongue tied!
I surprised myself, if I’m being honest. I joked and chatted to Todd Kerns, then with Frank Sidoris, who was particularly sweet with the kids, then Brent Fitz, who laughed when I confessed to having zero sense of rhythm. In some respects, it felt like the most natural thing in the world to be doing late on a Thursday night/early Friday morning. In others, it was the most unbelievable few minutes.
The icing on the cake was still to come.
The door opened and a fourth rock star crept quietly into the room, all bundled up in hat, scarf and jacket in readiness for the cold December night air that awaited them all.
It was Myles Kennedy.
Yes, I met Myles! Yes, I spoke to Myles and even managed a brief but sensible conversation with him. Yes, I got my photo taken with him and got a hug into the bargain. Yes, it actually happened! Dream come true!
As the guys were ushered out to the waiting tour bus, I watched them depart, already thinking – did I just dream that?
There’s photos to prove that I didn’t!
I can’t find words to describe how grateful I am for the kindness and friendship shown to us by one wonderful lady from Indiana. If ever there was someone who truly lives the “pay-it-forward” ethos, it is this larger than life rock fan. She is an inspiration!
Thanks to her, many of us around the world have memories to treasure for a lifetime.
I’ve teased her relentlessly on FB over her dedication and devotion to SMK&C, particularly Todd Kerns, calling her their “Rock Mama”.
Last Thursday night, she was everyone’s Rock Mama and, I’m pretty sure I speak for all of us who were given the gift of a magical “green triangle”, when I say a HUGE thank you to the one and only, Janette Martin.
Rock Mama, you took us all to Paradise City!