Okay, I am so exhausted so I won't post about the concert here, I'll just give everyone the lowdown on the WXRT Soundcheck Party contest. Tomorrow I will post about the concert and post pix!
So we arrived at 4:30 (we were told to be there by 4:45), but were told to come back at 5:00. We went down Belmont to got hot drinks at Ann Sather, then returned just in time for them to let us in. They gathered the 20 of us up, checked our ids, then had us line up outside the auditorium doors.
Then then let us sit there. For what seemed like forever.
We could hear the soundcheck going on inside but no one was giving us any indication when we might be able to head in. Already rather frustrated at the news that we would have to go outside and head to the end of the line after the soundcheck, my husband and I joked that maybe the "Soundcheck Party" was nothing more than us standing in the lobby and listening to the soundcheck. I finally went and asked the woman who checked our names off the list, and she had no info.
Just after I finished mentally writing a nasty letter to WXRT about their stupid contest and just before I had a fatal aneurysm (sp?), they finally came out and said "Okay, head to the left side of the stage." It may have only been 10 or 15 minutes but it felt like an hour. So we went in. Woo-hoo! For some reason the women in front of me were unsure about where to go, so I was about to knock them down. But I controlled myself and eventually got around them.
I walked towards the stage, now first in line, and when I got about 10 ft from the stage, Neil greeted us. All the frustration immediately melted away. Soon I was standing about 3ft away from Neil as they were working on King Tide. At Neil's behest, some of the people freezing in line were also able to come in and watch the soundcheck (incl. Agt Iris and suenotsusan...Hi!). He sounded lovely as always. Having a little trouble with the highest notes, but otherwise perfect.
Neil was pretty much at the end of his runthrough by the time we arrived, so he asked for any requests. I immediately yelled out "Walking on the Spot" and he said "oh, that's and easy one" but proceeded to play "She Goes On" instead (not that I minded hearing that one either). But then, like a miracle, after finishing he walked over to the piano and said "I believe someone asked for WOTS" and played an AMAZING rendition! It's the first time I've heard him sing it live and it was everything I'd imagined! Swoon!
At this point, he said they were done with the soundcheck but he'd be out to greet us in a few minutes. The people from line were rather roughly escorted out (but not before Sue was able to break away and hug me! YAY! The green pants worked!) and the WXRT people started handing us all copies of One All.
My friend Joan was the first to spot Neil so we met him halfway, pretty much smack dab in the middle of the stage (on the floor in front of it.) I don't remember what I said but I was able to remain calm (thanks for all your coaching everyone!). I know I didn't say anything terribly profound or interesting, but I didn't make a complete a** out of myself either. Yay! He was so incredibly sweet and charming! He shook my hand and I had him sign my paper airplane (which I told him I didn't need anymore because he'd already granted my request). Then we got a picture, although there was a bit of fumbling with my kinda complicated camera so it's not the greatest picture. I should've showed Joan how to use my camera before the show because I could not speak coherently enough to explain it to her while I was standing next to Neil. Something to remember for next time. Anyway, my husband Noel and our other friend Toni got autographs and we headed to the side of the crowd.
I didn't realize until a couple minutes later that Joan had stayed and chatted with him as he signed more autographs. So I went over by her. I felt kinda stupid but he didn't seem to mind. We had a built-in excuse anyway because Neil had Joan's marker. My husband took my camera and started snapping pictures of me "with" Neil. One of them is my favorite shot because it's so obviously the "Fan-trying-to-get-a-picture-with-the-star" shot. You'll see what I mean when I post it.
Eventually the WXRT people wanted to usher us out and Neil wanted to eat dinner so we asked for the marker (he apologized for having it!) and said thank you and he very sweetly said goodbye to us. He was really sorry we had to go back outside in the cold, and thanked us for standing out there just to see him. At that point Joan asked if we could wait on the tour bus and that gave him a chuckle. I thought it was a great idea but he figured it was too small. Oh well, can't hurt to ask!
The WXRT people took our picture, then told us to head outside. We picked up our comp tickets, then made our way ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLL the way to the end of the line.
All in all, it ended up being a fantastic experience. Neil was as gracious and kind as can be, and gave me new reasons to love him. I'm soooooooooooo happy.
Thanks to all of you who send your best wishes and greetings! I was getting worried for awhile there that I wouldn't have anything good to report!
Tomorrow... all about the concert....