One week from tomorrow Adam Ant will be performing, again, at the Hard Rock Live here in Orlando. Again, I have front row tickets, and again, Greg and I are SO excited to see him perform.
But this time, after agonizing about it for several months, I bought the Meet and Greet ticket. For $300.
So, okay, that's a lot of money. I certainly wouldn't have done it if Greg hadn't kind of pushed me. And that didn't include admission to the actual concert, and it doesn't allow Greg to come to the Meet and Greet with me.
According to the rather exhaustive research I've done online, the Meet and Greet will consist of my being herded back to an area backstage, given a VIP Adam Ant tote bag with an autographed 5x7, a badge, a magnet, and a patch. I will wait in line with other Meet and Greet obsessive fans who also had a spare $300 to spend on an experience that will last mere moments. When I reach the front of the line a person named Alex will take my camera (and I can't bring my good camera because DSLRs are not allowed, so I'll take my little point and shoot Nikon) and take two photos of me looking nervous while Adam smiles uncomfortably. If I were like every other person doing the Meet and Greet I'd then give Adam a present that I'd made for him; I am not going to do that. Then Adam will sign whatever mementos I brought for him to autograph. If it's a pre-concert Meet and Greet Adam will chat with me for a few moments, being friendly and British-ly polite, and then I'll get to meet the other band members. If it's post-concert, he will say a few words and I'll then be rushed out by staff members.
I think this has brought about in me a minor existential episode. The idea that I can meet someone who has had such a big impact in my life and in the person I've become, for cash, seems really bizarre, like trading baby kittens for the ability to fly around on the starship Enterprise. The possibility of then being disappointed by it seems too awful to survive.
But how can I not? The opportunity to stand next to him and talk to him, and see the reality of him being a person, is just irresistible.
The really stupid thing is that I HAVE met him. Of course I saw him in concert multiple times, and of course I figured out how to find out which hotel he was in (leave the concert at the beginning of the last song and follow the tour bus/limo), and of course I hung around the lobby/bar for hours.
The first time was in Atlanta on the Friend or Foe tour (1983), and it was just a glimpse: I was in the lobby when he was rushed from the limo to the elevators. He had a sweatsuit on and still wore all his makeup from the concert. It was shocking to see him, a human person, just like me. He was a person!
The second time was in Washington DC on the Strip tour (1984), and my friend Jaime and I hung out in the lobby and met one of the band members, who invited us to the "party room". It was a regular hotel room filled with band members and groupies. I am pretty sure my parents would not have been too happy about their 17-year old daughter being there, but I didn't do anything bad. When Adam walked in, Jamie and I waited until he was standing by himself and then rushed over. I love your music, I told him. And your tattoo, I said, touching his tattooed upper arm with my fingertip.
The third time was in Norfolk VA on the Vive Le Rock tour (1985), and I saw him walking through the lobby from the elevators towards the bar. I was on the other side of the lobby, too far away, so I called out "Adam!' and when he stopped and turned toward me, I jogged over. He waited for me, which in retrospect was pretty nice. Hey, I said when I reached him, nice shoes. We both looked down at his checkered Vans.
This time I was ready, and I asked if he could autograph my tour program. While he did, I told him how much I loved his really early music, the punky songs that at that time were largely unavailable except on bootlegs. I don't want to buy bootlegs, I told him: Do you have any plans to give those songs a real release, or even re-recording? He told me that he was bringing them back a few at a time, mostly on B-sides, and had no plans other than that, at least not yet. He loved those songs too though, he told me.
Then a bunch of girls/groupies/fans/toadies clustered around him and I moved away. He did release all of those songs a few years ago on a comprehensive multi-cd box set called Antbox. And he's doing a few of them live on this current tour.
One week from tomorrow, I'll meet Adam Ant again. I'll stand next to him, and hear him say my name, and get his autograph, and have a photo taken with him. I feel a bit like I am doing this to please a 17-year old girl who only exists in my memory, and a bit like I'm participating in the whorification of my musical idol.
But how lucky are we both, though, really. After more than a decade of struggling with mental illness Adam is back, creating and performing and, I think, enjoying it. I am here, the loyal fan, well off enough to have a spare $300, still remembering all the lyrics and actually learning the new ones and positively joyful to dance to my favorite music ever at yet another concert.
I suppose it's beautiful, regardless of the minor details.
|Adam Ant in Spin magazine|