As there have already been a couple of really great concert reviews, I'll focus a little more on the Meet & Greet. Of course, the show was incredible, albeit hot and muggy, but concerts at outdoor venues just seem to be better (for me, anyhow) and Chastain Park is one of the best I've been to. I loved the set list and, even with the heat and humidity, the energy level from Kenny and the band was amazing!
After the show, we were told to line up outside the stage entrance and to have our backstage stickers on. While in line, we met Leigh Anne Hoover who wrote the article "Enduring Lure of Loggins" for Marquee Magazine. We found her to be a wonderful person and a huge Loggins fan. Those with green and yellow stickers were called in first (we had the yellow which were for the fan club and I'm not sure what the green stickers meant) and we soon found ourselves backstage in the "catering room".
Upon entering, I notice that there were only about 10-15 people inside, one of them being St. Paul Peterson!!! I didn't expect to see any of the band members at the Meet & Greet so this was a bonus! As I walked by Paul but not wanting to be intrusive, I quietly told him "great show" and he immediately jumped to his feet to shake our hands. He made us feel so welcome and that really set the tone for the rest of the event. One of the Chastain Park reps told everyone that the guys wouldn't be signing autographs and that they only had time for a "quick picture"... a little disappointing but we soon found out that this was not the case.
A few minutes later, Kenny quietly entered the room (I'm not sure what I really expected though...maybe trumpets announcing his arrival?) First he met with a group of six, several being teenage girls. He made them feel at ease and autographed everything in sight! I know he made some more lifelong fans in those few moments. Kenny moved on to another couple and when the woman had her picture taken with Kenny, I heard her say "I'm actually touching Kenny Loggins!" I think that a lot of the people in the room understood what she was feeling.
When Kenny met with my wife and I, all of the things we wanted to say to him left our heads momentarily. Of course, the rational side of my brain tells me "he's just another person ... you meet tons of new people all the time." And yes, he is another person but this is a person who you admire, whose music and lyrics have had an effect on you and your wife in some way. And I kind of figured that I'd go a little "brain dead" but I quickly recovered. We shook his hand and told him how much his music meant to us (Toni and I met at a high school reunion after not seeing each other for over 30 years ... Unimagineable Life really means a lot to us). I work at the Kennedy Space Center (yes, the one in Florida ... I actually get asked that a lot) and I gave Kenny a couple of mission pins for his two youngest children for the Space Shuttle mission that was in orbit at that time.
I think the thing that impressed me the most about Kenny is how intently he listens to you. He really does...he made eye contact and his gaze never wavered as long as we were talking to him. Not at all what I expected. He is warm, friendly, and quiet/calm (which may be confused with his reported shyness). He made us feel welcome and put us at ease immediately. He graciously autographed a few items for us. Being a big fan since the 1970's, I brought my copy of his first solo ablum on LP. He signed both the record and the album sleeve. The picture on the sleeve shows him in front of a house and I asked him if he remembered the house. He said that it was a house he rented down by the beach. I just thought that it was amazing for him to remember that and that it was some interesting trivia. He also signed a copy of Unimagineable Life for us.
We were able to get a photo with him (attached). Being a photographer, I usually try to get a few backup shots for my important pics but again, I was caught up in the moment and forgot. Unfortunately, I was pulling away in the photo to help the gentleman who was having trouble with my camera when the picture was taken. However, Toni and Kenny sure looked comfortable! So, all was not lost and we have the photo to always remind ourselves that we really were there.
Kenny excused himself to move onto others in the room. We weren't sure of protocol at that point and as no one asked us to leave, we just hung around for a bit. We actually stayed for another 20-25 minutes. I noticed that Gene Miller had come into the room at one point but was only able to get a quick handshake with him as he was engaged in conversation with a few other folks. It was great to have some of the band members at the Meet & Greet. These guys are all fantastic artists in their own rights and it really added to the night to have been around a few of them. After a bit, the door opened and in walked another 50 or so people and that gave us the hint that it was our time to leave.
I find it somewhat interesting how the events that mean the most to me in my life are remembered in different ways. I may not remember everything that happened or was said during our meeting with Kenny but there are certain things I won't ever forget: seeing the stage crew breaking down the equipment on our way into the Meet & Greet; hearing someone say "There he is" when Kenny walked in the room; the smell of the catering room (not a bad smell...just distinctive). Just a very special night for us.
Thanks to the KL Connection for this opportunity ... if we weren't before, we are lifelong members now! This event was organized and well run and well, just more fun than should be legal. It was not only fun but it was extremely special to us. We were married in June and this was part of our honeymoon (the other part comes in October when we head to Savannah). I don't think I could have given Toni a finer gift! :-)
With our greatest appreciation,
Joe and Toni