Reply to "LM & Celebrity Non-Celebrityism"

Originally posted by GatoCat:
I can't describe what elation shot through me when I first read that Loreena was planning to tour the United States in 2007. I had expected that the concert would be limited to the European tour, and when I received the announcement, I excitedly perused the list of cities, hoping for Dallas, Texas. But, no... the tour was limited to the northern USA, and the closest she would come to me was Boulder, Colorado, 917 miles away.

No matter; Boulder is do-able! I shared the news with my girlfriend, Lynda, and when tickets became available I bought two for us and we arranged a vacation around the concert. Rather than fly, we chose to make the drive up through Oklahoma and southern Colorado, stopping at various scenic areas along the way and thoroughly enjoying the trip.

Come the night of the concert, we received our official Loreena McKennitt An Ancient Muse 2007 tour handouts. After a welcoming greeting and warning not to take pictures, it listed the performers and help, and then became a catalog of official Loreena McKennitt items we could buy. CDs, of course; but also tee shirts, notecards, totebags, the special DVD which was available only at the concert (at least, then, I guess... you can get it now from the website), a personally signed photoprint of Loreena ($30), and posters of the tour ($20).

Reading through the "Notes from the Road" insert, I found this exciting description of how Loreena's time at a concert goes: "Directly following the show, the musicians usually head back to the hotel and I stay at the venue to meet friends, business collegues and special guests. Following this, I am usually found signing autographs if there are people waiting at the stage door."

"We can get an autograph!" I told Lynda. Wouldn't that be the culmination of the trip! We drove a thousand miles to hear Loreena McKennitt, and met her in person for the brief moment it takes to get an autograph! So I went up to the vending booth where all the tee shirts and tote bags and such were being sold, and I dutifully paid $20 for a poster with a barely discernable picture of a tent (presumably part of a caravanserai) with a listing of cities on the tour.

The concert was wonderful, everything we could have hoped for, with the driving rock drummer adding a dimension to the live performance that was not there on the studio recordings. I stood up and yelled, "Yeaaah!" after the concluding violin solo on Santiago.

And then the concert was over, and I hurried to the exit and around to the stage door to get Loreena to sign my poster. It was lightly raining as the crew began bringing the instruments out and loading them in the truck. I was the first one there, but directly several others came as well. We all stood in the drizzle for a few minutes, and then a side door opened and someone called to one of my fellow waiters, "Carolyn! Come in here, she's in here." And so we all filed back through that door and into the auditorium again, and we milled around for a few moments, and then someone began checking passes.

It turned out that you had to have a special pass to get in. I hadn't known about this. I don't know what the criteria were for receiving a pass; perhaps you had to be a member of the city council, or someone who had facilitated the use of the concert hall; I can't guess. But I didn't have one. So I watched the "friends, business collegues and special guests" file through the door into the backstage area (she did appear briefly at the door; I got to see that flaming head of hair), and then I was left standing outside, dutifully waiting my turn for an autograph.

Then one of the crew, a big ol' boy with a big beer gut stretching his white tee shirt, came up to me, pointed at the back exit from the concert hall, and said, "You need to go out that door."

I said, "Can't I get an autograph?"

He said, "Nope."

I thought of arguing, but saw the futility in it. I thought of what I'd read in the insert: "Folloing this, I am usually found signing autographs if there are people waiting..." And I thought to myself, "I guess 'usually' is the operative word here."

I drove 1000 miles to hear Loreena in person, and paid twenty dollars for a picture of a tent, and I couldn't get an autograph. The tent poster hangs on the wall in my living room, unsigned, enshrined in $200 worth of framing. I wanted it to be a reminder of a wonderful concert (and the concert was wonderful). But instead it's a reminder of a fat guy in a tee shirt folding his arms and saying, "Nope."

Twenty dollars for an unsigned concert advertisement? Don't talk to me about the cult of celebrity. But then, I guess it's simple economics... supply what the demand will sustain, huh? I paid for it, didn't I.

P.S. Of course, it was later announced that a second sweep of the tour would come south, and it came to Arlington (next door to Dallas), and of course, we attended that one, too. Lynda asked, "Do you want to take your poster out of the frame and see if you can get it signed this time?"

I shrugged and said, "Nah... why bother?" The magic was gone.

P.P.S. Lynda's daughter Aimee, living in New York, met Loreena at a signing and got her to sign a CD for Lynda. Aww... how sweet.

You know what, GatoCat, the same thing happened to me when Ms. McKennitt came to the "Motor City". I was feeling so happy and excited until I found out I couldn't meet with the Lady of Quinlan Road. I was so disappointed I ended up crying on the way home. From that point on, dear, I was determined to see that woman and meet her. I felt that and vowed that my spirit would not rest until I meet Loreena McKennitt.