First of all - Julian and his band are the nicest, sweetest, bunch of guys any person can meet. Jules was gracious, polite and I have to say I must be the first one to be dubbed "Julian's Personal Tickle-Me-Elmo." More on that in a minute.
For those who have not met Jules yet, here's a tip or two - get there REALLY early, be patient, polite, and if you are with Pat B., make sure you have made all important potty breaks before sound check cause you ain't leaving no line to find a restroom. Which is a good philosophy because had we been just a little longer we would have missed my tickle moment.
OK - to that story. After a few u-turns and an incredible journey through San Francisco, I got Pat, Kathleen (Reina's sister) and I safely to the Fillmore at about 3-ish. The concert didn't start until 8 with doors opening at 7 but hey - patience remember?
We were first in line and met (for lack of a better name) "Fillmore Joe". This guy says he has seen every show that ever played the Fillmore since 1962. He is not an autograph seeker, he just likes to meet the crowd and listen to good music. So anyway - he was a veteran of the place for us Fillmore virgins and he was gracious enough to give us tips as to where the band needs to enter and exit and where the hotel was that most stars stay at. We waited at our posts. At about 4:45 (after a run for the bathroom because it was beginning to come out of my pours - tip #3b DO NOT DRINK 3 GLASSES OF TEA BEFORE STANDING IN LINE!) we saw the band arrive.
It was a delayed reaction as they were in the gate when we all went "Hey wasn't that ...?" When all of a sudden (and this is no lie) Julian magically appears down the street. Literally - we have no idea which direction he came in as we were all staring down the same way and poof there he was. My heart suddenly went to my throat and beat so hard I swore my throat was going to explode. I took a deep breath and I THINK I squealed. We walked in what felt like slow motion toward him. He was being told to get back and he said "no that is ok."
Fillmore Joe was sitting on the pull of the U-haul right behind him. He smiled and said something to the effect of "now is your chance." Jules was carrying a computer/camera and filmed each and everyone of us. Too cool. Then he says "ok, your turn" or something like that. I got brave and asked him to sign my scrapbook (Yeah I got it done!) and he glance really quickly and was so touched that I had this stuff all these years "How sweet you kept this this long" he said as he signed the cover.
Then Kathleen shows Jules the shirt that CJ made for Reina's baby. It is the Lennon Fan shirt but in a tiny small onezie jumper for babies. It is adorable and you should have seen Jules eyes. It was PRECIOUS! Well, he signed it on my back and I was trying desperately not to laugh because he was tickling me. Pat tells him (giving credit where credit is due) that I was trying not to laugh because he was tickling me. When he was done he tickles my left rib and says "So you are ticklish, eh?" then tickled my right rib. I yelped - I know I did because I am SO TICKLISH. I smiled and still am smiling. I can't help it. I didn't get a kiss or a head bump, I didn't even get a picture - but I got tickled in three places that night by Mr. Lennon himself.
Well, he went in after signing Pat's CD and other stuff and we waited and tried to stop shaking. Fillmore Joe came up to give us a high five and shows us his ticket signed by Jules. "I NEVER get autographs", he says again, "but he was such a gentleman I got caught up in the moment." How funny. We waited until he left again an hour later but we didn't approach him again. We let others who missed him the first time get autographs. He looked through the crowd and saw Pat and I standing way back letting people cut in line to see him and he was visibly touched again and smiled at both of us. He knew we were harmless. (HEEHEHEHHE). Well, that was our moment. Then we had a five hour wait before seeing Jules again.
A Jeep drove up earlier and soon the band got in. There was a bit of a shuffle and people got out again. Suddenly the back was opened up (ya know the equivalent of a trunk on a Jeep?) and Matt climbs in so that Jules could get in the back seat. The door closes and off they go. Matt waved at us with sad puppy dog eyes. We were laughing and figured they realized there was more people than room for in the Jeep and drew straws. Matt must've lost.
There is much history to the Fillmore - most of it waaaay before my time but when the doors FINALLY opened and we were ushered in (we had to stand about 10 feet from the door and then get literally ushered in so that those still needing tickets - there were only a few left - could buy them and not mingle in with us who have been waiting forever) you could feel the presence of the spirits of rocks stars gone by. There was a huge picture of Janis Joplin and then "the poster room" where there are pictures of everyone that has ever graced the Fillmore stage. A quick glance and I was off to the front of the stage - wondering all the way whether Fillmore Joe saw each and everyone of those people.
I got to stage left (or right as everyone suggested -thanks by the way) and made my space and SAT for the first time in God knows how long. It felt good. So began the observance of my surroundings. Hanging from the ceiling at the rim of the dance floor was roughly 10 total chandeliers decked out in black light. The room was as dark as a movie theatre after the movie has started. The only other light was the bar and restaurant at the back. There were few tables and chairs along the edge of the dance floor and two upper balconies. It took awhile for my eyes to adjust (I'm horrible in dark situations.) but when it did I noticed that the two of us in our "shirts" were glowing under the black lighting and not to mention my shoes that I did not know had glow in the dark lacing and reflective insoles! It was REAL easy for Reina to find us as she was SO SWEET to make a special trip to get us water and CANDY!! YUMMMY!! Nothing like a king size snicker bar for dinner to keep you going. It's true - they really satisfy. And it was great for the Fillmore to let her in without a ticket. Of course they followed her to be sure she really was going to leave but all the same what a nice thing to do on both their parts. Of course thanks to Kathleen for using her cell phone to call Reina to let her know we were hungry. (Remember Reina couldn't make the Fillmore due to work obligations and her beautiful new son.) But as I sat, I met Trudy (Hi Girl - glad to finally meet you) and this other lady (I met her outside and we continued talking inside for awhile) egads I am bad with names - she is not on the onelist because she does not have a puter - Diane from Indiana(?) - who has followed Jules for many shows and hasn't met him until today. Stick with me kid....[grin]
Finally movement was happening behind me and I leapt up. First up was the Push Stars. I like them - they are good. Of course, being as wonderful as I am with names, I don't remember anyones name. The bass player made a comment about the shirts asking us if we were fans. Pat and I said "No, why do you say that?" They laughed and continued the set. I was so close as the stage was under my chin (don't ask) and I could read their set list. I was counting down the songs. I like the one "Drunk is better than Dead". Good theory.
Soon their 8th song was completed, they made a comment about how wonderful Jules has been to them this tour and off they go. Ok, those who have already seen Jules - did he have candles on the stage?? He didn't in Santa Cruz and we were wondering if that was a Fillmore thing. All the same, they (Fillmore people I guess) placed a rose colored (and smelling) candle to the left of me and right in front of Pat. She was the keeper of the flame so to speak - as directed by the Fillmore people. The guitar tech (David - we came to learn his name afterwards) came out and placed Jules cherry-wood guitar right in front of the candle. I cannot begin to describe how beautiful that was with the reflection of our shirts in the back of the guitar with candle light flickering off the freshly shined wood. ooooo. I took a pic but have no idea how that would come out. I have yet to get to the film developers - will do as soon as I shut up.
Pat and I noticed a red light (about the size of a laser pen) glowing from the first floor balcony. It was Jules waving at us and recording all of us waving at him. Later Lucy took it and went to the back of the dance floor and got everyone there and Jules was on. The place went nuts. Well, were I was standing anyway. The lady behind me was decked out in all Beatles stuff as she had just stepped off the plane from the Chicago Beatlefest and had me keep her stuff on the stage for her. Umm - I'm not a Fillmore person but ok - whatever. I was very cautious about my camera but took pictures of everyone I could see. Soon the camera Gestapo told us to put them away even though we were not using flash. I managed 12 pics. The stage was high enough I felt like I was at Togos and one monitor was in front of me blocking Manny totally. I saw the drumsticks and felt the drum beat so I know he was there.
At one point I got tired of standing on my toes so I laid my chin on the stage and bopped my head back and forth. I can only imagine what that looked like from the stage as I caught Martin Swain's eye and he started bopping his head in the same motion as mine and smiled at me. Jules was in his stage clothes of black on black on black as was everyone else. The colors of psychedelica where turned off but there were other lights playing happily in the background to the music making. Jules look green and red and blue at various points in the show. Now THAT is a Fillmore thing. I know because I have seen historic footage of Starship/Airplane/Jefferson whoever and that was the "thing". As is the apples - but that's a whole other story.
Although Jules made a comment before sound check that he was tired, he sure didn't show it that night on stage. He went from song to song breathlessly and had his "story time" moments where his eyes shone with delight as everyone seemed to ride on his every word. The energy level was right on and the play between the band members made it fun to watch. Some woman threw up a silver/black/shiny scarf and Jules says "thank you." Just before "Crucified" and the Kevin Gilbert story. He put it on and sniffed it. He commented that it was wet and asked her "where have YOU BEEN???" He then did his impersonation of a female (dangerous thing to do in San Francisco - grin) and asked "does it make me look fat?" All the same it was cute and he wore it throughout the whole song and did his "Crucified dance" with it wrapped around him arms. Afterward he draped it around the drum set and continued on. Now it was time for "Too Late For Goodbyes" - the Rolling Stone version. He lit a cigarette. No problem. Except he was right over my head when he came over our side to the competition sing-along. I didn't know whether to tickle the back of his leg (I could of you know) or cower in hopes the ashes didn't land in my hair. He soon realized and moved the ciggie to the other hand and stepped back a bit (he nearly stepped on my hand, too.) I was a tad concerned about the candle but he did ok in not kicking it. Whew.
Soon it was over. It was a rush and adrenaline was still flowing in major strides. We stepped outside to get slapped in the face with some good old fashioned San Fran moist fog. Ahhhh, it felt good. There was a massive line of people waiting for Jules. Pat and I were the only ones waiting for Lucy. Falling asleep on my feet I suggested we ask this guy who kept going in and out of the bus if he could give our gift to Lucy. It was the guitar tech - who introduced himself as David. Beautiful Scottish accent!! He promised to give it to her the next morning and point us out to her in Santa Cruz the next day. We didn't get to talk with her personally but she does have our email addresses. She is welcomed to write anytime - hint, hint! So was our time at the Fillmore. What a night. Off to Santa Cruz and our stories of meeting Jules and the band there. We got our - and then we - and -oh Pat your turn - - - ;-)
Love and smiles,
Background/Flowers from the 'Photograph Smile'
CD inlet by Angelika Letsch.
'Hey Jules' © 1998 - 2002 CJ Burianek