|With The Tempations on 26 January 2017 at Kalamazoo State Theatre|
The Meet & Greet
Ever since I started buying concert tickets, I have noticed that there is a special category that exists for some shows called the Meet & Greet or the VIP Meet & Greet. The only concert last year that I toyed with the idea of paying the extra fee to attend a Meet & Greet was The Steve Miller Band concert (), but there was no such category of ticket. I did buy VIP seats to the Lynyrd Skynyrd concert last July, but we all know how that concert turned out.
This year, I opted to buy Meet & Greets for two shows, The Temptations at Kalamazoo State Theatre and the Lynyrd Skynyrd concert at 20 Monroe Live!
In the case of The Temptations, the Meet & Greet was held for about two dozen people 30 minutes prior to the show starting -- from what I can tell this is pretty much standard. However, all this allows is 50 seconds per person with the artist. Whereas you might call this a Meet it definitely isn't a Greet. All of the participants are lined up, and then shoved through one at a time to have a picture taken with the artist. In the case of The Temptations, someone from the theater operated your camera to catch a picture of you with the group. The Good: You didn't have to worry about taking the picture because someone else was taking care of that for you, The Bad: You have no idea if the once in a lifetime picture is good or bad until much later – – a bad picture and you're stuck with it having paid for it in advance. Luckily, the person who used my camera took three pictures. As a result, when I was looking at the pictures the next day I was able to use Photoshop to come out with one good image – – because in each one of the three pictures at least one of the band members had their eyes closed, or a strange expression on their face.
I went last in the line of people, and as a result I was able to get an autograph of everyone in the group. This was a big plus in my book, and made the extra charge worthwhile, but this is far from the norm. I was also able to have a brief discussion with a few of the group members (Larry Braggs and Otis Williams) as I walked with them from the Meet & Greet room to the stage, that also made the extra fee worthwhile because I shared a brief moment with some music legends.
|With Lynyrd Skynyrd on 3 February 2017 at 20 Monroe Live!|
|Johnny Van Zant Out Take|
I will not go into detail as to what happened between myself and the Road Manager or how I eventually got my guitar signed by the three members of the group whose autographs I sought (Johnny Van Zant, Gary Rossington and Mickey Medlocke). I will say you can’t asshole a Road Manager, but being firm and reasonable does help. What matters to me is that in the end, I walked away with the most prized piece of memorabilia in my entire
|My Favorite Souvenir - Ever|
Meet & Greet opportunities are great for those groups that you truly count as your favorite, if the performer is not --- it is simply setting fire to money. Most of the Meet & Greet opportunities I have seen include a special T-shirt, a limited-edition lithograph, exclusive merchandise, or a poster -- so there are some concrete things you end up with after the show; but for the true fan those items are really no big deal. What most fans want is that opportunity to actually shake hands with somebody they greatly admire and perhaps get an autograph or a quick question answered. Unfortunately, there is always a Road Manager who standing there shaking his head and they will do it without concern for the fan. You are almost much better off standing outside the theater and waiting for the band to come in prior to the performance or leave at the end of the night in order to get an autograph.
As for me, the only other band that I would seriously consider paying to attend a Meet & Greet opportunity for is one that doesn't even exist anymore: The Beatles.
Post Script: As I mentioned above, I walked into the venue with the guitar in a backpack case to have it ready for the Meet & Greet. I had seen people do this many times before, once actually presenting guitar to the artist in the middle of a song to have them sign it from the stage. As you can imagine, I did get questions from a lot of different people as to why I was walking around with guitar on my back Here are a few of the answers I gave, with an absolutely straight face: "I am the opening act" (actually said this while the opening act was on stage), "I play back up rhythm guitar for Skynyrd" (was asked for an autograph), "I am the luthier for the band, working on a new guitar for Rossington" (begged to see it), and "What guitar? Are you making fun of my guitar shaped mole?" (the girl apologized for asking). When I was getting a drink, a gentleman (that I found out later was the owner of the property) asked me if I was aware I was being attacked by a guitar. Apparently, I am not the only one with an offbeat sense of humor.