I really don't know where to begin here...there is just so much that went into this show emotionally...
I was visiting my very best friends in the world, I had not seen them in quite a long time - way too long - and just regrouping with them was such an overjoyful experience.
There were the six of us together for the evening. My friend William was with me at my very first FOREIGNER concert on 17MAR1982. Along with us were his wife and two teenage daughters and his mother, Piety, who has been my 1.1 mother for over 30 years. Heck, the whole family is my 1.1 family!
So I'll start off with the Meet and Greet. I usually don't talk about these here, just post the pics on facebook. But tonight was so very special for so many reasons.
For it was my friends I was showing off to FOREIGNER, not FOREIGNER I was showing off to my friends!
So there's 30 some odd people in the room for the M&G. We all know the rumors have abounded for weeks (months in some cases) that TONIGHT would be THE NIGHT that MICK returned.
So the guys start filing into the room where we were, and.....THERE HE WAS!!!! THERE HE WAS!!!!!!
IT WAS MICK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And to my utter amazement he looked at me and smiled and gave me a "hello" gesture! I had sent word that this was a very special night for me with my very best friends along and the entire band made them feel very welcome and treated them so well - it was just so heartwarming for me.
So we get back to our table after the M&G to finish out Night Rangers set. Good to see them again...saw them last year in Germany and here in the states when they opened for FOREIGNER and Journey.
So with Night Ranger through, and the "redoing" of the stage, the anticipation builds...
There are guys videotaping everything, several of them all around...
All of a sudden Phil Carson walks by and I chat with him for a second.
Oh, one bit of info I left out. I was so nervous getting ready for the M&G I left my ticket at the table! I was afraid I couldn't get back down to the pit! Out on nowhere Cozmo walks by and I tell him what I'd done and he escorts me past the security person, but she remembered me and didn't say anything, just let me pass through! I must say, it was a really great security group at this venue.
Speaking of the venue...totally open air, a canopy over the stage, but not even over the premium section where we were. The Chastain Park Amphitheatre is situated in a very affluent neighborhood of Atlanta. You would not believe some of the homes we passed by. The crowd was very laid back. Most everyone remained seated during Night Ranger. Down in the pit table areas everyone had table cloths spread over their tables, wine and cheese, candles, etc....many many bottles of vino atop the tables......
So that ever familiar opening track begins, and slowly Derek (filling in for Michael) and Mr. Tichy make their way to the spots. The show gets underway.
But this show was different. It wasn't so much about being at a FOREIGNER show, but it was about being at a FOREIGNER show with the best friends the Good Lord could ever bless someone with. My attention was more to making sure they were having a good time and pointing things out to them during certain songs that I appreciate seeing and hearing time and time again.
...and of course there was that unnerving anticipation....
WHEN WOULD MICK HIT THE STAGE?!?!?!
So my mind is still a bit fogged about some of the early details of the show. Kelly did come out during CAS running the perimeter of the stage and stopping ever so briefly to slap out hands...
So let's move on to the setlist.
COLD AS ICE
WAITING (for a guy like Mick to hit the stage)
DIRTY WHITE BOY
SAY YOU WILL (acoustic)
S T O P T H E P R E S S E S ! ! ! S T O P T H E P R E S S E S ! ! !
It was at this point in the show, as Kelly was about to conclude the member introductions, that he began a very profound, moving and heartwarming announcement after saying some absolutely wonderful things about Bruce and his contribution to the band over the past year...
...I cannot duplicate exactly what he said, but will do my best to piece it together from memory...
"Ladies and Gentlemen - due to reasons beyond anyone's control, a very special member of the band has been away for a while. It has been unfortunate and we have all been waiting a long time. I have been waiting for what seems like forever to make this very special introduction - Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome our leader and our founder, MR. MIIIIICK JOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONES!!!!!!!!!!
...and with my very best friends at my side, and Mick on stage, it really did....
FEEL(S) LIKE THE FIRST TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(Key solo/drum solo/key-drum duet)
JUKE BOX HERO
...and the encores...
LONG LONG WAY FROM HOME
I WANT TO KNOW WHAT LOVE IS
Details, details, details, so many escape me...I still have not had time to fully digest them!
About the crowd again. Not what I'm used to seeing, but as I kind of mentioned earlier, it was like a "bring your own" supper show. And although there was a lot of wine flowing, it really was a family atmosphere. There were many children and teens in attendance, just not so many up front in the pit area. Not sure of the size of the crowd but maybe around 7500(?) Of course I stood the whole time, but I was a bit subdued from my usual. But like I said, was wanting to make sure my friends were having a good time, and that included not being quite my usual self...I probably would have scared them!
But the crowd did warm up and begin standing and shouting.
Once Mick was out though, barely a soul remained seated! In fact, we were getting crowded in a bit, and it was virtually impossible for me to get up to the stage. There were so many beautiful woman down there celebrating Mick's return!
It was great being Tichy-fied again! He was on fire (as usual) and I was telling my friends about how he will play the drums with his knuckles when he commenced doing it. They were quite tickled to see him at work!
Derek did quite a good job at keys! Its amazing how he (and Ollie previously) were able to get up there and sub for Michael as well as they do. You know Mick is such an amazing songwriter, and he writes in some of the hardest chords for musicians to play! While that's part of the wonder of FOREIGNER's wonderful music, its also quite a task for someone to fill in and play.
I guess it was during IWTKWLI because Mick was at the keys. I was able to catch his eye and I gave him a "thumbs up". He got a big grin on his face and gave me a "thumbs up" back. While we all know how special a private moment like this can be, William and Nikki "caught the moment" and said, "I saw that!" Just made it all the more special.
There is still so much more to write and I will ad more later, but I'm rushing to meet my published 4:00 p.m.CDT deadline for getting this posted so I will need to close shortly for now.
I do want to finish with this comment. We have all grown to know and love Bruce so much. We all see him as a member of FOREIGNER, not Mick Jone's fill in. I, and there are a growing number of us out there, who would like to see Bruce stay on. He and Mick could switch out songs and the such, and whatever, its just that Bruce has become so near and dear to us...I just don't want to see him fade away from us.
In conclusion, as much as you know how much I love all of you and so enjoy rocking with you, and we've all made so many beautiful memories together, I think last night really topped it all. It was so full of emotion with being there with the people who were there 31 plus years ago when I started getting so hooked on FOREIGNER, and with the high anticipation of Mick's triumphant return. So you can see how special last night was for me, but it certainly doesn't take away from what we've all shared together. It was just so very very special.
But most important of all, Mick is BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN!