Ever have a day where all the stars align and everything falls into place? They’re rare, I know, but recently I experienced one of them.
Six months ago, I’d bought a ticket to a rock show and made the decision to set out on a solo adventure.
Those six months disappeared in the blink of an eye and, on the last Saturday in November, I found myself sitting at Glasgow Airport with a coffee and a cinnamon whirl, waiting for my flight to East Midlands Airport.
I was heading to Nottingham for the weekend. No, I wasn’t in search of Robin Hood or the sheriff. I was going to see Alter Bridge headline a show at the Motorpoint Arena.
Those who know me, know how much those guys mean to me, especially the front man, Myles Kennedy.
Those of you who are going “Alter who?”, Alter Bridge are a rock band from the USA, fronted by Myles Kennedy. (Look then up on You Tube!)
The flight from Glasgow to East Midlands was a hop skip and a jump on a rather small propeller plane..eek!!
An hour after leaving Glasgow I was sitting in the café at East Midlands Airport with a coffee and a panini for lunch, waiting for my American friend, Miss Janette, to arrive from Amsterdam. (Her devotion to Myles and all things RnFnR makes the rest of us look like rank amateurs!)
Bang on time, her flight arrived and we were soon in a taxi, chatting at a million miles an hour as we sped towards the city. (I hadn’t seen her for two years so we had a lot of catching up to cram in!)
The whole day almost came to a spectacular halt a short while later. Having checked in to my Travel Lodge home for the night, we set off on foot in search of the rest of the “AB Family” who were lunching at Annie’s Burger Shack.
Round the corner from the hotel we found a Kitty Café!!!
Both of us have Crazy Cat Lady tendencies and it took a lot of will power to drag ourselves past the Kitty Café and to resist the temptation of kitty cuddles!
Without too much bother we found Annie’s. (Gotta love Google maps!) Cue lots of hugs and hellos as we caught up with some of the members of our “AB Family.” It was a little surreal being face to face with friends I’d only seen on Facebook up until now. It really was an international family gathering!
Apart from a love of Alter Bridge, we all had one more thing in common. We were all doing the “Meet & Greet/VIP Package” before the show.
The city’s Motorpoint Arena was only a short walk from the restaurant and, by three o’clock, the AB Family gathering had expanded considerably. Some of these people have been following this tour, The Last Hero Tour, all over the UK and Scandinavia, having already followed it through the USA. I really felt like an AB lightweight but each and every one of them made me feel so welcome and a part of it all.
I’ll not bore you with a blow by blow account of the Meet & Greet but the whole experience was amazing! Even standing in the centre of that huge almost empty arena was a breath-taking experience. I can’t begin to imagine what it is like to stand on that stage and perform in front of a sell-out crowd!
The Meet & Greet package allows you entry to part of the band’s sound check before you are whisked back out of the arena to briefly meet the band, when they will happily sign stuff for you. (“One item each” we were told. “And don’t talk to Myles. He’s on vocal rest.” I had three. I chanced my luck and got two signed. Huge thanks to Miss Janette for getting the third item, my CD insert, personalised and autographed.) The next part was a photo opportunity with the band. There’s no denying that it is all a bit of a conveyor belt that involves a lot of standing in line. There wasn’t much time to speak to the band other than to say hello and exchange a few precious words, including a few with Myles to wish him an early “Happy Birthday.”
The final part of the deal is that you get priority entry to the venue for the show.
By five fifteen I was standing on the rail beside my new friend, Miss Monica and Miss Janette. Cue one of the best evenings of my life. The show was incredible! (You can read all about it on my sister blog, The525to Glasgow https://the525toglasgow.wordpress.com/2016/12/01/alter-bridge-at-the-motorpoint-arena-nottingham-261116 )
It was eleven o’clock before the last notes faded away and the lights went up.
The tired smiles on everyone’s faces said it all! The mad dash up the arena to the loo was hilarious. Six hours in one spot is a LONG time!
In the foyer of the arena and outside there were small pockets of AB family chatting and posing for photos with one another and with one of the support bands, Like A Storm.
A few minutes later we gathered again as an AB Family in the bar next to the arena. We’d picked up a few extra family members along the way. Tired and weary, and in my case starving (that panini at the airport almost 12 hours earlier had long since worn off), we sat and chatted, reliving the musical adventure we had just shared. We posed for “family” photos. We took photos for each other with various family members then the bar called “last orders”. It was time to head back to the hotel and bed.
There were hugs and kisses. There were some goodbyes. There were some arrangements made to meet up again in a few days in Glasgow when the tour reached the SSE Hydro.
A lovely member of the AB Family walked me most of the way back to my hotel. (Thanks, Marin)
Once safely back in my room, sleep refused to come. I lay snuggled under the duvet smiling to myself in the dark.
It really had been a surreal perfect day. It brought it home to me the combined power of social media and a common interest (rock music). Without those, none of it would have happened. Without the online interaction, I’d never have met these people. I’d have missed the opportunity to make new friendships.
Memories were created that will last a lifetime.
Oh and by the way, I found Robin Hood next morning. (It would have been rude not to while in Nottingham) He too happily posed for a photo!