I don't know if this is something that they're doing throughout the tour (I haven't checked the message boards at the fan club website or Barenaked.net yet), but about 15 minutes after the doors to the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall opened, keyboardist Kevin Hearn strolled into the foyer. Now, I recognized him immediately, but I didn't immediately go up to him because of the way he strolled in -- initially it looked like he was just passing through, and I didn't want to bother him if he was on his way to some sort of pre-show prep. However, someone else stopped him and asked him to sign their ticket, and he obligingly pulled out a sharpie and signed away. Seizing the opportunity, I immediately took my ticket over to him, and asked him to sign mine as well. As he did so, I started turning into fanboy-geek and told him how much I enjoyed their appearance on Denis Leary's Merry F#%$in Christmas special on Comedy Central the night before. He replied that the band hadn't seen the final product yet, but was glad to hear that their performance really come across the way it was supposed to.
While this exchange was going on, nannygirl (a.k.a., "Mrs. Moose") noticed that Jim Creegan had strolled in and that Steve Page appeared to be ready to stroll in at the door. Furthermore, as I finished up my exchange with Kevin, I saw Ed Robertson enter the room and move across to the other side. It quickly become apparent that BNL was doing an unannounced, impromptu meet-and-greet with all the fans who arrived early. The two of us went over to Jim and got his signature on our tickets, and then Mrs. Moose returned to Kevin to get him to sign her ticket as well.
(Side note: I'd like to thank Mrs. Moose for not giving me a hard time about not having the presence of mind to have him sign both our tickets in the first place. I turned into geeky fanboy so suddenly that it didn't occur to me to have him do both. Yeah, I can be pretty damn dense sometimes.)
Already, word about what was happening started buzzing through the early arrivals. It had been less than 10 minutes since we first noticed Kevin's entrance into the room, and there were still fans pouring in. I didn't actually consciously think it, but I think I sensed that if I was going to get all the band members to sign my ticket then I needed to act fast. After talking with Jim for a couple moments -- again, about their appearance on Leary's X-mas special -- I quickly set out to find Ed.
When I found where he had positioned himself, he already had a small crowd and it was growing. I quickly grabbed a spot in the que and when we finally got to him I completed my transformation into uber fanboy-geek. While he signed, I took a moment to say something I've been waiting years to tell him personally. I actually said, "I know I might sound a little bit like a dork [yes, I really used the word "dork"], but I just wanted to tell you just how much your music has meant to me over the past 12 years." At which point I quickly told him about how I found out about the band when American radio didn't give a rat's ass about them. He then shook my hand and said something else which I honestly cannot remember because he honestly seemed genuinely touched by what I had said. (Somewhere in the middle of all this, Mrs. Moose got her ticket signed by him as well.) I then thanked him for his time and went out to find Steve.
Although he was the last band member to sign my ticket, in many ways his signature was the most important. Over nine years ago, I attended a BNL in-store appearance at an HMV in New York City. Unfortunately, that day Steve was feeling under the weather and didn't appear with the rest of the band. As a result, to this day my copy of Born on a Pirate Ship is missing his signature. I was not going to miss my opportunity to complete my BNL collection of autographs -- even if they were on separate items. When I found him, his crowd hadn't grown much yet either, but interestingly he wasn't signing anything. I knew that the other band members were carrying sharpies, but I wasn't sure whether he was or not. So, I asked one of the people from Nettwerk (their management company, and they were very easy to pick out and close by) if Steve was carrying one already as well. He said, "Oh, yes, he is," and I immediately took a place to wait my turn.
When I get to him, I mentioned that I heard a rumor that he had a sharpie with him and would he sign our tickets. He smiled, pulled it out of his pocket and started signing away. I told him about the HMV appearance nine years ago and how I was still missing his signature on Pirate Ship. He then joked that I should've brought it with me, to which I replied I would have if I known this was going to happen. After thanking him for his time, we went about trying to find Tyler.
Unfortunately, I got confirmation from someone at Nettwerk that Tyler, just like Steve back on that day in NYC, was sick and decided to skip this and save his energy for the concert. I'd have to "settle" for having just the four of them sign my ticket. Nonetheless, at that moment BNL could've put on the worst show I'd ever seen them do and it wouldn't have mattered. That wasn't actually the case -- I actually had my best concert experience in some time -- and the whole experience just heightened my excitement over the entire evening.
Interestingly, it didn't occur to me until after the show that I should've told one of the band members that they are the patron saints of Some Fantastic and that the 'zine was named after their song of the same name (which they actually closed the show with -- how cool was that!?), even though it has nothing to do with them otherwise. Oh well, in the grand scheme of things, it was a rather unimportant thing to forget.
After all, I got to meet my rock gods, and had the chance to tell them how much their music means to me.