Monday, August 20, 2007

My 12 Hours of Stalking Neil Finn

(Note: If you're looking for a satisfying payoff to this story -- i.e. how the [C]R successfully stalks the great Neil Finn -- go see a Hollywood movie. Because this is real life. And plus, I'm not that lucky.)

This weekend Crowded House descended upon Chicago and rocked my lame ass. To show my appreciation, I decided it would be appropriate for Neil Finn to meet me and realize what an amazing person I am and maybe invite me to hang with him back in New Zealand or at least write a song about me.

I had a great partner in crime in my efforts, Richard (who also bought the tickets for us to the show back in May, the day they went on sale). With help from Niner, Richard and I determined that the band was staying at the Hotel Sax, the former House of Blues Hotel, located right next the HOB, where the magical concert happened.

As I have no real life of any kind, my plan was to arrive in the early afternoon Saturday and essentially hang out in the hotel lobby all day, waiting for Neil to walk through, and then make the Magic happen. This proved to be a pretty easy feat, since nobody there seemed to notice us sitting on the plush couch directly in front of the elevator bank (also, there seemed to be no other groupies around so I was feeling optimistic). So Richard and I sat there in the lobby for about an hour until we started getting really bored.

Richard has plenty of experience in meeting rock stars and knows all the tricks. He suggested that we also hang out in the hotel bar after the concert, and asked the bellhop how late "after the show" the bar would be open (as if to imply he was part of the CR entourage. He was very believable). He also suggested we walk across the street to the HOB to see if perhaps the band was there doing a sound check, so we did. As good an idea that it was, we pretty much got nowhere.

He then suggested we scope out the stage door. We were able to determine that the door was one flight underground, making it a bit difficult access. To make a long story short, we had to walk three blocks west of the HOB, take a parking garage elevator to a sub-basement floor, bust through an alarmed door, endure the stench of vomit and walk through the darkest underbelly of Chicago alleyways. But we found the stage door, and after assessing the situation mapped out a plan to come back both before and after the show (if need be) and meet the band as they entered/left the venue. Because we are clever like that.

Because stalking is demanding work, we decided to leave and return at 6 (doors opened at 7:30), meet up with friends for a drink in the hotel bar and get friendly with the wait staff in case we needed their help after the show (see how smart we are??).

Fast forward to about 8 pm, with Richard and I comfortably seated at the hotel bar with 4 Long Island Iced Teas, a couple of beers and at least a rum & coke between us. The idea of hanging out at the stage door before the show starts seems like both a distant memory and silly at the same time (damn you LIIT's!).

[This is a re-enactment of me kinda/sorta pretending to be looking for Neil Finn in the hotel bar, hoping that maybe like us, he too decided that getting a drink before the show was a good idea. See how dramatic this whole affair has been?]

We head into the venue and meet up with our friends, who are standing about 25 feet from the stage.
This is where I am supposed to talk about the concert itself. Yes, it was amazing. But the crowd really sucked because everyone around us was old and had forgotten what it is like to go to a general admission concert, and a few skanks and assholes directly in front of us didn't know any fucking words to any CH songs, nor would they dance, and kept looking at their watches. What the fuck is the point? Go back to Naperville and watch "Two and a Half Men" you fucktard douche nuggets!

Neil and crew sounded and played great, rocked most of my favorite songs and truly put on a good show. They came out for two encores, and played until (I think) about 12:30. When they played "Heaven That I'm Making" (from their new album) and "Better Be Home Soon" I may have cried a little. But because it was dark nobody saw me so therefore you'll never know.

Oh, also, early in to the show, during a quiet lull, I yelled out "I LOVE YOU NEIL FINN!" (Apparently the show was recorded so I'm sure my love profession is now history.) Although I am sure he heard me, he didn't acknowledge. He didn't have to. Because he knows and understands the special bond we share. However, the people around me did acknowledge, and everyone turned and looked at me like I was a freak. "What?" I said. "Somebody had to say it!" Only Richard laughed.

Since this story is really long, let me cut to the end of the evening. After the show, we went outside and snuck down into the alley and stage door. During the concert Richard noticed a lot of people with VIP passes, which meant there was probably going to be a long meet and greet backstage after the show, which also meant that we'd be likely waiting a long time outside for them to come out. By this point, we were both really tired and I was becoming extremely comfortable with the idea of not hanging out at the stage door for an hour or so.

Plus, a big security guy stopped us when we arrived, asking us what we wanted. I decided to let Richard do the talking, and the conversation went like this:

Big Security Dude: "Whaddya want?"

Richard: "We're just waiting for Neil and Nick." (See, I told you he was good.)

Big Security Dude: "Nuh-uh. You can't be down here."

Richard and Me: "OK then. Have a good night."

And that is the end of my story. Before we went back to the street, Richard did snap this photo of me in front of their tour bus. Sadly, this was to be the closest I would get to meeting Neil Finn. But the band is supposed to head back into the studio in December to record their next album (yes!), so there will be a next time. Did you hear that Neil? Our Time On Earth* will come. We will be Together Alone** soon.

[This is me in front of the tour bus. You don't have to say it - I am fully aware of what a dork I am.]

* That was a funny Crowded House insider joke, so laugh.

** So was that, so keep laughing.


Ellen Aim said...

I honestly can't say I know diddly squat about CH, but the dorkiness of your story makes me adore you just a little bit more.

chuckdaddy2000 said...

So close (but yet so far). It sounds like learned a lot of solid staker tactics. I think next time he will be yours.

Airam said...

Although I am sure he heard me, he didn't acknowledge. He didn't have to. Because he knows and understands the special bond we share.

I love this!! YOu make me laugh!

Michael5000 said...

I can't believe that people looked at you like you were a freak.

Well, actually, I can believe that.

But I like the way you go after your enthusiasms. I agree with ChuckDaddy: next time you will find a way.

ReckenRoll said...

I see the flaw in your plan. It's one word: CLEAVAGE (for the security guy, not Neil, obviously).

Next time you need some lady boobs along.

Dyck!! said...

You would've had a better chance of meeting Huck Finn.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Your failure was not due to a lack of effort. That was some mighty-fine stalking, sir.

Anonymous said...

gawd i love you

KAZ said...

Even with my ADD I read this to the end.

You must get this published in 'Stalkers monthly'.

Or you could write 'The Rough Guide to Stalking'.

Ryan Charisma said...

I think you're almost a professional stalker, I'm jelous. I mean, all I get when I stalk is a autograph, well it's more of a restraining order but thier signature is still on it.

You go! I like Crowded House as well. And I care it liking them dates me back to the 80's.

carolyn says said...

for some reason i always think you are bald, maybe it was that post about Mr Clean and then I am always surprised when I see pictures of you with hair.

Julie_Gong said...

I yelled 'I love people from Appalachia' at Gavin DeGraw [Don't judge me.] once.

The [Cherry] Ride said...

Ellen:: Dorkiness? What on earth do you mean?

CD2K:: Thanks, I agree.

Airam:: No, YOU make me laugh!

M5K:: Trust me, the only freaks at that show were the lame people around me. I mean, c'mon - who doesn't know at least some of the words to "Don't Dream It's Over?" Even my grandma knows that one.

Reckenroll:: Are you volunteering for the next time?

Dyck:: Tell me about it. But my optimism lives on.

Dr. Ken:: Thanks, but I really have to give credit to Richard for his brilliant ideas.

Anonymous:: Thanks Mom!

KAZ:: Thanks for sticking around until the end.

Ryan:: Yeah, but at least you got an autograph. I've got squat!

Carolyn:: You must be confusing me for someone else? What Mr. Clean post? But I am going bald, so maybe that counts for something.

carolyn says said...

mr clean, me t or mr rogers fuck one kill on marry one. wasn't that you, or was that 9er? it was one of you i know it was

Jenny! said...

Damn, you are a fucking good stalker! I could have sweet talked that security guard for you...or at least bound and gagged him long enough for you and Rich to get through the door! Maybe next time you can meet him!

The [Cherry] Ride said...

Julie:: C'mon, you know me well enough to know that I don't judge (?). Although I would have stood proudly next to you at Gavin.

Carolyn:: Aha! But I think that must have been Niner or Dr. Ken. I never got around to posting my "fuck, kill or marry" post like I was supposed to.

Jenny!:: We could have used your feminine wiles. But by that point I had been standing for 6 hours and didn't feel like standing any longer to wait for them.

classyandfancy said...

I think Neil was avoiding the hotel bar because of those brothel chairs.

Dop said...

I dont know whether to hug you or commit you.

ADW said...

Well it had all the elements of a good story - stalking, creepiness, nerds, drinking, embarrassing moments.... too bad it didn't end as well. Here's a cheers for next time. I am sure I will here you shouting your Joy all the way over here in C-town.

Jbro said...

I am with anon, I love you, even if you would spend six months in a leaky boat!

captain corky said...

Your dream will be realized!

PS At least you guys got hammered at the bar.

Loaf said...

Good effort on the stalking; I'm sure Neil knows about you and is just playing hard to get. Keep on chasing!

Mr. Shain said...

jesus that was gay

minijonb said...

good thing that security guard didn't hop in the tour bus and run you over. that was some risky shit you pulled!

Airam said...

I'm putting up a Neil Finn song on my blog in your honour.

blythe said...

i'm here for the comic gold. am i in the wrong place?


more later.



blythe said...

in a related story, guess who has a new desktop background? hint: it's me! i'm counting on your thumbs up to get me through my hard blogging times.

Geeky Tai-Tai said...

If I had been one of those old farts at the concert, you can be sure that I would've been rockin' to CH! Hard! No matter if I was 25 feet away from the stage or up in the nosebleed seats. They were the dorks -- not you!

5 of 9er said...

At least you know what a dork you are... so I don't need to tell you here. :)

Dirk_Star said...

Wow, that is the coolest gay bar interior I've ever seen!

I'm Not Carrie Bradshaw said...

If I didn't know you I would have never believed this story.

Rey a.k.a. "Mr. Secret" said...

Seriously, next time they're in town, let me know! I work in the music biz, don't forget. I have ways of getting you in for a meet & greet. ;-)

Plus, I used to write for their fan club newsletter, so my ties to CH run over 15 years.

ridiculous said...

A for effort my friend...but don't dream it's over. and don't stop now. neil finn will one day fall at your feet.

(i'll just be moving along now.)