Thursday, July 20th 2006 or: How I Met Glenn Frey in Partytown

Warning: the following story is 100% true, and sounds 100% fake.

Really, no matter how hard I try I can never find a more realistic angle from which to tell this story, and I’ve told it a lot. I guess that’s because there isn’t one. At a certain point everything just takes a turn for the daydreamlike, and it never comes back to reality. It’s one of my favourite memories, so welcome to it.

Back in 2006, I worked for a card store in a major mall in downtown Toronto. I was pushing for management, and I needed all  the money I could get, so I rarely took time off. However, when we heard that Glenn Frey was doing a super short, super rare solo tour, my friend and I jumped on it instantly. We woke up early, called the venue to buy tickets, and wound up in 3rd row! The closer to Glenn, our hero and celebrity crush, the better of course, so we were overjoyed at this! My boss, however, wasn’t. Now I think back on her as one of the best bosses I’ve had, but she did not like requests for time off, particularly from someone like me who was always pleading for more hours. However, nothing was keeping me from my Glenn, and I basically just said I’m going, so don’t schedule me, byeeee!

Responsible? No, but these are the things you do when you’re 23. Worth it? All day every day.

I packed up my trusty backpack and hit the road on an overnight Greyhound to Indiana, meeting up with my friend N. We picked up her friend, L, who flew in from out west, then headed back to her place for the night. We watched tons of Eagles and Glenn Frey interviews, concert clips, and music videos, stared at gorgeous pictures of our man, and daydreamed about being the one to get chosen to go to the hotel room backstage while the ones left behind held our purse.

Hey, we were smitten, what can I say?

We finally went to sleep, or at least went to bed. I doubt much sleep was had by anyone, I know I got maybe an hours’ worth. Morning came before we knew it, and we packed up N’s silver Honda and hit the road.

Several storm-filled hours later, we were driving through the soybean and corn fields of central Michigan, wondering where exactly we took a wrong turn. We hadn’t seen civilization for quite some time, and were starting to question our printed Mapquest directions when we finally saw a sign for Soaring Eagle Casino in Mt Pleasant. We turned off the highway, and slowly a small town began to materialize.

As our destination came into view, N’s Glenn playlist chose an incredibly appropriate song in “Partytown”:

“I got sick of my job, sick of my wife, sick of my future and sick of my life; I packed up the car and I got some gas, told everybody they could kiss my ass–I’m goin’ to Partytown!”

We all cracked up; this was basically exactly what I had done to get there, and we were completely ready for a party!

My first destination inside was the gift shop. I definitely wanted a souvenir, although it had to be less than $5 as I was super broke. The only thing that fit the criteria was a shot glass, so that’s what I chose, despite not really drinking shots much. We went onto the gaming floor, got a drink to calm our nervous energy, and sat down at a few slot machines. My friends struck out, but my machine started to go crazy after just the first hit of the button. My broke self won $50!!

We went into the entertainment hall on a high, incredibly excited about the show. We were even more elated when we saw that this tiny tour had T-SHIRTS!! We made a beeline and I used my winnings to buy one. I still have it, still wear it, and true to its origins, it is still always lucky.

This is where things get crazy.

A lady walked over to us, and tapped N on the shoulder. Turns out, she had met N at an Eagles show in London, England, and happened to live right there in Mt Pleasant! They chatted for a bit, then we headed for our seats.

Soon we noticed N’s acquaintance coming over to us. She told N that she had a spare of something she wanted to give to her, and hoped she enjoyed it, handing her an envelope. N opened it, and we stared in disbelief.

It was a backstage pass.

The casino, it turned out, gave out meet and greet passes to players’ card holders. I excitedly told N that I’d hold her purse, as she and L spoke quietly between them.

Then, instead of a purse, N held out the pass.

N and L had already met him, she explained, and they wanted me to have it.

I. Was. In. Shock.

I. Was. Gonna. Meet. Glenn. Frey.

“HOLD MY PURSE GUYS!!!”

I toddled carefully over to the backstage gate area where a line was forming. I had borrowed high heels from N as the only shoes I had with me were ancient, battered Old Navy flip flops which had been (quite rightly) declared not okay–thank God, now that they were gonna get seen by The Man Himself! I honestly think I floated along in line. It seemed completely surreal. It still does.

As I approached the front of the line, I felt in my pocket to make sure I still had “the sticker”.  A year earlier, my friend M and I had seen a sticker in Hot Topic that read “Tough Guys Wear Pink.” Glenn always wore a lot of pink, and was definitely a strong guy with a bit of a macho-tough persona (he was on Miami Vice, after all) and it just reminded us of him. It was only $1, and I bought it, saying that if I ever met him I’d give it to him for us. I had put it in my pocket before leaving Toronto on a whim.

The man in front of me was on crutches, and Glenn called out to him like an old college buddy with a football injury-induced nickname. “Hey, Tripod! C’mon over!” The man laughed and started over to him, leaving me alone at the front of the line.

I willed my knees to hold me up. As cool as it would be to faint and have Glenn Frey catch me, the greater likelihood was I’d just be that girl that passed out on the floor in front of Glenn Frey.

Tripod had his picture taken with Glenn, and headed back out of the backstage area. All of a sudden, stunningly familiar blue eyes fixed on me.

“Alright, who’s next! C’mon over sweetie.”

I started over. “Hi!”

“Hi!” He responded kindly, extending his hand. “I’m Glenn.”

“I know!” I giggled, trying not to shake as he squeezed my outstretched hand. “I’m KC.”

“Nice to meet you KC!”

“It’s an honour to meet you! So um this is really silly but,” I spoke as fast as I could as I dug into my pocket, “My friend M and I bought this for you because you wear a ton of pink and it just made us think of you, and we swore if one of us ever met you we’d give it to you so…!”

He took it, read it. “Tough guys wear pink. Absolutely!” He chuckled and handed it off to an assistant. “Well thank you!”

The photographer made a throat clearing noise.

“Okay honey, come on over here, it’s time for our Kodak moment here.”

I waddled over in N’s heels which were suddenly feeling much too high, and tried to arrange myself beside Glenn. Completely starstruck, I settled in beside him and tried not to squeal as he put his arm around my waist. I in turn put my arm around him…

And aimed too low. I accidentally, for a quick second, grabbed some Glenn Frey butt.

“Oh God, I am SO SORRY!” I stammered, half laughing and half expecting to be kicked back to Canada.

“It’s alright,” Glenn laughed, as we rearranged ourselves.

The flash went off, and I knew my time was up. Glenn said he’d see me out in the audience, and I told him my friends and I would see him at Casino Rama back in Toronto the next 2 nights as well.

I floated down the stairs, and broke into a run out in the theatre back to my friends.

Stumbling over my words, I tried to explain what had just happened. N’s acquaintance came over and asked if I’d enjoyed myself, and told me to write down my address so she could send me the photo when she received it, as it was tied to her players’ card.

That photo. That photo. I didn’t even THINK of where that photo would go!!! I could only remember my parents’ address, not because I had just moved but because I was officially living in some sort of fantasy world where addresses were just numbered clouds, like 9.

The show was incredible, though I only remember one small part of it thanks to being in a state of shock. What I do recall is he debuted a beautiful new song that made it onto the next Eagles album, entitled “I Love To Watch A Woman Dance.” My friends and I quite literally swooned, then stood up and gave a shrieking standing ovation at the end of it. That’s literally the only part of the show I can remember as hard as I try. I think I may have been a little distracted!

You have to understand what was going on in my life at that time. I had just lost my full-time, well-paying job. Consequently, I had just lost my apartment and was living on my friend’s futon in her living room. I was dirt poor, almost homeless, and feeling completely hopeless, and scraped together money that I should’ve used on food in order to be there that night just to get out of my troubled reality for a minute and hopefully forget about life for a few hours. I had immersed myself in dreams, thinking about potentially meeting Glenn, getting sung to from the stage, happy thoughts that couldn’t possibly come true but were a much needed distraction.

The kindness shown me by N and L was absolutely unreal. And I am still struck by the kindness of famous, fortunate Glenn, who may or may not have been able to tell that I was rather down on my luck, but still hugged me tight and treated me as well as anyone else. Talk about getting out of reality for a while! I don’t know if I’ve ever returned, in all honesty.

This was just pure, dumb luck, all of it. Never before or since have the stars just aligned so completely without any effort of my own. I was just meant to meet Glenn that day.

Its now almost midnight, Thursday July 20th, 11 years later. By this time in 2006, we were setting out for our hotel in London, Ontario. The song N’s iPod chose to accompany our triumphant exit?

The Eagles’ “Ol’ 55”, which includes the incredibly appropriate lyric, “I’m ridin’ with Lady Luck.”

Oh. I almost forgot. The other thing I bought before the show, besides the sticker, was a picture frame. It came in at work, and I told everyone I was gonna put the picture of me and Glenn Frey in it when I met him on that trip. I was mostly joking. I had no idea what lay ahead.

The frame is old and battered, and thankfully I had 2 copies of the photo it contained, because the enamel separated and somehow adhered the photo to the glass. But though I display the photo in a different frame now, I still have the original one.

imageAnd its message still holds true.

2 thoughts on “Thursday, July 20th 2006 or: How I Met Glenn Frey in Partytown

  1. Pingback: And so it begins…maybe? – The Kooky Coyote

  2. Pingback: Fangirl Follies – The Kooky Coyote

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