Saturday, June 11, 2011

Confessions Of A Greg Brown Fan Part Eleven

The second Ani DiFranco benefit concert was a monster production in Gill Coliseum on the campus of Oregon State University.  Tickets in hand, we headed down the road once again.  At our motel, we hooked up with the pixel farmer and his dear wife.  He had created a poster to sell at the show with both Greg and Ani in it.  He also made a very limited edition of them transposing their bodies and putting Greg’s whiskers and hat on Ani and her hair and nose ring on him.  This artifact alone is worth the price of admission to my imaginary museum.  
When we arrived on campus, there was a never ending line of tattoos, chains and rainbow hair.  Being the seemingly only unpainted people amongst the swarm, an In Harmony volunteer recognized us and let us in through a side door.  We sat in the nose bleed section with a good site line of the stage and what would become a mosh pit.  Greg played even less tunes to open this show.  The crowd was there to see Ani.  Bo rocked out with her for a few songs, she did solos and also brought out her band.  All 10,400 seats were bun-filled, plus the sometime basketball court was wall-to-wall, standing room only bedlam.  It was impossible for anyone in the mosh pit to fall to the floor.  This trip, we discovered an eatery called Nearly Normal.  A person on the list once described me as nearly famous.  At this Ani concert and beyond, the reality check, I was far from normal or famous.  I sure had a good time though.
Now I had Ani-Greg posters to promote.  Of course, I went marketing on the list and as usual, got lots of support from the website master.  That was just part of the equation.  Online, I found Ani fan pages and groups much like Greg’s.  I signed up and marketed the posters to Ani fans.  More orders flowed in.  Since my mailing address was published as the place to send mail orders, one day a guy knocked on my door wanting to buy a poster.  It was his girlfriend’s birthday and he needed it right away.  I had him write out a check to In Harmony and he was set.  Normally (whatever that is), I got orders in the mail, so this was an anomaly.
Another unique event was the night my dad went to a Greg concert.  Like everyone around me, he knew I was a big Greg fan.  I let him listen to my birthday song one time as I drove us to the ballpark.  He was less than impressed, more anxious to see Edgar Martinez’s magic bat at the plate that night.  For some reason, he decided to come to one concert.  That was the same show we had Greg fans from Hawaii stay with us.  It was far from the first time we had opened our house to Greg fans.  After confirming online I wasn’t the murderer next door, I picked them up and their case of fresh pineapples.  Got them settled into their rooms upstairs, had a bite to eat and headed downtown for the show.  I had announced a watering hole meeting place and ten of us showed up including my tee-totaling dad.  Everyone fit in nicely as I got pre-show antsy.  It had been arranged that I could sell CDs at this event and snuck over to the venue to see if I could get in and set things up.  As I approached the main entrance, I ran into the promoter, Greg, a woman who I think was his sister and his youngest daughter at the time.  Once again, the opportunity was there to ask if I could record the show and I was given the thumbs up.  This was going to be a special night.  I went back to the bar to get some help hauling CDs into the venue and prepare my wife to have the mini-disc recorder at the ready when she came.  The soundboard guys were kind of snobs until the promoter checked in and told them it was cool. 
The show was great and I headed for the CD table before the last chord was strummed.  There was another guy selling all of Greg’s other Red House recordings and I only had Solid Hearts.  He seemed nice enough, but turned out to be nothing more than a cashier.  When the crowd poured out, the rush was on.  People would say part of a song lyric and ask which CD it was on.  I handed them the corresponding unit and the other guy took the cash.  I sold a pile of Solid Heart CDs that night too.  Greg stopped by and watched the action at the CD table.  He probably signed a few.  In a short lull, Greg stood behind me.  My dad came up to him and introduced himself as Glenn’s dad.  My whole life I was Mr. Stenson’s son, so this was a radical role reversal.  When the fans had all departed, I packed things up and my Hawaiian friends decided they wanted to give Greg a pineapple.  They asked me to deliver it.  As I began walking down the hallway in a restricted area of the theater that I was unauthorized to be in, I had a relapse of being unable to “get over it”.  Uncomfortable about knocking on the door of the musicians private space, I set the pineapple outside the door and retreated.     


  1. Oh Man, Mr. Stenson, your life might have been changed had you knocked on that door.

    Or not;-J

  2. I could have been pineappled to death or banned from any future shows or welcomed in for one too may Jack Daniels. This way, I lived to tell the story.