It’s easy to meet artists and celebrities nowadays. Ok using “nowadays” officially indicates my age is above 40, let it be known. Seriously though it is simple, just pay for the VIP experience of meeting them. Sorry, can’t do it. I like the effort of the adventure and the preparation of failure, it builds character.
First let me explain this was not to be my first time, so one would wonder why go through the effort. I had a goal that is why.
Let me take a step back though and highlight that I had previously met KISS and had my cassette copy of Revenge signed in 1991, along with a poster, at an in-store in Montreal. That is another story.
At this point, it is 1999. News had just broken that Paul Stanley would be playing the lead role in the Toronto production of Phantom of the Opera. My wife and I were now living in London, Ontario which is a 2-hour drive to downtown Toronto. My goal? I wanted another tattoo. I had an exact copy of Paul’s rose inked on in 1992 while visiting Halifax done by Merchant Marie. That is another story as well that features the US World Cup soccer club. This time I wanted his signature above the rose.
I found out around midnight Paul would be doing an in-store at Tower Records the next day at the Eaton Centre so off I went on my own since my wife had to work otherwise she would have joined me in our beat up Chevy Cavalier, hoping the car would make the drive. The line was already pretty long when I arrived and I was sure there was no chance that many could fit into the store at one time, or even during the allotted time of the in-store. I stood my ground and waited. No smartphones to waste away time back then, just me and my thoughts. A few good conversations with normal KISS fans, not fanatics thank goodness! At 10 AM, the line began to move and up we trotted until STOP, no more room! 2 people in front of me the line stops. The security guard informs everyone that’s it for entry, capacity reached. The line dispersed, except for the 2 people in front of me, myself and about a dozen or so behind me. None of us whined we just stood our ground. About 5 minutes later 5 more people are allowed in and that was it. Thank you, merci!
Didn’t take long to meet Paul, and Chris from Sloan, another band I love, get my arm signed to which Paul commented on the nice work done on the rose.
Sorry folks, don’t like my pic out there on the net hence the smudging.
Now I race back to the Chevy Cavalier, pump the air conditioning to stop any chance of the signature running or smearing on this hot summer day, make it back to Blue Dragon Tattoo in London to have it inked in. You see not only did I have a goal, I knew I was going to achieve it, I had called Blue Dragon Tattoo the night before (thankfully tattoo shops are open at midnight) and told them to pencil me in because I would arrive sometime Saturday afternoon needing this inked in tout suite!
Goal achieved, fun was had, thanks again Paul!
Later on that summer my wife and I enjoyed an amazing performance by Paul in Phantom of the Opera.
Merry KISSmas in July!
Blair De Abreu