On July 17, 1981, I finally went to my first Moodies concert! However, it HAS been over thirty years and many details are vague. Originally, I was supposed to go with my boyfriend, but we had broken up a few weeks before. Luckily, I found an acquaintance who also wanted to go, and I bought lawn tickets for the Poplar Creek Music Theatre, outside Chicago.
This girl and I got to the arena in the mid-afternoon, so we would be one of the first in line to get a spot with the best view. Within minutes of racing in and getting settled, we were approached by a young guy wearing a concert badge. He said he’d been talking to random fans, and asked us if we’d be interested in meeting the band at their hotel for an after-concert party. I thought I was hallucinating, and so did my friend! He gave us his name and the suite number at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare. Needless to say, we were in a daze the entire concert.
After an awesome concert I'd been waiting to see for years, we got on the tollway and headed for the hotel! I remember seeing a gathering of young people in the lobby that looked like they were there for the same reason. We were directed to a large suite on a top floor in the complex, where there was a huge buffet table set out for guests. The room had an open bar and people started to introduce themselves to each other. The Moodies and other road crew talked with fans over the next couple of hours. I don’t think it was much before midnight when this all started. There were maybe a couple dozen fans at the most at this party (including a few guys, too…with their dates! We were relieved as the ‘groupie’ thing did cross our minds!)
What I do remember: Graeme was there only for a little while. At first he appeared in front of everyone in nothing but a towel, as he had just come out of the shower. So hilarious! After he got changed, he came back and talked for a while, then was the first to retire for the evening. I don’t remember seeing Pat Moraz….but then I wasn’t particularly looking for him, either! Justin was there for maybe an hour or so. He was standing alone beside the bar, when I came up to him and I don’t remember exactly what I said as my heart was pounding out of my chest (I really did need a drink at that point, which must have been obvious!). I’m almost sure I was thanking him for providing an intimate gathering for us, and how generous it was…something along those lines. He only smiled faintly and nodded, I guess you’d call it an ‘awkward moment.’ I stood there as I got my drink and I felt like he was looking at me, but nothing more was said after that, me being totally dumbstruck.
However, it got better as everyone ‘loosened up’ (and I won’t go into detail about how this was achieved, lol). Justin talked with others and eventually disappeared for the night. The two that stayed the rest of the time were John and Ray. They were as nice and down to earth as two famous musicians could be…made their way around, talking to everyone. Unfortunately, I don’t remember specific conversations. I remember that Ray sat on a couch (there were two facing each other) with a group of us and wanted to know about everyone, told stories, cracked jokes and we just had a blast! I think everyone started making their way out by about 3am or so. My ‘friend’ disappeared as well, and I found out later she had hooked up with a roadie. (Like I said, she was only an acquaintance.) Since I had driven that night, it didn’t matter….otherwise it could have made for a weird situation!
My head was in the clouds for days (NOT drug induced, haha) after that experience. The only other time in my life I could compare it to back then, was my mom taking me to see The Beatles in ’65, after I’d won tickets!
One other thing I remember: The guy who first invited us to the party was there, and wrote down our names and numbers so he could call us, as the band planned to return to Chicago later in the year. That October, I received a very strange phone call right before their concert at the Chicago Stadium. (I had not planned to go since it was on a weeknight and I had started a new job.) The voice on the other end was British….said his name was John (he would NOT tell me his last name!) and wanted to know if I would be at the concert. I said I was sorry but couldn’t….and I’ve always wondered who it was that called!