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WaterDragon's Survivor
Concert Tale
Denver, Colorado
12 August, 2005
(Review written 14 August, 2005)

Oh, my. Dear Gods. August 12, 2005 is officially going down in history as one of the BEST days of my whole life, right up there with when I met my hubby in person for the first time and my wedding day! Not only did I get to watch an absolutely incredible live show from front row-center, I had the very great honor and immense privilege of meeting the one and only Jimi Jamison in person afterward. I think I'm going to be floating around for the next MONTH! cloud 9 emoticon laughing emoticon

Okay--before I get to the actual review, I suppose I should start with a bit of backstory. I've been getting gradually more and more involved in the Survivor fandom during the past two years or so, and in the summer of 2004, the band was scheduled to do a show in Loveland, CO, which is about an hour's drive north of where my hubby and I live. At that time, Jimi's official website had a members-only area that you could join for a nominal yearly fee; membership gave you access to some special portions of the site (a message board, galleries of rare vintage photos, etc.) and also entitled you to one meet-and-greet with the man himself. Now, as all the musicians I'd admired up until then had been effectively out of reach for an unconnected nobody like me, the opportunity to have a planned and officially sanctioned meeting was a very exciting prospect, and I happily paid for a membership and started anticipating the concert. Fate, however, had other ideas--the show was cancelled just two or three days prior to when it was supposed to take place, and then a few months later, the webmaster at the official site announced that the members' area was being discontinued, and that she would be issuing refunds to anyone who had paid for a membership and not gotten their meet-and-greet. I was crushed, but there seemed to be nothing to do except sigh glumly, accept the money back, and figure I'd lost my chance forever.

Well, several months passed and I never got a check or anything from Cheryl (Jimi's webmaster). I thought once or twice about emailing her to ask about it, but in the end I decided not to kick up a fuss--the membership fee had only been $20, and it hardly seemed worth bothering that much about. Besides, webspace and domain names cost money, so I figured I'd just write it off as my contribution to keeping the official site online and then put the matter out of my mind.

More time passed; winter turned to spring, and spring began to shade into summer. Survivor was still touring, and I still wanted to see them live, at least, so when the June 18th date in Deadwood was announced, my lovely geeky hubby agreed to indulge me and take a little vacation up that way so I could see the show. (If you haven't already, you can read my review of that concert here.) Just before we left, though, another date was announced, this one for the August 12th show right here in Denver. And, due to a combination of favorable circumstances that I won't go into in detail, I started to get my hopes up again that, just maybe, I might still get a chance to encounter Jimi in a way that wouldn't require a lot of aggressive behavior on my part. (Which is largely why I've never pursued trying to meet any of the other musicians I admire; as outspoken as I may seem on this site, I'm actually rather shy in person, and I would have felt very uncomfortable with the kind of things that people seem to have to go through to meet up with anyone famous. Plus I've heard so many stories of fans who are just plain obnoxious to their favorite celebs, and I've always felt it would defeat the whole purpose of meeting someone if I had to make a nuisance of myself to accomplish it!) Still, nothing was guaranteed, and so as summer advanced and the date of the second concert drew closer, all I could do was cross my fingers and hope.

So you can imagine that I was completely floored when I got a phone call from Cheryl the night before the show, and particularly when she told me that Jimi had agreed to go ahead and honor the meet-and-greet portion of the membership I'd paid for over a year before! Honestly, it was about the last thing in the world I expected to have happen... I still can hardly believe that she and he went out of their way to arrange it all, and I don't think I can ever thank them enough for making one of my fondest dreams into reality. Thank you, thank you, thank you to you both!!! worshipping emoticon So the meet-and-greet was on, but there was still a show to see first--and while I suppose it's not technically possible to call the evening "perfect," it sure came pretty darn close!

My husband decided at kind of the last minute that he didn't want to go; he likes Survivor well enough, but even with earplugs, he suffered a bit from the noise in Deadwood and didn't want to go through the same thing again. That was all right, though--Denise was coming to this show as well, so I still had someone to go with, and to take pics/provide moral support at the meet-and-greet. laughing emoticon She flew in on Friday morning and came to our house straight from the airport, and we had about an hour to chat and get to know one another a little better, which was really nice--we hardly got any time at all for that kind of thing when we met in South Dakota. We went out for lunch about 1 PM (Peter did go with us for that smiling emoticon ) and then I drove her down to Lakewood to get checked into her hotel. We spent about half an hour in her room while she changed clothes and whatnot, then headed on over to Colorado Mills.

We got there at about 4 PM, which was somewhat later than I'd intended to arrive--though as it turned out, we could have been even later than that and we would STILL have gotten choice seats; this show didn't fill up nearly the way the one in SD did. (Which, in hindsight, makes sense, since Deadwood was already full of people for Wild Bill Hickok Days and the mall mainly just had its normal summertime crowd.) Still, I thought it was pretty cool that we were the first people there, and the weather almost couldn't have been any better; the temperature was just pleasant, there wasn't really any wind to speak of, and while we had some clouds, it never actually threatened to rain on us. (It was a bit more humid out than is normal for Denver, though.) Anyway--Denise and I hung out and watched the crew doing the setup and soundcheck, and finally it was time to get the show on the road. This concert was a double-bill of Starship and Survivor, and though the former came on about ten minutes behind schedule, they still gave a terrific performance. I'm not quite as big a fan of theirs as I am of Survivor, but I knew about half their setlist well enough to sing along to, and Mickey Thomas sure sounded great--he's another one who hasn't lost anything at all since the end of the 80's.

At last, though, their set was over and the crew did the usual swapping of instruments and another quick soundcheck, and then Survivor hit the stage. And Gods, they were unbelievable--I thought the show in Deadwood had been good, but they really outdid themselves with this one! I did notice one slight lyrical mishap; during "First Night," instead of singing the usual "Tell me your name / What's your persuasion / Your first impression of this whole occasion" at the end of the first verse, Jimi used the lines from the same place in the second verse. That was very minor, though, and they more than made up for it later in the show, because THEY PLAYED "IS THIS LOVE"!!! jumping for joy emoticon Man, that's one of my very favorite Survivor songs, and one of Denise's, too--we both just completely freaked out when they started it! They did skip "I See You In Everyone" (and Frankie played a much shorter stand-alone guitar solo in between two other songs) and they ended up having to cut "The Search Is Over" and whatever they might have done as an encore because they ran out of time (dratted noise ordinances... grr... angry emoticon ). Otherwise, though, the setlist was pretty similar to the one they did in Deadwood--and I'm proud to say that this time I could sing along to ALL the songs they played, not just the ones from after Jimi joined the band. laughing emoticon (I fear I have been spoiled, coming into the fandom as recently as I have... it's not easy trying to go back and listen to anything from the band's earlier years when you're so used to Jimi being the "voice" of Survivor!)

Anyway--once the show was over, Denise and I and Carol (another lady who was also getting a meet-and-greet) plus Carol's husband and daughter all drove up to where we THOUGHT the band was staying. As it turned out, we hung around the lobby of the wrong hotel for half an hour! shocked emoticon Fortunately, after a couple of phone calls to Cheryl and with some assistance from one of the desk clerks, we figured out where we were actually supposed to be, which was a different but similarly named hotel about five minutes away, and we all packed up and trooped on over. And it was obvious that we were in the right place this time as soon as we walked in--Barry and Chris (Survivor's bass and keyboard players) were hanging out in the lobby, so we got to meet and talk to them for a bit as well... they were both very nice! approving emoticon A few minutes later, however, Jimi himself appeared through the doorway, and what had already been a great evening became... well, I doubt anyone who knows me will be surprised to hear that the only word I can think of that even comes close to describing the experience is "magical."

I've read stories from other fans who've met Jimi in person, and having done it myself now, I have to agree with them all that he's about the furthest thing from intimidating there is. I'll admit I was nervous beforehand, despite having heard so many people say how nice he is, but all that just went completely away in the few seconds it took him to walk across the lobby, smile at me, shake my hand, and ask me my name. Which was probably good, because although he truly is a sweet guy and very easy to talk to, he also has a wicked sense of humor. You should have heard the risque messages he threatened to write on the promotional poster for his solo album that I'd brought to get autographed--and this after asking me if I was married, the big tease! rolling on the floor laughing emoticon (And just for the record, I did tell him that I was! laughing emoticon )

Really and truly, though--it was a terrific thrill to actually meet and talk to him. I was able to tell him a couple of things that I'd wanted to for ages, and get answers to some other things I'd been very curious about. And while he didn't actually stay very long--I guess he was expecting a phone call and had to get back to his room pretty quickly--he did give me a hug before he left, and my word, what a lovely hug it was. melted emoticon (I hope he didn't mind too much that I held on a tiny bit longer and tighter than was strictly necessary, but I fear I just couldn't help myself... I mean, geez, girls like me don't get their arms around guys like him every day!)

And since I've had several friends threaten mayhem if I didn't get pics of my brush with greatness (honestly, what kind of idiot do you all take me for??? laughing emoticon ) here you go. The blond gentleman at rear center is Chris Grove, the keyboardist, and the dark-haired fellow with the goatee on the right is Barry Dunaway, the bass player. I'm in the front center (and geez, you can tell I don't get out of the house enough by how pale I am--I need more sun!). And if you've read this far, you shouldn't need to be told who that handsome devil on the left is... giggling emoticon

Jimi Jamison, Chris Grove, Barry Dunaway, and one very happy Survivor fan - 12 August, 2005. Property of waterdragon687; not to be reproduced without permission.

And then one more, with the guys being rather less serious... laughing emoticon

Jimi Jamison, Chris Grove, Barry Dunaway, and one very happy Survivor fan, 12 August, 2005. Property of waterdragon687; not to be reproduced without permission.

All in all, the whole thing was just fabulous--truly a dream come to life. I am definitely going to be watching for any more Survivor shows within driving distance from here on out, and I do believe my little crush on Jimi has been firmly cemented for all time. hearts emoticon (I'm still harmless, though, I promise! winking emoticon ) If you'd like to see pics from the actual concert, click over to the Denver Live Gallery, and you can also go here for a listing of ALL my concert pics. Enjoy! grinning emoticon

(Edited 19 October, 2016 to add: Please note that there is a much-expanded version of this Concert Tale now available in the Memorial Gardens section of the Wing, however there is also some background information that I STRONGLY recommend you read first. You may find the first part of that on this page, then follow the appropriate links at the bottom to reach the expanded Tale itself.)

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