On the edge of sundown, I rolled into Konocti Harbor Inn just outside of Kelseyville, California. I parked my truck, grabbed my Nikon FM2, a 180mm 2.8 lens, a roll of Fuji NPZ and walked into the lobby. I noticed one security guard having problems with a drunken patron. I then proceeded to the 1,000 seat Joe Mazzola Showroom and saw the place was already full with no one but security standing at the doors. Things didn't look too promising.
Lynyrd Skynyrd had sold out three nights, and tickets were all gone. I walked into the bar and checked an unmanned door to see if it would have been left open for waitresses or service personal. It was locked! I then walked back over to the doors where the security was standing and checked the doors next to them. The first set of doors were locked as well. Checking the next and last set I found a door open. I walked in and stood there for a second not believing I was inside. All of a sudden, a security guard tapped me on the shoulder and motioned me to place my hand under a black light she was holding, to see if I had a stamp. Just as I was to show her nothing stamped on my hand, she was distracted. When she turned to address some issue with a guest I walked into the showroom crowd.
It was now half time during the Super Bowl. Looking up, I noticed Kid Rock on the screen during his half time performance. I walked up to the front (stage right) and sat down next to a guy named Chase who was with his girlfriend Laura, we introduced ourselves and we began to talk. They explained how they had backstage passes to meet the band after the Super Bowl was over, compliments of Jim Beam.We continued to talked about our jobs, music and how Laura's parents saw Lynyrd Skynyrd on a Day On The Green back in 1977. I was at that show and was anticipating seeing them at Winterland on January 13th of 1978, however the plane crash changed all that. I told him how I had been listening to Skynyrd, The Outlaws, Molly Hatchet, The Allman Brothers, Marshall Tucker and Blackfoot for over twenty-five years.
I use to spend my summers in Clear Lake in the seventies, and on the ride to Konocti from our cabin we would listen to Skynyrd, Trower, The Stones and others, but mostly Skynyrd. I also saw Lynyrd Skynyrd every time they have been in the bay area since. I then went on to tell them about my website and how I had photographed many shows with the permission from the bands management before.
After a while, Chase offered me his passes and said, "You're a die hard fan, here, you take them". I explained I had met them a few times before, and tried to persuade him to attend the meet-n-greet, but he insisted that I go in his place.
It wasn't long before I noticed a woman approaching us, she walked over and stood near our table. I knew she was the escort by the pass around her neck. I started conversation with her, and introduced myself. She then noticed the Jim Beam and VIP passes on me that Chase had given me, and said it will be just a few minutes before we do the meet n greet. The band wanted to watch the game and when it was over we would go in. After the game, I thanked him and went backstage to meet a few of the members of the band. The band gave those at the meet-n-greet a Jim Beam Skynyrd shirt, a cool Jim Beam Lynyrd Skynyrd Zippo lighter, a photo taken with Rickey Medlocke, Billy Powell and Ean Evans, and an autographed polaroid holder signed by the band was included. After I had my picture taken I said to Billy Powell, "God Bless You", Billy turned to me and said, "Hey, and May God Bless you too brother". I then walked out from backstage. Soon after, the show started...
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