Jump to content

Rock and Roll Dreams Come True


marvin

Recommended Posts

I hope that you can get a sense of the emotion in these words that you will read. Believe me, what I'm trying to convey is truly heartfelt and sincere and I apologize in advance for the length of this post. I write this with a bit of a heavy heart, three days after the greatest experience of my musical life. So where do I start? With all due respects to Jim Steinman...

Rock and Roll Dreams Come True

(thanks for the title Jennifer!)

My odyssey into this Raspberries fairy-tale began about a week ago when I received an email from Kay Bryson, inviting me to share Thanksgiving meal on Thursday, November 25th with the Bryson family. I tried to contain my excitement as well as keep the secrecy of this invitation. Other than my wife, only a couple of other people (you know who you are!) knew of this before-hand. Kay's invitation was an honor for which I was deeply grateful.

After a long flight into Cleveland (arriving very early Thursday morning), I was picked up at the hotel by Jesse Bryson and two of his friends. They greeted me with a loud "MARVIN!" and provided me with a very interesting tour of the Cleveland suburbs, on the way to Wally's sister Marilyn's house. At the house, I was greeted by other Bryson family members, and then a few minutes later, Wally casually strolled into the room. My heart pounded, my brain was filling with words that I had waited 30+ years to say. Wally walked toward me, and what did I say? "Wally...can I give you a hug?" Wally replied, "Yeah sure you can. Come on over here." With that, I right away felt at ease and relaxed.

I spent the next few hours eating supper, socializing, and trying my best not to appear star-struck. It was unfathomable for me to to conceive that here sitting directly across the table from me was THE Wally Bryson! When I told him that he was my "second favourite guitar player", he dropped his fork, looked at me sternly and asked, "Second favourite, huh? Who's first?" I answered, "I said 'second' because I didn't want it to go to you head. I love Don Felder." Wally nodded in approval and said, "Good choice." I felt vindicated.

Through the entire time I was there, I saw a very quiet and peaceful side of Wally - completely different from his stage persona. Kay later explained to me that he was "in a zone" and that he was "focused." Later on in the evening Wally and I sat down and chatted extensively about everything from the 'berries, to his own musical tastes, to Jesse's talents, to world politics. It was just the two of us, and he told me some amazing stories. I felt truly priviliged to have this audience with him and I thanked Kay, Wally, Jesse, Alison and the entire Bryson clan for allowing me this wonderful opportunity. My evening ended with being chauffered-driven by Wally and Kay back to the hotel. I might add that I go an extra tour of both downtown Cleveland and the seedier areas: Wally got lost!

When I hit the bed, even though I was over-tired, I couldn't sleep. The Bryson experience and thoughts of the next day's concert were running through my head.

Friday started off with a breakfast at the hotel with Jennifer ('aggiejc'). After months of talking on the phone and countless email's, it was great to finally meet Jennifer. She was every bit as pleasant in person as she has been during our electronic conversations. I told her that I was going to try to get into the soundcheck and asked if she wanted to take part in my game of dare. I could sense here apprehensiveness but she acknowledged that the worst that could happen was us getting tossed out of the club.

We made our way through the restaurant part of the HoB by using the old "Uh...I just want to see if a friend of mine is here..." story-line, and the next thing we knew we were deep in the bowels of the hall, in the backstage area. Now even I was feeling a bit nervous about this, so we left and made our way around to the front entrance and into the main hall. The stage crew was just finishing their set-up. Trying our best to blend in and to not look too conspicious, we positioned ourselves near the rear of the hall. A HoB official approached us and told us to leave the premises. I tried to delay the proceedings by thinking up another excuse, I pointed to the stage area and said, "We're with that guy over there." The inevitable seemed seconds away. Then, a godsend appeared: Bernie and Kathy! "Oh yeah", I said, "we're with them." We weren't bothered by anyone for the rest of the afternoon! Nothing like name-dropping.

About a half an hour later, Jim Bonfanti arrived. Jennifer and I looked at each other, my heart was jumping as I'm sure hers was also. I asked Bernie to introduce me to Jim. We walked over to the stage and Jim said, "Marvin! You're the guy that put those stories together. Great job!" I shyly asked Jim for a drumstick which he happily autographed and handed to me, and another for Jennifer. I then introduced myself to Barb Bonfanti, asking her "How does it feel to be married to the 'foxiest Raspberry?" Barb smiled a wonderful smile and said, "Yeah, I think he's pretty foxy."

Next arrival: Wally. He pointed a finger at me and said, "Marvin Mitchell, glad you could make it." He also autographed the drumstick. Oh by the way, did I tell you I had supper with Wally last night?! Wally strode to the stage and my eyes then got a glimpse of those prized guitars. What a sight!

It was tough staying calm when a few minutes later we saw Eric had arrived on the stage. Jennifer had that "Oh my God!" look on her face, and I'm sure that I did as well. I asked Barb to introduce me to Eric, wondering whether he would make the connection: "Hmm..so you're THE Marvin who hates 'Winter Dreams'?" Instead what I got was a hug and: "Marvin! Hey man, you did a wonderful job on those stories. I loved what you wrote, I was really touched." I was humbled. Eric I bow in your presence and never again will I say anything negative about "WD." Are you reading Darlene?

A bit later I noticed Dave Smalley at the side of the stage. Now as many of you know, Dave and I have conversed many times over the last few years but we have never met. I approached him and said, "Hi Dave. I'm Marvin." He replied, "Marvin, great to finally meet you." With those words he reached out, shook my hand, and hugged me. He didn't even question what I or Jennifer were doing there at the soundcheck. This afternoon was turning out to be too good to be true. Could it get any better? It could, and it would.

If there had been a heart monitor in the room when the band began their soundcheck, it would not have been able to register the speed at which my heart was beating. From one song to another, the chills increased, the emotions within were screaming to get out. When the band played "I Can Remember", I looked over at Barb Bonfanti. She was having a hard time holding back the tears. She looked at me and said, "Marvin, I never thought that I'd ever see this day." Only when Bernie asked me, "So how does it feel to be among the first to see the reunited Raspberries before anyone else?" did the significance of the occasion, the history that was being made, hit home. Most of you have gone into detail about the video montage put together by Bernie and Ken, but let me tell you seeing it for the first time was mind-blowing. At that moment, I rivalled Barb in the tears department. What a magical moment.Jennifer and I stayed at the soundcheck for close to four hours but it never felt that way. By the time I got back to my hotel room, there was just enough time to for quick change before heading back out for the pre-show supper.

The pre-show was memorable for me as it gave me the opportunity to meet with those that I had met at Bernie and Kathy's party in August, and others that I had previously only known by an email name. I excitedly re-told the events of my previous night and the afternoon's events to anyone. The excitement in the room was so obvious, eating supper was the last thing on my mind. The clock ticked slowly toward the big event.

A couple of hours later, when we were let into the Hall, I found my seat next to Marlene and just behind Darlene. When the video screen in front of the stage moved into place, I thought that having already seen what was going to happen would have dulled my anticipation, but that was hardly the case. When the screen then rose and everyone saw Dave, Eric, Wally and Jim on a stage together singing "I Wanna Be With You", time had truly been suspended. There's no way I could pick a single song highlight. Every song was perfect and those of us at the soundcheck even had the added bonus of hearing two songs that were not played at the show: "Driving Around" and "Cruisin' Music." When the concert finally did come to an end, all I could think of was why could it not last forever?

At the "Meet and Greet" there were more opportunities to reminisce and talk with other fans, this time exchanging views about what we had just seen. The band soldiered through the process, shaking hands, signing autographs, giving kisses, posing for pictures - all of which lasted longer than the concert itself and probably much more exhausting. By 2:30, the band was on its way out and I was making my way back to the hotel. Dave invited Andy ('bahoo') and me back to his hotel for a drink, but I went back to my room even though I knew that sleep was not an option. There was much too much emotion flowing through me.

The next morning in the hotel room, Andy and I took out the guitars and started playing Raspberries' songs, throwing in the obligatory Beach Boys, Beatles, Hollies and Bee Gees songs for good measure, Halfway through my version of "Cindy In the Wind", the telephone rang. The person on the other end of the phone was from the room next door, and she asked, "Can you play 'Drivin' Around'?" I said "Sure, we take requests from other rooms!" For our next gig, we will be playing in room 456 at the Mariott Hotel in...

After our mini-concert was over, I helped Jennifer with her bags and walked her to the train station at Public Square. Killing some time in the lobby of the Renaissance Hotel, we saw Jim and Barb and Eric and Susan. At the risk of appearing like stalkers, we approached them. Once again they were all very friendly, each of them giving us hugs and thanking US for OUR support. I think Jennifer is still in awe of the kiss that Eric planted on her cheek. Eric reiterated to me, "Marvin those stories were great, and just like everything that Bernie does, just perfect."

Jennifer left on her train, I made the slow walk to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame where I was meeting other fans. As I made the walk, I thought about how all theseyears of waiting had impossibly evaporated into two days of glorious memories. Hardly seemed possible. So 'thank you' Jennifer, Bernie, Kathy, Larry, June, Kazumi, blackhawk pat, Pat P., John Shaft, Steve T, Seattle Steve, Seattle Cindy, Gina, Annie, Julia H, Mike (MAM), Tom A and Bob A, Lobstr Lvr Dave, Jerry, Sir Barb, Jeff, Michele C, Marlene, Ted, Ruthie, Ken, Betsey, Razzy, and any others who my memory has accidentally omitted. You are all my musical soulmates for life. And thank you Dave, Eric, Wally, Jim, Paul, Billy and Jennifer L. You made a 32 year-old Rock and Roll dream come true, and as a result, my life will never ever be the same.

See you next year?

Peace and love to all.

Marvin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 110
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Marvin,

WOW! What else can one say about all that?!! Even though I heard most of it from you in person (I'm Razzy's husband), it was great reading about your adventure. It was great meeting you up in the balcony and the next morning at breakfast. Sounds like it didn't even end after that. Thanks for sharing. Glad to now have a face to go along with your name. Take care, and hopefully see you at another show.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Marvin, that was a fantastic and heartfelt recollection.I enjoyed reading it, and I don't think it could be conveyed any better. I think all our emotions were the same, but you got to extend on those emotions at the Bryson house, and at the soundcheck !!!! I know my life feels a little more enriched since Friday night, as it was an experience I never thought would ever come about. It did, and I will never forget it. And you should only know all the experiences I have aorund the world. Musically, I even spent the day with Eric Clapton in Geneva at a watch auction (my business, and he is a client of my partner), one on one, actually with some others, talking watches and music -- and that doesn't even come close to Friday night. It was a pleasure meeting you briefly at the R&R Hall of Fame, and too bad I didn't get to interact with more of you board dudes at the parties.

I love the Berries so much. For about 27 years, the Berries are one of the 4 groups I have constantly listened to when I am feeling down, and need an uplift. I so wish there were more Berries songs, but I guess we need to be thankful for what is (OK, the other groups are Badfinger, Beach Boys, and a pretty obscure but very prolific group, Barclay James Harvest)

And I also noticed the Euclid Beach Band playing at the Ohio pavilion -- was in there at that same time, and was VERY excited and surprised to hear that.

Jeff

jeff@jeffharris.com

www.jeffharris.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Marvin, your story brought tears to my eyes. I know you truely LOVE this band as we all do. You are the nicest, warmest person....all of those wonderful things could not have happened to a nicer guy. I am so honored to have met you and listened to your stories first hand. My hubby and I hope to see you again sometime. Geez,I am still floating! I am so thrilled that my hubby Jeff is now a Berries fan too. I wish everyone could have met the band. Wally is a hoot, too funny! Dave, what a sweet guy! He seemed to really care what we thought of the show. And Jim, wow, what a drummer. And, Eric, ...... geez, what can I say about him that hasn't already been said. He is THE Best ....ever.

paula

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Marvin - what a story! Wow! And a great reward for the work you did on the reflection collection, eh? I'd be jealous if I weren't still buzzing from Friday night! And you're lucky there's not really a Vulcan Mind Meld, 'cause I only know about 1200 people who'd be trying to read those memories from your mind. Sorry I didn't get to meet you - maybe New Years?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you Dougjack. Unfortunately I won't be there for the New Year's show. My family will start to wonder why I leave them at every holiday! I'm hoping if all goes well, to make it to the L.A. or Anaheim shows next year.

Marvin

p.s. Our birthdays are 22 days apart (I'm Oct 23).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The knee is better than expected. I guess the ice, the knee brace I bought at CVS and the rest (elevation) worked wonders, although I did trip three more times (uneven sidewalks) before I got out of town. Ruthie tripped once and I tripped over her. We were like Laurel & Hardy. Too funny.

Ted

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ted, laura tripped too on the sidewalk near HOF - very scary.

Glad you are OK!

Marvin, as jealous as I am of your experiences, you were wonderful to meet...you truly knew what you had at your fingertips and your face was, well, rapturous talking about the boys. (I can heat Cartmill now...he'll have something to say about that!!)

I love what you wrote....it's just basking in the aura of the whole experience all over again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Marvin, You crammed so much joy into just a few days! I'm so glad you got to live your dream! We ALL did, in every way! Just seeing the expressions of complete happiness on the faces of the guys did it for me...Remember, before the Raspberries reunion was OUR dream, Raspberries was theirs...Knowing all the music has given us, seeing their dream happen again makes *me* so happy...

smile --Darlene

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Marvin-What a cool story. I heard you and Jennifer were at the sound check but I thought you were invited. It's funny to hear how you snuck in. Paula, Jeff and I were hanging out in the lobby and thought about trying to get in but we were afraid that we would be banned from the concert-more than I wanted to risk, and I'm such a chicken anyway. We heard from Gene Taylor that the sound check was going on.

Yes, I fell on the crooked Cleveland sidewalk. Just call me Grace! haha Only got a little scraped up though, nothing serious.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Poor Jennifer. She was like a pawn in my game. Looking back on it, she must have thought that I was nuts!

On Thursday night at the Bryson's place, I asked Wally and Kay about whether I could come to the soundcheck. Kay said, "Do you really want to ruin the surprise of the show?" Wally said, "Well, if you're loitering around outside, I'll ask Duggan (Kevin) to go look out for you."

Wally came in by the front door of the hall so I had been "loitering around", I think he would would have gotten me in.

In some ways Kay was right: much of the element of surprise was ruined, but in other ways, there was so much happening at the soundcheck that I could never have ever dreamt of, I was glad to be a part of it.

Marvin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Announcements


×
×
  • Create New...