Meeting Lenny Backstage
Well, if you read my STORY OF MY LET LOVE RULE TATTOO you already know my son and I have matching LLR tattoos. Well, when it was announced LK was doing some US tour dates in Dec. 2011, I was like, "I am going to go!" There were no dates in the state of WA where I live, but a concert in Vegas on President's Day weekend when I could get away. The tickets went on sale on Jan. 7th (btw, my son's b-day). I flew to Vegas with a friend. When we got to the MGM Grande Hotel I had no idea the concert was the same weekend as Muhammad Ali's birthday celebration/fundraiser.
On Saturday, the day before the concert, we were walking through the casino and a guy walked by and I say to my friend,, "Hey, that looks like Lenny's drummer!" but I thought it was all in my mind as I had Lenny on my mind. (Now I KNOW it was Franklin, and come on, who else looks like Franklin?? He is so damn tall!) A little while later I am sitting at Starbucks at the food court and who walks by? Mathieu Bitton, Lenny's photographer. I went up to him and tapped him on the shoulder and said, "Excuse me, are you Mathieu?" He looks at his friends he was with and says, "I don't know, am I Mathieu?" Then says yes. I tell him, "I' m Angela, the one who put this pic on your FB page." as I show him my let love rule tattoo. He really doesn't say anything, so I tell him I am there for LK's concert. Then I walk away feeling dumb, I mean hello, if I have a Let Love Rule Tattoo, I am probably there to see Lenny. But you know at that time Mathieu did not take a picture or anything, I don't even think he commented. I felt silly, I didn't want to bother him. I did regret not getting a pic with Mathieu then,but was excited to have met him.Later that same night I see Gabriel McNair (Lenny's horn player) walk through the casino. This time I was going to get a pic. I ask him,"Are you in Lenny's band?" He says ya, and takes a pic with me. I am thinking this is so cool!
The next day (Sunday) was Lenny's concert, and Muhammad Ali's bday. My friend and I got up early to go down to the lobby where Ali would be. An American Idol runner up Haley Reinheart sang happy bday to him. When he went by in front of me I shook Ali's hand! Pretty damn cool. Later that morning got a pic with Ali's daughter (who was across the aisle from me at LK's concert). I went to the hotel room and made a poster that said "Lenny, will you autograph my LLR tattoo?" The other side had a collage of pics of Lenny I had made. My plan was to bring it, and maybe after go out to the tour bus with hopes of catching a glimpse of him.
I go to the concert and am row T (20) on the floor right on an aisle (chose it hoping he'd come down the aisle, but when get to venue see that is not possible he can only get down on the left or right side, and not the middle). Security was tight, every time I would step a foot in the aisle, they would say something. During LLR Lenny comes out to the audience and he goes to the back of the room so I turn towards the back holding my poster hoping he WILL come down my aisle. Well, he comes straight my way, BUT THEN TURNS. Without thinking I follow, and somehow Lenny ends up LITERALLY STANDING IN FRONT OF ME! I can see his eyes track as he reads my poster, I show LK my tattoo, and I see Mathieu so I yell out "Mathieu!" and try to hand him a Sharpie marker. Mathieu tries to hand it LK, but security and the crowd are sweeping him away. Mathieu shakes his head no, and hands me back the marker. I go back to my seat thinking, "Ok, no pic, no autograph, didn't touch him, but at least he read my poster and saw my tattoo." Then when the band and LK were bowing a nice security lady tells me, "Go ahead, go closer to take a pic." Btw the people 3 rows ahead had left so I had moved up telling my friend and she didn't move up! She is not a huge fan of LK like me and I think she had had enough!? So I look up after taking a picture and there is Mathieu motioning for me to come backstage. I was literally in shock, mouthing to Mathieu "Me????" He says yes, but security kept pushing me back saying, "No, lady!". I was so mad, I kept trying to tell him Mathieu was calling me, it took like 3 times before Mathieu told him, "she's okay." Then he says, "It's just you, right?." I just shake my head yes, I am in shock.
OMG, OMG my heart is beating so fast and I was shaking so badly. I asked Mathieu could I hug him and get a pic with him as I didn't want to bother him the day before (not even sure he remembered me?). He says ya, and I give him a side hug as we walk backstage. Who is right there? Quincy Jones! I say can I get a pic with him? He says yes, but when Mathieu goes to take the pic with my camera he says, "Your memory card is full" OMG so I just shake Quicy's hand and tell him it's an honor to meet him and Mathieu says I can get a pic with him on way out. He takes me down a hall and tells me to wait outside this door for LK. As I wait I am frantically deleting pics.
Lenny comes out and a sudden calm comes over me, I felt like I knew him. I asked for a hug (got one ), then he and Mathieu took at my poster of the collage of pics. They seem to think it's cool and I explain to LK this is a pic from when you answered my FB question on live chat in Dec. (btw asked what the best advice his mom ever gave him and he says, "To be exactly who I am".) I then show him the pic of his handwriting my French FB fan had sent me from his European tour that I got the tattoo of. THEN MATHIEU SAYS, "OH, YOU ARE THE ONE WHO PUT A PIC ON MY FB PAGE." It is a little strange because it seemed like a "lightbulb moment" for Mathieu, as if he didn't even remember meeting me the day before.I will never know, but so grateful to Mathieu for making a dream come true.
Lenny then asks where I want him to sign (above or below the LLR tatt already on my arm), and OMG I had had nothing to drink even though I was in Vegas as I had a nightmare before the concert that I went to the restroom and missed a bunch of songs. LOL So I say, 'ANYWHERE YOU WANT!" OMG, I think I was flirting with LK! He just laughed, and signed my arm. Then I asked him to sign my poster, and he asks where? I say anywhere, and where does he sign??? Hmmm, the shirtless pic, so I say, "You look DAMN good for 47!!!" and he says, "THANK YOU BABY" i almost melted to the floor right then and there, Then I say, "You act coy, but you KNOW you look good." He laughs and turns to leave. I say, "Can I get a pic?" So as Mathieu is taking our pic Lenny just lunges towards Mathieu with two fingers. It was all so surreal! I cannot believe all I said is, "You look DAMN good', and not tell him how much his music means to me or how cool it was he sang happy bday to Ali on stage. LK leaves, and I am in a daze. I am not even sure I said goodbye.
Where do I go? How do I even get out of the maze of halls I walked down? Then out walks Terrence Howard, I say, "Can I get a pic?" Yes, then I see Wolfgang Puck. "Can I get a pic?" Yes, then I see Craig Ross, can I get a pic? Yes. Craig was the nicest ever, he asked me my name and signed his autograph, "to Angela". Wow, he has amazing blue eyes which I never knew with all his hair! Then there are some people with working passes so I ask if they work for LK, and they say, "No, we are his friends from the Bahamas" and one of the guys asks me if I want his pass. Of course I said yes. On my way out I see Gabrel McNair again, and ask him to sign my poster. So LK, Craig, and Gabrial signed my poster. You know I never did get a pic with Quincy, I had totally forgotten about that. I was on cloud 9, amazed it even happened. I will always wonder if Lenny told Mathieu to go and get me or if it was Mathieu's idea. I like to think Lenny told him to go and get me!That night, that weekend was amazing!
The very NEXT morning in Vegas I went to the tattoo shop and got Lenny's autograph tattooed on my arm. The tattoo artist asked if I wanted it all black ink like my LLR tattoo, or black and gray so it would look like a real autograph. I told her use her artistic talent, so the autograph is black and gray and looks different than the LLR tattoo which is kinda cool as they are both LK's handwriting, but two separate occasions and tattoos.
The entire event was surreal. So many things that happened quickly in real life seemed to be in slow motion. And things such as LK singing LLR that night seemed to go by so fast and when I got home and watched the video it was 18 mins long. I was in shock. I cannot remember feeling him hug me or touch me but I know HE DID. And I cannot remember looking at him, seeing the look on his face. So strange,dreamlike I guess. I am glad I have pics to prove it even happened. I so wish I could remember the look on his face when he laughed after I told him he looked good as I KNOW he was smiling when he said it. Damn his smile is amazing!