Our tickets at Pine Knob were row UU, behind a pillar. I remembered the name of the guy my sister had said worked there. I told Jonh we would be back in a few minutes, and went with Alanna to find him. We questioned the security people until we found this man's trailer. I located him and explained that my sister had told me to look him up in the event of seating problems. He seemed to know of my sister, and I think I wordred my request in a way that made him seem important in the eyes of the others milling about. "Just a minute," he said, and picked up a phone. I looked at Alanna and crossed my fingers, both of us rocking on our heels expectantly.
"The best I could do was a pair," he began.
"It's ok," I interjected. "Our daughter can sit on my lap."
He continued, "in the front row, center."
"Huh..." I replied as the words registered and an enourmoous smile began to glow from the very depths of my being.
"Oh, sure, those will do, I suppose," said I, casually. Then I fell to the ground and grovelled and kissed the guy's feet in gratitude. No, not really, but I could have. We returned to where my husband was.
"C'mon," I said.
"Huh? Where?" says he.
"JUST COME." And we all proceeded down, down, down to our seats. Imagine his surprise. When we plopped down in our unbelievable new location, Alanna was thirsty. It was early yet, so the two of us went to get a beverage.
As the two of us passed the entrance to the women's room, which was located near a fence that guarded the backstage area, we noticed a basketball roll out, and Tony Levin chasing after it. I prompted Alanna to help me get his attention and wave hello.
He turned. Dropped the ball. Came running up a flight of stairs two at a time until suddenly he was standing face to face with us.
"Yes?" he said. "I have a daughter just your age," he said to Alanna. "Are you 4?" Alanna was coy as she nodded. "Do you like 'My Little Ponies?'" he asked. She sure did.
I began to talk to him a bit, about whether Yes had officially adopted him or if he was still technically a studio musician. Others began coming up to listen, have him sign ticket stubs, interject questions themselves. Finally, he had to go, you know, perform. We said goodbye and he ran back down the stairs.
Back at the seats with the beverage, Jonh inquired as to why we had taken so long. "Oh," I said, again in a casual manner, we were talking to Tony.
So the show, the show from the front row, began and proceeded and there we sat, absorbing all in awe. Jon and Tony both flirted with Alanna, winking and waving. The mist in the midst of Close to the Edge came billowing down around us, and Jon's image would appear in a glow of color and be lost in mist again while he got up and got down. Wow, did they get down.
Alanna was dozing by the time Roundabout was belted out, and sleepily she accompanied us upward to the exit. Jonh ran to speak with Markfriend, who was sitting elsewhere. While waiting, a man with a tour pass around his neck approached and spoke to Alanna.
"How did you enjoy the show?" he asked. She hid behind me and peeked out.
"Fine," she said shyly.
"How would you like to MEET Jon Anderson???" She nodded. I gulped.
I decided to speak for her.
"Oh, she would be simply delighted," I responded without even a hair's width of hesitation or reservation. He handed us two backstage passes. I pleaded for a third for my spouse and he obliged. I thanked him profusely. Imagine Jonh's surprise for the third time that magical evening as I handed him the pass.
"Here, put this on," I told him.
Backstage there were beverages on ice and a host of Yesfans wandering in an air of anticipation. Tony came out first, wondered whether it wasn't past Alanna's bedtime. "She had a nap during the show," I said.
Despite the right of each of us present to speak with the bandmembers that showed, I felt my life-altering desire to speak with Jon justified my eagerness to speak to him first. I made a beeline for the man when he eventually appeared in exotic, flowing clothes and an otherworldly air. OK, so I admit, my perception may have been tinted a slight shade of pink. All right, it was screaming fusia, if you must know.
Another fan got to him first, said he'd had the pleasure of meeting him once after suchandsuch a show.
"Yeah, yeah," Jon said to him, unconvincingly. I suddenly felt compelled to test his recollective powers.
"We met the other night," I said. "I gave you a package."
"Oh, yeah.." says Jon. I wasn't entirely sure he wasn't just being polite.
"What was in it, then?" The audacity.
"Well, it was purple, and all these little things came out. I gave some to Steve, some to Bill..."
Bill came out and had just walked by. Some of the crowd around Jon and Alanna and I went after him, giving us breathing space. Jon looked down at my daughter.
"We sang a song about you. They make the children really ring." She was still in coy mode.
"Jon, you sang a song during the Going for the One tour, about the colors of the rainbow. I sing it to my kids as a lullaby, and I can't for the life of me figure out what 'red' is the color of."
Jon looked up and began to sing, as he does when you ask him to recall a particular lyric.
"Red is the colour of a pretty pillar box," he sang.
"A what?" I asked.
"A pillar box. You know, you post letters in them."
"A Pillar box?" His accent was a bit baffling. "Spelled how?"
"Bill," he said. "Spell 'pillar box" for this lady." Bill obliged. They both signed autographs for me. Jon pulled back, began to recede from the crowd. As he walked away, I forced all the courage I could muster to the fore.
"JON!" I shouted. He stopped and turned. I ran up to him and took his hand.
"Your voice is a golden thread, woven well into the meshes of my memory, enhancing many of my rememberings with the sheer magic of your certain sound."
I paused to recall the next memorised line. My hub was standing on the platform of the striped tent with a courtesy beer. "GO ON," he encouraged. "You can do it." I looked again into Jon's face.
"You've provided a positive ground and my own ideas grow from it now. I thank you, from the bottom of my heart to the top of the sun, and beyond, and before."
I breathed out. Jon thanked me sincerely and took his hand back.
I was thrilled. I had remembered it all despite the terror of my every nerve ending, all of them trembling with Jon's presence. I danced in circles with Alanna in the parking lot, and we made our way back to our lives. A long held dream had come true for me.