OKAY, so… 2002? 2003? I wanted to wait out traffic after work so I stopped at the Chin Chin in Bev Hills for dinner. I walked in, approached the hostess stand and… talk about dim sum and then some… Elliot Easton was there, eating with three dudes! I wondered — did he notice me noticing him, and if he did, was he flattered or creeped? Keep in mind I was alone and staring right at him for like a solid minute.
My table was kiddie-cornered to where he and the dudes sat. I tried to eat my Chinese chicken salad like a person, but it became unwieldy and the wonton crisps were spilling out every whicha way. I wondered if Elliot saw this, and if he did, would he think I was clumsy, like a woman in a romcom? Or clumsy, like a woman who’s just gotten out of prison? I used the time I spent corralling the crisps to try to decide if I should say something to him.
I decided against it, because I do not approach those I admire, for fear of their contempt. I learned this the hard way at 9 years old at a skating rink in Texas, when I made the mistake of telling this girl who had just won a skate-dancing competition that she was a good skater. In truth, she was just little and sassy and won the crowd over without having to skate particularly well. And back then I was really impressed by girls who were small for their age. After I congratulated her, her two guy friends started harassing me and hurting my feelings. I can’t remember what they said, but if it upset me back then, chances are it was either “That girl has dandruff” or “That girl just farted.”
Now, I knew Elliot was way too awesome to say I have dandruff or anything, but if his reaction to me was less than “this encounter has made an indelible impression on my life,” I would be heartbroken. And I was sure another, more ideal opportunity to meet Elliot would present itself – maybe something that involved working together on the internet.
A couple of years later I heard a commercial on the radio (which is a miracle since I always flip past them because I like to rock): the New Cars would be playing the Universal Amphitheatre as part of their Road Rage tour. The New Cars? I was intrigued and hopeful. I got home and went to their website and discovered that the members of the New Cars were: Elliot Easton, original keyboardist Greg Hawkes, Todd Rundgren, and a couple of guys he knows.
I had only seen the real Cars in concert once, when I was 14 with my friend Craig Rodgers and his brother and his brother’s girlfriend. Seeing them live moved me so profoundly that I cried when it was over. Craig asked if I was okay. Inside I thought “no, I’m not” and I said “no I’m not.” I didn’t know how I was supposed to just go back to my life after that — but I managed to, and good for me.
Now! How was I going to get good tickets to this show? You can’t just camp out on the sidewalk outside a Sears like a hobo like you could in the 80’s. As a teenager, I did this many times with varying degrees of success. There was Bruce Springsteen’s Born In The U.S.A tour, where I couldn’t get off work early enough from Baskin-Robbins, so I was, like, 30th in line. Then the sprinklers went off — people scattered, there was lawlessness. But then I got front-row tickets for being first in line for the Moody Blues. I was actually the only person in line for nearly 3 hours. I didn’t get it – what teenager wouldn’t want to see the Moody Blues play the hits from their parents’ records?
I found out from the New Cars website that for $500, you could get a VIP experience, which included a premium seat and you could watch the sound check and meet the band! This situation brought together two of my favorite things: Elliot Easton, and throwing money at a problem.
Come back everybody and find out what happened next!