Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Thursday Thirteen - 179 - 13 Things About The Night My Teenage Dream Came True

1 - This is me standing in front of my junior high school, wearing my handmade Roller gear.

This is also a picture of a dream.

My dream.

When this photo was taken, I dreamt day and night about what it would be like to meet Leslie McKeown, lead singer of the Bay City Rollers.

2 - I bought all of their albums, which I listened to obsessively. I bought every 16 Magazine and Tiger Beat and read every article and gazed at every picture. Obsessively.

I was never a big believer in doing anything halfway.

3 - It was all crystal clear in my mind. How I would walk around a corner and discover him there. How we would smile and talk. How he would put his arm around me and give me that first kiss.

4 - It didn't matter to me that the odds of the Rollers coming to tiny, out-of-the-way Halifax, Nova Scotia were dismal to none.

It didn't matter to me that millions of other young teenage girls were having the same exact dreams about Leslie, in their bedrooms in homes all around the world.

Leslie had a way of gazing through the camera right at me. He connected with me like no one else ever had. He was my first romantic crush, the first focus for all my girlish yearnings on the cusp of womanhood.

5 - Over the years, I never lost my crush on Leslie. I've always loved his voice, and have a Bay City Rollers playlist that I sometimes write my dark, scary vampire stuff to.

And over the years, Halifax has grown and connected with the world. A-listers now play here, and our music has made itself at home around the world.

Still, I wasn't quite ready for the news that Leslie McKeown would be appearing at the Casino showroom in October.

What made it so strange was the fact that I'd just had Les McKeown Week here at A Piece of My Mind this past August.

6 - The Big Night finally arrived. I toasted to dreams coming true with my best friend Connie, who took that picture of me in 1977. I toasted with my cousin Julianne and my sister Michelle, who spent countless hours dreaming the same dreams alongside me.

7 - We took our seats in the Schooner Showroom, which was fully sold. The crowd was definitely psyched even before the just-about-to-walk-onstage bagpipe music started up.

Bagpipe music. Halifax. Just sayin'.

8 - And then he was there.

Leslie McKeown.

No longer in my head, but right before my eyes.

In the strange ways of the world, Les and his new band ended their North American tour with this Halifax date, never suspecting that Halifax is a party hearty city that loves nothing better than to make everyone who stops here feel like a cherished old friend.

We were rowdy, we were vocal, we rushed the stage immediately, we danced, we laughed, we screamed, we smiled, we fed off each other and made a magical night together.

9 - The current line-up for the band is:

Alex Southgate on keyboard

Michael Koch on guitar

Les McKeown on lead vocals

Alex Toff on drums

Si Mulvey on bass

These guys really cooked! The lead guitarist especially was mighty fine, both to listen to and to look at.

But the energy of the original Rollers were definitely in the room. And our shared experience of Rollermania turned the years back for all of us.

10 - Here Leslie talks about his Rollermania experiences, including what it was like to find 'room service' was actually a fan who'd made her way through security.

The proposal for a Roller reunion mentioned in the clip is not on the books anytime soon.

11 - Here's a clip of the encore number played at the Halifax show which I found on You Tube. The actual sound at the venue was fine - the sound on this clip gets blown out because the camera mic couldn't handle the volume.

You can see the joy on Les' face as the night turned out to be more than he'd quite expected. "I want to say this to the people," he said just before leaving the stage. "The best, final night of this tour I could ever have dreamed of. Thank you very much, Halifax!"

Later on Facebook he wrote: "The Final night in Halifax, what a night to remember, thanks to you, you made a great gig happen, xxx Thank you, from me and the boys, xx"

12 - My sister and cousin having an absolute blast. Leslie really had fun interacting with the crowd, making that eye contact just the way he always did, making jokes laced with saucy innuendo. Just the way we always suspected he would.

He also made lots of jokes about the years that had passed, affectionately and without apology. When he sang The Bump, my cousin and sister ran up and danced it together. He pointed them out and said, "Bet you that hurts now, doesn't it?"

And he was cheeky enough to sing Yesterday's Hero, as well.

13 - After the show, Julianne, Michelle and I stood at the meeting point arranged before the show with the promotions director. Julianne had contacted her several weeks earlier to request a meet and greet.

To our astonishment and delight, she got back to us with news that she would indeed get us backstage to meet Leslie in person after the show.

So while half the sold-out audience got into well-organized line-ups for autographs, we waited nervously for the all-clear.

And then there she was. And we were walking through a door that led to a long corridor, which took us towards the green room. My mouth went dry. Another door opened. And then Leslie turned towards us.

And my dream came true.

We smiled and talked. He put his arm around me as we all posed for a picture. He gave each of us a kiss as though we were old friends saying goodbye until next time.

There was a time when I was younger that I believed dreams might come true. I set about making some of them happen.

Then there was a dark period for me, when I resented the phrase Follow your dreams, as I'd discovered the hard way that many of the most cherished dreams will never come true, no matter how hard you work for it, no matter how hard you fight for it.

But I can say now, that in the moment I stepped through that door and saw Leslie turn towards us, all the pain, the profound despair, the bitterness and crushed future I experienced during that dark period were all swept away.

You can't get more specific than my Leslie McKeown dream. You can't get much darker than the self-destructive path he'd been on until he rose to the surface, clean and sober a few years ago. The audience I was a part of gave him a joyous night. His meet and greet with the three of us gave me a new lease on life.

Dreams do come true. They really do come true.

So don't stop dreaming. Never stop dreaming.


Stella MacLean said...

Julie, this story brought tears....
You look so happy and your story is so compelling.
Maybe your life was running parallel to his?
Maybe that's why your dream couldn't happen until now?
However it worked out, it was SO worth it.

Bev Pettersen said...

Julia, that's marvelous. What a fantastic saga. Thanks for sharing--very uplifting and loved the pictures. And nothing better than to have a supportive sister and cousin to share the dream with.

Brenda ND said...

Thanks. :) What a tale! I'm happy your dream finally became real and your sister and cousin were there to share it.

Julianne MacLean said...

Oh sigh! I devoured every word, Julia. Thanks for helping me relive the experience. I'm still pinching myself!

Tory said...

You brought tears to my eyes, Julia, with this magnificent post. Thanks for reminding us that some dreams just take longer to actualize than others.

Right down to the kiss.... Amazing.

Pamela Callow said...

How amazing - sounds like a fantastic night and so glad it was as good as you dreamed it would be.

HOOTIN' ANNI said...

OHGoodness....this was one super post. And your dream...it came true. Whoa.

Xakara said...

Julia, this was absolutely beautiful. I can't begin to thank you enough for sharing it and giving me the reminder I needed to keep me going!

Thanks for the gift and have a wonderful Thursday :)

13 Foods For Breast Health

Kim said...

This was a great story. Dreams can come true...sometimes they just take time.

Jennie Marsland said...

Julia,what a thrill for you and what an inspiring story. The pictures are amazing. You all look like you're having such a wonderful time. Yes, dreams do sometimes come true.

Akelamalu said...

Oh Julia, I had tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat as I read about your dream come true. I can only imagine how you feel. I'm so happy for you. x

Michelle Helliwell said...

Julia - what can I say - just freakin' awesome. What a lesson you've taught here...never give up. I am SO HAPPY for you!!! (((Hugs)))

I am Harriet said...

Bay City Rollers- too funny.

Have a great Thursday!

Alice Audrey said...

How great that you got a chance to live such a wonderful night.

Wylie Kinson said...

Ya mean.... there's still hope for me and Brad Pitt??
Julia - a wonderful, heartwarming story! And now I'll have
S-A-TUR-DAY NIGHT! in my head all day.

Travis Cody said...

What a wonderful thing to have happen for you!

Adelle Laudan said...

Thank you for taking us on your dream come true. Happy for you. Happy T13!

Heather said...

"...all the pain, the profound despair, the bitterness and crushed future I experienced during that dark period were all swept away."

Prov29:18 comes to my mind "Where there is no vision the people perish: but he that keepeth the law,happy is he."

I will follow the advice and "Never stop dreaming."
Thank you Julia great post

Julia Smith said...

Thought I'd share the comments from Facebook, as well -

Leslie McKeown (no, really! It's true!) - I love that feeling, thanks for sharing, xx

Anette Konig - Sigh..what a nice story...never give up your dreams ! ♥♥

Trudy Hatch - Beautiful story!

Debbie McCarty Grant - Thanks for sharing your story! I loved this! :-)

Julianne MacLean - That was great, Julia! Love the picture of you in your roller gear :) It was a wonderful night :)

Janet Smith - Beautiful story Les, thankyou for sharing it with us xx

Nan Paturzo - Truly fabulous. I felt the same way, Julia. Thanks, Les for making our teenage hearts ♥ beat again :)

Andrea Klopke-Haury - Love the story, love your pics, Julia. Thanks for sharing with us Mr. Mc Keown!!

Claudia Medecki - Julia is a very good writer. Thanks for sharing. We all know the feeling. :)

Robin Little - What a great story, thanks for posting it. Reminds me of the first time I meet Les...sigh...I know exactly how she feels!!!

Julie Anne Sanders Beeland - I loved that!!! Les is such a dream!!!!

Lisa Coto - How nice ♥

Leslie Joyce - Julia - I am so glad that your dream came true and thanks so much for sharing your story.

Marie Kissane Hancock - Loved reading it, Les was in r teenage yrs, and he's still here in r grandma yrs lol

Fiona Bottorff - That was truly beautiful and inspiring Julia. Bless ♥

Melanie La Pan - Love how we all have our stories and memories of meeting Les and the other rollers! It is a day I will never forget. I just found the photos I took the other day. I was fourteen and ditched school to do it!

Sally Ann Hanson - I still have dreams about Les even today. Scary ain't it, lol

Camille Russell - Every girls dream ;]

Hev Vaughan - That was a wonderful story thanks for sharing ♥♥ Hev ♥♥

Anne Fallon - Thats a really lovely story - loved reading it!

Judy Hoskins Coffey - Awesome Story!

Julia Smith said...

More comments from Facebook -

Diana Forth - This is great!! Thank you for sharing!

Jean England - Thanks for sharing enjoyed the story.

Bibi Rodriguez - Aww I loved your story Julia ♥ Keep on Rollin!..

Jill Hughes - Julia....wonderful story...loved it....from Jill UK x