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« Clothing the world, one t-shirt at a time | Main | Detroit Moxie's Weekend Roundup »
Saturday
Apr302011

Kissing the Piano Man

Brunch with Becks is an ongoing weekend series where I wax poetic on tales from my life starting with the 9 Truths. Yes, I too can’t comprehend that all these odd occurrences have happened to me.

Billy Joel in Southampton, UK many years later.Yes, once upon a time I kissed Billy Joel. It was while he was on The Bridge tour in 1986 and I was a senior in high school.

But before I can tell you how that went down, you need to know the back story. It’s actually more odd and unbelievable than the actual kiss.

My brother and I were huge INXS fans and the previous summer we went with mutual friends to see them outside at Meadowbrook. One of those friends was Meredith. She was brave and beautiful and used to getting what she wanted.

Meredith decided that she was going to try and sneak backstage and I went along for the ride, not having any idea where it would lead. She found a path at the far side of the lawn and I followed her meekly. It wasn’t very secure and she actually found a way to get behind the stage.

We ended up in a little nook underneath the stage, giggling like schoolgirls and trying to figure out how to get near the band. Without getting in trouble, of course.

Our giggling attracted the attention and a man with a flashlight who found us huddled under the stage. We were busted! But remember, Meredith was beautiful and had a way about her. The man took pity on us.

The man was a VP at Brass Ring Productions. He led us to a deck off of the backstage and gave us a few warnings. He told us that the band would be coming off stage shortly and that we could mingle.

Sternly, he told us not to go any where near Michael Hutchence. The iconic lead singer was off limits. He said it over and over. We promised that we would behave; we would not approach Michael Hutchence.

The band came out onto the deck and there he was in all his glory: Michael Hutchence! Right freaking in front of us! All those stern warnings were left for dust. We ran towards him like the star-struck teens that we were. Security immediately pulled us off and we were sent on our merry way, happy in the fact that we touched the lead singer.

Later in the summer I went to see the Psychedelic Furs. Sitting on the lawn, I spotted the guy from Brass Ring. I ran up to him and asked if I could get backstage. He said no, that he would need advance notice to do that, but he did give me his card and told me to call him if I needed tickets for something.

Boom.

When the Billy Joel tour was announced I found the business card and made the call, asking for 4 tickets for the show at the Joe. And he said yes!

The tickets were pretty good, near the stage in the lower bowl. But… I saw all these people getting down to the main floor. Channeling the brazen spirit of Meredith, I grabbed one of my friends and off we went. People were bribing the ushers with various items to get on the floor. I didn’t have anything to offer and I didn’t possess the beauty and charm of Meredith.

A kerfuffle broke out and the usher went over to handle it. We took our chance and snuck down to the main floor. That just wasn’t going to be good enough, though.

During the concert all these women kept on running up on stage and I thought, “why not me?” I made my way to the front row, pretending that’s where I was suppose to be. I made it! But I still wanted more. I turned to the guys standing around me and said, “Lift me up.”

They did and my 5 seconds of fame had arrived. I was on the stage at a Billy Joel concert at Joe Louis Arena. I clumsily ran up to the Piano Man while he was singing and planted one on him. To be honest, I’m not sure if that kiss landed on his lips or cheek. All that I can confirm is that I kissed him. He didn't kiss back.

Security was upon me once again, pulling me by my elbows from behind; they took me to the side of the stage and pushed me off. Standing right there was Mr. Brass Ring Guy. Shaking his head with his arms folded, he looked at me and said, “never again.”

The next night Billy played a second show at the Joe. Friends who were there told me he was limping (it was reported that he sprained his ankle the night before, trying to avoid all the people jumping on stage) and that the front row was comprised of a wall of security.

I kept Mr. Brass Ring’s business card for years but I never called him again.

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    Kissing the Piano Man - Detroit Moxie -

Reader Comments (17)

Hey Becks! What's holding you back? Call him ... Apologize for your youthful enthusiasm and thank him for his many past kindness's. It's never too late to Apologize or send a Thank You note!
PS. I enjoy your humour and your transparancy.

April 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJane Meade

Jane,
Oh, it's been 25 years and I threw the card out long ago. He could be anywhere by now. But I remember his name and if we ever cross paths again I'll be sure to thank him.
Thank you for your kind words.

April 30, 2011 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

Becks, what a cool story! Wow. I love it. btw I saw someone wearing a Moxie shirt at tech karoake last night. Looks great :)

ps: I tried ordering one but tech fail was involved

April 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen R

Jen,
Thanks! I did get a tweet that Detroit Moxie t-shirts were present at Tech Karaoke. So cool.

What was the tech fail? I'd like to know about any problems so that I can troubleshoot them.

April 30, 2011 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

That is fantastic - awesome story!! I was hoping this was one of the truths...I love Billy Joel, and I'm so jealous that you got to kiss him! Thanks for sharing the story! :-)

April 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKate Storey

I remember that INXS concert! Didn't Simple Minds open? My concert ticket stub collection was my most prized possession in high school. I wish I still had it.

Congrats on sneaking the kiss. Wasn't 1984 also the same summer of the Bruce Springsteen "Dancing in the Dark" video where the girl gets to hop on stage to dance with him? I wouldn't be surprised if all of us high school girls who saw that video back then wanted to be the girl on stage, even if you weren't much of a Springsteen fan.

I caught Billy Joel's "The Innocent Man" tour in Ann Arbor the previous year. If I remember right he did "Goodnight Saigon" (or some part of me thinks it was a version of Don McClean's "American Pie") with a whole chorus of what looked like road-weary, middle aged guys, presumably vets. I always wondered if those guys traveled with him or he had assembled a group of locals. However it was, it made the hairs on the back of my neck tingle.

Thanks for the memories,
Alyson
Class of 1986, Birmingham Seaholm

P.S. You now have me perusing Billy Joel videos on YouTube, and trying to not giggle at the shirtless dancing and posing in "Allentown". What's up with the guy in short shorts twirling a baton of fire? Seriously, I can't believe I took this at face value, even at age 14. :)

P.P.S. Do you remember your first rock concert? I must have had the coolest parents in the world to have let me gone to J. Geil's "Freeze Frame" concert at Cobo Hall when I was 12.

April 30, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteralysonsee

Alysonsee,
I don't remember who opened, I'll have to ask my brother. The INXS concert was the summer of '86 and the Billy Joel concert was November of '86.

I saw Bruce Springsteen at the Silverdome for the Born in the U.S.A tour. And yes, I so wanted to be Courtney Cox, or the girl he pulled up on stage.

Glad I could take you down memory lane! My favorite question to ask someone is, "what was there first concert?" Mine was The Kinks, Give the People what they Want tour at Pine Knob. I think I was in 7th grade.

Class of 1987, Birmingham Marian.

April 30, 2011 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

Thanks Kate! I know a lot of people assumed this was the lie. I love Billy Joel too and was happy to catch him again in the UK.

April 30, 2011 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

OK, I'm definitely confusing my dates. (I guess THAT's how old I am. Thank God for Google or I'd never be able to retrieve this stuff from my archive. :) The INXS concert I'm thinking of was at Pine Knob in 1983 with Men at Work. It was the same summer as ASIA (Hush, you don't even have to say it.) I think the Simple Minds show was 1984; they opened for The Pretenders.

Ah, summers at Pine Knob. (My winters learning to ski at Pine Knob were definitely less joyous but make for great "wimpy kid" stories. ;) It has been decades since I've been, but I'm glad to see that it's still going (as DTE Energy Music Theater). Whenever I get nostalgic for the old days though, I can still at least look at the cover of Joni Mitchell's "Miles of Aisles".

Cheers,
Alyson

April 30, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteralysonsee

Michael Hutchence was dreamy, and you are a nut. Keep 'em coming.

April 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen

This is seriously the best story ever. You are such a rebel and I love it! And for the record, Billy Joel (and Elton John) was my first concert is '95 and it was amazing.

May 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaurenWeber84

Jen,
Will do! There's at least 8 more coming and then the weird stories that I've forgotten about.

Thanks Lauren!
I'm not really that much of a rebel. I SO wanted to see Billy Joel & Elton John together and never had the chance.

May 2, 2011 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

Beyond the smooth storytelling, I savor the insight we gain into early evidence of moxie -- the same brash, can-do spirit celebrated here regularly in name, in narratives and now on T-shirts.

The essence of Moxie-ism, its bedrock philosophy, is neatly expressed in 5 words up there: "I thought, why not me?"

May 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlsn Stamm

Who knew that Mr. Joel was such a stud?

Is the 'Miles of Aisles' album cover really the Knob? I had no idea...

May 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSven Gustafson

I had to revisit this to say that, yes, I did later remember that Mr. Joel was once married to Christie Brinkley... I know, I know.

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSven Gustafson

Sven,
Ha ha! Yes, he was married to a hottie. I also believe that people are more attractive when they have great talent, if that makes any sense.

May 16, 2011 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

Or bags of money...

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSven Gustafson

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