As a result of that exposure, I heard from Wayne Sander, a guy from Minnesota who Micky Dolenz picked to join them on stage and lead the crowd in singing "Daydream Believer." Wayne's a huge fan of The Monkees; he told me his earliest memories are of wanting to grow up to be Peter Tork. His partner, Dan, scored some front row tickets on eBay for Wayne's birthday.
Here's how Wayne describes being pulled up on stage. Kind of like Courteney Cox in Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark" video, except it wasn't a set-up.
"Here's something interesting I found out the night of the show. When Micky Dolenz is standing on stage and he points his finger directly at you and says 'I want YOU,' the word 'you' actually echoes in your head just like it does in the movies (you, you, you, you, you….). Another thing that happened, is the moment I finished navigating the coils of power and sound cabling covering the stairs and set my first foot on the stage, the only thing I could actually hear was my own heartbeat and the sound of my own breathing. There were no other sounds until I got to the center of the stage and Micky grabbed my hand. I remember looking up and seeing the whole audience and it was like being in the tip of a funnel. I could feel the emotions of everyone and they were all focused at the stage. I thought my heart was going to explode, I've never felt anything like it. Micky asked me if I was an Angry Birds fan and what level I had achieved. I couldn't even remember ever playing the game. The only word I was able to get out was 'uh.'"
|Photo by Carolyn Regnell|
"The next thing he did was put the microphone to his side and ask if I was ready to do this. He held out his hand for me to hold on to and we started singing. I don't sing. At least not in public anyway. And I've never been in front of a crowd larger than about 12 people. I'm normally a shy quiet person, you know, the type that libraries like to hire to set the mood. This was the scariest thing I have ever done in my life, 100x scarier than bungee jumping (which I have tried). But there's no way that I could have said "no". In fact, it never even crossed my mind. My voice was already pretty shot from all the cheering and singing I had been doing during all of the previous songs, but I gave it everything I had left and just hoped for the best. I kept looking out at all the people and I wanted to give the best I could. It was a magical mystical experience and in all that love and support focused towards me from the audience, I could feel Davy Jones. For a few moments there were four Monkees on stage (plus me, I'm not a Monkee). The audience felt it, too. It was incredible. Thinking back on it still brings tears to my eyes. I think it always will."When the song ended and I turned around, there was Mike Nesmith smiling at me. I thanked him and he shook my hand. The reality of what had just happened hit me like a ton of bricks. I had just sung a song with Micky Dolenz while Peter Tork played keyboards and Mike Nesmith played guitar. I had just lived a dream that I've had for over 40 years. A dream that I never in my wildest imagination thought would ever come true. A couple of stagehands appeared with flashlights to help me navigate the stairs and I got back to my seat. I asked the people in the seats next to us if I did okay, and they said I did great. I thought they were just being nice. I missed most of the next song because my brain was still trying to process what had just happened. I came back to reality as they were leaving the stage when the set ended, and everyone stood up to applaud. I got to hear the encores at least."After the show, dozens of people came up to me or yelled my name from across the room. I shook a lot of hands and everyone seemed happy with the job I did. I was just relieved to find out I didn't let anyone down."I'm still trying to digest and fully understand the experience. It was an incredible honor and I will treasure those moments for the rest of my life."
Pretty cool, huh? Wayne told me he had never sung in public before, and had never even spoken to a crowd larger than about 12 people. While on stage, he took this picture of the audience.
Let's get back to Wayne's words, "I'm still trying to digest and fully understand the experience. It was an incredible honor and I will treasure those moments for the rest of my life." As I mentioned in my last post, my friend Lisa and I were literally screaming with joy during that concert. So many people who've seen the shows on this tour left comments on Peter Tork's Facebook with similar sentiments.
Awesome, but can you imagine what an incredible honor it must be to be able to GIVE people an experience they'll treasure for the rest of their lives? Wouldn't you just LOVE to be able to do that?
Maybe not on the scale of The Monkees or Bruce Springsteen, but you certainly have it in you to touch another person's life in a way they will remember for the rest of their lives.
On the simplest level, all The Monkees did last Saturday night was share their talents. Imagine if they hadn't? Imagine if all musicians, artists, computer programmers, nurses, teachers... imagine if they never shared their talents?
I want to repost something I wrote almost 4 years ago, on my 52nd birthday:
"Over the past several months, I've been doing some editing for Rudy Ruettiger, the man behind the hit movie, Rudy. He lives here in Las Vegas. One of Rudy's favorite lines is, 'What would you do if you knew you could not fail?'"Most people don't dig deeply enough within themselves to truly consider and come up with an answer to this question. But if you really think about it, you're sure to uncover a true desire. And under that, I'll bet you anything, lies a true God-given talent.
"Talent. I believe we've all been blessed with it. But for any number of reasons, this talent often gets suppressed. A while back, I heard from a reader who said she always wanted to write, but gave up that aspiration long ago when a teacher told her she was no good at it. And I'm telling you, the email she sent to me was beautifully written. Forgive that stupid teacher and shake the Etch-a-Sketch, sister. And start writing.
"Finally, finally, I've come to realize that my God-given talent is my writing (though Mom could have told you that years ago). I'm 52 and finally have a book for sale, an outlet for my writing, my humor, and a way to motivate others to make the most of their own lives by looking at mine. I've said a million times, 'Everything in its right time' and I do believe that--the universe unfolds in divine order. But we also have free will, so why not make "the right time" sooner rather than later?
"So my birthday wish is for you to take some time today to consider, What is your God-given talent? What do you do better than almost every person on earth? How can you share your talent with the rest of the world? These are not rhetorical questions. I'm really asking you; I expect answers (even if you answer in your own head). I want you to tell me what your talent is because by telling me, you're also proclaiming it to yourself.
"Think about what makes you wonderful and have yourself an incredible day, knowing that in your own unique way, you kick ass. That, beloved readers, is my birthday wish for you."
Please, I can't stress enough: Share your talents. Give a gift that people will treasure for life. Hey, hey, they're The Monkees. And they gave us all a tremendous gift this tour, which just ended this past weekend. More, please!
|Photo by Wayne Sander|