Oh, this show... if I had to pick a favorite encounter with Jimi out of all the ones we ever had, I think Hoffman Estates would probably top the list (just because, you know, THAT KISS ) but Glyndon would be a VERY close second, and might even tie for the title in certain respects. It was the first time I'd had a chance to really TALK to him since the original meet-and-greet in Denver, five years previous, for one thing--and let me tell you, it was SO worth the wait! I wrote in my original Concert Tale about how I almost literally ran into him just as he, Fergie, Sally, and Summer were arriving at the venue, but as we were walking up towards the main building at Morty's after dealing with my forgotten ticket and all--well, two things. First, I have to say, the way that man moved was just... wow. Even with something as simple as walking, there was a subtle and unconscious elegance to every motion, and it really was like watching a lion or a panther or something.
The other thing that struck me was far more personal, though. He had given me the hug and talked to me a little before that, of course, but walking up that sidewalk next to him was a really... interesting experience. I'm not even quite sure of how to describe what I was picking up on an empathic level; we weren't talking, and he wasn't really paying me any overt attention, but I still got this distinct sense of... comfort, I guess is the word I'm looking for, from him. Like he was absolutely fine with me being there beside him, and didn't feel a need to be wary or keep a close eye on what I was doing every single second. It was a really nice feeling to think he trusted me that much, and I honestly wished those few moments of comfortable silence between us could have gone on a lot longer than they did. I mean, of course I loved talking to him and would have been happy to do lots more of that, too, but there were times--both at this show and after--when all I really wanted was to take up an unobtrusive position somewhere close by him and say, in all seriousness, "Don't mind me, I'm just going to stand here and bask in your presence for a while." They say Leos are ruled by the Sun, and I would totally have believed that of Jimi; he certainly had his own particular gravitational pull as far as I was concerned, and he very definitely exuded a solar-like warmth, which I for one could have soaked up for hours on end... sigh...
Also, after the show was over and he went to autograph the photo collage I'd made, he asked me what I wanted him to write on it besides his signature. And I confess I just kind of stood there for a moment, not knowing what to say. I hadn't really even thought about it, to be honest; I suppose I'd always figured that he'd just write whatever HE wanted to on something like that. I probably would have even preferred that kind of honest response, rather than dictating the sentiment myself, but since he'd asked, I had to give him SOME kind of answer. I think I finally said something like, "Uh, 'nice pics,' I guess?" and he--the big sweetie--took that and ran with it. Here's a scan I made of the autograph, so you can see for yourself what I mean:
Isn't that just the nicest thing ever? That "love you" at the bottom still makes me break out in the world's biggest sappy smile pretty much every time I look at it.
Anyway, getting back to the story--when we first went to try and get a picture together, he put both arms around me and made this quip about how it was going to be our "prom photo." Now, I didn't go to my high school prom; I was never much for big social events in general, and I wasn't particularly interested in dating at that point either. (I've been attracted to maturity in males from the time I was old enough to be interested in them at all, and where teenage boys generally don't have much of that to speak of... well.) I do remember having the thought at the show, though, that I might very well have considered going, if HE had been around to be my date! (And we'll just ignore the consternation it would have caused, given that he would have been 43 when I was 18... I truly do prefer older men, anyway... )
Oh, and about the last hug he gave me--you know, the really, really nice one? It was quite chilly out that night, like 45 degrees chilly (Farenheit, that is). And while all those people gathered together inside the tent had made it feel fairly reasonable during the show itself, things cooled off again pretty fast when the crowd cleared out afterward. So being all smooshed up against him was delightful for that reason alone; like most guys, he threw off quite a bit of body heat, and the contrast between the cold night and a nice, warm HIM was something I don't think any woman could have avoided noticing! But during that hug... oh, man. I remember thinking at the time that "cuddly" was kind of a strange word to apply to a man in his position, who was such a huge figure in the world of rock music and everything, but I also couldn't come up with anything else to describe him better in that moment. He'd worn this shirt to perform in which was made of a knit fabric--t-shirt type material, basically. And it was probably nothing more exotic than cotton, but something about the way the cloth was woven made it feel really, REALLY soft, almost like silk. The sensation of such delicate softness laid over that lovely muscular body of his was absolutely something ELSE, and I confess it took every bit of self-control I had to JUST hug him, and not start running both hands up and down his back or something! And especially when he not only had me wrapped up in his arms a lot tighter than he'd ever done before, but he... kind of rocked me back and forth a little at the same time. I mean, good grief, it was SO sweet, and made me so VERY happy--I enjoyed the first hug he ever gave me, of course, but THAT one pretty much set a new standard to judge all other pleasures against!
Of course, it didn't hurt that I was feeling the empathic sense of him VERY clearly that night, too, like a warm glow all around my heart. (SIGH... ) And speaking of which, here's something that even a lot of my closest and most long-time friends in the fandom haven't heard about before. At the time it happened, I was kind of afraid to talk to anyone about it because I figured they would think I'd gone completely off the deep end. Now, though... well, let's just say that y'all have a whole host of OTHER reasons to think I'm nuts, so what's one or two extra?
To begin with a bit of additional background, then: On the day of the show, while I was hanging around in my hotel room and getting all my stuff ready for that evening, I had taken out the extra print of my photo collage, unrolled it, and added a hand-written note on the back with my username, website URL, and the date and location of the show, just so Jimi would have some way to identify who and where it had come from after he got it home (assuming that he actually accepted the gift in the first place, of course). I also added a line about how it had been given "with respect and great affection," because that was something I really wanted him to know--that I was gifting him with this piece of photographic art purely because so much love and joy had gone into the process of taking all the pictures and putting them together in the collage, and I wanted to give a little of that same joy back to its source. My aim was to make it as clear as possible that this was, in fact, really and truly a GIFT, and not just a sneaky way to try and ingratiate myself to him for my own gain. I mean, of course I hoped that he would express some appreciation for the gesture, at least, but I never expected anything out of him beyond that--no "return favors" or whatever.
So, that night, he did in fact accept the extra print as a gift, and took it off with him when he went back inside Morty's after we'd had our time together. And as I wrote at the end of my original Concert Tale, I was in rather a rush the next morning, and ended up very nearly being late for my flight; I made it to the gate with only 10 minutes or so to spare before they started boarding. Now, I had taken a good look around during those 10 minutes, just because, well, Jimi had to fly out from the same airport to get home himself, right? And if there weren't any direct flights from Hector International to Memphis, then it was possible he and I might have been taking the same flight, if he happened to be making a connection that went through DIA. There was no sign of him anywhere, though, so I just sort of sighed to myself and figured, Oh well--another time, maybe.
So I got on my flight, and in due course arrived back here in Denver. Now, if you've never been to DIA, believe me when I say that it's an enormous, sprawling place. There are other airports around the country which are even bigger, certainly, but the way this one is designed still means it can be a VERY long walk to get back to the main terminal, depending on which gate you come in at. Denver is also a hub for United Airlines, and most of the gates on B concourse (the longest of the three) are usually dedicated to use by United flights. Furthermore, the United Express flights (that is, the ones on less-travelled routes which use small regional jets rather than the big Boeing or Airbus models that go between major cities) almost always come in at a set of gates down at the very furthest end of the concourse, and they don't even have those moveable enclosed walkway things to get you directly onto or off of the plane--you actually have to go outside on the tarmac for a short distance. The Denver-to-Fargo route is one such United Express flight, so I had quite a walk ahead of me to get to the departure point for the train that takes you back to the terminal proper when the plane got in that day.
Well, once I'd disembarked and collected my gate-checked carry-on, I slung my backpack over both shoulders, got my larger bag on its wheels behind me, and headed out, knowing it was going to take a goodly while to get to where I was going. That was really okay, though; I was tired of sitting and ready to get up and move around for a while by then, plus I had all those lovely memories of the night before to keep me occupied along the way. I hadn't been able to think much about them on the plane itself, just because of the crying baby across the aisle that I was trying to ignore and so on, but now that I was on the ground and not so distracted, my thoughts immediately went back to the show and Himself. I had only gone a short distance, though, when something really odd happened--I was just walking along like you do in an airport, thinking and remembering and only keeping half an eye on all the other people around me, when suddenly I felt this very distinct rush of warmth all through my chest. There was no "physical" quality to the sensation at all; that is, it was obvious no one was in direct material contact with me. On an emotional level, though, it felt very like the kind of reaction you might have if someone you love an awful lot were to smile sweetly at you, while at the same time giving your shoulder a companionable, affectionate squeeze with one hand.
Now, again, this feeling just kind of happened, completely out of the blue, and I very nearly halted in my tracks in surprise. And I DID actually did slow down a little, just so that I could straighten up and take a VERY good look all around. Because I recognized that warm feeling, and knew precisely who it belonged to; after all, I'd experienced it firsthand just the previous night! And I am not kidding when I say that I more than half expected to find Jimi himself walking along at my elbow and grinning at me, like he'd been on my flight after all and I'd just missed seeing him somehow. Once again, though, there was no sign of him, and finally I put my head back down and lengthened my stride, and just tried to hold onto that warm feeling for as long as I could (which was most of the way across the airport). I wasn't unhappy about the incident by any means, but I WAS rather at a loss to explain why I should be having such a strong sense of Jimi in that moment when he was obviously not anywhere close by. In hindsight, though, and knowing everything I do about myself and my clairsentient abilities that I had no idea of at the time, it all seems a lot more obvious now: I think he must have been talking to someone about the photo print I'd given him, or showing it to them, or maybe he'd just taken it out to look at himself and discovered my note on the back. And I guess the sentiment of it must have tickled him so much that I picked up on his joy, even though we were so physically distant from each other by then--or at least I'd like to think that the time we spent together at the show had linked us closely enough, heart to heart, for something like that to happen.
Here also are some pictures taken by someone else who was at that show, and sent me copies of afterward. (I tried to contact the gal in question to get her approval and permission to post these, but I haven't heard back from her as yet. I really didn't want to have to leave these pics out of the update, though, so I've just slapped a copyright tag with her email on them for now and will hope for the best.)
Me (and a number of other attendees) in the front row, hard at work taking pics
After the show--the brownish thing he's got in one hand is the cardboard tube with the extra print of my photo collage inside
Jimi and I talking, post-show. (I cannot for the life of me figure out why my expression looks so odd, though, I didn't think anything he'd said to me that night would have elicited quite that intense a degree of shock!)