First, I get a half-naked hug from JJ, and now I get serenaded – and a slow dance to boot? Yes, I am one lucky girl My mom always said it was OK to be spoiled as long as I appreciate it, and I certainly do!!!
Well, here’s the story from Birmingham, to the best of my recollection anyway. I was in a bit of an altered state of mind, so the details aren’t quite clear. I stood a little to the left of the mic stand, closer to Farrell, and the night started off great! I loved the opening band, Van Ghost, and absolutely loved Jennifer Hartswick (my first time hearing her live). The venue was sold out, but at only 450 capacity, the crowd was just right. Soon after Van Ghost, the guys came out, seemingly in a great mood. They really tore it up, and the crowd went wild – lots of great energy all around. I had my friends Polly & Sharron on my right and Jessica (aka meandmyfriend, minus her friend) on my left, and we were all singing, dancing, and smiling like fools – life was good!
Toward the end of the set (in between songs) I somehow knocked my beer over, my nearly full beer, and in my delayed reaction ended up kind of pushing the bottle further instead of turning it right side up. I was so embarrassed at the huge mess I’d made - right where JJ had been standing all night. I felt bad because I probably wasn’t even supposed to have a drink up there anyway, and there it was mocking me – my eleven ounces of shame.
IMG_7185 by ericamnorman, on Flickr
Not to worry, Aaron came out to save the day and mopped up my mess with a towel.
IMG_7189 by ericamnorman, on Flickr
*I don’t remember this part at all, but thanks to the pictures I see that JJ had taken off his shoes as some point – don’t know if it was before or after I spilled my drink (prob before).
IMG_7188 by ericamnorman, on Flickr
IMG_7187 by ericamnorman, on Flickr
Anyway, the final song of the night, before the encore, was A Woman. At some point in the song (I think he’d already started singing, but I’m not sure) JJ came to the edge of the stage near me and kind of kicked/shuffled his feet. I, thinking I was in the way, started moving my stuff (purse/camera), but that didn’t seem to be the problem. Then he started pointing and miming that he was coming down – turns out it wasn’t my stuff in the way, it was me. So Polly and I parted, making room for JJ to jump down from the low stage. Again, I’m pretty sure he was actually singing at this point (meaning he wasn’t able to talk). I guess I thought he was going to walk around through the crowd to sing, so when he came towards me, I tried to move out of his way. He came closer, I moved. He came closer, I moved again. I don’t know how many times this happened, but finally, he kind of grabbed me in a bear-hug sort of way and didn’t let go. I looked up at him all wild-eyed and anxiously cried, “I - I don’t know what to do!!!” That’s when he leaned into me and softly said, “Just dance with me.”
IMG_7190 copy by ericamnorman, on Flickr
IMG_7192 by ericamnorman, on Flickr
IMG_7193 by ericamnorman, on Flickr
My first thought was What in the hell are you doing??? As I’ve said to others, you could’ve knocked me over with a damn feather! I’m frantically looking around at the guys trying to see if they were surprised at the antics going on or if they knew this was going to happen – couldn’t tell. Then I’m looking around the venue noticing every single eye on me, and I was SO super embarrassed!!! Most people were smiling; some wild-eyed in wonderment, like myself; and some, I do believe, were shooting me daggers in jealousy wondering why in the world JJ picked me of all people – how’d I get so lucky? – it’s not fair! Despite the fact that we were surrounded by hundreds of people, the situation was strangely intimate. I kept thinking What are you doing? All these people are watching! It was sort of like a dream, one in which I felt as though we were going to get “caught.” Trying to get past all the confusion and embarrassment, I said to myself, “Fuck it, enjoy this moment, girl!” And so dance, we did. I closed my eyes and pretended for just a second that we were the only ones there – while still occasionally casting furtive glances around to make sure I wasn’t getting too far lost in the dream This moment, us slow dancing while JJ sang lyrics about how a woman wants to be loved by her man, could have lasted mere seconds or for the whole song – I really don’t know. I guess you could say that for me, time just stood still. *sigh*
Eventually, this girl with short, dark hair came out of nowhere, trying to cut in on our dance. Not wanting to be selfish (and not yet knowing the rules to this new game) I went ahead and started let her on in, much to JJ’s chagrin. Hey, how was I to know?
picturewithfunnycomments by ericamnorman, on Flickr
Soon after that he was outta there!
IMG_7195 by ericamnorman, on Flickr
He jumped back on the stage and finished the song.
IMG_7196 by ericamnorman, on Flickr
IMG_7197 by ericamnorman, on Flickr
I don’t remember if he hugged me or shook my hand after the song – or maybe I’m just thinking of when he gave me the guitar pick (which I’m pretty sure was after The Sun is Shining Down). By the way, I keep forgetting to tell him Thank You for the pick! He doesn’t know this, but I used to get picks from him all the time when I first started going to shows. My friends constantly made fun of me – saying, “Let me guess, you got another one!” But ever since I met JJ and the other guys (and all y’all) I’ve yet to be given another pick before now – strange.
Anyway, yes, after the song was over and all the excitement had died down, meandmyfriend sent me a text message that said, “No, you’re not dreaming!” – which was funny because I was actually just thinking to myself Did THAT really just happen?!?! I also received a text message from this guy I was supposed to meet up with but had never met in person yet – his message said, “Hard to miss you now, groovin’ with JJ. Very nice.” Goodness only knows what he must be thinking. Oh, and THANK YOU so much to meandmyfriend for thinking to take pictures!!! That may truly be the only way I could convince myself that this crazy thing really did happen The rest of the show was just as great – the On Fire encore with all that brass was to die for! And I had been hoping all night that Jennifer Hartswick would come out and play with Dennis – unbelievable!!!
IMG_7233 by ericamnorman, on Flickr
After the show, I was following “the follower” backstage where he was going to hang out a bit with AC, but this jerk/bouncer cut me off and wouldn’t let me back there. No worries, I was just going to sit and wait until he was done. So I’m outside the door sitting on somebody’s ice chest when the same jerk came out later yelling that I was going to have to leave (he was actually yelling at this other guy too who kept saying he was somebody and allowed to go back there to see JJ). Aaron tried to tell the guy that I was fine and to let me back, but the guy refused to listen – creep! Finally, Aaron came over there and gave me what I call “the keys to the castle” (his keys, passes – whatever all that stuff was) and let me in his self. When I got back there everybody was gone except for JJ and the two couples he was chatting with. So I just sat my happy ass down in one of the comfy chairs and waited. Dennis came and sat with me a few minutes to talk. I finally remembered to ask him what in the world all that stuff was he kept in his pockets - after I felt him up first, of course And then he told me something about a car – either he just bought one, or he’s buying one, or he’s restoring one, or he wants one – I don’t know. But it had something to do with an Impala, I think. Unfortunately, my mind wasn’t any clearer by this point, so I can’t remember much of any of my conversations that night. O’well! By the way, one of guys back there talking with JJ happened to be Darren, the owner of Mavericks. I said hello to him and reminded him that I’d met him at the Ponte Vedra solo show in September. Also, for any of you teachers out there – one of the girls backstage had me use her camera to take a picture of Flat Stanley with JJ
After the other couples left, JJ came over and sat next to me where I was curled up in the chair practically asleep. He, of course, was wide-awake and just as chatty as ever. We talked about all kinds of stuff (and no, I don’t remember all the specifics) including the BBQ sauce, the new album, artwork for the new album, haircuts, etc. And by the way, CLAY, we talked about when my next shows were, and JJ said that yes, I can too go to the shows in Canada if I want to, so there!!! Of course, after I jokingly said I wasn’t allowed in Canada, he wanted to know why… As I began explaining about stalking and restraining orders it started to get a little weird, especially when he said, “But you’re not a stalker.” I wasn’t sure he’d quite understand our sense of humor, so I quickly led the discussion in a different direction
At this time I did ask him what in the world happened earlier during the show with the whole dancing thing. His response? “Oh, I was just trying something new.” Which, after reading Craven Moore’s post about JJ trying new things (playing drums at an earlier show), makes perfect sense. Maybe he just wanted to see how much the ladies in the crowd pawed at him if decided to start doing something like that. I thought it was kind of funny when I posted the pictures on facebook and lots of people commented that out of anyone I “deserved” this moment. I don’t know about all that. I’m not sure anyone “deserves” or “earns” moments like these, but I guess I know what they meant, and it was sweet to hear My mom said he probably just felt “safe” with me (relatively speaking, of course) and knew he could trust me. He probably knows that I would only “attack” him if it were absolutely necessary (such as at the Macon show when his shirt kept coming unsnapped).
And so there’s my story… crazy as it may be! I only wished someone had videotaped that moment so I could add a few more details to what my memory lacks. Readymade was there taping, so perhaps when I listen to A Woman I’ll be transported back to that moment in time