I still can’t forget the day – “After all who forgets a meeting with a GOD?”. The day was 15th March 2006 and i was just plain damn lucky to be at San Diego (I was on an assignment to do a project there).
The day started like any other – Got up, got ready, reached office and started working. A couple of hours of work and having spent a lot of time working, I took a well deserved break to get a black coffee. Got back and started checking out the events in the city, and to my absolute SURPRISE, I saw an event saying Joe Satriani was promoting and pre-selling his new album in a guitar store. Checked the timings, he was supposed to be there from 5pm-7pm.
It was too good an opportunity to be missed, I rushed to my boss and somehow convinced him to let me leave early and in return
promised him I’d finish the work late in the evening.
So all excited, I left my office at 4pm reached home in 20 mins flat (after walking 2.5 kms), I was too confused whether to take my guitar along or not – I just decided to take a risk and picked up my 4 months old Godin guitar.
The other side of the road was the guitar shop – Guitar Trader, 7120 Clairemont Mesa Blvd Suite 211, San Diego, CA 92111 (they have changed their name to Music power now I guess). Their Parking was totally full with some fancy Bikes and loads of cars and I was wondering if I’d be able to meet him/see him/see him from a distance/…would they turn me away for being late../blah/blah/blah…Now another challenge presented itself, reaching the place without a car, so I decided to push my luck with the san diego trasnport buses (pretty good and on time) Changed a couple of buses, and reached the place at 5:30 pm.
At one time, the only thing in my way to catch a glimpse of the guitar god was the road that I had to cross. Once in, I could see a loooooooong queue of almost 100-150 people and at the other end was a guy standing on the podium wearing all black with a black hat and black shades meeting/greeting/smiling/signing autographs. The vision was so surreal I felt like I was in a dream and just stood there gawking at him, just then a kid and his father who entered after me asked me to move forward ‘coz the line had moved and I was
still standing on my spot.
In 15 mins, I was next to a stall where they were selling the CDs of his yet to be released album “Super Colossal” at a discount, so I decided to buy it for 10 bucks (once out, the official price would have been 15-18$), got a couple of Joe Satriani guitar picks for free – talk about a steal deal!
This was one good deal which turned out into a killer deal as time passed, and pretty soon I was just a few people in the queue away from the podium.
I was just looking at Joe and was in sheer awe of him, this man who everyone considers the Guitar hero came across as a humble being and a down to earth person.
The waiting time was a breeze as there was a truck load of COOL equipment to be checked out and the almighty Joe standing at the end
About 2 hours later just 3 people remained in front of me, and I was trying to think of something to say to him and wondering what I’d do once I’d be face to face with him.Another few minutes, and I was just one person away.. My heart was pounding as if I had just finished a 100 meter dash. I handed my camera to one of the guys who were managing the event, and took out my guitar from the cover.of the queue.
Finally it was my turn to share the stage with THE MAN, climbed a couple of stairs and I was greeted by a really warm smile and a gentle hand shake, at 50 years this guy looked really fit and without a trace of those years on his face/body! I bowed to him with a namaste, he smiled again asked me where I was from (as if the Namaste hadn’t given it away) – I told him I was from India and a really really big fan (I think he could have read it on my face, but anyways I had to say something 😀 ) asked him to come and play there again as I missed the last show, he said he’d definitely come back.
He took my guitar, took a silver permanent marker and imprinted my guitar with his signature. Then he took a black marker and did the same with the CD I had just bought and then asked me to get a photo clicked with him.
I was so disoriented by the whole experience that it was only after the flash struck my eyes that I realized that the pic was done and my turn to meet him was over,I came down the podium and made my way back towards the exit with a grin that seemed permanent at that moment –I was ecstatic!!!
Came back home and couldn’t sleep the whole night, and was still day dreaming at work the next day!
I am yet to meet a person with superstar status who is so humble and down to earth , this guy met everyone who came to meet him that day and showed no signs of hurry or any signs which suggested that he is a STAR. Something our desi celebrities back in India can learn from.