Jeff Lybarger's Song OF The Day

Subj: Song of the day XXIII (Special Edition III)
Date: 97-01-09 12:58:34 EST
From: OUTRIDERJL@AOL.COM (Jeff Lybarger)

Friday, October 14th, 1988. This day will forever be in my memory has a very special time. Got to work and couldn't do anything, all I could think about was tonight, seeing Jimmy live in concert. The two Firm shows I saw were good, but the reports were that Jimmy was kicking serious butt on this "Outrider" tour. And Jason will be playing drums too. Come on work day, hurry up and end.

For lunch I bought a copy of the Kansas City Star, they have a huge article on Jimmy with some cool pictures, so I go back and buy 5 more copies. (Still have all 6) Finally work is over and it's off to Memorial Hall. Jimmy was supposed to play at Kemper Arena, but due to, ahem, lack of ticket sales!?! they moved him to Memorial, which only holds about 3000 seats. Because the seating assignments can't be duplicated to to the tickets they have made this a "festival" seating. So arrive early.

We get there, and are pretty close to the door. Cool. They start letting people in 10 at a time. It was then that I took in the ATMOSPHERE around me. A cool October breeze, overcast skies, and 3000 people anticipating an EVENT. Not Zeppelin, but damn close. Hey look, we're in the door now. There, that shirt, I've gotta buy that. If I'd known how many people would offer me money for this shirt at Zepfest 96, hell I would have bought 100. (Stevie, I'll deal w/you later). Of course I've gotta have that program too. Wow, cool pictures.

The opening band, "Rock City Angels", suck. Enough said. There's the guitars that Jimmy plays. The roadies are getting it all set up, just about time now. Lights out, enter James, a quick "Good evening" and blastoff, "Who's to Blame" from "Death Wish II". The seats my friends and I managed to secure are 5th row, slightly right of center stage, right in front of Jimmy. Great.

The following two hours rock. Jimmy in fine form, playing and looking great. He closes with an emotional instrumental version of "Stairway to Heaven". Say whatever you like about this song, but seeing Jimmy perform this live, with 3000 people singing it back to him, was, in a word, chilling. The single greatest moment I've ever witnessed in a concert. Then he raises his double-neck to the sky, and kisses it. Beautiful.

We are standing there, blown away, and someone says, where are we gonna go party? I say, tonight, we're not, we're going to this hotel, I think Jimmy might be there. Of course all my friends laugh, "Oh yeah, what are you gonna do, just walk right up to him and say hi"? I told them to come along if they wish, if not, see ya later. Believe it or not, three of them went home. Fools!

So here we are at the hotel garage. Empty except for me and my four friends. We walk through the shops area, all closed as it's now 11:55, and wind our way into the main part of the hotel. We are walking down this big stairwell when we come around the corner and can see in the bar. Look, there's Durban Laverde, the bass player for Jimmy, and there's Jason. What did I tell you? My friends are now apologizing and telling me they should never have doubted me. HaHa!

So in the bar we go, of course my friends are just standing there, waiting for me to make the first move. So I walk up to Jason and start a conversation. We talk for a few moments and then it happened. Just three seats down the bar, there he is. Why did I not see him before? My heart has officially stopped. It's Jimmy, sitting ALONE. I quickly wrap things up with Jason, sorry man, but this is JIMMY!!

My friends have spotted him as well, and they are waiting for me to go over and make the initial move, once again. I look at my friends and say, well, here we are, there he is, and here we go. With that I walk up to THE MAN, and gently tap him on the shoulder, as he turns to face me I tell myself to stay clam. "Yes"?, he says, "Hi Jimmy, my friends and I were wondering if we might be able to talk with you"? "Certainly". And with that he stands up and turns his chair so he can face us.

We thanked him for a great show, each of us mentioning personal highlights, and he seemed to really appreciate this and THANKED US. I mention the fact that I was so grateful that he didn't just cancel his show when tickets didn't sell enough to fill Kemper, and that he carried on with the show and played so well. He said, " I know there are a lot bands on the road and people can't afford to see everybody, but I knew the people there tonight would be the real diehards".

I also asked him to clear up a nasty rumour regarding the last Zep show in K.C., back in 1969. The rumour is that Bonzo passed out and Zep were booed off the stage, and that's why they never returned to my town. Jimmy said absolutely that didn't happen, and in fact said he rather enjoyed Kansas City. I asked him if he would make me a promise, that whatever his next tour would be, to please come back to Kansas City. He said he definately would. He kept that promise, it took seven years, but Page/Plant played Kemper, and Jimmy was at the same hotel.

After some more talk with my friends a group of four people arrived and were wanting to talk with Jimmy. So I suggested that we wrap this up, so Jimmy could visit with everyone. We asked for and received his autograph. He signed mine, "Jeff, Rock On, Jimmy Page". ( And now you all know why I sign off the way I do)!

We then returned to Jason and Durban, after about 15 minutes Jimmy walked by me and said goodnight to the tour manager and Jason. As he was heading to the elevators I told my firend, Ed, that we should thank Jimmy one more time. He was so polite to us. So we caught him just before he got out the door and I said "Jimmy, I just want to let you know how happy you made us this evening. First a great show, then to find you are such a genuinely nice person, you've really made our day". He looked me right in the eye and said, "No problem Jeff". Ed then thanked him and he said, "OK, see ya later Ed". Did you catch that? He remembered OUR names. After all the years of meeting people, to have just met another 15 or so and to remember their names. I was amazed. And touched.

Twenty five minutes with Jimmy and the memory lasts forever. He was polite, sincere, sweet and he had on a Mister Ed t-shirt. Said he is a member of the Mister Ed fan club. Bet ya didn't know that!! I will treasure this moment as long as I live. Jimmy, I thank you. I wish you a very happy 53rd birthday.

I really hope you've enjoyed my personal account of meeting Jimmy, he is very much the gentleman. Perhaps I'll see you here again, right now, just don't know. I've enjoyed these little journeys and sincerely hope they can continue. It's been a blast.

Rock on,


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