"Both Tuesday in Missoula and Thursday in Salt Lake City, I'd wound up with third row seats just to the right of the stage, on Brian Ray's side for face value ($250)," he said. "I'd made up my mind that the best possible way to get Paul's attention would be to bring an LP of 'NEW.' 'Pepper,' Abbey Road' and others must show up by the dozens at his shows, but how many times has Paul even seen a fan with a 'NEW' album on LP?
"I figured security wouldn't let me in with it, but if I got in with it, they weren't gonna kick me out. So I wore an oversize old black ("new world") T-shirt, brought the sleeve only (in tight plastic bag) and put it on my back under the shirt (I'm about 5'10 & 190). If you were looking closely, you could see the corners, but if I stretched out my shoulders it almost looked normal.
"That worked to get in to the shows both nights. Missoula found me to the right of Brian, because the outdoor stage was quite large. Salt Lake City found me almost directly in front of Brian, but from Paul's view, I was in virtually the same spot each night. The $1,500 soundcheck seats were immediately to my left. I made up my mind in advance that I didn't want to be obnoxious and wave the thing constantly. I figured with four 'NEW' songs each show, I could hold it up periodically during those and not bother the people behind me too much.
"And that's what I did. In Missoula during 'Save Us,' Paul definitely caught sight of my LP and did sort of a double-take (surprised!) and then gave me a smile/wink. That was very cool. :) I did the same thing for the other three 'NEW' songs, and I may have held it up once or twice more when Paul came over to our area of the stage, but I never got another overt acknowledgement of my LP. Didn't matter.
"Missoula is a town of about 75,000 people so when 25,000 showed up to see the biggest ever concert in the history of the state, I can tell you it was a pretty good time. My 15th show since 1989 and I thought Paul looked better and sounded better than more recent shows I've been to.
On to night #2 in Salt Lake City. I think I just missed Paul's arrival at the stadium by minutes, but I did stick my ear to the glass and hear 'Flaming Pie,' 'Jet,' 'Junior's Farm,' 'C Moon,' 'Every Night,' 'Things We Said Today' and 'Lady Madonna' in the soundcheck clearly enough. Held up LP during the 'NEW' songs.
'After 'NEW,' he mentioned that was from his latest disc, so I held it up again and that caught his eye. He definitely spotted it during 'Queenie Eye' and I believe during 'Everybody Out There,' as well. At one point, he looked right at it and nodded his head with approval making me (and those around me) pretty happy. Anyway, I think I held it up once more when he came by our side of the stage and I think he may have motioned down to it approvingly. But there was zero chance of tossing it onstage. Even at row 3 it would have been tough. So I gave up the idea.
"'And in the end ... see 'ya next time ... confetti". Great concert. Paul's security guy gets a dozen roses from someone and hands them to Paul, he raises them up, smells them and starts to exit on Rusty's side. Then Paul's security guy, the same guy seen behind the Missoula mama/daughter tattoo team in the Youtube video, hands Paul a couple LPs on Rusty's side of the stage. I turn to the people next to me and say, 'Oh sure, he signs THEIR lp, but not mine.'
"Paul grabs the LPs, then turns back towards the other side of the stage, scanning the audience. I reach down, pick up my LP one last time, and Paul says something (probably 'Get that guy's album!') to the big burly dude and points directly at me. He scoots down the barrier on the other side of the front row and comes to me. I hand the LP to someone in row one or two who hands it to the guy and off he goes. Bring out the smelling salts, because I can't believe it.
"Thirty plus years of collecting/following Paul and he made a point to look back and spot me and sign my disc. Unbelievable. As I told a good friend later that night, while still trying to wind down at 2:30 a.m., 'It worked!' And I can't believe it did."