A DREAM COME TRUE
New York 1997
One day in May I arrived home from having to speak at a staff meeting about Clear and High Standards. As I was nervous and had no idea how to begin I decided to open with an overhead of Tina, thereby breaking the ice.
It worked; everybody knows I love Tina so I got a few chuckles and was able to go on! When I got home that night my wife met me at the door and told me that I had better sit down. I didn't understand why and noticed she had a piece of paper in her hands. She showed me the paper; it was a flyer she had created on the computer.
It was entitled "Tim's Wildest Dreams" and had a picture of the Statue of Liberty and the New York skyline.
Confused, I asked what this was all about and was told to go up and look at my e-mail. When I got to the computer there was a note from Elle which began "You gonna love this" and ended telling me I was going to be part of a " meet and greet with Tina in NY on July 27." I couldn't believe that any of this was happening, and after much shouting I decided to contact Elle to be sure this wasn't some kind of hoax a friend might play! All I could say was, "Oh my God, Oh my God! Are you serious?!!" It was all true! I should add at this point that I am generally a very shy person; in fact, I've never really taken more than passing notice of any other celebrity.
For me, this moment was out of this world! After months of excitement the day of departure finally came; we arrived in NY at about 5:45 Saturday the 26th.
The weather was very hot and humid and the trip from the airport took about an hour through rush-hour traffic. The hotel was nice but thank goodness we brought earplugs because NY never rests! Before we knew it we had finished dinner, gone to bed and were waking up on Sunday morning. Soon we were up and out finding landmarks. Our senses were flooded with the sounds and smell and sights of this incredible city! For months I had fantasized about this day and now it was all finally coming together. Rounding a corner, Radio City Music Hall came into sight and on the outside was a picture of Tina that was three stories high! Everywhere we went we heard Tina's songs that day.
Finally we headed over to Radio City Music Hall where we had a tour from a rather earnest and perky guide! Inside we saw Tina's set and I was impressed by the size and acoustics of the theater. Backstage we saw rehearsal halls, a Rockette and Roxy's private apartment where there were pictures of Tina backstage during her last American tour. The inside of the theater was very impressive. It's designed so that from the back of the house, the stage looks like the sun setting and the walls are designed to look like waves of sunlight cast into the sky. Even the carpet was interesting - it depicted small fish that were swimming around. Apparently Roxy, the designer, fashioned the theater after a sunset he saw from a ship he was on while crossing the Atlantic. It was amazing! Finally, the tour was over and the heat growing unbearable, we headed back to the hotel about 3 p.m. to have a rest and wash up. By this time my feet were getting in pretty bad shape from having brought the wrong shoes!
Four thirty finally arrived and so we made our way to the meeting place Elle had chosen. Amazingly we arrived just on time and met Elle and the other people. There was incredible excitement in the air as we met each other; as Maggie said, we looked like "the United Nations!"
Having taken several pictures, we got into 3 taxis and made our way over to Radio City for dinner. We entered a restaurant called "Fridays". Unfortunately the heat was intense and the air-conditioning wasn't working so we left after having a drink.
Before regrouping, Elle gave us the final instructions about where and when to meet. "Don't arrive after 8," she said, "because it could be too late!" At any rate, the dinner was good and my adrenaline started to pump as I looked at my watch and noticed we only had 20 minutes to go! We ordered dessert and the cheque at the same time, wolfed it down, headed for the WC and made our way to the theater. As we arrived, there were several people there inside a police barricade. I entered, but Vicki, my wife, had to stay behind. She decided not to go in the theater right away and I was glad she did. Elle then appeared and put a pass-sticker on me and told me to stay close to the door. There were several security men there, none of whom seemed particularly friendly! A few moments later she put a different pass on my other shoulder. As this was going on I looked up to notice a man passing in front of me. When I looked up, it was Roger Davies, Tina's manager! He was getting something out of the limo that was parked inside the police barricade. I couldn't believe what I was seeing and stood there in awe only to be jostled by Elle who said Tina was waiting and we could go in! I turned to say bye to Vicki. Stumbling in, we had yet another security line to pass. The security people were checking a few details when I heard Roger say, "Right, then, take 'em up to see Tina!" Up a flight or two, who remembers!; I was soon standing in a long, wide corridor.
There were doors at either end and an elevator off to one side opposite a piano. We stood there for a few moments; I expected we would be let in to see Tina after a few minutes. While looking down at my camera, I heard a hooray and then Tina's voice; she was standing 5 feet from me and was simply bigger than life! She said hi, jokingly asked a few of the people that she knew if they ever got sick of the show! She looked tired, but after 250+ shows and 15 months on the road, no wonder! Before I knew it, she was moving in front of me to the other side of the room for a group photo.
I let the rush pass only to find myself standing next to Roger. I asked for his autograph which he kindly gave me. Now, don't get me wrong, I couldn't wait to see Tina but actually meeting Roger Davies was also an incredible thrill. This is a man whose genius has enabled the two of them to reach colossal goals! It was at this time that I was suddenly jostled by security and moved toward the door in the excitement of the moment. I couldn't believe it! I had never dreamed I could actually meet Tina and now to be so close only to be pushed out! Just then Roger stopped them and moved me closer to Tina; in fact, he told me to go up and meet her! As I started to do this, someone moved in front of me. I stood to the side and waited.
Again Roger made sure I had my turn and again someone stood in front of me! Finally, though, it was my turn! Roger then asked for my camera and called out Tina's name. 'Tina," he said. "Tina! It's Tim from Canada!"
With a smile, Tina looked at Roger, looked at me, gave me a big smile, and put her arm around me. I told her I was honored and she smiled again. I felt as though I were standing in the middle of a movie. I just couldn't take it all in. Here I was with my arm around Tina Turner, talking to her while Roger Davies took our picture! The picture taken, I asked for her autograph. Her hands were full of gifts but she took the pen and started to sign. Just then she turned to me and said "But we'll do this later in the dressing room!" After some light conversation and a few fantastic moments, I moved aside to let someone else have an opportunity with her.
As our meeting was drawing to a close, she started to move away and I called her name. When she didn't hear me, I called it again louder and she stopped and turned around. As she returned, I said "Tina, I just wanted to give you this for your house in France. I hope you like it!" She extended her hand, thanked me, beamed me a million dollar smile, took it and was gone. From there security showed us the way out and before I knew it I was back outside at the stage door. Elle tried to take things back in to get autographed but some people from Hanes arrived and Tina didn't have enough time before the show. Vicki was very happy and I was shaking a bit! As I had been waiting to go in, she had managed to get Chuckii Booker's autograph! She also got Karen Owen's autograph! I quickly explained all that had happened, struggling to believe that it had happened at all.
As we started to move toward the front of the theater, James Ralston, Tina's long-standing guitar player, arrived. I hesitated and then went up to him and asked him for his autograph. He smiled, signed our shopping bag (which was all poor Vicki had left!!) and Vicki took a picture! I asked him how month 15 felt and he said all things considered, pretty good. I told him the show was fantastic, he beamed a smile, thanked me and went into the theater. Stunned, I stood there staring. Despite how tired she had looked, Tina went on to do a great show. At one point she stopped, told us what a great audience we were and that this was the best audience since her stay in NY - this was show #5 here. I couldn't believe how she came to life.
The harder the songs got, the better her voice became and the more furious the applause grew! We had seen here twice in Canada, and here she was even more vibrant a month later!
As the evening drew to a close, we returned to the back of the theater and saw Timmy Cappello leave. Above, on the second floor, we saw Jack Bruno, Sharon and Chuckii having some wine. What a night!!
On our last night in NY we decided to finish up near the Rockefeller Center and have some dinner. We tried Friday’s again, this time with air-conditioning, and had Long Island Iced Tea and pizza.
At about 8.15 we went back to Radio City to the stage door to see if we could see Tina one more time. After watching 100 stretch limos go by, finally Tina’s car pulled up and went behind the police line. Roger and Patrick got out and so did Tina. As the crowd screamed her name, she waved and ran inside. I saw the back of her head and then an old beat-up van drove in front of me! As we walked over, most of the security was now gone, we passed some of the trucks that were there to take away the set. Again we saw James Ralston arrive and passed Chuckii Booker and Warren McRae.
I heard my name being called and turned to see one of the ITTF members. She said she had something I would like and showed me a picture of me standing next to Tina talking! Then Elle came and we all had a good chat. As we were leaving, we started to walk up a dark street and passed three people walking toward us. Vicki looked up very excited but couldn't remember a name. As I saw her pass, I saw that it was Patti LaBelle. Quickly she slipped through the stage doors and went up to see Tina. We then made our way back to the hotel. We still had to pack and, send postcards and get to bed so we could get up at 4:30 a.m. and be at the airport on time. As we passed the Plaza hotel, I looked up to see Magic Johnson walk by! The news that night said he was in town on business. As you might imagine, we didn't get any sleep that night! This was certainly one holiday we won't soon forget!!!!!
A very heart felt thanks go out to Elle, without whom none of this would have been possible, Roger, who was very kind and took a fantastic photo! and of course, Tina, whose grace and composure have left me with even more respect for this fantastic lady!
Thank you all! Tim McDonald - Canada