Monday, November 15, 2010

Botti Bummer

Saturday night entailed a trip into the city for the sold-out Chris Botti concert.

Chris Botti is a trumpet player for those of you who aren't familiar with him. Apparently, he is big with the older set--we found that out Saturday night. The old guy next to me and I had a lovely time yucking it up together before the concert. Old guys dig me--or so my family says.

Here's me and Em chilling before the concert. I liked that they had a bar on levels 3, 4, and Top-O-the world. By the time I found my seat, I not only needed a sherpa and some oxygen, but that cocktail as well.

I took some photos as we walked from the parking garage to the venue - The Chicago Theater. The city of Chicago is already decked out for the holidays. Macy's took over the old Marshall Field's years ago and they still can't pull off the charm that Field's had. And the windows? Lame. I guess some of us still won't forgive them for changing the name.

I love going into the city--there are characters galore. Here's my chef buddies who I found hanging out after the dinner rush. "See ya on Facebook!" they yelled as I thanked them for the photo. Nah, I'll do one better--I put ya on my blog.

If you haven't been to Chicago, it really is a nice place to visit. The city is very cool with its elevated trains. I never lose the excitement of going downtown--it is just bustling with activity and stories.

Back to the concert--Chris Botti always has a Meet and Greet after his shows and he boasts of encouraging kids to continue in their music. And while he did pull two older students out of the audience and gave them two front row seats, the Meet and Greet wasn't what we expected.

I had the foresight to purchase a poster ($15) when we came in, knowing that he meets with kids after the concert. I figured we'd better have something of his to sign, and sure enough, anyone without a purchased CD or poster was immediately yanked out of the Meet and Greet line. Hmmmmm.

Then, as we stood waiting, burly security guards told us to put away our cameras, as Chris wasn't taking photos tonight. Hmmmmmm--that's not what he said at the end of his concert.

And then, when our turn finally came for our "meet and greet", Chris Botti and his security guard were busy chatting up about something. He grabbed the poster from Em's hand, scribbled his name across it, and handed it back to us.

"Here's a band student for you, Chris" I pointed to Em. To which he looked up and gave us a lame "Thanks for coming" and turned to the next person. Buzzkill. Joe says he needs to "walk the talk" and I agreed. Joe is very smart on things like that.

I think we would have been better not being at the "meet and greet" at all--we were all really let down by that. I mean, if you don't want to meet the fans---don't do it. Better none at all than a lame meeting. I kept going back to Helene's story of Michael Flatley. There is nothing worse than a lame celebrity encounter--and there is nothing better than a good one.

Ours was lame and here's Em's face to prove it:

On the other hand, Botti's bass player made up for his rudeness. Dude couldn't have been more gracious and accommodating. When I mentioned Em was in band, he was all "Hey, COOL!" and thanked us for coming to see them.

Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. He made us feel good and he's a freaking no-name! Thank you, bass-guy-that-was-nice-and-made-us-feel-welcome!

Great how the nice just overrides the icky, eh? And the funny thing is that what we are gonna remember from the Chris Botti concert is just how nice the bass player was. Its a shame Botti doesn't get that.


Helene said...

Yep, for his Irish castle, beautiful girls (DON'T read his biography A Marie!!) and fame and money, he was just a Chicago guy.
Glad I don't know who this Chris guy is.

Melodie said...

Those last 2 pictures tell the whole story! It still looks like a great time despite ole Chris turning out to be a lame-o !

A.Marie said...

Boo for Chris-whats-his-name!! Yeah for awesome-no-name-bass-player!!! :)

Awww..Helene...Can't I just peek at gorgeous-guy-with-dancing-feet's bio??? ;)

Lola said...

I know what you mean about the let down when you go for an autograph. I met Rosie O'Donnell at a book signing and she was just doing the perfunctory signing...unless you had a cute and cuddly baby or toddler. She oohed and ahhed over those and made a big deal. Everyone else, was, shake hands, sign, snap a photo. On the other hand, I've met singer Melissa Ferrick at several Chicago area concerts and she always engages members of the audience after her shows. In fact, she'd chat with each person for quite a while, as she signed (not just a signature, your name or names and some personal message) and allowed photographs to be taken with concert goers.

JODI said...

Some famous people seem to forget they are "regular" people too--still. Poo-poo to the turd for booting those out of line who just wanted to shake hands and not line the pocket anymore.

vanilla said...

Yeah, all the old guys from 2 to 102. The first picture "happy picture" is great.

Too many celebs' heads grow so large that no one else can get in the room. Bummer.

Nancy said...

Hmn...that is a shame. I mean, you'd think he'd be into promoting his style of music, right? Perhaps something odd was happening to throw him off. In any case, he'll pay unfortunately.

Grace said...

I'm all about music, you know that and I have never heard of the jerk. Looked him up on youtube, I'm not impressed. He sure is no Miles Davis or Wynton Marsalis. What he is, it appears, is an asshole.

Love the city pics. Macy's was never known for it's Christmas windows, I mean they were nice and all but gotta go to Lord & Taylor - they do awesome windows - well, at least they used to...

natalee said...

UGHHHH>>>>> Lame celebrity encounters suck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ems face cracked me up.......

Catherine said...

All-in-all it looks like you had a lovely time! And your daughter is looking much happier in the last photo!

Happy Monday Lin!
xo Catherine

Bossy Betty said...

Yeah for the bass player!!! Love Em's face in that picture.

You look FAB, baby!

lifeshighway said...

Those last two pictures pretty much made your whole entry today. Priceless.

I love visiting Chicago!

Pricilla said...

How rude. I'll bet you don't buy any more of his stuff now.

What about the people who went who spent what they could on the tickets who wanted to "meet and greet". The ones who didn't have any extra $$ for a poster or CD? Did they not deserve to bask in his glory too? I HATE stuff like that

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

I had no idea he was like that! I am familiar with his music, as a jazz lover BUT, that's a shame that he can't walk the walk. I'm sure the bass player wasn't a no name because with a top act like Chris Botti, it takes years to get a gig like that.

Jo said...

So sad!! I love his music and he is a hottie but the tude from hell has to go! Sorry about the let down!

BeadedTail said...

That's too bad he had to treat his fans that way. If it wasn't for fans, he wouldn't be where he is today. So glad the bass player made up for Chris being rude.

I've only been to Chicago once but loved it! It's a beautiful city and I enjoyed the pizza too!

Ann said...

I don't know who the guy is but sounds to me like he's a talented snob.
Glad the bass player made up for it

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of the night I got into an elevator, and it was then me and Gladys Knight alone for a minute........Fran's Dad

Anonymous said...

that wonderful talented bass player's name is Timothy Lefebvre -one of the most requested bass players in NYC

guy can play anything with anybody, check him out

Lin said...

Helene--Yeah, Botti went down a few levels in my mind after that. It would have been a better feeling if there was no meeting at all.

Melodie--Oh, it was! It was a really nice concert but it was hard to see him act like a jerk. Let the air out of the tires a bit.

A.Marie--Aw, it was a fun night anyway. Even the chefs were fun. :)

Lola--Tim Gunn is another. GREAT guy in person! And what did it take?? 30 seconds rather than 2?? I dunno, I think those extra seconds spent being nice are HUGE.

Jodi--And KIDS yet!!! That was the worst part. Didn't walk the talk, Jodi. It made me sad.

Vanilla--No, really. Joe cracks up because old guys and I just end up talking all the time. It's a good thing. :) Now when it happens, Joe just shakes his head.

Nancy--Here's my thought--he may have been sick or the crowd may have been too large. In that case, don't announce it at the concert that you'll meet and take photos with everyone after the show. I would think you'd have a plan, wouldn't you?

Grace--Oh, he plays lovely enough and we enjoyed the concert. It was just that he appeared one way on stage and the diva took over afterward. If we didn't have the meeting, I would have thought he was great. He made a huge mistake. Windows just aren't the same nowadays. Sigh.

Natalee--Em's face said it all, didn't it?? Wish he could see that.

Catherine--The bass guy was great! We didn't want much--just some fun and he delivered. I think it took 28 seconds more to be nice.

Betty--Thanks, Betty! It was the wine at the top of the mountain we climbed to our seats that made us smile. Thank god that St. Bernard found us.

Highway--Let me know when you are coming this way, pally. :) Lola and I are the official Chicago greeters.

Pricilla--Excellent point! Now I'm even more disgusted.

Chocolate--Yeah, I'll have to google the bass player. I liked Botti on TV, he seems so nice. Yeah/no. :(

Jo--He isn't so cute in person--he actually looks old in person. But maybe it was his sour look that made him appear that way. It makes me sad because I used to really like him.

Beaded Tail--Come back to Chicago to see me!! We could go out for pizza and trash talk Chris Botti! ;)

Ann--It's weird because he's so "friendly" in the concert and then he pulls this. I don't get it. Sad, eh?

peewee said...

great pics!!! I love love love chicago. Maybe I should move there!! Seasons!

FUn night out. Jealous!!!

Veronica Lee said...

Love the pics, Lin especially Em's expression in the 2nd last pic. Hope to visit Chicago someday.

Sharkbytes said...

Those windows were amazing. We used to go to Chicago every year for T-day.

Lin said...

Fran's Dad--Gladys Knight??! ReallY?! Did you say anything to her?

Anonymous--He was FABULOUS! We not only enjoyed his playing, but he couldn't have been more gracious. That made the evening for us. :) (Is that you again, Fran's Dad???)

peewee--Well, if you don't move here, at least come visit! Lola and I are the official blog greaters of Chicago. :)

Veronica--Isn't that hilarious?? I keep telling her that her face is gonna stick that way. :)

Sharky--We used to go as a kid when nearly everyone had windows decorated. Sigh. Times have changed, sadly.

John Anton said...

A measure of a man can be made when you see how he treats someone who can do nothing for him.

SLColman said...

That just sucks about how Chris what's his name acted.... Just wow! I agree don't talk the talk and not walk the walk!!

Jean said...

Happy Endings are well...HAPPY!!!

Sandra said...

The first picture is so great. You look so relaxed with that drink in hand! I'm jealous and craving a real night out in, I'm nowhere near Chicago, but I can dream.

Lin said...

John--Brilliant! I love that, John. :) Miss you and Betty tons! :)

Stephanie--Maybe they should have classes, like Celebrity 101. "Be nice to the little people who made you what you are" is Chapter one.

Jean--Hooray! ;)

Sandra--Welcome, new pally! That's not relaxed you see in the photo--that is near exhaustion from finally reaching the second to the last row in the theater!! ;)

Anonymous said...

Sorry you had a bad experience.
I have been to multiple Chris Botti shows and he has been nothing but wonderful during the meet and greets. The venue sets the rules and when they say no pictures they go through the line for autographs. After that the tour manager calls out for a new picture line to start for those who have stick around.

Lin said...

Anonymous--Hi, pally. Wish I had your name to welcome you. :) Anywho....It wasn't the venue, but Chris himself who wasn't very pleasant or friendly. We actually did stand around for a bit and thought about going back through the line to get "my money's worth" (jokingly). By then, my daughter and husband was disgusted and that's when we ran into Timothy Lebebvre--the bassist, who was warm and friendly. I stand by my experience, and I have to tell you, there aren't many second chances for kids--they remember how you treated them and Chris Botti did NOT walk the talk.

Storm, The Psychotic Housewife said...

I miss visiting Chicago - we have to do it again soon!

I'm sorry the meet and greet was so lame, though. :( We had somewhat of the same experience when we met Carlos Mencia a few years back. His brother posed for some great photos with my DH though!

Anonymous said...

My family has been to several Chris Botti shows and he is always very gracious. He was virtually unknown when we first found his music. That he even does a Meet and Greet after a 2+ hour concert is amazing. How many artists do you know that want to meet their fans espeially after becoming more famous. Chicago is a venue that is very strict with the M&G due to so many people. One year the line took over 2 hours. Our son is also a musician and Botti has been very encouraging to him. Once after a show Botti seemed to be a little rushed or preoccupied but that is understandable. Too bad you were so hard on him on your first impression. Maybe he wasn't feeling well or extremely tired or involved in another conversation when your turn came. Just imagaine if someone judged you by a few minutes of meeting you especially if you were not at your best. I say it would be worth another try, his music and his encouragement to young students is incredible.

Lin said...

Storm--I wish "celebs" would understand the importance of meeting their fans. I understand getting an "iffy" meeting if we approached them on the street or doing their personal errands--but this was a Meet and Greet. You gotta be "up" whether you want to or not.

Anonymous--I'm guessing you found me by googling Chris Botti because most of the anonymous pallies here leave a name. Either way, welcome! :) I understand your point, but I think you already are a huge fan of Chris Botti (hence my first sentence) so I see why you defend him, and I appreciate that. That said--I am not a celebrity so I am not accosted in public nor expected to be "up" on my off days. And while I would expect an "iffy" reaction had I interrupted Mr. Botti at McDonalds or picking up his dry cleaning, I DO expect exemplary and gracious behavior at a Meet and Greet--that is the whole point! I wasn't hard on him--he was rude, plain and simple. His conversation was joking with his security guard while he ignored my teenage daughter--so he wasn't "encouraging" to my daughter, even when I pointed out to him that she was a band student. I have met other celebrities in Chicago and the crowds were the same or even larger--it is to be expected when you come to a big city. If he wasn't up for the M & G, he should have canceled. And while we loved the concert--the ending left us with a sour note. (no pun intended) So, I appreciate your comments, but I do not share your feelings for Chris Botti--he's got to walk the talk ALL the time when interacting in a public arena. Whether he is feeling good or not. He has literally 3 seconds to make an impression and he failed in our situation.

Anonymous said...

Lin, You've probably realized that your blog post about your experience in the M&G line after Chris Botti's concert has definitely struck a nerve with Mr. Botti's fans.

As a fan myself, I'm disappointed for you, too, and agree with you that artists always should be "on" when interacting with fans, and, in my experience, and to his credit, Chris usually is.

As you probably have learned, he tours literally constantly and makes a point of meeting with fans after nearly every peformance. In that regard, I've seen him handle some rather "challenging" fan situations in the meet-and-greet lines and he's always been tactful and gracious. Sometimes those encounters, out of necessity, however, have to be briefer than anyone would like due to circumstances outside his control.

That said, it sounds like your situation was within his control, but he's merely human, and he works extremely hard, so I allow him an occasional slip, as I would anyone with as relentless a schedule and who is so committed to delivering great performances to his audiences every single time.

He's the first one to acknowledge the importance of his fans to his career and his success, so I'm just sorry to read in your post that he was not at his best.

I don't think you have to worry that word of your disappointment didn't reach him, however, since a link to your post was shared on his website's discussion forum, and it prompted a response from his tour manager, who explained some of the issues they face in conducting post-concert meet-and-greets, especially at very large venues like the Chicago Theater with many fans to accommodate and often a limited amount of time in which to do that.

As I've said, my experience is that your meet-and-greet experience is not at all typical for Chris and while I can't speak for them, I suspect he and his tour manager regret that yours and your daughter's was disappointing.

That they are aware of your unhappy experience is half the battle, but I also believe, as I can see you do from reading some of your other posts, that if someone has a legitimate problem with a purchase or is dissatisfied with a service, there should be, and usually is, a way to resolve it to your satisfaction.

With that in mind, I would ask you, since the "damage" already is done, what, if anything, would you legitimately have them do to make it up to you and your daughter?

Lin said...

Anonymous--Gees, there are a LOT of you on this post! I appreciate your comment, pally, and I have actually addressed the crowd over at the Chris Botti website and forum because I felt like you all were lighting torches! I stand by my experience and actually, I DID enjoy the concert....immensely! And while I'm sure the Botti fans have all had GREAT experiences meeting him, I did not--and I said so. I'm not a hater of any kind, so I don't think you have to bookmark the Duck and Wheel for anti-Botti comments in the future, and I will have certainly moved onto other bigger, more important subjects like the frogs in my pond hibernating or just how fat my cat is. Honestly, I think you all just took this too seriously. I went, enjoyed the show, and didn't enjoy the Meet & Greet--moving on to selling cookie dough for our band fundraiser. Other than Chris coming over for meatloaf next week and serenading Hobbes the cat, I don't think he has to worry about making anything up to us.

Joski said...

I know this is a bit late but I actually am a Chris Botti fan (somewhat new) and went to the Chicago Theatre sold out concert on 11/15. The concert was excellent but I have to agree with Lin, he actually said on stage that he would take photos and give autographs after the show but then the rules kept changing once you got in the M&E line. I have some physical disabilities and can't stand for very long. I endured the long stand in line only to find out I had to purchase either the poster or CD which was in another line. Then, once we got closer to Chris Botti, Security keeping announcing out to the crowds no cameras beyond this point. I tried to get my friend to at least take a pic while I got his autograph but security wouldn't let that happen. Chris Botti was aware of this but did not appear interested in me until I actually spoke to him. He signed my CD. Then I noticed the girls right after me were allowed to take a pic with him so I pulled out my camera to take pic of him and security got all over me like I was a some hardened criminal. It was embarassing and ridiculous. All Chris had to do was say, it's ok, let her take a pic! Perhaps it was the venue, Chicago Theatre, but it was as though I saw a different side of Chris Botti. It actually put a downer to the whole evening.

Bottomline, if you are going to have a Meet & Greet after the show then don't announce on stage to the whole audience that you will be giving out authographs and allowing pics when in reality, you will only give autographs to those who purchase a poster/CD and only allow pics to those you choose/agree to have a photograph with.

Lin said...

Joski--Thank you, Joski, for confirming my experience! Late or not, it is nice to have someone else say it REALLY was that way and not at all nice. I wish you had posted this on his forum as well for Chris and his manager to see, but I'm just telling you that the fan base over there is VERY defensive. Very. Defensive. I noticed that photos were taken for certain folks too--I guess we aren't cute enough! Hahaha! And darn it, I thought me and Em looked kinda cute that night. :(