That Time With Me, Maria & Ms. Jackson
Yes, it’s true and here’s the photo to prove it! If you think I have stories of the biz, you should really talk to my sister. Her legendary tales come via a long and storied career at both Tower Records and Newbury Comics. I’ll never forget the time she called me and said “Oh my God, Black Sabbath is having a meeting in my office!” So, she is the creator of this experience. There always seemed to be free tickets galore during this time… It was August 25 2001. I know this because it was the day that the sensational star Aliyah died in a plane crash in the Bahamas. Maria and I had gone to the show with one of her label reps who got the news later that night after the show.
We arrive at the Garden which was officially being called The Fleet Center at that time except nobody local called it that because why would we? It may have been the replacement building but it will always be the Gahdin to us. So we get the tickets and the passes from Will Call and we go inside. As I recall it was a pre-show meet and greet with radio winners, label people and …us. We get backstage and we are waiting around for the moment. I was definitely excited and nervous and just, ya know, keeping my cool (on the outside). Then, the moment arrives! The tour manager and the photographer shepherd us forward, I look up and Holy Mother of God, there she is. Janet. Jackson. Standing 6 inches from my face. She was in full costume, her headset mic was already rigged and she was ready to hit the stage. She was literally minutes from going out there and putting on a performance for the ages in front of thousands of people. And yet, here we were. I admit I felt kind of bad in that moment. Like, ugh!!, she is fulfilling promotional duties at a time when she probably just wants to sit alone and get her game face on. She could not have been any more polite and graceful. She whispered Hello. Saving her voice for the show I assumed. I did not utter a word. I think I mustered a smile while convincing myself not to pass out.
Now the photographer begins wrangling everyone into place. It was one of the only moments in my life where I was actually thankful for being on the shorter side. Maria and I were placed right in front. Right in the front row. On either side of Janet Jackson. Me, Janet, Maria. Can you believe that shit?!! A Janet Jackson Scheri Sisters sandwich. As we’re getting placed the photographer is squeezing us all in and next thing you know he grabs my shoulder and pushes me right up against Janet. Our shoulders were touching and I was MORTIFIED!!!! How DARE you Mr. Photographer, violate Miss Jackson’s space like that!!! I couldn’t freakin believe it. Being a major fan of space myself, I instantly tried to back away but before I knew it the next person was shoved up against me. Okay, I thought, time to just roll with it now. Thankfully he snapped the pic and it was over rather quickly. Did I utter a thank you to her? I may have tried but I was really just trying to get out of there with my composure still intact. It was beyond thrilling and the look on my face in the photo pretty much says it all. And then just like that, the moment ended. We were ushered away through a hallway where all of her dancers were warming up. I don’t know if it was just my exhilaration but it was the fiercest energy I’ve ever felt, walking through THAT group. It was so intense I could almost write a blog just about that. I remember keeping my eyes averted and tried not to bump in to anybody. I wasn’t about to violate anyone else’s personal space back there! After successfully passing by most of the troupe, I did happen to make eye contact with one of them. I managed to squeak out “Have a good show”. Let’s just say she most definitely already had the chance to get her game face on…