I received a call late Thursday afternoon from Joan Rosenberg who used to book for Yoshi’s asking if Terrence could open up for Michael McDonald (yep, THE Michael McDonald formerly of the Doobie Brothers) on Saturday night. I immediately wanted to answer ‘yes!’, but there was trouble (yes, trouble with a capital T) and that trouble was that Terrence was already booked for another gig.
After some serious contemplation (from the artist, that is) he decided what the publicist [:-)] thought all along was the best option… to OPEN for MICHAEL MCDONALD!!!!
Not only was Terrence going to open for Michael McDonald (I will never tire of typing that!) he was also being introduced to the world of Live Nation (formerly Bill Graham Presents — for those of you still connected to your 70’s & 80’s history, know that this is a BIG deal!!!)
Although, we didn’t know what kind of reception he’d get (he was going to play solo jazz guitar to a crowd of people who came to hear Michael McDonald), we were thrilled by the opportunity!!!
From the moment we arrived at the gates of Mountain Winery, we were treated like royalty beginning with hearing the sounds of Michael McDonald’s sound check against a spectacular view of the entire Silicon Valley below us. We were escorted to the ‘band’ parking lot, right next to two large tour buses (one day… one day…) and then shuttled to the back-stage area of the concert venue where we first saw this sign:
When we arrived at the back-stage lot, crew came to carry our belongings (oh yah, I could get used to this!!) to the ‘Green Room’, which by the way, I’ve only been in one “Green Room” that was actually green (VFTB) – go figure! But this Green Room was so many colors with all its original art work
There we found two curtained off rooms all for us and little did we know, the ten guests we didn’t know we could invite! :-(. Inside, we found bottles and bottles of wine, coolers and coolers filled with beers, soda, smoothies, etc) and bowls of pretzels, nuts, chocolate, chips, veggies, fruit platters, you name it!
Once we settled in our room and recovered from the shock of it all,
I went out and about to meet the folks who set this up for Terrence, specifically Mark H. and his PA Jaime. Mark was a fantastic guy (damn if I forgot to take a pic with him — hopefully, there’ll be a next time!). He was so cool and laid-back, even though he was in charge of putting this whole concert together! He told us he’d been on the road 20 years and loved it — and you could tell: his knowledge, professionalism, and ability to put us at ease were priceless! Once he showed us where the stage entrance was and told us where to go for merch sales, he gave us ALL ACCESS backstage passes – allowing us to go anywhere in the venue we wanted – WOW!!!
I then headed up to the Plaza, where concert-goers can have dinner & drinks, to find the merch booth. This is where we met John and Jeanne, who took care of all our merchandise (nope, I didn’t have to sell — I told you we were treated like royalty!!!)
When I returned backstage, the headliner had finished their sound check and started eating a dinner consisting of Mahi Mahi with mango salsa, braised beef, rice pilaf, steamed veggies, various types of pies, ice cream – right outside our rooms!!!!
We walked through to go to Terrence’s sound check (and no, I didn’t have the nerve to interrupt their dinner), which lasted all of, oh, 10 – 15 minutes!!!
After sound-check, the band was still eating, but this time they were celebrating the birthday of one of the band members – the drummer – Yvette “Baby Girl” Preyer and invited us to celebrate with them. Michael McDonald actually stood up and shook hands with Terrence and introduced himself — like we didn’t know who he was – LOL!!! I was still too nervous to look or talk to him, but did wish “Baby Girl” a Happy Birthday!
At this time, we had approximately one hour before the performance began and just tried to relax (me that is — Terrence was, as always, cool as a cucumber) as the concert-goers started arriving — all 3,000 of them!
We decided to make one last trip to the lavish trailers that served as the restrooms — yes, lavish… air conditioning, floor rugs, flowers on the vanity — these were no ordinary outhouses! LOL
On our way back to the Green Room, we fell into step alongside Michael McDonald and Terrence introduced me to him :-). We all walked back together chatting it up about where we all lived, why “Baby Girl” wasn’t playing the drums that night, other miscellaneous chit-chat that I can’t remember because all I kept thinking about was that I was walking NEXT TO Michael McDonald.
As we reached Backstage, I asked Michael if I could take a pic of him and Terrence and he gladly obliged and took one with me, too! He was such a nice guy, even worried that he wasn’t dressed nice enough — who cares — you’re Michael McDonald – a legend!!!
His parting words to Terrence before he slipped behind the curtains of his Green Room, were: “Break a leg out there tonight; we’ll be listening to you!” — HOW COOL!!!
With a short time to go, we went back to the room and Terrence wrote out his set list and before you knew it, we heard the 10-minute bell, alerting everyone the concert was about to begin and telling us we needed to head down the ‘hole’ – the long stairway leading to the artists’ stage entrace.
At 7:25pm, the amphitheater was half full and we were standing stage-left.
While Terrence was waiting to go on, Mark came down to talk to us and asked me if I was going to do the VO for Terrence as he walked on stage. I didn’t hesitate a second to answer yes (well, maybe a bit after I accepted, but I thought, when am I ever going to get this chance again.. it’s just a little impromptu in front of 1,500+ people!!! Doesn’t matter if you’re speaking to 1 or 1000, the nerves are just the same! LOL). Don’t get me wrong, I love emceeing events like Alameda’s Run for the Parks or the Annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony, which I’ve done now for the past five years, but announcing your husband to stage at a Michael McDonald concert with over 1,500 people is a little more nerve-wracking and a heck of a lot more thrilling!!!
And, so with the introduction of “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage, award-winning Bay area jazz guitarist… Terrence Brewwwwwwer!” And, on he went! At this point, I can’t sit still, I’m so excited for him, but, as always, he was the consummate professional! If you’ve ever seen Terrence perform, you know he knows how to engage a crowd; and this time was no different!
For an audience who was there to see Michael McDonald who plays an entirely different genre of music, the crowd was exceptionally warm to Terrence, even applauding after his guitar solos.
Terrence performed his 30-minute set and left the stage to a raucous round of applause and headed up to the Plaza to sign autographs & pose for pictures with his newly acquired fans Jeff (top) and Neal & Nancy Ashton (bottom)
After 30 minutes of schmoozing with his fans, Terrence and I were treated to a wonderful performance!
Wanting to beat the crowd, we stayed and listened to about 3/4 of the set and then started packing up.
Our bags were lighter with less merch
but our hearts and heads were full of excitement from a truly fantastic evening of
OPENING FOR MICHAEL MCDONALD!!!!