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"JOSH GROBAN DAY" and Concert Report

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on October 31, 2007 - 1:16pm

JOSH GROBAN DAY
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH

The historical day of August 28, 2007 began for me in November 2006 when Joshua Winslow Groban released his ‘AWAKE’ album and announced a two year world tour. If he included Salt Lake City on a leg of his tour, I wanted this concert more memorable than the first.

His ‘CLOSER’ concert in February 2004 was my first Josh concert and when I realized the power behind the voice and how special he would become. I joined my first fan club “Friends of Josh Groban” and have been “in love” ever since. My sister and I drove to Wichita to see him again that year. This trip was more miraculous than imagined from meeting Josh backstage after his concert and connecting with family memories. We were surprised by the shy, thin, pale young Man who appeared and asked what to do. He didn’t look 6’ tall, didn’t control the situation, and seemed nervous. He proceeded along a line of people shaking hands, politely saying “thank you” for concert compliments, and worked his way towards us. As he came closer, I was nervous and my sister was preoccupied with the Reprise Record lady, so under my breath I “psst, psst, psst” her to hurry. Then Josh was in front of me with hand extended and softly said, “hi I’m Josh” and my nervousness melted away.

There stood the most beautiful Man I’ve ever seen with delicate features; perfect complexion, big brown eyes, long thick eyelashes, perfectly shaped lips, and tousled curls framed a kind face. As I shook his hand, I asked if I could GIVE him a hug. He graciously replied, “of course” and I barely contained my excitement as I leapt towards him, wrapped arms around his neck and squeezed as hard as I dared without hurting him, assured I didn’t inappropriately press against him, rubbed his back, and said “you’re wonderful”. I didn’t know he loved hugs or why I needed to hug him because I’ve never done anything like that in my life. He wrapped both arms around me, closed his eyes, and smiled THAT smile; the one that lights his entire face and his eyes crinkle. He needed my hug as much as I wanted to give him mine. He fidgeted with his fingers and my sister laid her hands on his with words to calm him. From that day on I was “sunk” and will forever support this remarkable vocal phenomenon.

I formulated a plan to let Josh know how much we love and appreciate him in SLC for his humanitarian contributions, extraordinary talents, and a nice Man. He also participated in our 2002 Winter Olympics. I wanted the Mayor to present “Key to the City” to Josh and proclaim his concert day as “JOSH GROBAN DAY”. I also volunteered to help plan the fan club Meet and Greet. The Mayor could present the key and M&G committee members could meet Josh. I didn’t know how to accomplish this project, but wrote an outline that endured many revisions, and emailed Val of Grobanites for Charity, the Mayor’s office, and Avnet Management. The project slowly moved and frustrated me because I didn’t receive a response from the Mayor’s office. Val volunteered as liaison with Avnet, but warned me not to get my hopes up. I eventually surrendered to frustration, but love for Josh nagged at me and my heart ached to complete this important task. I re-communicated with Val and the Mayor’s office, but didn’t know who to contact first or if simultaneously. I assumed the Mayor’s office and Avnet would connect and contact me when details were confirmed.

I contacted Community Affairs where a lady gave me names of staff members who work proclamation requests. I telephoned the Chief of Staff, but he was on vacation and didn’t return until the following week. He returned my call to listen to my request. He didn’t know who Josh Groban was until I said he sings “You Raise Me Up” then he said “oh I know who you’re talking about.” He explained “Key to the City” is only given to dignitaries, but suggested a Proclamation of Appreciation and requested an outline with WHEREAS and THEREFORE. I quickly submitted my outline because the concert date was fast approaching! He gave me a lady’s name as POC in the Mayor’s office. I emailed Val telling her no “Key to the City”, but not all was lost with the Proclamation of Appreciation, and no confirmation of “JOSH GROBAN DAY”. Val emailed that Avnet was reviewing proclamation information and asked if they contacted me. They hadn’t so I slowly panicked and bombarded her with questions; “what information were they reviewing”, “they didn’t have an outline copy and hadn’t asked”, “should I send a copy”, “where would they call me - at home - at work – would they leave a message”? I don’t have a cell phone! What if the project wasn’t finished for the concert? Aaaaah!

Lynne Malone from Avnet emailed a few days later to say someone definitely would participate in this activity and get back to me. I let Val know Lynne’s email sounded promising. Emails flew between me and Lynne, the Mayor’s POC, and Energy Solutions Arena where Josh would perform. I wanted candor and honesty to prevail with information and permission required. Meanwhile FOJG talked of paper hearts, and I attended M&G meetings, decided contributions, purchased supplies, made projects, and eased into an unknown world.

Proclamation details slowly crawled while waiting for Avnet’s confirmation and the Mayor’s signature. The Mayor’s office didn’t communicate as often as I thought so they seemed annoyed by my frequent emails and misunderstandings developed, but they confirmed the “JOSH GROBAN DAY” proclamation was written and setting on the Mayor’s desk for signature. They asked how I would obtain the proclamation because the Mayor’s schedule didn’t allow for him to personally present to Josh. I said I would pick it up. “Providence” stepped into the Mayor’s schedule when Lynne told me they arranged for two Backstage Passes for me and a guest to present the proclamation to Josh before his concert. I almost thudded out of my chair at work with excitement! I asked who should go with me and she said “whoever I wanted”. I discussed the proclamation at M&G committee meetings and didn’t lack volunteers to meet Josh, but later had to tell them that only I could present the proclamation, but they supported me. My daughter-in-law Karen was one of my guests so I felt she should meet Josh because she wouldn’t have another opportunity. I telephoned her with the news and she wasn’t even excited to meet Josh. NOT!!! She hardly spoke or breathed, handed the telephone to my Son, and screamed three times “I’m going to meet Josh Groban”!

The proclamation was delayed so I concentrated on M&G projects and printed copies of my poem “Who Are We” dedicated to the Grobanites. The yellow rose is our friendship symbol so I wanted to print my poem on paper of yellow roses. After searching every scrapbook store north to south I concluded no rose paper was available in Utah. I eventually found perfect paper of the sky, ocean, and rocks to represent San Pedro Beach in the ‘AWAKE’ DVD, and printed my copies. During a trip to Michael’s that developed into many trips to every store in the Salt Lake Valley, I found labels of Js and Gs so began collecting the sets needed for the goodie bags. The letters weren’t an item supplied by them; just appeared and didn’t know how often or when. The letters were sale items in bins and I repeatedly emptied them week after week looking for those specific letters. They were always in bottom bins, and my body isn’t shaped to sit on floors so I looked for something to sit upon. Once I overturned a large terracotta pot while emptying the bins into another. I began collecting note cards with violets for Josh’s birth flower and notepads of Italian scenes as our M&G theme. These were also Michael’s, “don’t know when or how they come” items so returned again and again to obtain what we needed.

The French fans made paper hearts to hold in the air during the Paris concert when Josh walked through the audience singing, “In Her Eyes”. The fan clubs in each city on his tour adopted the hearts as a tradition. I took to this idea like “fish to water” and cut 800 hearts and attached a poem to explain how to use them without exposing his surprise. I also asked the hearts be taken home so ESA wouldn’t need to sweep them off the floor. I wanted them to know we’re fans of social decorum. My creative mind worked overtime when I made “Sweeney heads” to honor Josh’s dog. They were made of foam, button eyes and nose, yarn topknot, heart shaped mouth, and bow-tie of his name. Sweeney was made useful by gluing on a magnet and attached a tongue depressor for holding. I could sense a chuckle from Josh when he saw them.

The proclamation became priority when the Mayor returned from vacation and signed the proclamation for me to pick up. I normally run errands dressed “come as you are”, but a visit to the Mayor’s office for 5-minutes required more than sweatpants, tennis shoes, and hair in a ponytail. The proclamation was duplicated as written in my outline except for a few appropriate changes, typed on parchment paper with gold seal of the City and County Building and Mayor’s name at top of first page, his signature on second page, and inserted into a dark green folder with gold seal and his name on the front. His office is located in the historic building, exquisitely decorated of wood and marble with portraits of prestigious individuals hanging on the walls. The building demands respect and quiet as a church.

Lynne, the ESA, and I frequently communicated as we tried confirming details for the special day. The paper hearts, Sweeney heads, and a 6’ft banner to say “JOSH GROBAN DAY” became issues. ESA confirmed that Avnet would let us use the hearts, if they distributed them in the arena so we didn’t interfere with sound check and rehearsal. The Sweeney heads were “no”, and banner approved if not hung inside the arena. Avnet sworn me to secrecy about concert details they didn’t want revealed and vetoed the hearts as a distraction. Lynne called the day before when they arrived in SLC to approve use of the hearts because the DVD director saw them in Anaheim and thought they were cool. The banner was held outside, but kept a surprise from Josh so to capture his instantaneous reaction on film. I rehearsed in my sleep my conversation with Josh for the presentation but decided to “go with the flow” and “fly by seat of my pants” with faith all would go well. I changed outfits several times, dyed my grey hair, selected nail polish, considered cosmetic surgery, and pondered how to loose 100-lbs in two weeks. The cosmetic surgery and weight loss were failures, but my nails looked pretty and matched my lipstick.

The BIG day arrived and I tried to stay calm. We planned to arrive at Biaggi’s Restaurant for M&G setup at 2:00pm and ready by 4:30pm. I started dressing at noon so to pick up Karen at 1:30pm. Applying makeup became an angry and impatient maneuver and cursed all the way because no matter how much was applied I still looked older than I wanted to be. My sister said I looked nice, presentable to exit the front door, and she helped carry items to my car. She noticed a white substance on my navy blue blouse so as we returned to the apartment I fell to the sidewalk in my white pants! She usually watches over me because of health issues, but this time she cried “oh my god, as soon as I turn my back, there you go”, and tried to help. I wasn’t hurt, but concerned my white pants were dirty because I didn’t know which outfit to change into if they were.

I met my Son and Karen to pick her up and drove downtown with paper hearts, gifts for Josh, and CJ ‘AWAKE’ album stand for the charity auction. We encountered no problems except the horrendous construction projects so around the blocks we went before entering the parking garage. We were first to arrive at Biaggi’s and employees were setting up the banquet room and asked us to wait in the dining room until finished. We waited for committee members to arrive, especially Marilyn because she was bringing goodie bags, table decorations, auction and raffle items, “JOSH GROBAN DAY” plaque, and picking up Tess with t-shirts, lanyards and name badges.

Lynn and family arrived and surprised Marilyn hadn’t so they telephoned to learn she was still home! A telephone call for me raised my stress when I thought Lynne was calling with an earlier time change for Josh’s M&G, but it was a message from Marilyn. Lynn and Larry coordinated with her to help with last minute details. After anxiously waiting, Marilyn arrived with many boxes of goodies donated by fan club members and GFC. The banquet room became smaller as guests arrived, and only two alcoves were available to exhibit auction and raffle items. Brook, Penny, Jenn, Tess, Marilyn, Lynn, Stella, Joelle, and I quickly filled the blue ‘AWAKE’ goodie bags, arranged table decorations, and finished last minute details. We received a petition from allluce4 requesting Warner Brothers to release “AWAKE” as a single record, and was signed by members and non-members with 32 signatures. Allaluce4 reported 500+ signatures have been obtained.

Marilyn distributed camouflaged goodie bags to the men and a boy. She held a contest for the Men to see who could sing a Josh song. Joelle’s husband sang in English and another man sang in Italian so they both won a power tool. Marilyn exhibited auction and raffle items, and Josh goodies for purchase. Lynn and her daughter accepted payments and distributed tickets for the Chinese raffle. I bought raffle tickets for Karen, my friend Jane, and me, and purchased “Josh Groban Fan” license plate frames for my car. Jane won a picture frame, and I won the candles on our table and shared with Karen.

Angelique Kidjo and her family honored us with their presence and thanked us for contributions to the Batonga charity. Batonga provides money and education for impoverished young women in Africa. She also held an autographed photograph of her and Josh while Trish began the auction. A bidding “war” between Marilyn and another member raised the amount to quite a bit of money. Angelique presented the photograph to the winner with a hug. A beautiful black vest with orange and yellow and gemstones was presented to Angelique who adorned and posed for us. The vest fit her exuberant personality to a ‘T’ and she seemed thrilled. She was also given a bouquet of red roses. We were honored to meet Angelique and her family.

Jack and Lindy Groban also surprised us and we stood and applauded their presence. They expressed thanks for our charitable contributions. Lindy confirmed that Josh personally selected SLC as concert site for his ‘AWAKE’ tour DVD because he holds a place in his heart from performing in the Winter Olympics and the Delta Center in 2004 as his first arena concert. The DVD was the special detail that Avnet asked me not too divulge and I did not! Lindy explained Josh performed the entire concert in an empty arena the night before to capture DVD technicalities. I met both of them and explained that I was presenting the “JOSH GROBAN DAY” proclamation. They’re a very gracious couple and thanked me. We enjoyed their precious time with us.

I kidded myself I wasn’t nervous about the presentation, but definitely was because I didn’t eat very much. I showed and explained the proclamation and plaque to our guests before we left. We caught a cab to the ESA at 5:50pm to pick up the BSPs because the outside temperature was too hot for walking and we didn’t want to look haggard before we met Josh at 7:00pm. We arrived at “Will Call” in the lower lobby of the ESA to pick up the passes which are a green oval of Josh’s face, says “JG josh groban, Meet and Greet, Aug 28, 2007, and fojg” written in silver ink. We adhered to our clothes, found vacant seats, and sat to rest in anticipation. Lindy gave BSPs to Lynn and Marilyn because Marilyn brought a young friend who has cancer and wanted to fulfill one of her dreams to meet Josh. Marilyn crochets the afghans of Josh and wanted him to autograph the card for her latest creation. Three ladies approached us and introduced themselves as ginnygo, her daughter, and Idahogrobanite. Ginnygo and I missed meeting each other in Wichita and wanted to meet. Joivana also stopped to say hello and showed me her sign that she was taking into the concert. The sign said “Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue, I Want a Hug from Only You”. Josh saw the sign and acknowledged and gave Joivana her hug.

We continued waiting and became antsy by the minute as 7:00pm approached because we didn’t know where to find Josh and no one came to escort us. Instructions on the BSP envelope were confusing and ‘Will Call’ and guys wearing yellow shirts weren’t helpful. We proceeded to the elevator for upstairs to Portal A where we were told we would be met by an escort. As concert goers arrived, the elevator moved slower and took longer. We arrived at Portal A where another misinformed man sent us back downstairs to wait near a set of doors with BSP winners. Flowergirl and friend who won BSPs at our M&G were also waiting. Lynn found a lady “in the know” who escorted us back to the elevator for downstairs. Lynn and Marilyn used the stairs because the elevator slowly moved, but Karen and I waited to ride. The lady and BSP winners rode the elevator, but insufficient room made us wait again. Finally we caught the elevator and were told the lady would meet us downstairs, but didn’t. We followed a concrete corridor, past a laundry room to another corridor, where a man was seated who pointed us towards two young ladies in black outfits standing by a big black box.

We approached them when a lady asked if I was Bonnie. I asked if she was Lynne and she answered “yes” and said she was concerned we weren’t coming. I said ESA employees sent us on a “wild goose chase”. The young ladies pushed two Waivers toward us to sign giving them permission to photograph. A line formed to my right and I saw Josh standing against a black curtain with a spotlight on him. I pointed him out to Karen as he met persons in the line. He wore a black and gray horizontally striped shirt, gray jacket, blue jeans, and tennis shoes, unshaven, and his hair appeared wet. Josh says he isn’t an Angel, but he beautifully looked like one. Lynne pointed to a place to put our purses and goodie bags, and asked if she could hold anything. She introduced me to Brian Avnet as the “proclamation lady”, and he said he recognized my username. I responded “oh, oh is that good or bad?” He replied “good”. I introduced myself and shook hands with David Romano. Jack and Lindy were present and thanked me again. Lindy held a bouquet of pink roses presented by Marilyn from the Utah Grobanites. Lynne said she would keep us at end of the line to spend more time with Josh so she allowed BSP winners and others to proceed ahead of us and apologized each time. She was extremely nice and attentive to our every need.

Then our turn came to meet with Josh so I confidently walked towards him with my hand extended, looked him in the eyes, and said “hi Josh, how are you?” He extended his hand to shake and said, “I’m great, how are you?” I replied “fine, thank you.” I told him my name and username while showing my M&G name badge, introduced Karen, and commented we met in Wichita. Josh shook hands with Karen and she smiled and told him she was honored to meet him. We stood on each side of him while I showed him the proclamation signed by Mayor Ross C. (Rocky) Anderson proclaiming “JOSH GROBAN DAY”. Josh remarked “how cool is that?” I said “really cool.” He continued with “Thank you so very much for this. I had no idea.” I said “I was told you did”. He said, “I knew there was something, but didn’t know what.” I was unable to read the proclamation to him due to lack of time or reveal I wrote the outline and coordinated with the Mayor’s office. I explained the proclamation was for his humanitarian contributions and being a really nice person. Josh said he would read the proclamation later. I showed him the plaque to commemorate the occasion, a Jazz basketball team jersey, and treble-cleft “bronze medal” engraved with dates of the Winter Olympics and his 2004 and 2007 SLC concerts. I personally included a book, copy of “Who Are We” poem, special poem written for him, a thank you card signed by M&G committee, heart, and Sweeney head.

Dennis took our picture with my camera as Josh laid his arm around Karen’s shoulder, but unable to do so with me because he held the proclamation and I held the plaque. I was horrified to later remember we didn’t remove the plastic cover from the plaque so the words could be read. They continued to record the presentation with a video camera. Karen said Josh squeezed her shoulder before he removed his arm. He graciously autographed my tour program, “To Bonnie”. “Thank You”, his signature, and Smiley Face. The words are underlined and end with exclamation points as if to express his gratitude and love. He autographed Karen’s tour program, Josh t-shirt for my granddaughter, and lacy handkerchief for my sister. We overturned my tour program, laid the handkerchief on it as Josh said “you hold that end and I’ll hold this end.” I did as I was told as he asked her name. I said “Melinda”, and began to misspell with two ‘Ls’. I blurted, “no, not two ‘Ls’. Josh said, “Melinda is my Mom’s name so I know how to spell it.” I replied “oh yeah” because I know Lindy is her nickname. I wasn’t going to leave this coveted opportunity without giving Josh a hug or receiving one so I asked. He said “sure”, we put an arm around each other and hugged. I said “we love you” and he replied, “me too”, and I reluctantly let go. I thanked him again as Lynne escorted us away. I looked back at Josh standing alone, watching us, but unsure how to decipher the expression on his face and in his eyes. He stood a few seconds, ducked behind the curtain to disappear.

As we proceeded to leave, a lady with a video camera asked for an interview for the DVD. She asked if we met Josh and our perception. We said “yes”, and Karen said “awesome”! She asked if this was our first time and Karen replied “yes”, but I told her I met him in Wichita during his ‘CLOSER’ tour in 2004. Lynne prompted me to tell her about the proclamation. She thanked us and we walked away. Lynne said I looked stressed, and I gasped, “oh gosh I hope Josh didn’t notice”, but she said no. I told her Josh said he didn’t know about the presentation, but she said he did, had a lot on his mind, and didn’t remember. We picked up our purses and goodie bags and Lynne left us at a backstage entrance into the arena. The ushers found our seats with Jane in FLR3, Row 17, Seats 5, 6, and 7.

The concert began at 7:30pm so Angelique was on stage and we could hear her singing from backstage. She’s a tiny “firecracker” of energy, laughter, and fun. She encouraged audience participation to dance, sing, and move to the music, and said if we didn’t, Josh wouldn’t come out. Her band members are blended of African and Caribbean heritage and fantastically talented. Her performance was rewarded with standing ovations and huge applause. We enjoyed her as a member of the ‘AWAKE’ tour family. I passed out paper hearts to those around us and explained they were to hold them up during a special time in Josh’s concert, but watch me.
During intermission we were told Josh was in his dressing room doing warm-up scales for his voice. We were informed he selected SLC as the concert for his ‘AWAKE’ tour DVD, and surrounded by cameras, lights, booms, cables, and technical equipment. The narrator with a British accent said the more love we showed to Josh, the more he would give. NO PROBLEM! He said Josh would give hand signals for audience participation and explained what they were. The crowd began to chant, stomp feet, and clap for Josh to come on stage. I looked over to Candice sitting next to Karen and chanted for Sweeney. She laughed and joined me. Stella instigated the WAVE around the arena with her green glow sticks, which rotated about 10 times as everyone joined in.

David Romano walked past so I said to Jane, “Josh will be out soon” because they work together during his warm-up. The “heartbeat” for “You Are Loved (Don’t Give Up)” began and Josh’s beautiful voice filled the arena. He arose from beneath the stage to our thunderous applause, standing ovation, and waving of glow sticks. He changed clothes to a red shirt, black jacket, pants, and boots. He definitely let us know we’re loved, made his first ‘rock star’ move by horizontally raising the microphone stand. Later he made his second move as he stuck out his tongue like Mick Jagger. He sang “Mai” and told the audience why he selected SLC for the ‘AWAKE’ tour DVD. He said “thanks for coming back and packing the place. You guys are the ones who get to watch this show tonight and forever”. He played piano for “Remember When It Rained”, “February Song”, and “Lullaby” with a vocal recorder that enhanced his voice to multiple voices and smoothly slid into “Weeping”. He and Angelique sang “Pearls” from her CD “Djin Djin”. She has been teaching him to dance on the tour, but he doesn’t have her rhythm. He seems to have fun and his reluctance is endearing. He’s really cute shaking his “booty”. They create an entertaining and funny routine for they both have a great sense of humor.

Josh sang all the songs from ‘AWAKE’, except “Solo Por Ti” and “Verita”, and interspersed old favorites “Remember When It Rained” and “Alla Luce del Sole”. He joked with the audience, received cookbooks, “The French Chef” by Julia Childs and “Gourmet Toaster Oven” cooking, magically raised the piano from beneath the stage, and joked about romantic songs with “So She Dances”. Tess gave him a cowboy hat and pair of sunglasses. He remarked it was too early in the show for “hat hair”, but wore the hat while singing a snippet of “Dead or Alive” as Jon Bon Jovi, and the glasses as Elton John while singing “Tiny Dancer”. He sounded just like them.

Lucia Micarelli played a resounding version of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Kashmir’ that put the audience on their feet with a standing ovation. During her solo, Josh was working his way to an arena doorway where he descended to the floor while singing, “In Her Eyes”. I tried finding his silhouette in the dark, but couldn’t and he surprised us by appearing from right side of the arena. He walked through the audience singing and shaking hands at the same time. We held up our paper hearts for him as he worked his way to the stage. His face was full of joy with his beautiful smile and captivated the audience as they tried to touch him.

He sang “Not While I’m Around” from the Broadway musical Sweeney Todd as he sat on edge of the stage. Darren lifted a little girl next to Josh and he asked her name. He began to explain the musical, but stopped to ask her to cover her ears. She covered one ear, he asked her to cover both ears so she couldn’t hear the story about a person who cuts up people into meat pies. When he finished, he told her she could uncover her ears. He sang as audience members approached the stage for his autograph. He introduced his band members; Tariqh Akoni, guitarist as Musical Director; Lucia Micarelli, violinist; Tim Curle, percussionist; Craig Macintyre, drummer; Mark Stephens, pianist; Peter Cook, keyboards; Vanessa Freeman Smith, cellist; and Bakithi Kumalo, Bassist. Josh commented how “blessed he is to perform with this band every night.”

Josh received thunderous applause and standing ovations after every song and Grobanites waved glow sticks so he knew we support and love him. The audience continued showing appreciation for an AMAZING concert and at the finale we let him know we weren’t finished with him. He returned for three encores: “Canto alla Vita” playing synthesizer and a drum solo, “You Raise Me Up” with a local choir "Golden Voices", and “Awake”. We could see on the big screens that Josh was overwhelmed with emotion from the audience’s response as his eyes brimmed with tears, and he placed his hand over his heart with love and said goodbye. He disappeared for the last time into darkness.

People exited the arena up the long stairways, but we wanted to use the handicap exit. We found Jenn and Penny and worked our way to back of the arena where security let us use the handicap elevator. Jenn carried the 6’ft banner we were going to hold-up for Josh. After a few rest stops we arrived at the ESA driveway where his buses would exit. A long line of people waited for Josh, but because we met him earlier, Lynn, Marilyn, Trish, Karen, Jane, and I waited on the other side. Semi-trucks (10) parked on the road waited to load equipment and small trailers exited with camera equipment. My feet and legs hurt from walking and standing so I propped against a police car parked at the curb. The ladies didn’t think that was a good idea because they thought the security alarm would ring, but didn’t. I couldn’t stand any longer so sat on the grass. We waited for Josh for over an hour, but patient with knowing he showers and is busy. Darren approached the excited crowd and confirmed that Josh would come out and seemed to quiet them down.

Jack and Lindy Groban walked up the driveway and people milled on the sidewalk waiting for Josh’s bus to appear. A bus drove up the ramp and stopped at the street. We could see the driver and people inside so we waved. The bus turned right, stopped parallel with construction in the street, and Josh alighted to walk towards the line. Darren, cameraman, and light technicians followed Josh as he signed autographs, hugged, and talked with people. I walked to the barricades by the driveway to see the “JOSH GROBAN DAY” banner, but it was ripped and partially laid on the ground. Security was strict about us standing in the roadway so they yelled to “either get in line or on the grass.”

Lynne appeared and motioned me to her in the street when security yelled again so we backed up to the curb to say goodbye, she thanked me, and gave me a hug. She said the concert was BEST EVER. I asked “better than Frankfurt”? She said she didn’t attend that concert, but heard it was amazing, however SLC was the best! Brian walked beside her to ask if she was ready to leave. Lynne said they were returning to LA the next day and then they were gone. I gave Lynne a card, handkerchief, and letter to thank her for her help and the wonderful opportunity to present the proclamation to Josh. She later thanked me in an email.

We continued standing where we were when a man propped against the barricade asked “are you Bonnie?” I warily said yes. He asked “Dagsen?” Again I warily said “yes”. He said “I’m Trent.” Trent was my ESA POC and we communicated through emails of confusion, but he was always nice, helpful, and patient. He said he met Josh and confirmed he’s a very nice person. ESA gave Josh a jersey and other items and he signed a guitar for them. We exchanged small talk, and I noticed Jane returning from where Samantha was carrying Sweeney to the bus. I excitedly asked her if she met Sweeney, but she said Samantha was reluctant because Sweeney is shy (like Master – like Son). I asked Jane if she wanted Josh’s autograph since she couldn’t go backstage with us, and she replied “yes”. I said goodbye to Trent and we walked toward the line. Jane and Karen continued walking, but I stopped to shake hands and say goodbye to Jack Groban. He asked how I liked the concert and I said FANTASTIC. He also asked “didn’t I meet you earlier” and I said I presented the proclamation to Josh. He exclaimed how proud they are of him.

Jane decided Josh would sign her M&G name badge, and I wanted him to sign my photograph of him, my sister, and me from Wichita that’s carried in my wallet. We bided our time talking and laughing as Josh worked his way down the line. Someone with a birthday asked Josh to sing, “Happy Birthday to You” which he sang the first line. Even A-cappella he sounds wonderful! Another person asked him to record their cell phone greeting. He was good natured about the request and funny as he said, “hello, she can’t come to the phone right now, so leave your name and number, Beep?” I became distracted and missed Josh autographing for Jane. He was in front of me and asked if I wanted him to sign my picture? I said “yes, this is when we met in Wichita”. He said “I remember” and I said “no, you don’t” thinking he couldn’t possibly remember us from hundreds of people he meets. He gently touched my arm and said “yes I do!” I felt SOOO stupid and sad if I hurt his feelings. I wanted to wrap my arms around and hug him for all he’s worth. Karen handed him a sheet of stationary to autograph for her Mom. I didn’t want to distract or interrupt him, but told him to take care of himself. He didn’t look or respond to me. I THINK HE NOW HATES ME! He signed for another person, leaned over the barricade to hug a person in a wheelchair, and began to leave. We thanked him, asked him to hurry back (someone yelled “next week”), and said goodbye. He thanked us, said goodbye, and waved as he was escorted through the construction to his bus. For days afterwards I felt terrible by what I said to Josh so I emailed Lynne to ask if he could call me so I could apologize. Lynne consoled me by saying not to worry about Josh, he was fine. He just had a lot on his agenda that day and tried to stay focused.

Karen saw my Son’s car at the traffic light and relieved he picked us up so we didn’t walk to Biaggi’s for my car because we were so tired. Penny parked her car in the opposite direction so my Son drove her to her car since it was after midnight and not a good area for a woman to walk alone. We watched Josh’s bus depart, stop at the light, and turn left towards the freeway to Denver. I was later told as his bus passed Grobanites walking towards Biaggi’s that Josh stood in the doorway with Sweeney waving goodbye with his paw. We squeezed into my Son’s car and he took us to our cars and Penny to hers. I arrived home at 1:30am, went to bed exhausted, but elated at 2:00am, and arose at 5:30am to get ready for work. I was on a Josh-high all day and profusely described our WONDERFUL day to just about everybody I know.

“JOSH GROBAN DAY” on August 28, 2007 is remembered as a historic day and sealed memories for a lifetime. We witnessed a FANTASTIC concert of emotion and passion from the Man we love and recorded forever on an ‘AWAKE’ tour DVD. The DVD was a very important and special event for Josh. We hope “HIS DAY” was as memorable as it was for us. We planned a great Meet and Greet, met new friends, and contributed $1500.00 to the Batonga charity, and exchanged love and euphoria with a wonderful Man named Joshua Winslow Groban.

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