Meeting Chris Robinson ‘Twice as Hard’
Vail, Co, Colorado
Since I was 16, I have dreamt of meeting Chris Robinson, singer of The Black Crowes. The encounter went something like this: Someone would introduce me, Chris would be instantly smitten. We would walk hand in hand to a grassy hill, where we would lounge like a carefree couple from the ’60s and discuss music and the meaning of his songs. We might even sing a couple of tunes together.
Well, last weekend I got my big chance.
Sunday before The Crowes show at Jazz Aspen, a group of friends and I rode our bikes to the Woody Creek Tavern, Hunter S. Thompson’s favorite watering hole. We sat down, sipping our fresh-squeezed lime margaritas, when Chris walked through the patio, about 1 foot away from me, and into the dark wooden bar with some chick.
Time stood still for me, and my face turned bright red. Blushing, heart racing, I could not speak. I was trying to devise some sort of plan to go talk to him. Even though I had played out this scenario uncountable times in my head, I was blank on what to say. How do you approach a man you’ve been infatuated with since adolescence? What do you say to a musician whose songs were the background of your formative years?
The roundtable of familiar faces staring at me during this intense moment were no help at all. My husband looked just plain worried ” considering Chris is on my hall pass list, and never have I been so close to “a cheating exception.”
“Go talk to him.”
“You’re just going to sit there.”
“You’re going to regret it if you don’t go over there.”
But my favorite advice came from my encouraging friend The Meatstick. Having rode my bike to the tavern on a very hot June day, I was hesitant to leave the table in fear of butt sweat on my shorts.
Meatstick quietly leaned over to me and asked, “You’re wearing underwear, right?”
“You’re fine then.”
So with those words of encouragement, and the wing support of my friend Leah, I went to the bathroom, passing around Chris’ booth. I made eye contact, but kept walking.
The bathroom was right next to where Chris and the chick were sitting, separated only by a thin wooden divider. I hovered on the other side of the wall, listening to their conversation. Chris sounded fired up, saying “F those guys.” But they also talked about getting the recipe (I think for the margaritas.)
In the bathroom, I tried to convince my friend Leah that she had to introduce me, and that was the only way I could approach him. (“And now I present your biggest fan … Cassie Pence.”)
But we just sauntered back to our seats on the patio, and Chris did give me a nod of acknowledgment that I was staring at him.
I was pretty quiet during the rest of lunch, upset with myself for being such a wimp. We all got up, grabbed our bikes, as Chris and his date were exiting. I had to stick around to see what he was driving. From the amount of times Chris turned around to see if I was still watching, I don’t think he appreciated his new stalker. He got into the driver’s seat of a Firebird rental and passed us as we pedaled on two wheels.
My mood was sad on the way back to town, but I figured I had one more chance to meet him at the concert. I put on my sexiest hippie outfit (he seems to like those type of girls) in hopes he would remember me or at least notice me.
But those ideas faded fast as the Crowes came on stage and rocked some of my favorite songs, including “Wiser Time” and “Thorn in My Pride.” That’s when I realized it’s more about the music than the man. Plus, my own fantasy version of our encounter, singing on a grassy knoll, is much more romantic than worrying about butt sweat.
Arts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at 748-2938, or firstname.lastname@example.org.