Monday, December 19, 2016

An Eveining with Alan Thicke

I had done the Alan Thicke show in Vancouver several times and knew Alan casually as the star of the show.  He was always friendly to me and we hit it off immediately.
After one of those shows I did back in the 1980's, I was packing up when Alan stopped by my dressing room.
"What are you doing tonight?" He said.
I replied, "I'm a stranger in Canada. I am heading back to the hotel."
He said, "I have an extra ticket to see the Doobie Brothers tonight at the arena.  Do you want to come?  It's the  best time you will have in Vancouver tonight with your clothes on."
"Sure", I said.
"Good you can ride with me and some of my friends. You'll like them."
I looked at my watch. It was 7:30. "What time does it start?"
"8:00" He said, "I'll just get out of my makeup and we can leave from here."
"Great..." I said and he walked back down the hall.
I finished packing up and washed off my own television tan and waited.  About 8:15 I looked around and the studio was empty.  I wondered if he had forgotten I was going and maybe he left without me. So, I wondered down the hall to his dressing room. There was a light on.
Alan was in a barber chair leaned back getting a facial complete with steamed towels from an attractive makeup girl.
"I thought you had forgotten me. Didn't the concert start a half hour ago?"
"Yeah, but it is okay. There is an opening act.  We won't miss it. I'll be done here in a few minutes and we will go."
"Great" I said.
Forty five minutes later Alan is still in the chair.  I am getting a little nervous, but hey there really wasn't anything else I had going that night.
Finally about 9:15 we get into his car and started driving. But we don't go to the arena, he said we were heading over to some friend's house to go with the rest of the gang.  Fifteen minutes later we arrive at a Vancouver house filled with people.  It is some sort of party and Alan did not seem to be anxious to leave it.  A joint gets passed around.  I plead the fifth, but let us say in a few minutes I was even more ready to see the Doobie Brothers concert.  About 10:00 we pile in the car with several others and head for the arena.  I am sure by this time we have missed some of the Doobies, but again... the adventure was the event even if we missed the music.
We are not far from the arena. The tickets are waiting at the box office window, which is now closed.  Alan says to our group of eight, "No worries, they know I am coming."  We walk to the entrance.
I can hear the crowd screaming and loud music coming from the stage.  The ticket taker doesn't even skip a beat; he hands an envelope of tickets to Alan who looks them over and disperses six of them to the other members of the group.  They scurry off to find their seats leaving Alan and me. Alan says, "You want a hot dog? I want to have a hot dog. Let's get one before we go to our seats."
"Aren't we missing the Doobies?"
"No," he said, "that is the opening act."
"Really?" I reply
"No worries."
We get hot dogs and eat them standing at the concession counter. Alan is obviously in no hurry to get to the seats. "Wow.  I really need a beer with this.  How about you?"
"You're the boss," I said.
As we wonder over  to the beer stand the music stops. The crowd goes wild and although I can not see the arena or the stage it is obvious the house lights go on and there is a break.
"Opening Act", he said.
A few people come out to get their own hot dog and beer but most stay put for the main attraction coming to the stage in moments.  It was then that I realized Alan Thicke, at that time, is as famous in Canada as Johnny Carson might be to Americans.  Several people shoot Alan a look, whisper and subtly point.  Alan is taking it all in smiling and waving to those who acknowledge him.  This continues until most everyone has left the hall way and have gone back to their seats. Alan and I are alone near the beer stand.  I look at my watch and there has been no music for 20 minutes.  I wonder how long this break will be. Alan sees that I am concerned but says, "Don't worry we won't miss anything."
After what seems like hours Alan pulls out the last two tickets and looks at them. Very casually he says, "Maybe we should go to our seats."
We walk in and it is packed. Starting at the top row of the arena we begin to walk down the stairway of the nose bleed seats. There are no seats left in that section so we continue down and down.  I hear people whisper as we pass, "That's Alan Thicke." and "Look it's Alan Thicke"  and "Isn't that Alan Thicke?" Occasionally I hear someone say, "Who is that guy with Alan Thicke?" but we keep walking down until we run out of seats.  All that is left is the section of folding chairs on the floor in front of the stage. We keep walking. We are the only ones still standing. The only two seats unoccupied are fourth row dead center. The friends we rode with flank either side of those seats and everyone is looking at us.
I sit down immediately, but Alan does not. He surveys the arena taking it all in like he was a perspective buyer. It is obvious that Alan wants everyone to know that he is in attendance.
"Wow, It's packed isn't it? he says to me. But he continues to stand.
He adjusts his shirt brushes off his pants and slowly sits in the last seat open.  The minute his ass touches the chair the lights go down and instantly the Doobie Brothers launch into "Listen to the Music."  The crowd goes wild.
Alan gives me a look and a thumbs up as if to say "See, I told you we wouldn't miss anything."
It was then that I realized, the Doobies were waiting for Alan. The show would not start until he was seated.  It was a fabulous concert of the Doobies with Michael McDonald in their prime. I thought it's good to be the King of Canadian Television.
This is the days before cell phone cameras so I have no pictorial record of the event, but it is the "best time I could have had in Vancouver with my clothes on".
Rest in peace Alan. Thanks for a great evening.
As you were,

1 comment:

The Comic's Daughter said...

Great story Jay.
Thank you for sharing.