Meeting Fabio (a Throwback Thursday post)

FabioI recently alluded to my run-in with the one and only Fabio Lanzoni.

At the request of Bitter Ben (one of my favorite bloggers of all time), here is the full scoop on that story!

Several months ago, I agreed to meet a friend for dinner at a local crunchy, granola, all organic, no-animals-were-harmed-in-the-making-of-your-food kind of place.

We met for an early dinner, so this hip restaurant was relatively empty as we walked up to the counter to place our orders. At least, it was empty except for this exceptionally tall and broad-shouldered man who was completely blocking the cash register while staring up at the menu behind the cashier, trying to decide what to order.

Internally rolling my eyes at this guy who was so oblivious to the fact that there were people waiting in line behind him, I tapped him on the bicep (he was too tall for me to tap him on the shoulder) and said, “Excuse me. Are you ready to order, or do you mind if we go ahead?”

He turned to look at me, surprised – he had kind eyes – and said warmly, “No, please go ahead.” He gestured with a wave of his arm for us to move ahead of him in line.

So I stepped up to the register, stated my order, and was surprised to see the girl at the register gaping at me. I stared back at her. “What?” I asked.

“That’s Fabio!” she hissed at me under her breath.

I had no idea what she was talking about. You renamed your turkey burger “the Fabio”? That’s weird.

She must have seen my blank expression, because she said again – this time jerking her head in the direction of the broad-shouldered man – “That guy behind you! It’s Fabio!”

Oh. Cool…?

I knew I was supposed to have some kind of a reaction, but I just shrugged, paid, and moved along. All I knew was that Fabio was some guy with long hair who used to pose for the covers of romance novels. Since I don’t read romance novels or fantasize about long-haired men, I was pretty nonplussed.

Soon after my friend and I sat down, women of all ages flocked the tall man, batting their eyelashes and asking for autographs. I looked him up and down, curious. He’s not an unattractive man, but honestly, in person, he almost seemed like a cartoon character. His features are so distinctive and almost disproportionate that he reminded me of a cross between Disney’s Tarzan (facial features/hair) and Kronk (pure bulk).

I hope he appreciated that I treated him like I would have treated anyone else. I imagine it would be nice to feel like a normal person rather than a celebrity to be tip-toed around or used as a prop for Facebook and Instagram bragging rights.

Even if only by one woman and only for one moment, Fabio got to experience a bit of normalcy that afternoon waiting in line at the cafe. And hey, after sitting in a pew with Lyle Lovett harmonizing to church hymns, what’s a run-in with the Icon of Eye Candy?

Authentically Aurora

Look On Up

Relient KIt’s a good thing I have become resolute in my decision not to date musicians, because last week I was surrounded by them. My friend Jo Ann is the cousin of one of the band members of Relient K, and he hooked us up with backstage passes to watch the show from the wings and hang out with the band before they performed.

I’ve had backstage passes before. This summer, I went behind the scenes at an Eric Paslay concert, got to meet him, and even got my photo with the 6’4″ country artist. I was on the front row that night, singing harmony at the top of my lungs to “Friday Night” and “Less Than Whole“.

But this time with Jo Ann was different. The fact that she knew one of the band members personally – he was literally family – added a whole new layer to the experience. Instead of waiting in line for a five second photo op, we all went out to dinner together a few hours before showtime and shared a bottle of wine. We talked music for sure – his songwriting style and what a day in the life of a touring musician looks like – but we also talked about his love of golf, what his kids wore for Halloween this year and his hopes, dreams and aspirations for the future.

Then we got a tour of the bus. Jo Ann’s cousin is a good guy, so when he used the classic rockstar pick up line, “Want to see the inside of the tour bus?”, he did so with a twinkle in his eye. It was neat to see their living space – bunk beds, TVs and a PS2. It was somehow more chill and down-to-earth than I expected.

All of the band members were really mellow and friendly. The bass guitarist offered me a beer, and the lead singer gathered everyone for a group photo. Even five minutes before they went on stage, all the guys were really relaxed and personable. Kind. Humble. Sweet. They were just regular thirty-something guys hanging out and living life. I felt blessed to get a glimpse into their world.

Before he went on, Jo Ann’s cousin rolled some trunks together on Stage Right for me to sit on with Jo Ann and Melanie, another friend who came along that night. This was our view of the stage:

Relient K 02From our vantage point, I got to see a lot that I never would have from the audience: Matt Thiessen’s wink to his guitar tech as they traded out guitars, an “oops” face when he missed some lyrics, and his drawing of an upward arch over his mouth with his index finger, reminding the guys to smile. I also got to see two different stage dives from the perspective of the stage, and all I can say is: Wow, those guys are fearless!

Jo Ann sang along to nearly every song, and Melanie and I were constantly grinning from ear to ear. Our cheeks hurt from smiling by the end of the evening. It was a blast. The Relient K guys are talented performers and absolutely great guys, just as fun and charming off stage as they are on stage.

They sang two of my favorites from my high school days: “Be My Escape” and “Sadie Hawkins Dance“. But their second-to-last song was my favorite. It’s a new one that they haven’t even recorded yet, but it was simply stunning both musically and lyrically. Here are the first lines:

“I remember when a photograph was worth a thousand words.

Now a thousand pictures come my way every day.

And I like them all the same but they can’t take my breath away… Look on up.”

Relient K 05Authentically Aurora