Have I ever told you about the time I touched Eddie Vedder's ass? I don't think I have.
First, for my sister, who is OLD and doesn't know who EV is: he is the lead singer of the band Pearl Jam. They were HUGE when my friends and I were in college, and to us HE. WAS. GOD. Kind of like Paul McCartney was to you old farts. hee.
My college roommates were my best friends Jennifer and Christina. Jennifer and I had worshiped Eddie Vedder. We owned all their CDs of course, knew the words to every song and plastered our refrigerator with pictures of him. We searched the latest issue of Rolling Stone and Spin for new photos (this was back in the prehistoric days before the World Wide Web....jesus, this makes ME old.) Anyway, we knew everything about him: who he was dating, what his political beliefs were, that he'd had an abusive childhood, that he left home to become a beach-bum in Southern California and was asked by a fellow surfer to join some unknown Seattle band that needed a lead singer...you know, the kind of ridiculous trivia that obsessed young women tend to know about smokin' hot rock-stars.
Christina did not get our EV obsession. She did, however, just happen to be friends with some of Neil Young's sound technicians, and this came in very handy when we learned that Pearl Jam was on tour with Neil Young. A few years prior, she lived in the Bay area and frequented the same tavern in Half Moon Bay where Neil and his crew went to unwind after recording at his studio nearby. So Christina being Christina, she befriended these guys and stayed in touch after she moved to N. Idaho for college. When we found out that the tour would be coming to The Gorge, Christina not only scored free tickets to the show, she got us BACK STAGE PASSES. The Gorge is a really beautiful outdoor venue at a winery in central Washington, with the stage overlooking the Columbia River.
Part of the fun of attending a show at the Gorge is that there is on-site camping, so it's a big party before and after the show. So once we arrived, we set up our tents, popped open the wine and (Mom! Look over there! A bunny!) smoked some pot. Then, armed with our backstage passes, we headed to the show. We found Christina's friends and were invited onto one of Neil's tour buses for some more "pre-function" partying. Wandering around back stage, we saw Neil eating with his family under a big white tent, some of the guys from Mud Honey (another Seattle band) were hanging around drinking beer, and we listened as Blind Melon warmed up the crowd. When it was time for Pearl Jam to come on, Christina's friends (to whom I might have mentioned my love of Eddie Vedder) led us up to a small platform just a few feet above and to the left of the band. We watched their entire performance from backstage. It was incredible to have the band's view of the crowd, thousands and thousands of screaming fans dancing and singing along to every song. With just a few songs to go, I decided to get an even better view and climbed down off the platform and made my way to the actual stage, standing discreetly next to some large piece of equipment, up against the back wall. Finally, their performance ended, they said their goodbyes, put down their instruments and made their way toward the back of the stage. I realized I was standing right next to the ramp that they would be walking down to leave, and as each member made his way down off the stage, I simply fell in line directly behind Eddie Vedder. At that exact moment, I looked up toward the platform where Christina was standing (she hadn't even realized I'd left our perch for the real stage). We locked eyes, her jaw dropped open at the sight of me grinning as I walked off stage with the band, and that was all the encouragement I needed: I very subtly reached out and just barely touched Eddie Vedder's butt. He didn't even notice, or maybe he thought it was one of his band mates jostling him as they hurried off the stage. They went on their way and I went on mine, to hook up with a hysterically laughing and completely shocked Christina, who had witnessed the entire thing.
And that, my friends, is why I haven't washed my hands since 1993.