Buying the VIP ticket was a joke. When I passed in my ticket and received the pink VIP wristband, they told me that the Meet and Greet with Dr. Hook had been cancelled as he didn't feel well. However, he would say hello to his fans after the concert. This meant that I was stuck there from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm. They had 2 other bands on before Dr. Hook but I wasn't interested in their music. So, I went back to the car to drop off my newly purchased T-shirt and decided to sit there and read my book until it got dark.
Spent time cooling my heels in and around the arena. Was sitting outside on a park bench when the Band arrived after 10:00. I waved as they drove past but only Tom saw me and he waved back. I watched them get out and enter the arena by a side door so decided I'd better get inside myself.
The previous band was gone but there was already a line of people across the front of the stage! I saw that there would be no way to see over their heads, if I sat in the VIP seat section (first 3 rows). And indeed, when I looked back after the concert, the seats were GONE—pushed away—as the entire audience had stood in front of the stage. I was lucky to get into the second row of people. Half-way through the concert, the 2 young women in front of me left, so I was in the first row, front and centre! What a view!
The concert was FABULOUS! After the first two songs, I heard Ray say that he had to take a breath. Guitar player, Brian, asked if he was okay and Ray replied that he was. When they started the next song, Ray must have gotten his second wind because for the rest of the concert he was in great form, even doing little dances, leading the Band, giving the downbeat for each song, and generally giving it his all. It was wonderful! Some people really laughed at the lyrics from “Freakers Ball” and some others laughed at those from “Only 16”—“I was a mere child of 16. I've aged a year since then.” Obviously, not hard-core fans! Afterward, a woman told me she had never seen Dr. Hook live before and that the concert had been fantastic. I had to agree with her.
In the encore, the crowd started chanting “Syl-vi-a, Syl-vi-a” and sure enough, the next song was “Sylvia's Mother”. Spare me, please! However, at the end of the song, the Band went into a musical interlude, with solos by each member in turn. But Ray didn't introduce them to us so I have no idea who the bass player is!
Dr. Hook Featuring Ray Sawyer:
Kenne Cramer, guitar
Brain Davidson, guitar
Cayce Sawyer, drums
Tom Kerr, keyboard
A small group (perhaps 50) of us waited for half an hour after the concert to get autographs and to see more of Ray. ;o) He signed a few programs and T-shirts and then looked over, saw me, and said "YOU! Come over here!" and crooked his finger at me. I went over and he hugged me! He said it was nice to see me and did I have anything for him to sign. I said "No, I don't have anything with me." A woman passed up a small flyer and he signed the back. I asked him how he was and he said "Good". I said "I'm glad to hear it". Then someone asked how old he was and he said "76. I'll be 77 in February. But with all the technology and medications they have these days, I'll be here for another 10 years." I asked him if he would be doing concerts for those years and he replied "Of course". I told him they were saying this was his last one. He said no, that he would carry on, and I said "That's all I wanted to know!" and left him to the rest of the fans.
Then I floated on home. I got here at 2:00 am and my husband, Jens, was waiting up to hear all about my trip. A night to remember!
Dominique Petersen is a graphic designer living in St. Thomas, Ontario, and is the author of Dr. Hook and Me: A Fan's Journal/Scrapbook.