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June 25, 2017

My Special Ruby Tuesday [Well it was Saturday..but that didn't fit]

The first time I met Rod By Martin Heidt

posted by Mike Walton

Any followers of the SMILER Twitter account will know Martin Heidt who runs it, Here Martin recalls his very first meeting with one of his hero Rod Stewart...

Let me start 31 years ago...... It was in the summer of 1986 when I noticed a poster in the city of Dusseldorf. A Rod Stewart concert was announced for October 28th at Philipshalle Dusseldorf. One of my two music heroes (next to John Lennon) coming to my hometown! That was really brilliant news! And it should be a great day for a young boy.

As anybody can imagine it only took me a few minutes to buy the ticket for the show.

And as the day came I was firmly determined to meet Rod Stewart before or after the show. I wanted him to sign my copy of "Foolish Behaviour" - the first Rod record that I bought with my very own money.

So I left the house very early. It took me two hours to find out the band hotel. But as they arrived in a black coach, many people got excited, running around and Rod used that moment of confusion to slip through a small door into the hotel. After a few seconds he disappeared in the lift.

Even if my attempt to get his autograph failed on this afternoon the show at night was absolutely fantastic and I enjoyed every second of this evening to the most.

I went back home with an enormous certainty that one day Rod will sign my FB copy. I couldn't suspect that it would take seven years ....

1993, March 20th .. a sunny day in downtown Dusseldorf... I was having breakfast early and reading the paper. While going through the TV programme I noticed an announcement of Germany's most popular TV show "Wetten dass". At that day the show was taking place in Koblenz, which is about 100 km away from my hometown, 60 km south from Cologne.

The announcement said: On tonight's guestlist: Mel Gibson, Karlheinz Böhm, Sonja Kirchberger, Cliff Richard and..... ROD STEWART!!!!

What the hell I thought..... I had nothing special to do on that day so I decided: I should go to Koblenz and try to meet Rod Stewart.

And I needed a plan. And very soon I had an idea. I took my signed Bayern Munich football, which should be my bait, cleaned it up, put on my best jacket, a tie and got ready for that special excitement. I jumped into my car and made my way down south.
By 1 pm I arrived at the Sporthalle in Koblenz. The show started by 8.15 pm so I had enough time to spy around.

I took my ball and went straight to the security office next to the entrance. "Good afternoon Sir, what can I do for you?", the security officer asked me. "Well, I'm looking for the reception and the production manager", I replied. "Take the next door, go up the stairs, then turn left and you'll find the production office on the left hand side."

Said and done. I knocked at the door and a woman with big glasses told me to come in. "What can I do for you Sir?" And now it was time to place my story "Oh I came all the way down from Dusseldorf. I'm good friends with Jean-Marie Pfaff, the former goalkeeper of Bayern Munich and the Belgian national team (which indeed is absolutely true). He once met Rod Stewart in Ostende (1986 at the Casino, this was true too) and promised to give him a signed football of the Munich team (I opened my bag and got the ball out) ... and I have this ball with me today. So I would like to know if I can get the chance to meet up with Mister Stewart before the show."

The Lady looked at me as if I was an alien. I got the feeling that she didn't believe my story which was mainly fictional.... But to my surprise she answered: "Oh in that case you need a pass. Without it you cannot stay inside that area of the Sporthalle. Hold on a minute I will ask my colleague."

I was getting nervous. Would my story really open the doors for me? It was absolutely clear that without a pass I might as well have gone back home because I would never get the chance to meet Rod.

But then.... That big glassed Lady came back and presented MY BACKSTAGE/AAA PASS for that night in Koblenz. I was speechless how easy it was to get a pass like that ... But anyway I was inside the doors and that was all that was important in that moment.

I left the office and walked through the backstage area, checked the dressing rooms and the stage where presenter Wolfgang Lippert was talking to some of his assistants. I found a small canteen and got myself a coffee and a snack. By that time it was only 1.30 pm and still more than 7 hours to the start of the show.

I looked at my pass - my most valuable treasure on that day. AAA - All Access Area - I could walk everywhere. To the left side of the stage, to the right of the stage, into the backstage area where the dressing rooms were located and I could take a seat in the audience as well. I mustn't point out that I was a happy guy. But still a long time to the beginning of the show.

While sitting in the canteen I started a chat with one guy from the technical crew. He told me that on the official time schedule there was a Rod soundcheck registered and this was scheduled for 4.30.

Ooooh only 2 and a half hours left... I went straight back to the production office and asked the Lady with the glasses for a schedule sheet. So I got all the starting times of the whole transmission.

By 4 pm I went over to the dressing room area ... Not long now and Rod will come through the door.... And he was on time. By 4.30 a black Mercedes stopped in front of the entrance and a man dressed with a long light coat and a black hat on his head stepped out of the backseat - Rod Stewart had arrived.

Oh man I was getting a little bit nervous. He took the same stairs like I did when I arrived a few hours earlier. He passed me waiting next to the dressing room and disappeared behind a grey door. A few moments later Marcel Avram, the concert manager from Munich, followed. I knew him already because I had read a story about him in a magazine .

So I took all my courage and stopped him: "Good afternoon Mister Avram. Sorry but do you have a moment?" "Yes." "I came all the way down from Dusseldorf. I just want to present Mister Stewart this football" - and while talking I got the Bayern Munich ball out of my bag. "It is signed by all players of the 1986 team. Is it possible to speak to Mister Stewart for just a few moments?"

Avram answered: "I think we can manage that. Please wait until the soundcheck is done.". "Thank you, I will wait."

And Avram disappeared as well behind that grey door. A few minutes later the door opened and Rod came out again - dressed up in a blue suit. He quickly made his way to the stage for the soundcheck. I followed him and noticed that it was possible to watch from the right side of the stage. Nobody noticed me and so I was standing next to the stage and Rod - maybe 5 m away. How cool was that?

As the soundcheck was done Rod rushed back to his dressing room. Avram, who was also watching from the right side of the stage, gave me a sign to follow.

So I did and after a few seconds I was standing inside Rod's dressing room. Rod himself had a drink while I entered the room. It took a moment until he recognised that somebody had come into the room who usually doesn't belong there

"Hey mate, how you doing?" he said, came over to me and shook my hand. Obviously Avram had informed him before. I took the ball out of the bag and handed it over. Rod looked at it very precisely. "Who has signed here? And whose signature is that?", he asked me. "Oh this is Lothar Matthäus, this is Jean-Marie Pfaff, this is Klaus Augenthaler", I pointed on every single autograph.
"I like Bayern Munich", Rod said, "They are a very strong team with very good players. I follow all their games especially when they play in the European Cup."

What a moment. Rod Stewart and me were talking about our love of football and our favourite teams. I was so proud. Then he said: "I have to leave now, because we're going to a restaurant for dinner. And the driver is already waiting." But before that he signed some pics for me, shook my hand again and put on his coat. "Are you attending the show tonight?", he wanted to know finally. "Yes, I will stay here and watch the show." "Then I will see you later", Rod answered, shook my hand for the third time and disappeared in the Mercedes again.

Wow. I was flashed! I was hovering on a cloud.... It took me a few minutes to calm down again. I had met ROD STEWART - one of my all time music heroes. I made my way back to the canteen, ordered two bottles of beer and celebrated my big moment - all by myself....

The rest of the day is a quick report. The show started at 8.15 pm, Rod came on stage by 9.25 pm. He arrived a few minutes before that, went straight to the makeup artist and then headed on stage. He sang "Ruby Tuesday" that night, signed a few balls and kicked them into the audience. Then he found his way back to the exit - where I was waiting one more time...

He noticed me, shook my hand once again and hopped into the car that took him directly to the next airport. My Rod day was over. I went back to the canteen, had another drink, a little snack and watched the rest of the show on a big screen

By 1am I was back home. A proud Rod fan with a BIG SMIL(ER) on the face. I will never forget this day! Thank you Rod for an everlasting moment!!!

Pictures thanks to Martin Heidt
Montage By Tommy Kevitt

© 2019 SMILER Magazine

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