For all of you who have been so amazing in following our blog...know that we are enjoying sharing it with you....It has given us the opportunity to re-live the whole thing once again. It has just as much impact as it did when it happened, and know, that the best has not even happened- so please stay with it-
We were in Roger Daltrey's room at The Plaza Hotel in New York City. The year is 1976. Not only did we see The Who at Madison Square Garden, but we wound up- quite by accident in the front row. Being that close to the spray of the sweat, and the pulse of the music would have done anyone in....
As if that weren't enough, we then found ourselves, only a few hours later, in Roger Daltrey's hotel room. The shock of him opening the door, realizing that WE were the 'ballet dancers' (as we had stated in our letter), and inviting us in to hang with him for what seemed an eternity....gold stars for surviving that one!
His parting words to us were, "If you're ever in England, look me up."
So, here we are, 18 years old, and about to graduate high school. We didn't go to a "normal" high school. We went to a school for kids who were already professionals in the arts, and so on. Our peers had no idea who The Who were, nor did they care. It was ballet, ballet, and then, a little more ....ballet. So our insane enthusiasm and the cloud we were hovering on following this experience was something that no one around us could relate to.... And that was just fine. We were on to much bigger plans.
We had an agenda. How were we going to manage a trip to England??? The answer presented itself within a matter of days. The concept? We decided that since graduating high school was supposed to be a milestone....we would milk the living hell out of it. We presented what we thought was a brilliant plan to our respective parents. We want to take a trip to London, and study at The Royal Ballet School for a graduation gift. Who could say no to that? And...they didn't.
As soon as school was 'done and dusted,' we were on our way. And that...friends...was a fucking extravaganza. And just how did we know how to find Roger Daltrey? Well, we were super sleuths.
We had combed over every article ever written, and had found in one particular interview, he mentioned the region of England (leaving it out - he'd prefer it), and....the name of his 'manor.'
Armed with that information, we left for London. We were not traveling lightly...like a baby with a pacifier (don't say it), we felt the need to bring our scrap books...heavy portfolios filled with photos of Roger. Smiling Roger, glaring Roger, sexy Roger, intimidating Roger, angelic Roger....if it was out there, we had it, and we brought it with us.
We arrived at The Russell Hotel, a dark, dreary little place. We had a tiny, little room with one bed and no space. We got down to business, and planned our week. At the top of the list....the train station, scheduled....and of course, which day to go.
We decided we needed a day to get acclimated, and wandered around London. We went to the old venues where The Who had played before they were even the Who. We went to The Marquee Club and ran our hands across the walls and imagined what it must have been like to be in that small little club, when the band first started. It was still musty, and dark, and had all the markings of a British underground circuit. Very cool....
We felt ready. As ready as we were ever going to be. The next day was the day. Who knows if we slept that night. Bright and early the next morning, we found our way to the train station. It was a massive structure, with trains heading in every direction. We hoped we were getting on the right one when we boarded, and settled in for the ride.
It was a beautiful day....sunny and warm, and the ride through the countryside was breath taking. Keep in mind, we had absolutely no idea whether or not Roger was even in England...and he had no idea we were on our way to his home! What gave us the nerve to think we could just show up unexpectedly , after what was less than a direct invitation is beyond us.
In fact, when the train pulled into the rolling hills of ****** *****, we were completely alone. It was completely rural, and not a soul in sight. There was one taxi, and we approached it. We got in, and told the driver the name of the home. He snickered and informed us with the following warning,
Oh for chrissake! Now what? We looked at one another and found ourselves with the same feeling we had when we going up to his room. We had to do it. We asked the driver to leave us off down the road a bit, so we could walk around....We didn't know what to expect. We had no idea what the house looked like...would there be high gates with a padlock? Would he even be there??
And suddenly...there it was. The driver gave us an idea of how far down the road it was and when we approached it....well....it was amazing. There were gates, but, remarkably, they were w ide open. We walked in to the drive and to our immediate right was a pool. There was Heather, sitting poolside with another young girl. She recognized us immediately, and she didn't look pleased. All she said, was, " Roger's working up on the roof. I'll go get him. Wait here."
We sat down on a little cobblestone wall in front of the house. Laying on top of the stones were a pair of denim cut off jeans....Roger's denim cut off jeans!!! We'd know them anywhere, in fact we were convinced they were the pants he wore in Tommy- we'd know those anywhere too.....No..of course we would never, ever pull off some pieces of fringe to stash away in our pockets!
I was jabbing her in the ribs, she was slapping me in the thigh....and then....from around the corner...sweat dripping down his chest, which we could see because, why? Why? Because he was wearing nothing but a faded pair of low waisted faded jeans.
That's right, no shoes...no shirt. Nothing. Deal with it. We did - you have to. He was magnificent. Absolutely magnificent....and in all his Roger Daltrey glory. He was at home, he was not expecting us, he was barely dressed.
Roger Fucking Daltrey. Barely dressed. We looked up at him...he looked down at us, and said.... "C'mon. I'll show you around."
It was as if he was expecting us all along. He couldn't have known, but he wasn't surprised...and he wasn't angry, irritated, or displeased in any way. He took us into the house....
Yeah. That's right. More to ....come.