Thursday, May 24, 2012

We Met Ringo!

There is no surprise that I was once a member of the St. Louis Beatles fan club.  Through the 1990's and into the 2000's I received their newsletter, What Goes On, several times a year.  I attended several of their fan club gatherings, and I even won a Beatles trivia contest at one of them!  But like many fan clubs, once the Internet hit full-speed ahead, the need for newsletters was not necessary and the fan club disbanded.  It is a shame because it would be nice to get together with other fans in my area like I used to.   Now I feel like the lone-ranger fan in my neck of the woods.

Anyhow, I spent the day organizing my fanzine collection and came across all of my "What Goes On" newsletters from the St. Louis Beatles Fan Club.   I spotted this story about a fan meeting Ringo Starr in the April 1996 issue.  It was written by Paul Costanzo of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

Ringo signs for Paul.
Barbara and Ringo at the gift shop in Mitchell Airport.

We met Ringo
Paul Costanzo, Milwaukee, WI
The day after the St. Louis show (7/2/95), Ringo and his All-Starr Band traveled to Milwaukee to play at Summerfest ’95.  That Monday, my friend Brian Savasta called me at work and asked if I wanted to take off and go to the Pfister hotel and track down Ringo for an autograph.  I said no.  That night (7/3) Ringo’s entourage showed up at the 10 p.m. scheduled concert time and backstage, there’s Brian!  Earlier in the day, he met Billy Preston and john Entwistle at the Pfister – bought them a drink – and when Billy said, “Thanks” and had to leave to catch a cab to meet a Milwaukee friend, Brian offered to drive him.  Brian took him around, which led to Billy returning a favor by asking Brian to come along in one of the limos to the concert venue at Summerfest that night.  Billy and john freely gave Brian their autographs and let Brian to meet Ringo backstage for his autograph too!

So, where do I get into the picture? Brian came out and sat in the front row with us until the last song when he went back in Billy Preston’s limo!  He never saw Ringo again, but Billy said that they had a flight at around 2-2:30 on July 4th.  Brian was busy that day, but my wife Claudia and I did a little research.  Ringo’s next concert was Minneapolis and we figured out the airline and gate area he’d probably be walking toward.  We went to Mitchell International Airport, found the area, and were quite pleased at the lack of people in that area.  Only one other obvious Starr-tracker was in sight.  I told Claudia to be cool if Ringo shows up, or he won’t sign.  He’s been rushed for over 30 years.

Then it happened.  Ringo, Barbara Bach and another lady came walking down the narrow corridor past security.  He had a baseball cap down below his eyes and needed to lift his head once in a while to check things out.  He had that bopping n bobbin Ringo walk (like the “This Boy” scene in A Hard Day’s Night) and they walking into a gift shop.  Claudia and I slowly walked over to him and Barbara and before I could extend the Goodnight Vienna album for him to sign, ol “Starr-Tracker” pushes his way past me for an autograph.  Ringo was miffed, “Can’t a fellow do a little shopping like a regular person?” he said.  His agent or bodyguard asked us to leave him alone. Ok. Ok, I understand.  Give him some privacy.  But come on, there were only two of us.  Claudia did get a nice photo of Ringo and Barbara at the gift shop (cheeseheads in the background too!) So we waited.  Ringo was led into a private area but he still had to go past us again in 25 minutes to board his plane.  After a few minutes Billy Preston came out for a walk and we took pictures, got an autograph and talked about my friend Brian giving him a ride.  Really a nice guy!  Very real.  He’s only about 5 foot 8 or 9.  We waited a bit more.  Then they all came out…Felix, john, Zak, etc etc.  Ringo once again with Barbara and another lady.  I told Claudia to take pictures regardless and I stood on one sides  of the aisle and Claudia on the other.  With my back to the wall as they came within 10-20 feet, I said, “Thanks for coming to Milwaukee, Happy Birthday this week, and do you have a moment?”  Ringo looked at me and said, “Let’s have it” in a positive, friendly manner.  Claudia took a picture of him signing the album.  I thanked him and Barbara and he left.

1 comment:

  1. Hello. I'm trying to find contact info on Paul Costanzo. We were friends in the late 80's to mid 90's have have lost track of each other. Paul had sent me copies of these Ringo photos back when he met Ringo. Thanks, Leo