Hanging out with Carl Palmer
Because I just can't shut up about seeing Asia live in concert last night here in Clearwater, here's a little more for the hardcore 80s fans out there.
Between the opening act of The Alan Parsons Project and before Asia hit the stage, I was invited backstage to meet Asia drummer Carl Palmer, whom I interviewed a few weeks ago for a Stuck in the 80s podcast.
Each band-member had his own dressing room, so the photo of Carl and me you see attached so prominently here is in Carl's room.
The five-minute encounter is a little blurry in my memory -- I'm pretty sure sweat was pouring off me like a rain-forest deluge. But here's how the conversation went, as best as I can remember:
Band's manager: "Hey Carl, Mr. Spears from the St. Pete Times is here."
Carl Palmer: "Hey Steve, glad you could make it!"
Me: (Inaudible sound as I try to open my mouth and form English words while shaking his hand ferociously).
Carl: "Thanks for the write-up in the paper today. I had a great time chatting with you on the phone."
Me: "Yeah, uh, I wrote that. Didn't I? Ummm, thank you, Carl Palmer .. Carl ... yeah, thanks."
Carl: "Sounds like an enthusiastic crowd out there. I hear you grew up nearby?"
Me: "You heard that? Yeah, right down the road. Thanks ... Carl Palmer ... of Asia."
Carl: "Hey, let's get a photo together." (The manager snaps a photo then asks me to check it to make sure it came out OK. At this point, I'm clearly not capable of operating machinery, so I'm unable to even turn the camera back on. The manager assures me it was probably fine.)
Me: (Regaining composure) ... "Carl, what are you opening with tonight?"
Carl: "Ummm, there's the set list right there." (He points at a piece of paper next to a pair of drumsticks. I pick it up like it's a historical document and briefly consider pocketing it along with a drumstick. Instead I fire off some questions about rumors of Asia hitting the studio soon for a new album and we chat for a few more minutes before the crew comes to escort him to the stage.)
Me: "Have a great show, Carl. And thanks for finally coming to Florida. I've waited 25 years for this. There's about 2,000 people out there who'd like to thank you too."
Carl: "You bet, Steve!"
And then I'm pretty sure he sprouted wings and flew off. But then again, that's just the Asia fan in me.