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Melanie at Borders, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, March 4, 2000

(For this concert, I had arranged beforehand to meet two "online" friends, Maryam and Wendy (whose screen name is "Babyday"). Since they both flew to Florida and I drove, I provided transportation for them while we were there. It was the first Melanie concert for both of them, and it was very enjoyable to see them meet Melanie for the first time.)

Maryam, Wendy (Babyday) and I got together Saturday morning to go over to Borders and "case the joint". It's located on the water -- on a canal lined with boat slips. The coffee house/cafe part of the store has an outdoor area right on the water, and the weather that day was just perfect -- sunny, with a cool breeze. The first person we asked about the concert said it would be in the cafe area, but later we were told that it would be upstairs, in the music part of the store. So much for well informed store employees. We hung around the store for a while, had our lunch there, and left to get ready and return in plenty of time to be "people in the front row".

The show was to start at 7 pm, so we decided to get there by 5 pm. I think we got there a little before that. We went upstairs and saw that they had set up the small stage for the show. Either Wendy or Maryam noticed someone, and said "Isn't that Leilah?", and sure enough it was. So I went over and said Hi, and motioned the ladies over, and soon they were chatting and learning what a nice person Leilah is. Jeordie came in a bit later, and we talked a little, and then they wanted to do a sound check. So Leilah and Jeordie sang a bit into the microphones, without instruments, and they were just beautiful, of course. Later, Beau came in and began setting his array of electronic equipment that goes with his MIDI guitar.

The concert was set up so that the people closest to the little stage would sit on the floor, with other attendees standing in the aisles between the CD racks. We told them that Wendy couldn't sit on the floor, so they said they were setting up chairs on side for disabled people and would provide one for her as well. The chairs were so far off to the side that poor Wendy only got a profile view of the concert most of the time. Maryam and I wanted to be close to her, so we were kind of off to the side, too. We sat down well before the time for the show, to make sure no one got our places. We got to see some more sound checks, and then Beau, Leilah, and Jeordie came on stage.

They announced that Melanie would be late, and introduced themselves, and did a couple of songs. Then a lady who was a representative from Borders said that although they had set up the concert to start at 7, a newspaper or something announced it at 7:30, and so the kids kept singing. In fact, it was about 8 before Melanie got there. As Wendy pointed out, there were some technical problems involving the guitars that they didn't get finally worked out until a few songs into Melanie's set. All of the guitars, including the normal acoustic ones, had electronic pick-ups in them to get their sound, instead of using a microphone in front of the guitar.

I didn't write down a song list for this concert. I just wanted to listen to it this time, and besides, I was sometimes leaning back on my hands, trying to get comfortable on the floor, and so my hands weren't available for writing. But I do remember some of them. When the kids were doing their set, Beau did his Angel song, which is a very nice song that he said would be used in a movie. Melanie did a good selection of her songs. As usual, folks shouted out requests during the show, and I kept calling for "The Florida Song" and "Jammin' Alone", since Maryam and Wendy had not heard either of those. Eventually she did do the Florida Song, and she also did "Baby Day" for Wendy, which she had requested of Leilah before the concert.

Melanie said that she was having a little trouble with those things that she says she gets in her voice from time to time, but she did a fantastic job anyway. It seemed like she was just getting really warmed up when the store people decided it was time to close the show sometime around 10 o'clock.

After the show, they had Melanie set up at a table to autograph things, and she was, as usually, very gracious to sign anything the people had brought, and didn't hurry anything. Well, the store people wanted to close the store, so they were ushering people out as soon as they got their things signed. Wendy bought a copy of one of Safka's CD's, and had to go downstairs to pay for it, and had a little trouble convincing the store people to let her back upstairs so the kids could autograph it, but she managed it. You'll see what I got signed on my site in a few days, as well as my photos, if they turn out ok.

Wendy's Review:
I'm still walking on air. Maryam, Pat and I got "people in the front row" seats. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would get that close to her. We got there early and got to meet the girls. What a pair of nice kids! They talked to us like we were old friends.

A lot of people showed up, but I'm not really sure how many. I will leave the details like that to Pat or Maryam! I was just so overwhelmed. Melanie was running late and arrived at around 8:00. After quiet a few guitar snafus she sang her heart out. Someone gave her a Minnie Mouse hat. It was red with a wire on tip holding a daisy. It was so cute. She finally put it on made a few jokes and then treated us to "Alexander Beetle" It was great. Two hours seemed to go by rather quickly. As Borders decided at 10 it was time to stop. For the most part the Borders crew was rather nice... but they did seem rather anxious to get rid of all the people so they could go home. Of course Melanie sat and signed her autographs. (...after having a conversation with Maryam at the elevators -- lucky Maryam! I think Maryam was walking on air!) I was so happy to meet both Maryam and Pat. What nice people. This Melanie Music group has sure been good to me. Well, I will leave all the little details to Pat and Maryam.

Maryam's Review:
Wendy & Pat were quicker on the draw giving concert reports, but I'll add a bit to what they've already contributed.

Melanie herself was absolutely wonderful. Seeing & hearing "the voice" come out of an actual person sent shivers up my spine (I know it sounds silly but we all tend to forget that real people sing the songs we know & love & the concert experience brings that back home to us). I couldn't get any closer. In fact my neck hurt a little from looking up. I was supposed to hand out flowers, but I was so afraid of losing my precious spot. Not duty nor bathroom needs would pry me.

The sound checks & being able to converse with Leila, Jeordie, Beau, & Peter was a huge bonus! I now have a big crush on all of her kids. (I also have 3 kids.) I would love to see them hit the big time! In fact I complimented Peter & Melanie profusely on their kids & I could tell that this meant more to them than anything. Peter reminds me very much of Ahmed, my husband- very protective of the whole "family business" and wanting everything to go right. During the sound check I asked for "In the Hour" Beau tried to peck it out.

Safka played "life worthwhile", "One Mistake" & a few others. They sounded great. They explained that SAFKA was a vindication for their mom who was told to drop the "Safka" (maiden name) from her name as it sounded "too ethnic".

Melanie is blonde again with the now trademark "extra blonde" whiter streak in the front. She wore a black cotton jacket & long Skirt -- looks like the kind of eyelet lace trim you see in the Philippines on the bottom of both with some white beading in front. Her hair looked very nice (reminded me of the unchained Melanie cover pictures).

The set list & stage talk was comparable to the Borders CD itself. I remember they played: (not sure of order)
Ring the Living Bell ( I cried)
Cerulean Blue
Good Book with story
Look What they done (& story)
Alexander Beetle -- Preformed with a silly Minnie Disney World hat with a daisy on top
Baby Day (while looking over at Wendy)
Brand New Key & story
The Florida song (only done in concert so I never heard it) too funny!
Ruby Tuesday (with that high note we loved!)
Candles in the Rain (a crowd favorite)
Close to it all -- with story
She also did:
Song of the south/let it flow (from Stone ground Words)
and Perceive it ( from Sunsets LP & the USA Living Bell collection).

Pat assisted them in ironing out the guitar audio problems with his feedback.

The Borders crew got mixed reviews. In the beginning they were wonderful (& how can you complain about being in the front row). Certain crew members were consistently wonderful. But just when Melanie was getting "warmed up" I could see the hand signals in the back, the bouquet of flowers being prepared, etc., & the autograph sessions, etc., were all being rushed. I didn't mind that she was late, because I thought she would not stop at 10 PM. It may have been that her throat blisters were bothering her, but you would never guess anything was wrong by her voice. Some of the Border's crew was not very nice. The crowd was very well behaved but a few Border's personal acted overly worried about chaos erupting.

However one lady Richelle was extremely nice & responsible for my "melanie moment". .... (drum roll please) ....

The autograph line was forming & I asked Pat & Wendy to wait for me while I quickly darted to go to the bathroom. Well no sooner did I get almost to the elevator than Richelle & MELANIE were following me. Melanie wanted to meet me. We shook hands. She is so warm & so nice. She complimented me on my silk blouse & was impressed with my traveling to see her. I had a chance to tell her IN PERSON how much her music meant to me. I am so lucky I didn't have an accident. I was walking on air! I also ran into Leila & Jordie downstairs again & had another chat with Beau & Peter later as well as seeing Melanie a 2nd time for the autograph session. She autographed my "Unfinished Business" CDs I made of my own songs (with "sing to help the light.." the line that made me cry) as well as The Borders CD. Andrew (another online friend) gave me a SAFKA CD (thanks Andrew).

It was a night that happens once in a lifetime! Yet believe me, I plan to see Melanie in concert AGAIN!

The pictures from this concert are here.

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