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The Meckleys Meet Zeke
Here's a story from the current tour...
My wife Linda and I are at the Charlotte show. We watch Jewel do a really good set from our 4th row seats. When she finishes we walk over to chat with Thrasher and Youngster in the 11th row over on the right side. We talk some. Then I point to a guy with long black hair standing at the side of the stage and say "Who's that? Zeke?" Thrasher says "Don't think so. He is probably a photograher" . I joke that he's Joel Bernstein's son. Ha Ha. My wife then says. "Who's Zeke?. I say "Neil's son Zeke was on the road crew in Europe maybe he's here too". Then Linda points at a member of the road crew taping down some wires at the front of the stage and says "That guy looks like Neil". Sure enough, the blond-headed guy taping down wires looks like a young, blond, slightly heavier version of Neil.
So, I walk down in front of stage and say to the guy: "Hi. Are you Zeke?" (Sounds kinds dumb in hindsight). He says "yes". I say, "We're looking forward to a great show". He acknowledges and we head back to our seats in high spirits cause we've just had the closest encounter to Neil that we'll probably ever have in our life.
So we sit down and watch Zeke finish putting down the tape. Then he checks the shot from a camcorder on a tripod just behind the left side stage monitor. Of course I have to tell the other folks in our group that Linda spotted Zeke and that we talked to him briefly.
Then during the show we see Zeke check the camcorder once or choice. Also, at the end of the show, we see him spot our E-C-H-O-S sign before the band walks out for the encore. (The E-C-H-O-S sign is a whole other story.)
Well that could be the end of the story, but no, there are still two more chapters. Fast forward to Monday night at the Walnut Creek Amphitheatre in Raleigh NC. We're inside by 6:30 and meet up with other rustees. My wife and her friend Liz get bored with all the Rustie talk and head in to find our seats, check out the stage, etc.
As they walk by the sound board, Linda spots Zeke sitting by the sound board. So she walks up and says "Hi Zeke. I'm Linda. I was one of the people holding up the E-C-H-O-S sign in Charlotte."
Ok, a slight digression. Neil and the band really got a kick out of the ECHOS sign in Charlotte and Raleigh. I won't be seeing any more shows on this tour so I encourage my fellow Rustees to carry on the tradition. The band really digs it. Also it's pretty cool to have Neil point his finger in your direction and know that's it's you he's pointing at. And in Raleigh, the venue video feed put the sign up on the big video screens. To make your sign, get five 8.5 x 11 pieces of paper. Put a big E on the first, a C on the second, etc. The best time to hold them up is when the band comes out to do an encore because the stagelights illuminate the audience quite a few rows back.
Back to the story: So Linda introduces herself as one of the folks holding the ECHOS sign in Charlotte. Zeke nods yes when she mentions the sign and then says hello. So Linda and Liz talk to Zeke for 5 or 10 minutes. They talk about the Europe tour. He enjoyed it and he saved money on his cell phone bill cause he wasn't using it while in Europe. He drives a Ford Explorer and wishes his insurance wasn't so high. And more small talk.
Then Linda says she's with a group of folks from the Rust internet group and that we have T-shirts for him, his Dad, and Crazy Horse. He indicates he knows about Rust and wants to see the shirts. So Linda rushes back out to the RustFest area to find Lookout Mama who has the shirts. So Lookout Mama and I go back in with Linda and Liz and Zeke picks out a MORE BARN T-shirt for himself. I'm not sure if Zeke knew about the "more barn" episode but he can read about it on the back of the shirt.
I try to strike up a conversation but Zeke doesn't seem interested. I guess I'm not as charming as my wife. Linda jokingly asks him for a backstage pass but he says he doesn't have any. I get the sense that we are now kinda bothering him. So we say goodbye and walk away. And once again we point Zeke out to the rest of the Rusties as he's setting up stuff before Neil's set.
Last chapter. As soon as the show is over, Linda and I head out as fast as we can cause we're expecting folks over to our place after the show. When Syscrusher makes it back to our place and he's carrying a drum head. He says he went down in front after the show to try and get a pick or something. As the road crew, including Zeke, took down the drums, they removed the drum heads (or is it skins?) and tossed them to the folks hanging out in front of the stage. Syscrusher shouted "Hey Zeke" and Zeke made the effort to put one of the drum heads right into his hand. What a nice guy!
So that's my Zeke story. So if you see Zeke at the show, say hello from Linda and I. And hold up your E-C-H-O-S sign.
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