Laura Andrew's Account of the Maui Concert

September 22, 1995

(a.k.a. Just What the Doctor Ordered)

Sorry this is so long, I tried hard to condense it but it was such a great
adventure (with a husband, child, job, mortgage, two dogs and two cats I
don't get out much) I wanted to share it all with you.  

The Set-Up

After following leads from my net buddies, Robin and DinnyR in particular, I
discovered that Mandy would be performing on Maui at a Dr. Pepper bottlers
convention.  After about 25 phone calls to every hotel and concierge on Maui
I finally found out that he would be at the Grand Wailea on Friday Sept. 22.
I talked Jim Ball (my new hero), who arranged the entertainment for the
convention and he said yes, if I was willing to fly from Oahu just to see
Mandy he wasn't going to stand in the way of such a committed fan.  I told
him all of Mandy's fans are committed (or ought to be committed) and flying
to Maui was sure a lot closer than the east coast, which is still an option,
I DO have mileage plus certificates, but that's another story.  So....

After a few tense hours: having to work late, traffic, almost missing my
plane, a long line at the car rental agency, getting on the wrong highway,
the overwhelming feeling that the concert was last night and I had missed
it, etc, I finally arrived at the Grand Wailea Resort and promptly got very
lost trying to find the ballroom (the place is HUGE, they're not kidding
when they say grand).  I was still very tense because I really wasn't sure
what time the concert started, I had gotten reports of anywhere from 7:30 -

I finally found the right place at 7:15pm and was informed that the concert
wouldn't start until 9:30.  What a relief, I had a little time to relax.  I
was hoping to get backstage so I started talking to anybody who looked like
they were a part of the show, there was a guard at the front door of the
ballroom, so I walked around scoping the place and casually followed
somebody through a side door; all the time waiting for somebodies hand on my
shoulder.  But no worries, it was kind of chaotic inside and nobody noticed

Paul Ford was at the piano warming up, I sat down and listened for about 20
minutes, it was great and very calming, I was still pretty jumpy from my
whole afternoon, I was very hungry and all I had had since early morning
were two Dr. Peppers (there were coolers filled with soda EVERYWHERE).
After Paul walked off stage I walked outside to look for some food.  The
guards told me there weren't any restaurants where I could purchase food on
the ballroom grounds but the convention people were eating upstairs in the
"banquet area" (which was a gorgeous open air setting, this hotels least
expensive rooms start at $400, this place set the definition for luxury and
style)  A guard radioed to see if they would seat me, the answer was yes,
and I had a very elegant meal (GREAT BIG plates, ITTY BITTY little
vegetables) compliments of Dr. Pepper.     

I ate dinner as fast as possible, trying not to appear to ungrateful for the
great meal, and hurried downstairs.  I couldn't shake the feeling that I was
missing something and I shouldn't be wasting time eating.  I went to the
side door of the ballroom and peeked in and ... HE was warming up.  Damb I
knew I shouldn't have wasted time eating.  I slipped into the room and sat
near the back, then moved closer, and then closer still.  Mandy rehearsed
with Paul Ford for about a half hour and I got to watch, WHAT A BONUS!  Then
he called all the stage hands and technicians together and gave them
instructions for the show.  Basically he said that they could move around
and do whatever they needed during the more frenetic (his words) songs, but
that during the slower, quieter songs he didn't want to see anybody moving
or coming on stage.  After that he left the stage and didn't return until
the show started.

I stayed in the ballroom after that, I talked to somebody who appeared to be
with Mandy and told him I had some fan mail to give to him from the people
on the newsgroups and the Chicago Hope mailing list.  He directed me to Jim
Ball (my new hero) who I hadn't met yet.  I introduced myself and asked
about meeting Mandy after the show. He said sure, "just follow the VIPs
backstage once the show ends".  Could it really be that easy?

They would be opening the doors any minute now so I staked out what I
thought would be a good seat, the first three rows were reserved, and
settled in.  They opened the doors and 1,700 Dr. Pepper convention attendees
rushed in to try to find good seats.


Mandy started singing off stage, the crowd was still very loud but started
to settle down when they heard his voice over the speakers.  He started with
__Doodle Doo Doo and The Red, Red Robin__, when he got to the song about
Russian Composers __Tschaikowsky__ and the crowd is supposed to shout out
"Russian" he held his hand out to the crowd and out of 1,700 people I was
the only one who shouted out, kind of embarrassing when people turned to
look at me.  It was also enlightening, apparently I was one of the few
people in the crowd familiar with his work.  Probably most of the convention
attendees knew him as Dr. Geiger and had no idea he was an accomplished,
Tony award winning, Broadway performer and recording artist.  I wouldn't be
surprised if every person at the concert bought at least one of his CDs
after seeing him perform live; his show was that awesome.

I immediately realized that I had misjudged the seats, and while I had a
great view of Paul Ford's back while he played the piano Mandy was over to
the right of me and even though I was in the fourth row, I couldn't see that
well.  The stage was very long and narrow so many people's best view was
from the large screens set up.  For some reason, before the concert started,
ushers brought three chairs and placed them in front of the front row, but
nobody sat in them.  After about 5 songs, and being very frustrated at not
having a better seat (but still very grateful just to be there), I finally
got up and moved to one of the empty seats in the front row.  I figured no
guts, no glory, I had gotten this far why stop now.  I'm glad I moved, I now
had a great seat and I sat there for the rest of the show.

He established an immediate rapport with the audience and kept up a banter
with us for the whole show.  He sat down and sang the __Casey Medley__ (his
second set of songs) and when he was done he looked at the audience and
said, "I know, I know, you're all asking yourselves right about now ... is
he just going to sit there?"  When a boy about 7 came to the front of the
stage for a picture he waved the boy on stage and gave the camera to
somebody else to take the picture of the both of them.  When he first came
on and all the flashes went off he said "don't worry we'll take a group shot
later".  He forgot the words to a song and told the audience "sorry I've
been doing heart surgery for the last year."  

I was really impressed with what a total performer Mandy was, he was very
funny and seemed intent on doing anything that would entertain his audience.
He sang __ A Tisket, A Tasket, a Green and Yellow Basket__ and actually
skipped across the stage with the basket, he played it as a bit between a
kid who had had his basket stolen and a police officer trying to take the
report.  When he sang __Frankfurter Sandwiches__ he brought two women on
stage and made them hot dogs from a hot dog cart.  He put up a Dr. Pepper
umbrella (can't forget who's paying his tab) and rolled a Dr. Pepper cooler
on stage.  After asking if they wanted ketchup, mustard, etc. he asked if
they wanted a soda and gave them a D.P.  One lady said she wanted a diet and
made him dig around and find one.  The crowd loved that.  After making the
dogs, he sang __Frankfurter Sandwiches __ again and literally force fed the
dogs to the women, making them sing the song with their mouth full.  After
the song he walked around the stage cleaning up and complaining about messy
eaters, when he came across a piece of hot dog bun he asked one of the women
if they wanted it, or should he throw it away.  

Basically when Mandy wasn't singing he was making us laugh, a few times we
laughed while he was singing; like during __Joe, You Made The Pants To
Long__.  He performed for about 1-1/2 hours non- stop.  Some of the songs he
sang are:  Doodle Doo Doo Medley__Casey Medley__Somewhere That's
Green__Frankfurter Sandwiches__Joe, You Made The Pants To Long__Something's
Coming__Jitterbug Waltz__Good Thing Going__I Dreamed A Dream__Taxi__How Are
Things In Glocca Morra__A Tisket, A Tasket__Rock-A-Bye Your Baby With A
Dixie Melody__On the Atchison, Topeka and Sante Fe.  I'm sure he did a few
more but I can't remember them.  He closed with __Somewhere Over The Rainbow__.

After a standing ovation he came back and sang a couple of songs from his
new album __Oscar and Steve__which will be released October 24th.  He sang
__Children Have To Be Taught & Children Will Listen__.  This time he
finished to __Oh What A Circus__from Evita.  After that he took bows with
Paul Ford and left the stage for good.  We milled around near the stage
after the show and I kept my eye on Jim Ball for directions on where to go.
Pretty soon a contingent of about 40 people broke off from the group and I
followed them backstage to a large conference room set up with champagne and
assorted drinks.  The group was a bunch of VIPs from Dr. Pepper and I felt
like I stood out, I tried to blend into the paneling but the room was just
to small.  A few people threw me side- ways glances, trying to figure who
this women with the flower lei, camera and cd was.

After a while Mandy came in, everybody clapped and a short speech was made
by a VIP and then people started lining up to take pictures with Mandy.  I
tried to hang back and watch, but I just couldn't take it any longer and
jumped in line.  It was finally my turn, Mandy's assistant tried to
introduce me and tell him I had a presentation but I rushed in...put a lei
over his head...gave him a big kiss on the cheek...introduced myself...told
him I had come from Oahu and that I had a booklet of letters to him written
by people on the Chicago Hope newsgroup and mailing list and from his
newsgroup...and then I realized I was talking to Mandy Patinkin...and my
brain shorted out...I was unable to utter more than single syllable words
after that.  I handed somebody my camera and asked them to take a picture of
us, he put his arm around my shoulder and I put my arm around his waist so
tight he probably has bruises.  I asked him to sign the jacket from my
Experiment CD, I wanted to bring the jackets from all of his CDs for him to
sign but didn't want to appear to fanatical.  I almost told him that I
hadn't been this big a fan of any performer since David Cassidy, but I
wasn't sure how he would take it.

I showed him the booklet, there where about twenty letters I had printed on
nice parchment type paper in a portfolio cover with a graphic on the cover
that said __Fan Mail From The Internet__.  He seemed really excited by the
presentation and ask me if these letters were from the Toads.  I said "Uhh,
I don't think so, the newsgroups, you know you have a newsgroup right?"  I
guess the toads are a fan club in Chicago.  I started flipping through the
letters and pointed out one from Australia and Vera's from Prague.  I told
him we came from all over the world and it would be really great if he could
post a few some remarks to the groups once in awhile, or even join in on our
Wednesday chats.  I put all the addresses and times in my letter to him.  He
asked me "How can I get on the internet" and I said "Uhhhh".  He looks you
right in the eyes when he talks to you, even bending down a bit for better
eye contact.  It was very unnerving for me since I was such a big fan and my
brain had already done the short circuit thing.  Right about then his
assistant gave me a gentle push and let me know that it was time to move on.

I hung out for a while and even got back in line for another photo,
attempting once more to speak to him.  He kind of laughed when he saw me
again and I told him I never take a good photo the first time.  This time he
leaned down and put his cheek next to mine, oh baby I needed a heart doctor
right about then.  And once again I was gently moved through the line before
I could really talk to him.  I still wanted to tell him congratulations on
the Emmy, that I had enjoyed Kathryn's book, that November 30th was my dad's
birthday too, that I had also had a black lab but her name was Majik.  Oh
well maybe next time, I'm sure I would have been incapable of muttering so
many coherent sentences after the cheek to cheek thing anyway.

I hung out for a little while longer, hoping for the crowd to thin down, it
was obviously a corporate event and I was obviously a guest so I didn't want
to be to obtrusive.  I kept hoping the room would break down into kind of a
group discussion but it never did, Mandy pretty much greeted people one at a
time.  I talked to his assistant, Josh (I think), for a while and reiterated
the point that they really need to connect into the internet, by then they
were tired of hearing about the internet, I could tell.  I talked to Paul
Ford for a while about touring and playing for Mandy.  I asked if the crowds
were bigger since Chicago Hope, he told me the next tour would tell; plus
this would be the first time a tour coincided with the release of an album.

By now it was almost midnight.  I couldn't think of another reason to talk
to Mandy, if it had been a regular concert I wouldn't have hesitated BUT it
was a Dr. Pepper event and I was a crasher so I figured it was time to
leave.  I wandered around outside the room for a while hoping Mandy would
come out but no such luck.  I found Jim Ball..thanked him profusely for
allowing me to attend...told him the concert and the whole experience was
better than I had dared imagine ant that he was my new hero...and clutching
my camera and signed CD went to my car and drove to my hotel for a couple of
hours of (very restless) sleep.

The next morning I woke up early, called home and talked to my husband (who
was still in a bit of shock) and my 3-1/2 year old son.  My son informed me
that it was time for my adventure to end and I should come home right away
and also that he was eating mochi ice cream for breakfast.  Oh well I guess
while the cats away the mice will play.  

I just want to say thanks to my net buddies.  Robin tipped me off he would
be in Hawaii, DinnyR tipped me off as to when, many of you sent letters on
short notice so I could have and excuse to talk to him, AND IT WORKED.  Thanks!

With Love & Aloha,

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Last updated on October 4, 1995