Incredible Journey with Second Wind

On the first night of the Second Wind sessions at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, CA I expected a usual great "Todd" experience...

Entering the lobby I came upon a display of albums that Todd had his hand in crafting, as well as many artifacts and memorabilia. i remember my thought was - "I feel validated as a fan; I'm not the only one whose soul has been touched by Todd's music...It seems that the community of music lovers has finally given Todd the respect he deserves."

I entered the theater area where the main stage's maginificent stature was cradling instruments, sound baffles and microphne stands. My reserved seat ticket was in the 30th or so row and I was happy with it. I saw some friends who I had met that day in the second row. Since noone was sitting in the seats in front of them, I ambled down and started to chat. As the crowd filtered in, more and more seats where taken up in the first serveral rows. One by one , the first row seats where filled until the whole row was occupied, expect for my seat. As the house lights dimmed, I couldn't believe my good fortune - front row center for Todd! After Todd gave us the ground rules for the live recording session, they launced into the first song. At it's end, I noticed Todd's tour manager (Mary Lou?) asking people in the first row a question. As she made her way towards me from the right, I could see them shake their heads no and she moved to the next one. As she came to me, she skipped asking me the question and asked it to the guy on my left (who I did not know). She asked, "Are you the contest winner?". He said yes. She followed with, "Do you have a guest?" He motioned to me! she said, "Come with me guys" Mary Lou brought us backstage and then onto the stage left area next to the mixer equipment. She handed us each a pair of headphones and the sound man checked our levels. Here I was on stage about 10 feet from Prarie Prince, the drummer and maybe 20 feet from Todd, listening to a headphone mix of the recording of Second Wind live! Well I tell you, it was one of the most exciting experiences of my life. After the show I (now fully assuming the moniker "contest winner") went into the band room and chatted with Roger Powell, Ross Valerie and Todd! I said to Todd, "Hi , I'm the contest winner", he said, "Well congratulations, how did it sound?" I said, "The mix was good, but being a bass player myself, I like to hear more drums and bass and less vocals..."(foot in mouth). Todd sarcastically responded, "Well, next time we'll just have to get the contest winners their own personal mix! Embarassed, but not down, I ended up getting a picture with Todd, and met up with a few lovely members of his "inner circle"