You may be wondering what an Eat & Greet is. The general concept of an Eat & Greet is for fans and an artist to hang out, chat, and have a nosh together before (or after) the performance. It’s also a great opportunity to take pictures and potentially make friends with fellow fans. I had the pleasure of attending Dalton Rapattoni’s The Inspired Attempt Tour on October 6th, 7th and 8th and because I’m a certifiable crazy person, I went to the Eat & Greet’s for all three shows. Feel like taking a walk with me? I’m about to head out towards memory lane…
Thursday October 6, 2016 – Teaneck, New Jersey
I arrived at the venue late, because I have lost my ability to get anywhere on time anymore. Everyone was sitting down at tables and it was super low key. It was also pretty quiet and I HATE awkward quietness because I’m already anxious enough going into any and all social situations. I decide to behave in the exact opposite manner to how I feel, and I literally walk up to each table and say, “Hi! I’m Jamie! I don’t know anyone here, so I just wanted to introduce myself to everybody.” That phrase came out of my mouth five times.
During my introductory journey, I noticed plates of nachos and quesadillas on the tables. That was the EAT part! Unfortunately for me, I had just begun eating solid foods again (I had a crazy stomach flu earlier that week) and didn’t think Mexican was the best option for me that evening. Instead, I brought a bag of Saltine Crackers, so that’s fun. I started to take some pictures of the plates and chatting it up with the people at the table I landed at.
The secondary reason I was at the show, to see Dalton Rapattoni perform, (just kidding) eventually came over to our table for a little talking time. He came over carrying his plate of leftover food, which looked oddly similar to my stomach flu devastation. Sorry, but when you start mixing refried beans and guac and sour cream on a plate, it starts to look kind of shitty (no pun intended).
After a bit, Dalton needed to get going, but we were given the chance to take pictures with him. Everyone had the arm around each other smiling or some kind of pose planned out in their pictures. Then came me. First of all, I had to assess the lighting because it was not a brightly lit venue. With a fresh, never touched nacho plate in hand, I asked/told (sometimes I’m bossy) to move towards the front door for better picture lighting. Next I said some jumbled up words that eventually ended up with him holding the nacho plate.
As the seasoned professional that I am, I was directing his plate holding position for optimal photo results. During this time the phrase, “Oh my god, you’re going to kill me” came out of my mouth and despite risk of injury, I asked for a selfie with the nacho plate. To clarify the previous sentence, I didn’t ask to take a selfie with just the nacho plate, I asked Dalton to take a selfie with me and to have the nacho plate be in the picture.
Friday October 7, 2016 – Fairfield, Connecticut
I arrived late to the venue on day two, but not as late as the day before because this time I actually got to see some of the soundcheck. It was dark and loud inside, so I kind of just smiled at a bunch of people and found a seat. Dalton came over to us (it was a small group, maybe 8 people) and started to ramble about a picture of a bug on the wall and movies about bugs and I don’t really know because I stopped paying attention to it. Honestly, I was more concerned about the pizza boxes staring at me across the dance floor. It felt like a middle school dance.
I got up and took a slice of pizza, pepperoni. At that point I figured my stomach was back to it’s steal self. I sat back down and sort of interrupted whatever conversation was going on (if there was a conversation going on, I don’t actually know because I didn’t care, I just felt like speaking) by asking if anyone else was going to have pizza. Literally no one else got up for pizza. How do you not have pizza? PIZZA! PIIIIZZAAAA!
Like the fat ass that I can appear to be, I sat there listening/participating in the group discussions which shoving grease dripping cheesy goodness into my mouth. As time went on, more people came and the circle continued to grow. Other than being the weird girl with tomato sauce on her face, I was also wearing a name tag I had created for myself. It read, “Remember me from before? I’m Jamie! We are best friends.” A perfectly normal thing to do. What happened was, I didn’t remember introducing myself specifically to Dalton the previous day, and I figured I’d forget again, so in order to prevent that from happening, I just wore a name tag. My logic is so on point.
When we had to start wrapping things up, I grabbed a second slice of pizza and walked back over to the picture taking parade. Assuming I’m a nice person, Dalton said, “no thanks, I had a sandwich on the bus,” when I came over with the plate of pizza. I responded with, “I know, you said that before. This isn’t for you. I just want you to hold it for a picture like yesterday.” There was a brief discussion about name tag placement causing me to move my tag to my forehead. We took a picture together, name tag and all, and I felt accomplished.
Saturday October 8, 2016 – Long Island, New York
Guess what time I got to the venue? Late! Still in time for some soundcheck, so all was not lost. There were a lot more people inside the venue than the previous two days, but at that point, I was a professional. I surveyed the room, saw the pizza set up and casually walked over once the band finished on stage. Dalton was already talking to a group of fans and pizza comes first, so I hung back for a bit. When he saw me, I got a disgruntled, “it’s you again,” to which I replied with a rotation around the sun sized eye roll and an, “uch, I know. I don’t know why I’m even here.”
Everyone was standing up talking, which I found annoying because who wants to eat pizza standing up if you have the option of sitting down. As the seasoned eat & greeter, I formed a bunch of bar stools into a semi circle, told some people on the outskirts of the conversation to move over there so we can shift the group sitting and I could enjoy my pizza properly. This plan half worked.
Dalton finally grabbed a stool and when no one else sat down next to him after at least 2 full minutes, I did. I sat, very comfortably eating my pizza and dangling my feet, not paying attention to any conversation that was going on. To be honest, it was really good pizza, like extra cheesy. Perhaps I should have been paying some attention, because the next thing I know, he’s looking directly at me and puts his sharpie marker (cap side up) in my nose. I’m not sure what he was expecting, but I kind of just sat there looking back at him as this is going on for something like 10 seconds (which is a long time for something like this to be happening). I finally claimed no responsibility for whatever may or may not be attached to the sharpie cap and a second or two later it was being wiped on my face. There wasn’t anything there (I’d have felt it being rubbed on my cheek), but this went on for another few seconds. Both of us not smiling or saying anything. When it was over, I took another bite of pizza.
Everyone continued chatting until it was time for pictures. As per usual, I grabbed a plate and waited for my food picture. This time, Dalton knew the drill and he took the plate from me right away. I didn’t want to have the same picture from the day before, so I allowed my creative brain to take over and asked him to “feed me” in the picture. Super normal. Once the picture was captured, I apparently decided that I should eat the slice. What I mean by that is, my teeth chomped down on it, so when Dalton tried to put the pizza back on the plate, I was still biting it, like a dog. He said, “oh you’re really doing this? should I pull it?” In response, I just laughed, because it’s impolite to talk with food in your mouth.