Accidental Groupies


It was January of 2004. A group of girls were gathered at a hotel restaurant on Diversey to celebrate Rebecca's birthday. We ate, drank and had a great old time, and before long, the check had arrived and it was time for us to leave. Some girls chose to head on home, but four of us huddled outside in the cold trying to decide if we wanted to keep the party going.  While we were deliberating, a handsome fella with long blond hair exited the hotel and started up a conversation with us. We chit chatted for a while about what we were up to that night, and when we asked about him, he said that he was in from out of town, only staying for a night. Now, I am a very music and concert-oriented person, especially back then, and I always knew who was playing in Chicago.  I recognized him almost immediately, and enjoyed pretending that I hadn't.

"I'm actually about to head over to play a show at the Double Door in a few minutes." he said.  A couple walked by us on the street and gawked.

One of the girls in our party's jaw dropped. "Wait...are you Evan Dando?" She said.

"Yep" he grinned. "You guys should come out." he said. His tour manager shuffled out into the cold, and told us that he would get us tickets.

I looked at my watch--it was 9:00pm. "Isn't your show supposed to start right now?" I asked.

"Yes," said the tour manager, "so we've got to get going. Why don't you guys meet us down there, and I'll come let you in at the door. The show is sold out, but that shouldn't be a problem."  Giddily, we all agreed, and the four of us hopped into a cab, while the two of them drove off.

Now, I should point out that Rebecca and I look a lot alike, so much so that back in the day, people thought I was her all the time. And the other 2 girls with us were twins. So we must have been quite the sight.  What a cliche, too-- 90's indie rockstar invites 2 sets of cute young twins to his sold out show at one of Chicago's best music venues. Oh boy.

In the cab on the way across town, we laughed about how crazy our luck was to run into Evan Dando on the street, and then laughed at ourselves for thinking that they were actually going to let us into the show. We were convinced that they were going to forget about us, and we would be the idiots who fell for it.  As we crossed the street towards the venue, the tour manager drove by with his head out the window of his car.

"Hey girls! Go ahead on over. I am just parking the car, then I'll meet you in the lobby and get you in!" We couldn't believe it. We arrived at the Double Door, and entered the vestibule.

"Sorry, girls, the show is sold out." said the bouncer.

"That's ok, we know Evan Dando's manager, and he is going to let us in in just a second." said one of the twins.

"Not gonna happen. The guest list has already been turned in, and you're not on it, so there's no reason for you to hang out." he said.

I'd been working in ticketing for several years at that point, and I knew how guest lists worked, so I cockily told him, "Look, I know you don't believe us, and that you have to tell us that we can't get in, but we know that in a minute, we're going to be let in, so can you please let us stand here in the vestibule until then? It is freezing outside." He acquiesced, and moments later, the manager popped his head out and said "These four girls are with me."

"Have a great time at the show," the bouncer said without batting an eye while checking our IDs and stamping our hands. We were on cloud 9.

The concert was packed, so we got drinks and pushed our way to the front of the stage. The show was great fun, though admittedly, I didn't know any of Evan's solo work. However, we danced our asses off at all the old Lemonheads songs...I was a teenager in the 90s, after all. He made eye contact with us and sang some of his verses to us during the show, and we cheered like good front row fans should.

When the show was over, we decided to hang around for a bit to thank him and his manager for comping us into the show. We called Evan over to the front of the stage, thanked him for the tickets, and told him how much fun we had.

"Oh, you guys can't leave yet. Stick around and party with us!"

How could we say no?

The 4 of us were admitted into the green room underground, where there was a spread of food and a fridge full of beer. We settled in on one of the couches, along with Evan, his manager, some other friends of theirs, and the girl who I think he said was on the cover of It's a Shame About Ray. We sat around, drank his beer and sang songs that he played on the guitar, including some Cat Stevens songs. We took photos together.  It was a chummy good time.  Eventually, it was early in the morning, and Rebecca and I were ready to head home. The twins decided to stick around a bit longer.  Rebecca and I stood up and started saying our goodbyes.

Evan jumped up, "You can't leave now...the blow is about to arrive."

Rebecca, ever the smartass, replied "Oh, no thanks...I did a TON earlier today at lunch."  Evan didn't seem to notice the dig.

We hugged everyone goodbye, and then exited into the cold morning air, in a haze about the completely surreal night that we'd just had.

Our night as accidental groupies.



That's an awesome story! I wonder how Evan remembers it: "The night I invited these girls to my show and I didn't even get a lousy handie."

16-old-me is SOOOO jealous of the you of 2004!

(Except for the blow party, that just make me sad.)