A month ago, B.J. Haines got to see Stephen Stills at Planet Hollywood in Nashville, Tennesse. Here's the scoop from Bill, as to the happenings there and some excellent photos too! :
Well, I'm still buzzed by Still's visit to Nashville's Planet Hollywood
this past Saturday. I heard about it on Friday, the day before on the radio
and of couse instantaneously dropped ALL plans for the weekend and
immediately focused on Still's 1:00 p.m. appearance the next day.
We arrived at Planet Hollywood early, about 12:15 and waited in a
very small line to get our names on the waiting list for a table. Normally the
line on Saturday at lunchtime is out the door and halfway down the block.
Not this time. I thought it strange that it wasn't more of a mob scene,
what with Stephen Still's appearance happening in only 45 minutes or so.
That was cool with me though. Less people better view. So, the hostess
gave us one of those little beeper type thingies that vibrate when it's your
turn to get seated. I shoved it down the front of my pants (nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!),
and we walked around the place and checked out all the memorabilia
hanging on the walls and inside of glass cases. Lots of neat stuff there.
But not as neat as what Stephen was going to be donating to the restaurant.
We watched as they set up the little stage where the presentation
was going to be. The deal is that the celebrity gives the restaurant
something, and they give the celebrity a leather Planet Hollywood coat.
What a nice coat it was too. I decided to take out my video camera and
do a little preliminary shooting to get an overall feel of the place, and then....
busted!! Some goon walked up to me and said that
there is no video taping allowed. I asked why, and he said it was because
Planet Hollywood always films the presentations for show on their screens
and are therefore the "property of the company" and could I please put the
camera away. I looked around and saw another guy getting the same
treatment. He protested a bit more than me and was told that he was free to leave the restaurant but that no videotaping would be allowed. Flash
photography would, however, be allowed. I started to ask why we could
snap photos but not video and thought better of it. I'll take what I can get.
( I did ask our waiter a bit later, and he said all the flashes going off gives
the film a glitzy Hollywood celebrity quality. Oh.)
So, video taping was out. But I had plenty of film. I looked at my watch. It
was now 12:55 p.m. No sign of Stephen. I walked over to the hostess stand
and requested that we be seated downstairs, as close as possible to the stage. She said she'd do what she could. 1:10 p.m. No sign of Stephen.
The beeper thingie goes off. Time to get seated. I walked over and
handed her the beeper thingie and another girl seated us in an adjacent
room with a limited view of the stage. Well, that's a whole lot better'n nuffin',
I says to myself. I figured I'd just jump up and elbow my way in close and
get a few snapshots.
1:20 p.m. No Stephen. I was starting my second Sam Adams. The
appetizer came. The anticipation was building. I asked our waiter if Stills
was here yet. He said no, he was told that he wasn't in the building yet.
And then, y'know what he asked me? "Who is this guy? Is he the one from
that 'Cosby and Nash and Young band', or whatever?" Yeah, that's what
he said. That 'Cosby and Nash and Young' band, or whatever. Man, we
had a good laugh over that one. David Cosby, Bill's illegitimate brother.
The waiter was young, with lots of steel poked through holes in his head
and a very stylish lime green, with hints of magenta, spiky 'do to set things
off. He hadn't even been born when the 1977 CSN album was released.
Not his era at all.
1:35 p.m. I was starting to get a bit worried. All of a sudden, I saw an
elevator door open, and out walked Stephen and his entourage. I never
even noticed that elevator before. I thought that he'd walk out from some
secret door behind the stage or something. Nope! Here he was, right in front
of our table! I freaked and said "Hey Steve!" He looked over at me and after
a very short pause, and with one of those "hey I remember you" looks, said
"Hey, man!", with a big smile, and maybe it was just me wanting it to be, but
he looked as if he remembered me from the time I talked with him in Winthrop
Harbor, Ill back in 1991. He had been there for the speedboat races and was
co-piloting the Queen of the Amazon, which you can see a picture of on
his 1984 "Right By You" solo album. I talked with him for about 5 minutes
that day, and I have a picture of that, by the way, which I'll e-mail to
anyone who wants one. (I'm not in it, I had cold feet and didn't want to
impose.) Or it might have been the many times I've been front row at his
shows with and without the other guys, screaming my fool head off. Who
knows. I would like to think that he recognized me, though.
I quickly snapped a couple of photos, but he was already being
shuffled to the side of the stage by his handlers. A quick introduction
by one of the Planet staff, and Steve was on the stage. He looked a bit
disheveled, like he had just awoke from a nap, which is probably just
exactly what happened. He's been doing a lot of travelling, I understand,
on his solo tour. Anyway, he seemed to be in good spirits and was very
jocular. He had on some old faded jeans and a Martin Guitar jacket. The
jacket, it turned out, was his donation to the restaurant. He said that he
has a new Stephen Stills signature Martin Acoustic Guitar coming out in
February. ( I found out later from one of the guys there that it will sell for
around $20,000. I told him I rather doubt that, but he swore it was so.
Steve took off his Martin jacket and handed it to the emcee and then
was helped into the new Planet Hollywood leather coat. The thing was way too
big for him. The sleeves were longer than his arms and it just kind of hung
on him. The crowd (and there was a crowd by this time) started to laugh and
Stills stood there for a few seconds for effect, with a goofy sort of look
on his face and said, "Well, I've lost some weight!', and that got a
good laugh. Then he thanked everybody and was shuffled off the
stage and surrounded by his handlers. It was evident that there would
be no pressing of the flesh or photo opportunities. I did try, but one of
his entourage, a little fellow about 45-50 years old with long jet black
hair tied back in a ponytail was saying "Sorry, no time, we must go",
or something like that and they got on the waiting elevator and were gone.
Not one person got a photo of themselves with Stephen. I believe we could
have gotten one with him if it had been just him, but I guess that's what his handlers are paid to do, get him in and get him out.
It was all over, from start to finish, in less than 3 minutes. Nokidding.
It was over in a flash. Speaking of flash, I'm sure I got some decent
photos and I'll make some of the best ones available by e-mail, if
possible, perhaps someone on the CSN homepage would like to
post one or more on the website for all to see.
I'm still amped about seeing Stills up close again. I wish all of the
'Shorers could have been there. I hope this narrative gives you a
good feel for how this event went down.
Bill Haines (email@example.com)