Rob Thomas_Alice croppedToday I met and shook hands with Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20 and “Smooth” fame in downtown Raleigh. He was here in Raleigh as part of his radio promotion tour, which in Raleigh was sponsored by G105. I even got it from a good source that “Mockingbird” will be his next single. I was next to him when we posed for the radio station’s photo op and in the few seconds I had to introduce myself, I gave him my business card, told him my Twitter handle and thanked him for responding to one of my Tweets. I also told him, “I’m a big fan,” and he said, “Thank you.” Pretty darn cool.  

How did this happen? I’ll tell you in a minute…but first I need to give you a little background.

Maybe there are bigger fans out there, but my kids know all of Rob’s songs (from listening to them in the car — I’ve worn out his CD “Something to Be”), I comb his lyrics for metaphors I can use in my poetry, I refer to his songs in my writing workshops, I’m one of his Twitter followers,  and my 2-year-old daughter tells answers “Rob Thomas” when you ask her who her favorite singer is. I’ve been a fan of his since I watched him perform “3 am” on VH-1 back in 1998 and had to get the CD. I loved his energy and authenticity. This guy knew pain and it was coming out in his music, which he also wrote. Of course, I loved his one-of-a-kind voice that elongates vowels and bites the tar out the choruses. I only saw him in concert recently when he came to Cary in September and after that show I became even more of a fan. I learned that he grew up in South Carolina (I sort of did) and the piano is his main instrument, which he only learned how to play at the late age of 13. And this may sound a little weird, but when I was writing my NaNoWriMo Novel back in November for National Novel Writing Month, I had him make a cameo so I could increase my word count. Those twenty pages or so had some of the best energy when my heroine and Rob jammed together and she gave him songwriting tips.

I also believe in the power of intent. Today I told one of my clients that I will meet Rob Thomas, thinking that someday I would, never thinking it would be tonight. Since today was April 15th I had planned to combine a little fun with business. The Capital City Club was holding their annual Tax Day Pub Crawl and I thought it would be a great way to know some of the coolest pubs so when my hubby and I go on a date, we won’t go to some place that was cool ten years ago. I’m also working on a writing project, and had to walk around downtown Raleigh for research purposes. While out between pub stops, I overheard one of the fellows in our group say, “Rob Thomas.” I asked him, “Did you say Rob Thomas?” He then told me that there was a line around the Cashmere (next to Sullivan’s on Glenwood Ave) for folks to meet the singer. I immediately broke from the Pub Crawlers, threw open the doors of the Cashmere, saw no line  and got my wrist tagged.

The bar wasn’t overrun with fans and in fact, most of the people in there weren’t big fans, but they all liked him and were looking forward to meeting him. As you may expect, there were more women than men present, with their ages skewed to late twenties to late thirties. I called my husband and he sounded like his usual even-toned self when I told him the news. He was probably thinking, “How the hell does this stuff always happen to Alice?”

At the fateful hour, we all went in by groups, sectioned off by the Rob Thomas songs from our wrist bands (I had “Her Diamonds”). My group was the second one to go and it was small. Rob was exactly my height in boots, so he’s around 5′ 8″. He wore black jeans, a dark blazer, with a V-neck T-shirt that was of a nice dark fabric and soft boots. He looked really fit, too. I met him, we took the picture, and I shook hands with him again upon leaving. Then all of us received a signed autograph picture. What a night! I hung back and observed the other groups going in to see Rob. He laughed with his fans, hugged them, and danced a little to the club music while taking a few sips of his Red Stripe beer every so often. He later Tweeted that he had a great time in Raleigh and that he wished he could have played some music, but it wasn’t to be.

When I came home I almost wanted to tell my son and daughter I had met Rob Thomas, but that’ll have to wait for morning. I think it’s pretty cool that they know a celebrity can be gracious, kind and creative and one that their mommy has met in person!