Imagine this, it's your birthday, what would you like more than anything?? How does tickets to a John Prine concert sound? Quite possibly better than anything else in the world. That is just what my wife got me last year. March 22, 1997, our man John Prine is playing in Peoria Il. March 22 is also my birthday. A true gift. Well, we went with another couple I work with who have a new baby. This would be their first outing since the newcomer. Try to find a hotel room when the state high school championship is being played! It's a real pain in the ass. We ended up with reservations at a hotel, Best Western, about 10 miles south of Peoria. When we got there the cupboard was bare. The hotel management was having employee problems and nothing was happening there. We asked the clerk to see if any other Best Westerns would honor our reserves. She found a couple of rooms at the Eastlight, just south(1 mile) of Peoria. Of course we took the rooms. So, finally getting checked in, we decide to check out the concert hall. If you were there, you know it was a fairly intimate setting. So back to the hotel we go. Dinner and drinks in the lounge and Mary, the mother of the baby decides to call home to check on the baby. Not two minutes later she comes running back into the lounge saying that she thinks she saw JOHN PRINE in the lobby!!! Well, you can imagine our response. No way. To the lobby we went to check it out. All we saw was the back of a guy hauling in a luggage cart. Not once did he turn around so we could see his face. This went on for a good couple of hours it seemed like! Finally, fed up, I yelled HEY JOHN! You can imagine our surprise when it was THE John Prine who turned around! Normally, we would have helped any poor soul trying to drag in their own luggage, hold the door for them or something, but we were so busy trying to figure out if it was him or not was a chore in itself! Mark, (Mary's husband) stayed back in the lounge but Mary was quick to get him & soon all us Prine fans were standing right there in Peoria's East Light with John Prine in the lobby! Just as we always thought, he was the laid back kind of guy, driving up in what looked like an older blue Buick. He was also very kind, getting his mug taken with ours by the hotel clerk (the only other person in the lobby besides us...can you imagine!...John all to ourselves!) He also took the time to sign some cd covers & chat a bit. We invited him to the lounge for a drink on us (of course!) but he declined, it had \ been a long trip for him & he was tired (probably from toting in that heavy luggage cart we never helped him with!) After that, we got ready for the concert, and what a concert it was. R.B. Morris opened with a fine act.(I still gotta get one or all of his cd's.) And then, drum roll please, Mr. John Prine. Our first time seeing my idol. God that man can put on a show. I said it that time and when we saw him at Chicago's Navy Pier, he has so much fun on stage, it's an inspiration to all musicians. What a show!! After the concert, we hung out by the stage hoping to get to see him another time. He didn't disappoint us. He came out, sat at a table and signed autographs for all who were there. We were one of the last in line, almost an hour we waited, and we got our tickets signed, another cd cover, and a t-shirt we bought. He signed the shirt "Happy Birthday Jess, Thanks John Prine" Wow, what a b-day this turned out to be!! Meeting your idol 2 times in a day. Mark and Mary, the other couple we went with, got their "Great Days" book signed to their new baby. At least they are raising him right. A Prine fan at 6 months, he can say at 20 yrs that he's been a fan for 20 yrs. Lucky little bum!(No, his name ain't Billy!) What did it all feel like? Over & over, I heard these words, "It's happenin' to you", "It's Happening to You"! By the way, that's Mary on the left of John and Mark on the right. I'm behind him and that's my wife, Vicki on the far right.