Flashback Friday – Meeting Ray

The last time I was at Abravanel Hall (besides the Alicia concert last night, but we’ll get to that…) was in 1993 when my Dad had the honor of opening up for Ray Charles as a comedian. I was always tagging along with my Dad at his gigs. I liked to see what was going on backstage and meet all kinds of people who spoiled me because I was so young.

I remember a nice looking woman wearing a BRIGHT red dress suit asking me if I would like to meet Mr. Charles before he went on stage. I said “Sure!”. Of course, I really had no idea who “Mr. Charles” was or why it may be cool to meet him. She guided him over to me and asked me to introduce myself. I shyly said “My name is Cammi…” and before I could go on, Ray reached out and grabbed my face. Which of course freaked me out. I stared directly at my Dad with a look of horror on my face. Ray calmly felt around, said hello, then reached down and grabbed my hands. He held my hands tight to his chest and said it was nice to meet me. I stuttered something out and then he was gone. He may have talked to my Dad also, but I was too shocked to notice what was going on. A little old lady who worked for Abravanel Hall took me to my seat so I could watch the show. Our seats were in the front row on the first balcony, stage right. I still remember being shocked to hear the songs Ray sang once he was on stage and recognizing that I had just met someone really famous. He was great to watch and hear in person. He was rocking back and forth on his piano bench so hard I was worried that he might rock himself right off the back and someone would have to come pick him up off the floor. But of course, he never did! I wish I had pictures from that night.