Saturday, June 17, 2006

Special Del-ivery

Take a look.

The dude in the middle holding a CD is me. The guy at the far left is the UPS guy who delivered the CD. The guys with the instruments are bluegrass legend Del McCoury and his band who recorded the CD and came along with the UPS guy to deliver it. We’re all standing in the street in front of our house, where the band has just performed a mini-concert for me, which accounts for the look of dumb-founded astonishment on my face. It’s been several days since it happened, and that look has yet to leave my face.

It all started with a phone call from Last year, for their 10th anniversary, they did a promotion where select customers got stuff delivered by the folks who wrote/starred in/recorded it. They filmed the delivers and put them up on their site.

They’ve just started an online talk show with Bill Maher and they revived the special deliveries as a segement of the show, in collaboration with UPS. You can see some of the recent episodes and deliveries here. (Links to just the delivery segments are at the bottom of the column on the left.)

So they called me last week and told me that I had been selected to receive a delivery, based on an item on my wish list, if I chose to participate. Naturally, I said I would, so I signed their release and agreed to be home on Wednesday at the appointed time. They asked if I wanted to know who was coming, and I told them I wanted to be surprised, which Keith just could not believe. I thought I would be more convincingly surprised on camera if I didn’t know.

In the time in between the call and the delivery, we trimmed the trees and bushes in front of the house, cleaned the house (or at least the living room), and tried to guess who might be coming. I was a little nervous that it might be some author I wouldn’t recognize in person and I’d come off like a dud on camera. On the other hand, it might have been Grant Morrison. Since my wish list is, for lack of a better word, pretty extensive, it feasibly could have been anyone.

Thinking about it some more, I realized that the date they gave me was the same date that Del McCoury was going to be doing an in-store appearance here. It was also the day after his new CD dropped. It kind of made sense to me that they would work to set something up with someone who was already going to be here, but it was just a wild guess on my part. While we were cleaning, we kept referring to it as “getting ready for Del and the boys.”

Anyway, Wednesday afternoon, there was a knock at the door and I opened it to a UPS guy and a camera crew and a bunch of other people. I signed for the delivery, and the UPS guy told me to follow him. That was kind of odd, because on the special deliveries they've already posted, the person making the delivery was right there with the UPS guy. Now my curiosity was way piqued. He takes me around to the back of the truck, camera guys in tow, and says: “Here to help with this special delivery is…”

“…The Del McCoury band!” And he opens the door and they all pop out of the truck, instruments in tow. At this point, I’m amazed that I had actually guessed right, completely shocked that they’re actually there, and desperately trying not to sound like a babbling fool. I’m pretty sure I failed at the last part.

They sang the title cut off the new CD, standing right there in the street in front of my house. People across the street were popping out of their houses to check it out. They asked me if I had a request, and I asked for "1952 Vincent Black Lightening." On the one had it’s a lame request, because everyone always asks for that, but on the other hand, it is my favorite Del McCoury song. I always get chills when I see them do it live, and this time was certainly no exception.

Every time I’ve ever seen them perform, I’m always struck by how genuine they are, both in their love for the music and their appreciation of the audience. I always imagined they would all be really nice guys to sit and chat with. I’m really happy to say that I was right about that. They were all as nice as they could be through the whole thing, even though I’m pretty sure I was just babbling like an idiot.

We chatted a bit, they signed the CD and a picture for me, Amazon interviewed the band and me and the UPS guy, the neighbors kept staring, we posed for pictures, and then everyone left.

After all the housecleaning and stuff, it was a bit of a bummer that they didn’t actually go in the house, but I think the way it ended up was a lot cooler. I’m not sure our living room could have held everyone—Del and band and instruments, camera guys, etc. Not to mention that it would have taken forever to set up. I am really glad we trimmed the stuff in front of the house!

Since I plan events as a part of my job, I was really impressed with the smooth way everything came off. I got a kick out of noticing the little details—Del was miked, so was the delivery guy. They were very careful to get the UPS truck in as many shots as possible. Logos and brand names kept coming up in coversation. I had to hold the CD a certain way. It was really fascinating to watch.

The small army of folks that were there was fun to watch too. There were Amazon folks, of course—the host of the special delivery segment, the segment producer, the camera crew—but there were UPS PR people too. (They all stood way out of the way and had on suits. Keith and I joked that they looked like Secret Service people.) I think that there may have been a rep for the band there too, but I’m not completely sure on that. It’s a completely different world from what I’m used to, that’s for sure.

Keith took the pics you will eventually see here, once Blogger decides to do the right thing again. He had a hard time getting a lot of shots because he had to stay out of the way of everyone else. I feel bad that I didn’t introduce him to everyone. I was in such a daze and he was running around with the camera. I just wasn’t thinking about it. I feel a little bit like a jerk for that.

Honestly, I think I’m still in shock over the whole thing. Del McCoury stood in front of my house and sang songs for me! Wow!


Roger Owen Green said...

I love this story.

Lefty said...

Awesome! What a treat!

EM said...

Thanks guys. It was pretty cool.

Roger Owen Green said...

Oh, and you're getting mentioned in my blog tomorrow. More than once. Deal with it. (Lefty and Gordon, too.)

Donna Wilkes said...

Wow, what a story, Eddie!