We could now see how dark the sky had gotten. It was one of those summer storms that come out of nowhere with wind and clouds that open up and drop buckets of water. Everyone was soaked through. It put an end to the Diana Ross Central Park Concert.
Then we found out that Miss Ross was going to return the next day and start all over again. Richie could not get the day off from his summer job at Great Adventure, so I decided I would go it alone. I didn't want to stand in a crowd of people and view from a distance so I decided I would put on a seersucker jacket and attach the press pass to it. Since I knew the way to the backstage area, I figured I could just walk right in. I decided to get there shortly before the concert. I took the trail we had taken the day before that lead to the backstage entrance. I saw security stopping people and checking for passes; I felt confident that I would be ushered right in. As I passed a guard, I showed him my press pass and he stopped me, saying, "That's yesterday's pass; today's pass is blue." I had to think fast and quickly said, "Oh yeah, I left my blue pass on my desk and just grabbed this jacket I was wearing yesterday and ran out of the office. Do you need me to go back and get it? I'd hate to miss the opening of the concert." He said "No problem; go ahead in." I was surprised he let me in since I looked so young. The most I could have been was a reporter for my high school newspaper.
After a couple of hours, the concert was over. Miss Ross finally left the stage after singing to the exiting crowd and thanking the "men in blue." I felt like an insider, so I decided to explore the backstage area. There were a few tents set up. One large one with food & drink and a lot of people inside. I considered walking in to get something to eat but thought that if there were security at the entrance, I didn't want to be asked again for "today's pass" so I kept walking around and found myself in front of a trailer. Suddenly, the trailer door opened and Miss Ross appeared in a flowing white gown.
(At the 3:13 minute mark, you can see the trailer door where she came out to find me standing there.)
She was alone; no one was behind her and no one was waiting for her. It was just Diana and Duane. She saw me, smiled and put her hand out for me to take. I helped her down the small steps in her big heels. She then locked her arm through mine and we proceeded to the big tent. I was her personal escort! It seemed so natural, as if this were all planned and intended. I told her how great the show was and what a fantastic job she did and how beautiful she looked. She thanked me and as we approached the opening of the big tent, she took a deep breath, turned to me and said, "Here we go." She squeezed my arm and the last thing I remember was seeing her get swallowed up into the crowd of people inside who were all waiting to get to her.
I stayed a while and had some food and drink. It was all very exciting, and yet something was lacking, which would have made it the perfect experience: Richie wasn't there to share it with me.
On my way out of the tent, I passed someone I recognized and said "How ya doin', Mayor Koch?"
"How'm I doin'?"