|Posted by doktakra on August 13, 2012 at 11:15 AM|
Yes, I waited in line for three hours to meet R. Kelly. And yes, it was totally worth it.
As much as I make fun of Kellz for his oftentimes absurd lyrics, he remains my favorite musician, and with a half-day at work, naturally, I'd head to a downtown Barnes and Noble for his book singning.
After getting my wristband, for which I had to buy a copy of his memoir, Soulacoaster, even though I already have one at home that I'd pre-ordered on Amazon (this is why returns were invented), I took my place in line around 3pm, three hours before he was scheduled to appear. Several hundred fans were already there, sitting in camping chairs and laying down on the floor inside the store, and with the speakers blasting tracks from his latest album Write Me Back, the crowd was singing along as if it were a concert.
Almost immediately, the music was interrupted by a disappointing message: despite the event description stating that, time permitting, R. Kelly would pose for photos, his camp asked fans to not take any pictures and that the singer wouldn't personalize books or sign other items. Everyone groaned and sighed, but I could overhear several people around me say they'd still take photos and try to convince him to write an inscription. I was glad I wasn't the only one.
Surprisingly, right around 6pm, R. Kelly came out with minimal fanfare, and just about every woman collectively jumped up and down, screamed, cried and talked about how "fine" he is. Apparently, Kellz rarely does public appearances (and had actually cancelled several signings in recent weeks), so this was a huge deal to many fans who'd been hoping to meet him for as many as 20 years.
He wouldn't let them down. In typical R. Kelly fashion, he grabbed the microphone, thanked the attendees for the support, and made an announcement. Yep, he was remixing the event.
"First off, I'm gonna change all the rules," he said to the delight of the crowd. "You can take as many photos as you want."
As great as that sounded, he didn't actually change all of the rules, since he still wasn't going to personalize books, meaning any chance I had of getting him to write, "Alex – no one can rock "Ignition (Remix)" in karaoke better than you" was officially gone.
Kellz sat down, replaced his sunglasses with a pair of regular, rimless specs, and turned on the charm. He was gracious enough to talk to every one of his mostly overwhelmed fans for a few seconds, and even obliged to requests for hugs and kisses on the cheek, which caused some women to hyperventilate on the spot (seriously).
Before I knew it, I was almost at the front of the line and realized that I still wasn't sure what I'd tell him. I figured the karaoke idea was lame and unoriginal, so I blurted out the first thought that came into my head.
"I'm a huge fan," I told him. "My wife and I listened to Love Letter at least a dozen times on our honeymoon."
I immediately realized that came out wrong. Techincally, it was true, since we did play the album in our room while getting ready to go out or just relaxing, but I didn't mean it like that. Alas, I was talking to R. Kelly, so there was absolutely no other way he'd interpret those words.
"Oh," he replied, pausing for a split second. "That's what's up."
Like I said, three hours (and $30) perfectly spent.
Categories: R. Kelly