When I was a pre-teen, I was so deeply in love with bassist John Taylor from Duran Duran that I cried myself to sleep the night I heard Duran Duran broke up, and he joined the Power Station with Robert Palmer. I was heart broken as if I had just lost my best friend forever. Even two summers ago when I saw Duran Duran in concert as an adult, it was like coming face to face with my teenage self and falling puppy love all over again.
That teenager inside of me came screaming to the forefront yesterday when I took my kids and their friend to a “meet and greet” with modern-day teenage hearth throb, Austin Mahone.
I got an email from the marketing director at my work last week explaining that Tucson’s Clear Channel had offered us tickets to meet the famous pop star. She thought of me because I have a daughter just the right age to be in love with him. “Yes, yes, yes!” Count me in,!” I wrote back without blinking an eye knowing that my kids would flip over a meet and greet with Austin Mahone. My daughter began jumping up and down the minute I told her, so thank you so much Ms. Marketing Director and kind people at Clear Channel for making this possible for my kids! What an extraordinary experience you gave to them. Thank you!
Now back to how a “meet and greet’ for a famous pop star goes down…
We arrived at the Tucson hotel, A Loft, 30 minutes prior to show time. I was worried there’d be thousands of screaming fans showing up begging for tickets. It was nothing like that at all. There was no struggle for a parking spot, and though we were at the end of the line to get in, there were less than 100 people in front of us. This was such a small crowd.
When we finally got into the room where he’d be performing, we sat in the back row. No problem though….with those few people, you can’t have a bad seat. Besides, no one was behind me so I was free to stand up and take pictures. Check some of these photos out. My zoom lens put me right next to him.
My expectations for seeing Austin Mahone were not great. Truly…I’m not a huge fan of his music. His songs seemed over produced and dull when my kids shared some of his tunes with me on Youtube prior to seeing him yesterday. I am so happy to tell you all that I was pleasantly surprised by his talent though. Austin Mahone can hold his own on his beautiful acoustic Taylor guitar, and he has a flawless voice. Of course, the pre-teens surrounding us were shaking and crying and screaming just to be in the presence of this hubba hubba hunk. It was like watching my teenage self in my Duran Duran days all over again.
He performed three songs. Don’t ask me the names of them, but the stand out hit was his acoustic version of “Mmm Yeah,” which is far superior to his glossy version that is sung with Pitbull on the radio. Too bad record labels need to add dance beats and glam to music that can stand on its own. Below, I am sharing the song as my song of the day done acoustically at another radio station so you can hear what he’s really got. Check it out – he deserves to be heard without all the hype.
In between his three songs, Mahone took questions from the audience. Six girls were chosen prior to Austin Mahone entering into the room. They were so excited and nervous to talk to him. “Who would you most like to collaborate with?,” one girl squeaked as she could barely get the words out. “Drake,” he answered with one word. Another girl, “Could you beat him at basketball?” “Yes,” — oooohhhh, another word. “I love you Austin!!!!!,” someone screamed. “I love you, too,” he replied with his rehearsed answer.
Yes, I walked away from this meet and greet liking Austin Mahone much more than I did before I saw him. My only problem with the whole thing is that this pop performer seems very controlled by his handlers. Yes, I just called them handlers like you would for animal, because that’s what they seemed like. There were no autographs allowed. We could take pictures with our cameras during the performance, but not during the meet and greet. They used their camera, and we could download pictures from the 93.7 KRQ website when we returned home. They shooed us through the line to get our pictures taken with him and gave us no time to talk to him. His “handler” even slapped his forehead and muttered “Jesus” when I put my purse and camera bag on the floor so they wouldn’t be in the photo with us.
My daughter was disappointed because she had a poster of Austin Mahone from a “Bop and Tiger Beat” magazine that she wanted him to autograph. We went out to his tour bus hoping he’d sign autographs there. When he came out to the bus, he waved to the girls waiting for him saying “See you guys” and didn’t even stop for a moment. Again…it all seemed very controlled. It was a pretty small crowd at the bus. Check this out:
From the time we walked into the room to hear him sing until we got back to our car, the whole experience only lasted 30 minutes. It was very rushed, but I know my kids are still over the moon over the whole thing. They will forever be Austin Mahone fans even when Austin Mahone has left the building.
My song of the day is “Mmm Yeah” the way it should be done. You gotta love teen pop stars though, because they remind us that music is at its best when its pure.