Okay, tonight’s the night, my parents are coming over to my freshly cleaned apartment for drinks and then it’s off to dinner. There’s the buzzer, let’s go let them in!
Down the stairs to the front hallway which leads to...
The front door and my parents. Uh, oh, my mom's got her rain hat on, it's started to rain outside. I bring them into my dry building.
Once inside my dad went to work mixing up a couple drinks in my narrow kitchen.
He's adding the water now. Note the water bottle that doubles as their flask.
Cheers from my mom and dad! We had a nice visit and a couple of drinks and it was time to catch a cab to dinner. I was a little worried it might be tough to get one in the rain.
And I was right. It took us a little while to snare this one and we changed dinner plans in the cab. We were going to go to The Water Club, one of our favorite spots that overlooks the East River, but we were afraid that it might be tough to get a cab after dinner. So we decided on Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, which is within walking distance of their hotel and an old standby for occasions like this. The food's always good there.
I didn't get a shot of the outside because of the rain, but here's one off the internet. Just imagine it's darker and rainier.
And here we are going inside. Whenever we go to Ruth's Chris, we always end up telling a story about the night we met Elton John's lead guitarist, Davey Johnston in this restaurant years ago. I'll share the memory with you now as we eat our dinner.
My Davey Johnstone Ruth’s Chris Memory
Davey Johnstone has played guitar for Elton John for years. When I was a kid I was a big Elton John fan. I followed his music from Tumbleweed Connection to Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. After Goodbye Yellow Brick Road I felt his music went downhill and I stopped listening. So while a lot of people would have no idea who Davey Johnstone is, I do.
In the winter of 2002 my parents came to visit me here in New York. We were out to dinner at Ruth’s Chris steakhouse in midtown, having a few drinks and enjoying dinner. The three of us were seated at a table in the bar, because back then you could still smoke in bars in New York and my mom smokes and so do I. Right in the middle of dinner an older guy with long blonde hair past his shoulders wearing red-tinted, wire rim glasses and an expensive, shiny suit walked by our table and sat down at the bar with a good looking woman with fiery red hair, who looked young enough to be his daughter. I mentally thought that this guy looked like an old man version of Davey Johnstone, the lead guitar player for Elton John's band.
After he walked by my dad laughed and said, “Geez, did you see that weirdo?” I laughed and we continued on with dinner and drinks.
About ten minutes later, the blonde hostess walked up to the blond-haired guy and said, “Mr. Johnstone, your table’s ready now.”
He and the woman got up and they walked by our table again and were seated two tables away in the bar. He or she must’ve been a smoker as well. I also realized it had been years since I’ve seen a photo of the guy, so naturally he looks a lot older. I told my folks that he was Elton John’s lead guitarist and that he had been with him way back before Elton John was very famous. We laughed about the young woman he was with and I said she was probably a groupie. Soon we were done with dinner and we stood up and I said I’d get the coats from the coat check. My dad said, “I’m going to go over there and say hi to him.”
Now my dad’s a big jokester, he’d had a few drinks and I thought he was kidding. It’s kind of a rule not to bug stars in New York, but you really don’t bother someone when they’re eating.
I laughed and said, “Yeah, right,” and went to the coat check.
I assumed my folks would meet me in the lobby. Well I get there and they’re not there, I look up, while clutching our coats and they’re standing in front of Davey Johnstone’s table! I ran up there to escort them away from what I thought would be an angry rock star. Instead I heard my dad saying to him, “Now you’re one of the originals in Elton’s band, right?”
He was parroting what I had told him and Davey Johnstone was amazed that this 70-something-year-old knew who he was and his history.
“Yeah, that’s right, are you in the business?” Johnstone asked my dad as I walked up.
“Oh here’s our son, now, Marty, met Davey Johnstone,” my dad said as Johnstone stuck out his hand.
“Hi, nice to meet you,” I said as I shook his hand.
“Likewise,” he said smiling.
“So what are you doing in town?” my dad asked him.
He told us they had played Madison Square Garden that week and Elton wanted to stay in New York for the week for a little vacation for he and the band. Then he asked where we were from and my dad told him they lived in Peoria but I lived in New York. Then he started asking me all about New York, where I lived, isn’t it hard to find a place, and on and on and on. It was starting to feel a little uncomfortable.
After about five minutes I had to say, “Well, listen it sure was great meeting you, but we have to get going, we’re meeting some people” or we’d probably still be there talking to the guy!
We laughed about it later and realized he probably hardly ever gets recognized and he got a big kick out of it. And so did the woman, she was beaming at him. I’m sure they had some fun later on in his hotel room. So, Davey, if by some miraculous chance you’ve stumbled onto this via the internet, there’s no need to thank me. Just send me a gold album or something I can sell on eBay.
After dinner, the rain had stopped and we went back to their hotel room for a beer.
And after a bit. my parents were ready to go to sleep, they're flying back to Peoria tomorrow. It was nice spending time with them in New York. I had time for one last obligatory elevator mirror shot.
On my way home I shot this photo of some neon lights in Ray's Pizza. See you all tomorrow.