Catcher10, thanks for posting those pictures, they're outstanding. Mine are posted below.
My wife and I were there as well. We got VIP tickets and it ended up being one of the most amazing experiences of my life!
October 7, 2012 - Meeting Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy, Randy George and the live band
I managed to get VIP tickets which allowed us access backstage and gave us premium seats. I bought the tickets from the concert promoter, Ken Coffman, who was great to deal with. I asked if there was anything I could do to help out and he suggested that I do some research and find out what nearby restaurants would be great for the band to hit after the show. But he cautioned me that the best plans have the potential to fall apart at any minute in these situations. I would soon find out that he wasn't kidding!
My wife and I met Ken for the first time in person at the South Entrance of the EMP around 3:30pm. He brought us backstage and then up to the green room (Another fan named Jerry had also purchase a VIP ticket so he hung out with us as well). When we got to the green room, some of the band members were having a sandwich before the show. There, I had a chance to meet Neal Morse, give him a framed picture that I made (based on the song "Wind At My Back") and get my picture taken with him. I've been a huge fan of Spock's Beard / Neal Morse since 1998 so this was a dream come true for me!
After that amazing experience, we had to focus on the restaurant planning. The initial plan was that Ken would buy out the food contract and give each of the 11 musicians / technicians $50 cash to do with as they please. Ken entrusted me with the money and said he would send each of band members / technicians to find me and that would make me "a very popular person."
However, it was becoming quickly evident that things were not going to go as planned. Mike Portnoy had mentioned that the coffee provided by the venue wasn't up to par. Ken asked my wife and I if we wouldn't mind doing a "Starbucks run" for Mike and some of the other band members. Being a crazy fan, I was all too eager to help out my wife, being a Starbucks fangirl herself, was great support in making sure the drinks were prepared exactly as requested.
We grabbed the drinks and quickly delivered them back to everyone. Mike Portnoy was very grateful and it gave me the opportunity to talk with him for a few moments. What a thrill!
Unfortunately, the problems kept piling up. We found out later that the band showed up an hour late because their bus broke down. Also, the sound check was taking a lot longer than expected because of multiple technical issues. When the gig started, it was over an hour late!
But it was worth the wait. The concert was outstanding!
There was still the lingering question about what to do for food after the show. My wife managed to find a place that was open late and looked fairly classy but not overly expensive (New York Pizza & Bar, a 5 minute walk away). After talking with the group's tour manager, we decided to place a "timed order" for 10:30pm. Only Neal, Mike, Eric, Randy (and his family) decided to attend in the end. My wife grabbed a menu and the tour manager had the each member of the band circle what they wanted on the menu.
However, we were thrown another left curve. The band decided to play a few extra songs, including one where Neal Morse played the drums and Mike Portnoy was on vocals. This made for a great show but there was food waiting. In the end, we didn't get to the New York Pizza & Bar until 11:00pm! And the band was tired and starving.
We came in got everyone seated but the bar manager was not happy. He said that they had to end up throwing out all of the food and had to start over. And I had to deliver the bad news to the band that the food wasn't immediately ready. But somehow, we got lucky and the restaurant staff didn't kill us and the band bought in to my reasoning that fresh food beats half hour cold food.
By some miracle, it all worked out. The band really enjoyed the food (my wife and I ordered pizza) and I got to have a late night meal with Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy and Randy George! We left a generous tip with the staff for putting up with us.
Ken Coffman showed up around midnight and proceeded to round everyone up and drive them back to their hotel. It was at this point I had a chance to thank Neal, Mike and Randy for letting us hang out with them and my wife even managed to get a picture of me and Mike Portnoy right at the very end.
After that experience, my wife and I headed back to our hotel. We didn't get to bed until around 2am and we had to be up for 4am to catch our flight back to Canada.
All in all, it was an unforgettable experience with pictures and memories that I will treasure for the rest of my life.
The framed picture I gave to Neal Morse
Ken Coffman, the concert promoter. He made this all possible!
Myself and Neal Morse in the green room at the EMP
Mike, Neal and Adson
My wife and I
Randy, Neal and Mike
Neal and Mike
Randy, Neal and Mike
Eric, Mike and Neal
Eric, Mike and Neal
Neal, Mike and Adson
Myself and Mike Portnoy in front of the New York Pizza & Bar