The modern crooner and my musical hero for about 15 years now, the cure for every bad mood if you want one and the perpetuator of sullenness if you so desire, held concert in Providence last night with his Big Band. My love bought us tickets. We went, we heard, we laughed at his stories and his audience banter (he's funny on top of it all!), we tapped along to his New Orleans bluesy jazz and we left, a bit too soon for our taste.
Harry was a mixed bag. It was amazing to see him in person (we waited over 1/2 an hour after the show to get an autograph and I talked to him), but his 90 minutes of music was a bit short and he played only the stuff from the new album except for 2 or 3 songs, so that was mildly disappointing -- that he didn't dig deeper into his bag of tricks and/or get the crowd more into the show by playing just a tasting of his hits. Still, his band was great, his voice was just pure and amazing and it really was a thrill to see him.
What did I say to him? Here's the convo:
Me: Hi, Harry. I'm Dana and this is my fiance, Paul. Is there any chance at all you'd be able to sing at our wedding?
Harry: Sorry, I don't do weddings. But thanks for asking me!
Me: Eh! It was worth a shot! Thanks!
He seemed genuinely grateful that I asked. Paul and I thought it'd be worth it even if we had to pay a boatload, although we kinda know he's not the kind of artist who'd be in it for the dough.
So here's an idea for Harry and his publicists: Do a wedding a year. Get back to the small-audience, do-it-for-love, albums upon albums worth of love songs that you're most known (and let's face it, loved) for. Charge whatever you want and have that price be public. Also provide available dates, so that the contest can work around your schedule. Have some sort of contest (essay? photo?) and run the entries on your Web site so that your fans (or members of your fan club, if you want to herd people into joining) have to prove themselves worthy. Pick the best story each year and make someone's dream come true.
As for our wedding, no worries... Harry's voice will be there even if Harry himself isn't. Our playlist will be heavily peppered with him.