I had the opportunity to see Harry Chapin perform only once in my life. It was early 1981 at Allentown Symphony Hall in Allentown, PA. I went there expecting a fine performance and left with much more. Harry’s plane was late and the show started with a 30-45 minute emergency performance by Tom Chapin.
He was so entertaining that nobody really noticed the time. Suddenly a roar came through the crowd as Harry ran through the center row, guitar in hand, and jumped up onto the stage. He was very apologetic and promised an extra long performance that evening. All of the standards were covered plus some obscure tunes. It was just Harry and Tom, the band was not with him that evening.
Toward the end of the concert, Harry announced that they would be available after the show to sign autographs, pitch his causes, and just bullshit (that’s a technical term that Harry used, he claimed it had something to do with education). Needless to say I waited after the show to meet him. Tom and I had a long conversation about the status of the New York Knicks and he graciously provided me with an autograph. The only thing I had for him to sign was an old business card tucked away in my wallet. After waiting for a little while, I got a chance to meet Harry.
Words cannot express the kindness he provided in making small talk and signing the small business card that I handed him. The most remarkable thing was the lack of bodyguards or any entourage, it was just Harry, Tom, and their fans. I still have the autographs. Harry’s is matted with a photo from the “Heads & Tails” album and hangs in my family room above the stereo.
I will never forget that evening and will always remember when the music.
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