Taking Evan Dando to the Prom (and a Taylor Swift concert)
Being a journalist specializing in contemporary music has its ups and downs. While we need to deal with the feeling of rejection compared to vehicles bigger than ours, it is routine to live with stars that until then were just posters pasted on the wall. And I learned that the worst thing a journalist can do when he is face to face with his idol in an interview is to reveal his fan side. After all, the best artists like to be challenged and confronted. When he realizes he’s facing a kiss-ass, obviously his ego inflates, but soon he gets bored and the interview gets off the rails.
I never told anyone this, but to meet Evan Dando in person I had to prepare myself (yep, Ev, I know it sound ridiculous now). And the best way I prepare is by consulting my tarot reader friend, Mônica. And she was very clear with me: when next to Evan, don’t show affectation and, mainly, don’t address facts from his past. It was tough, but the discipline gained over 20 years in journalism saw me succeed in my mission by putting on my best poker face when I was just hanging out with Evan.
Anyway, the writer Megan Wargula experienced a similar but much braver situation when she had the audacity to ask young-cover-of-Smash-Hits-magazine Evan to be her date at the prom. And the most incredible thing about this story is that he agreed, even without a tux at the time. Megan is currently writing a young adult novel based on this story.
Ten days before prom, my boyfriend said he couldn’t make the trip and I was heartbroken. I was a shy girl who had never been asked to a dance and was so happy to finally be going to prom. The Lemonheads were playing a daytime festival that day and I had two tickets since the boyfriend and I were going to see the show, then go to prom. My friend went to the concert with me instead and we saw Evan before his set and said hello. We saw him again afterwards and I thanked him for the show because it made up for the fact that I would be missing my prom that evening. He looked at me and asked, “When’s your prom?” There was something in the way he looked and asked that prompted me to say, “Tonight, wanna go?” I didn’t think he would want to go to a high school prom, but thought, why not ask, the worst he could say is no. He said, “That would be cool,” and I was floored!
But wait, the story is nowhere near the end. “After that experience, Evan’s team would put my name on the list for Lemonheads shows in my town, whether in Atlanta or where I went to university in Athens, GA. It was always great seeing the Lemonheads, of course, and hanging out with Evan and the band afterwards. Over the years, I stopped going to shows as much and just kind of lost track. I did see Evan a few times here and there over the years and more recently around 2019“, says Megan. During his most recent tour of the United States, Evan met Megan again at the emblematic Atlanta concert. And again they posed for a photo.
I was excited that he was coming back to Atlanta for his solo tour this year and it was great seeing him again and meeting Antonia. Evan will always hold a very special place in my heart as what he did for me by taking me to the prom still remains the nicest thing anyone (outside of my family) has ever done for me. He didn’t have to do that and didn’t receive anything in return, yet he made me feel so special and important at a time when I didn’t necessarily feel that way.
The coolest thing about Megan’s story is that she is not an isolated case. Evan is really endearing not only to the fans but to all people. He is what we see. For good and for bad, of course. And in the same spontaneous and affectionate way that Evan agreed to show up at his fan’s prom night, he agreed to go to a Taylor Swift concert with me, also to my surprise. “I’m very curious”, he said in relation to the magnificent Eras Tour, which arrives in São Paulo in November. Now, I just don’t know what it’s like to take an idol to watch another idol. Maybe I’ll get some tarot advice again. Or maybe Megan can help me with that. It’s a cruel summer.