There are several possible reasons why Drake Bell did not meet and greet all his fans after his rockin' good concert at the National Train Day event at Union Station in Los Angeles: 1.) he was seriously distraught that some teen girl swiped his sunglasses from right off the stage and ran off with them after the show; 2.) he wanted to stand close to his brand new black BMW because it gave him comfort in his time of loss; or 3.) he knew that if he met me that I would ask him these two questions in all seriousness: a.) "Is the song 'Up Periscope' really a metaphorical ode to anal sex?," and b.) "Will you father my children?" Little does he know, that I am always looking out for his career and advocating for him whenever I have the opportunity. Don't you owe me a fan photograph, Drake? Don't you?! The readers of Bamboo Nation are inspired every time they see my dreams come true! And it's that kind of inspiration that gives kids with cancer hope for another day! Don't you want to help out kids with cancer?!
There were several surprising things about Saturday's event. First of all, I was expecting the Amtrak station to be overrun primarily by screaming tween and teen girls, the very ones who watched Drake & Josh on Nickelodeon religiously and awarded him not one, not two, but three Kids' Choice Awards three years in a row. Sure, those screaming girls were there (and security guards brought along earplugs in appropriate anticipation), but the place was also packed with very young boys and girls, ranging from preschool age and up.
I didn't know Drake & Josh had such generational crossover appeal, enough that kindergartners wanted to get their picture taken with a roaming Jonathan Goldstein, who plays Drake's stepfather on the show. And one elementary school-age boy wandered around the station's courtyard before the concert with a hundred dollars in his hand to see if anyone would be willing to give up their wristband, which was required for admission. (They ran out earlier in the day.) Suffer, child, suffer! (The boy and his entire family eventually did get in at no cost, as the wristbands were just an overly complicated measure that had to do with room capacity and that I am too exhausted to explain.)
There was something slightly subversive about the whole thing, I must say. These little kids and their parents were watching this grown man sing adult love songs:
When you're creeping out of bed I sneak a peek to see
Just what you were wearing last night
Or what was leftover from ripping off our clothes
I checked to see the door was closed
As you were turning out the lights
Secondly, I didn't realize how big the concert was going to be. Drake was backed by a lively five-piece band that played electric guitars, a keyboard, a piano, and a saxophone, with Drake alternating between an acoustic and electric guitar and a microphone that didn't always work properly. (Um, HELLO, when there's no sound coming out of the main act's mike, somebody should do something about it immediately!) They performed on a grand stage, in front of tall, majestic windows that gave the whole room a dreamy afternoon glow.
Lastly, Drake played many of the songs off his refreshing sophomore album, It's Only Time, but he and his band seemed to be channeling musicians from the 50s and 60s. (What, with his ascot and all. Yes, I said ascot!) Indeed, he opened his hour-long set with the oldie but goodie, "See See Ryder," and even dipped into Donovan's back catalog with "Mellow Yellow." To which I could only scream with delight, "WHAT?!" I mean, Drake is 21! So: "WHAT?!"
In defense of tween and teen girls, they do manage to document events such as these (albeit poorly) and post them on YouTube, allowing me to remember them for the rest of my natural life. One girl captured him doing an acoustic version of the Drake & Josh theme song, with his band members providing five-part harmony.... WHAT...?! Oh, glorious day:
[Addendum: Check out "The Official Drake Bell Post."]