In early January of 2008, I was going through a YouTube rabbit hole, late one night, when I stumbled upon a video that changed my life forever. It was a Law and Order: Criminal Intent tribute video and the song playing in the background was “Innocent Eyes” by Australian musician, Delta Goodrem. There are many reasons why the video stuck out to me, but the main reason was the song itself. It had such a haunting vibe to it and instantly mesmerized me. I went to bed with that sound playing in my head over and over all night.
The very next day, I downloaded every song by Delta I could (back then, you downloaded songs illegally via Limewire [I’ve since made up for it in patronage]). The rest is history. Every song or album she has released has been met with stunning reviews by yours truly. Her most recent album, “Bridge Over Troubled Dreams”, is a masterpiece and I highly recommend it.
With all that said, I was stunned when the Backstreet Boys announced that she would be their opening act during the American leg of their DNA World Tour. Over the past month, she has been touring the United States, performing her top hits and collecting a few new fans along the way. This is something I have been hoping for her for years and I’m so glad that people are now being introduced to her for the first time (Delta’s self-titled album was released in July of 2008 and reached #116 on the US Billboard charts; the album sold at least 21,000 copies).
The closest venue for me in this tour was Charlotte, North Carolina. I swore that I would attend, but when I found out that tickets were going for as high as $800 a ticket, I sadly put that dream of mine away. Between the distance, heat and money, I couldn’t justify going by myself, let alone having someone go with me. This was despite my mother’s pleas to go, saying “You have waited so long to see her perform. You’ll regret if you don’t go.”
On Monday, June 20, Delta posted an Instagram Reel, showing video clips of her visiting with all the fans, both new and old. It renewed my hope to personally meeting her and going to Charlotte was my best bet. I went online to see if there was any cheaper options available to me that allowed me to sit under the pavilion cover and not roasting like a rotisserie chicken. I found two tickets at $120 each. I immediately called my boyfriend, Chris.
“How much do you love me?” I asked.
Chris gave me a skeptical look. “That’s a very loaded question,” he responded.
That’s when I gave him my pitch and pleaded with him to go with me. He, like me, didn’t think it was a good idea for the reasons I’ve already mentioned. But he also agreed that this may be my only chance to see her perform and agreed to go with me. I was beyond thrilled.
Friday was so surreal for me. We got to Charlotte in the late afternoon and we realized that no matter what time of night it was, it was going to be hot. We arrived at the venue at 7 and patiently waited for Delta to start at 7:30. I knew that I would have between 8 and 8:45 to potentially see her in person before the Backstreet Boys started.
Delta did not disappoint. I’ve seen many recordings of her performing live, but this was an entirely different experience. I was the only one in the crowd (the venue was sold out with 17,000 people, but maybe 3,000-4,000 actually sat through Delta’s performance) standing up, clapping, dancing and singing. I spotted one other fan down in the pit, singing to the music as well. For thirty minutes, she same some of her top songs, including “The Power”, “Lost Without You”, “In This Life”, “Solid Gold”, “Billionaire” and “Dear Life”. Everything was magical.
Towards the end of the last song, I heard her say, “I’ll be outside for a bit if you want to come hang out with me”. I pushed Chris out of our spot and told him we had to go find her. We searched all over for a good thirty minutes, taking advice from some other USA fans who managed to see her at their respective venues. Nothing. It then dawned on me that she may not actually come out to meet anyone. It was hot as a mother and I wouldn’t blame her for needing to cool off after such a rousing performance. I noticed my hands shaking, sad that my chance to meet her in person did not come to fruition.
Chris, sad for me, tried to move us along to get to our seats before the main show started. We were both hot and exhausted and the show was due to start at any minute. I sat in my chair, sulking. Would I ever get a chance that I missed again?
The whole time, I was tweeting my experience, trying to get any lead as to where she was in the venue, if she was still meeting someone. Then I got a tweet from a fellow fan, saying “I think she is near a bud light area.” I turned to Chris and said that I had to try one more time. I got up and started booking it. I would do one more sweep before giving up and sitting down. I hoped that the show would hold off for a few more minutes.
Just when I had given up, I saw her boyfriend, Matthew Copley. Oh my gosh, she has to be nearby! Sure enough, a few feet away I saw her, her shiny, silver pants unmistakable. I did something between a lunge and a tip-toe, careful not to share them away like a deer in the woods. This was my moment! At the same time, I wish that Chris was with me, unaware of my discovery.
I stood behind the woman talking to Delta and caught Matt’s eye contact as I waited.
“Hey, cool shirt,” he said, pointing at my black DELTA shirt, which I had worn specifically to get the attention of Delta, or someone close to her. It worked.
“Thanks,” I chuckled. “I thought you would like it.”
“Where did you get it?” He asked. He was quick to tell that the shirt was not from the tour’s merchandise. I had to be big enough of a fan to get it prior to the show.
“I got it on her website,” I responded. I smiled real big and said, “I’m one of those people.”
By that time, the woman in front of me had walked away, leaving my path to Delta cleared. I rushed up to her, freaking out in what I did not realize was a recorded moment. You can view the video below:
Unfortunately, my time with her began to quickly end. A person had come up behind me and Matt was slowly ushering her to Delta. I quickly told her that I loved her and wished her the best. She thanked me as I walked away. What a wonderful woman. By that time, the lights had dimmed and the Backstreet Boys were making their way to the stage. The crowd was going wild. What perfect timing on my part. The closer I got to my seat, I began to develop a smug look on my face. I pulled my new, treasured photo up on my phone, handed it to Chris and said, “There you go.” It took him a brief moment to realize what I had shown him and we both broke out in jubilation. I think he was just as happy for me as I was for myself.
I’ve been on cloud nine ever since. I quickly got copies of my photo developed and put in frames. They’re now all over the place. I have also received hundreds of “LIKES” and comments on social media, fans, friends and family alike congratulating me on my experience. Delta herself has also commented on my Instagram story, stating she loved our photo together (I’ve screenshotted that as well to forever treasure). I am so fortunate for my encounter with her and will remember it forever and ever.