Monday, December 30, 2013

Retro Report - Jensen and Jason's Jam Session - LACon 2011

Photo credit - sweetondean: Jensen Ackles Vegascon 2013

In 2011 I did my first Creation convention. It was the first time I met Jensen and Jared and somehow, it changed everything.

I can't even express how excited I was about meeting the Js, especially Jensen. Man, I was excited about meeting Jensen. I had decided I wanted to do his meet and greet so I bid - and lost... by $1. My heart broke into a thousand pieces. 

But luck and the convention Gods were on my side, when a special event was announced... Jensen was going to do a jam session with his friend Jason Manns. He'd never done anything like this before. It was going to be him and Jason and just 40 fans. It was going to be a 45 minute informal jam. 

I had to go. 

If I'd won the meet and greet, I could never have bid on the jam session, so it was kismet in someway that I missed out on Jensen's meet and greet, because on Sunday February 13 at 5.00pm, I found myself sitting in a small room awaiting Jensen and Jason and their guitars.

A few days after the event, I managed to put my feelings, my overwhelming feelings in to words. I was still on holidays, I was at San Diego Zoo, it started to rain, so I went to the coffee shop with a hastily bought giraffe shaped notebook and wrote.

This is my report. I know many have read it already, but many haven't. It's a report that I've read back over and over, because I am still blown away by the fact that I got to experience this. I still remember it so clearly, the feeling in the room, my feelings, the rush of emotion, Jensen's awkward nervousness, the laughter and the tears. It was something I will never, ever forget. It was probably the best thing I've ever done. 

Be warned, my report is a bit on the gushy side! Remember, this was only a few days later, after my first convention, after my first meeting with Jensen, where he exceeded any and all of my fangirl expectations with his grace and sweet nature.

So here it is - a look back...nearly 3 years now (and 6 Creation cons later), to the day my world somehow changed and to Jensen and Jason's Jam Session.


First things first, this may get quite personal also, I don’t think I’ll be able to capture the raw emotion that I felt throughout this jam session with Jensen and Jason Manns, no way and I can’t give a blow by blow account with song lists and what-not, the only thing I can do is try to explain just how wonderful this experience was, I’ll try… goes.

So after a FANTASTIC day snuggling and cuddling Jensen and Jared I just had the jam session left. I felt so lucky. I was one of the 30 people who won a ticket in the auction. Creation sold another 10 tickets at the convention, less than I was expecting, so the audience was only going to be 40 people. 40 people, Jensen and Jason.

I was also lucky that Hazel, who I had shared a couple of fun photo ops with, had a ticket to the jam session too. It was due to kick off at 5, so we went back to our rooms to get rid of our bags, cameras and phones as requested and then came back downstairs about 4.30 to wait. There were already a few people queued up so we fell in line out in the hall and wondered how the seats would be allocated. A couple of Creation representatives turned up and explained that the seats would be allocated via a lucky dip draw because we’d all paid the same amount and this seemed like the fairest way. On one hand Hazel and I agreed that this was a great way to do it but on the other hand we were kind of bummed out because we really wanted to sit together.

So I went up and pulled my seat number and it was 22, not bad I thought, then Hazel pulled her seat number and she pulled 21! We couldn’t believe it! It just seemed to be the perfect way to round off a perfect day. It was kismet.

We were ushered into this TINY room with 4 rows of chairs, which were quickly squished into 3 rows by Gary from Creation. Hazel and I were in the 2nd row pretty close to the centre. Now, for some people the way the setup laid out was not satisfactory. There was a little bit of bitching and griping about the fact that the guys were just going to sit on seats in front of us, not on a raised stage, people were complaining they wouldn’t be able to see them even before they sat down, they were saying for the money we paid blah blah blah….whatever people, seriously I couldn’t understand it! We were less than 2 metres from where they would be sitting, this was a jam session, a jam session not a concert and the first time Jensen had ever done anything like this, is that not special enough for ya? I was baffled. I felt so blessed, so blessed to be there, to be one of 40 people to experience this special moment, no-one’s moaning was going to spoil my glow that’s for sure.

Jensen and Jason came into the room all smiles and carrying their guitars. Jensen had changed out of his much fondled dark shirt into a pale blue one, he was also sporting a grey beanie and big glass of whiskey, both of which he joked were his attempt to look like a musician!

He was very nervous, very. He couldn’t believe the level of interest in hearing him sing. He was equal parts touched and surprised. He rang Jason in a panic when he saw how high the bidding was going. They both decided they better get together and practice a bit, work out a set but then they realised what they promised was a jam session, not a concert, it was supposed to be casual and impromptu, it was supposed to be two mates singing together like they do when they’re just hanging out so that’s what we got and by God it was wonderful.

I’m never going to be able to express to anyone who wasn’t there what the emotion in that room was like.

Jensen started with one of his favourites songs. Now we all know he can sing right? Wrong…the man can SING. His voice is just amazing! He has a seriously, seriously lovely voice. When he started singing that first song I found that I was gripping onto Hazel’s leg for dear life and she was holding onto me! We basically hung on to each other throughout the whole thing. Jensen had shifted his chair and we were right in his line of sight, we were literally looking right at him. As he looked skyward, closed his eyes and let it rip the emotion of the day and what I was now experiencing threatened to overwhelm me. A lump formed in my throat, my eyes filled and my breathing got pretty damn shaky and that is how I stayed throughout the whole thing, right on the verge, it was just that wonderful. Every so often an errant single tear would drip down my cheek and I’d quickly try to whisk it away without him seeing, just what he needs right? I’m pretty sure he caught me a couple of times, but I just felt so lucky, so very lucky to be sharing this with him and Jason.

There were lots of flubs, from both of them. Jensen blushed a couple of times, big red blushes bless him but we encouraged him on. Every time he made a mistake he gave himself away with laughter or a funny face, he’s so adorable. Many verses were mixed up, words inexplicably forgotten, parts of songs sung over again until the words came to him. Even Jason got struck with a case of the wobbles; Jensen said it was because the anxiety was coming off him in waves.

Jensen told stories about the music he loves, about how he first learnt to play on his dad’s guitar, which he now owns, about how he first met Jason and about how sometimes when he’s listening to music he gets very lonely, up there in Vancouver all by himself in his trailer. He spoke about how the other men on the crew often talk about their wives and girlfriends but Jensen says, “None are as fine as mine.”

Jensen and Jason shared a lot of the singing, but Jason tended to sit back and let Jensen take centre stage most of the time, much to Jason’s amusement and Jensen’s embarrassment. When they sung Hallelujah Jensen took a verse as Jason very quietly strummed. It was breathtaking, in fact the room was so still and silent I wondered if any us were actually breathing at all, all I could hear was the occasional sniffle and not just from me. It was so magical I got goosebumps all over and those errant single tears got a bit more flowy.

As his nerves started to settle Jensen’s voice got stronger and stronger, I kid you not, his voice is stunning.

Ok, I’m not capturing this.

This jam session felt like a very personal experience. It was so intimate, the stories, the blushing, the joking and the laughs. The songs he chose to sing, the way he sung them and what they meant to him. I got to experience something that will never happen again, because this was a first and even if Jensen and Jason decide to do a gig together at a future con it will never be the same, because it will never be like this. I doubt it would ever be so small, so unrehearsed, so raw or so beautiful.

My heart broke a thousand times over as I watched Jensen sing. The energy he gives out, his obvious beautiful spirit and gracious nature, the kindness and gentleness, all the things I'd experienced during the day seemed to pour out of him and fill the room and fill our hearts over and over. My happiness in this single moment was so acute I could barely speak! As Hazel and I clung to each other we both fought back tears and I just kept whispering “oh God” because the whole thing was so special. It felt so special to be there. It was a truly sublime moment.

At some point Jensen asked how long they had to go but they had already gone longer than promised. Our 45 minute jam session came in around 1 hr 15. I could have watched him and listened to him for hours, to both of them, because Jensen and Jason sound incredible together!

When Clif and Adam from Creation finally pulled the plug, Jensen tried to explain to us what we all mean to him, both individually and collectively. With his hand on his heart he thanked us for all the support we give him, thanked us for being a part of this and for allowing him to be a part of us. It was genuine and heartfelt and he looked like he was struggling to get it out without choking up.

That right there was the end of me. After they had left, Hazel, myself and another friend Terri all huddled in the vendor’s room and hugged each other sobbing. We weren’t the only ones though, there were plenty of teary moments and everyone who attended was totally blown away.

I know you may all think I sound crazytown but this is how raw and perfect the experience was for me. Sure, I’m a fangirl but I appreciate talent, I appreciate good people, people who are raised well, who are polite and generous natured. These things are rare. To say that the jam session topped off a day filled with perfection is an understatement!

I’m so lucky, this man who, let’s just say I respect so much, lived up to and exceeded every expectation I had of him. I totally get it, I totally get why all his cast mates past and present adore him, I totally get why everyone who works with him have only nice things to say, that his friends sing his praises, I totally get it, because in meeting him and in being lucky enough to experience him so unguarded as he told us stories and sang, I was offered a tiny glimpse of his spirit and it was so very beautiful.

I’m so lucky. I will cherish this day for the rest of my life.

Well that’s it…that’s the best I can do. I hope it gives you just the tiniest insight into this very special event. 

As always, thanks for reading.

Postscript: I sent a message to Jason to thank him and I got a lovely message back.


Of course, Jensen did do one more jam, this time with Steve Carlson, but this, this was his first and I was there. 

When I read this report it brings the memories flooding back of how moved I was by the whole weekend and by my first convention with Jensen and Jared. And as I start preparing for Vegascon 2014, which will be my 7th Creation convention, I realise nothing has changed. I still get this excited, I still get totally overwhelmed, I still get nervous and gushy and weird and I still want to jump up and down and clap my hands! The only difference now is, that these days I know so many people at the conventions that I'm not doing any of it alone!

At Dallascon this year, I ran into one of the fans who was also at the jam session.  Jessica. We went, "oh hi!" when we saw each other and then straight away started talking about this jam, this day and how we still relive this moment over and over.

Jensen and Jason's Jam Session will always be one of my most cherished memories and believe me, I know how lucky I am to have experienced it.

In case anyone is wondering, this was the song list - in order - that Jensen and Jason did for us, on that pre-Valentines day Valentine in February 2011...

Thanks for reading and indulging my reminiscing!

Rock n Roll Radio - Ray LaMontagne.

Crazy Love - Jason Manns/Jensen Ackles

The Weight - Jason Manns/Jensen Ackles at Jus in Bello 2010 (also The Band)

If I Had a Million - Pat Green

She Talks to Angels - The Black Crows

Hallelujah - Jason Manns

Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd (special request from Clif!)

Your Song - Jason Manns

God Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise - Ray LaMontagne.

Free Fallin’ - Tom Petty (also John Mayer)

Walk Away - Ben Harper