|John Panozzo||Sometimes the best way to pay tribute to someone is to share a personal experience you've had with them. I'd like to share with you the first time I met John Panozzo.
In 1983, I attended a Styx concert in Buffalo's Memorial Auditorium. This was my second time seeing my favorite band Styx and I couldn't have been more excited.
My cousin Jill and I went to the concert early to show off the poster I made to try to win backstage passes from a local radio station. I noticed that a gentleman had come out from behind the stage, climbed over a barrier and was headed in our direction. I couldn't believe my eyes when I realized it was John. Before I could get my cousins attention, John had already passed through the seats just two rows below us. I told Jill that the guy who just went by was John Panozzo.. She thought I was crazy. I didn't care. I knew it was John and I was so excited getting the chance to see him "up close".
A few moments later another gentleman came out from the side of the stage area and walked up to us. He said he was a driver for the band and had seen that I noticed it was John. He asked me why I didn't approach him and my response was "I didn't want to bother him". The man laughed and said "John went to get something and he'll be back in a few minutes. You should go over and say hi". He insisted...but I still refused.
Sure enough, several minutes went by and John came strolling through the arena with a box of popcorn! He walked passed the stage, hopped over the barrier and was gone.
I was 14 years old so you could imagine how thrilled I was to see my favorite drummer again. "Nothing could top that", I thought to myself. I was wrong!
John appeared from the side of the stage again, but this time was heading straight for us. He came over and said hi and thanked us for coming to the show. He talked with us for a few minutes and signed a copy of my Styx fan club newsletter. He was very sweet and had the most infectious smile.
He made my day and looked truly happy doing so.
It's been over 20 years since that concert in Buffalo and it's one I'll never forget.
Thank you, John.
Sadly, John passed away on July 16th, 1996.
I think I can speak for everyone and say "we all miss you dearly".