I had just arrived at Los Angeles Dodger Stadium for The Rolling Stones "Bridges of Babylon" concert. At the time, I owned an executive security transportation service and drove a client to the concert. We arrived later due to his schedule, so as we approached the VIP backstage drop-off I could hear thunder coming from inside the stadium like I have never heard in my life. The sound was vibrating my car, and it was coming from The Rolling Stones. I certainly remembered growing up and hearing the Rolling Stones on the radio, but they were a couple of generations ahead of me, so I never really followed them. My client exited the car and entered the stadium. I parked nearby and got out to stretch and take in the music. The sound system was amazing. I recognized a security guard stationed at a side entrance from previous working events. We would chitchat about acting, as he was an aspiring actor, too. He nodded to me and then said, "Hey what's up? If you want to go in, it's cool."
Little did I know he was not a regular security guard. As I entered, I realized he was the gatekeeper to backstage. Almost instantly I was face-to-face with Mick Jagger singing "Gimme Shelter" and dancing across the stage in my direction. This was November 1997, so security wasn't like it is today. As I turned my focus and attention on Mick Jagger dancing like a teenager across the enormous stage with sheer power, sexuality, and dominance he stopped right in front of me and looked into my eyes for a half second while still performing. I could have reached out and touched him, he was that close. I was mesmerized by this force of nature, the crowd, the music… I thought to myself, "I'm alive for the first time in my life!" I was the only person in the stadium not dancing. I found myself enjoying the music so much and watching Mick Jagger do his thing, I wanted to take it all in as a young artist and try to understand this utterly new experience. Beautifully winding down the concert, the last encore was "Brown Sugar." I was shell-shocked as I exited the stadium and drove my client home. After dropping him off, I went home and could not sleep from replaying the concert in my thoughts.
To my surprise, the next night I was headed back to Dodger Stadium with another client to see The Stones. This time we arrived just after the opening act, The Wallflowers. Same VIP entrance, same security guard friend, and the same backstage entrance to see The Stones. I surrendered to a second communion with these rock legends. I entered and stood at the side of the stage as The Wallflowers cleared off. The stadium was vibrating with anticipation, and as I took in nearly 100,000 people screaming, I thought to myself, "Wow, I've never experienced so many people going crazy for a band's entrance.” It was daunting. When the band came out, I was awestruck as Mick Jagger ran up center stage, grabbed the mic, and ripped into "I can't get no sa-tis-fac-tion" – it was like the stadium caught on fire. After having been initiated on the night before, I was ready to let go and dance. This was going to be another night of deep insight and vibration expanding enlightenment for me. It felt like a baptism by rock gods. Jagger sang the lyrics like a pied piper to a mesmerized audience – we were all in church and he was the Pope.
Watching Mick Jagger gracefully jam across a 200-foot long stage ramp, I was learning how to really dance. He danced right in front of me at least 20 times – don't think I wasn't tempted to jump on that stage and join in. The energy coming off of him was like a human sun glowing over the stadium. Jagger danced like no one I had ever seen before: unorthodox, free, bursting, wild. A juggernaut. At the concert’s end, I felt reborn. Electrified into my own creative awakening. I started to experiment with what I learned from The Stones into my acting and writing, starting with truly letting go and being in the moment of nothingness to full-on explosions. A couple years later, I closed my executive security transportation company and occasionally sub-contracted with other companies to drive for extra money. I was now a full-time actor trying to make my way and had just starred in my first professional role in “Streamers” by David Rabe. My upcoming project was Edward Albee's “The Zoo Story”, in addition to being immersed in the audition process at The Actors Studio.
That's when I received the most life-changing opportunity I ever had imagined. A supervisor/friend at a top transportation security company called me. I answered the phone, we caught up briefly, and then he said, “I know you don't drive much anymore, but I have a special client that I think you may be a perfect match with that needs transportation service for a couple of weeks.” I was quick to thank him and responded with, “I can't really commit because I can’t afford to miss any auditions.”
The supervisor interrupted, “ I understand, Daniel. But this is a very special client, it's Mick Jagger.” I was instantly transported back to Dodger Stadium face-to-face with Jagger. I transcended back to the phone and said, “Yes, I will take the job.”
Little did I know Mick Jagger was not finished with me as many more lessons were to come over the next eight years as I had the humbling honor to work with him privately one on one… to be continued in Part 2.