Jewel knows who I am.
Before you get too excited, expecting I have some kind of amazing celebrity connection to the four-time Grammy-nominated folk-pop songstress, let me explain.
Jewel performed Friday night in the outdoor amphitheatre at Mission Hill Winery in West Kelowna for a sold-out crowd of 1,200.
I took my Nikon camera along with the telephoto lens to snap some good pictures of the Foolish Games singer.
Mission Hill was also so kind to give me a lanyard with a media tag to wear.
When Jewel took to the stage shortly after 7:30 p.m., she was dressed in a flowered black poncho with a fringe and a headband.
Under a simple white spotlight, she started to sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow a cappella.
I sprung into action, moving up from my seat to crouch in the aisle about 10 rows back from the stage to take some photos.
The twilight was beautiful and I captured some stellar shots.
I didn’t use a flash because I know the burst of light bothers performers.
However, when the song ended, Jewel locked eyes with me and said: “Hello, Mr. Photographer,” in a coy little voice. “Didn’t you hear the announcement about no photos during the first song,” she added.
I heard no such announcement and there was no such announcement.
Besides me taking pictures, 1,199 other people were taking iPhone shots from their seats.
I slunk back to my seat amid chuckling from Jewel and most of the crowd.
I thought that was it. I’d been chewed out, raked over the coals and admonished.
Luckily, I had good photos of her, so all that was left was to sit embarrassed for the rest of the concert and try to enjoy it.
Up on stage, Jewel asked one of her crew for a guitar and seemed to get in position to strum and sing another song.
Suddenly, she asked, loudly over the microphone: “Mr. Photographer, where are you?”
There was nothing I could do but stand up and wave.
She mentioned she now had her guitar and was ready to pose for some pictures.
So, I approached the stage again and took some more photos of Jewel playing to the camera.
It was perfect.
I was forgiven.
The concert flowed from there into her ballady hits Hands, You Were Meant for Me and Foolish Games, before a bit of a rock ’n’ roll interlude.
By the time she got to her first hit from 1995, Who Will Save Your Soul, most of the crowd was up dancing.
Mission Hill has been named one of the top 10 hot spots in Canada for live music by USA Today’s travel website.
How could it not be?
The mountain-top setting with views of Okanagan Lake is spectacular and the seats for the amphitheatre are arranged on the sloping lawn.
The winery lands some incredible acts, and you can sip Mission Hill vintages while you enjoy the show and the vista.
Already this summer, Mission Hill has hosted Michael Bolton and the Cowboy Junkies, and trumpeter Chris Botti is coming up Thursday.