A local Georgia family got the surprise of a lifetime when Gregg Allman crashed a casual engagement party taking place on their block on Labor Day weekend in 2016.
Kathleen and Wells Anderson recalled the event exclusively for PEOPLE after hearing of Allman’s death on Saturday at the age of 69. Last year, the Andersons saw the co-founder of the Allman Brothers Band when he came to listen to the band Bloodkin play outside the party for an engaged couple, Harley and Casey Krinsky.
“At the time, I said, ‘There’s no way he’s coming,'” Wells, 44, tells PEOPLE. “Another buddy said if it happened, we would go down in history as having the best block party ever.”
Allman turned up for about four hours, keeping his distance from the other 40 guests. “My Volvo SUV was parked behind the band and I remember looking over there about 5:45 and seeing Gregg leaning against my car,” Kathleen, 39, said. “He stayed until about 10.” Added Wells: “He wasn’t partying or carrying on. He was just listening to the band.”
Initially, the Andersons were told that Allman was “going stir crazy” and wanted to get out of the house because his tour had been cancelled. “The other host knows someone who knew him and asked if it would be okay if he came,” Wells said. “But she [the friend] also wanted to make sure he wouldn’t be mobbed.”
The late musician did request to meet the happy couple to thank them for letting him join in on the fun — and Kathleen got her chance to meet Allman as well.
At one point, after a couple of glasses of wine, Kathleen worked up her nerve to approach him. “I introduced myself and our son Sam, who was 8 then,” she said. “Gregg was a man of few words but he shook Sam’s hand.”
A few months before his death, the guitarist posted a message on social media commenting on his most recent cancelled tour dates and denied rumors he had been in hospice care.
“Hey everyone. I just wanted y’all to know that I’m currently home in Savannah resting on my doctor’s orders,” he wrote in April. “I want to thank you for all the love that you are sending. Looking forward to seeing everyone again. Keep Rockin.”