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Music fans who dream of getting close enough at a concert to closely see or even touch the act they're watching will be excited by what one 11-year-old girl experienced at a Maroon 5 concert on Saturday.
Rachel Long attended the band's show at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, N.J. Tickets were a birthday gift from her aunt Colleen Long, and with two friends, Rachel was seated about 19 rows from the stage.
But after Kelly Clarkson's opening set, Rachel and her friends Amanda and Christina made their way down to where they were able to watch all of Maroon 5 at lead singer Adam Levine's feet, according to Colleen Long.
Toward the end of the concert, during the song "Payphone," Levine spotted Rachel. In a video posted on YouTube, the singer can be seen (at the 3:30 mark) unstrapping his guitar and handing it down into the crowd.
And in another video on YouTube, Levine is seen speaking to Rachel and her aunt, after learning who he'd just made his gift to.
"Rachel you've got to promise me you're gonna learn how to play that guitar, OK?" Levine said. "I mean, the guitar's bigger than you, but you're the cutest person I've ever seen in my life. I'm happy you have it."
For Rachel, a fifth grader from Hohokus, N.J., who calls Maroon 5 her favorite band, the entire episode was certainly a surprise.
"I was a little bit shocked and my eyes were kind of teary," she told TODAY.com on Monday. "I just couldn't believe that this happened." She initially thought Levine was reaching down to high-five her and her friends.
Security at the venue made sure that Rachel, her aunt and her friends had an escort to their car after the show, as other fans clearly wanted to get a hand on the guitar.
"The security guy carried it like it was the Stanley Cup," Long said. "Girls wanted to get their picture taken with it."
"I began playing guitar at an early age and was fortunate enough to have parents who loved music, too, and supported me," Levine said Tuesday in a statement to TODAY.com "I developed this line of guitars with First Act especially for new players and so when I saw Rachel upfront at the show, and how into the performance she was, it inspired me to give her the guitar. I hope she learns how to play!"
Rachel, whose experience with musical instruments starts and ends with the recorder, said the guitar is in her bedroom and that it'll make a good show-and-tell item when school starts.
As for learning to play, as instructed by Levine?
Long took the surprise out her next gift for her niece, saying she planned to get Rachel guitar lessons for Christmas.
Maroon 5's Honda Civic Tour continues into October with dates across the United States.