As Amanda and I are STILL out on hiatus (June 15th is coming…), we are happy to feature a guest blogger sharing her experience at a super special meet and greet experience at the Dallas show in April. As always, we warmly welcome guest blogs. We also wish to remind our readers that the views and experiences shared by guest bloggers are not necessarily representative of the those held by this website. -R
By Kim-Loan McDuffie
I wanted to share our experience at the April 19, 2016 Duran Duran concert in Dallas, TX. We are Duran Duran fans who have NEVER seen them in concert… growing up as a child in the 80’s meant that we were able to fall in love with the music and with the band members, but not quite old enough to attend a live show. When Heroes for Children (a local non-profit dedicated to raise funds to help families of children fighting cancer) announced an auction for a chance to meet John Taylor of Duran Duran and 2 floor tickets, I literally jumped at the opportunity! The week ticked by and the bidding war went up until the last second but I managed to win it… we scored the ticket package AND all the money went to help children with cancer!
April 19th came, my friend and I eagerly counted the minutes until the concert. We had the special arm bands and tickets in hand, and at 7:45, we were escorted backstage to meet John! Honestly, my friend and I had crushes on Simon, we were a little disappointed that the meeting didn’t include him, but we quickly changed our minds as the evening went on. Into a nice lounge area in the back of venue, we were sat at a table… ALONE. It was not a group setting type of meet and greet, it was one-on-one time with John Taylor! When we realized the enormity of the situation, we went to the beverage station where they had snacks and drinks, where we opened the bottle of white wine to calm our nerves.
A few minutes later, in walks the unbelievably handsome John Taylor, hair spiked up and casual in jeans and a t-shirt. He smiles and sits down and we just looked each other in awe, jaws wide open. His tour manager (she was so nice!) had told us that John was as sweet as he was good-looking, and she wasn’t lying. I broke the ice and asked him how he was doing, was he tired from all the touring? He said that it was not bad at all and they had the weekend off before this show. What did they do with a quick weekend off during a tour? They went to go see the movie The Jungle Book. We giggled like school girls because my response was, “So you go up to the ticket window and say hi, I’m Duran Duran and I need 4 tickets to The Jungle Book”, He then laughs and said that it doesn’t happen like that, they buy tickets without introduction and go inside. The movie didn’t impress him, he said it was a little different from he expected but he was nostalgic for the original version. Much like the rest of us, who knew?
About 5 or 6 minutes passed and his manager came back to escort him out until he said “Do you mind giving us another 10 minutes please?” So John Taylor was so entertained by two Dallas girls who must have babbled and talked his ear off. He asked us about our kids and what we did for a living or for fun, and we told him about our roles as advocates and leaders in the area for children born with heart defects.
My friend and I “work” as non-salaried volunteers for Hope 4 Tiny Hearts, a foundation to raise funds for pediatric congenital heart defects. I’m known as The Heart Fairy as a volunteer and supporter at a children’s hospital, and I am a Wish Granter for Make A Wish. Once he got the back story as to why she and I were so active with children’s services and saw pictures of my son after his first open heart surgery, he looked a little sad. Oh my gosh, I thought, if I make John Taylor cry, I’ll hate myself. So, I quickly showed him photos of my son today. He’s doing well and looks good even though he will have to have another heart surgery. What was so touching and made us just fall in love with John Taylor’s heart was the fact that he was just so genuinely nice, he wanted to know that my son was ok. The warmness and kind, positive energy of his just fills a room. Somehow our ten minutes fly by and he has to go get ready to be on stage soon. “Are you ladies joining us after the show to come back and hang out?” We had the blank stare of a new-born puppy who can’t find its momma, so John laughed and asked his manager to grab us a couple of VIP passes. “But let’s get the girls some photos before I leave.” Yes, let’s!!! He took as many photos as we wanted, but we weren’t gonna be greedy and ask for prom poses like we had imagined, ha! Off down the long hallway John went, we got our passes, walked from the behind the stage area on to the concert floor. We had to sit down because our legs were wobbling from the entire experience. We met John Taylor of Duran Duran and he was more amazing than we could have imagined. Instantly, she and I forgot that we had crushes on Simon… until Simon took the stage.
There was a concert. My friend and I were still in a daze as to what just happened and what will happen after the show, so honestly, we could not get into the music. The entire show for us was like “Did we just meet John Taylor and are we really going backstage to meet the rest of the band?” along with the irrational fear that some crazy fan will steal the VIP lanyards off our neck if we weren’t careful. Sitting third row on John’s side, we were able to catch him smiling and waving at us a couple of times (and we had to sit down for that to fangirl) and the couple of times Simon looked our way during the show was enough to make our blood pressure rise.
Once the concert was over, there was a group of maybe 16 people brought to the same lounge area where we met John. The band members and the others (sax player, guitar guy and gorgeous back up singing girls) trickled in and made their way around the room to say hi. Eventually Simon made his way to our side of the room, and boldly, I waved him over to our table. We were told that he was on strict orders to not talk to save his voice (he was battling a cold/laryngitis, and he won’t want take photos that night), so we just wanted to see him up close. Wow. All 6’2” of him towered over us, so we sat back down and he kind of bent down to hear us better. The ironic part was that we wanted to hear his accent and him talking just to say anything to us! I told him he sang well and how happy we were to finally meet him. He made a lot of silly faces and gestures to make us laugh, and said we can take a picture. We each got huge bear hugs from Simon Le Bon (swoon!) and he let us take a group selfie with him, and individual bear hug pictures.
Luckily, Nick Rhodes walked past us and we said hi and asked for a photo, and kindly he allowed us to! As for the last Duran, as he was on his way out of the room, I caught his glance and asked the super shy Roger if we can get a photo with him. He said of course, chatted for a second while we took the selfie photos with him. He said that I looked nice tonight, and I said that I can say the same for him! He was freshly showered and dressed in a cute blazer, looking more like a school boy than a 56-year-old. Up close, he is even cuter in person!
By then, we didn’t get to say hi or bye to John, he left the room before the others. Standing by the door, I saw each member exit the room. When it was Simon’s turn, he waved bye to me and as I extended my hand, he actually grabbed it and gave it a couple of squeezes as went into the hallway. And just like that, the evening was over.
In my wildest dreams, I never imagined an experience like what I had. Duran Duran knows how to treat their fans. Their show (what little of it that I remembered) was amazing and their patience and understanding of how much it means to us to get a photo/ hello from them is apparent in how nice are to the fans.
My friend and I promise to pay more attention to the concert the next time we go. Front row. In September. Because we are Duranies for life now. Thank you John Taylor and Duran Duran for being so wonderful!