Guest Blog: My Best Concert Experiences

 By Grey Rzeznik

My Best Concert Experiences

Music is my life. That’s not a dramatic statement. It’s simple black and white fact. Everyone has a soundtrack to their life but mine is a full on epic score. I hear music in my dreams, while I’m working, meditating, healing, you name it. That said, I’ve been to many a concert. It’s one of my favorite things in the world, frankly; a night of musical magic with the ambiance and wonder that is a live crowd mixed with the character that any given venue imparts. It would be impossible for me to pick out one single show over the rest because so many had special moments. I took something wonderful from each one I’ve been to so what I’m going to write about instead is a series of shows that were shared by me and my best friend Lisa. Duran Duran started us on a sort of tour ritual. We had to see shows together. 2003 was the start of a series of adventures that this little snapshot will unfortunately fail to do justice. I’m going to try to capture the spirit of it though.

July 17th, 2003: Pacific Amp, Costa Mesa – Lisa and her husband flew out to see this show and hit Vegas. I was over the moon that we’d be able to go see a show together, especially since we met because of our mutual Duran adoration. We weren’t in the pit like I’d hoped for but I didn’t do TOO bad with the seats considering how big that place is. Funny thing, I don’t remember as much about that show other than it being one of their best that I’ve seen. Can that make any kind of sense? I’m hoping it does. I remember how the cheers from the crowd rolled across the audience and how incredible those seats looked completely full. I remember teasing Lisa here and there about John’s hair. He had it blonde then and slightly mulleted. It looked great once it flattened out with sweat but then he’d fluff it with his hand and he’d become an instant Foghorn Leghorn. Every time I crowed like a rooster in Lisa’s ear, she’d either elbow me or pinch me. Hard. Make no mistake about Lisa; she’s a tiny thing but she’s STRONG. I had bruises for a week after.

July 19th, 2003: The Joint, Las Vegas – We drove to Vegas the night before and that alone was an adventure. Vegas in July is equal to slow, miserable suffocation. I can’t remember ever coming so close to heat stroke for a band but we sat there on the Hard Rock’s sidewalk forever to get that prime real estate in Casa de General Admission: Smack dab between John and Simon. Talk about a contrast in shows! This is the night Simon battled laryngitis throughout the night. Somehow that man managed to be so charming and boyish that we all still enjoyed the show. Of course it didn’t hurt when he suddenly started picking at his rear end. A little voice went off inside my head. “He’s done it again. He’s split ’em.” I no sooner leaned in to yell my suspicions to Lisa when Simon told us that he had, in fact, split his pants but then had the brilliant idea of having Dave staple them shut. Except now he had staples gouging his ass… thus the perpetual digging. Lisa and I will probably still laugh about that when we’re popping Geritol and in Powerscooters.

March 13, 2005: The Joint – Dear Lord, this show. It was nearly the end of me. Of us. We very nearly expired right there on the floor of the Joint. Right there in JoSi Shangri-La. Yep, that show. THE show. The culmination of years of me and Lisa screaming “Oh for Godsakes, just DO IT! We KNOW! We’ve KNOWN! Get it over with already! You’re killing us!”  Be careful what you wish for dearies. I’m not kidding. I’m still a JoSi shipper. I said it. Proudly. To John’s face even. (Heh!) None of that prepared either of us for those two that night. Actually it was mostly just Simon but nevermind that.

It started with “I Don’t Want Your Love” and in the middle of the song the band went into a slinky, funky breakdown. Of course Simon went into his own brand of slinking. He zeroed in on John from Andy’s side of the stage and began to stalk him. Head slightly down. Eyes clearly intent upon their target. Steps absolutely predatory. The man slinked like no other slink has ever slinked before. Completely invaded John’s space. Okay chills but we’ve seen this on youtube. Wait though… His hands just went up to John’s face and… HOLY BALLS OF… JOSI! That was no peck on the cheek! That was mouth to mouth resuscitation that people usually watch three hour movies to see! That was… wait, do I still have knees?? LISA! Lisa has a camera…! Except she yanked it away from her face because she couldn’t believe what she’d just seen through her viewfinder. We looked at each other. We shrieked. We’re not even the shrieking type. We hugged. I think. Seems like there was a hug in there somewhere. We were in shock. Oh and it wasn’t just us. The hysterical roar that washed from the back of the theatre to the front was like a great sea beast coming to the surface for air. Then it erupted into a full on deafening howl like something from a Beatles gig. My ears actually rang a bit from it. I’m a pretty cool cucumber for the most part but kiddos, that’s the first time in my life I’ve ever gone weak in the knees. Couldn’t tell you what the rest of the show was like other than spot on. It’s all blurred into that one epic, mythic, uber-fantastic moment that was made infinitely better by getting to share it with my best friend. Geritol, Powerscooters. We’ll still get chills and dumb grins over it.

May 9-10, 2008: The Joint – What do you get when you put five gals together in Vegas for a Duran show that includes the Electro Set? Pandemonium. So much happened that weekend that it would be a whole other blog post but I’ll summarize it like this:

Five birds of paradise. Oh wait that’s just Simon’s hand.
All. *thrust* Simon. *thrust* Wants. *thrust* Isss.
One rescued guitar player (Thank you for not ralphing in my car, Mat! Nice Calvins!)
“Quick. Let’s make love.” *dies*
“We’re comin’ in hot!”

Yes, all inside jokes but where I’m ultimately going with this post is this: We all have our gigs that we can fill entire diaries full of inside jokes and random crazy stuff. The strangest thing about it is that what I remember most about the best gigs is sharing them. Remembering one great bit and having your friends remember their own little bits, then getting together and reliving it. Drawing a deeper bond from the ridiculous things that happen before, during and after the gig. Sitting around a table and just looking at one another and bursting into laughter because you’re all giddy with it again; that high that is a rock show. That high that’s never quite as good if you go alone.

September 30th of last year I went to my first Duran show in three years. My first ANY show in three years and that’s unheard of for me. It felt like it’d been an eternity. A lot happened to me during that time that’s not for this blog but I’m including this show because for 12 hours with Lisa my life felt almost normal again. I felt like I was actually breathing again. It was an amazing, solid show and Simon’s voice was back with a vengeance. A lot had changed around me and Lisa but for just that bit of time, it was like the last two years hadn’t happened.

That’s the real power of best friends and the best shows, isn’t it? They’re ones that rescue you from your daily grind a few hours at a time. The ones that recharge your batteries, envigorate you, and give you memories that will stay with you forever.

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Grey Rzeznik lives in Southern California. She is active in local theatre and is passionate about her singing. She’s a proud mama to 4 fur kids who all have her wrapped around their demanding little paws, and is a dedicated advocate of animal welfare causes. Grey’s other passions currently include nautical history, hiking, painting, and all things Benedict Cumberbatch.

3 thoughts on “Guest Blog: My Best Concert Experiences”

  1. Grey, how come I don't know you?? 😀 I live in Southern California too. Rancho Santa Margarita actually. (yes, all you crazies who are reading this can come and attempt to stalk my house…good luck.) Truthfully, I don't go to a lot of shows here in California simply because I hate them. I like traveling elsewhere to see the band because my friends live everywhere BUT in So CA and well, I don't know – the escaping part is easier when it's not here.

    Anyway, your stories sound so much like my own. I was there for that reunion show in 2003. My seats were 16th row on John's side. Yes I remember the row because I'm super lame that way. I agree though, I remember almost nothing about the show *except* that it was one of the best. I think I was completely blown away for the first 10 minutes they were on stage because I continued to tell my husband, “They are all up there. All five of them!” I also remember though that aside from Walt (who admittedly is not as big of a fan as I might be….), I had no one to really share those first reunion shows with. It was only after that during the Astronaut tour that I met Amanda, Jessica, Mac and several other people who have made my life (touring and otherwise) complete.

    I've got to laugh at the JoSi because it's the sort of thing that Amanda and I would talk about for ages…and yes I know exactly of the moments you've written. I've *cough* examined them on YouTube. 😀 😀

    Your friendship with Lisa seems to be very much like what Amanda and I share, and I know that when I say that going to shows without Amanda means that I'm only having a quarter of the fun and experience I'd normally have, you'd get it. I often wonder what would have happened had I met her earlier on and how much trouble we'd have gotten into! 😀

    Thanks for sharing! -R

  2. Rhonda-If we had met earlier, we both would have been in BIG trouble and I'm sure the band would have banned us from their shows by now! Sometimes, I think that is why we live so far away from each other because otherwise we would cause some serious damage!

    -A

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