A careless smile
On March 20 of 2005, I flew home from Chicago’s O’Hare airport after a fun-filled weekend that surpassed my wildest expectations.
I can hardly believe that was fourteen years ago. In some ways, it feels like last year, and in others – wow. That was even pre-Daily Duranie!
A lot has changed since then. For one, I have actually been in the front row. The one thing I kind of thought I’d never experience, and I can say I’ve been there multiple times now. I also run this blog, I’ve set two kids out on their own, moved my entire house, and the list goes on. Things don’t stay the same forever, I guess.
Staying up with the moon
The night before I flew home, I went to the Milwaukee show at the Riverside theater. I can barely remember any of the venue names I’ve been to – but I remember that one. I think Amanda, our friend Lisa, and I were back in the 9th row or so, and we were wearing these light-up horns a friend had sent us all the way from New Zealand. (ah, our dear friend Froggy.) We even got a wave from Roger at one point because Dave had pointed us out to him. I nearly died.
I have to chuckle a bit because I didn’t even know who Dom was at that point. He was just some substitute guitar player standing in the shadows, doing his job!
We waited outside of the theater door that night after the show, kind of on the driveway, hoping that the band’s cars would go past as they left so we could wave. Luckily, they did. Again, I nearly died as they waved to us in passing. Then we did the unthinkable. We ran to Amanda’s car, hopped in and tried to follow the caravan of Ford Econoline vans back to Chicago.
I got a lot to lose
We had a suspicion of where they were staying. Banking on that, we casually walked into the hotel, asked where the bar might be, and headed there. It was quiet and there weren’t a lot of fans sitting on the floral couches dotting the spacious, bright room, but there were some.
We did what we tend to always do: sit on the outskirts and watch. We saw Simon and Nick, but we didn’t ever approach either of them. Far too risky for us at the time. (and I laugh because I’m not entirely sure we’d do any differently today!) I don’t really know what we were doing in that lobby bar area that night – I guess we just wanted to see what might happen? It wasn’t wild or crazy or much of anything. There were just some people talking. It was a far cry from some of the scenes I’ve been in since that night, I’ll say that much.
For me though, sitting there that night, observing the situation – was one night of many where I kind of think I just desperately wanted to see how “real” that band really was. I mean, prior to then I’d only ever seen them on a stage or on TV. They weren’t real to me in the same sense that a friend might be. As naive or as immature as it might sound, I think seeing them off-stage, away from the lights and fans, gave me a glimpse of something or someone I wanted to know really existed. I had absolutely zero intentions of actually speaking to them or drawing attention to myself. I just wanted to convince myself that yes, they really were human. For so long before that, they were just posters on my wall, or people on my television.
There is nothing better than being with you
In many ways, they are still those same people for me. The mystery hasn’t really disappeared. Going to Birmingham and seeing where they started helped raise the curtain a bit. Being around and involved in the community for so many years has done it’s bit too. Even so, when they come out on stage and start playing, the feelings of excitement and wonder are still there for me. I might not wear the light-up horns these days, or follow the band’s vehicles across state lines, but there’s still a fair amount of naivety and wonder left in me. How about you?