Ed note: We’re always looking for willing bloggers to share their concert experiences! Today we have a guest blogger from the UK sharing a tale of his adventure to the US for a recent gig!
When DD hit the scene I was in my early twenties. I bought their first two albums , I still think the first album is their best, followed now by Paper Gods. Through the nineties, DD were on my radar, with songs like “Ordinary World” striking a chord. I also remember a small TV concert with Emma Bunton (Baby Spice) while I sat on a sofa. I don’t remember hearing of reunion gigs in the early nineties, but I do remember “Sunrise” being released.
Then in mid-2015, I saw A Diamond in the Mind on TV. I was impressed with their fantastic live show. Dom and Anna on stage enhanced the whole performance. Songs like “The Reflex” with its longer intro sounded even better than the original . After a few plays of the classics I slowly began to enjoy the new songs like “Girl Panic”, etc. This led me to see if any other new material was about.
The timing was perfect because Paper Gods was to be released in September, followed by a world tour. I decided on going to my first DD concert and set about learning all the songs on Paper Gods.
My first DD gig was to take place on December 10th in Bournemouth, only 80 miles from my current home, and also my second home town having spent all my childhood holidays in my parents caravan nearby (Simon said at the concert that he had been nearby in Canford Heath in his early years, maybe we met on the beach 50 years earlier?).
As I arrived at the concert I was aware that the audience was still mainly female, but there were also couples and some mums and daughters etc. Being a straight male at my first DD concert on my own, I felt at ease with the crowd around me, as I was about to sing every word to all the songs. I have to say the atmosphere from ten thousand middle age women screaming was quite exciting!! I was hooked. (Why had it taken me thirty years to see this, I wondered?) The concert was amazing! In my opinion, Duran are still at the top of their game due to their fans, their songwriting, and their performances
After the show, I met some great Duranies at Bar So, just opposite the concert venue. Whilst chatting to some lovely ladies from Southampton, we were joined by a guy from the US (Boston, actually), dressed in a green superman cape. He joined in with our conversation and appeared to be known to most people in the bar. I had a spare ticket to see another great British band the following night in Bournemouth. (Status Quo) I offered the ticket to my new friend in the cape. The following night was a real laugh with an American who had never heard of Status Quo. (they opened Live Aid). At some point, he suggested that I should come to the US when DD tour next year. I thought to myself, what a great idea for a holiday!!
After an email from my new friend in USA, I decided that Austin, Texas would be ideal for my next DD concert. With Chic supporting it meant that my two favourite bands ever would be on the same bill! I bought two tickets, and my best mate Stuart agrees to join me for a lads week away in Austin. Time to party!!
We arrived in Austin two days before the concert and partied on sixth street. We went to Buffalo Billiards, along with a very posh bar at the JW Marriott.
Friday marked the day of the show. We took a taxi for $50.00 to the 360 Amphitheatre, and we weren’t sure if we could get a taxi back. Our British phones weren’t working, so we had some residual fear in the backs of our minds that maybe we would be stuck there all night.
Before the show we had a drink. Two ladies from Tulsa ask if they could join us as we had spare seats. I answer, “Of course!!” The conversation began about DD. They asked, “Are you from England? That is a long way to come!!” After some great banter, friendships were made with Dannette and Petra. Petra is a JT fan and told me that JT’s middle name is Nigel. I corrected her by explaining it was his real first name, which amused her friend Dannette greatly!
We then convinced them to give us Brits a lift back into Austin after the show . They were going to search the hotels to find DD. I told them about my other new friend in the green cape and said that if he was at the show, he would probably be in the right hotel with DD !!
The concert began and Chic took the stage. Nile sang “Get Lucky” as well as all the classics, which was fantastic! The last song was “Rappers Delight”, and people from the audience were also on the stage. I looked up and there was my man (the caped crusader from Bournemouth) in a high visibility jacket. (He owed me a favour for that free ticket in Bournemouth!) During the intermission before DD took the stage, I tracked him down in the crowd. We spoke and I was able to get some “after show information ” from him.
I realize it was going to be a great night, worth traveling 9,000 miles! The DD concert is even better on a hot Texas night, with a full moon over the stage during “Hungry Like The (were) Wolf!!” Tributes were paid to Prince (Simon’s first to him) as well.
After the show, we met our new lady friends from Tulsa. Petra was trying to get backstage with the wrong pass, and Dannette phoned to tell her I had good information from the caped crusader!!
We left the venue for the hotel in Austin. In our best English accents we attempted to teach two girls from Tulsa how to say “Bon, Simon Le Bon”, with no American accent!! We were all having such a great time!!
As we arrived at the hotel, security was tight, but I was ready. There was only Valet parking, and so after one lap of the car park, I hop out (of the car). With my English accent in a Texas hotel, it was “obvious” I was with DD, right? The car was parked for us, and we walked to the bar, closely followed by the caped crusader, (now known as high visibility man !! ) And….. ooh yeah…. SLB along with the rest of the DD entourage, etc. Our two new lady friends were in heaven, and admittedly I was feeling pretty good too !! My mate Stuart is not a Duranie, mind you, and found it all to be a bit funny.
The caped crusader joins us for a drink and SLB is on the next table.
What a night! We lived life to the fullest!! Good times on a DD adventure!!!
Nigel was born in 1961 in Swindon Wilts Uk. (Swindon is about 20 miles away from Salisbury. He thinks he read somewhere that JT has a house near Salisbury but he’s never seen him shopping…and he wonders why did he change his stage name to John??) His musical tastes through the seventies were probably similar to DD. Bowie, Queen, and T. Rex to name a few. His first concerts were quite heavy metal: Deep Purple, Judas Priest. In the later seventies he also liked Disco: Chic and Earth Wind and Fire (who he saw in concert early in the eighties).