I am late again, and I’m sorry for that. I’ll probably just barely squeak in this blog before the clock strikes Tuesday in the UK…but I’m trying.
I woke up this morning tired (that has nothing to do with the blog being late).. and sort of wistful. The kind that only comes from remembering a momentous date in Duran-history. I didn’t know what it was, but I had a feeling.
On this date in 2006, Duran Duran played the Voodoo Fest in New Orleans. I kind of think my legs are either still tired from the standing I did that day (weekend), or they’re just in pain from the memory of it all.
As you may have gathered, I was there. I still shudder at (some) of the memories, including the one where I realized I hadn’t eaten for about 20 hours. I know that some people do that all the time. ME? I don’t miss meals even when I’m sick!
I still chuckle. We thought we were so smart, buying what we believed to be ridiculously cheap passes. VIP for a festival? “Hell no!” We were going to buy the regular passes, get there when the gates opened and stake out our spots! We arrived and planted ourselves in a beautiful spot in the second row, just a flick to the right of center. We spread a blanket, sat down, and enjoyed the day.
Look Around, Forget the Crowd
‘Round about 3pm, I noticed that the area was getting pretty full. Rather than space all around us, there were people. I could feel the crowd pushing and closing in behind.
My Chemical Romance.
Naiveté doesn’t even really explain my ignorance at what was about to take place. The closer it got to the time My Chemical Romance was about to take the stage, the more the ground vibrated from crowd energy. People crowd surfed. I was kicked in the face a couple of times. My cheek and arm were scratched by a surfer as she glided past, reaching her arms and hands out to leave her mark along the way.
That reminds me, if you’ve ever watched a concert film and seen someone surf the crowd – it almost looks effortless, doesn’t it? They just happily ride the wave of people. Yeah, it’s not quite like that in real life. People are freaking HEAVY. They come your way whether you want them or not. If you choose to not hold your hands up and take your turn lifting them, they’re going to crash into the back of your head and neck, quite possibly injuring you and others around you, in the process. It is a pain in the ass, and not at all enjoyable, particularly when you’re being clawed for your trouble.
I Know What It Is Coming Over Ya
As the band went on stage, I noticed the sea of people behind and beside me, pushing and shoving. They were creating a current ready and willing to topple me over if I didn’t stand my ground. If I thought the sheer momentum coming from people crowd surfing was akin to being sent through the “washing machine” of an ocean wave, I was about to feel what it was like to be hit by a tsunami.
No Duran Duran concert prepares someone for that crap, I’ll tell you that much.
The crowd began shoving us, from one side, then another. It was nearly impossible to hold our ground. This was the type of crowd where, if you fell, you were likely never to get back up again. I could feel the sweat pouring down my back. It was easily ninety degrees that afternoon, and we were working hard to not completely fall over. I am claustrophobic under even simple circumstances, like crowds waiting to get on the tube, or even standing in line at amusement parks for food. That afternoon, I was terrified.
I can distinctly remember the smug, slightly amused grin of the lead singer, Gerard Way, as he peered down from the stage at us. I can imagine how we all looked – a bunch of (at that time) thirty-something females, crammed at the front of the crowd with the wide-eyed look of horror on our faces. I couldn’t wait for them to get off the stage, as if only then the crowd might let up.
Nothing Can Stop Us
I’ll save you from the details – suffice to say that I was even less impressed with the Flaming Lips. They had employed a giant, larger-than-human-sized hamster ball that their lead singer, Wayne Coyne trapped himself in. Stagehands pushed the ball off of the stage and into the audience. I was mortified to see it roll over the crowd, openly praying that it wouldn’t come our way.
By the time Duran was due to climb onstage, not even a rousing rendition of “Late Bar” could have saved Voodoo for me. I was halfway between being thankful I was still alive, and wishing I had succumbed to the tidal wave of legs, arms, and bodies behind me.
There are other parts of that weekend at Voodoo that I hope to never forget, and still others that make me smile. Funny enough, I had the best time during my journey to get there, not the destination itself! Cliché or otherwise, it still holds true twelve years later!