I remember waking up at the crack of dawn in Biloxi, Mississippi. It was 2012 and my inner clock remained on Pacific Coast time, three hours behind whatever time shown on Amanda’s phone. We’d traveled there after landing the night before in New Orleans, driving from NOLA to Biloxi for a show at the Hard Rock Hotel. We had tried not to be out too late at our meet-up at the Hard Rock Cafe, knowing that we would want to get up bright and early the next morning in order to wait in line for the general admission show that would take place that evening.
Funny thing about that particular gig – we’d expected that the line would be like others we’d been in over the years, and be completely outside. I had been dreading that thought, knowing that the August heat and humidity would be unforgiving. I guess neither one of us had looked into whether or not our assumptions were true, because when we arrived at the Hard Rock Hotel that night before and walked through the hotel to the cafe where our meet up would take place, we nearly got down on our hands and knees and kissed the cold, marble floor where we’d wait out the next day in pure air-conditioned luxuriousness.
We were trying to travel on-the-cheap for this tour, so we stayed at a small budget-conscious hotel a little further down the coast from the large resort. Our plan was to get up early, but not o’dark thirty early, and get to the hotel so that we could potentially get a good place in line. When we got there and walked to the venue, no “line” had even been set up, so we walked over to the guard station to find out where to stand. While doing that, another poor soul had dragged himself to the Hard Rock to secure spots for his immediate family, and ended up being first in line. We chuckled and got in line behind him, figuring that at least for the time being, we’d managed to be among the first three people there.
We made friends with the guy in front of us, found out there’d just be four of them ahead of us, and still assumed that as the day wore on, we would somehow not get to the front. Perhaps there were VIP people getting in early, maybe the man ahead of us would make friends with another 20 or 30 people, we didn’t know. We just knew there was no way possible we actually got front row.
Except that we did. As the front doors opened and we walked (very) briskly to our spot in front of Simon, I think that’s when we started giggling. Again though, we figured somehow, someway, we’d manage to be shoved back to third or fourth row. I think that is also why, when the band took the stage and we white knuckled the cold metal barrier that stood between us and THEM, I could no longer feel my body. I’d gone into shock.
After fighting my nerves through much of the set because, “They can actually SEE ME.” they ramped up into high gear for “White Lines”. It was at this point when the slow dawn of what was about to happen, or rather…what was about to rain down on my head…came over me. Crap. I was seriously going to be baptized in a way I was not fully prepared to handle.
I started looking at Amanda, wide-eyed with both fear and a real moment of fight or flight going through me, but my legs still weren’t working so it was mostly just fear. We had been teasing Simon for years by this point, telling him (through the blog) that in no uncertain terms, there would be no spitting. I could see the gleam of sheer joy in his eyes, and I can only imagine the fear he saw returned in mine. I was having a hot second of “oh no, what have I done” going through my head. What in the hell could I do? Amanda and I shared looks, and I winced and ducked as that dreaded point in the song arrived. I could feel the shower of water rain down upon the back of my head, as my face screwed up into the type of expression one makes when they’ve been sneezed on by a very large, very slobbery, dog. Blech.
I looked up, wet and admittedly, a little embarrassed. My eyes immediately fell upon an exuberant grin belonging to Nick Rhodes. There was no way he didn’t know exactly what had just taken place and how mortified I was, not to mention Amanda (I honestly don’t know what she looked like afterward). I gave him a slight grin as I dragged my finger along my neck, which only made him laugh a lot harder.
We had it coming, no doubt about it. Amanda and I also learned to duck, and have taken that path ever sense. Simon has tried, without much success, to fake us out, make us duck at the wrong time, and even attempted to aim the water spout in our direction. While we’ve been properly drenched on the back of our heads more than once, never once has he gotten us full-on in the face, and our record stands. Truthfully, the whole thing doesn’t gross me out now as much as it makes me laugh at his crazy attempts to get us. We’ve gotten pretty good at ducking!! While I am sure that the days of spewing water up and out into the audience have met their end thanks to Covid-19, the memories of seeing Nick watch it happen, and laughing with such glee afterward each and every time following that first dousing in Biloxi, still makes me smile.
I do miss that band. I don’t know how things will be once they start touring again, but I would be sad to lose all real connection with them.