I have decided that I very much enjoy these Flashback Fridays. Each one supplies the opportunity to skip down memory lane a bit. While I know the band prefers the here and now, I don’t mind being the one to stir up the memory pot a little from time to time!
This week, I’m thinking about Durham, North Carolina in 2012. This was another show on our Southeast road trip. We had started out the trip by meeting up in New Orleans, then getting a car and driving something like 1600 miles in six days. It was crazy! I wouldn’t ever try to do that much again, but damn it was fun at the time!
There is a lot I can say about Durham. First of all, it is the one and only time I’ve ever been to North Carolina. If I remember correctly, the Durham show was the very first show we had bought tickets for on that little “tour” of ours, and at the time we had bought them – I don’t think we knew there would be other dates added (but we certainly hoped!). Our luck held out as other dates were eventually added, which I remember frustrated a lot of fans that year. (many characterized the way DDHQ announced additional shows during that tour as “coffee drip”, rather than just announcing the entire tour at one time) As we excitedly watched as one show became a handful or more, fans announced where they were going, and we made plans to do as many pre-show meet ups as possible.
Since Durham was the first show in that particular group to be announced, many fans made plans to attend, and a few people who lived close by agreed to help us out with planning a meet-up. The night of the show, over a hundred people gathered together, promising a wonderful, magical night ahead. Fans were able to meet, mingle, and head to the show at the Durham Performing Arts Center in joyful moods. I’m still very proud of that meetup, and equally indebted to the people who helped us to create such a wonderful event. Amanda and I did little more than show up with name tags, and welcome people that night, but we were treated to seeing how just by planning one single event, people found one another. Our community wasn’t just “virtual”, it was live and in person.
The joy I feel from seeing how that single event turned out will live with me forever. I am so grateful.
Amanda and I had to rush from the wine bar to the DPAC, getting there just in time to see that our seats were precariously positioned right in front of the very large, floor-to-ceiling speaker “wall” off to the side of the stage. In fact, we were given earplugs by the venue ushers, and told to “please use them”.
I’ve had a lot of things happen over the years I’ve toured. This remains the one and only time I’ve been handed earplugs by the venue itself. Regardless, we were on such a high from the meetup, and everything was turning out to be such a dream that night. I felt like we’d been generously sprinkled, if not doused, with Duranie Pixie Dust.
As the show began, my vantage point on Dom’s side of the stage, but about 4 rows back, was great. Like an idiot, I waved to him as the show opened and the lights came up enough during All You Need is Now for him to see the audience. His grin in return told me that yes, he saw me standing there. One of my friends down in the front row saw the exchange, and waved me down beside her – there was a ton of space between the stage and the theater seats. Did I dare go down there?
As one song was ending, Amanda and I scrambled out of our row and ran down in front. I don’t know if I would have gone had Amanda not been with me, or if Joni had not seemed so insistent. My legs had a mind of their own that night, and before I knew it, I was in the front row. Security didn’t stop me, and I figured I’d be there for a short while before being told to head back up to where I belonged. As I settled in with Joni and Amanda right behind me, the man who was sitting next to Joni asked where we’d come from, and as I pointed he asked if he could sit in our seats (he didn’t want the front I guess?!?) and both Amanda and I yelled a delighted, “YES!” Problem solved. We weren’t going to get moved.
One thing I hope I never forget, was how the next song began. Dom was back by his speaker, likely setting up his guitar for the song, and as he turned back around, there I was, right in front of his microphone. He looked down at me, wide-eyed and smiling in recognition, and I shrugged, causing him to grin even bigger and laugh. I mean, what are you going to do when you’re offered a shot at front row? Not go?? It was the thrill of my life to be standing there, and while I don’t know what ever happened to Joni, I think of her often. She has no idea how lucky I felt that night.
After Rio ended and the house cleared, Amanda and I somehow ended up walking to the loading dock in the back of the venue along with a reasonable crowd of other die hard fans, many of whom I recognized. The crowd was gathered, directed at the back door. It was already four or five deep with people, and I hate crowds. So, I wandered off to the side, closest to where a line of vans waited, nose to bumper so that no one could get between, in order to take the band back to their hotel. I was so close to the vans that I could touch my hand to the window without even needing to reach, so I stood there, completely barefoot, holding the stupid high heeled sandals I was dumb enough to wear that night. I figured I’d see whomever it was that was going to come out, and if I was lucky, maybe they’d wave. I knew the chances were minimal I’d see anything at all, but I’d at least wait for Amanda.
Next thing I know, members of the band are walking down the steps from the door, and the fans have lost their minds – calling for attention. I didn’t know who was coming, and I couldn’t really see through the ruckus, but there I was, holding those sandals anyway. Turns out, first people down the steps are Anna, Simon and Dom. Nick had stopped to sign things and say hello to that crowd where Amanda stood, so no one was bothering to come over to the vans where I was standing. I don’t even remember if I called out to Dom, but I do remember Simon – and yes, I mean Le Bon – elbowing Dom and pointing right at me, grinning.
Here’s the thing, most people would have clamored for attention. As much as I love getting it, I’m also weirded out by the whole idea of it. So I stood frozen in my tracks, and almost horrified, when he saw me. He stopped, waved and said something but I couldn’t quite hear him. I waved back, and he pointed at my sandals. I laughed and gestured that my feet were killing me, although in that moment I stopped being able to feel my entire body, oddly. *cough* He boarded the van, slid over to the window closest to me and put his hand up to the window. My hand moved of it’s own accord, because at that second I couldn’t even speak, much less make any sort of request of my body to move, and I touched my hand to the window too. The van drove off, and as they rounded out of the parking lot, I waved and saw silhouetted arms and profiles waving back.
Yeah, I know I must have imagined the whole thing. Believe me, I already know.
I was floating as Amanda reached me and asked where in the hell I was while Nick was stopping to chat with everyone. I didn’t feel my feet again that entire night as we walked to Pinhook, the neighborhood dive bar, and sent out as many drunk tweets as possible before the clock struck twelve and the magic of the night ended.
When will we ever get to go see a tour again?!?