Despite the title, this blog post is not about Power Station or their song, Some Like It Hot. No, it is a reference to the hottest shows I have ever seen. Hottest, in this case, is not about how a band member or members look but about the literal temperature. It seems fitting these days to acknowledge the ridiculous and horrible heat that a great deal of the United States has been experiencing. As the Midwestern of this blog, I feel dang lucky that we have had more normal temperatures this summer. Before I digress too much, let me “flashback” to the summer of 2005. I don’t remember it being a particularly steamy summer except for when and where I decided to go on tour.
If you are trying to remember the Duran timeline, that summer marked another stretch of tour dates in support for the band’s first album post-reunion, Astronaut. For many people, these were the last shows that featured the Fab Five as Andy would play his last show with the band in the following year. Anyway, 2005 was the first year that I really dove into touring as a hobby (as a sport? as an addiction? as an obsession?). I attended five shows during March of that year, which coincided with my spring break. Lucky for me, the band was touring the Midwest at the time allowing me to drive to those concerts. Needless to say, by the time I arrived back home from my final show in Detroit, I wanted more. Therefore, when more shows were announced for the summer, I jumped at the chance to go to more. In this case, I planned to hit the two shows in Missouri (St. Louis and Kansas City) in July with my friend, Sara.
That weekend fun started off right away as Sara and I opted to caravan down to St. Louis with another group of Duranies who had come from further north in Wisconsin. The group met up at a Starbucks so that I could get myself a large coffee for the road. As they pulled up next to my car, they asked if there was anything fun happening around the area. Sara quickly responded, “Nothing good around here,” as we all knew that the fun was yet to come! The five hour drive flew by pretty quickly and the group checked into the Duranie Dorm there in St. Louis. This hotel featured suites with a large king sized bed in each room and a large living room with multiple couches. (I’m including this detail for a little foreshadowing!). The show that night was at the Fox Theater. This venue is a beautiful, old theater built in the late 1920s with the capacity of about 4,000. Sara and I had seats a little bit to the left of the stage about 7 or 8 rows back. I distinctly remember the show starting with Planet Earth and literally the best I have ever heard it performed. From there, the band continued a phenomenal show. In fact, by the time the band started New Religion (another favorite of mine), I declared that my head was going to explode.
After the show, the group of Duranies plus new ones who joined up with us headed over to the hotel that we assumed that the band was staying at. My goal was to get John Taylor’s autograph. Luckily, we chose correctly and I was, indeed, able to get John’s autograph outside the hotel after the band had arrived. In sharing this story, part of me wishes that the story ended there with this very nice memory as John was gracious and I was appreciative. Unfortunately, I learned a lot about fandom during the rest of that night and our fan community, in particular. After John finished giving a few autographs, he went inside without any problem. I stood around, outside, wondering what the heck to do next as the group of people I was with left to find their favorite band member. After standing there in the glow of getting John’s autograph, I decided to head inside and find my friends. It did not take long for me to figure out that things were pretty intense inside the hotel.
As I entered, I saw John surrounded by fans. To be honest, I felt uncomfortable for him. At the same time,I had just gotten his autograph so I could understand people’s desire to have their moment with him. Soon enough, he got the heck out of there and I caught up with my friends. Some also had great experiences with Roger and others were disappointed with Simon’s decision to not stop to address fans. Later, Nick showed up along with Andy Hamilton, who was playing sax for the band at that time. Both Roger and Nick made appearances later in the evening despite the huge group of fans lining hallways and the hotel bar area. During this whole time, I watched. What was I supposed to do? Do I approach them like I did John outside? Do I leave them alone? I remember feeling so conflicted. What do I do? I opted, for the most part, to be the quiet one among fans who had a lot more experience in front of band members. By the time our group left (having added many people to our hotel room–thank goodness for the couches), I was not sure what to think or feel.
The next morning, our little crew was due to drive across the state to the next show in Kansas City. Before we left, though, we discovered that the previous night’s happenings were the talk of DuranDuranMusic’s message board. Many, many posters had strong opinions about how to behave in front and around band members. I learned very quickly that other fans were watching and waiting to judge. Again, I did not know exactly how to feel but there was a sense of unease and a little bit of embarrassment. I certainly didn’t want to do anything wrong and I know that there were moments at the band’s hotel that had made me uncomfortable. It certainly felt like the heat within the fan community had been turned up.
The weather outside matched the heat I was now feeling as outside thermometers marked the temperature at a scorching 106 degrees. My poor little subcompact Toyota struggled to keep us cool despite having the air conditioning on full blast. Part of me worried that the car might overheat and that we would miss the show and be stranded on a highway in Missouri. Luckily, we met it okay to the next destination and even grabbed some dinner with another group of Duranies before the show.
This concert was just as fabulous as the previous night’s but, dang, it was hot. For this show, Sara and I were in the fifth row at another smallish theater. No one in the front could miss the literal drops of sweat dripping off of Simon’s arm or the fact that John Taylor’s white button down was become more and more see-through with every passing song. Of course, Sara and I also commented that Nick wasn’t sweating at all! (Alien blood, perhaps?!) Towards the end of the show, we could see that fans were being taken out of the venue due to heat related illness. Personally, I don’t sweat and my shirt was soaked so I was not surprised that others were struggling. In fact, by the time, we left the post-show meetup around midnight, the outdoor thermometers flashed 90 degrees, indicating that it had not cooled much at all.
We had a quick turn around the next day as we had to drive back to Wisconsin so that Sara could make it to work on Monday. By the time, I dropped her off late on Sunday night, I was happy to have gotten home where the temperature was cooler, both outside and on the message boards as the discussion had finally settled down. It was a wild, hot weekend that taught me a lot about fandom, our fan community and my own comfort level around behavior around band members