Today, I’m writing about another favorite touring memory. This time, it is Glasgow, 2011. Actually, that’s not even completely true because we stayed in Edinburgh that night, but let’s just call it Glasgow out of ease. This is the final concert for Amanda and I before we fly back to America the following day. As I recall, and my bank account still groans in memoriam from time to time, this was our second trip to the UK that same year. We’d gone in May, and then somehow, we had agreed to sell our souls to the devil in order to be able to return for the shows we’d missed out on.
Okay, we didn’t REALLY sell our souls (but sometimes it feels like it!), but we did go back. I still don’t quite know how it all worked out, but it did. This story isn’t about all of that chaos, though. We’d already been in the UK for about five days, traveled by train through the full length of England, and arrived in Edinburgh the night before Duran Duran played in Glasgow. We were met at the train by Amanda’s friend who lived there, and she immediately forewarned us that it may snow, in which case we wouldn’t be able to get to the show.
Now, I can’t remember what my words were, exactly, but I will say I was rather indignant. At this point, I’d taken two big trips that year. I’d essentially left my kids for over two weeks total. For me, it was nearly unthinkable. Sure, my husband was there to pinch hit, but let’s just say his first instinct wasn’t to take care of kids. He was (and still is) a workaholic, and we’ll leave it at that. Going away for any longer than a few days required superhuman organization and nerves that I no longer possess. Good thing two out of the three are grown now.
The first time we’d come to England, the band left us pretty much hanging. I wasn’t mad, but of course I had been disappointed, and very worried about Simon. This time, I was getting the four freaking shows I’d traveled by planes, trains and automobiles to see. Hell, high water, or snow. Simply put, I wasn’t having it. I was ready to board whatever bus, train, taxi, what-have-you, to get to Glasgow. I’d pay whatever I had to pay to get a hotel, and see our final concert. I communicated this to Amanda, and she agreed. We were going.
The next day, we woke to cold weather, but no snow. Keeping in mind that I am a native Californian, I wasn’t used to the cold, despite living two years in Chicago when I was younger. I wore my trusty down-filled coat, and we walked around the city, which was stunningly beautiful. I wore my Ugg boots, two pairs of socks, and my feet still seemed to be permanently cold. Despite my internal temperature gauge, Edinburgh is a place I hope to return someday. As the afternoon wore on, the sky began to look as though it might snow, but nothing came of it. We got ourselves ready and made our way to Glasgow.
Upon arriving, we’d agreed to meet a few friends for a pre-dinner drink in the venue. We stepped in and went to a bar. My memory is fading a bit, but we did meet and hang out before the show. Once it got time to get our seats, Amanda and I went to find them. For this last show, I believe we were in the second row center – our best seats of this particular group of shows. Once we walked into the arena, there was a definite difference in temperature. We went from it being slightly cool to downright freezing, at least by my standards. I put my coat on, and announced that I would be turning into a popsicle if the band didn’t come on stage quickly, which, they did.
What I didn’t expect, was that we’d be allowed right up to the stage that night. At that point, Amanda and I had never been right up to the stage like that before. Any coldness I felt immediately vanished, and pure adrenaline took its place as it coursed through my veins. I threw my coat off on the chair and ran. I can remember bouncing around like a beach ball, dancing and singing along with the band. When the time came for The Reflex, I distinctly remember Dom gesturing for me to have Simon hand me the microphone to do the “ta na na na” part. I can also remember frowning at him, and mouthing “oooohhh no”.
I definitely do not sing. Especially after screaming for about a week or so.
As the concert wound down to its bitter end, I can remember that feeling of dread begin to temper my adrenaline a little. I didn’t want to leave. I wasn’t ready for it to all come to a crashing halt. It wasn’t just the tour, or just those five guys in front of us, either. It was as though I’d been changed by the experience and didn’t want to go backwards. Someday, I’ll write a book about that, and even self-publish it if I have to, but not now. That is a story best left to another decade.
I have a great memory of waving to the band, and then to Dom after the show. I think he knew it was going to be our last show for that trip, because he made sure to say thanks and goodbye. Yes, I focus on him because he’s the one person in the band that I actually know well enough to speak with.
Oddly, in the UK I never got any closer to the band than the expanse between the venue floor and where they stood on stage. I didn’t know where to wait for them outside of venues, and I had no idea where to go after the shows. Amanda and I typically would meet up with other friends in the venue “lobby” areas and then find a pub to go hang out at. While I was curious about what the band did and where they were, I guess I realized that shows in the UK were very different from those at home. We hung with other fans and had a great time seeing new things and meeting wonderful people.
On that night though, we went to the hotel nearest (or connected to?) the venue. Her friend was very concerned about being towed from the venue lot that night, if I remember, so we agreed to only stay for a while. We went to the bar area that was indeed packed to the rafters with Duran fans. We settled in, got some drinks and chatted. There had been talk that the band might come through there, but Amanda and I weren’t concerned by that. We wanted to spend as much time soaking in the idea of just being in Scotland and the UK. We wanted to see our friends one last time, and enjoy the night.
It wasn’t long before Amanda’s friend announced we had to go, though. No sooner had we gotten into the bar area when flurries started, and as I peered out the window, I could see the big, heavy flakes coming down. It was storybook beautiful, but also signaled the end of my little fairy tale. Sadly, I knew our time was up, and we had to drive back to Edinburgh in order to catch our flight at the crack of dawn.
As we made our way back, Amanda and I agreed we were staying up. While we were sad about leaving (I was actually pretty devastated for some reason and my heart was heavy), the adrenaline of going non-stop for the past five days had us both energetic and ready for an all-night party. We stayed awake the entire night. We tried to find as many videos of the concerts we’d attended as possible, and gabbed like schoolgirls over the idea of having both John and Dom tower directly over us on stage while playing that night. I left messages that were later liked by both Duran Duran and, of course, Dom too. We searched for videos of Hungry Like the Wolf from Glasgow, laughed until we cried….and prepared ourselves for the rough re-entry into real life.
The one thing I remember most about Glasgow, beyond the band, being so close up to the stage, Edinburgh, and its beauty, was the cold. I don’t think I ever completely warmed up after arriving there. Say what you will about my thin blood or how silly Californians are… my feet were like frozen blocks of ice the entire way home! I can remember shivering on the plane back to London, and then again on the one from London to Chicago. By the time I landed back in Los Angeles to mid-80s weather (yes, even in early December!), I think my feet finally thawed out again.
Amanda and I keep talking about going back to the UK for another tour or even just a visit. Truthfully, if I didn’t have my kids to think about, I’d move there if I could. There’s something about that country, and the people in it, that feels like home to me. I love it there. I’m crossing my fingers and hoping I can make my way over again.
I guess Duran Duran, and their touring band, should consider that a fair warning.