I’m finally getting to write this blog. I arrived home a week ago and this is first day that I have been able to really take the time to get my thoughts and feelings down here. Please note that this will be a two part blog as I have a lot to say.
We’re Miles Away from Nowhere
I left Madison in the morning on Thursday the 18th, after dropping off the cat, checking in with my parents and making sure that my “out of office” status was up at work. The plan was pretty simple–drive and meet up with my friend, Nat, before directing the car northwest to Minnesota. We knew that the drive was going to a long one (about 4 hours from our meetup spot) but had hoped for a pretty drive as directions sent us on a pave where we hugged the Mississippi River area and all of the waterways flowing from the mighty river. Well, the drive included both the beauty of the Midwest and some of the worst summer weather ever. It felt like we would drive for about a half hour with blue skies and sun before another tremendous storm cloud would open up, causing such intense rain that we had to pull over due to zero visibility.
We were not alone with that either as multiple cars and trucks joined us. This definitely added to the time of the drive but figured that it would be all worth it.
The Treasure Island Resort and Casino is literally in the middle of nowhere. I think there is a gas station and a ball field nearby but that was about it. By the way, it should be noted that this location was neither a treasure nor an island. Nonetheless, we were excited as we parked and saw the big sign on the outside advertising the show. After we checked in, we ventured back out into the extremely muggy air to get the rest of our stuff. As we marched down the hall, we spotted someone who glanced at our Duran shirts and did a double take. If you have ever been on tour, you know that look! It is one of recognition and increased excitement! Sure enough, it was our friend who then volunteered to not only help with my overpacking but also to be our photographer as we took ridiculous pictures of us with the big ole ad of the show! While Thursday was not necessarily the ideal day, I adored the time spent both in the car chatting away but also talking to our friend. It reminded me of all that can be wonderful about any fan community–camaraderie, friendship and support. ❤️
Hold Back the Rain
Friday during the day featured some working (boo…but could not be helped), a nice nap, and increasingly frantic refreshing of the hourly forecast as we knew that rain and storms were possible. Around 2 as the rain fell, we began to be thankful that Nat brought ponchos with her for us and hoped that they would not be necessary. We thought we were through the worst of it by 5 as a beautiful rainbow showed up over the resort.
The radar and hourly forecast showed nothing but clear skies for the rest of the evening. With confidence growing, we got ready, exchanged messages with others attending the show and looked forward to seeing what the food trucks had to offer.
Interestingly enough, we planned to meet up with my friend, Jennifer, and her daughter but she messaged to tell us that the show would be “delayed” by an hour due to weather in the area. Looking around, I saw nothing but sun. I sighed but reminded myself that an hour delay is not a big deal. Nat and I met up with Jennifer and her daughter and soon discovered the truly inefficient system at the amphitheater. Basically, we had to walk to the end of a practically single file line to get to the ten or so security lines. Ugh. Okay, we could do that. Then, we had to go through a line for security, a line for ticket check and still could not get to our seats right away as the venue kept people in the “holding” area where the food, drinks and merchandise were located. After the forty minutes or so of this process, we begin to notice a very dark cloud heading our way. Double ugh. Everyone tried to reassure each other as “it will be fine” or “I don’t see anything” was uttered. Within another few minutes, the clouds began to descend and swirl as ponchos came out and on as we marched to see our seats. Well, we did not make it to our seats as the venue announced that we would be evacuated to the hotel/casino. Great…
The hotel opened up all of their emergency exit doors as rain began to fall. Then, of course, thousands of people had to squeeze through a few open doors. Needless to say, drenched fans packed the hallways within minutes and I quickly wanted to get out of there. We began searching for the stairs to get out of the crowd and to head up to our hotel room. Unfortunately, no stairs were found, forcing us to get on crowded elevators as I hoped that the power did not go out while being smooshed with wet, mostly unmasked people. Luckily, the power held and we safely made it to our room. For the next hour and a half, we refreshed the resort’s social media and wandered back and forth from the hall which had a window where we could see the activity in the outside food area of the venue. As time went on, our hopes dwindled while our annoyance grew.
The More I Stay…
Let me explain the annoyance. Did I want anyone to risk their lives? No, of course, I did not. The venue was right to evacuate everyone when they did. In fact, I might argue that they waited a few minutes too long as things could have gone really badly. That said, after about 45 minutes after we were sent inside, the storm passed, leaving just rain. Why is that an important distinction? Simple. The venue made it VERY clear that the show would go on rain or shine. In fact, the merch booth sold ponchos. Everyone attending the show (and every show there) knew that they might get wet. We were ALL prepared for that. So, why didn’t they attempt to start the show once the lightning and severe weather passed? I don’t know. I also wonder why they delayed the start of the show when there was no rain at all. Then, of course, many there wondered why it took so long to make the announcement that it was postponed once everyone got into the resort. It started to feel as though the resort and casino were trying to take advantage of the fans waiting, hoping that people would opt to play the slots, get food, drinks, etc.
Of course, since then, the show has officially been canceled, which I’m not surprised by. It is an outdoor venue in Minnesota. The dates for possible shows there are limited and we knew that the venue was pretty booked for the rest of the year. In some ways, it is easier that it was canceled and we could just get our money back as then no one has to have the dilemma of deciding to try it again. That being said, it is important to note that the costs involved in getting to the show were a LOT more than just the ticket price. I’ll speak for myself but I had to take vacation time from work. My friend, Nat, could have been getting ready for the school year. There is stress to not being at work. Then, we paid for a hotel room, gas, food, etc. We had to make sure that all of our responsibilities were covered back at home. It takes a lot more for people to get to a show than what people might consider. Then, what about others who flew in, including our friend? What about the people that this would their only HOPE for a show? I saw that some people had waited 30 plus years to get to see Duran and now they would not have that chance. While having the show canceled was a bummer for me, I feel incredible sympathy for those who only had this show.
On that note, I did want to comment about the social media response to the show being postponed that night. Many/most people commented about how it important it is to keep everyone there safe. No one disagrees with that. I wanted everyone to be safe and I cheered the decision to evacuate the crowd. However, it is not heartless to want the show to have happened after the storm passed. After all, it is a big thing for people to get to a show. It was a big deal for me, personally, for a variety of reasons, most notably that my health has been really terrible this summer. Plus, I felt terrible for those fans who only had this one show. I, at least, had Chicago. Additionally, there is grief that happens when a show doesn’t happen, especially one where we were *in the venue, at the show* to only have it called off. Those of us who did not get this show were and are allowed to feel all of our feelings, both then and now. There is no right or wrong to our feelings. They just are. I appreciated those people who just said that they were sorry. On the other hand, I wish I did not have to justify my thoughts and feelings to those who were not there, or who argued that it was not safe or implied that those of us wanting the show to happen were selfish.
That Friday night ended up being a lot of processing for both Nat and myself, as expected, while we plotted our next moves. We decided the best thing to do would be to get up early and leave for Chicago, hoping for a better experience the next day.
To be continued in part 2!