Bejewell on February 15th, 2009

February 1985.  Frank Erwin Center, Austin, Texas. 

The stadium is filled to capacity.  Stage hands swarm behind a curtain, preparing for the show; a huge Jumbotron hangs over the stage, screen black.  Individual bodies are hard to make out with the lights so low… but you can hear them — a sea of small voices engaged in busy chatter, finding seats, excited but hushed conversations among the tiny groups about the totally-awesome-ness that is about to come.

With each second the anticipation builds; the air is thick with it.  You can almost reach out and touch it.

The lights flicker, a sign that the show’s about to start.  In that quick flash a glance around the stadium will reveal thousands of fresh faces, most of them young girls ages 11-17 in groups of two or six or ten, eyes bright with anxious expectation. 

Somewhere in the first mezzanine section, one groups sits united.  Six 7th grade girls.  A cluster of bangs, pink jackets and puffy heart earrings.  They’ve been linked since their time together in elementary, when the leader of the pack started a fan club that was destined to live on in the hearts of its members forever. 

Much drama has ensued since its inception – memberships revoked and reinstated, feelings hurt, tears shed.  But tonight’s not the night for drama, at least not in that sense.  Tonight is THE REASON for all of it. 

And so, here I sit.  Alongside my compadres.  Past transgressions forgiven, old scores settled.  We chatter excitedly, animated, voices piling on top of one another, not really saying ANYTHING but somehow expressing EVERYTHING. 

We are all on the same page.

The lights go down again and with them the chattering voices ebb. 

The first few notes of a song play from behind the curtain.  Within milliseconds the crowd has risen to its feet.  A peek down our row now reveals nothing more than a line of empty seats, save for the six discarded pink jackets holding our places.

And this is when the screams start.  An entire auditorium FILLED with screams.  A cacophony so great it drowns out its very reason for being.   

I hear nothing but my own screams and the screams around me.  The curtain pulls open slowly – more screams!!  The Jumbotron flickers to life.  I scream some more!  We all scream MORE!

Two women sit in front of us – we’ve guessed that they’re in their 40s but they’re probably only 28 or 29.  To a group of 13-year-olds, they seem ANCIENT — like our moms or something.  They cover their ears and shoot annoyed looks back at us when the screams begin.  I’m the only one who notices, and I feel bad about it for a moment.  Then I wonder.  What did they expect?

The old women are immediately forgotten, though, as the screaming suddenly intensifies — the boys, OUR BOYS, are making their way onstage.  The all-knowing Jumbotron offers proof.

OHMYGOD IT’S REALLY THEM THEY’RE REALLY HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They’re really here!

Between screams I wonder if one of them will look out into the crowd and see me.  I WILL it to happen.  I imagine myself locking eyes with HIM, showing HIM with nothing more than my intensely devoted gaze just how much HE means to me.  Even though I have my favorite (we all do) it doesn’t really matter which one.  I love them all. 

I know I’m just a blip in the crowd, far out in mezzanine (not even orchestra, thanks to Lisa’s mom who FAILED US when she bought the tickets).  I know they can’t see me, and even if they could I would just look like any other 13-year-old fan in this ocean of waving arms and swaying bodies. 

But still, I hope. 

And they play this song, and I know that I will love them forever. 

 

I look back on it now and I see how manufactured it all was.  The lyrics made no sense.  The tickets were too expensive.  The boys onstage had bigger hair and wore more makeup than any of us tweens in the crowd. 

But despite the imperfections, pure love oozed from my pores that night.   My friends and I were forever bonded in our devotion to these five strangers.    We were all in Bliss. 

I knew then that I would never forget it, and I never have. 

So thank you for that, John Nick Simon Roger Andy. 

(But Simon especially.  Because Simon was especially mine.) 

From one of the waves in the sea — thank you for all of it.

beej

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23 Responses to “Musical Flashback: The Chauffeur”

  1. I am a long-time lurker and I apologize for that. I, too, loved d2 but never was able to go to a concert. My walls were plastered, I had a book, t-short, buttons for my jean jacket. Yeah, I pretty much rocked.

  2. GREAT post. Love how you made us wait ’till the end to be so relieved that it wasn’t New Kids On The Block. We must be near the same age. That Nick Rhodes was my FAVE! Love the new header, BTW.

    Ann’s Rantss last blog post..Bloggy Bonhomie: Dinner Date Edition

  3. I just sighed, you just made me sigh!!

    flutters last blog post..Therapy notes: Well, that was blunt

  4. Oh my god, you saw Duran Duran in concert? And not even in the later years when it was only 3 or 4 original members touring state fairs? I am jealous beyond all comprehension. You can have Simon because John is mine.

    blissfully caffeinateds last blog post..“Hearts will be practical only when they are made unbreakable.”

  5. Oh yeah…

    Those were the days.

    I don’t know who I saw live more, D2 or Depeche Mode. I do know however that I screamed myself completely voiceless at each D2 concert I went to. Those Taylor brothers…OMG those Taylor brothers.

    Auds at Barking Mads last blog post..Happy Valentine’s Day!

  6. Nick married a girl who lived 12 miles from my house when I was growing up, and I swear to you, I felt that if it was possible that Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran could marry a girl from Des Moines, Iowa, then there was little question I would one day marry Simon (and carry on a raging affair with John).

    Alas, I’m married to a man who can name only five Duran Duran songs (and only because he’s married to me and thus is forced to know), but in my dreams, Simon and I (and John) are very, very happy together!

    foradifferentkindofgirl (FADKOG)s last blog post..pretend this is a prince song as I break my weekend down for you by the numbers

  7. I have to admit that I still like that song. The band, too. I hope that doesn’t mean I’m a preteen girl on the inside.

    Craigs last blog post..The prettiest lobster in the world

  8. That was me…I was there too!

    swirl girls last blog post..Friday Foto Fiesta …my first Valentine

  9. SO very jealous. When I was young, my mom was much to paranoid to let me go to concerts. And how much did I LOVE duranduran (’cause I always said it fast like it was one word)?!

    Lynettes last blog post..Still. Not Ready

  10. You got to go to a Duran Duran concert???? Holy shit, that sounded so great.

    I liked Simon, but Nick was always my favorite.

    I’ve been to a Brooks and Dunn concert. I can attest the fact that they are not even in the same league of cool as Duran Duran.

  11. Goosebumps right up to the end. Great post. For all of the kajillion concerts I’ve been to in my life, there are only 2 that I totally regret NOT seeing. Duran Duran is one, and Prince is the other.

    kailas last blog post..Eff you, Stormy

  12. My best friend in high school, Darcie, LOVED Simon, right down to her copycat haircut. I, on the other hand, doodled Mrs. Nick Rhodes, Mrs. Beth Rhodes, Beth and Nick Rhodes, in my math notebook…

    Beths last blog post..What I Want To Be When I Grow Up

  13. Sweet!

  14. I don’t doubt that with my pack rat tendencies, I still have all my Duran Duran posters, buttons, and albums (remember albums?) tucked away somewhere. John was my favorite. I had this little fantasy about what it would be like when we were married and Duran Duran won a Grammy (?!) and the tv cameras would show me sitting next to him when he would kiss me before he went up on stage to accept the award.

    Glad to know I was no less delusional than the average mid-80s junior high school girl.

    I have to admit that a couple of years ago I bought Arena on CD and found it impossible to listen to. Yikes. And you’re right about the lyrics. What the hell was it with those lyrics?! It never bothered me then but it sure as hell does now that they make. absolutely. no. sense.

    jen @ negative lanes last blog post..Notes from my BlackBerry

  15. Thank you for posting such a vivid description. That was fun!

    Rio was the first album (cassette!) I ever purchased! LOL!

  16. Dude, Simon was totally mine! At the time he had a nineteen year old girlfriend from Canada named, Claire. I sent her evil mind rays. I wrote in my diary about how she wasn’t that much older than I was. I had every picture of him ever taken and printed taped to my wall. Then he married Yasmin Parvenah and it was over.

    His mom, lived in Clearwater, FL and owned a residential apartment building. (I still have the article somewhere).

    I could have BEEN this post. Thanks for bringing me back!

  17. Sigh. Bless those boys. They were the business weren’t they? I regret that my parents weren’t really musical and didn’t even think of letting us go to gigs (I didn’t go to one until I left home). I’m taking the girl and the boy as soon as they want to go. Although, if they want to go and see pop their father will have to take them!

    Barbaras last blog post..47/365 – Funny

  18. ugh, they sang a song that made me think of teeth scraping on the concrete. Hungry like the Wolf, was that Duran Duran? Anyway, I love your flashback, but I am going to imagine it was really some other group. My teeth are hurting.

  19. June 1985, Riverbend Arena in Cincinnati. Same show. Same song. Same screams.

    Still have a soft spot for Duran Duran.

  20. I can’t even remember a Duran Duran song. But I can still sing New Kids on the Block. I’m so hip!

    Heather, Queen of Shake Shakes last blog post..What’s the boating term for shallow? And where’s my turkey baster?

  21. I was at this concert in Oakland California in 1984 I think. Holy Crap, I’m gettin old. It’s not like they were the freaking Beetles…

    julias last blog post..Rain and Puddles

  22. And I forgot I had a certain longing for John. He was the taller base player right? I’m thinking this one over way too much now.

    julias last blog post..Rain and Puddles

  23. You wore PINK?

    Goofys last blog post..Rebekah

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