Posts Tagged Fangirl Friday

Fangirl Friday – All You Need Is Live

Welcome to a new edition of Fangirl Friday! Snowbound in the frozen north (of Texas) mostly because I’m afraid of the loony toons on the road who have no idea how to navigate in weather that we normally don’t get, I’m pretty cozy. It’s all Duran Duran‘s fault.

Last night, I got to see them play live with two of my best friends and one of my sisters. Y’all, I’ve got a confession to make. I am now in love with All You Need Is Now. All the problems I had with it were absent in a live performance. It was a short set because they shared the evening with two other acts, but it was a lovely way to induct my friend Kelly to the wonders of Duran Duran live. Laura and I had spent the morning and afternoon “schooling” her in the ways of Duranies, playing songs they were likely to play, teaching her some of the audience participation stuff they like, and so on.

We braved the icy roads and idiot drivers to get to the Verizon Theater for the Pepsi Super Bowl Fan Jam and ran into my sister, Alia, who had scored a free semi-VIP ticket thanks to one of her friends. After they had been ushered away, our threesome went to find our seats… in the far right corner where we could barely see the stage. While that seems bad, that was a pittance compared to how badly VH-1 managed the evening. But I get ahead of myself.

Don’t get me wrong, we had a fantastic time. That, however, was due to the excellent performances despite the poor management of the event. In a three-performer show that started at seven at night, Duran was billed second. That usually means they play second,or at least they would at any other such event. What that means is that Duranies who had no desire to see the first act has no way of knowing that Duran would actually go on first, their bits being recorded to air in the middle of the televised event. Thanks to Twitter, some knew that Duran would be up first. Thanks to my personal paranoia of being late to anything, our group arrived just after the doors opened at six. We saw the Twitter notice after Duran had played.

 As soon as it was announced that Duran was taking the stage, the three of us jumped up, manning our far out post like good soldiers, cheering, hollering, and dancing to save the world. Admittedly, it had been a few years since I’d last seen them, and hearing them again, even at our far away station was happy. They opened with a classic: A View to a Kill. In the proverbial fan groove, when they announced  they were playing a song from the new album, I was admittedly apprehensive. My friend Laura said that my face and posture actually fell at the prospect. However, midway through the first verse, I finally felt what other fans have been saying this far. I was caught up in the brilliance of Being Followed to which my friend next to me was going crazy.  After the next song, Hungry Like the Wolf, VH-1 stopped the show and made my band wait on stage. SOMEONE MADE DURAN DURAN WAIT. I started ducking for fear of flying pigs.

We waited, mostly impatiently, and then a miracle happened. Laura thwapped my arm, pointing. “There’s your sister.” Sure enough, there she was. She leaned over the railing with a half-smile and gestured. I couldn’t believe it. She was inviting me to come with her. Eyes wide, I said, “Can they come with me?” She nodded and the three of us chased her across the venue until she turned into the pit, and they let us down into the pit! And we SCREAMED. The difference was amazing. The band chatted on stage, and my fangirl heart was imagining all the ways they were thrilled to see us get to move closer. Surely we’d made enough ruckus from way out in proverbial left field to get us noticed. And surely we made their evening by cheering like mad women from where we stood a few dozen rows back. I’m almost certain our little group caught at least Simon’s eye once or twice. I mean, Duran knows who belongs to them, you know?

The rest of the concert passed in an overheated blur including two new songs, All You Need is Now and Girl Panic, as well as such classics as Notorious, Come Undone, (Reach Up for the) Sunrise,  and Girls on Film. My sister even took video of me dancing without me being in any way aware of her doing so. I do remember, however, that the two men in front of us just standing there like lumps actually started to clap and dance after a song or two of us singing along and screaming behind them. The big surprise of the evening was that we didn’t hear Rio! Don’t get me wrong–I’ll never turn down Rio if someone happens to play it. However, for the last ten years, the band has closed EVERY show with this song, and I do mean every. When I hear Rio I start mentally preparing to leave wherever I am. To not hear it was lovely.

The joy of the evening, however, was introducing Kelly to one of the loves of my life. Kelly’s a bit younger than me, but she’s been incredibly gracious to indulge my hobby. I was far more excited about taking her to the show than myself even. I wanted to witness that joy I remember feeling when I first saw them live. And as I mentioned before, Kelly didn’t have the history with them that I did. Her main frame of reference for the band was having played along with their music on “Band Hero.” Bless it for existing. So when they concert started, she knew almost none of the songs, despite her brief introduction to the band. She cheered and danced and clapped along with us, and I figured at that point it was mainly due to being swept away with the crowd. All that changed when Girls on Film played. I looked to my left and there she was, screaming loudly enough to be heard above the others, twenty-year old hands in the air waving, and cheeks pointed so far skyward I thought she might float away! She bounced and danced along finally really feeling like one of us. The energy rolling off her was restorative for me, knowing that my well-aging band could capture an entirely new generation who weren’t born until after their fame had withered away. In that way, the band definitely has a point: all I needed was now. Right that moment when we were all surrounded by pure joy and magic. My ego forced my chest out a bit because for all time I will be part of Kelly’s first memory of Duran Duran. In that way, my legacy lives on with theirs.

When we got home, we stayed up to watch the re-airing on VH-1. If I hadn’t been there, and had to rely solely on their representation of the concert, I would’ve been incredibly disappointed in and for my boys. Their set looked short (only 2 songs aired), boring, and the fans look disinterested when they were shown at all. Which brings me back to the subject of my post. Live shows. Nothing beats live. Don’t ever think that seeing a concert aired on “live tv” is the same as watching my band live. If you can go: GO. Always. Every time. No exceptions. No matter how tired, no matter how complicated, no matter WHAT–make the effort. I’ve yet to regret it.

Comments (2)

Fangirl Friday – Stalking vs. Strategic Loitering: What Is Appropriate And When

 We all want to meet our favorite musician, right? Wanting them to acknowledge us, recognize us, is part and parcel of the whole fandom gig. When someone goes too far, we call that stalking. What is stalking? What exactly is going too far? Maybe we should start with what is acceptable and work our way up.

Here’s the thing some people don’t understand. They owe us nothing. Sure, we give them money, in exchange for their albums, merchandise, or concerts. It’s a straightforward transaction. No, seriously. We may mention the time we’ve put in as fans, but they put in the time as well in the studio, rehearsing, whatever. Of course we like it better if they’re nice to us, it makes us more inclined to continue purchasing their product. What may trip us up is the feelings we get from those products.

So, because they give us joy, fill our souls, we want that connection to go both ways. To that end, we want to meet our idols.

A good way to do that is strategic loitering. This is best accomplished in groups of two or more, but probably should not exceed eight depending on the venue one chooses. Remember, if we know where to go, odds are others will as well.

Basically what we do is very simple. We go somewhere our idol is likely to be and hang out. For example, the radio station adventure I talked about last week. Other acceptable places are, in no particular order: concert/show venues, signings, hotel bars, and other public places. One location one should NEVER go uninvited is a private residence. This lands you firmly in stalking territory, and should be avoided at all costs.

Now, okay, we have the places, but what should we do when we get there? First, and most important, be polite…to the person you wish to meet, fellow loiterers, and most especially to any staff who might be working your chosen venue.

Let’s say we’ve chosen the hotel bar as our hang-out spot. Order a drink. It doesn’t have to be alcoholic, we just have to keep in mind that the bartender and servers are there to make a living. If we’re taking up their tables and bar space without ordering, we are impeding their ability to do so. That’s rude. What’s more, they’ll be less inclined to pass on any potentially helpful information, such as when Mr. or Ms. Rock Star tends to come down for a drink!

So, the bartender has given us the skinny that our idol will be down within the hour. What do we do when they appear? No! We don’t mob them or hover in the doorway! Bad fan, no autograph! We wait for them to come in, get comfy, and gauge their mood. If they look like they want to be left alone, we LEAVE THEM ALONE. Regroup, come back at another time or try a different venue.

If, however, they’re being approachable, do so. We don’t mob them, we send one or two of our group over to politely ask for autographs. If the water’s fine, they discreetly beckon the others to join. If, on the other hand, what we took for a welcoming smile was just gas, we back off post-haste.

“But Gigi!” I hear your dulcet tones clamor, “That means we don’t get to meet them!”

True enough, but it also ensures we don’t piss them off and make a bad impression. It gives us a chance to try again later at a more opportune moment. And maybe, just maybe naughty girls need love too they’ll remember how polite we were at the hotel and be extra nice at the backstage door!

Okay, so let’s say our venue is at the back of the House of Blues or another small setting. There’s maybe ten people total, and two of them are with us. Where do we stand? Near the big black car/SUV/limo idling at the curb! Now we wait. We see the first band member exit. He’s the one our two friends are there to see so we take the camera, ready to play a combination of shutter-bug and wing-man(woman). Oh no! The crazy stalker fan has launched herself onto him like a monkey, arms around his neck, legs around his waist! For shame!

Here’s where playing to Mr. Rock Star’s tastes really comes in. God (yes, I mean Nick Rhodes) really likes the unique. Happily, one of our friends is in boots that make her over six feet tall, sporting fire-engine-red hair, and wearing a bindi. Though shaken by the scary limpet fan, he sees her and his face lights up like a kid on Christmas morning. When politely asked for a picture, he readily agrees, puts his arm around her, and the picture gets snapped. We thank him, he slips into his limo, and drives off. Now we have a memory that will last forever and our idol is reassured that not all his fans are insane.

There have been a few examples peppered throughout of inappropriate behavior. Other things no good fan should ever do: dig through their garbage, abduct their pets for ransom, steal their clothes to sell on eBay, follow them into the bathroom, interrupt conversations, grope them without express permission/invitation or do anything we wouldn’t want a stranger to do to us.

What examples of strategic loitering have I missed? What about stalking? Share your tales of band encounters here!

Comments (2)

Fangirl Friday – When Fandoms Collide

Welcome to Fangirl Friday, episode one. Today is a sort of hodge-podge, pot-luck day, with fandom taking the reins. Anything I’m a fan of, I’ll talk about here. Now, to be honest, I had a whole other blog planned for today. It was descriptive, funny, and had  nothing whatsoever to do with music. Oops! So on my best friend’s good advice, I put it away in the “maybe later” pile.

“Well pooh!” I grumbled. “Now I have to pull a new rabbit out of the proverbial hat.” Before I could get a good pout going, her chuckle sounded over the phone.

“You have a ton of music-related fan stories. In fact, why don’t you talk about the first fandom event we shared?” Laura murmured, her smirk so loud my eye twitched. Then I thought about what she said.

After picking my jaw up off the floor, I started to grin. She was SO right. The weekend she and I first met was full of wonderful fandom moments, like accompanying her to her first Duran Duran show. The very first, though, was our adventures outside a Chicago radio station.

It was the afternoon of Friday, August sixth, 1999. Dark days for Durans and Duranies alike, even though it was the time when Laura was just entering the fandom. I was twenty-five, she was twenty-two, three months and eleven days shy of her twenty-third birthday. We had met on the internet and it was the first time we’d seen each other face to face.

Only two members of the original five, Simon Le Bon and Nick Rhodes, were in the line-up of the band. Or, as many of us like to affectionately call them, Ego and God. They were playing the House of Blues, and we had also heard that they would be visiting a local radio station. Because the show was general admission, we knew we’d have to stand in line most of the day to get a decent spot. Even so, we couldn’t pass up the chance to maybe meet the band.

Like good little Duranies, we got dressed up in our concert gear that included (for me) black velvet, white feathers, and glitter. We were a bit confused when we got to the radio station, thinking we might have gotten the wrong building. Sure there were several other females in concert gear, but none of them looked to be out of high school. Some of them didn’t even look like they were old enough to be in high school. What the everlovin’ heck?

The doors opened and five guys emerged. The teeny-boppers went nuts and mobbed them. Four of them were unfamiliar to me. But when I caught a glimpse of the fifth, I froze with the shock of recognition…of the back of his neck.

“That’s…that’s JC Chasez from the Mickey Mouse Club,” I stammered. At the same time, Laura said, “Oh my God, it’s NSYNC!” My heart was pounding and I just stood there, trying to remember how to breathe. I dimly heard Laura snapping pictures with her camera. None of those were more than the backs of their heads, sadly.

Once the limo had driven off, Laura and I stared at each other and giggled. The dust settled, bringing a handful of women our age and older as the younger girls dispersed. We were still giddy and chatting about it when a very tall, familiar-looking man emerged and nearly trod on me. To be fair, I’m only 5’4″ and he’s over six feet tall. It’s amazing he was able to swerve around me at the last minute.

Laura and I grumbled until he got about ten feet away and turned. We both nearly dropped on the spot. It was Simon Le Bon! One of the very men we’d come to see! I was writhing in shame as she took pictures. I’d been a Duranie for fifteen years at that point and hadn’t recognized him, yet I recognized the back of the neck of someone I’d been a fan of six years before for only a short time!

Granted, I’d actually met JC in person once, when the MMC did a Target tour, and had never seen Simon so close. It was too early in our friendship for Laura to tease me back then. By the time we were close enough for her to do so, I had redeemed myself as a Duranie, but that’s a story for another time.

So what about you? Has a minor fandom ever intruded on a major one? Do you have any tales of missed opportunities? I want to hear your stories, please!

Comments (11)

« Newer Posts
%d bloggers like this: