“Hello, my name is Jen and I’m a Durannie”
The excitement began sometime in May when my best friend Sonya calls and says “Duran is going on tour . . . and they’re playing Tunica! I decided to go to that show on the spot. Not much later, I convinced myself that I should go to the Biloxi shows as well. I didn’t go about making my decision in the best way. In fact it has caused more than a fair share of friction in the Wood-Bowien household. I love my soon to be husband more than Duran Duran. I still had the time of my life, even though he wasn’t there with me. I hope that will change on the next tour, but that is another story for another time.
I purchased my tickets in June and that sealed my fate. Once July rolled around and I had the Biloxi tickets in my hot little hands, I was obsessed. The impending Duran Road Trip provided a light at the end of the tunnel. And believe you me, that light was needed.
Dateline Thursday August 19, 1999
Even though I had the day off of work, I got up early. I had to put money in the parking meter and I couldn’t sleep anyway. I called downstairs to the neighbors and talked to Harold, since Sonya was still sleeping. H and I did the whole car swap thing (one of the multitude of joys of living in downtown Memphis) and I went to visit Sonya, who was up and at-em by then. The Greatest video was already in the VCR. We played on the net and giggled like adolescents at the flickering images on the screen. It was time to psyche ourselves up for the show, and we both took advantage of the time away from our spouses so we could do it freely.
Once H got back from the hair salon and had Sonya’s oil changed, we headed to West Memphis to drop off H’s truck. Sonya, Harold, and James all hail from the area. I never ventured over there much until I met them. It was kind of taboo for Memphis suburbanites to cross the river. We thought we might get lost in a bean field or something. I’ve come to learn that it isn’t that bad, it’s just different. There are a lot of really good people in East Arkansas. West Memphis just seems to be inhabited by more rednecks than most places. Anyway, Harold’s mom and grandmother live in a perfectly respectable, upper middle class neighborhood in the middle of the city. As we drive by, Sonya and I observe three toilets on a lawn. “Oh, my!”, we both said. Strange for such a respectable neighborhood. When we got to the house we told Harold about it. He didn’t believe it until he saw them himdelf.
We had pleasant conversation with H’s grandma and stopped for lunch at Subway. Then it was over the river and back to the apartment to shower and dress for the evening’s festivities.
The ride down was pleasant and filled with the sounds of the mix tape Harold had compiled for the drive. I was especially pleased with his choice of the Death Line International cover of Wild Boys.
The butterflies started as soon as I saw the big Bluesville signs on the road to the casino . . . they never stopped! When we got to the lobby of the venue we were surprised to see only a handful of people. This was good though, because we got to meet Nicole, Kelly, Anna, Rachel, Monica, Nelson, Veronica, Stu, and Polly. We found out that the band was at Graceland which tickled me to no end. Warren buzzed us in line a couple of times. The first time, everyone got really, really quiet. The second time, I managed to get my camera out and grab a shot as he was walking away. One guy actually got him to sign a $20 bill! We traded stories and squealed when we heard “no-no-noises” from sound check. Polly had her copy of Interference, so I finally got to look at that (it’s gone from a want to a must have item!).The time went by very quickly. We got to be sort of friendly with the roadies, namely Gary and Bud and tried our best to suck up to the casino security guards. We bought our merchandise – which seems to be more expensive than at other stops on the tour, and continued to wait.
They stopped letting people in the lobby of the venue around 4:00 and began a long queue outside the giftshop. We continued chatting to each other, and the roadies. As soon as they opened the doors, we rushed in. Most of our little group managed to end up in the first three rows. I was in the front on Warren's side. Harold had waited outside for some friends of ours, (Shawn, David, Glen and his posse, and Bill and Donna) so we didn't expect him to get a seat with us. Surprisingly, he was only a few seats behind us. I ran into some friends (Melissa and Margaret - the lucky chick who works at Graceland and was with them when the went on the tour!) and caught up on some Duran Trivia. We happily mingled and listened to Kraftwerk until the show started. Bizarrely enough, it was actually a couple minutes shy of 8:00 when they started. This is so non Duran like.
The show was amazing. The casino, however, was totally unprepared for what was happening. For some reason, which I am sure seemed logical to a suit in the office, the had 60-somethings working security in the front row. They kept pushing us back - but they obviously didn't know what they were doing! The man in front of me had an enormous beer gut and he was constantly bumping me with it. At one point, he shoved me to move at a girl who was sitting on her boyfriend's shoulders. I was doing the "pogo" dance at the time (as Simon had commanded us to do) and I was knocked off balance. I totally wrenched my knee and it is still very sore (of course two more nights of the pogo probably contributed to this, but I digress). They cut Out of My Mind, Someone Else Not Me, and Secret Oktober from the set due to time constraints imposed by the casino. I was bummed, but I got over it. Three shortened sets are better than nothing at all.
Polly had managed to secure backstage passes and "raffled" an extra off to the one of us who "got the closest number". Sonya picked it on the nose. So she went backstage and carried lots of goodies for us. Kelly and Nicole managed to make it back too (with a little help from our roadie friends). Sonya took my 3" I Don't Want Your Love CD and when Nick signed it he was like, "Wow, this is one of my favorite things . . ."! That made me very happy.
While I was waiting for Sonya to emerge, I recognized the drummer, Joe Travers, and we talked to him for quite a while in the lobby. He commented on my nail polish (Space Boy by Hard Candy - preferred by Rock Stars) and I told him that I'd bring it to Biloxi just in case I got to see him again! Wes also came out and talked with us a bit.
When Sonya and the rest of the backstage pass gals came out, we showed off all or stuff and made plans for the rest of the weekend. It was way cool that almost everyone would be in Biloxi also. Then Sonya and I went on a search for her husband. You see, Harold was being a good sport about all of this. He likes Duran, but he's not a big fan. He got there with us at 2:00 and was still didn't let up much all night . . . you get the picture. We went outside and watched the trucks load out on our way to the car. Harold wasn't there so we trampled through the casino again. We found him in the capable hands of our friends Bill and Donna. Harold was really feeling the effects of his free alcohol frenzy so, we went on home to bed. Besides, we had to get up at 6:00 to drive to Biloxi for two more shows!!
If I knew then what I know now, I would have stayed. Most of our group was from out of town and stayed at or near the Horseshoe. Apparently they got to mingle with the band after dinner. Veronica had a nice conversation with Nick and played some roulette with Warren. I wasn't too upset, though. Sonya had hooked up with an on-line bud from Houston. Apparently Troy had "something in the works".
The musings from the Mississippi Delta will continue
To get the whole story, visit The Queen of the Galaxy
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