One thing that everyone in our fan community should know by now is that no matter how much you try, some secrets simply do not remain secret, whether intended or not! As many know by now, today is Dom Brown's birthday (no matter how much he might have tried to keep his birthday from getting out!)...and just as Nick celebrated a milestone last week, this week it is Dom's turn as he turns 40! Welcome to the club, Dom! The tequila is better on this side...although it will hurt you twice as bad the next morning. How do I know that? Erm....
The first time I saw Dom on stage with Duran Duran, it was back in March of 2005. I believe that at the time, Andy was out sick with the flu, and I won't lie - I was incredibly disappointed that he wouldn't be at the show. It felt very much like it had in the late 80's and 90's for me, where I simply tried to ignore that side of the stage and pretend Andy was still there. Of course, out of the corner of my eye I watched Dom that night at the Allstate Arena. He respectfully stood off to the side, in the darkness (no spotlights) and played his part. There was no flash, no personality in the music, although he did smile from time to time as he played. I didn't pay a ton of attention that night, but I appreciated that someone was there to play because otherwise there wouldn't have been a show.
Naturally, that wasn't the last I saw of Dom on that tour. The next night he played Milwaukee, and although Andy Taylor did come back for part of that year (the last time I saw him play with the band was in Vegas for the Agassi charity gig), Dom played quite a few shows with the band, and then in October of the following year it was announced that he would be the guitar player until further notice. I've told the story before of seeing him play at the Sears Center, also in Chicago, and it was that night that I felt he really became part of the band, at least for me.
Over the years, I've seen many a hurtful thing written about Dom, whether it be that he's not Andy (true), not Warren (also true), or that he doesn't play well. (Not even remotely close to true) The one thing I can and will say here is that from day one, he's had an impossibly difficult responsibility to handle. Can you imagine having to replace Andy or Warren? You've got about half the fan community hating you upon first glance and the other half just barely willing to tolerate your presence. Not fun. He's had an uphill battle the entire way. I think that's why I gravitated towards Dom, because I wanted to show him that not all fans were willing to set him aflame in some sort of sacrificial measure to get the guitar player of their choice back in the band. I wanted to give him a chance, and come to find out, I really like him.
If I used single words to describe Dom, respectful would be at the top of the list. I've never once heard him ever utter a single cross word about any band member, present or past. I've also never seen a single sign of disrespect towards fans, who sometimes have been a LOT less than respectful towards him at times; whether that is in regards to his role onstage or just because they think they should be allowed to treat him as a circus animal in person offstage. He seems to have time and a smile for everyone at all times, and that's refreshing.
I've seen the tide of the fans begin to change towards Dom. At first, I was pretty certain Amanda and I were among the very select few that really liked him, and most wouldn't even dare to admit that sort of thing. I know we held up the first sign for him at a show (It was at Voodoo in New Orleans), and yes, I'm proud to say that. It's my one claim to fame and I'm sticking with it! (You can see the sign somewhere in our little slide show that desperately needs updated off to the right) Little by little, I've seen more fans take the time to add him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter. (Yes, I check. Yes, I need more hobbies.) I hear of less fans wanting to sell their seats at shows in favor of getting a more coveted seat on John's side of the stage even if it's farther back. That said, it's still nice to know that I don't have to fight 50,000 other fans to get a little wink or a smile from the guy, and I don't have other girls/women threatening to throttle me for saying he's my favorite. It's the little things, you know.
In all honesty, I know he's not yet an official band member and that for many - that matters. I know of people who literally refuse to refer to him by name, saying "Who's that?" whenever his name is mentioned. There are a ton of fans out there that refuse to believe that Andy isn't coming back, no matter whether that fan rumor about Reportage being released next year is true or not. (I know it says that on Wikipedia. It also says that the world is going to end in 2012. Do we really need to believe EVERYTHING that is online???) That doesn't stop Amanda and I from believing that Dom has proven himself worthy of being on that stage, being included in the band, and we support him 100%.
Dom, Amanda & I hope you have the happiest of birthdays, that you take the time to celebrate with your beautiful wife and kids, and just remember that while turning 40 sounds ridiculous....you're in really good company. (Says Rhonda...the resident 40-something here...) See you in August!