By Heather Hagler
I have had many significant days in my life: my wedding day, the days my children were born, the day I finished graduate school. But I wouldn't classify those days as "fun". I can honestly say that April 4, 2011 was the Most Fun Day of My Life.
I'm not a blogger - no one wants to read the dry details of my average life. Since I have lived over half my life as a fan of all things Duran Duran, I wanted to tell you the story of my amazing day.
My adventure started when I discovered Duran was booked to play in Atlanta, GA, our closest city, the day after my birthday. What a gift! I decided to treat myself to my first live show (I know, and I’ve been a fan since 1980!) and to bring my daughter along. At eleven years old, she was the same age I was when I bought my first Duran LP.
The birthday gifts grew when I won 2 tickets in a radio contest for an acoustic mini concert and a Q & A with the band! Funny, but the first person I called to tell I had won the tickets was my mom; only she could appreciate the significance of those tickets, after all the posters, albums, videos, and general hysteria of the last 30 years.
My daughter and I started with the challenge of driving into downtown Atlanta and finding our hotel – country girls loose in the big city. We checked in, parked the car, and bought tickets for the train to the hotel for the mini concert.
Our train took us to the ultra swanky W Hotel where we gathered with the other contest winners. Because I am insane, we were 45 minutes early and one of the first people in line. We had a great time chatting with other fans. Another mom brought her 9 year old daughter, so my daughter had a friend for the event.
Thanks to my craziness we were one of the first through the elevators to the fourth floor to meet the radio staff. There we learned the "Q" part of the Q & A time with the band would be from the fans, and I was selected to submit a question to ask the band.
I gave the emcee of the event my question, but after a bit of discussion, we decided my daughter would be the one to have the microphone and talk with the band – I thought it would be a better memory for her and, frankly, I wasn't sure I would be able to speak.
We were ushered in to a large meeting room with a small stage set with guitars, microphones, and stools. Of course we chose a seat on the left, next to the bass guitar (all the closer to JT). In a few minutes the room filled with about 75 people, and the band was introduced. Inside I was having a huge squee moment when I saw John, Simon, Dom, and Anna up so close, but I behaved myself – no fainting spells or screaming! But, of course, I had my eyes on John most of the time...
At the Q&A time, an employee from the radio station carried a mic around the room to each person when it came their turn ask their question. When they called out for our turn, I pushed my daughter up to stand at the mic. My eyes were on John when they called my name, but I felt my daughter reach out nervously for me to hold her hand and stand up with her. John looked at me and smiled when my daughter reached to hold my hand with one hand and hold the mic with the other. Sigh! A definite highlight!
My question: If you couldn't be a musician, what would you be? Simon answered Brad Pitt! John said he would be an RAF fighter pilot in World War II.
After my daughter asked the question and we were returning to our seats, Simon said, "That was a very good question, my dear.”
The band sang 3 songs and had a very informal and funny time of talking in between. I am amazed at how smooth and clear Simon's voice was, and we had a laugh at John’s socks! After 45 minutes it was time to go. Too much fun and sad for our time to end.
After a train ride back to the hotel and some time to rest, I thought we could go early to concert, park and have dinner before getting in line for the concert (the tickets were General Admission). But I was wrong. When we arrived, the line for the concert was already around the block! Girl Panic! We quickly found a parking lot and got in line at 5:00 for the 8:00 show! My daughter was such a trooper, she stood in line without complaining, even without dinner!
I had a great time in line talking with other fans. Everyone was very nice, and we all had stories to tell about growing up with Duran. Some were trying to be impressive by naming off obscure bonus tracks and B sides they know and love.
We got into the show at 7:00. And thanks again to the insanity we had seats right in front – five rows from the floor and on the aisle.
We had over an hour to wait, but we were patient. As we waited a reporter from the Atlanta Journal Constitution who was working on a story about parents taking their kids to concerts asked us questions, wrote down our names and took our pictures. The story ended up on the paper’s web site. I'll either the cool mom for taking her daughter to the concert, or on the Family Services list for observation.
After an hour and a half wait finally the concert started! Breathtaking! We were shoulder to shoulder with 1300 other crazy people screaming and dancing and having the time of our lives. My daughter took over the aisle for her dance floor, and fans who came by gave her high fives all evening!
The set was a mix of old and new songs, and the audience was a mix of men and women, old and young. The best new song – my opinion and the opinion of the guy next to me – was Girl Panic; best oldie was Rio (you could hardly hear Simon singing over the crowd belting out the tune!).
At the end Simon introduced the band with traditional chants and an awesome drum solo from Roger that had the crowd roaring his name.
We were delirious and exhausted as we walked to the car with our ears ringing. God bless GPS to get us back to the hotel.
My daughter had dinner out of the vending machine (another strike for Family Services) and we sat up talking until midnight.
When I told Jillian it was time for bed, she said, "But I don't want to go to bed, Mom. This day was so perfect; I don't want it to end." That was the ultimate thrill for me – not swooning over JT or dancing with 1300 of my closest friends to the greatest band of all time – but having a very memorable day with my wonderful daughter. A day to remember, indeed.