October 12, 1997
This show only went to prove how much hell we Duranies will go through to see this band. Anyone who attended this show will probably agree.
The morning started out nice enough, but as the sun rose in the sky, things on Sunset Boulevard got hotter and hotter. The line extended all the way up and over the hill in an amazing show of support for Duran Duran. Everyone showed off photos of the group, and (as usual) Eileen Ikuda was there with her infamous "2DURAN" license plate. A papparazzi sold photos from previous Duran appearances to the crowd. Security told us we could bring in our cameras, so there was a general scurrying to cars to grab them. A little later, we were informed that cameras would not be allowed. Back to the cars to put them away. An hour later, cameras were okayed again, and some of us held places in line while our counterparts wearily trudged the length of the Boulevard BACK to the cars a third time to retrieve the things.
L.A.County Sheriffs were out in force, their cars lining the street to match the sea of waiting fans. A comment was made to no one in particular: "What the hell do they think we're gonna DO? We're adults, not a bunch of kids!" Another person muttered that we were all too damn dehydrated to pose much of a threat.
And this was true. We were promised free bottles of water during the show, since we weren't allowed to bring in our own. Yeah, right. I will tell you now---DO NOT believe it when Tower tells you something like that. When we finally got into the show, it was only to discover that the van full of crystal-clear, cool water in pretty plastic was reserved only for people working the show. (A darling cameraman snagged me a couple bottles, which I shared with three other withering fans as we stood in the parking-lot-turned-outdoor-arena.) The heat started getting to us, and we found out that by sqatting in the shade of our fellow concert-goers for a few seconds we could cool off a bit.
The opening acts were another thing altogether. Most were fine, if a bit tiresome after standing all day. But Goldfinger had to go. (No offense to The Skeletones, who appeared on stage with this group.) The singer was rude and obnoxious, pissed off that we weren't hyped into a moshing frenzy by the time they took the stage, and sneered at the lame people who had "come here to see some washed-up old has-been band!" At this point, I think the hoarding of water bottles was a good idea by Tower...the stage would have been knee-deep in the things at this comment.) We suffered through this, but the antics of the drummer REALLY were uncalled for. The band left the stage, leaving only this guy climbing out from behind his drumkit. He comes to the front of the stage, and moons the audience. Okaaay...big deal. But did he really have to take a drumstick and...well, sodomy comes to mind. If this wasn't enough, he then turns back around and throws it into the audience---and it lands a few feet away from Margaret and me. A very teenage-sounding EEEIIIIWWWWW!!!!! erupted from our section, punctuated by some strange guy yelling "Don't touch it! It's mine!!!" and diving for the nasty thing. [Note: As anyone who has had the questionable pleasure of meeting me can tell you, I am NOT prudish in the least. But this was just a bit disgusting, being out-of-place as it was.] The drummer then left the stage, only to amble back on toting a huge cooler of ice water. He throws water all over the audience, not that we minded that much as hot as we were, but it should be noted that there were still photographers at the stage, one of which was thoroughly doused, as was his open camera. I'm sure the band got a great review for those antics.
The oddest thing happened, though. Nick was the first one on stage, and I suddenly couldn't keep my eyes off the man. (Insert St. Nick Creed Here) Not that I love Simon any less...but Nick...
Okay, enough of that. Yes, when I heard the first few chords of "Electric Barbarella", tears began streaming down my cheeks. Call me a dinglebunny butthead if you must, but it's true. Total reality check. I mean, there they were, not too many yards from where I was standing. I had dreamed of this in high school, but had given up hope by the early 90s of ever seeing them in person.
And who the hell was that guy playing bass? It was the first time many of us had ever seen Wes Wehmiller. The little group I stood with were trying to figure out how old he was. (I heard anywhere from 15 to 20 years old. He's actually 26, I think.) Aside from the age question, it was agreed that he is a very handsome bit of eye-candy to add to the Duran line-up.
Slowly we made our way up Sunset to one of the nice little restaurants that line the street. Sinking down into our chairs, we lit up our stickerettes and rehashed the whole experience over Italian...and made plans to buy the Universal Amphitheatre tickets that were going on sale in one week.
Nick Rhodes, Simon LeBon, and Warren Cuccurullo remind us why we love Duran Duran.
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