The scream that was heard throughout not only our office, but apparently the whole building, was one of excitement rather than terror. Duran Duran were coming to Austin, and in the words of my (long suffering - so I am told) daughter, "Guess who won tickets!" The comment was rhetorical, as I have now gained something of a reputation, it would seem.
After my comment regarding the enjoyment of a humdrum week or two, and the fact that living in Austin means that that lifestyle is subject to change at the drop of a hat, I was ready to accept the challenges that lay ahead.
I had collected the tickets, and was delighted to see that we (myself and a guest) had been honoured with front section seating, rather than 'general admission', which we had obtained at the last concert. Much as there is not a bad seat in the house, being on hard ground, and on a seat, rather than grass, (after the amount of rain we have had over the past two weeks,) was indeed a blessing! The other group that was playing, was 'Chic', and until I googled them, I thought that I was unfamiliar with their music. However, when I saw that they were the group that brought us 'Le Freak', and 'Everybody dance', I was in a state of absolute euphoria!
The apprehension had already started to rise on Monday, as I knew that my week was going to be far from humdrum! I had also won a place in the lounge at one of the radio stations to see Bebe Rexha. Although vaguely familiar with one of her songs, I had no idea as to whom was the singer.
Monday came and went as if it had never been, with work being rather busy, and our departure from the office being late. As we had been invited to attend the event on Tuesday at midday, we left the office around 11:30am, and were on the premises just before noon. The lunch that was to be provided had all but gone, and rather than being greeted with a table full of burritos and sodas, there were a few broken chips with a spoonful of salsa looking rather forlorn! Although slightly disappointed at the lack of sustenance, Samantha and I were not as upset as some of the other participants. "Will you be getting anymore sandwiches?" asked one man, whom we recognised from past events. "Last time you had a whole table full; when that girl with the red hair...", he started and asked his colleague, "What was her name?" Samantha, in a moment of unnatural self-confidence, helped him remember. "Jess Glynn", she shouted across the room, and he confirmed that it was indeed her to whom he referred. I was a little judgmental. Although I was not always familiar with the singer before I meet and greet them, I remember their names after the fact! I made the comment to Samantha that the event was actually at a different radio station, but she pointed out that if he could not remember the artist, what chance did he have of remembering where it was that he saw her! Another couple of familiar faces were in the foyer, and it became quite apparent that we, the audience, are almost like a 'rent a crowd', as we are all ready and willing to attend where we are called! However, the ladies that we recognised as regulars, had obviously arrived early, and were enjoying their lunch, to the point that they were full, and could not actually finish what they had put on their plates!
Before the performance, an apology was made about the lack of food, and a promise was made that those whom did not partake would be rewarded with 'the best pizza around' after the event! All those who had not eaten were very grateful, even though we agreed that lunch was not the only reason we attend. (Albeit a good reason to attend!)
Bebe Rexha was adorable. We learned (although I was somewhat aware, as I felt it my duty to read a brief outline about her rise to fame etc.) that she had written songs for many people, and had also performed her songs with many artists. My question (as I always have a question ready to ask, should the occasion arise) was, "Do you miss anything from the time you were not famous?" She responded that she loved being on the road, and would miss her family, should she not have the opportunity to take them with her. However, and I paraphrase, she said that she would rather spend the money on a plane ticket for her family to join her, than buy a new pair of shoes! I did not question the price of the shoes she buys, but instead understood the concept. She was both entertaining and gracious, grateful for her fan base, and for famous friends who had not been overtaken with fame!
After the performance, we queued for a picture with the star, in an aroma of freshly cooked pizza. The fact that the delicacy was for those whom did not enjoy the burritos appeared to be overlooked, as the familiar faced ladies, whom were too full to finish their first course, piled high plates of steaming cheese topped dough, and proceeded to devour a second meal. It was becoming doubtful whether there would be enough left for those who did not enjoy a first meal! The lady organising became a little curt with them, and lost a bit of patience, especially when one of them asked to 'go last' in the line to chat to Bebe as she wanted to spend more time with her.
I was last in line. Samantha had suggested I wear a pair of trousers and 'dress down', as this star was very trendy, and I should perhaps not go dressed like my mother! However, I disregarded her advice and wore a petrol blue skirt, white blouse with a large blue flower print on the left side, a grey and silver jacket, with accents of the same blue as on the skirt, little navy ankle boots and of course my hat! The reaction I received from the young, trendy, young trendy (repetition noted) star was, "Wow, look at this style", followed by her asking her colleague for her phone, and taking a video of me, (dressed like my mother,) and announcing that she loved my outfit! I was very flattered! She then gave me a big hug, and thanked me for coming to see her! I thanked her for the performance, and we spent far too long thanking each other, as apparently she had other commitments, which were being shouted to her across the room!
There was enough pizza left for us not only to eat, but to take back to the office for Dana, who had been working throughout! I felt the need to thank the radio station for their hospitality and wrote a quick email to the lady whom had sent me the invitation. She, in turn, was very grateful for the feedback, and told me that I had made her day, by writing!
'Snapchat' is not something with which I am familiar as far as 'following' or 'using'. However, Samantha had decided to follow the lovely Bebe, and showed me the video that she (Bebe) had posted, enthusing over my 'style'. It was rather a nice way to start my Wednesday morning, and I did make rather a show of it to all and sundry! As gracious and humble as was the lovely Bebe, I was the complete opposite! Fortunately, for my colleauges, I was also not going to be spending the whole day at work, playing 'snapchat; videos, as I had an appointment with my hairdresser!
I had received a call the previous day, which I had assumed was to confirm my appointment. The lady had spoken very quickly, but I had managed to catch the word 'beauty', and assumed it was from my 'stylist'. (People do not have hairdressers anymore!) However, when she said it was to confirm my table at eight pm, I was rather confused. Asking from where she was phoning, she said, "Manhattan, New York". I explained that I was in Austin, Texas, and wondered how she had received my number. "Booking for four, under the name of Lesley?" I explained that one of my oldest besties was in New York City this week, but was completely dumbfounded as to why the restaurant was calling me. I just kept repeating, "How funny!" Completely at a loss, the girl on the other end of the phone asked me if I would confirm that "whoever" would be at the restaurant the following evening. I told her that I would do my best to make sure that four people would be present! It would appear that Lesley needed an 'American' telephone number to make the reservation, and had found mine in her phone. Not knowing whether it was current or not, (as you call a name on a phone; like hairdressers, numbers are no longer used!) she had given the digits to allow the hostess to complete the booking! I found it all highly amusing. Later that day I received a call from my stylist and wondered if dinner was included!
Before entering the salon, I made a detour to the barbecue restaurant in the same complex, as I had a gift card. The winning prize was actually received four years earlier, and I had never had the opportunity to use it. Still valid, (amazingly enough!) I placed an order to the amount that was on the card and said I would be back in an hour. Nahn, the genius who is my stylist, gave a wonderful performance, as usual, and I left the shop feeling beautiful! The barbecue was ready when I arrived at the restaurant, and I headed back to the office. Two and a half pounds of various meat, sides, bread, sauce and pickles, were laid out for the staff. I do like to share my winnings when possible. (Although they seemed to enjoy the barbecue more than the video.) Before eating I went for my daily constitutional, and then worked until quite late!
Thursday was something of an anomaly. I worked all day! Apart from a walk at midday, I was at my desk or at least within the vicinity thereof, unlike Friday, when I left early!
I drove to Samantha's house before the real 'quitting time' traffic started to build. From there, she drove to the Circuit of the Americas, and the 360 Amphitheater, where she parked the car, and we proceeded to walk to the bus stop. The queue was rather long so we thought we would walk to the entrance, but were stopped by a rather aggressive looking member of the event staff! "No walking today!" she said, as she blocked our way. We turned and headed back to the long queue. However, two buses had arrived, and the queue had split into two, with those boarding the second bus making the first queue much shorter. We boarded and were at the entrance rather sooner than anticipated. After buying an enormous portion of chicken tenders and fries, which we decided to share (I could not face another turkey leg!) we walked to our seat.
The supporting band were from Australia and did not get my vote. Their language was rather blue. I do understand that people who take children to such events do so at their own risk, but in a public performance, it should be common courtesy not to use foul language in every sentence! Their support ended, and we sat back awaiting Nyle Rodgers. Unaware that he wrote for many, including Diana Ross, David Bowie and the like, I danced, sang, clapped and generally became a teenager once again, as Chic rocked my world, just as they had in bygone days! Samantha stood with my phone, recording a good deal of the concert, and shaking her head, as her mother bopped around, unable to keep still. It was spectacular!
All too soon, part one came to an end, and we awaited the main event. The stagehands spent a considerable time making sure everything was copacetic and whilst it appeared that there were some difficulties in getting the complete picture into place, we assumed that the performance was probably scheduled for nine o'clock. The large crowd went wild when Simon LeBon walked on stage, and even more wild when the rest of the band struck up the first notes. Old and new songs were played, and I was up and bopping again! However, with the thrill of Chic still flowing through my veins, and the slightly too long a gap in between the two groups, I was ready to leave after the older hits had been played. The group was as magnificent as ever they were, but I was not! I nodded to Samantha that I was ready to leave if she was. (She was only there, in her words, for my pleasure! I had considered asking one of my friends to join me, but had given Samantha first refusal. She, in turn, had assumed that none of my friends would come with me, and had said she would join me out of pity!) We made our way out of the arena.
Making our way back to the car, we heard Nyle Rodgers come back on to the stage and we listened to the next couple of songs, whilst walking along the road which we had previously been prohibited. The concert came to an end as we reached the car, and unless there was an encore, we had not missed a beat! Enough was as good as a feast! There is a certain sense of 'not losing out', when the tickets have not been purchased.
Watching groups that did not perhaps shape my future, but played a part in my past, and seeing new, rising (or risen) stars that are as enjoyable to listen to, made my week rather special in a bitter-sweet sort of way. We had suffered some upsetting family news this week, and whilst the events did not make it better, or even mask the grief, it is a fact that life goes on, no matter how much we want it to stand still.
I shall be listening for Bebe Rexha on the radio, and probably showing the video she posted to as many as will watch! I may even alienate those friends that would have joined me should I win 'big' again! I will also be playing the videos that Samantha recorded of Chic and Duran Duran, to show my work colleagues what they missed! I shall revel in my own glory for a while, but then no doubt come back down to earth at sometime, before I contemplate writing ............. another story!