Rebekah’s experience: I was on youtube, drowning in Tears for Fears nostalgia, and found Curt Smith’s Official Webpage. I see where he’s gathering dates for the Tears for Fears concerts for 2011 and will be announcing them shortly. WHAT?! TEARS FOR FEARS CONCERT DATES? IN THE US? I swear, it took me 2 minutes to catch my breath!
The concert dates were announced. I bought my tickets online that day for the Las Vegas venue, as my daughter was living in Las Vegas. What could be more perfect? I would get to visit with my daughter and see the concert! How in the world could that be topped? I corresponded with a precious woman at the Red Rock Casino, Las Vegas, NV, for the Sept. 16, 2011 concert. She and I exchanged several emails regarding this concert, as I had several questions. I expected her to get tired of me, but she seemed to share in my excitement and anticipation for this event. Should I ever need accommodations in Las Vegas, it will be at the Red Rock Casino simply because of this one woman, who I am now ashamed to say I have forgotten her name, but, she was amazing!
It’s March. The very long countdown begins.
In the meantime, I become associated with an incredible artist by the name of Janice Whaley through twitter. She has been recording all the Smiths songs, using only her voice, by herself, in a closet of her home for a solid year! I thought to myself, I’ve got to know more about this woman. So I did. We began tweeting and I fell in love with her. Her spirit and tenacity was infectious!
I digress. (This is why I don’t write for a living!) In our conversations I learn she is working on a project with none other than one of my music idols, Curt Smith! OMG! What are the odds!!
Time drags on to September. Sometime around August, I learn that Janice is going to be in Las Vegas as a guest speaker at a conference, the same weekend of Tears for Fears! The stars are all lining up! I told her we HAVE to get together! Numerous tweets, emails, DMs, and text messages later, my daughter and I pick up Janice at her hotel on September 16, 2011 and headed for the Tears for Fears concert, TOGETHER!!!
I was overjoyed to finally meet this amazing woman! It was so funny! The first thing she says to me is, “I love your accent!” I wasn’t sure what accent she was referring to, (I’m from Texas) but I could not stop hugging her! My daughter drives and Janice and I just talk and talk. I was in heaven, or at least I thought I was in heaven. Little did I know I wasn’t even close. Janice informs me on the drive to the Red Rock Casino, that she spoke to Curt briefly and he told her he couldn’t get any more back stage passes. Back stage passes? I didn’t care about that, as long as he could get her into the concert, because I wanted to share this amazing experience with her!
We finally arrive. It’s been 6 very long months. Well, actually it’s been 29 years, as I have never been to a Tears for Fears concert. We go and look for “Curt’s people” so Janice can get her ticket. We find her and she pulls out 2 VIP Passes. Janice smiles and looks at me and I’m just trying to understand what is happening. It starts sinking in and I begin to tremble. I might actually get to meet Curt Smith! Are you kidding me?! I now look over at my daughter, torn as to what to do? She quickly says, with the biggest smile I have ever seen, “Mom, give me my ticket and go. I’ll find you later”. At this point I can not stop shaking. Janice assures me that Curt is just a regular guy and once I meet him I will feel perfectly at ease.
I digress, again! Time runs out before the concert begins, so we’re told to come back after the concert because Curt really wants to see Janice. We head off to find my daughter and our seats just as the band comes on. I am on top of the world! All is as it should be! The weather is beautiful! The venue is amazing! The band is FREAKING FANTASTIC!! I have never had so much fun in my life! All this and to be sharing it with my daughter and Janice was almost more than I could handle. I was on top of the world. Also, I know that about 6 rows in front of us is a whole row of Kooks that included “Ms. Andye” (who I was also hoping to meet on this trip, but there just wasn’t time), who Roland points out in the course of the concert! This was cool, because I knew exactly who he was talking about!
The concert is almost over. They’ve come back to do their encore, so Janice and I head back to meet our connection to go back stage. The wait is almost unbearable. Finally, she waves us in. Curt sees Janice and the look he gives her makes me melt. This is truly a very special man. Finally, Janice introduces me. We speak only for a few brief moments because there are several other people there, friends of Curt, that he wants to chat with. This wonderful man still graciously poses for a photo and gives Janice one more gigantic and loving hug. I love and respect Curt Smith now more than ever.
Janice, my daughter and I float back to Janice’s hotel where we sit and reflect over the nights events and I try and learn as much as I can about my new, forever friend. We hug goodnight as we put to bed, the BEST DAY OF MY LIFE, yet!
Andye’s Experience: It has taken me months to muster up the energy to talk about this overwhelming, beautiful and exhilarating show. I have yet to have ever witnessed anything like it in my life. As a superfan since childhood, watching the majestic duo and their team outshine the stars in the sky with their angelic, powerful voices; I knew this concert was going to be “an experience.” I just didn’t know how much it would impact me and the hundreds of other fans that flew into Las Vegas to take part in one of the most majestic fan meet-ups I’ve ever attended.
Planning for this show started months in advance. Tickets were purchased the first day, rooms were booked shortly after and the mad dash of watching flight prices remained steady through July. Though some of the others decided to stay at a location far away from the venue in order to take advantage of the “Las Vegas Strip” experience, I wanted to be as close to the venue and “band action” as possible from start to finish. Perched and waiting, we arrived a day early. The blessings of the upper level suite package were made possible by the Red Rock staff. Though other fans had rooms on other floors I wanted them with me as much as possible. There was no way I was going to bask in that big space by myself.
Red Rock Hotel and Casino: The good, the better, the best!
This is one swish venue. The pool is immaculate. The stage is gorgeous. Everything about the place is just dynamite. I’ve stayed in a slew of hotels and blogged about a dozen a year but nothing really compares to the amenities and comfort of those signature suites.
Minutes after we settled into the rooms we took a walk around the property. It wasn’t as hot (temperature wise) as I thought it would be. I’m a pantyhose, high-heels-suited-lady all day long, so I figured I’d be a melted pool of caramel by the time we finished trolopsing around. On the contrary, I wanted to change clothes and get in the pool. Not bringing a swim suit there was a major missed opportunity for total relaxation. I will remember that in the future (iA).
The Casino and Concert Venue
I had been in contact with the venue every month with questions about set up and how the concert layout was to be. I knew that we had standing room only up until July. Then the venue decided to change it to seats. This, according to the hotel, would be the first time they’d be doing seats and chairs in this fashion. On a random chat with the legendary musicians of “The Gipsy Kings” I received a picture from the band showing how the seats were (see the photo above). This let me know I should’ve gotten a seat ticket instead of standing. So I contacted the venue and the “confusion” began. No one really knew what was going to happen it seemed. But the venue’s truly hard working staff took the time to ask around or at least transfer me enough times to get to some answers that made sense. Long story short, the day before the show, still, no one really knew. We were just “told” because we bought our tickets so far in advance we were guaranteed to be in the seats which were placed in front of the stage. And I do mean directly in front of the stage, right smack up against it. I have to give a shout out to Neon Trees superfans who gave me great direction as well explaining that we needed to be there early and stand in line so we could actually get the place we wanted.
After all of this exploration and information overload we grabbed lunch and headed back to the suite. By 9pm at night I was exhausted, stuffed with vegetables and soup. We ordered all kinds of stuff. Cream of spinach soup, steamed vegetables, cranberry juice, giant cookies and milk (for Carri) and I can’t remember what SnapHappyPam had. We anticipated when the band would arrive. And I went over my do-not-freak-out-manners in case I ran into them in the hall. But none of that occurred. By midnight, Pam and Carri went back to their rooms and I crawled into that gargantuan bed, mobile device in one hand checking twitter and facebook nonstop til I fell asleep…with one of 2 giant flat screen TVs on which by coincidence had an infomercial on that was playing Tears for Fears. Nothing like a greatest hits music show that features your favourite band!
By 4am I was up. I went to watch the sunrise. I took a picture of it and sent it to Curt. While uploading the photo to his wall, I saw a tweet from Michael Wainwright that they had just pulled into the venue. I got dressed in 10 minutes, shower and all and perched downstairs. I had no shame. I just wanted to see them. I was eager to do my “good morning.”. I sat there for awhile. A long while. Charlton came down the steps but I didn’t recognize him right away. He sat about 2 seats away with guests but I didn’t want to turn around and stare and say, “Charlton, my man, wasssauppp!?” So I sat there…and googled him because I was in that much awe I couldn’t even think he was sitting that close. Yes, I get starstruck. Calm but starstruck. I expected a slew of other fans to start turning up out of nowhere to take a peek. But there was nothing. I was the only one. Sitting there, in a casual business suit, reading the twitter feeds and facebook as if they were the stock pages of the Wall Street Journal. Eventually he got up and left. I sat for a while longer…proud of myself for not being a screamer. I feel sorry for anyone who is…I’ve been there. It’s ugly.
About 10 minutes passed and a tweet from “someone” who likes to call himself “the Devil” (not to be confused with the ELAHE song) made a very uncomfy statement about lobby punters. I have no clue what a lobby punter is but just in case it was a reference to me sitting there, I left and went to go sit by the pool. While there, some of the other travelling superfanatics recognized me. We started chatting, walking, taking a gander at the tour bus like little kids looking at a candy shop from across the street. We had a good time. Carri and Pam joined us and we watched the stage get set up. Every fan had a story of a past show. After relaying all the logistics regarding the fan meetups were complete we went back to the suite and ordered more food. Lobster sandwiches, milehighs, more Gingerale, etc. The HQ was feeling like a stake-out. We had all kinds of equipment out, mobiles, laptops, etc. We sat at the dining room table interacting with other fans and watching foursquare check-ins. I checked off my list of who was at the venue and told them we’d be downstairs around 3pm and we couldn’t wait to see them. It was hilarious. We were having a blast.
Action plan in place we started getting ready at 3pm. I went through a number of rituals and then Alexis and her Roland Orzabal loving pal came up to the room. I was already dressed by that time. I slipped into my traditional Turkish-Nigerian embroidered dress with veil, pulled my hair back into a low ponytail so my wild curly hair wouldn’t fall in my face. Still slipping in bobby pins, we wasted not a minute rushing over to the Casino where the line was to form. AJ, Brigitte, SheeShee (Sheila K.), Kim, Rochelle, Joseline…they were all there. It was awesome. The warm greetings, the fact that we all recognized each other…the whole nine yards…we were thrilled to be there and first in line hugging and chatting…being superfanatics. 2 hours passed, the line was wrapping around the casino interior. People were coming up to us asking if this was the concert line. We mumbled, pointed to the back, they’d look and their eyes would scan all the way down to where it ended. The Superfanatics were perched and not open to breaking the line…and then 7pm rolled around. It was time to go inside.
A Little Chaos
Confusion began to reign. Some staff were told doors open at 8pm..others were told 7pm. The lines began moving out of the door, people were running to the gate to get up to the stage. Security stopped us saying, “sorry, there’s problem.” I’m thinking, “Oh great! I knew this was too good to be true.” SheeShee got to go forward because she was on a cane at the time. Poor woman was having surgery and she still made it. I couldn’t find Pam and Carri though moments ago they were beside me. Made no sense. I wondered if Pam had stepped out of line and then lost her place. I tried to text her. There was no response. Security let us go forward. I didn’t see Pam in the line ahead of me. I started to panic. People pushed and pressed closer wanting to get in. People I didn’t recognize from Curt’s fan page or Twitter or anything else were everywhere. Security was checking tickets religiously. People were getting turned away for not having a “seat” ticket. I got nervous. My ticket taker had torn the ticket so you couldn’t really tell what seat I was suppose to have. Fortunately I had the receipt and it had the “code” that let me get in. I walked so fast to the front. I got to the front row but was turned away when a group of superfans told me they were saving seats. I moved to the second row center. Just as nice. I looked around. I was surrounded by the active members of Curt’s fan page and twitter followers. That was a relief. We made it. The real interactive fans were where I felt they deserved to be. Nothing worse than seeing someone who isn’t a die-hard get to sit up front while people who reach out to him everyday get put aside due to circumstance. Not the case tonight. But where were Carri and Pam? No where to be seen! I text again and finally Carri said that security made them wait. They were not even in the stage area at all! I assured them there were great seats and that they’d be fine. Because only the first two rows to the left, center and right had been filled. Fortunately they made it at 8pm and got third row. The group was all there! I was so excited I sent a text Curt to say, “Supaaahmaaahn, wassssupp! We in yo face man!” it was so funny. So out of character for me to try to speak slang. And as we sat there, the best of the new romantic songs plus a ton of 80s hits were piped through the speakers sending us back down memory lane…all of us singing and just having a really good time. One really cool moment for me was when Hermest and I looked at each other during Stand or Fall by the Fixx and said, “oooh, this is such a good song!”
Michael Wainwright opened for them and sang a number of songs from his new album as well as his past work. Blue was one of the most compelling of the set. He is a great singer, clear, gorgeous voice. And he is very cute. It was at this point things began to feel very surreal. The sky begin to turn a deep blue, the wind was blowing. It felt incredible. These elements and the fact that the legends were now entering the stage was so overwhelming I felt light-headed. As if the world was lifting up…as if we had entered an incredible new realm. I had no idea what was going to happen next.
Tears for Fears appear…
These glorious guys entered the stage, Roland and Curt, Charlton and Jaime then Doug…They began with Everybody Wants To Rule The World...it became a huge party. Everyone was singing and swaying and dancing around. It was overwhelming.
-Roland did a beautiful, well spoken short speech thanking all of us who came in from other states. Curt named familiar faces as he scanned the audience. It was just awesome and very special for many of us. Roland elaborated on how nice the quilt was and gave a thanks for the gifts we delivered in person and via mail.
Curt started throwing skittles (click on this to understand, explanation is in interview), we love that! It’s insane, but he could’ve dumped a trough of skittles on us and I’d have swam around in all that sugar like nutcase adult. It was just so wild, random and too cool.
Roland mentioned that they were going to be in Los Angeles the next night. I responded with “We’re coming!” He looked at me and said, “you are, you’re coming?” I said like a soldier, “Yes, Delta Flight 10:10″… I almost said, “Sir!” as if I was there, standing before him reporting for duty in my blue Turkish Nigerian Frock. Talk about International Superfanatic…smh. LOL! He smiled said, “that makes two for you.” He also recognized Sheila, who had been to about 3 concerts on the tour. Roland and Curt certainly made not only my day but my life. That was so sweet. All those years of anticpating what one would say to them…and there it was…that sweet interaction. Ooh, so nice…
The show continued, we sang every word, we danced to every song as if the original videos were playing before us. During Sowing the Seeds, Roland gave Curt a sweet hug. It was so precious I asked them to give each other a sweet family kiss for Saturday night’s show (and they did, another point for LOVE!)
It was around this time that I believe G-d came. I’m not being sacrilegious. I truly believe G-d came and just blessed that show. It was too beautiful for words. The clarity of each song, the interactions of the band, Roland’s beauty, Curt’s lovely face and their overall excitement. Oh, just angels, they were, on stage.
By the night’s end I had moved up front to dance. I couldn’t help it. Roland looked down at me at his feet and smiled really big. Ohh, what a moment. Even AJ said, “The highlight of the night was seeing him look at you like that when you moved to the front and started dancing.”
There was an afterparty but very few really went because 1. the band wasn’t there. 2. the band was not there. 3. the band…wasn’t there. And understandably so Curt had to get to his daughter’s football game early the next morning. Isn’t he the coolest dad? 😉 I’m sure Roland’s two lads have cool things to say about him too. They big guys now and probably have a ton of cool stories. We headed back to the room, did a couple of tweets to the fellow fans and to the band, packed and tried to sleep. The next morning, a man with Roland’s hair and physical build slipped into an elevator just before we could really see him. I nearly fainted. Had he been able to get that elevator door back open to see what we wanted he may have been disappointed with our meager “we’re not worthy bow and thank you.” Given I had no roses to toss at his feet. LOL.
After a nice chauffered ride to the airport, Angels still followed me as people handed me my credit cards, ID, etc that were just slipping out of my bag left and right as I walked. I was still in a daze. I sat in the airport waiting for my flight, sending the band all kinds of ideas while sipping a venti sized coffee from Starbucks…they were all random profitable tweets.
I couldn’t wait to get to Los Angeles. I could seriously, physically follow Tears for Fears for the rest of my life. If I won the lottery I’d give a chunk to charity, my relatives and the rest would go towards me being perched doing fan club charity projects and waiting on shows. I love this band. I love how nice, caring and unbelievably sweet they’ve been to us and how beautiful they are in spirit. Thank you!
Worst part: I don’t like grown adults running and pushing each other. This is dangerous! Those of us who have a VIK badge from the Curt Smith bundle, those of us who are always on facebook and twitter interacting and sending our adoration should probably be lumped into a list and get the option to buy a premium seat before regular ticket holders. I mean it is only fair that those of us who care get to be up front…yes, right up there (well behaved) and enjoy the show. We shouldn’t be shoved and knocked down after being first, waiting in line for half-a-day to get a decent seat. We must work with venues to see what can be done about that. Not sure how but something must be done.
*pictures from Red Rock Casino Facebook, SnapHappyPam Photography and the Tears for Fears Atlanta Fans archives
Special thanks to Alex at the Red Rock Casino for spoiling us with kindness and cool things. He is one of the reasons we want to return. Many thanks to Delta for not losing our bags, Big thanks to the band for being patient with our squealing and the loss of my voice. Thanks to all of the fans for coming over and speaking. Big Big Thanks to everyone who came to the meetup!
Enjoy some clips from the show courtesy of the SnapHappyPam Photography! Subscribe to her YouTube Page: ProudMom27