My first big concert was Duran Duran, in Pittsburgh, PA on February 28, 1984, on their Seven and the Ragged Tiger tour. Tickets were $13.75 apiece, and I wanted to get good ones. I convinced my Mom to sleep out on the sidewalk in front of the Civic Arena with me, to get good tickets. That morning, I did get a pretty decent seat, and my Mom bought a ticket somewhere in the back of the arena. I was only thirteen years old; she didn’t want me going all by myself but also didn’t want to embarrass me by sitting with me.
The day of the concert arrived. I’d been planning my outfit for weeks. My Mom and I went in, and she helped me find my seat. This was way before cell phones were commonplace, so we agreed to meet back at the car, after the show. The lights went down, and the screeching began. The opening act, a new wave band called Christmas Past, was pretty bad. Most of us who’d been standing, sat.
When Duran Duran came out, we went crazy. Every teenage girl in there had a favorite band member, and mine to this day is singer Simon leBon (after whom I later would name a son). I knew every word to every song, because I’d been playing the vinyl album nonstop since receiving it for Christmas. This was before video screens were used regularly at concerts, so to see one used was definitely the coolest thing any of us had ever seen. These guys were dressed to the nines, their hair and makeup was perfect, and they put on a fun show.
The standout moment happened during the show’s encore when bassist John Taylor disappeared from the stage for a moment, then returned and whispered something in Simon leBon’s ear. At that point, Simon announced that the band had just won a Grammy Award. It turns out that the Grammy Awards were happening the same night; Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Synchronicity by the Police both cleaned up, and Duran Duran won for Best Short Form Music Video (Girls on Film/Hungry Like the Wolf). Every time I hear about the Grammy Awards, I remember actually being in the room with Duran Duran when they found out about theirs in 1984.
When I met my Mom back out at the car, the car was running and she was in there, reading a book. Clearly, she’d been out here a while. “Didn’t you like the show?!?” I asked. My Mom did not understand that concerts had opening acts. She’d thought Christmas Past was Duran Duran, had been baffled at why her daughter liked such a bad group, and she’d left the concert to go back to the car and read a book. She’d totally missed Duran Duran.