Meet and greet
This is an account of 8th October 2002, when Joanna and I met Darren Hayes....and the
minor detail of attending his concert as well, hehe! It was written when I was still
on a high from the experience, and this was what was posted on the D-Zine forum - that's
Darren's fanclub message board for those who don't know. I've left it as I posted
it, and hope you can make allowances for the fact I was floating high on adrenaline at the
Additional info for non-Darrenaddicts:
Leonie = Leonie Messer, Darren's manager and best friend.
Sharon = Sharon Millington, Darren's PA and trainer.
D-Zine = Darren's official fanclub and also the name of its magazine.
Oh, and the guy who was filming was Grant Marshall - also responsible for the video for
Crush (1980 ME).
When Joanna and Sue met Darren.
All my memories of Tuesday in Portsmouth are completely jumbled up, so please forgive
me if the order is not quite right!
As most of you know, I was lucky enough to win a place at a meet and greet, and to be
allowed to take my little girl with me to meet Darren - she is 6 years old and adores him.
The other meet and greeter was Jane and we'd chatted and met up in advance.
||First of all we hung around outside the stage door by the tour buses for an hour or
so...we did see Darren but he looked fed up so I was a bit worried he was in a bad mood!
But I need not have worried, as you will see! Hehehe!
||Joanna and "Tiara" Jane
Well, we were quite far back for the soundcheck, but we could see the stage ok. However as
well as a few minutes general tinkering on the stage, Darren did 2 complete songs - Dirty
and Insatiable. He waved and said hi to us all and also waved when he was leaving.
After the soundcheck I had a bit of an argument with a security guard who tried to make
us leave! He said he knew nothing about us staying behind but if we waited outside, he
would ask! I told him no - go and ask Leonie and we'll wait here! He did so and came back
all smiles and said we could stay!
After a few minutes (Jane, Joanna and I were still in the hall while the soundcheck was
continuing minus Darren), Sharon came to collect us and lead us through a maze of
corridors to a dingy stairwell near the dressing rooms! We were left to wait for Darren,
and Sharon came back a couple of times to assure us he was coming, but he was getting
changed. The next time Sharon appeared, Darren was behind her, followed by Leonie and a
guy who recorded the entire thing! I couldn't tell if he looked familiar or not as half
his face was hidden behind the camera the whole time. I hate being filmed at all, so it
was a bit unnerving - more so than meeting Darren! But I decided to try and pretend the
camera wasn't there!
Darren was dressed ready to play football (soccer) - he had an Argentine top on, and it
was quite big on him. It kinda made him look really soft somehow...and the colours really
suit him! (Sky-blue and white for anyone who doesn't know).
First of all Darren crouched down by Joanna and told her she's cute and he likes her
Street Team shirt! He noticed the badge we made with a heart and his name on and asked if
she made it. He asked her name and how old she is and chatted a little bit, then she gave
him the card and presents that she'd made (some with my help). He read the card there and
then, and took all the gifts out one at a time and examined them - he was like "did
you make this for me? That's so sweet!" etc etc.
||One of the things we gave to Darren was a mask like the sort you can wear when
decorating to keep from breathing in the dust. We decorated it with sequins to make it
more "showbiz"! I didn't know if he'd get the joke, but when he took it out of
the gift bag he said to Joanna "is this for me to wear on my face to stop me from
getting sick?" And then he said "I considered it actually,but I think it's
already been done....!" an obvious reference to Michael Jackson there!
||Darren asked if she would like a hug and of course she said yes! I
asked him if I could take a photo and he said "of course"...but I was shaking so
much I had to ask if I could take another! By this point the battery was getting low on my
camera (although it was actually quite new!) so the flash took an age to be ready - all
the time Darren is crouched down with his arm around Joanna! I hope they come out, but
like I say I was really shaking!
(Note: as you can see - they did!)
||At one point, not sure if it was then or at the end, Darren crouched down by Joanna
again and asked her if she was going to the show. When we said yes, he asked if she'd wave
to him - so she waved! But that wasn't what he meant of course - so he explained to her
that he meant if he waved to her at the concert, would she wave back? She said she would,
and then he told her he'd look for her! I knew he'd not see her, we were too far back -
but it was a nice thought!
Jane gave Darren a present and Leonie took 2 photos of her with Darren - on Jane's
camera. And then it was my turn! I gave Darren a few items I was passing on - including a
bar of chocolate from someone...Darren said "I LOVE chocolate - and it goes right to
here" and patted his bum, lol!
Then we stood for a photo which Leonie again took, using my camera this time. He had his
arm round my back and I had mine around his....what bliss! I have always wanted to know
what he smells like cos people go on about it, but you know what, I really didn't notice
any smell at all, lol! Just "clean" I guess, but nothing I could describe! And
although I have always known he's 5 inches taller than me - he just doesn't look it in
pictures or on stage, somehow! So it felt unreal to be up next to him and see how much
taller he is!
OK, remember I said the camera battery was getting low?! Actually, I think it was just too
cold to work! Anyway, Leonie took a photo and then asked if she should take another - of
course I said yes please! But by now it was taking forever for the flash to be ready - it
was quite embarrassing, we were all standing around waiting...Darren and me still with our
arms around each other, lol! (I've got to say, even though I know it happened, I can't
believe this as I am typing it!!!). Well, I'm a cheeky so-and-so....I couldn't resist
it....so I said something like "actually I deliberately put a flat battery in there
so I could stand here with you for longer" ARGH! He said something along the lines of
that was sneaky or naughty - something like that! (edited - Jane tells me it was
"that's convenient!") Then Leonie took the pic. I think I might have rolled my
eyes just at that point, so I hope it turns out, lol!
(Note - yes I was rolling my eyes - and Darren was chuckling! So
although it's a dreadful photo of me, I like it anyway!)
||We got Darren to sign our copies of the D-zine, across the picture Jo had published,
after explaining why that particular page! So now she knows for sure he's seen her
picture! And Jane got an autograph too of course.
Oh yeah, while Darren was signing one
of the mags, Leonie was holding the other and she saw the bit on the front about her
diary...she was laughing and saying "back by popular demand!!!" So I of course
told her that we'd missed her!
Oh yeah, Darren also make some quip (I forget what now) and grinned and said he was in a
good mood that day...so much for my thinking he looked fed up earlier! For once I was glad
to be wrong, lol!
So then it was over - Darren told us he was going to play football....and also said he's
hopeless at it! We thanked him and he left - then Sharon showed us out.
Then there was this totally mind-blowing concert - even without meeting Darren I'd have to
mark that down as the best night out I ever had. But this is about meeting Darren, not a
concert review, so I won't go into details!
|After the gig we waited around and were rewarded when Lee came out. I have to say he
is twice as good looking up close! I wasn't going to hassle for an autograph, as there was
quite a crowd all clamouring for his attention - but then a cheeky young lady (sorry if
that's you, lol!) near me called him saying there was a little girl wanting an autograph -
meaning Joanna! He came over and crouched down to talk to Jo (who had no idea who he
was!!!), but I had nothing ready for him to sign - so I said to Lee, could he sign the
young lady's tourbook (the one who'd called him over) while I got something out of my bag
- by the time he'd done so I had my tourbook out and Lee signed it! I can't think now what
we said to each other - it wasn't much but we had a brief conversation. I think I was even
more star-struck with Lee than Darren cos I wasn't expecting to meet him, and I have
always had a soft spot for him!
A little later the girls came out - I didn't get their
autographs but I chatted a bit with Tina while Angi was trying to get a pen that would
work, lol! It obviously paid us to wait at the end of the line - lots of people in the
crush in the middle probably missed out.
Then Darren's bus was getting ready to leave...we felt a bit sad cos Lee'd told us
Darren would come out to see us and he hadn't - but then, there he was! He chatted to a
girl in a wheelchair and then came the whole way along the line signing autographs. I
decided not to be greedy and so didn't ask for another - but we stayed so I could thank
him for the great concert. When they got to us, Leonie smiled at me and said something
like "we meet again!" - something lighthearted but showed she recognised me!
When Darren got to us he asked Joanna if she'd enjoyed the show - she wasn't paying
attention but just gazing at him! So I answered for her and added "thank you SO much,
that was brilliant!". Darren thanked me and looked at Jo again before saying to me
"she's gorgeous" Aww! I just said "thank you!" cos I wasn't expecting
that, lol! Then he moved on - my mate Caz was able to get an autograph and see him up
close briefly, so I was really pleased because she has been so great about my getting the
meet and greet when she didn't...not an ounce of jealousy in her.
Anyway after signing lots of autographs Darren and co got on the bus and we watched it
And then we came home....Joanna was crying cos she misses Darren! But it was an amazing
evening for us both, and one I am sure we'll both treasure forever.
(sorry that's so long!)
You can also read Jane's account of our meet and greet!
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