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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 time!

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.

Joanna and Tiara Jane 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!

Darren Hayes at the soundcheck
Darren Hayes

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.

Presents for Darren 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!)
Joanna and Darren
Joanna and Darren 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!)

Darren's autograph for Joanna 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!

Darren's autograph for Sue


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.

Darren Hayes, Portsmouth Guildhall 08/10/02
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.

Lee Novak
Lee Novak

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 leave.

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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