I’ve had a nice change of pace this week. Rather than needing to come up with a blog-worthy topic, I’ve needed to choose which one to write about!
Since I last posted, I have done the circle tour of Los Angeles, Las Vegas and back to my home in Atascadero, California. My visit to LA included the premiere of A Hollywood High. It was the first premiere I’ve attended! I mean, how often do you really get to see your favorite band up on the big screen? What about sitting back and watching a Q&A with that same favorite band, live and in person? Last Thursday evening, I was witness to both!
Receiving an invitation to the screening was a huge thrill. Luckily for me, I was in Italy at the time, and read my email a good nine-hours before many of my fellow DD fans of California, which gave me a chance to RSVP and be allotted tickets! Otherwise, I had already looked at the theaters showing the movie. Sadly, one of the side-effects of living in farm country is not having a whole lot of, well, anything nearby. While I’m usually willing to drive a half-hour or more for anything from clothes to chicken feed, the nearest theater showing A Hollywood High is some two hours away. I love Duran Duran, but a two-hour drive for a movie?
Sure, I’d drive that far to see them play a live show, but a movie? I don’t know. That seems like a stretch. I’d already resigned myself to having to wait for a DVD, should that time ever arrive. In a lot of ways, it seemed like a fair exchange. I get to keep my sanity and enjoy the fresh air and privacy, but I can’t always go to every single show or event. So, when the email inviting me to the premiere arrived in my inbox, it took me no time to respond and ask for two tickets.
I met my friend Suzie at the airport (LAX is the exact opposite of peace and quiet, just in case anyone wondered), and we drove to Hollywood. I have to laugh, because a six-mile trip took us an hour and a half. This is why I moved the heck out of the Los Angeles and Orange County basin, and haven’t really looked back. We stayed at the Loews Hotel at Hollywood and Highland. A quiet hotel for the most part, despite its size and location. A lot of the peace and quiet comes from how it is situated within the complex, and the fact that it is difficult to get in and out without a room key.
Once we were settled and got ready for the evening, we went out in search of food. Across the street, there was a little pizza place that served by the GIGANTIC slice, so dinner was handled! By that time, it was getting close to doors opening at the theater, so we made our way over to the Dolby. This theater is conveniently located next to Hollywood and Highland, so my car was kept comfortable in the underground parking. (Thank goodness. I hate driving anywhere in Los Angeles.) Once the doors to the theater opened, we went inside on the second level. I’m not even sure we realized it was the second level until we leaned up against a half way near a staircase inside and I happened to look down to see a merch table below!
We walked down the stairs to see another Red Carpet “Kodak” moment set up for picture taking, along with a lot of other fans milling about as they waited in a very long line for the merch table. Luckily, the line moved along, our souvenir merchandise was purchased, and we went back upstairs to enter the doors to our seats.
Two things about the Dolby: 1. it is not NEARLY as big as it seems on TV. The Oscars have been held there, along with the Shrine Auditorium and Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (in my recent memory, anyway). Both the Shrine and Dorothy Chandler are places where I have performed onstage (wayyyyy back when I was 12 and still had sparkle in my eyes!), and in comparison those feel enormous. The Dolby seems smaller, although there are several levels to it. 2. The sound is AMAZING, and I am grateful the theater had such a great sound system!
The band took the stage for the Q&A, and I half expected them to play a gig. I knew they wouldn’t be, but it just felt like they should be. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a Q&A in person with them prior to that night. They all looked and sounded great, and while some of the questions and their answers felt very rehearsed and “canned” (a lot of the answers they gave to the moderator – Allison Hagendorf – came right out of the movie itself), there were still some really great moments. I especially loved with John proclaimed that one another are the band’s greatest gift. The reason this band stays together seems to be within that very statement. There is a great deal of love that flows through the four of them, and it shows.
Then, the audience was able to take a turn asking some questions. If there was ever a time when I wanted to crawl under my seat and hide, it was during this time. Rather than point out who, what, and why, risking life and limb – I’m just going to say that the band would be smart to vet the questions and people beforehand. I’ll leave it there for now.
So, what about that movie?! The sound was first rate. It was incredible to sit in that theater and hear ALL of the guitar parts. There were sounds from just about every single song that I don’t think I’d ever heard before, and not only from Dom, but from John and even Nick as well. The sound in the Dolby theater was well-worth the four hour drive from A-Town, and I hope that everyone else who goes to a theater to see it has a similar experience. Overall, the movie is very different from Live from London, Diamond in the Mind, or even Sing Blue Silver, because of the way it opens and the way the concert was edited and filmed. I’ve always enjoyed watching Diamond in the Mind with the background narration of the band talking about the songs. A Hollywood High is similar, yet different.
I wish that the audience had gotten up and danced during the movie. I sat there, tapping my foot and squirming in my chair, wishing people around me had stood up. The audience needed to be dancing, and I would imagine it was surprise even to the band, or those in the audience representing the band’s management and so forth, that we didn’t. It was bizarre to me.
There was only one song that annoyed the heck out of me, and no, it wasn’t HLTW. I’ll just say that nobody should make Dom go offstage and just sing into a microphone where no one can see him. I’ll leave it at that.
Once the movie ended, the theater cleared out quickly, and I almost felt a little bereft. That feeling kind of stuck with me throughout the weekend ahead, as I’ll mention in the coming days as I blog my way through my memory of the Halloween weekend. There are a lot of feelings and emotions I need to sort through along the way, but I will say that I have a good feeling about 2023. This band isn’t quite finished yet!