the 'james durbin concert experience'

While not necessarily "reviews", these are great reads to get a feel for the entire "concert experience" James puts on - and it's a wild ride! So grab a cuppa and get comfortable - in chronological order:

  • Catalyst Club, Santa Cruz, CA - Jan 9, 2015 & Canyon Club, Agoura Hills, CA - Jan 11, 2015 - Nancy Revelle

Friday 1/9/15

I set out early Friday morning for Santa Cruz.  I have this thing about being early everywhere I go.  The drive up seemed to take forever, instead of the usual three or so hours.  I even had time to check out an antique shop before checking into the hotel and relaxing a little while.  Mary and Marissa were running late, as was LeeLee and Vickie had another hour to drive as well, and since I hadn’t had lunch, I was starving!  I checked at the hotel desk and they said the Santa Cruz Diner was a short walk down the road, so off I went for some comfort food.  A luscious steak sandwich and onion rings later, I walked, significantly more slowly, back to the hotel to wait on the rest of the girls.  

Vickie arrived next, with Mary and Marissa not far behind.  We exchanged hugs and gifts and donned our rocker-chick concert outfits.  LeeLee was still driving. :(  Soon it was time to head out to the venue, not being sure at this point exactly when the Meet & Greet would start; James had tweeted 7 pm but an email from the ticketing agency said 6 pm - and we weren’t taking any chances!  We were lucky enough to find a place to park downtown (there were a TON of people out that night!) and were first in line at the Catalyst by 5:30.  The venue dude said the M&G would probably happen about 6:30 or so.  Mary set out for some munchies (they hadn’t eaten supper!) while we held down the fort in line.  It wasn’t long until that familiar wail teased our ears and quickened our pulses - Sound Check!  Boy, was it ever awesome to hear!  We caught snippets of some really impressive shredding on guitar and knew right then James had made a great choice of musicians to surround himself with.  Next to arrive was Jana Giacomi who was loaded down with some killer photo gear.  Jana had taken the photo we used for the posters and came bearing gifts!  A tee shirt with the poster printed on it!! It was too cool!!  We got reacquainted and became more and more anxious for things to get started.

It didn’t take too long though, and those of us there for the Meet & Greet were allowed into the Atrium to wait for James.  We were getting periodic updates from LeeLee who was now trying to find a place to park.   We hung out and talked.  And waited and waited some more!  LeeLee made it just in the nick of time as finally James came in, guitar in hand, asking how we all are - he was very upbeat and excited for the show, you could tell.  He played several songs for us, talked and asked for requests.  I asked about the song he’d done on a StageIt a while back called “We Would Have Loved You Anyway” and he remembered the first verse on the spot and sang that for us, haunting and powerful.  Then he said he had a new song that he didn’t think was quite ready for performance, and wanted to know what we thought of it.  He started playing what we would come to know as “In The Shadows” which we promptly and completely fell in love with.  “What do you think, should I finish it?” he asked.  “YESSSSSSSS!!!!!” was the unanimous and enthusiastic reply!  He sang favorites and covers and we sang along joyfully.  It was soooooo good to hear him in person again!  James was born for the stage!

He signed some autographs and accepted many gifts (it was a few days after his birthday) which he didn’t have time to open right then as time was getting short for the start of the opening act.  A group picture was taken but it apparently didn’t turn out good - Jana has what I think is the best version of that shot, thankfully she took some as well.  And then we went in for the show!

The opening band was interesting but every song sounded exactly like the one before it.  We got bored quickly.  Lots of familiar faces joined us at stage-front as we waited for our star to hit the stage.  And finally, AT LAST, the room went dark and fog covered the stage.  Eric James Peterson owned the stage as he stood at his drum kit bathed in red lights, arms open wide for the screaming fans.  The new band broke into “Lost Boys” and out came James in all his rockin’ glory, slaying the hard-driving new track.  This is a great, manic-paced song but I couldn’t get any of the lyrics other than the echoed “Lost Boys” of the chorus.  Then straight into Outcast and the crowd was jumping along with the beat.  

The entire set was full of energy and let me tell you, the musicianship on that stage was incredible!  Eric James Peterson is so entertaining, creative and so full of personality that you might overlook the fact that he’s an absolute DEMON on drums.  Dj Patton on bass gave the band a very firm and confident foundation.   Robert Tovar, Jr. on lead guitar has this fan so blown away that I’ve forgotten the name of the diva who early-on filled that position.  Robert’s musicality and technical wizardry combine beautifully to support and enhance James’ vocals - in my opinion they are excellent together.  I hope this is the beginning of a long and lucrative association!

But it all went by too fast!  Soon we were screaming at an empty stage for more!  James didn’t disappoint, coming back out with a heartfelt and emotional “Santa Cruz” to an adoring crowd.  That’s one of my favorite songs ever. 

We wandered about aimlessly after the show, finding no merch to throw money at. :(  Eventually the venue dudes ushered us out onto the street and closed up shop.

We then discovered we were hungry, many of our group had not eaten for hours.  It was late, so back to the Santa Cruz Diner we went for breakfast in the early morning hours.  We met up with Phyllis Khatri there who joined our merry party and relived the show over pancakes and bacon.  Eventually we made it back to the hotel, exhausted. 

As is now a formal Durb-Tradition, Vickie and I had a late breakfast at Gilda’s on the wharf before parting ways with Mary, Marissa and LeeLee.  Then we began our mini-caravan (just Vickie and I) on the long trek down to LA.  It was a long drive indeed, a little under 350 miles of straight, mind-numbing I-5.  But we got there eventually and after a yummy pot pie and some hard cider, I fell into an exhausted sleep.  

Sunday 1/11/15

The next morning and afternoon were spent shopping before heading out to Agoura Hills and the Canyon Club.  We arrived in plenty of time to take some selfies outside the lovely venue.  We could see that the tables were set up differently than they were when we’d selected our tickets but I wasn’t quite ready for the excitement-bomb when they seated us inches from center stage!  This calls for a margarita!! We got drinks and chose our dinner entrees.  

Then a young lady came up to us and said we looked familiar - that she recognized me in particular!  It was Mary Ellen Teacher from Facebook who we hooked up in the groups and performed what is the “quickest friend-accept” in Facebook history (not yet authenticated)!   We had a great laugh at how big AND small the Durbin-Community is when you can recognize online folks IRL at shows!

Another couple (Jennifer and Mike) were seated with us at our table who were really nice.  Jennifer had seen James back on the Idol tour but not since.  Mike was humoring her by taking her to this show, but ended up enjoying it completely himself.  The setlists were taped down in front of each mic position and I mentioned that maybe tonight would finally be my night to get one of them.  Mike promptly sought out one of the guys setting up the stage (who turned out to be Heidi’s cousin Ronnie from back east!) and arranged for one to be saved for me!  

As we ate dinner and enjoyed the conversation, I caught sight of Robert and Dj walking across the venue at the back of the room.  I thought to wave as they went backstage again, but instead of heading on by, they came straight over to us and introduced themselves!  We had a great chat - such nice guys!!  

The opening band was Desert Dragons and they were really, really good!  The lead singer could wail, and we found out later that he was sick and nursing his throat - but you sure couldn’t tell!  The lead guitarist was incredible, the band was tight and the songs were great!  We thoroughly enjoyed their set and come to find out, the lead singer was Mary Ellen Teacher’s prior roommate!  What a small world!  

At last James’ set begun and throughout the entire show I could have reached out and touched him without having to move an inch!  It was completely surreal!  And because I DID indeed snag a setlist, I can tell you exactly what was played and when!  The opener was again “Lost Boys,” directly into “Outcast.”  There wasn’t a huge crowd, but we made extra noise to compensate!  Then a rocked-out version of “In the Name of Love” that was really great!  Then a cover of “NightTrain” and back to Durbin with “All I Want.”  Then a long introduction and immortalization of the “Skank Pool” with “Get Over Yourself.” “Love In Ruins” and “Right Behind You” were followed by another new song that I also love, “Riot On Sunset” that James wrote back in his Hollywood Scars days.  Then they let loose the Krakken with Eric’s drum solo, into a magical guitar solo by Robert Tovar and back to the stage James came with an epic ad lib vocal intro to “Higher Than Heaven” like we’d never heard before!  They kept up the pace with a cover of “Heavy Metal” to close the show.  Well, we were having none of that!!  Still making a lot of noise, we cheered James back onto the stage where he strapped on an electric guitar, toned it down and serenaded us all with a most beautiful “In The Shadows” that so desperately needs to be recorded and released!  Then the real “end” came though with the poignant “Crawling Home”, and we were left with heads spinning and hearts pounding.  

Mike grabbed up the setlist for me before I knew what was happening!  At last!  I stood there by the stage, dazed, when I realized that Eric was walking toward me with drumsticks in hand!!  I shook his hand and thanked him excitedly.  We talked and laughed and said our goodbyes to Mike and Jennifer and grabbed a CD from Desert Dragons when we spotted a tall, familiar figure over by the stage entrance!  We gathered around James and Robert, who discovered that I made a lot of the jewelry being worn that evening (lol) and asked if I could make a necklace to match a studded skull ring he had.  Everyone really loved my necklace made of James’ holo guitar pick though, it was a real hit.  We talked with “Cousin Ronnie” and two ladies who were there with he and another gentleman.  James was talking to a guy with a tee shirt on that had a bear on a tricycle on it and James turned to me and said, “don’t you have my bear and tricycle artwork?”  Yes!!  I couldn’t believe he remembered that!  How cool is this guy?!  We took pictures and James and Robert signed my setlist and we finally let them go as we shut down yet another venue.  :)

Many more wonderful Durbin Memories made!!

  • Catalyst Club, Santa Cruz, CA - Feb 15, 2014 - Nancy Revelle

The Catalyst Atrium - James Durbin - February 15, 2014

Friday, Feb 14th.

I left work at 11 am, filled my car with gas, got it washed and made it to the airport (less than a mile from my office) with 5 minutes to spare. Sherry Severino’s plane was on time, and much hugging ensued. :) We were both hungry, so we hit one of my favorite spots, the much-tweeted-and-Facebook-posted Old San Luis BBQ downtown. We devoured our chicken sandwiches in the gorgeous sunshine and hit the road.

Vickie Banks, Sheri Kowalski and Chris Soest, driving up from southern California together, had planned on meeting us in SLO and driving up in a mini-caravan, but they’d gotten a late start and were a good hour and then some behind us. So Sherry and I headed on up north 101 towards Santa Cruz.

Traffic wasn’t too bad, and we made really good time <cough cough>. Before we knew it we had crossed into Santa Cruz county! When we saw the first familiar signs we got giggly and excited! Rio Del Mar (“every fourth of July”). Aptos. Seacliff. Capitola. SANTA CRUZ!!!! Time to ask Siri, who would be a constant source of amusement this weekend, how to get to the hotel. Navigating Santa Cruz’ maze of one-way streets is not for the faint of heart!

We found our way eventually and checked in. We were even able to arrange for our group to have three adjacent rooms. We relaxed for a little bit and before we knew it, it was 4:30 and time to head to Hula’s where those of us arriving Friday had reservations. We drove over, parked, and found Hula’s really crowded. Okay, it was Valentine’s Day. They wouldn’t seat us until our whole party was there, either. So far, it was just Sherry and I - next on the radar with an ETA of about 10 minutes were Mary and Marissa Erickson and LeAnn Resh. Vickie, Sheri and Chris were about a half hour out still. Mary’s van arrived and Leelee was able to get us seated (cuz we wanted our Scorpion Bowls!!) while we waited for the rest of the DurbSistas to get there.

We ordered two Scorpion Bowls to share and got silly really quick. Marissa even tried some! The pictures are pretty hilarious! Vickie, Sheri and Chris arrived and we all had a great meal. We finished up just before our allotted time was over, and decided to walk off some of the alcohol. Marissa led the way up and down Pacific Ave searching out the advertising posters that Jon Rawls had posted for our campaign to make sure Santa Cruz knew that James was coming home - none of that mess where nobody knew he was playing like the previous Catalyst show last March! If I told that whole story of how I “found” Jon and all the cool coincidences though, you’d never hear about this concert! So I’ll stick to the topic. :)

We found poster after poster in shop windows, the kiosk, Zoccoli’s Deli, everywhere! We were so excited! We stopped by the venue and found posters, and also talked to the guys working the club about needing a reserved area for Larry Rachleff to film the show. I had bought him a ticket and offered to pay him too, to do a full-show video but he said no, just a ticket! The Catalyst dudes told us no problem, just mention it to the guys tomorrow night when we come for the show. Yay!

As many posters as we had found, Marissa wasn’t done - she wanted to find more. We continued our search and we all went into Streetlight Records but when we went to leave, Marissa wasn’t there. We combed every inch of the record store and went up and down Pacific a few blocks but we still didn’t find her. We’re all beginning to worry at this point. Her cell phone was in Mary’s purse, so that didn’t help. We split up and went in different directions, showed passersby on the sidewalk her picture on phones, asked a very lazy security guard which turned out to be a waste of time, but still no Marissa. We tried to figure out where she might have gone but nothing made sense. She just wouldn’t have gone far, and none of us could think where to look next. FINALLY after what seemed like forever but was actually more like 45 minutes or so, she appeared again coming up the street. Come to find out she had gone off to Dale Ockerman’s old music studio to see if there was a poster there. She felt awful having worried us. Many, many hugs were shared and we wandered back to the parking lot and our cars. Back at the hotel, it wasn’t too long before we all needed some sleep so at around 10:30 or 11 pm, we said goodnights.

Saturday, Feb 15th.

The next morning we gathered at Gilda’s on the wharf for breakfast. This is now a Durbinator tradition. Their food is awesome. Most of us wanted to go back to Pacific Ave to check out the shops we’d seen last night. Mary and Marissa hit the Boardwalk, where she won more than 1000 tickets (all of which she gives to Hunter). We went SHOPPING!

I bought two cool thumb rings at a really nice silver shop. Boy I could have spent a lot of money in there! We hit the sock store and an art/office supply store and eventually realized we needed to go get ready for dinner at El Palomar and the show. Sherry and I had gotten into the car and weren’t sure we could get back to the hotel without help, so I pulled out my phone and asked Siri how to get to the Ramada in Santa Cruz. She gave us a choice of about 20 hotels, none of which was ours. After asking twice and getting nowhere, I made a rather colorful comment referencing a not-too-intelligent female dog - to which Siri responded “there’s no need for profanity.” We laughed for 10 minutes before we could start driving. Eventually, back to the hotel we went and everyone got dressed. I decided my plain DurbinRock white star tee shirt needed to be Zentangled, so I hit Vickie up for a ruler, she carries everything ELSE in her van, but no ruler. We did fashion a straight edge that worked though, and I drew the Auraknot pattern to fill the star. It came out pretty good!

At 4:30-ish, Mary chauffeured those of us who were ready down to the restaurant on Pacific Ave. She dropped Sheri, Marissa and I off and went back for another load of Durbs! We oogled the beautiful El Palomar hotel and restaurant, then headed back to the bar where there were already several Durbinators waiting. We met Julie Anti AT LAST and her beautiful James doll that was out of this world amazing! I was also really excited to finally meet Wendy Liu and her mom. Gayle and Jerry were there with many others and we socialized until enough people had arrived for us to be seated. We had a gorgeous separated corner of the main dining room with a long table for more than 20 people. We got seated, ordered drinks, talked some more and waited while more Durbs arrived in bunches to fill our table with bodies and chatter. The margaritas were magnificent! (I only had one!) The food was really excellent and it was a great meal with great friends.

LeeLee had matted and framed a print of the Celebrate album cover which was drop-dead gorgeous. We all signed the back with best wishes and messages for James for it to be presented to him at the SoundCheck Party a little later. Julie had her doll to present to him as well - James was in for a Christmas in February! :)

We made our way the few blocks to the Catalyst at about 7 pm. I talked to the guys working the door at the venue but kept getting put off, talk to this guy, no talk to the other one… hmmm. I got a message from Jon Rawls that he and Jules were upstairs and had posters for us, so I ran upstairs through the pool room and bar and met them for the first time. They were the nicest folks! (like that was a surprise…) Jon had beautifully printed posters for all the donors to our “Santa Cruz Advertising Campaign” and a few extra to boot. I met Chris Maddox and thanked her for helping distribute and put up posters throughout Santa Cruz.

We were let into the Atrium for the Soundcheck Party at 7:30pm. Up to the stagefront we all went and very shortly James came out with guitar in hand to sing four songs for us, which included Issues, which makes me cry, Right Behind You, Celebrate & Parachute. You almost couldn’t hear James’ voice during RBY and Parachute, we were singing so loud! :)

After he was all warmed up, it was time for autographs and pictures. James sat behind a table to the side and Noah, the tour manager, said we needed to get in line and could have ONE thing signed, then get back in line and take ONE picture. So I wasn’t going to be able to get all the posters signed… I gave them out to the donors who were there as quickly as I could. Julie presented his doll first, and he was blown away! One by one we each had our items signed. James signed my advertising poster and despite all my preparation, I could think of nothing to say. I ended up with a heart-felt, "You have given me so much, I could never express...," and before I could burst into tears, he stood up and gave me a hug! #Priceless.

Then we all got back in line for a photo. James LOVED his framed pic of the Celebrate cover that Leelee framed and we had all signed. He said “I feel like I’ve won the lottery!” LeeLee said, “No James, WE won!” When it was my turn for a picture, I had my goofy mustache stuck on my finger and told James I wanted a ‘stache photo. He did his awesome one eyebrow finger mustache pose, and I made one with my silly furry one. It was fun. :) I ran into Larry Rachleff who was to be filming the show, and he said he had found a place to set up, and not to worry about that, so I checked one more thing off the to-do list!

Afterward I went over to the merch table and bought buttons, but all the XL shirts were gone. <POUT> BUT - there were a lot of James’ original artwork pieces available for sale, and a cute as hell Bear on a tricycle caught my eye and asked to come home with me - which he did! So psyched to own one of James’ drawings! Jordan was nice enough to keep my stash at the merch table for the concert so I didn’t have to worry about protecting my Bear.

Sherry called out to me then, and said we needed spots at the stage because there were already people up there. So I hurried over and staked my claim, right beneath James’ mic stand. Having seen them in Solana Beach, I knew it was most likely that James would be on the left hand part of the stage. Soon Marissa, Julie, Sherry, Leelee, Chris, Wendy and all my Durbsistas gathered at the stage.

There were three opening acts. The first was a young man named Oliver Mueller-Tuescher, a 16 year old local Santa Cruz folk singer with a velvety voice. He played alone on stage with an acoustic guitar and sang beautifully. Sam Johnson from the Bay area was next, wielding a gorgeous Martin acoustic guitar and delivering his alt-pop-rock covers and original songs with style. Then Kelley James was up with his most excellent bassist, Will Gaines. Before the show, Holly had dared her Durbsistas to suggest “fart” as one of the words Kelley would use to create an on-the-spot rap. Unfortunately, he heard us. lol I was apparently too close to the stage as well, and he attached the suggestion to my embarassed face in the front row. After declaring “my” suggestion “mature” <cough> he asked my name. I shook my head. He said “come on now, if you’re brave enough to yell “fart” you can give up your name!” So I did. I told him I was “Holly.” ;-) He rapped on about this and that and then settled on his “fart” topic. He even went for my phone (I was videoing his performance) but I backed away in time and he grabbed Sherry’s instead, saying “this better not end up on Youtube!” We all laughed until we cried.

Then Kelley finished, and we knew it would soon be time for James to take the stage. I looked around many times to try and gauge the size of the crowd and it looked like people were pouring in. I was optimistic but afraid to celebrate too soon. James was ushered into the small room off stage-right where the performers could sit and rest, and the crowd screamed! Then, from behind me, I heard, “JAMES JUST TWEETED!!!! ‘SOLD OUT, SANTA CRUZ!! HERE WE GO!!’” No sweeter words could have been uttered that entire night - for all our hard work on the advertising campaign had paid off, big time! We not only had a good crowd for James’ last show, we PACKED the house! I was on cloud nine and the happiest of happy tears were flowing!!

James, Jeremy and Justin took the stage and began the show with the now familiar “This is a true story,” and the haunting, soaring vocals of Children Under The Sun. Justin’s spot-on harmonies took the beautiful melody to new heights. We were able to confirm that one of the lines we weren’t sure of is indeed “lifting the veil above my eyes” (it’s amazing what standing a foot from James’ mic does for word comprehension!). Shot at the Night (The Killers’ cover) sounds like it was written for or by James and is so perfect for his voice - the emotion is tangible in James’ delivery of the lyrics.

Track Listing:

Children Under The Sun
My Only Regret
All I Want
Shot at the Night
Louder Than a Loaded Gun
(solos) Higher Than Heaven, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, Celebrate, & Love Me Bad
You’re Not Alone
Fool 4 U
Santa Cruz
Love In Ruins

When Ty Molinaro worked his way up to the stagefront during “All I Want” the Durbs around him went nuts with hugs and pictures. But the very best moment was when James saw Ty - James said “what’s up Ty!!” between lines of the song but his entire face lit up and his smile was as bright as the sun. We thanked Ty for coming (Mona was in the back, she later said she wasn’t as good at pushing through a crowd as Ty is) and he said “I wouldn’t have missed it for anything!” That was really special to see him there, being a TRUE friend. Higher Than Heaven was the sultry, bluesy version James has adopted but he did mention that Rolling Stone had recently named it as one of their “15 Idol Alum tracks that don’t suck” (lol).

James’ vocals were top-notch all evening. He incorporated a lot of slides (a la the beginning of Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow) and his song delivery was passionate and creative. When he did “Santa Cruz” the hometown crowd responded and you could hear the truth and emotion in James’ voice. This remains one of my all-time favorite songs, and I really hope it will be released one day. Fool 4 U was a fun mix incorporating Cee Lo Green’s ahem “Forget You” that had the crowd singing along. We were clapping and “jumping” to Parachute and in his go-to show closer of “Love In Ruins” he left it all out on the stage - just like he always does. Kudos to Justin Kastner on bass (who really fits James’ style to a tee) and Jeremy Cross on percussion, James’ long-time friend from earlier bands. Both Justin and Jeremy are as sweet as they can be to the fans and are incredibly talented young men.

The show ended, and James had said earlier that he didn’t know if he’d be hanging out afterwards - and with family there we did not expect him. It has been a long seven weeks away from Heidi and Hunter! We milled around, talking and meeting new Durbinators, and skarfed up merch left and right. I snagged one of James’ original drawings (titled “Bear”) which I fell in love with. There were no more XL tee shirts left though. I’m sure there will be more for the post-album-drop shows. We talked and talked with performers and fans alike until the Catalyst staff herded us into ever-smaller areas and eventually shooed us out the door.

I always say how wonderful an evening every James Durbin performance is, and it seems like the latest one is always my new favorite. This one is no exception. James was comfortable, energetic, talkative (we love to hear his stories!) and absolutely inspired on stage. To sell out his last show of the tour at home wasn’t even icing, it was like gold leaf on top of the cake! To know that our donations and efforts at making sure Santa Cruz knew James was performing had helped sell out the venue, was over-the-top-awesome!! Best. Feeling. Ever.

So welcome home, James, Justin and Jeremy! Welcome home to California and no-more-snow, no more need for long underwear, no more bus-sleeps, and to your family, friends and fans who love you from the bottom of our hearts. <3

The End.

  • Another Hole in the Wall, Steiger, IL - Feb 8, 2014 - Cheryl Armstrong

Saturday, February 8th we went to the Steger show at Another Hole in the Wall. We arrived about 5:30 and knew we were in the right spot when we spotted the bus! Standing in line waiting were Janie Hubert and her 2 daughters. We'd never met, but we knew who each other were right away. We all froze together in 15 degree weather with snow falling steadily on us. We were able to see and hear James during his sound check through a crack in the front doors. The doors were suppose to open by 6pm. When they didn't open on time my husband took my freezing girls back to the car to warm up. We could not feel our toes! Janie and her daughters were kind enough to invited me to stand in their huddle to try and get warm.

Finally, the doors opened around 6:15. I went straight to the stage to claim my spot under James' mike stand. I also met Jen Savage when I got inside. We waited awhile and finally a band of teenage boys came on. We also had met a nice woman outside near the bus who told us her 15 y.o. son's band was opening for James. So we expected this band, then Kelly James, then James Durbin. Nope! There were 3 bands that played before Kelly James even came on. Each band had amps a little bigger then the last. Kelly James was entertaining with his quick wit and his bassist was awesome! Somewhere in between the opening acts I spotted Keith Roberts and introduced myself. Keith brought me to Kathy Smith and Kim Scherff. This was my first time meeting other Durbinators! My girls had a lot of fun during the opening bands, but they were starting to get tired. My 12 y.o. complained her neck hurt from looking up so much! Lol

Finally, around 10pm, my girls spotted James coming in a back door and we all got excited! The lights dimmed and they opened with "Children Under the Sun," my new favorite! The whole show was amazing with James putting his heart and soul into every song! That man can sing! I had a ton of fun just singing along and James even looked at us a few times while singing! Sigghhhhhhh! When the show ended James came straight to my 12 y.o and handed her his pick. He made her day!

We waited around afterwards and James came to the merchandise table. My 12 y.o. had drawn James a picture of SpongeBob with a parachute on and Sandy, Patrick, and Squidward were all yelling "Jump!" He asked her age and told her how goo the picture was, also showing it to Justin. She and James have some things in common so I told him. She also gave him a rainbow loom bracelet for Hunter. My 10 y.o. gave him a picture she drew of him and also a rainbow loom band that she made trying to match the colors of his new album. He thanked her and put it on right away. He also signed shirts for them. One he had signed previously in Chicago Ridge (2012) and he said he remembered signing that shirt! I just loved how sweet he was with them! The funny part is when we met him I became so nervous! I have no idea why! Last time I met him I was so calm so why was I nervous this time? I forgot almost everything I wanted to say to him! Then we took pictures with him, then Justin, and Jeremy. All the guys, down to the guy we bought the tshirts from were so friendly. James seemed very happy and relaxed the whole show and after. I keep using the word amazing to describe the night because it is the only word that sums it up!

  • Belly Up Tavern, Solana Beach, CA - Jan 7, 2014 - Nancy Revelle

James Durbin with Kelley James - BellyUp Tavern, Solana Beach, CA   January 7, 2014

So I thought I'd start telling my story here.  I'm on my way home from Solana Beach on the train.  It's late afternoon and with the multiple stops along the route, the train whistle blows frequently.  It's becoming a part of this experience that I'll never forget.

It's hard to believe it all started only yesterday.  In a mere 36 hours so much has happened!  I boarded my southbound train on Tuesday morning before dawn in a cold and dark Grover Beach station.   As the sun rose, beautiful scenes whisked by on my right - soft ocean swells, eucalyptus trees and sand dunes.  I was too excited to nap, so I busied myself taking pictures for Instagram and chatting on social media.  It was my first train trip in 15 years and my first time so far south on the California coast.  It was a great experience!

About 2:30, right on schedule, I arrived in Solana Beach where Vickie and Chris were waiting for me.  Reuniting hugs all around!  We piled into Vickie's designated DurbMobile van and set off to find Fidel's Mexican restaurant which had been highly recommended; I was starving!  We found the adorable cafe and settled in with what had to be the strongest Margarita I'd ever had. I couldn't drink more than a few sips... so sad to waste it!  The chimichanga was awesome though and we talked and talked, catching up since we'd last seen each other in March's Santa Cruz Catalyst show. 

We checked into our hotel, got rooms next to each other, and went to meet Leelee's train, due in at 5 pm.  While we waited at the train station, Vickie pulled out bottles of liquid chalk and we went to town decorating the DurbMobile with lots of Jumps and Parachutes and Celebrates!  And we did a damn good job of it too!!

We "collected" Leelee and the hugging began again. All piling back into the now heavily decorated and copiously photographed DurbMobile, we headed for the hotel one last time to let Leelee freshen up, then it was BellyUp time!

We snagged a prime parking spot and being the first ones there, went to make a line at the door to the tavern.  We took photos of James' name in lights and a kind passerby took pics of us beneath the sign.  Finding the front door unlocked, we snuck it open a little when a very familiar voice singing an unfamiliar song teased our ears.  What was it? It was amazingly dreamy and beautiful! Then a line sounded familiar from the revealed track list - yes!  It was Children Under the Sun!! And OMG was it wonderful!  I cannot wait to hear the studio version of this, but truthfully all it needs is James and a guitar, it's just that great!  We were caught in the act, though, when one of the staff came out and smiling, told us we'd hear him soon enough, and shut the door. 

A sweet lady behind us struck up a conversation, asking how long we'd followed James, about the Facebook groups, etc.  We welcomed her to the Durbinators immediately, and in fact it was her husband who later discovered that the BellyUp posted its live performances online!  (Keep checking their web site!)

Finally, 7 pm rolled around and we were permitted into the venue.  It was really nicely laid out, lots of space, ample seats and a low, accessible stage.  We milled about, found some seats (for the opening act; nobody sits at a Durbin concert!) and rehydrated.  Kelley James began his set with just he and his extremely talented bassist, a tall, dreadlocked Will Gaines.  This guy has serious skills and musicality. His harmonies were exceptionally nice.  The newly-married Kelley showed off both his guitar and spontaneous freestyle rapping techniques, and has a nice voice.  But we were here for the headlining Mr. Durbin!

As the intermission break wound down, we took our places standing at the front of the stage where all good Durbinators belong.  The crowd had filled in some, from sparse earlier to about 100 people or so.  Not what James deserves, but not too awful either. 

The opening song was the hauntingly beautiful Children Under the Sun.  Leelee managed to get the majority videoed, thankfully!  I seriously love this track, which is all about growing up in Santa Cruz. 

My main camera did not behave so pics were sparse and limited to my iPhone's camera.  The other songs played, not in order and quite possibly missing one, were: Love In Ruins, All I Want, Right Behind You, Fool For You (with a mix-in of CeeLo's F*ck You), Louder Than a Loaded Gun, Stand Up, Parachute, a spell-binding Higher Than Heaven, May, Crawling Home, and ending with You're Not Alone. 

The four of us were photographed by folks behind us, arm in arm, swaying and singing along to Crawling Home.  Funnily enough, a BellyUp staff named Manny stopped to tell us that it was James' birthday (well, the day before) to which Leelee replied "we know!! And we have gifts!!"  Manny then told her to "find him after the show and he'd take us back there".  I think you could say we "squeeeeeed!" lol

Substantial impressions are that James continues to improve his guitar technique considerably, Justin Kastner delivers not only a perfectly balanced and musical bass line with a lot of creativity and style, but pitch-perfect harmonies that blend with James' voice in timbre and balance, and border on absolute perfection. I predict that after only a little more time together, it's going to truly be a match made in heaven. Justin is a real keeper!  New addition Jeremy Cross, friend of James from way back and drummer with him in the Hollywood Scars days, laid down a seamless and strong percussion and really gels with James and Justin.  Even early on in their time together, and in this scaled-back configuration, it works beautifully.  I'm really looking forward to seeing how James fills out his full band roster in the coming months. 

After the last song, we banged on the stage, cheered and screamed for an encore, but it was not to be so we were grateful for the dozen songs we had been gifted.  And so holding Manny to his promise, we gathered up our gifts and "found him".  He disappeared backstage for a few minutes and then reappeared saying James needed a few minutes to rest, but to hang tight.  To say we waited with bated breath might be a slight understatement lol.  Good to his word, James appeared shortly after and said, "let's go to the merch counter," so following him like a line of ducklings behind their mother, we scurried over to the tiny merch counter, all smiles. 

Quite a few people had hung around, but the crowd parted like the Red Sea as James, followed by us, his entourage, filed through.  It was surreal.   One by one, we all presented our gifts, and he so graciously loved every little thing (my guitar strings were a hit, he needed the new winding tool and said the Spider-Man lego keychain was going on his backpack immediately - I just glowed with happiness lol); he smiled and chatted and was so relaxed.  He even initiated hugs several times; that was so amazing in itself, but we were all so mellow and chill, it was just as if we were talking with an old friend we hadn't seen recently.  I actually remembered to ask about the change in lyrics in "You're Not Alone" and it was as we had suspected, not wanting the "take your black and paint it white" to appear racially insensitive.  But James said he sometimes forgets and sings the original line, (and might forget in Santa Cruz lol) and indicated that it would live forever because so many were touched by it.  Pictures were taken, funny faces were made, much laughter was shared and great memories were created.  It was sheer bliss. 

We relinquished James to the other waiting fans and went in search of Justin and Jeremy.  Before finding them, we got to talk with Kelley and Will and take pics - great guys.   We eventually located Justin and Jeremy and got to talk with them both a while; they were so sweet and thanked us over and over for our support.  More photos!  At last the bar wanted to close (imagine that!) so it was time to leave.  But a most amazing and wonderful night was definitely had by all.  We returned to the hotel on a Durbin high, and step by step, relived and recounted the evening until we began to crash in the wee hours of the morning. 

The next morning we checked out of the hotel and went down to the Beach Grass Cafe for an AMAZING breakfast and more shared stories and love for James.  We had a little extra time so we took a beautiful walk on the beach, collecting a few special shells to remember this lovely time by.  Then it was time to catch our train back north, sadly leaving friends and the sunny San Diego area behind.  Leelee and I shared a train as far as Los Angeles when she had to switch, and I continued on northward. 

So now, four hours later, I'm almost home.  And no, I haven't come down yet. 😊

The End.

  • Wills Pub, Orlando FL - Jan 15, 2014 and
  • Brewster’s Roc Bar, Jacksonville, FL - Jan 17, 2014 - Abby York

Two of the ParachuteAcousticTour shows in Florida

Wow I’m beyond amazed and speechless, a memory I will never forget! James Durbin is awesomely just a cool guy. Funny witty and vocally amazing! He really does get better and better each show I go to!

We were waiting forever for him to come on at 10:30, they had found a bar with sushi, beer and arcade games just goofing off while we were freezing and bored lol. Then finally it’s time! So I run over and get my spot right up front just like I told him I would and he favorited that tweet too! So I had to keep my word just like he does. So they come in and I actually for the first time picked the right side! Right in front of James! Awesome spot! They played outstanding and I took lots of close pics and recorded one video, my song of course, You’re Not Alone, and as I’m pushing stop I see his face get real close in my screen just as I pushed it so I look up and he’s handing me his guitar pick! He didn’t toss it in the crowd like they all usually do, he hand-chose me of all those wonderful fans! So I took it smiling and he smiled back and then said to the crowd meet you at the merch table! So we all went to the pool room waiting then he comes strolling in 5 mins later, takes care of his fans and I’m just waiting around so I don’t feel pressured by the crowds. And a lady mentioned that was really special how he handed you his guitar pick. He kept saying he should sign my blue sweater for TS, but I didn’t. Instead when I was up he immediately walked over saying hey Abby and hugs me so we hug and chat a little. “Did you enjoy the show?” And I shake my head yes and smile big; my mom says yes you guys were awesome! And he says “thank you and thank you again for commenting on my rad Michael shirt.” I couldn’t buy anything so he said “here you want more” and gave me 2 more picks (!), and said “anything else? You sure?” Yes that’s all but we can take a pic? “Sure!” Then we tell him were going to Jacksonville too and he said “Oh cool! Thank you! See you guys later, bye.”

And of course when we got home 3 am I was up all night but finally crashed and the next night I watched his idol twitter party saying stuff here ‘n there and before I finally crashed I tweeted I’m so excited I can’t sleep! Don’t stop the twittertainment, and when I woke up at 5am I saw him fav it and tweet me something right before he crashed out:

“James Durbin @DurbinRock Jan 17 @ninjaoutcast I know you saw Orlando. But tonight in Jacksonville is gonna be awesome. Feelin better & gonna be a great show 4 fans”

Oh and he also told their story on how their bus kept breaking down in Florida it was hell! But we got here and I’m here that’s all that matters right I made it and I’m here tonight. And someone says can I buy you a beer and he says I had one! but thanks! And as you know already his quirky joke of don’t be a dick tip your bartender! lol

So on to January 17 2014 at the Megaplex Brewster’s Roc Bar in Jacksonville...

It was a long day but we finally left on our way which was a long 3 hour trip. We finally got there after GPS hell getting us lost!... I see their tour bus and snapped a shot then we went to get gas and we were hungry but it was Friday! So oh well we starved for James and went back but GPS got us lost again! I was having a fucking heart attack! Sweating to death because I see someone tweet “@durbinrock just played outcast 3 feet in front of me I’m in heaven!” And I’m all, what?! Noooo James nooooo you weren’t supposed to be first noooo this isn’t happening!!!! Please god just get us there please! I can’t miss him, so as we get there I see him tweeting! Instant relief OMG thank you!!! We got in and it said he was on at 10 – whew!!! It was just him exercising his vocals outside! So we sit down and wait and then we saw Justin walk back and forth sitting here n there, but he wasn’t paying attention. lol Then James walked past and looked over smiling and waved!!!

Then finally we went over to get our front row spots watched Kelley James he was awesome writing songs with the crowd at the end, then James was up! (Durbin lol). So he was getting the crowd to cheer loud and said get in! So he performs awesome as ever but the sound was awful, booms and screetches - my mom was worried it would blow my ears but I was so focused deep into his songs and vibe I wasn’t really conscious of anyone else. Then this music was blaring rudely next door so he says “well that’s annoying we need sound proof walls in here,” being funny and witty as he loves to be with his fans.

And the crowd was awfully small for a huge place with a huge star! Whatever. So my mom and sister noticed that he was looking down at me a lot watching me and singing while I’m just smiling and staring at him. And I have to say the energy connection was so strong because I didn’t eat or drink anything all day! I’d only had a little bite at home. So I was pretty wobbly and weak and kept feeling the fainting spell coming but I never did! And it was super loud and I was super close my sweater was jumping up and down lol and it was vibrating through my body! And usually that will knock me on my feet but I swear I didn’t his vibe was amazing! When he was done saluted and left with his stuff to the bus so we’re waiting and some are too but most left. They don’t know he comes back to meet his fans like we do. So he snapped shots and signed and I was watching him and noticed he was twitching and I never seen him do that in so long, so I was browsing then hear him go “wassup!” So I turn around and go all shy, and he says “ohh come on don’t be shy, come on,” so I laugh and smile, “come on don’t be shy. Did you enjoy the show?” And I go to shake my head then say “yes” and smiled big and he says “there it is see! You talked to me at Smithfield NC!” which blew my mom away that he remembered that, then I remembered instantly I did, when they left I came back and said “thank you the show rocked” and he said “thank you” lol and I thought he was so busy with the kids there (NC) he wasn’t paying much attention but well, he was! So he chatted and hung with us quite a bit, got me to talk at least a little bit (hey it’s a step and he broke me so kudos to him!) He’s my hero. Then another thing he says in his funny witty way not mad or serious at all “you blow up twitter and Instagram!” (haha well at least he laughed so he’s ok with it and understanding lol) “so you can talk there!” And more laughs, then as we all get ready to leave he says “see ya on twitter” lol and hands me his parachute buttons from the table! So I said “thank you” and yes I spoke it! Because he’s an awesome inspiration and motivator! And funny as hell! And he shakes my mom’s and sister’s hands and high 5's me (almost chickened out but I did it!)! So he says “thank you guys for coming out here! I really appreciate it” and we say no problem you guys were amazing! I’m so sorry about all that mess, and he says oh no it’s ok. So we thank each other again and say our goodbyes and smiles and he took another pic with me and signed my wristbands from the 2 bars lol and we went out just as Justin came walking up so we chatted with him for a few and he took a pic and signed my MOABD CD. He was also very generous and sweet all smiles and thank you's and we leave and I saw James pop in his bus lol ‘bye James thank you’ I say in the car and we got home 3 am and I so could not sleep so, I wrote this for you all:) and its 7am im not tired so why sleep right? No rules!

Well that was my awesome amazing Durbin adventure!! He really made me feel so special and felt more like a good friend then some rockstar! He’s no stranger he feels like family, he acted so brotherly. So generous, sweet and chatty and hung out with us! And we never had to hunt him down he came right up to us! He was so awesome to be with I really enjoyed my time with him And I’ll keep doing this over and over and soon I’ll talk more than I write! It’s a goal that he nudged me in. Phenomenal performer and singer and killer songs! Hope you all enjoy him too!! I know you will What a hero! Never been on cloud 9 before or been broken in such a good way! I hope he knows he was more inspiring and motivating those 2 days. And really changed my ways. He really did welcome me with open arms. Such a great and relaxing time, he did what no one’s ever done! Thank you James!!!!! I hope he enjoyed us as much as we did him.

‪#‎celebrate‬ and peace out,
ABI - humble and grateful @ninjaoutcast

Setlist for Orlando:
• Children Under the Sun was the opener
• All I Want
• Deeper
• Love in Ruins
• Higher Than Heaven
• May
• Celebrate
• My Only Regret
• Fool For You
• Louder Than A Loaded Gun
• Parachute
• Real Love
• Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow Cover
• You’re Not Alone was the closing


Jacksonville Setlist:
• Children Under The Sun opening was exceptionally beautiful and perfectly clear this time
• All I Want
• Right Behind You
• My Only Regret
• Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow cover, again he's having a real blast with it and killed it!
• Louder Than A Loaded Gun
• Parachute is so much better live he really rocks it
• Higher Than Heaven, his guitar solo on this is rad
• May
• Issues! wow love it
• You’re Not Alone in closing of course I love it! i really love his new lyric take your wrong and make it right

  • The Catalyst, Santa Cruz, CA - Mar 21, 2013 - Nancy Revelle

Santa Cruz - The Catalyst - 3/21/13

Thursday morning I drove up to Santa Cruz for that evening’s show, to be preceded by a Durb-dinner at Hula’s downtown.  We had planned a lot prior to the concert, including rewriting lyrics to Right Behind You to sing to James at his Meet & Greet, many gifts and special messages to be passed on, meals together, sightseeing, and more.

I was staying with a friend, who would quickly become a very dear friend over our three days together, and went directly to her home in Aptos as I arrived in the area about noon.  Our Hula’s reservation (thanks to Leelee Resh) was organized for 3 pm sharp, in order to get us fed and out in plenty of time for the 6 pm VIP Meet & Greet at The Catalyst.  I’d never seen the club, which turned out to be very big indeed, nor had I been to Hula’s and experienced the infamous Scorpion Bowl.  All this was to change in a hurry.  

We got to Santa Cruz and parked at Hula’s early enough to explore “The Happy High Herb Shop” next door.  Another first for me.  ;)  We quickly discovered that “herbs” meant exactly what it said, not anything more questionably legal at all.  There was a lot of really cool stuff in there and I bought an absolutely gorgeous Aum bracelet made of bone in 8 sections. I wore it for the next three days straight.  :)  Eventually we saw other Durbs arriving so we went on over to Hula’s and promptly ordered our Scorpion Bowl.  This is a very large, decorative bowl into which light rum, dark rum, brandy and yet more rum is mixed with a little fruit juice, decorated with fruit slices, and into the center of which is set an ounce of Bacardi 151 (rum - duh) then set on fire.  And “set on fire” is exactly what happens to you when you sip this lethal concoction through the long, colorful straws provided.  This baby will kick your @$$.   As it proceeded to do with mine!  Fortunately we continued our afternoon with quite an array of wonderful food to help balance out the alcohol intake. ;)   We actually finished eating (and drinking?) in plenty of time to walk over to the club and get in line for the Meet & Greet scheduled for 6 pm.  

There was a bit of confusion at the club, the staff wasn’t consistent with information; some were told to go upstairs to pick up VIP tickets from Will Call, others were told to stand in line.  But eventually all of us ended up with our tickets, were given green wristbands, and waited to be let into the Atrium where the M&G was going to be held.  Heidi and Hunter made a cameo appearance in the lobby while we waited, and a few people stepped forward to give her gifts they’d brought but she clearly was on her way through while James was doing soundchecks in the background, so I just waved when I caught her eye; she grinned and waved back.  We sang along when we’d hear strains of familiar songs being sung behind closed doors, and were excited to hear bits and pieces of the new - and very fun - song “Santa Cruz”.  We were all getting really excited now, hearing him warming up (note to self - next M&G ask how in the hell he hits those incredible high notes when he’s just warming up his voice - beyond incredible).  

The Kohl’s arrived, who had been gifted two VIP tickets by two very kind, generous DurbSisters who weren’t able to go at the very last minute.  Jim and his daughter Brighid were going to meet James and boy were they excited!  We were all very psyched about it too!

We were finally called into the Atrium for our VIP session with James and we crowded up to the bar while we waited for him to appear.  We had made a last minute decision to do the song for him first so we didn’t run out of time (and it’s a good thing we did).  I had printed our new lyrics out on card stock and illustrated it with stars in my current obsession, the art form of Zentangle and watercolors, and framed it with a dedication on the back.  So when he came in, I (bravely, wouldn’t you say, Sherry?) stepped up first and handed him the wrapped artwork lyrics.  I told him it was a collaborative effort from all of us to try and express how very much everything he does, his music, his example, his life, means to us and how we’ll always be right behind him with our support and love.  He read it over, seemed touched, and almost moved on to signing items brought to him, but laughingly we told him it wasn’t over yet... the Right Behind You music was started up on a phone and we began to sing.  He chuckled and pointed to the framed lyrics, read along as we singed, and really did seem to appreciate our effort, which surprisingly went really well!  We actually stayed on key!  At the end, James made a motion with his hands as if directing a chorus to close the song and grinned.   

James signed endless shirts, tickets, jeans, bandanas, CDs, even a guitar patiently and ever so kindly.  I will never forget Brighid Kohl’s face when she walked up to meet James.  Her eyes were as big as saucers and her expression was pure, absolute joy.  It was so beautiful it made me cry.

Then came pictures with James and each fan and the very best ones were of Brighid who wasn’t too sure what to do at first and walked over with her arms folded in front of her looking a little uncomfortable. James, ever so intuitive of others but especially with kids, did exactly the same thing - and Brighid immediately relaxed and they began making faces and striking adorable poses.  She was the best part of the entire evening - which would include THE BEST show I’ve ever seen James put on - so that says a lot. :)

Eventually James had to leave and our wonderful, personal experience with him was over.  But we had music to look forward to!!!  We were let into the club and I immediately grabbed a few bottles of water and went to the stage front with Leelee, Jim, Brighid, Marissa and others in our group. We snagged our positions and chatted excitedly while we waited for the opening act, Tess Dunn, to begin.  

Tess is an amazing and inspiring story herself - she has cystic fibrosis, diabetes and epilepsy - yet she has more energy than a roomful of people and her raspy but confident voice is very striking.  She writes her own songs, plays piano and dances around the stage nonstop.  Her guitar band is excellent.  I was very glad to have heard her and thoroughly enjoyed every song she performed.  

Intermission was about 20 minutes and we watched as the clock ticked past nine pm.  We cheered and shouted and screamed in several attempts to lure James on stage but he would come out in his own good time... which finally came with streaking white spotlights and the sound of Blake’s guitar starting the set with “All I Want.”  

The entire show was videotaped by the very talented Larry Rachleff from the balcony with excellent results and very good sound, so even those not fortunate enough to be present can still experience at least part of what the epic evening was like.  Tim Cattera took awesome, professional photographs as well - the whole evening was well-documented (and very well reviewed in local print media, too!).  

James seemed inexhaustible for the entire first hour.  He belted out song after song from MOABD and we were treated to a power ballad version of “May” that is nothing short of perfection.  He threw in several new pieces as well (which we’re fervently praying have solid spots on the next album).  “You’re Not Alone” speaks to me deeply - and “Louder Than a Loaded Gun” seriously hits home too.  James’ songwriting is growing in leaps and bounds - he is incredibly talented and so creative.  This next album is sure to have several hits if promoted well, even from what we’re hearing at this point!  The only downside of the evening was the relatively meager turnout which was an estimated 150-200 in a club that holds 800.  That place should have sold out, no excuses.  Disappointed, Santa Cruzans.

The band, with new bassist Justin Kastner who’s also a local musician, is tighter than I’ve ever heard it.  The four guys, with Jeff on drums and Blake on guitar (who has stepped up his game considerably!), are a cohesive unit now, and really seem to work extremely well together.  The personnel changes, although loyal Durbinators do miss Ty Molinaro very much, has definitely been a good thing.  These dudes were smokin up there - Jeff is always insanely entertaining behind his drum kit and is ridiculously talented; Blake seems to have taken up the ‘lead guitar’ reins quite capably.  You’d have thought Justin had been playing with them for years, he was so comfortable on stage.  This is a very musical young man - I thoroughly enjoyed watching him and he was spot-on all night.  I think James has his band dialed in perfectly, at last.  Kudos to him for the difficult and very smart decisions he’s made in that regard.

The set ended but the cheering never waned until the band came back out for their encore.  Heidi and her sister snuck into the crowd a little earlier and ended up standing in front of me - it was an absolute blast to watch James sing to Heidi and to watch her rocking out and jumping around with the rest of us.  Their connection just never ceases to inspire me on a level so deep that I can’t even find words to describe the joy I hold in my heart for that little family.   

“Santa Cruz” was publicly debuted and was met with resounding approval from all.  This is such a happy-feeling song, I just love it.  James puts so much emotion into all his performances but this song was a special gift for his hometown, and we ate it up then begged for more.  The evening ended with James taking a short breather but assuring us he wasn’t resting, he was “preparing” and preparation was definitely indeed as the closer was a hyperenergetic “Stand Up” which left us wanting more, more, more.  

This was a really incredible, special show - James left it all out there on the stage (the next day he shared that he’d lost his voice) and we, his loyal fans loved every exciting second of it.  It was really an honor to experience James in Santa Cruz again (Durbin Day 2 was infinitely memorable too!), and you know I’ll always be “right behind him” every chance I get.

Nancy Revelle
  • Paul A. Johnson Auditorium - Smithfield, NC - Mar 15, 2013 - Abby York

Ok so here’s my third James Durbin experiment. But felt more like my first!                    
Let’s just say it was a memory to never forget. Ever.
Priceless memorable and special in every way.

So when I first hear about this concert in Smithfield, NC back in summer 2012
I didn’t really believe it thought it was a fake out. Then as time goes by closer and closer it’s still there people get tickets the map of the stage is online hmm than James and Windup announce it!
OMG I wanna go! But I probably can’t. These never work out at the last minute they always fall!
Then a Durbinator says they have a ticket but can’t make it.. ok. Then I tell my mom about it next thing I know we have 3 tickets and I graciously say no thanks I would like to sit with my mom/sis being my first time and being really shy. Just need that confidence and security. Yay were gonna see James and oh fuck! There’s gonna be so many Durbinators!! So next few weeks I was in a nervous hell of a time scared to death.  Then last few days I randomly just got so fucking excited! My hair turned out awesome and we were pumped! I couldn’t sleep! No really I was up all night before we left the next morning got maybe 3 hours of sleep. Yea.

So we take off to NC and on the way we make a pit stop to SC to visit a best friend. Let’s just say it was a fast smooth trip! Went perfect! I just get real sick real easy on trips but it’s all good! It was worth it.
We finally made it in NC and finally found our hotel! Rested up chilled got ready and went to the college! A during that time we said we need a Durbinator van to follow! And when we got there and parked there was a Durbinator van!! Ha! It said follow me to see James Durbin. Ahhhhhh where were you on the road! lol

So anyway we got in the auditorium and there were no Durbinators, so we see James shirts and bought a few then chill on the wall. Then I see CuteMo and her mom! So I walk over to say hi silently. Then it’s crazyDurb! what’s uuuuppp! With another Durb tagging along that I like to call crazy waltz. So smiled and hugged crazyDurb compliments my hair thanks!:) crazy waltz compliments my zentangles. :) Really appreciate that once I figured out what you were talking about lol sorry if I had a weird look I was thinking:) then it hit me Zen! not fire..yea im a dork.

So after I meet all the awesome wonderful Durbinators we go in and sit waiting for the awesome to arrive!  But a lady comes out instead, and introduces James opening act Taylor who sang a few of her songs on James guitar, what a sweet guy and she did awesome!  Than here comes the durbinrock exploding the place with awesome rocking electrical vibes! So much energy! They were fucking awesome more than they ever have! Justin did fabulous he had energy and was having a blast! I t was comical watching Justin and Blake looking at each other laughing I think Blake was trying to keep up with Justin! Little ball of fire. Blake was still awesome as ever though. I was playing with my cam taking pics recorded some than it dies! And I was standing the whole time being a good rocker but I kept inching closer n closer slipping off the steps till I finally just trotted up to the stage when he did stand up so you better stand up those of you sitting! lol that song inspired me to jolt, weird I wonder why? :)
Than when it was over something told me to stay in there so I stayed and hung around the stage
got Jeff and Blake to sign my shirt but I didn’t ask for a pic they were so busy talking and answering questions and I had no one to take a pic for me lol my mom was waiting for James so I could have one with him. He finally got spotted in his purple macho man shirt glasses and hat! So everyone starts chanting his name James James James we see you! Come out here I voted for you! And he’s hiding behind the speaker wall and pokes his 2 fingers up than comes out smiling. And usually I hide behind the crowd but I ran up there smiling with my energy saying hi chuckle. I was not nervous or sweating or hot or nothing! I was the calmest the most relaxed I ever been around people! That’s huge for me. So as he was chatting taking pics signing my mom kept prodding me to sit up on the stage so she could ask him. It took a while but as soon as I did he looked back when she said James can you take a pic with Abby? So he says sure and scoots over and I felt him touch my arm and hear him say cool shirt so I smiled pretty big.

Then my mom says show some horns to me because I kinda froze but was calm at the same time. So I do a horn then he puts his horn right by mine and gets in real close and we smile! I think his rock vibe went from his horn to mine, because the next 2 days I was at a store and this lady was staring at me for the longest time like I was some famous person and then finally said “I love your hair”!  Then ruffled it with her hand kinda caught me off guard and felt a little weird but I smiled and said thank you than she finally left. Is that how James feels?  Well back to James he was the most genuine and respectful anyone’s ever been to me. He didn’t push or touch me too much but was calm and sat close still. And through the loud fans it’s like they weren’t even there he paid no attention to them and didn’t get distracted. When we were done I came back and said thank you the show was great, don’t ask how I did that no clue, and he heard me, no one ever hears me that good,  and turned his head to say thank you while people were asking him to do stuff! He is such an awesome guy makes me feel so special and like a fitted puzzle piece and those Durbinators are an awesome crowd! I was the most calm and confidant I ever been. It was so warm and relaxing in there. There was no pressure, All positive vibes, everyone shared him it was beautiful. Then security said ok git!  lol :) So that’s why he ran in his van security was chasing us all away.  This had to of been the best day of well my life and I can say ill never forget it. Now I know how it feels to have a Durb high vibration it feels awesome and addicting. I sure hope I can do this a lot more times:) and hopefully I’ll be more social with the Durbs they deserve better they were so respectful and sweet to me not pushy or annoying me to do stuff and talk! Most people do that to me so I appreciate that energy you rock! And I’ll try to do better :) My quote still stands unless she kicks me to da curb I’m sitting with that crazy Durb! Maybe I’ll be more inspired confidant and motivated maybe not but maybe:)

Well that was my memorable venture thanks for listening to me rant :)
And to CuteMo, thank you I’m glad I inspired you to be brave with James that made my night when your mom told me that :)

Adios rockinator Durbinators!

  • Paul A. Johnson Auditorium - Smithfield, NC - Mar 15, 2013 - Crystal Finney Wright

I was so excited going to Smithfield!I could hardly wait to get there
and meet my durb gals & to be in James presence once again O-M-G ! We thought
we would be able to make it in time to go to eat with the durb gals at
''Becky's Log Cabin'' When we were about 30 min from there though traffic
stopped !!!The gps caculated more and more time..UGH ,finally called
Wanda and Sherry to let them know that we would be going straight to the venue
,then like 2 miles from the venue,the road was blocked off and the gps
dont caculate detours...So finally we find detour signs and follow them,
until it re caculates the right way & we get there at around 6:31 pm.
Soon as we pull in the parking lot I see Shelly and Cutemo & got so happy
to finally be there & meet them ! When I got out,someone was yelling my name and it was
Frances & we met and all,then Anne pulled up and called my name and I about hugged her
neck off through the car window,LOL!It all was becoming surreal.We then walked
into the venue and I see Linda,I grabbed her hand as she did mine at the same time,LOL
And she said ''There you are,youre coming with me'',LOL She took me to Wanda
& we met and she gave me and Dan our tickets-Mine was Sect 2 row A seat#3 & Dan's
was Sect 2 row B seat #3,thanks for arranging them that way,so sweet:)
Then I spot Sherry over chatting away to someone and I playfully slap her on the arm
and she turns around and we both was like AHHHHHHH & bout hugged till death!!!
I had tears and was laughing.Then me and Holly met and hugged too.Anne then came back in
and we all headed for the autoturium.I couldnt believe what AMAZING seats we had,
I kept telling Anne and Frances that James was gonna be ''RIGHT THERE''
I was dieing from excitment.Then Taylor Leopold came out and sang a few songs and played
James guitar while singing,which come to find out,wasnt planned.She had put her
cd in his dressing room but he had no way to listen to it and he wanted to hear her sing but she said she didnt have a guitar so he let her use his & open for him !!! What a guy,how sweet is that!?!?
She was pretty good and I could see James off to the side listening and
watching her sing.I was freaking out at the first sight of him.I was ready to see and hear JAMES
So she sang a few songs and then finally James came out and they started singing “All I Want'' I think it was
followed by, “Screaming,” “Love Me Bad,” “Love in Ruins,” “Outcast,” “Right Behind You,with about
4 new songs inbetween one was called ''Louder than a loaded gun'' which was really cool!
And ''Not Alone'' which is one of my new fav songs,REALLY REALLY LOVE this song ever since
he did it on one of the live web shows.He sang a few more new ones,I can't
remember the names of them right off hand,but they all was great!He finally sang one last song
and said goodnight and they left the stage,it felt a lil like he left us hanging a tad
I hadnt seen him REALLY get into a song yet,and bring the house down
We all stated chanting ''DURBINROCKS, DURBINROCKS, DURBINROCKS '' He came back and
the crowd went wild ! They started playing ''Higher than Heaven'' and
tore it up!!! Then the last song of the night was ''Stand-Up''& REALLY
rocked it hard!!! I was going nuts and so was the crowd,at the end he did his
rocking moves,the on the ground back bend and started rolling on the stage,everyone ran to the stage
and people came from everywhere SCREAMING there heads off,teens on the right of me & women
of all ages screaming with inTENSE JOY!!!James just has that umpf ,that special thing
that you just can't put into words if you try.His voice on songs such as ''May'' just send goosebumps
all over you,his rocking dance moves and the way he performs & his WONDERFUL heart!!!When you see him
over to the side, shaking hands,(while he is singing) to kids & teens who had ran up to the stage,
that look up to him so much-also notice he tweets them afterwards to make their day a lil brighter.
Letting the young lady open for him AND use HIS guitar to sing her songs,taking time away from
his show, so that she could have her shining moment Thats a TRUE STAR & Noone can touch it,
or even come close in my eyes and so many!<3 ~ Where was I,oh yeah ,so after the show, Me,Anne,Sherry,
Holly & Dan went outside by their bus,thinking we would get to talk with James and them.Jeff came out and talked a while and took pics with us,& signed our posters,he also said it was nice to see me again,which really caught me
off guard cause I really didnt think he would have remembered me,but he did and that made me happy Jeff
told us when heading back in that James would be out in a lil bit.Justin came out and talked with us and signed
our posters and all.He was a really nice guy!James finally comes out after about an hour maybe but was
rushed into the van,he had on them glasses and that stocking hat..I was thinking he was trying to disguise himself
but Blake came over a talked a fast sec,then the security lady hurries him in the van and they all take off,
I was bummed,not gonna lie but figured James must have been tired and wanted to leave.Come to find out though while were freezing our butts off outside,they was all inside having a meet n greet with people,we had no clue! Then found out later that the security made the fans finally leave and James as well,so thats why
he couldnt stay I guess.So afterwards we all met up at the waffle house,except Anne cause she had to head on out. We stayed there and I chatted with Linda,who is such a sweet and funny lady!I told her I wanted to adopt her as my durb granny!She said ''sure thing'' I swear,it was as if I was at a family reunion,that I actually
wanted to be at !!! Chatted a while with the other durbs and gave hugs to everyone goodbye.I really had a great
time and LOVED meeting everyone!By this time I couldnt talk at all hardly,from waking up sick to screaming my head off anyway at the concert.I didnt realize how sick I was till I was on the way home-really got the flu bad
& not to mention how sad it is each time to leave after seeing James and this time on top of that also was
leaving all my friends/FAMILY!Really love you guys & thank you soo much for everything!-

  • The Coach House, San Juan Capistrano, CA - Aug 12, 2012 - Nancy Revelle

The Coach House - San Juan Capistrano, CA - August 12, 2012

Norma Cohen, Sherry Severino, Cameron and Chris Severino and myself arrived in San Juan Capistrano at just about 4:30 on Sunday afternoon to find Chris Soest sitting in front of the venue already, having heard James’ sound checks with various songs! We picked up will-call tix, checked in with Mary and Marissa to see when they’d be arriving, and waited for the doors to open at 5 pm.

We were eventually let into the venue, which I understand is quite old, and were seated at the FRONT OF THE STAGE off slightly to the right side. I skarffed a chair which would end up being so close to Dylan that I could see the pores in his face and be splattered with the sacred sweat. :) We all tried to rehydrate – no AC in here! – and ordered dinner, which turned out to be quite good. Drinks were ordered and cold beers were drunk by almost all (certainly by me!). We asked about flash photography and video and our waitress said that we’d be told by “the voice of God” over the speaker before the show started what was allowed and what was not. We all got a kick out of that.

A woman seated a few tables away from us was looking over at our group, when I noticed her doing so. Then she said the strangest thing - “are you Nancy?” I wasn’t even sure I heard her correctly at first but when she said it again, looking straight at me, I said that I was. She got up and came over, introducing herself as Marilyn (and I can’t for the life of me remember her last name dang it but her first-married name was Durbin!!!). She said she followed my Twitter feed but didn’t actually use Twitter herself, to keep up to date on what was going on with James! And it turns out, she also follows Sherry Severino, who was sitting next to me, and called her by name! It was weird and cool all at the same time! We talked for a bit and tried to convince her to become active on Twitter or to join our Facebook groups, but she’s new at the computer and had just finished treatment for breast cancer so she had her hands pretty dang full. We talked a while and she went back to join her group.

Sherry Severino’s little girl, Cameron, had ordered a LOT of food and we teased her about eating it all. I proposed a bet wherein I would pay her $20 if she ate everything on her plate(s) and if not, she would give me one of her James Durbin picks, because I didn’t have one yet. Not surprisingly, she couldn’t bring herself to shake on this!! Not even the lure of $20… James, you sure are loved! :) Not long after this, Mary and Marissa arrived and sat next to us. I was still teasing Cameron about her ton of food, and was telling Marissa about the bet. Marissa turned to her mom, looking at her like they were communicating silently, reached into her pocket and pulled out a James pick and handed it to me. She said, “it’s for you – I have three!” I nearly burst into tears. I hugged and hugged and hugged this amazing young lady, just in shock. James may as well have made these things out of gold, we Durbinators value them so, and Marissa just gave one away. I was so deeply touched, I can’t tell you. And “outsiders” think we’re crazy, but no, it’s just all love. Lots and lots of love. ♥

So I turn around in my chair and sweet little Cameron has put one of HER James picks in front of me – saying I needed a pair to make earrings!! What a sweetheart… I was on cloud nine before the show even started!!

Several of us were keeping an eye on Twitter, and caught a Tweet by James saying essentially what was up with venues and tables, didn’t they know people were supposed to be up and dancing like Footloose? He figured that made him Kevin Bacon. I replied, assuring him he was better than bacon any day and not to worry, the Durbinators would be ON THEIR FEET, tables be damned. We were gonna ROCK!

There was to be several opening acts and the first was Jonathon Ramirez, a singer/songwriter who played a very nice guitar and put a different spin on a few covers as well as performing his own compositions. He was not bad at all. He told us that he’d auditioned for both American Idol and The Voice this year but wasn’t accepted for either. He has a good voice and a nice style, very laid back, with a borderline island influence. The crowd appreciated his efforts.

Then it was time for a quick bathroom break so a few of us dashed for the restrooms. As I got almost to the door, out of nowhere pop Shelly and CuteMo!!!!! I squeeeeeee’d and hugged CuteMo – how exciting to see them here – we thought they were on their way home, but CuteMo had talked her mom into just ONE MORE SHOW and they’d managed to arrange to sit with us, too! wOOOOOt!! We were all very excited they were here.

Back to our seats, with much chatter about Shelly and CuteMo’s surprise arrival. CuteMo and Cameron claimed the stage front (I never had a chance at keeping my spot, not with the determination in these two LOL). Throughout the evening they both used the laminated menus to fan whomever was on stage left. :)

Then Wooden Robot came on, a five piece band who were quite good with great energy. Lead singer had a very good voice and they rocked it hard – I liked them! One of the band members later brought Cameron and CuteMo several decals and guitar picks for helping to keep their guitar player cool through their set! I thought that was awesome of them to do that.

These were short sets so next up was Delta Rose, whom I had not heard yet but others knew how good they were and there was no disappointment here, either. These four young men KILLED THEIR SET – kicked its @$$. They are heavily blues-infused rockers with some truly excellent musicianship and very good vocals too. They’re tight, play off each other well and everybody really shined (shone? – whatever, they were AWESOME!). I hurried back to buy their CD (a 4-song EP) before James came on stage. Follow these guys on Twitter (@DeltaRoseBand) & Facebook – and seriously go buy their EP. It’s on iTunes as well. I can’t wait for more – will definitely be seeing them again. Wow.

Finally the stage was cleared of all the opening acts’ gear and the guys are taking their places on the darkened stage. Finally “The Voice Of God” over the loudspeaker announced “JAAAAAMES DUUUUURRRBIN” and the familiar intro to “Stand Up” kicks off. And STAND UP I did – as you all know, there’s NO SITTING at a Durbin concert!!!

I was less than a foot from the stage, just barely to Dylan’s left and happily in front of a monitor (I hoped James would prop his foot up there at some point). I was so close to Dylan at times that I could see the pores on his face, so to speak (which is actually irrelevant because he has great skin). But you get the picture. lol I got some great close-ups of Dylan, which will eventually be going on a CD to he and Nina. Dylan too reaped the benefit of CuteMo and Cameron’s menu fanning efforts and acknowledged them for it several times.

James was very animated all night, dancing around in the heat, seemingly tireless, sweating profusely and even at one point pouring a bottle of water over his head and down his back, then shaking like a hound dog spraying water everywhere (like we minded – HA!). He told us the story of Disco the white Bengal tiger and how he joined the band (indeed he had his very own spot next to Jeff’s bass drum). He was happy with our energy and exuberance, said we sounded AWESOME tonight! To my right at the end of the stage were four “teeny boppers” in hand-made, hand-drawn Durbin tee shirts squealing themselves hoarse all night. Every time James went to that end of the stage they screamed louder. It would have been pretty hilarious if we hadn’t been doing the very same thing. ;-) James teased them all evening – throwing them a sweat-drenched towel at the end of the show, then grabbing it back once to wipe his head some more only to toss it back again as the four teens fought over it. Amused, James tossed them a second towel. They fought over that one too. lol

Cameron has the setlist so we’ll have to ask Sherry what the order was (because I’m too old to remember stuff like that LOL) but of course he finished the evening off with an crowd-demanded encore of Higher Than Heaven and Love In Ruins, spending a lot of time rolling on the floor and doing his superb, very deep, DurbBend that I caught a photo of as well. As he walked off stage for the final time he handed out picks and he HANDED ONE TO MEEEEEE!!! I was OVER THE MOON. Still am. :)

The show ended for real, and we milled around on our collective DurbinHigh. The guys tore down the set while we chatted amongst ourselves and with the band members. Several new friends were made and many were happy to be directed to the Facebook groups. I hadn’t had the opportunity to meet Blake’s Katie Larkin, and Sherry spied her at stage-right while Blake took equipment apart so off I went to introduce myself. She was a doll, so sweet and kind! I talked to Blake for a while too, told him how huge the difference was just over the span of the few months of MOABD tours, how tight the band sounded, how I loved their energy on stage, etc. He thanked me and said he was glad to know that we were seeing a difference. I told him I was a trained musician so I noticed those things, and he said that meant even more to him coming from a musician - that was pretty cool!! He gave me a pick too. :o)

We hung around for quite a while, it had to be close to an hour and a half, hoping James would be coming down from the dressing rooms which were on the second floor. The group of teenagers who had been at the edge of stage-left all night were waiting with two of the mothers as well. Unfortunately, however, the mothers weren’t quite as patient as they should have been. You’re not going to believe this: we were told that one of them had sent a staff member upstairs to James to ask if he planned to come down to his fans, because SHE had to go to work the next day and it was getting late. CAN YOU BELIEVE THE NERVE?!?!?! We were livid!! Even though we were waiting too, at that point we decided it was fine if he spent another two hours up there!! OMG!! They huddled around one of the two access staircases, periodically shouting up the stairs for James, who was on the phone with Heidi! We were so disgusted with this bunch, I can’t tell you. So freakin’ rude.

Eventually (after several “5 more minutes” - and I’ll let Mary Erickson or Sherry tell that story) James did come downstairs and was immediately mobbed by the teens (and their moms). He spent over a half hour with the six of them (4 kids, 2 mothers) signing stuff and taking pictures and following them on Twitter, to their utter delight. Eventually they left, and it was our turn. We had been patiently waiting a space away from their group to give them some room for their time with James. Most of us had something for him to sign (I had a drumstick from Jeff) and Chris Soest had wrestling-themed gifts for him. When it was my turn for a picture, I told him I had met him for the first time on Friday at Universal, and he said, “I remember you!” Then he put his arm around my shoulder and I have no idea what happened next. LOL Obviously people took photos but all I remember is smiling huge great big humongous smiles, inside and out - and not crying again! LOL We were talking with him, asking questions, when he sort of interrupted the flow and said, “wait a minute now - how the heck do you all do this? How do you manage time off from work, vacation days, whatever, to come to SO MANY shows? You all work, right? What do you do?” and he pointed to each and every one of us as we told him what we did for work and where. (Sherry has this all on video!!) He said, “you’re all just amazing!” to which I replied, “we all have priorities - and that’s you.” :o)

Then it was time to go and James headed off to the van while we got in our cars. We waved goodbye as they drove off, headed back up to LA. It had been a pretty damn good night, that was for sure!

  • Universal CityWalk - Hollywood, CA - Aug 10, 2012 - Nancy Revelle

Universal City Walk 8/10/12

I drove down to LA on Friday morning. Traffic was awful so I didn't arrive until after 4 pm. Marissa made all my traffic woes and frustrations go away though, running to greet me with a huge hug as I walked towards the small but growing group of Durbinators gathering in front of the stage at Universal CityWalk. It was 104 degrees and there wasn't a lot of shade. Mary Erickson and Chris Soest were there with Gayle and her husband Jerry. I gave out the presents I'd made - that post about buying 54 somethings to have fun with last weekend was indeed guitar picks for earrings and pendants! Everyone seemed to like them. :) Not long after, Sherry, her two kids Cameron and Christian and Norma Cohen arrived and we decided the best idea was to get out of the heat and get some food at the Hard Rock Cafe right next to the stage area.

We had margaritas and fajitas over lots of excited talking and discovered our waiter was a huge Durbin fan! He sure knew how to get a good tip (and a very good one he got, indeed!)!!! He told us how to watch tweets for celebrities coming in and out of the restaurant, and laughingly promised to deliver James and the band to our table should they come in. LOL

Then Shelly and CuteMo arrived and joined us in the air conditioned relief. It was Shelly's birthday, even! We had a great time getting acquainted and it was soooo good to finally meet them both. They came in with the news that Heidi and Hunter were in the GameStop store so out I went to find Heidi and give her the sterling silver bracelet I'd made her. She said it was sooo thoughtful and seemed to like it . Hunter was a very busy little boy checking out all the fun stuff in there!

Then Mary Erickson let us know that there was a crowd starting to build in front of the stage so out we went to claim our spots. Thank you, Mary for saving me a place up close!! ♥ We found Elaine Marie Burris there with a friend of hers (dang I can't remember her name) - what a treat it was to finally meet her as well! Every new Durbinator I meet is like an old family member. It's just amazing.

Eventually, after much DJ-music, lots of dancing by Marissa and lots of waiting by us all, the show started with Stefano who did quite well and had two VERY amusing and talented male dancers with him. He did one song that I liked a lot, Suffer in the Sunshine - must find that on iTunes for sure.

And EVENTUALLY, AT LONG LAST it was time for James!!! I'm not even going to try to remember what songs or order. Stand Up started it off and Love In Ruins ended it and the rest is a blur because of what happened later... ;o) The set was excellent, with James exhibiting even better tone and pitch control than when I'd last heard him in Santa Cruz. Indeed he is improving with every performance. His control on his high notes is impeccable now, he's hitting them out of thin air, no ramping up any more. Just BAM there it is. Amazing. The band is getting tighter and tighter, too. I love the energy James, Dylan and Jeff reflect off each other. They are really entertaining and a perfect fit. Everyone is! DUH!! lol James came down off the front of the stage at one point and acknowledged CuteMo (high 5 or fist bump, not sure) who was in front of me to my right about a foot. That was so cool! The whole set went smoothly and perfectly. His hair looks great - a red patch in front AND in the back at the bottom.

During the performance, right before the last song, James said that he and the band would be "hanging out" for a while after the show and to come find them - EXACTLY what I was wanting to hear! WOOOOOT!

So we hung around, drank gallons of water to try and rehydrate (Marissa felt quite sick at the end of the show and those of us around her were worried, but she's such a trooper she refused to leave her spot until it was over!) and waited for faces we recognized. I spotted Nina first and greeted her - she was as drop-dead-gorgeous as ever. We introduced Sherry's son Christian to her which I believe was quite a treat. :o). Then we found Mona who was looking for Ty, then Ty who was looking for Mona (this went on for a while, we could never get the two of them in the same place at the same time but eventually we reunited them (well, they found each other but we like to think we helped)!! Jeff, Ty, Dylan and Blake were around a lot, but no James.

Security were absolute and total idiots at CityWalk, I plan to write to the organization and complain about them. They wouldn't let us stand ANYWHERE to wait for James or to talk to or pose with the band members for photos. It was completely ridiculous! Everyone was very pissed at them. But Durbinators WILL NOT BE DISSUADED!!! We walked around in tiny circles when they told us we couldn't just stand there, that we had to walk around. When they moved us away from one spot we took up another spot 10 feet away. WE WILL NOT BE DENIED!!!

Finally, after finding the "secret" dressing room door (and Marissa peeking in a slit in a window), and messages sent in via Jeff and Ty asking if James would come out and do photos and meet a few people, Ty came out with a THUMBS UP to us as we were taking a few Group Durb pictures and 5 minutes later, James, Heidi and Hunter emerged!!!!

Hunter played kick the plastic bottle with Cameron and CuteMo while his daddy talked to us, signed memorabilia and posed for photos-of-a-lifetime for his fans. :o) Hunter was climbing up on a dolly platform and being a totally adorable little ham until our security nemeses told James he couldn't do that. grrrrrr I got myself in what served as the line for James' attention but people kept stepping in front of me and pushing their way up (non-Durbs). Norma and Sherry got behind me and literally leveraged me into place so that I was the next person James looked to. OMG!!!! HE'S LOOKING AT ME !!! That's when the tears started. I turned into a blubbering idiot. I did get my name out reasonably coherently, but after giving him his skull bracelet and saying "I made this for you" it was all pretty much sob-word-sob-two words-sob-sniff-word... I remember saying that he had gotten me through a lot of hard times with his music and that I had a lot of respect for who he is as a person and how much I loved his music and that's all I remember. He signed the bandana I caught at the Viper Room and while he was doing that, security (grrrrrrrrrr) tried to move him and the rest of us away from where we were standing and James said, "can I just finish this autograph for this nice lady, she's come a long way and I'd really like to do this for her please..." and he kept right on writing!!!!! I was grinning like a fool as the tears rolled down my face. LOL Then Sherry took my photo with James (and Norma got one too!) - which will become my pride and joy - most treasured possession. I thanked him a dozen times for making the time for us and told him we love him... Hang on... dammit crying again just writing this all out, it's so fresh and real and so freakin wonderful!


After that, I sort of collected myself and asked Heidi for a photo (Sherry to the rescue again!!!!). I talked to Heidi (I rambled, but I'm choosing to remember it as "talking") for quite a while, I told her all the things I wanted to tell James, how proud I am of him and how much he respects her and his family and what a great role model he is and how rare that is these days. She said that his management is having to really be choosy about what events he speaks at and that he is in crazy high demand to speak to kids at schools, etc. I told her how James' eyes and smile remind me of my son soooo much and how protective and "motherly" I feel about James - and that they were exactly the same age and how my son's little boy is Hunter's age but his name is James. She was genuinely interested and thought all the parallels were really cool. That really made me feel good. I told her that James was a hero to even older people like me who had spent our whole lives thinking we weren't good enough and that because we were different we are flawed and rejects. To learn at 50 years of age that it's OK for me to be different, and that broken doesn't mean worthless was a feeling I couldn't ever express enough gratitude for. Someone (I think Chris Soest) mentioned that it was I who had made the web site and she turned back to me and said "that is YOU?!" I grinned and said yes - that made me feel good too. :)

Eventually James finished all his autographs and they turned to leave. Somewhere in there, James spent a long time with Norma examining her tattoos with Jeff and talking about them... that was so cool!! We said our goodbyes, I said I'd see everyone Sunday in San Juan Capistrano and they walked away - I floated away. :o)

  • Canyon Club Aug 9, 2012
  • Universal CityWalk Aug 10, 2012
  • The Coach House Aug 12, 2012 - Marissa Erickson

I just got home from seeing 3 of the most amazing James Durbin concerts ever!

The first night was Thursday night at The Canyon Club. I gave James a gift of a Kiss Bobblehead and he loved it and sent a tweet to me and he and Heidi both signed my shirt and he sang so good that night. Sometimes I get emotional because James sings from his heart and it touches my heart and it makes me think of when I first heard him on American Idol. I love that show I watch for years and James is the true Idol to me. I also love to hang out with all my Durbinator family and I just love them all. James sang May and I love that song and Love me Bad always makes me cry too.

Friday night he played at Universal CityWalk and the bobble head was on stage with the band next Jeffs drums and James pointed to me and showed me the bobblehead and he said he will bring it on tour with him always and that was happy for me. The show was so good and Stefano sang too and he pointed at me 2 times. Heidi and Hunter were with James too and I talked to them and we played a little with Hunter and he is a good boy and so cute. James patted me on the head. It was a night I will remember forever.

Then on Saturday James And the band went to Az. And I went to Universal studios and I just loved that day and I got to dance on the red carpet with a flash mob dance team and I loved it. Sunday I woke up early and went to the Santa Monica Pier and I love it and we rented a bike and rode to Venice beach and I saw Pink eating brunch with her family!!

Then we went to the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano for the last night of James Durbin and I loved that show. Norma Jean tweeted to James where was the bobblehead and he did not have it on stage because he had a new stuffed tiger named Disco that James bought at a truck stop and told a funny story about it and I love it when James talks to us fans. He sang from his heart again and we all waited to see him after the show and he signed my shirt again and my purse and my hat and then the whole band signed my Jeans. I waited for Jeff to finish talking to Delta Rose and then he signed. James likes Delta Rose and I do too. James gave me his guitar pick and Nancy did not have one and I gave her mine and she gave me a big hug and I love that from her. Then James was on his water break after the show and talking to Heidi on the phone and I told these 4 other girl fans to wait to see him and to stop yelling for him so he could have his break and he will come see us all because he is so good to his fans. that was the best weekend for me and I love it all and all my friends I cannot wait for more and I will go to all the shows

  • George's Majestic Lounge - Fayetteville, AR - July 17, 2012 - Janie Hubert

"DurbFest 2012 - Part I" Fayetteville, Ar - 7/17/12

On Monday (7/16), I left at 6am to head to Springfield so Mitch and I could retrieve Sherry from the airport at 11am. We arrived at the airport around 10:50 and stood at the window to watch her plane taxi in. I snapped a photo of it for her scrapbook and waited for her to appear coming down the corridor. Finally!! I spot her!! It was hugs all around as I introduced her to my boyfriend. We headed to Mitch's office and then off to Golden Corral for lunch..Yummy!! We get back to my house around 4pm. We talk and laugh most of the night..who needs sleep?!?!

We get up around 6am on Tuesday..get ourselves ready for the 1st big day and head out to pick up my daughter, Tasha around 7:30. After getting her, we head to my favorite little hometown cafe for breakfast. Around 9 we head towards Springfield to retrieve my other daughter, Brittany. We are FINALLY on our way to Fayetteville!!! As we are barreling down 65 highway(ok maybe I'm not, Sherry spots the James River Freeway sign and wanted a pic..of course I slowed down to let her get one...the traffic behind me could just wait..Lol!!

The 2 and a half hour trip was hilarious!! My wonderful children were in the back seat making faces and snapping random pics..and of course showing them to Sherry and I (thank goodness they weren't showing me video..Lol). Halfway there I get a call from Miss Linda. As I'm talking to her, I noticed that every time I would say something, my girls AND Sherry would find it very funny!! I had no idea what they were doing, but knew they were up to something!! After I finished my convo with Linda, Sherry told me she got them playing the question game..and apparently I owe both my kids a thousand dollars..THANKS SHERRY..LOL!!!

Well, we have finally hit Arkansas!! I pull over to let Sherry get a pic of the state sign and we continue on our way. I made the mistake of letting the girls take over the music!! Next thing I know, we are listening to Bob and Tom ..and a song called “Yeah Toast!!” kids know it by heart and was singing it loud and proud!! Those girls had Sherry and I laughing our butts off!!!

Next thing I know, we're in Fayetteville!! As we are looking for the venue, Sherry says keep your eyes open for a black van pulling a trailer. She barely gets the sentence out when Tasha yells..”Like that one?!”...yep, there it was, going the opposite direction!! Brittany says..OMG!! That's Blake driving!!! So now, I have 2 very energetic and excited girls in the back seat (we won't talk about the girls in the front!! Finally, we spy the venue..did I mention it's only about 12:30? Well, our plan was to get there early and do some walking and shopping, but upon exiting the car decided it was WAY to hot for that!! So we found a little mexican restaurant and decided we weren't moving!! We stayed put ..except for a few trips to the car and back (it's a miracle they didn't charge us!! Finally Von and her SO arrived..YAY!! We made our introductions..exchanged hugs and commenced to some small talk. Around 5ish I decided to go and get our tickets out of the car. As I'm diggin around in my purse I start to panic (just a little)! My keys seem to be playing hide and seek!! So, I start to backtrack..searching the ground, under the car, around the car..and YES I even looked in the trash!! My panic starts to rise..ALOT! The girls and I make one more trip to the car and I noticed that one side of the trunk is raised a little more than the other! Really?! I locked my keys in the trunk..our tickets are in there!!!! Thank God for my friends and daughters! Sherry had them ask if someone had a coat hanger. Luckily, the bartender had something and went to rescue my keys..and my window! Cause I probably would have broken the window to get to those tickets..Lol. We made sure to tip the bartender!

Now, tickets in hand(tightly), we go to get in line and wait for the door to open. Finally! We're in!! Larry..Von's SO, asked which stage James would be playing on and they pointed to the big stage in back. We wait in line for them to open that door. Finally they do and we make a bee line for front and center! As we wait for James and the guys to take the stage, Sherry decides to check her settings on her camera(the venue was a little dark). She ends up with a tap on her shoulder from security, who tells her she can't use her camera. She doesn't want to leave to take it back to the car so he tells her he can put it behind the bar. The guys are going back and forth getting all their stuff set up and I'm watching my daughters..especially Tasha, as this is her first time seeing them (yep, she has now been Durbinized). I can't help but giggle (and tear up a little) at her excitement!! Then, I get a tap on MY shoulder! It was a lady asking me if I was at the Little Rock show cause she thinks she remembers seeing me there. I told her she has an amazing memory!!

Finally, the guys hit the stage!!! They come out rockin “Stand Up”..The crowd screaming and hollering! The energy and the vibe is amazing!!! After a couple of songs they go into “Love Me Bad”. James gets the crowd involved in helping sing it! Next thing we know, the mic is going from Tasha and Britt to Sherry and I!!! Yep, THAT was amazing!! These guys never cease to absolutely amaze me. I know they did several songs, but it seemed like it ended way too soon.

After the show, and after losing about 10 pounds from sweating (it was freakin' HOT in there), we head towards the back deck hoping to get some air. I guess Jeff had the same idea because we found him out there signing autographs and taking pics. We get in line and wait for our turn. I wonder if those guys get face cramps from smiling all the time..Lol. We head back inside and find Dylan and Ty..they sweetly give out autographs and pose for pics. During Drowning Pools set, Sherry spots James by the side door. She says..Now's your chance!! Go go go!! We all froze! Now he's jumped up on something watching Drowning Pool..we aren't about to bother him now! Next thing we know he has disappeared..whoops!! We go out for some more air. When we come back in, we find a table to sit at. We notice Jeff at the merch table and Sherry sends Britt over to ask if James would be coming back in. He says he doesn't know, but maybe! So we wait! Sherry spots him peeking in from the side door and gets up. He tells her he doesn't have a pen. She says..that's okay, WE do!!! We pull out our sharpies and he proceeds to do autographs and pics. I gave him a necklace that Britt had bought for me to give him and he was trying to find a place to sign it..poor guy probably thought I'd lost my mind!! I told him no, the necklace was his..Lol.

We started to head for the door so Sherry could rescue her camera. As we wait, we spot a couple of guys at the bar. She says..isn't that Duke? He must have heard her because he turned around..Lol. I IS Duke!!! I went up and asked for his autograph and a pic. I think it took him by surprise!! Next thing I know, we are chatting and carrying on with Duke and Dylan. Sherry offers to buy them a drink and they turn the tables and buy us one!!! Duke asked what everyone wanted and I told him to take it easy on Tasha cause she JUST turned 21! He smiled and said..Oh I will!! Oh boy!!! As we are standing around talking and laughing, James comes in and joins in the conversation. It was like hanging out with dear old friends. James says he's hungry and wants some chips. I asked what kind cause I have chips in the car (and yes, they're in the trunk! Lol). He said Doritos! I have those! What flavor? I say regular and taco. He said he wants cool ranch. Whoops! I don't have that kind (bet I do next time..haha)!!

It's time for this amazing night to come to a close, We tell the guys bye and let them know we would see them in Texarkana.

I can't end this story without telling the last thing Tasha said before falling asleep. I don't remember the name of the shot that Duke bought, but out of nowhere, she says..Hey! I think they put something in my drink!!!! We laugh and say..yes they did! It's called alcohol!!! Lol

  • Hard Rock - Biloxi, MS - May 24, 2012
  • Socorro Entertainment Center - El Paso (Socorro), TX - May 26, 2012
  • Walter Gerrells PAC - Carlsbad, NM - May 27, 2012 - Shelly Browne & CuteMo

First a few warnings. This story begins with Biloxi and ends with Carlsbad because it was really one long trip for my ten year old daughter ("CuteMo") and I.  It also includes a lot of Buckcherry because not only are they really nice guys, but James told CuteMo that she should treasure the experience as he himself had told them what a cool person she is.  Probably lots of trip stuff in here, too, because if I ever get it written I might never write again.  Skip over what you’re not interested in, no judging from me.

Houston to Biloxi

I stayed up late getting things ready for Biloxi and woke up late on the skating party day-the skating party she “could not miss” and drove her to school to see the buses pulling out-went in to get permission to drive her to join them at the skating rink-drove to the skating rink-delivered her to the teacher-surrounded by tweenage girls-“Is CuteMo really going to a concert in Mississippi today?” –escaped-drove home to frantically get myself and the car ready-picked her up-took off-realized my phone was at home-turned back-had her change into her newly made studded black pants-(another reason we were up late!) and back on the road!

I-10 west is a speedway, but I have no luck making up time on I-10 east.  We stopped only once for gas and restroom and a lovely dinner of cashews and Coke for me and Pringles and M&M’s for her.  Yes, dinner-did you really think a sane mom would even make this trip? I finally hit good speed, but somewhere outside of Baton Rouge around 4pm traffic stopped dead.  All across one horribly high bridge and down while the bridge does that vibrating thing they do inches at a time and the only thing I hate worse than a giant bridge is a traffic filled bridge. Creep, creep, creep.  Abby arrives at the Casino, and I tweet Linda that we’re not going to make it now that we’ve lost more than an hour.  Finally we hit Mississippi and I get out of the pack and up to speed when my kid’s phone navigation goes out. No problem, I turn on my phone navigation-but in a crazy lane change my phone slides off, powers off and will not turn on even after removing the battery. What can we do? Pull over and cry. We turned down a road and suddenly the kid’s phone was talking, no map but we could hear navigation, and we took off.  7pm, 730pm. I put my battery back in and it turned on and we found the Hard Rock after some illegal U-turns, but I had not even considered the parking garage delay.  8pm, 815pm. We had already cried over missing James and now we wouldn’t even see all of Buckcherry , if any and we had bought our tickets the night before. Tweeted Linda we finally made it, and made our way inside.


CuteMo saw Buckcherry on the screens as we ran asking random people “which way to the concert?” they scanned the ticket and we moved to the fenced front area and got our stamp, but we were at the back. It was fun for me to finally see the show from further back without crushing danger. The girl selling drinks had a guy give us a milk crate for CuteMo to stand on, and every time someone turned around and saw she was a rocked out kiddo they made a space closer, and we inched up that way.  Ya’ll will never see this but thanks to each of you!  Even with the help she didn’t get close enough for Xavier or Stevie to see her.  Tweens don’t have a lot of life perspective at moments like this and this was a tragedy! Then finally I can get tweets through to discover that James left early and Linda had left and I couldn’t get in contact with Abby. For real, she would have made it if she could see her twitter bud Abby, but I had to walk her out in tears. No fault of Abby’s, CuteMo just loves her peeps almost equally. As we were walking around CuteMo thought she saw James on the screens she had seen Buckcherry on, but I laughed as I told her it was Billy Idol in Rebel Yell –check it out –hair and vest and it could be Blake to the left.

Meeting Xavier                                                  

We headed out, walked around and took pictures of each of us, and for strangers, and let a guy use my phone shouting about “why do people not trust each other nowadays “ because CuteMo drives me crazy if say no to a stranger. Linda kept trying to find Abby for me.  I thought well, Xavier (Buckcherry drummer ) came out for just a few seconds in Oklahoma to surprise & hug her,  and she had little interactions with Josh, Stevie & Keith during that show-maybe they wouldn’t mind if we found them at the bus. Taking a big chance, I just told her we were leaving now that she was calm. We found what I thought was the bus and a motorcycle dude came over and I asked if that would be the concert bus.  He’s like “Yea! That’s them! Buckcherry rules!!!” Only really loud.  Found a spaced out chick and she garbled something at us and said security already told her to leave, but we kept waiting. CuteMo had tweeted Xavier days before and he had tweeted back, and finally we have fantastic luck and Xavier comes out on the landing! She shouts “Xavier” and he shouts “Hey, Cutie” and comes down and over to me and formally introduces himself and asks if I’m okay with him being friends with her on Twitter.  Adorably classy. He asks her what’s going on at school, and she promises we’re driving back overnight. I ruin one picture of them because my hands are shaking but I manage the second one.  He gave us a hug (lived through that too, I have wacky social anxiety). 

Biloxi to Houston

We went to Waffle House-she wouldn’t give up hoping to find Dylan-got a MS souvenir and tweeted a bit –put the pillow and blanket in the back and headed out stopping at every exit in LA to check the gas stations for a souvenir, made it almost to TX before I found anything-I picked a fleur-de-lis bracelet, but she said she would have chosen the alligator tooth.  I got so sleepy once the sun came up and I had to slow down. Didn’t make it home until 920 am, I laid down at 10am-26 hours after I last slept-and set the alarm for 6 hours. At  4pm-CuteMo is patting my arm, let’s get going we can’t be late. We eat and pack and I decide to leave at night and nap in San Antonio-drop off the animals at my sister’s and we’re back on the road by midnight.

Houston to San Antonio to El Paso

Useless coolfax-you probably know James and the band stayed in Houston (basically where we live) between Biloxi and El Paso but also Buckcherry stayed in San Antonio- which is where we stopped at 4am and napped 4 hours-we even sleep like rockstars! The navigation sent us down a street with lots of lights so I went ahead and topped off the tank-LUCKY THING!!  Didn’t know I would get poor gas mileage with the mountains.  I’m from flat land! One of the reasons I thought this was a great road trip-we pretended to be Geico’s Maxwell pig every single time, WHEE WHEE WHEE! The speed limit is 80 and you know I was hitting more.  Eventually we lost the internet, phone reception, then navigation, and finally GPS.  That was awesome until I noticed we needed gas…and no way to check if we were approaching a town. Luckily here comes a town. Um, we saw no town.  Just a city limit sign.  Oh here comes another.  Fort Stockton. Then the gas light comes on.  We’re praying…a Dairy Queen sign appeared..then a gas station sign.  Saved!  Gas, bathroom, another nutritious meal of mac n cheese for her and a corn dog for me and M&Ms.  Somewhere between there and El Paso we hit the time zone and go back in time one hour meaning we’ll make El Paso in time to see Dead Sara –go check this girl-fronted band out if ya haven’t heard The Weatherman  My kid was all skeptical about Evanesence-a girl can sing rock? But then we only heard Amy from the street, so I was determined!  The scenery was amazing as it turned to desert & approaching El Paso a different type of mountain appeared.  There the border fence is on the edge and you look out over Mexico.

Buckcherry/Dead Sara at Wet N Wild El Paso

We found the water park Buckcherry and Dead Sara were at-James was in El Paso, but the venue was 18+-stopped and got a Subway sandwich and water to take in- temp reading in the car 102-parked paid and went in. The ticket girl tells us the water rides all close in 30 min, and I tell her we’re only here for the music, actually we’re seeing this concert to have a reasonable excuse to try to find James later! El Paso really has overall the nicest people I’ve ever encountered. Even when we found the stage on the barricade they were all laid back. They left the whole side bare between Dead Sara and Buckcherry.  I ate my sandwich calmly. We saw one other song besides Weatherman and Emily talked a lot about gratitude, and she went out in the crowd in front and went over the fence on our side.  CuteMo wanted to walk around but I still couldn’t believe people would remain cool. The woman next to me had planned to see James but her daughter isn’t 18 (who also likes In this Moment) so they were at Buckcherry together.  Then a bunch of different kids picked our side which was cool, some who played drums or guitar, some who had seen Buckcherry before. The barricades were really far from the stage, and the stage was high, but it was cool to be in daylight-without the lightshow-and able to get good pictures. 

Stevie D (guitarist) recognized her and tossed CuteMo a pick, and she raised her arms to make an X, so Stevie went over to tell Xavier, and he did all the sweetie pie stuff he does like making heart hands and smiling and pointing at her throughout the show.  Stevie really interacted with the kids, talking to them , tossing picks and he pointed at each kid saying you and you and you plug your ears when they played Lit Up  (cocaine) and shaking his head no, and Xavier was giving a frown. Josh (singer) had come over and pointed at CuteMo and put his fist out (fist bump) at the kids. I had warned them to plug their ears for his speech during Crazy B but he noticed and left out the nastiest 10%. A man was filming next to us and CuteMo was all rocking out with her hands in the air and I kept thinking I should tone her down, but it was a live concert, she totally loves them, and there were other places to stand. End result-I found the videos on youtube but they’re mostly of Josh, because every time the camera turns to the right she gets excited & jumps around again.  He didn’t even name most songs, so she’s definitely the bigger fan.


She didn’t catch a drumstick so Xavier said she could meet him at the bus. Then she has a frantic little freakout running around the whole fenced in stage and I give up on calming her and let her burn it off. Finally she picks a spot to wait, and Josh emerges and takes pics, and security hustles him off. Keith emerged, and I wanted a pic but Xavier came out then and lots of people wanted pics with him, and I had to keep an eye on her. Finally her turn and I took two pics of them. He told her to come with him-but bring her Mom-and we got to sit at a table with him and a guy filmed an interview question. Ha-the guy was like sorry for interrupting and CuteMo and I were all AWESOME! I managed to talk and listen (and breathe) although I’m never going to be able to ask a reasonable question. For example I know he thinks hot air balloons are cool but refused a ride in one. Stevie came by and I burst out “Stevie!” and I’m totally was that out loud? Uh oh it was but he asked CuteMo how many cities had he seen her at now and I took a pic of them. Then we talked a little more with Xavier and then it was time to go and he gave hugs and left. We were the last in the park and last car in the customer lot.

El Paso to Socorro, KrisAnn, James & Guys after Socorro

I headed for the Outlet Mall to see a glowing hot air balloon liftoff, but the wind picked up and they cancelled.  I was texting JenAx and I said I sure am about to go find a van with footprints on the seat and a UHaul trailer. The navigation sent us down the border fence but I hadn’t expected the stoplights so I was worried how long it would take to get there. Best of all…we arrived at Socorro Entertainment , parked in a courtyard, and as we walked up CuteMo asked “why are they playing Mexican music” but I’m not worried. We walk around and find a white van-someone came out and CuteMo said ask, quick, and she was right, not James at all. He said there was a new location 5 miles away, but I couldn’t find anything on the internet or navigation.  Now JenAx had planned to be at this one, but didn’t come. KrisAnn was going to Carlsbad-she had tweeted to ask for a ride for that one. I had no one to call now, so I asked security at the front and he gave directions, but he said to drop the kid off first. We found it ok, made a circle and found the van & UHaul. We parked and ran over. But what was this? A woman was waiting on the bench.  CMo and I were like-could be a crazy person as opposed to our sane selves-and we approached-it was dark but I figured out when she said she met James in El Paso last month it was KrisAnn.  I didn’t know she was going and I didn’t tell her I might stalk Socorro in case she thought it was nuts! She got to buy the busted drumhead from the Idol HTH performance from James before the show.

Her hubby came out- and we met and then we hear a skateboard in the other parking lot, yes it was James, but CuteMo was too shy to run over and he went back in without seeing her. Duke came out and KrisAnn chatted with him and then Brandon. Duke pulled away in the van but was just lining up to back close to the door. James came out and KrisAnn was all here are these crazy Houston girls who were too late to see you last night and they’ve been at Buckcherry today and here to see you just for a minute and tomorrow at Carlsbad and how can we get VIP cause we have to see you. Except with no spaces between her words cause she talks really fast! CuteMo wasn’t in her rock outfit so it took him an extra second to place her, but he was all “Didn’t know you were waiting, we were just eating, no VIP to get, can only get you in free” KrisAnn was like we have tickets, we just wanna be able to see you, and he said You’ll see me, You’ll see me.  CuteMo told him about her new pants and then we took pics and he got in the van. Blake had promised KrisAnn  pics and he took some with them and us and they drove away.

El Paso to Carlsbad

I realized I had not found a hotel room or eaten and KrisAnn’s hubby was so kind calling their hotel and arranging a room, then finding somewhere to eat midnight breakfast and letting us follow. We were upgraded to a suite with a kitchen for the same price. Next morning a fabulous free breakfast , and we booked a room at the same motel as KrisAnn, since we’d be riding together –Carlsbad was booked solid, K swears due to Metal Bash. CuteMo and I woke with bloody lips from the dry air, and we felt like fish on the dock, drinking a bottle of water to walk into Kmart and having to buy another inside to walk out. We were planning on the caves, but we had such a blast on the drive. Kept stopping, taking pictures, looking at plants, animals, one dead coyote, pictures in the sand, went through border patrol, fires on the mountain that she was convinced was a volcano.  We stopped at the cave entrance but decided there wasn’t time, but did find out we needed warm clothes. Pulled into Carlsbad and all on the main street was the venue, then Wal-Mart , then our motel. Seemed okay but she was uncomfortable with the old style place-cracks under the door, window in the bathroom, door on the landing. Took a while and some twittering to get her into the tub. We were ready about the same time as KrisAnn.

Carlsbad Venue

As we were getting in the car wearing my Outcast Army shirt and CuteMo in her mini version of James studded /patched black jeans a couple in the truck next to us asked if we were the opening act for Buckcherry.  LOL!  I’m sure they were blown away if that was the height of their expectations! Pulled up to Krisann’s door as she’s furiously uploading James’ Socorro performances and she hopped in and treated us to her reworded version of Black Velvet (James Durbin, if you please) while I ran into Subway for a sandwich.  We’re getting anxious so we head to the venue and there is already a line. Maybe 20 or so?  It’s windy and it’s in the sun and it’s SO FREAKING DRY but what’s this? They bring the bar outside and sell drinks to the line! I start talking to everyone to find out what I can, permanent seats (bolted to the floor, no one will THROW these, a guy promises me???!!!), not a huge stage area, no idea if we grab seats or what. So I ask the security guy at the door-do we get to stand at the barricade-he doesn’t know but if we do better not climb over. Ahh, now we can hear sound check –Is that Jeff, yes says CuteMo, it’s not the bit the guy plays for Xavier –oh she’d know-then the guitars, then OMG JAMES IS SINGING SCREAMING ( I think ..) then he does some inhuman air raid thing going low to high to crazy high and everyone on the steps is popping their heads up like meerkats and then we’re like WHOOHOO and other people, too and the line has for sure 100 people now. The security guy says ok we’ve got the word to do a pat down so if you have a blade get it to your car now, and 20% of the line shoots off to their car and I start to think this might be a rough one.

Keep seeing people inside and wondering WTH.  OH, they’re letting them go to the bathroom.  So  of course I’m there and telling them again we gotta know can we stand or do we have to claim a seat-and I go in and check the route to the stage-meet a girl from Galveston in the bathroom (that’s our beach even tho it’s 100 miles from me)-find a lost phone in the stall and I go back and take it to the merch table and then they’re letting them in but I’M STILL INSIDE and Krisann is pushing CuteMo in cause I have our tickets and we’re RUNNING and most go to the left so I steer us to the right and we get 4 seats aisle front row. We’re talking to the security, we HAVE to stand up, and talking to everyone around –YA’LL have to stand up! Security walks back and forth-you have to claim a seat or you can’t stand-they are going to count-but others can stand in the aisle –then later they change and say no standing in the aisle so we give one seat to a guy that ran to rails with us (he didn’t even know James was on Idol-he had just seen videos) -and they keep telling us-come over the barricade and you’re out-but if you get thrown over??!!! They’ll understand.  I’m all okay can we touch the stage –KrisAnn and I demonstrate-sometimes we might get a fistbump or a pick. They did seem cool and sympathetic. So I do my usual of this kid has been at 4 Buckcherry concerts no problem but I will leave her a space and I’ll do what’s necessary to protect her but it’s all been cool so far-and I tell each security guy-If I need to I will put her over the rail-but only from danger. Krisann finds 2 friends and one is a guy I had already found on twitter-funny youtubes-and there’s a couple that used to live where I work-so great- we’re surrounded by rational people-and I show CuteMo that there are about 7 kids 9-13 on the next aisle back.

We all use the bathroom one at time, Krisann checks the merch-we have it all-We move over to the aisle and CuteMo stands on the three rail barricade. Then the lights blink- and all that was for nothing because when the lights went out they stampeded from outside to the front and we were packed like sardines.

James on Stage

James and the band come out, they only turn the lights on Jeff-I have no pics from the beginning because of this (I only recently read that you need to turn off the flash for the band’s eyes).  The crowd had their fists up, horns up, actual head banging we could see on the barricade line. I was so thrilled thinking how great this was to end the Spring tour-At Houston and Concho the crowd drifted in and came around and then really kicked in and peaked at Rainbow in the Dark-but this crowd was loving them from first note. Everyone was rocking out but I wasn’t nervous like during Buckcherry where security has to drag people out. They turned on the lights, crowd ramps up but it’s ok, I started taking pictures and I notice a cute photographer at the back of stage realize it’s Stevie D (Buckcherry guitarist) and I bend to point him out to CuteMo and that’s what I’m doing in that end of tour shot Dylan tweeted. You’ve probably seen his photos of James and the band during the tour and so I took a couple of him taking the pics. James starts the set hard with Stand Up, Outcast, & Deeper.

CuteMo earns her Outcast Army Purple Heart

I’m filming Deeper and a dude at the other end of our rail section starts swaying the barricade, not too roughly, but CuteMo falls off.  Now my son has told me before to remember that the barricades are designed to contain and not crush adult height people, and that her big risk is due to her head, chest, and pelvis being at crush height and that taller people will fall over her in a crush. I had to promise him to get her out if the crowd seems dangerous. So these are heavy iron? Steel? Cylindrical 3 rail fence type sitting in bases and the sections have pins that slide down in the next into a hole. The weight should keep them down.  I check, our little group looks at each other, I help her back up-I want her head at our height for safety. Security tells the guy, “cool man, rock out but step back from the barricade”. He sways harder, this knocks the big guys back a step and tosses CuteMo . Now we’re all looking and pointing at the guy and more security steps over and they put hands on his shoulders and say “Look man there’s a kid step back from THIS barricade”. So everyone around is like-it’s one degree too much.  If you’ve seen videos or James live you know he closes his eyes a lot and is in the zone. So he didn’t see it all.

Time for Liberate.. and awesomely the crowd ramps up more. It’s an all ages crowd so they know not to let it get too far, and Buckcherry’s security sets the limits but I still give up on pics and put my camera up and prepare for people to push for the front, usually the danger is from behind but this guy even after the warnings starts rocking the barricade. He knocks the big guys back beside me but I’m trying to keep her on so she doesn’t get hit in the face and as they are trying to get him to stop he jumps up on it and bounces it and jumps off. She was knocked off and hit in the chest and as she tried to get her breath he jumped again and cracked her in the hip. I couldn’t even see this happen as we were all like why aren’t they taking this guy out and it’s Liberate and everyone is into it but CuteMo can’t breathe or straighten up and she’s shaking her hands and tears are spraying out and Krisann is freaked like me and I signal the security main guy I need help and James is finishing and the main guy says Everybody back to your seats. James is going into the next song and this guy is still at it. I can’t hear her or help her, I’m scared he’s gonna get the rails knocked over or jumped out of their holes and she’s gonna get critically injured .  James hears him say go back to your seats and says “DO WE HAVE AN ISSUE? THESE PEOPLE ARE GOING TO STAND HERE. DON’T LET ONE A$$HOLE RUIN IT FOR EVERYONE ELSE” and I’m “she’s hurt-she’s hurt” and I’m thinking I’ve got to leave but how to safely now that security stepped back and James starts to sing and CuteMo hasn’t stopped crying or talked still and the guy is rocking again.

I just start screaming to Dylan and then James turns and I ramp it up to him and he stops and says “IF IT WILL SOLVE A PROBLEM, YOU (points to me) AND YOU (points to CuteMo) and for an instant my heart stops beating and I’m thinking he’s throwing me out and then I’m well, ya gotta do what ya gotta do but get security to help us out but he says SECURITY BRING THESE TWO ON STAGE,  and even the guy stops and security and the other guys are getting the barricades apart and helping CuteMo and I’m putting my hands over my heart and saying thank you, thank you and I get her on stage and she calms down. The guy is up on the barricade again shouting thank you to James and Dylan comes over to check on us and I say sorry, sorry it was that she was hurt while James is saying “This little girl and her mom have been to more of my concerts than I’ve been at mentally”. To me this lasted forever like a roller coaster-this is cool –we’re going to die-James is helping-no he’s encouraging it-He hears me-oh he’s kicking us out-no, he’s letting us onstage! I feel so bad for interrupting the concert and screaming at Dylan and James but I honestly thought my kiddo was gonna get crushed.  I can’t imagine that he’s thought about an action plan for if people get hurt, but I was so impressed with his judgement calls. Right Behind You was the next song which was so cool because that’s the song he gave her the Idol bandana before in Corpus and HE DIDN’T LET HER DIE.  I was shaking and tearing up through it this time, she was still hurting, but Dylan kept coming over and Jeff was smiling at her and it started to sink in that being on stage was cool. James said to the crowd “I BET YOU NEVER THOUGHT …YOU’D HAVE THIS MUCH FUN…AT A …JAMES DURBIN…CONCERT.”   Love Me Bad was next and my hands stopped shaking and I could take pics.

I was sitting at the edge while she was onstage but I figured it would get bad during Rainbow so I scrambled up and I wanted to film it. It was so awesome to see a sea of horns and people just going crazy. I took several of the crowd.  James finished by saying “We love you, Ronnie, we miss you Ronnie”. We could hear Dylan’s boots hit the stage when he jumped.  I hadn’t heard Crawling Home as he didn’t sing it at any I’ve been to (I have heard Back for More live) Of course  I loved it. I just filmed the last bit. Then Higher Than Heaven which I’m glad is second to last in the set because it is my favorite. I can leave it on repeat for more than an hour so I’m so happy to hear it live, but Love in Ruins I’ve broken up with. I loved it after Corpus Christi, but as it started to mean the end of the set to me I won’t be able to listen to the whole thing again until the setlist changes.  I caught where he does the Durbend and the jump from the side this time. I wish I had more.  My videos from Concho had a comment that the sound was so terrible there wasn’t much point in posting (the worst) so I was feeling it wasn’t helpful to record, but I didn’t realize the sound would be okay onstage.  I sound calm, but it was insane!

Much too soon it was over.  We never try to catch anything, we feel so lucky to have seen them so many times, and VIP and M&G-but Dylan came over and gave her the pick, and then Jeff held up the drumsticks and brought one to her. But after all, she took the hit to take them to full metal status , right? First injury!  Caught in a mosh! She and KrisAnn had talked to Brandon about the setlists, and he signaled her to pull them. Dylan was the last one off stage and when CuteMo walked over the crowd cheered.  I have an adorable pic where she stops on her knees to read the list.

Back to the floor for Buckcherry

The main security guy came out and said they had tried to let us stay on stage for Buckcherry, but their security said “no, sorry”.  I said, ok, but we waited over an hour outside and did what we were told, those are our seats .  They discussed it and put us back by KrisAnn, but they told us we had to give up that center rail-the guy was still at the other end, and they moved the big guys (my twitter pal and KrisAnn’s real life pal) to that rail and told them to prevent the rail from hitting us. Then they made the people who packed behind us move, and brought all the kids up from the second row and had them stand in the seats. The main guy kept coming over and shaking his fist-you kids better not do anything crazy-I’ll drag you all right out-he was teasing! They assigned us our very own guy. Just wanted to let ya’ll know why I felt okay to be in the crowd again. So then all the kids crowd up and ask CuteMo what’s the deal and she says “James is just awesome like that!”  The most adorable girl popped up and asked if she could have my spot, and because none of CuteMo’s friend’s moms will let me take their kid out of state to see rock bands I said sure.  Instant buddies!  She tells them everyone’s name in Buckcherry. We had just seen them the day before at El Paso, and 2 days before at Biloxi, and I’m sure they knew she got hurt. KrisAnn’s husband had missed James’ set, and she left when he finally arrived.

Buckcherry starts

The lights flashed and the mix played and Buckcherry took their places.  When Josh started the first song the guy who had hurt CuteMo jumped up on the rail again and it was a swarm of security.  HAHHAHA!!!  I hope he didn’t get any bruises!  Now I can calm down, you know except for the blades/chair throwing potential.  Josh (singer) came over and waved at her, and Stevie gave her the first pick, but drummer Xavier holds a place close to James in her heart and it took til the song ended for Stevie to point her out to him with her arms making an X in the air. Then they’re doing their heart hands and smiles. He sent her a drumstick via Stevie, and then Stevie started tossing picks. The guy from TX (beside us since the line outside) was hilarious and he kept offering me money to get CuteMo to stand with him so he could get his wife a pick. CuteMo later asked Xavier for a drumstick for her new pal, so cute when she and Stevie were signing back and forth, and he sent it to her. So then the guy started offering HER money to stand by him, LOL.

The crowd parts in that bad luck aisle, and it looks like a fight, but a big dude gets up rubbing his head and making an all cool signal, apparently he fell down and had trouble getting back up..the crowd laughed including onstage.  Jimmy the bass player is usually reserved, but he seemed to really get into this show ..the atmosphere was wired.    CuteMo and her pal are going at it like only that age can, managing to chatter at each other, share pics, and do their best to flirt with rockstars.  A real fight broke out-women, I think- and security stopped it quickly.  Sometime here I notice that James is now at the edge of the stage, and point him out to CuteMo . More screaming from those two. Our cameras are dying and I put hers in her pocket, and I take some with James in the background, now I’m in the red.

Up onstage again for CuteMo

A big fight breaks out, in that aisle next to us, and security wades in. The fight continues and spreads, we can see security at the edge, but the edge is getting closer. Our group gets concerned. There’s a tiny girl, maybe 7 with her teen sister behind and to the left.  I grab her and move her to the rails and the TX guy’s wife puts her on the barricade rails with her arms around. The teen is like, give me my sister, but I pull her over to us and the wife tells her the kid has to be at the rails if it comes down our barricade. Josh comes to sing in front of us, but only the girls are looking, we’re all turned around because security still hasn’t got it controlled, still crushing our direction.  Josh says (during the song!) “What’s wrong? Are you kids scared?” I turn and he has his hand out to CuteMo and says “You kids wanna come on stage?“  So I FREAK, wondering what he saw because why the hell couldn’t security get it under control. CuteMo was climbing and I tried to push her and she jumped at the same time and landed arms on stage, legs on rails, Josh and Stevie had to help her up. The other girl stepped up and jumped off the rails to the stage.

I turned and grabbed the little girl and slung her up on the rails-I paid for all that with my back! Then the sister and a boy. Josh motioned at CuteMo to come over by him, but Xavier motioned at her, too and you know she shot back there.  Someone gave her a stool to sit by Xavier and the other kids stood by the speaker and the one pic I got as my phone died is of her filming Xavier. C’mon, what would you do if you were on stage with Buckcherry for 2 minutes?  Josh said “Man, I can’t stand to see kids scared, somebody is getting the $h!t kicked out of him! The funny guy noticed that some snooty chicks had pushed into the space left by the kids and he asked “Don’t you think you earned a spot at the rail? Push back in there”-and slammed into me from the side, popping them out, which was hilarious at the time. We looked up from that to see the kids missing and I asked “my” security guy -Where’s the kids? He said Backstage-I said Can they see (doing the fingers to eyes thing) and he shrugged …Stevie went offstage and I didn’t even think on it because he changes guitars and techs work on them at times..but he came out and did the fingers to eyes thing at me..and pointed to the kids at the edge..and nodded.  Sweet!!!  So CuteMo is gesturing wildly at the security guy and taking steps toward me and pulling her pal and the guy shrugs and lets her back and we help the kids over and they get their spots back.

I only got the one pic of her onstage and my phone is dead but stuff is still happening… The girls get an idea to touch Stevie’s hair and adorableness ensues as they try to convince him, and finally comes to the edge and bends way over and they touch and scream.  You’ve heard how Josh calls James/Band  the Young Lions and says they’re leading the way as Buckcherry gets older but this time he talked about the tour was ending til Canada and in the next song he did James’ rolling on the floor thing as a tribute, which is freaking awesome if you’ve heard James say that Josh was a big influence on his stage movement style. 

Dylan & James

Then it was over, and I was kinda shellshocked .  A set of kids were asking us how they could meet everyone and I tell them I don’t know-we’ve been lucky, you can try what we try. A grown lady joined us, telling me how long she’s loved James, and asks if he’s coming out. I see Dylan and ask for a pic with CuteMo, and dudes are talking all about musician stuff.   A dude from Rock N roll Industries took a pic of CuteMo  and told her he might put it in the magazine. Someone asked Dylan what he does with the guitar strings since they cut them and restring during break and this guy collects them. The guitars were already packed, but Dylan went back to dig his out. A couple kids had to leave and few more grown folks joined us.  CuteMo got sorta frantic but I told her Dylan wouldn’t disappear. 

He came back saying he brought a present (the strings) and a human present (James).  James was set on untangling the wires and he and Dylan chatted while other people watched.  CuteMo said she has a guitar, but she sucks at it, and Dylan asked her how old she is-ten-and said he sucked at ten, too, since he didn’t start playing til twelve and James was teasing both of them.  I thought my heart would burst.  The grown lady was just mouth hanging open, “OMG, OMG”, whispering “he’s so beautiful”.  So I whisper back “Maybe you want to take pictures”…..LOL …and she did. I was using the last of CuteMo’s phone battery on video of it and I’m glad because I have one of James deadpanning a joke and it takes a second to get it, and we all laugh and Dylan jumps up and hugs James.  People took pics, and I took two for that lady, she took one for us-bad because the battery was on power saver..but I don’t regret it..LOL.  He was signing-he and Dylan signed CuteMo’s phone, and someone got a seatbelt Buckle belt signed-they pointed out to James that I was wearing the  I

Dylan and James talked a long time with the guy from RNRI -mag-he had a lot of cool old pictures and stories. He pulled out these stone picks he makes and gave one to James and one to CuteMo. He dropped one as he put the others back in his pocket and when he bent to get it, one of Blake’s In this Moment picks was on the ground. He wondered how it got that far from the stage, and I said somebody’s gonna be sad they dropped it (Krisann hung on to hers, I see!). CuteMo asked if she could have it and James gave it to her, saying “but that’s his OLD band.”  Then he asked her if she would like to have some of his picks. He gave her his own pick and said it was his last and would need to get more.  Then he pulled out a razor shaped pick and I knew it was Jimmy’s and he was explaining to her it was Buckcherry’s bass player’s and she lit up and said Jimmy Two Fingers-the one I haven’t got! So he was happy she knew and was excited to get it. He patted his pockets and said now I’ve given you everything, I won’t have anything else until the new tour starts. He inspected her new copy of his tour pants and told her she needed to sew, not glue, and that she needed to put patches on the pockets.   I asked about Fayetteville and said it sounded like a lot of people were already planning to come and they said they truly do not have any idea about dates, that it seems the fans find out first. Hugs for CuteMo and they said they’d see us at that next date-(this was before the Canada announcements.) As we walked out that lady was still following us and I told her she would probably be in a daze like that for days and she probably wouldn’t sleep for a day or two.

The bus

Of course I needed water-my water bottle and KrisAnn’s were destroyed during James’ wild set!!!  Went to the bathroom and on the way out found Bubba, Buckcherry’s security, packing their merch table, and I paused to thank him for letting the kids onstage. He does a fantastic job, I think.  After all the warnings CuteMo and I have heard, this is the only show she’s been hurt at. Went to the car and plugged up the phones and CuteMo tweeted a bit, but then she wanted to check who might be at the buses-I told her to leave James and Dylan alone, but she could say thanks and bye to anyone else. Drove her around back and she thought she saw Xavier in the group, so I parked and told her she’d have to walk alone to the gate, I felt kinda OVERWHELMED!! A chick came up to borrow a lighter and CuteMo was still wanting me to walk over, and the lady told her she’d walk with her because she was looking for her husband. So I let her go over and just about the time I was going after her she came up with the lady who said “that’s cool  she knows them, she was talking away..” CuteMo told me she found Xavier and was talking with him, but they were all hanging out, even James.  He asked her where her Mom was to make sure I knew where she was, and she says in the car-he asked if I was tired-and she told him no, she’s  looking at Twitter…Nice.  I don’t know what’s a better excuse...overwhelmed or twittering.

We drove off and tried to find somewhere to get a drink…Carlsbad’s gas stations close by midnight-or maybe it’s because the Metal Bash was in town...couldn’t even find a loaded soda machine...finally I remembered WalMart…and as I was buying a soda we heard a skateboard... we’re not THAT lucky...just a kid that worked for Walmart but it made us laugh. At the motel I had to bring in all the picks and sticks, I’m always freaked that someone could break in/steal the car….and I would be saying but I lost the picks! Next day we went to look at the venue one last time… decided to be total freaks and scour the parking lot….found a piece of big sticky tape and I was all squicky about unwrapping it (it coulda been medical waste or something grosser) but it turned out to say Durbin in black marker-maybe it was where they opened the guitars for the strings…and we took their Chili’s receipt from the trash. 

  • Pet-a-Palooza - Tampa/Clearwater, FL - Mar 11, 2012
  • Hard Rock -Biloxi, MS - May 24, 2012 - Abby York

3/11/12 - Tampa/Clearwater, FL Play 98.7 radio Pet-a-Palooza

heres how it all started... so one day in march i thought about doing James' fansite contest but then i got discouraged, i got stuck and didnt believe in myself so..i gave up. but! not for long - i tried again and bam! i did it and he picked it and so did everyone else! wow, really?! lol but the day i did it, the next day Eventful emailed me their set for the week... i usually delete them because half the time it's no one i know or like... but for some strange reason i opened this one... omg not another.... what what what is that?? i look over to my mom "who who who is that?? does does does that say c c c clearwater?? is this a spam? James Durbin in clearwater? one minute away from me??!! noooo? really? so i tweet Heidi 'is James really coming to clearwater florida!?' and she says no i dont think so... bummer! it was a spam! or was it? she tweets back im sorry, you were right he is! you know more than me - its so hard to keep up with his schedual he's all over the place! so there it is march 11 at 11 am - yea thats right the 11th at 11 and it was the best day ever! as we were walking around waiting for them to hit the stage - it was accoustic by the way - we were watching all the people be dumb, making their dogs wear clothes and walk on this hot sunny day by the marina... and then! i saw James sitting doing a sound check! :) so i wave my hand at my mom and sister to come... 'is that him?' because this was the first time they had seen him with his blonde hair so i say yeah! so we go up there and i grab my spot and i never left even when they left after souncheck. then they came back with their water and James has coconut water! the exact same one we use! so they started and were awesome - he did mama im coming home - perfect! and he was done but someone asked if he would do love in ruins so he said i wasnt going to... but since you asked so nice ok. so then they were done and he was signing for fans and the line moved pretty quick so when it was my turn he asked for my name i said abby, and he lit up and said 'real fast abby?!' so i said yes!! he remembered me from somewhere!! not sure where lol :) so he signed my shirt i bought there and i had my cd cover too but they said to only give him one thing because he's tired and hot and wants to go but he's being nice so respect him, so i did i picked up my shirt and he saw the cd as i was turning away and he said... you want me to sign that too??! so i said yeah! and he did :) that was my first best day ever!!

Hard Rock, Biloxi, MS - 5/24/12

the second was may 24 a day after my birthday. i found this one when we moved this time it was amplified so we made it happen - things kept coming up but we made it happen!! they were great! we got floor tickets so we were close - they were in the middle but i hate being in the middle with a passion, i need an edge so i grabbed an edge spot right in Blakes face! score! not James but good 'nuff! he smiled the whole time! James took pose shots as he was singing - they were so loud and all over the stage - so much energy i loved it! i was taking pics, rocking out and he does that crazy durb-bend and my phone goes white!! are you serious?? so i missed it but i atleast got a mini bend!! then when they were done and leaving i knew i had to go out there - i had to follow him! something was saying he's out there plus when has he ever just left like that without meeting some fans? so i go to leave but its loud and crowded and i have a broken phone! and they were watching buckcherry waiting for a certain song. so we finally make it out and they're gone - we looked everywhere but when we were in the concert venue i look up and there was jeff texting and of course i froze! why not?! he walks to the bar... and the next thing i know i trot up there too! and i'm smiling and waving as he's talking to a girl! so he sees me and smiles/waves back and he sees my tour shirt and he hand talks - it was loud so we had to talk with our face and hands lol - you want me to sign that? so i say with my face yeah sure! with his hands you have a pen? dammit! no pen... then he makes a sad face then my mom shows him her phone and points at me and him and he shoves the girl and comes by me and we have a pic! then when we got to our hotel and i checked twitter and tweeted James and them and then i saw i was right... he was out there having dinner and took pics with some fans! i was so devastated, i was literally up all night i wanted to meet him so bad - it was my birthday! and thank them for doing all they do and give them what i made. so i saw that Heidi made a facebook page on the 23rd so i asked her if James would sign my tour shirt if i sent it to him. the next day i had wore my tour shirt all day and people kept stopping me saying did you see James Durbin?! he was awesome! that was a roulette dealer, a staff person who said did you see James Durbin but he didnt get to watch his concert but did talk to him - his energy filled up the whole place, everyone loved him so i was still sad but that me feel better and i smiled with my james shirt on! later Heidi responded and said i dont know about the guys their so spread apart but James would love to sign it. :) and after that i told my sister he was going to illy this summer and she said really? we can pass ky where her friend is and i said yea mine too we could see friends get a tattoo and see James! so that made me feel even better knowing i could get a 2nd chance :) and then i had tweeted Dylan asking if he and the guys had fanmail or does it all go to Captain James? and James answered! he said all to Captain James! i guess he liked my name for him :) so that was my awesome - emotional but awesome James adventure! :) keeping all energy feelings and thoughts strong that i get to see him this summer \m/ \m/ and to remember and actually do that and not chicken out -
by abby york

  • Durbin Day 2.0 - Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, CA - May 19, 2012 - Nancy Revelle
My BFF Cindy and I arrived in Santa Cruz about 2 pm on Friday afternoon, May 18th, after a give-or-take four hour drive north from the San Luis Obispo area.  We went directly to Zoccoli’s and were the first Durbs to arrive.  I thought I recognized Patty Zoccoli from the deli’s Facebook images, so when I was paying for my soda, I asked if she was Patty and she smiled and said “yes” – at which point I fanned out my black, white and silver “Durbinator” nails for her to read.  She laughed and laughed and called others over to see.  We got some drinks and chilled at the sidewalk café tables with a big smile plastered on my face in the beautiful Santa Cruz sunshine.   

Over the next few hours, our “party” began arriving - Marissa and her mom, Mary - two of the sweetest people on the face of the earth - James’ mom Judy and some of James’ cousins, Kristina Bossaert, Wanda Best, Linda Seltzer, Mary Margaret, Debi Thompson-Boring, LeAnn Marie Resh, Eleanor Gorham and Carol St. Clare (and if I’ve missed someone I humbly apologize!) and we all talked the hours away. We began to despair for the arrival of Michelle Desdanny, Sherry Serevino and Janie Hubert - but eventually they too conquered their GPS and fatigue and made it downtown to join us!  We oohed and aahed over Michelle and Sherry’s new Durbinator tattoos, hugged everyone in sight and settled down to eat.  Some of us had Durbinator sandwiches, some of us had salads or other munchies but everything Patty served was To. Die. For.  We took pictures in front of the now-iconic Zoccoli’s sign for posterity and Facebook. :)  

Eventually Cindy and I left to check in at our motel (we stayed at the Carousel right off the Boardwalk) and get some rest for tomorrow, where we proceeded to shred the Durbin Day tee shirts I’d had made for us with fringe and ladder-sleeves.  They came out great!  We “customized” a half dozen beach balls with “Durbin Rocks” and “” for entertainment while we wait for James’ show on the beach, and tied cool skull and peace sign bandanas around our sun hats and laid out everything we’d need for the beach in the morning.  We took a short walk on the beach as the sun went down, then finally we got some sleep.  

The alarm went off at 8 am and with bleary sleep-filled eyes I checked Twitter on my phone, to find a picture of the beach in front of the stage ALREADY filling with blankets.   We catapulted out of bed, checked out of the motel and rushed the one block to the Boardwalk (you can’t beat that with a stick!) to find Linda Seltzer and Wanda Best representing and claiming space for the Durbinators!  Woo Hoo!  We weren’t too late!  We spread our own blanket and chairs out (on the front row!), and chatted a while.  When we finally realized we were hungry (no food, no coffee!), Linda and Wanda recommended Gilda’s down on the Wharf for a great breakfast, so Cindy and I along with Kerri Hendrickson drove down to the Wharf (we had to move the car anyway), while I texted Michelle, Sherry, Janie and LeeLee to come join us, which they did after setting up their blankets too.   We all had a FABULOUS breakfast (well, Michelle had lunch but that’s a technicality) and talked and laughed and talked and laughed and talked some more.   One of the bus boys teased us that James had been in for breakfast earlier but at our mock-glares and savage looks he recounted and fessed up to his little white lie.   A good time was had by all.  
Then we navigated the steadily growing throng of cars on Beach St. to the parking lot, did manage to find a place (whew!) and once more walked the short block to the Beach Boardwalk.  More hugs, more Durb introductions and LOTS more talk and laughter.  

Late morning passed into early afternoon while we waited on the beach.  The Emperor’s Circus performed at noon (yawn) for a half hour.  We checked our watches and phones for the time.  Really? It’s only 12:30??  Argh!  

At some point in the early afternoon, somewhere around 2:30, we began to see familiar faces.  Gorgeous Mona and her hunk Ty chatted with us and graciously posed for pics with various Durbs; beautiful Nina appeared in a stunning skin-tight short dress and her snakeskin heels she’d posted pics of on Twitter the day before and showered us with hugs and names-remembered.  <3  Jeff’s spiked mohawk was spotted coming down the walk to the stage area and he took a few photos with us as well.  Blake was next down the walkway and spent a LOT of time with everyone, never hurrying us or cutting anyone short and never appearing anything but delighted to lavish his attention on all the fans.  He is such a gracious and generous young man.  Dylan was spied next, sitting on the steps with Nina and later chatting and posing for pics with us as well.   Duke and several stage crew were busy setting up speakers and cables and big Marshalls with a promise of the wall of sound that was to come later.  There was only one person missing...

We watched like hawks for the tall, handsome blonde hero we had all come to see.  And we watched.  And watched.  Marissa reported that someone had seen him on the Boardwalk.  Still we watched.  And then....!

Coming down the walkway, a group of security guards surrounded that familiar sight we longed to see - James was carrying his adorable Hunter and Heidi was at his side!!  We squealed and cheered our loudest and a few lucky fans snapped quick photos as they passed by us on their way to the stage’s rear entrance.  

Now everyone was absolutely buzzed and high on the adrenaline rush of finally seeing James.  All eyes were on the stage as Jeff set up his drums, and as Blake, Ty and Dylan readied their guitars.  Sound checks went on and on.  We snapped photo after photo after photo.   James came on stage and did his own sound checks to more screams and cheers from the loyal Durbinators in his front-row Outcast Army.  He seemed sooooo happy to be home.  We all just glowed with pride.  

Slowly the sound checks wound down and the band began to leave the stage to chill out a bit before the show.  Sherry caught the bouquet of the day though when she captured video of little Hunter sitting at Jeff’s drum set (with Jeff’s help) playing him some snare and cymbal to the roar of the Durbs.   Hunter was smiling from ear to ear - a smile we all know and love in his daddy - and he truly is a rocker in the making!  If you haven’t seen this video you should run, not walk, and watch it straight away because it’s the sweetest thing EVAR.   I couldn’t see Hunter from where I was, but I did capture several shots of his gorgeous mommy snapping pics of him from the stage.  

More waiting with anticipation building as 5:30 approached soooo very slowly.  Durbs made last minute trips to the rest rooms and security pushed us back off the walkway before the stage.   All in all, we’d collectively been “in place” for 10 ½ hours - Durbinators are nothing if not devoted, patient and steadfast!

And then - FINALLY it was 5:30!  But wait - the security guards were telling us to SIT DOWN so people behind us could see.  WHAT?  You don’t SIT DOWN at a James Durbin concert!!!  It’s not allowed!!!  WTH!?!?  Durbinators frantically Tweeted James telling him what was happening.   Phone calls were made - and then... last the band emerged and James was welcomed home (in a united chorus of Durbinator voices!) and showered with love and cheers as he took the stage to Stand Up.  Jeff motioned us all to GET UP and James did the same.   I followed orders - James’, not security’s!!!  I was told twice to sit down - the first time I said to the guard “James said to STAND UP!” and the second time, when security said “sit down - the people behind you can’t see,” I yelled “THEN THEY NEED TO STAND UP TOO!!”   He gave me no more trouble for the rest of the concert.  There is no crossing a determined Durbinator! :-D

The set covered almost everything from MOABD - Stand Up, Outcast, Deeper, All I Want, Screaming, Liberate (which the crowd really got into!), Love Me Bad, Right Behind You, and an amazing cover of Rainbow in the Dark which James dedicated to the memory of Ronnie James Dio.  Ty and Dylan flipped guitar picks to the audience every other song or so - and Ty’s first one hit me in the ear, then landed on my beach chair (and then in my pocket)!  After Crawling Home (which I cried to, knowing how much James loves being home with his family), they signed off and thanked us for coming out, but we were having none of that!  Cheers and chants of Dur-Bin! Dur-Bin! caught on and spread through the crowd like wildfire.  He made us wait - but he came back!!  

And he had a surprise in store, too.  Back on stage alone with a beautiful black acoustic guitar in hand and a stool.  We wondered what was coming - Ozzie’s “Mama I’m Comin’ Home? - maybe Skid Row’s “18 and Life?” - James sat down, tuned and adjusted his guitar and strummed a few random chords...  and then, completely out of nowhere....  blindsiding us all with a tidal wave of emotion... comes “May.”  

He wasn’t halfway through the first verse when my floodgates opened and tears were everywhere.  I almost always tear up when I play the CD version of this song, but that is NOTHING compared to hearing and seeing it live - in the flesh - all raw and ripping your insides out.  You could feel James fighting his own welling-up of emotion as he delivered every note perfectly, the falsettos sweet and angelic - the chorus aching and yearning.   It was absolutely, perfectly, heart-wrenchingly beautiful.  He reached right into each and every one of our hearts in the moments of that song and no one who was there will ever forget his touch.  It was a Master Class in connecting with an audience, and a precious, priceless gift to us all.   

But he wasn’t ending on such a bittersweet note - oh no.  We had some rockin’ to do yet, and he was about to take us back up - “Higher Than Heaven,” and a bonus “Love In Ruins” to make sure we left with a great big smile on our faces!  He even threw in a little “wardrobe manipulation” just for good measure and tossed his towel into the audience (which I missed by *that much*).  

So speaking of bittersweet, the end of my story is just that.  When the hour and 15 minute show was over, it was heading for 7:00 pm and Linda Seltzer had made a 10-person reservation at a restaurant on the Wharf for a Durb-Dinner celebration.  Cindy and I, along with Norma and her daughter in law, set off for the Wharf to make sure we didn’t lose our table, only to find out later that James had quite unexpectedly come out to sign autographs (and even give hugs - sigh) and had stayed until he got through the entire throng of fans.  We knew he had a plane to catch for Rock on the Range - so we were sure he would spend the precious little time he had with his family.  But he didn’t.  He gave it to his fans.  And I missed it.  

I held it together until after dinner, but after a veritable battle with our server to get the checks taken care of properly, it was time to say our goodbyes as Cindy and I had a 3 hour drive ahead of us.  I don’t do “goodbye” very well at all - I own up to having a hefty portion of separation anxiety - and with all the emotion of the last few days, the concert, “May” and being so heartbroken at missing the opportunity to meet James for the very first time, I couldn’t hold anymore in and started bawling as I hugged each of my wonderful Durbsisters goodbye.  It was a rough one, the end of that night.  

But we made it home safe and sound and it was yet another of the best experiences of my entire life.  The time spent with Durbsisters is a treasure beyond anything else.  And I’ll jump at the next chance I get to do it all over again.
  • Ziggy's in Winston-Salem, NC - May 16, 2012 - Crystal Finney Wright

I am still going crazy here and really can't believe that he was actually, right there!

Well we left a little later than expected, so I was freaking out thinking we weren't going to get a good spot but we made it in plenty of time. When we were halfway there I realized I forgot my CD, my letter, & Debbie Umel's poem that I was going to give him, I was so kicking myself in the ass but it was too late to turn back so we kept going. When I knew we were almost there I almost hyperventilated!!! As we were pulling up to Ziggy's, right there was their van parked on the side and a few of the band members were right there too! I FREAKED!!! I told Dan to hurry and park so I could run to get a pic and meet them. He parked in this vacant lot but it was a freaking mud hole - LMAO... anyway I got out and couldn't get over how small the place was, I mean SMALL & the line wasn't long at all. So we get in line and I told Dan I was gonna run over and try to get a pic with Jeff, who was out there talking to someone next to their van. I went up to him and just said ''hi'' then asked if he would take a pic and he said in a minunte - I said ok, so I then snapped a pic of the van. After that he said ''Give me a minute'' I said ok and went back and got in line... I thought maybe he wasn't too nice then, BUT in a few min he came all the way over to where I was and said he was sorry and gave me a big hug and took a pic! I wasnt mad or anything but I thought maybe he was, but he wasn't so it was all good.

We went in and got positioned in the front row on the left side. We waited & waited. The Redlight King played and they were pretty good but I was WANTING JAMES! LOL Then they started setting up James' stuff and I spotted him to the side. I just went insane and starting screaming my head off - these other 2 women liked James too but they were just laughing like hell at me! LOL These other 2 women behind me were talking about James and saying stuff like "yeah thats that American Idol kid and blah blah'' acting as if he wasn't gonna be good or whatever... I turned around and said ''He is not just some Idol guy, he was too good for that show, and you will see in a minunte what I mean, when he rocks this fucking house down!!!'' Exact words! They just laughed.

Well when he hit the stage I just lost it, I mean LOST IT!!! Was crying, screaming, laughing, jumping... he looked directly toward me and grinned :) So he started off singing ''Stand up'' and boy was I standing and with my hands UP UP UP the whole time he was playing. I sang along to every word of every song... and now I can hardly talk and my throat hurts but I DON'T CARE! LOL On one song he asked us to sing along and he was singing too, I dont think a lot of them knew the song but I did & he looked right at me singing every single word, he grinned again THEN came over to where I was, right in front of me and looking dead in my eyes as we both sang.... I thought I was gonna die!!! I think he came over there cause he knew I had been singing along and knew EVERY song. I was hoping he would take off his sweat band and give it to me but he didn't. The last song he sang was ''Love In Ruins'' and they put on a hellva show... all over the floor, tearing it up !!! YEAHHHH!!!

So when they got through playing I went to the bathroom to wipe the sweat off and touch up my makeup a tad and brush my hair. Then I went outside to smoke and Dan said he is right over there, I said "where?", he said there... So I hauled ass over there and told him hey and how much he rocked, then asked to take a pic and he said sure. Then he went back to the van & was texting someone, the van was right there. He looked kinda sad :( I think he is REALLY missing home & Heidi.

Well after that he changed clothes and put on a cute hat & came back to take a few pics with some other fans and signed stuff, I told him I forgot my CD but asked if he could sign my wrist band & he did. I am sure he saw my bracelet I made but by that time some of the stones had fallen off cause I was rocking so hard, but you could still tell what it said. He signed Dan's HBK hat also & I took a pic of them. Ty came over and hugged me and took a pic, but by this time one of my cameras was dead and one was full so I used my cell for that pic and it doesn't look too good. Then Dylan came over and we took a pic too but it didnt take right either. He talked to Dan for a bit. .Jeff was running around everywhere and took this girl by the hand and they went somewhere?!!? LOL Dylan said something like,''oh look he's got another one'' LMAO

Anyways James came back again & I just couldnt believe it was all real - he was RIGHT there!!! Finally he said he was gonna go in and listen to Buckcherry so I called Sherry and was telling her about it, I was so excited and happy! Then the phone cut us off and I went back in and used the bathroom then went over to one side of the stage and James was right there behind the rope... but like a few feet from me, he was on his cell, texting I think and was just in dream land and looked kinda sad again... Everyone was rocking out to Buckcherry but I couldn't get my eyes off James. I almost cried again cause I knew he was sad. Jeff was right there also and was dancing. James caught me staring twice and the last time he grinned again, then jumped up and started dancing like a mofo, I freaked and was trying to take more pics with my phone but they suck. lol But OMG he was getting down!!! After it was over we left and pulled up next to the van and I told them all bye and they said bye and Ty smiled.... I think they all got a kick out of me cause of how crazy I was when they performed! And when "Love In Ruins" was on James looked at me, with this look like ''watch me'' then that's when he started doing all that sexy ass dancing and on the ground. After he wiped that sweat and I screamed to the heavens, he giggled for a second & looked at me.... he knew I was gonna freak out! HAHAHAHA!

I can't stop looking at all the pics & videos and just remembering the night.It really was the best night of my life. I've been crying all morning cuz I never wanted it to end. I feel sorta like a kid that has to leave vacation. I feel such a bond with him, it's hard to explain... I could just feel all his emotions last night & just cried for him in my soul. He is a beautiful, wonderful & gentle person, I really know this! And he rocks hard!!! I Will NEVER EVER EVERR FORGET THAT DAY!!!!!!! Thank you Sherry for making my dream come true, you are an angel ! I love u <3

  • Surf Ballroom - Clear Lake, IA - May 11, 2012 - Keith Roberts
Forward: I love music, all genres and all eras. As a kid I took piano lessons and sang in the church youth choir. In high school I gobbled up every music class offered. While studying for an unrelated degree in college I added music as a second minor; it meant a bigger work-load – but I love music that much. I studied voice, music history and music theory. My personal collection is eclectic encompassing music as diverse as ABBA to ZZTop and everything in between. That being said, James Durbin is my favorite vocalist ever, period! God has truly blessed James with amazing vocal talent and blessed all of us by bringing that talent to our attention.

What can I say about James that hasn’t already been said? This was my third opportunity to see James and my second time to see him with the entire band. I thought they were awesome back in January at the Rave in Milwaukee but they just keep getting better! I could tell that most of the crowd was there to see Buckcherry but I certainly wasn’t the only James fan in the crowd before the show started and there were a lot more James fans after his set!

The doors opened at 8 pm and I just barely made it arriving at 7:50. I had to park about 5 blocks away. I got in line. Security went over the rules and stated that no flash photography was allowed and no cameras with removable lenses. I picked up my ticket at will call and went straight toward the stage to get the best possible view to shoot video. I couldn’t get center stage unless I wanted to be in about the seventh “row” and the left side was filling fast because it was closer to the door so I headed to the right. From experience I knew I was right in front of Dylan’s microphone stand and that meant that James would be down on my end of the stage at least a couple of times during the performance. At least once in every show James will sing into the same microphone with “his brother from another mother.”

I took a moment to record a 360 degree shot of the Surf Ballroom. It is quite an historic place. Just then a security guard told me that no video cameras were allowed. I explained that I had driven over three hundred miles because James and Windup Records had specifically requested fans to upload video of Higher than Heaven from that evening’s performance. He told me camera phones were okay but absolutely no video cams.

I saw Duke Ducheneaux, the band’s sound technician, and I asked the family next to me if they would try to save my spot. I went over and introduced myself to Duke and explained the situation. He said he would see what he could do. I went back to my spot which was fortunately still available. A few minutes later the head of security came over and told me that I had permission to record James set but that I absolutely could not record Buckcherry per their management. I thanked him and told him that it would not be a problem.

The band came out first and got amped up. James came out a moment later and they started Stand Up before I could start recording. There’s a section of video toward the end of Stand Up when the camera is tilted - sorry. I was trying to get a shot of Dylan with my camera phone at the same time. The shot didn’t come out and I messed up the video so I gave up on the camera phone.
James finished the last note of Stand Up and the band went seamlessly into Outcast without a pause. They kept up the pace and went straight into Deeper. Next James did an introduction to Liberate (if you have children the posted video intro is rated pg13 for language).

Love Me Bad got a good reception. Some members of the audience were singing along. James gave an intro for Rainbow in the Dark and paid tribute to Ronnie James Dio saying that he was the artist who most inspired him.
Crawling Home is my favorite song by James. For those who might not know it is one of the bonus tracks and was only available with an iTunes pre-order; James co-wrote the song.

Higher than Heaven was next with an intro regarding the video upload request. James dedicated the song to Heidi. He gave a superb performance as always.

The last song was Love in Ruins. I am positively amazed at how much energy he still had at the end of the set. His performance on this song was by far the most energetic and most entertaining of the night. He gave us the “Durbend” and a lay back while on his knees and still keeps singing! His talent never ceases to amaze me.

I want to give credit to the other members of the band. James has surrounded himself with the most talented, most down to earth people on earth.

Dylan “Rose” Rosenberg was born to shred a guitar. He is phenomenal. I have heard him live on both electric and acoustic guitar. There are lots of “artists” out there that can fake it with an electric guitar but you can’t fake anything in a live acoustic performance. Dylan is the real deal. I sincerely haven’t seen anyone better. He is easy to talk to. I highly recommend you follow his tweets @ArcherNation and those of his Significant Other @MetalMadame. Their public “pillow talk” is priceless.

Blake Bunzel is a super nice guy with a real talent for rhythm guitar. He has been performing professionally for years. Again I have seen him unplugged and he is truly talented. Blake’s tweets from @Indeloon85 come in two varieties: incredible photographs or hilarious jokes with movie quotes

Ty Molinaro is a multitalented artist. Not only does he play a great bass he draws and has designed and tailored stage clothing for the band. His Significant Other, Mona, tweets from @missmonalove.

Jeff Fabb is the most entertaining drummer I have ever seen. He is so good I could have sworn he was born with those drumsticks as part of his hands but then he goes and tosses them in the air while playing (see Rainbow and LIR videos) and he never misses a beat. Blake and Jeff had previously performed together in another band. They unknowingly both auditioned for James on the same day.

Duke Ducheneaux is the newest member of the band. If it weren’t for him these videos would not be posted. He is a super great guy and did an excellent job sound mixing. He tweets from @dukedx

After the set I went to the merchandise booth to get a tour t-shirt. I was wearing my Love Me Bad shirt and had a James Durbin bandana hanging as a Durb tail. I saw that Dylan was peeking out at the crowd from the left wing. I approached him and we spoke for a couple of minutes. I asked him if James was going to be signing merchandise. Dylan signed something for a friend of mine who couldn’t make it and then he flagged down James for me. James signed the merchandise as well and then asked me if I wanted my LMB shirt signed. How can you say no to that!

James said “I sign men’s chests but never a woman’s. I respect my wife.” I replied, “James that is quite obvious. The two of you are so lucky to have one another.” James recognized me from the Scranton parade. I told him I had also seen him at the Rave. I wanted to let him know that I was @keithar20 and thank him for the #FF but there was a crowd gathering in a line behind me and I wanted to be respectful of James and the other fans so I cut it short.

It was truly the most amazing day of my life. I am still Higher than Heaven over the #FF. I feel so blessed to have been able to attend the event, shoot the video and share all of this with all of you.

Keith Roberts
Durbinator #1297
  • Buffalo Run Casino - Miami, OK - May 5, 2012 - Chazzie "LoyalDurb" Medley

I went to see James Durbin/Buckcherry Sat, May 5th in Miami, OK with Janie Hubert and this is my review. Kinda long, so bear with me!!

Janie was a sweetheart and paid for my ticket, but she couldn't give me a ride, so my ex-boyfriend Russ agreed to give me a ride. We left Chanute at 2:55pm and it was only supposed to be a 1hr and 30 min trip, but when we got to Caney, we were told that we couldn't get to Miami that way anymore, so we had to backtrack 30 miles and go a different direction which put us in Miami at around 5:30pm. So, Janie met me at the front door and we made introductions. I felt like I had known her forever, even though we had never met before.

We go in and get in line and a few mins later, we heard James and the guys doing their sound check and it sounded incredible. We are still in line and someone comes by and says that they are going to be opening the other door and if you want to get closer to the stage, to go down to that door so we all made a mad dash to that door. We stood there for awhile and then the theater door opens and it's Dylan!!! I swear my heart skipped a beat when I realized it was him! He walked by us and said hi to Janie. When he had passed, I looked at Janie and there were tears in my eyes. I have no clue why I reacted that way. After what seemed like FOREVER, they opened the door and let us into the theater.

We got the front row, right behind the barricade, right in front of a speaker that was between Blake and Ty. I was worried that it would be too loud in front of the speaker, but it turned out to be a great spot to be, because Blake would step up on the speaker and was so close. Perfect for a photo op. When James and the guys came out, the crowd was deafening!! Janie and I were screaming SO loud. He started with Stand Up and rocked it out. It really got everyone pumped up. The whole place was electrified!!!! James and the guys seemed to feed off of the crowd's energy. The louder we were, the more they rocked it out!! I sang along to every song and the woman next to me kept giving me strange looks. I was SO happy when he did Crawling Home, which is one of my absolute favorites. He did 8 songs and the set seemed to fly by. It ended all too soon for me though.

When it was over, Janie asked me what I thought and I started crying. It was all just so wonderful and overwhelming that it finally hit me that I had just seen James live!! While it was intermission, Janie and I went back out to the casino to get a drink and to rest for awhile. We wanted to see if James and the guys were out there, but we didn't see them, so we headed back inside the theater to listen to Buckcherry and try to see if we could find James and the guys. While we were standing there, Jeff walked by and we stopped him. He shook my hand and gave me a hug and told us that he would be back, but he never came back. Janie figured out that James was probably over by the stage watching the show, so we went over to that side of the room and we saw Ty. So we kept watching and sure enough, James comes out of a room on the side of the stage! He is standing behind a partition, so all I can see is the blond tip of his hair. He is headbanging and rocking out to Buckcherry, which was so cute. It seemed to me that the crowd was louder for James than it was for Buckcherry.

When the show was over, James came around the partition and came over to the barricade and fans started flocking to him. Janie and I made our way over to him to wait our turn. It seemed like it took forever and I had just about given up on meeting him and then the crowd started thinning out and we were able to get up to the barricade. I was watching the other fans interacting with him, getting pics taken and autographs, and thinking of what I was going to say, when I saw something that really upset me. A woman reached out to James and ran her fingers through his hair. He looked bewildered that she did that and I felt bad for him. The woman was bragging that she had touched him. I really wanted to say something to her, but I thought better of it.

Anyway, James finally makes his way over to us and then he got a text or something and he says "One minute" to me and Janie and goes and checks his message. I figured that he would forget that we were next in line, but when he finished, he headed straight over to us. My heart skipped a beat and my knees were weak when he reached us. He talked to Janie and signed stuff for her and I took a pic of the two of them. I'm surprised that it turned out as good as it did because I was so nervous that he was so close that my hands were shaking. Then it was my turn. I didn't know what to say, so I just told him how much I enjoyed the show and that it was my first concert ever. I then asked if he would sign my ticket stub and he did. By then I had gotten up the courage to ask him if he could pick me for #FF next week and he said "What is your twitter id?" I told him and he said "I'll do it right now" and flipped open his phone and showed it to me that he was following me. Then I asked if he would take a pic with me and he said sure. I went to stand by him and he rubbed my back!! I am never washing that shirt again lol. We thanked him and went out to the casino to find Russ and her friend.

Janie then realized that she had some pics from another show that she forgot to have signed, so we went back in and over to James. She asked him to sign a pic of the two of them and he did, so I asked if he would sign the Revolver magazine that he was in and he did and he told me the story of the day of the photo shoot for the magazine. He said that he remembers it well. It was right after he had been voted off Idol and he met with his attorney, who is also Steven Tyler's attorney and that it was also the day that he met Chris Jericho. I thought it was cool that he took the time to explain about the pic. It was funny because people were getting mad that he was taking so much time talking to us. When talking to him, it felt like I had known him forever. After that, Janie and I went looking for the other guys. We found Ty and I had him sign my magazine and then we spotted Dylan and Blake. We go over there and they recognize Janie right away and she shows them the pics that she took from another show and they sign them and I take a pic of her and Blake. Then I had Blake sign my magazine and take a pic with me. I asked Dylan to sign my magazine and he did and then he showed it to two other guys that were standing there. We took a pic together and it was a crazy one. After that, we left and went out to the casino.

Janie and I walked around so she could find a machine to play and we finally sat down at one and I start looking at the pics that she had signed and the woman next to me goes "Nice pics. Are you Chazzie?" Turns out that she is another Durbinator from FB. Small world!!! Finally, we leave the casino and head home. That concludes my review. The thing that I will remember forever is how when James talks to you, he makes you feel like you are the only one there and that you are special to him. All in all, I had a BLAST!!! I hope everyone gets a chance to experience a James concert. You will be on a Durbin high long after the show!!! P.S.- I was thrilled to know that I could get through a James concert without having any chest pains:) When I got home, I got on twitter and sent James a message and he replied back!!! That was the perfect end to the perfect day!!!

  • Buffalo Run Casino - Miami, OK - May 5, 2012 - Janie Hubert

The night before the concert, I realized I had nothing to take for autographs (incase we got lucky enough to get one..or two). So, I decided to print off the pics we took in Little Rock. It took some trial and error but I finally got it figured out.

We arrived at Buffalo Run Casino around 2:30... a little early, but I wasn’t taking any chances. We scoped the place out and I located the venue and box office. We weren’t supposed to pick up tickets until an hour before the show.I wasn’t about to take the chance of losing a good spot in line to pick up our tickets... so I thought I’d try and get them early... SCORE!!! Now all I had to do was pray I didn’t lose them!

Since it was so early, we thought we’d play a few slots to kill some time. Around 3:00 we went looking around to figure out where we were going to eat..decided on a place called “Eat At Joe’s”. We went in to look at the menu. Mitch asked me if I wanted to eat then or wait a little bit. I wanted to wait, so we turned around to walk out. I had my nose buried in my phone (what? I had to keep up with twitter..LOL)... when all of a sudden someone jumped in front of me and yelled "WAZ UP?!?!?!" Good thing I had just gone to the bathroom, cause James scared the heck outta me! I said, “YOU!” and he laughed and kept walking. As i was trying to compose mysel, Mitch said, "I suppose you want to change your mind and eat now?" Well DUH!!! We got in line behind the guys. I was shaking like a leaf in the fall on a windy day!! James got done ordering and turned around and started talking to me. He seen the WWE magazine I was clutching because it had my pics and our tickets in it and said , “Hey, an oldie but a goodie!” He shook Mitch’s hand and asked me if I had one of his white tees with him on the front. I said, "yeah, that’s what you guys signed in Little Rock!" Jeff ordered, then turned around and saw me. His face was priceless! He said, "Wow! We get to see you again? How cool!!" He came up and gave me a big hug. I was floored that these guys remembered! I talked a little more with James about the venue and was relieved to find out there was very limited seats... mostly standing. He said he was stoked!

As I sit there, I keep thinking, where are you Chazzie? Please hurry up and get here! She called and said they had to turn around and go back about 30 miles! Noooo!!! I wanted her THERE!! We ate and went back to the casino. Chazzie called again and said they somehow ended up downtown Miami!! Oh no! I asked her if there was a gas station they could get directions and she said yeah. I told her I would stay close to the door and for her to call when they got there. Thinking I had plenty of time, I go to the bathroom. Just as I got in there she called! Almost dropped my phone in the toilet trying to answer it LOL. I went outside to wait for them. It’s weird how Durbinators can spot each other. We made our introductions and went inside outta the heat. By this time it was about 5:30 so I figured we’d better get in line.

As we stand there in line, what do we hear? Soundcheck!!!! I said, "Chazzie..listen!" The look on her face was priceless! The guys sounded amazing! As we’re waiting, a worker comes up and tells us that they are gonna open the other doors and they are closer to the stage. So, of course we’re gonna go to the other end!! We stand there talking like we had known each other for years. She’s an awesome lady! Then I looked up and saw Dylan coming out. I nudged Chazzie and said, "hey, look! It’s Dylan!" I heard her gasp! He walked by and said hi to me. I looked over at her and notice some of that wet stuff in her eyes... aww!! I said, "Wow! What are ya gonna do when you see James girl?"

Finally they are opening the doors! I told her to stay close to me and hang on to my arm if she needs to cause I was determined to get her up by the stage... SUCESS!! As we stand there I can feel her shaking... aww! I decided to play around with my camera and make sure I could get all the settings just right. But security came over and told me and the girl beside me that we could not use our cameras!! Cell phones were fine, but no cameras!! WTH!!! Great! My phone is at 40%... it was not looking good!!

Then the guys hit the stage!! They started off with Stand Up and the crowd was unbelievable!!! The energy was incredible and the guys were feeding off it! They put on a show like I’d never seen!! The louder the crowd..the more energy the guys had!! The show ended way too soon. The guys left the stage and I asked Chazzie what she thought... OMG! Bless her heart, she was crying! Hey, she waited to fall apart till after the show. :)

We decided to see if we could get back in if we went out, and we could. So, we went to get a drink and some cooler air. I also wanted Chazzie to sit down for a bit. She didn’t know it, but I worried about her the whole time... shhh... don’t tell her LOL. We went back in and hung around in the back, hoping to catch the guys wandering around. I spotted Jeff going by and went after him cause I was determined she was going to get to meet him. He talked for a minute and said he’d be right back, but he didn’t come back, so we went back into the casino.

I kept checking Twitter cause I knew James had been posting pics of the other shows from side stage. Finally!! He tweeted one! I told her which side they were on and back in we went!! Dylan came out and he walked towards us and recognized me! I could sense somebody shaking... LOL. He came up and gave me a hug and turned to Chazzie! I was wondering if I was gonna have to catch her but she kept her composure! Ty was next... hugs all around! We see James’ head off to the side, headbanging to Buckcherry... so cute!!

He started taking pics with fans, so we got in line. Finally, it was our turn. The fear and excitement on her face was priceless. We get our pics and he talked to us for some time. I remembered we forgot our stuff to be signed, so we go get it and get back in line (I didn’t do it on purpose... really I didn’t LOL). He signed our stuff and we talked some more. I told him I had tweeted him about the show. He said "yeah, about giving an old lady a heart attack? I seen that... LOL." I said, "No..I tweeted you about the show LOL."

Chazzie asked if maybe he would choose her for one of his FF’s and he said, "I’ll do it right now!" I thought I was gonna have to catch the girl!! He said to me, "I follow you don’t I?" I said, "yeah, twice!" He says, "oh yeah, the Twitter follow/unfollow thing!" He told me I needed to change my profile pic to one with me in it so he knows its me... well of course I have to follow orders LOL!! We talked about Santa Cruz and tattoos and he reminded me again about Bob and said be sure to call and set up an appt because he had already “warned” Bob about us! Warned? Great..LOL!!! He also gave me a list of 3 places that we HAVE to try while in Santa Cruz (it’s the exact same ones Heidi said).

By now I could tell that other people were getting upset at the time he was taking with us, but hey, he’s the one who kept calling us back to say something else and I’m not gonna argue with that!!! As we’re leaving we see Dylan and Blake, and get more pics and autographs! Yippie!!

Now it’s finally time to leave, but I have to say, even though it’s always incredible and exciting to see the guys, Chazzie is the one who made this night a complete joy!!!

Janie Hubert
Durbinator #1017

  • Horseshoe Casino - Bossier City, LA - May 4, 2012 - Christina Moseley Pinckard

Riverdome at Horseshoe Casino, Bossier City, LA - May 4, 2012

So we start out with the #ff, yeah! OMG, he followed me, good things are written in the stars... So we tried to get there early, however, my mom was running behind. She finally got to her house took the kids in, we left and got something to eat. We, that is, my husband and I. We leave the restaurant at 6:30 and got to the Riverdome around 6:45. I heard the words, "Christina." turn around to see Ashley walking up to me. She told me she had walked into the area where they sold shirts and had her Outcast Army shirt on. She meet Jeff and then came and saw me and my husband. We talked for a few moments, listened to a band warming up in the Country Roadhouse area. Then we turned and see Jeff. I yelled his name, he turned and waved to me with a smile then walked on. He came back and kissed a radio DJ on the cheek and was talking to her and several "fans" who got to meet James before the concert.

We get in and have someone take us to our seats, OMG, I am smack dab CENTER STAGE. Ashley and I watched Blake (hair not spiky yet), tuning his guitar, getting things ready. Then we see Ty and Dylan on the phone. I smile and told Ashley watch this. As Dylan walked by I yelled, "Dylan get off the phone with Nina!" He looked to me, smiled and through me the peace sign and walked on. So I Tweeted Nina, apparently he called her after I said something! HAH. I looked at my phone and it’s dying, CRAP, no videos and not many pictures.

Anyways, we are sitting there, talking and watching everything and look over to see Jeff just OOZING with charm with this radio DJ, kissed her on the cheek several times, it was quite funny to see.

Not long after a girl is sitting behind us, Huge Durbin fan too, didn’t catch her name. She was one of the few that met him before the concert. We talked for a moment and then it was concert time. The crowd was screaming, but the energy totally wasn’t there, I could feel it. He started with Stand up, and was pouring it on. He was REALLY pissed that no one was standing up. During Stand up, if you saw the video, he was smiling center, which was to us. He was pissed and told everyone, “STAND THE FUCK UP!” between Stand up and Outcast. Outcast was amazing, as usual. The crowd was slowly warming up to him, people sat back down after a few songs, but Ashley and I stood up the entire concert. After Outcast and I think deeper he said, “This isn’t no fucking Patty Labelle concert, GET THE FUCK UP!”

Slowly people started standing up again and he did Deeper, then Liberate, Love in Ruins, Higher than Heaven, Love Me Bad (with the Conan opening), Rainbow in the Dark, but sadly I don’t remember the order. I do remember Rainbow in the Dark as he did the Durbbend and played with Dylan a bit. After he was finished, he said something, along the lines of “Fuck Security, We’ll be somewhere, then said the bands names.” All Ashley and I said, was “WHAT?” we laughed and I said, forget it, going to ask Blake. During one of the songs poor Blake’s guitar wasn’t working, and he was working on it, several back stage people came running and helped him fix it.

I got up and went over to the backstage wear asked Blake, “What did he say?” Blake said, “I Have NO CLUE.” So he came over to open the curtain and gave us both hugs, then I said, “What happened with the guitar?” He said, “oh that, nothing a little WD40 couldn’t fix.”

Jeff came out and we asked for a hug, and he said, 1 moment, he was looking for someone. He came back out gave the security guy a signed copy of James Album, and we were nice enough to look for her. Buckcherry was still setting up, so he kept coming back and looking. Finally she came up and got the cd and a drum stick from him. “sighs if only I were that lucky” Before he darted back behind the curtain, we gave him a hug, with no shirt on (eat your heart out Leslie!)

Buckcherry was doing their thing and they allowed people to come to the barricade, So Ashley and I walked up just to get a peek back stage. Ashley is rocking it out to buckcherry, but I couldn’t understand them, LOL. I Look over to see Blake and Dylan smiling to me and flashing me peace signs, UGH, if only I had my phone out at that time, it was a perfect time. James was behind them and gave me the bro not, the “sup” nod as I called it. To me, this meant, “I do know who you are, thanks for coming.” Also during Buckcherry, Ty was coming around with a drink in hand, so Ashley had enough sense to take a quick picture.

After BuckCherry we walked to the security guy and he said “oh they had already left.” *sighs* bastards aren’t gone, we All know that. Finally We walk to the lobby of the Riverdome and there are Blake, Dylan and Jeff.. We walked up to Jeff and said, hey, he said hey back. My husband went to get me a T-Shirt and Ashley looks over and said, “Hey, there’s Dylan.” So we walked over there and started talking. Ashley had enough sense to take a picture of him and me and I taking a picture of her and him.

We saw Blake walking away and continued to talk to Dylan, He remembered I have two autistic boys and I told him Matthew really likes rocking out, which, btw, Dylan loved! HAHA. One group of girls came out and looked to Dylan, They started giggle and asked for a picture, he said sure, excused himself and took a picture. The great thing is, he came back to talk to us. He did this several times. Security said, “it’s time to leave folks!” Please, Dylan rolled his eyes and continued to talk. 2nd time the security guy did it again, I hugged Dylan and I swear that man hugged me tightly. I told him, “be careful.” He said thanks. We went to Jeff and got a hug, see picture of Jeff and I. That man squeezed me tightly too. Blake was cute as a button, and I put my arms around him and asked if he cared, he said, “No I don’t mind.” I laughed and said, there’s my husband, he nodded to him and next thing I know I feel that arm around me. Melting moment.

Finally hugged them all, told them to be careful, and security pushed us out the door again. Ashley and I parted ways and my husband and I realized it was 11pm. Wow, ok, I tweeted Dylan, “Had a great show tonight, you guys rocked it!” He said “thanks for coming.

No I didn’t get to Meet James, but you know what, I had an amazing time, got to see the Durbbend (which I thing was special to Ashley and I, because we’re HUGE fans). Also that Nod during the Buckcherry concert said, “hey thanks, I know who you are.”

There’s my story, If I had to write an English essay on my favorite moment, I have it at least written already *Laughs!*

  • Viper Room - Hollywood, CA - April 12, 2012 - Sherry Severino

I don't know about you, but I find a lot more value in a concert review written by, well, somebody like me -- somebody who shells out some hard-earned money to be entertained, than professional reviewers. And let me tell you that I was extremely entertained by James Durbin and his band. He played to a sold out crowd, at The Viper in Hollywood on April 12th, right after his mind-blowing performance on American Idol earlier that evening.

He was scheduled to come on stage at 10pm right after Jared James Nichols and Vayden performed. As the time drew closer, you could feel the excitement and anticipation building up in the room. We saw the guys enter through the side of the stage, and once settled they started testing their instruments. As the announcer announced James' name over the speaker, the crowd went nuts. The curtains opened as he and his band kicked in to the song 'All I Want', off of his debut album Memories of a Beautiful Disaster. No soundcheck, no in-ear monitors in James' ears. Just pure, raw, talented music, just like the good ole' days. From the get go, everyone in the club harmoniously broke out in singing with him. It was magical. His voice and stage presence was powerful, captivating the entire audience. From the get go, the show was nothing short of phenomenal. As the song ends and goes into the next, he taunts and teases with everyone, asking us to be real quiet and then asking us to scream, kicking in their 2nd song called 'Screaming'. I'm quite familiar with all of his songs on his album and I wasn't sure if he was going to use some type of Vo Coder or his megaphone to distort his voice in this song. He chose the megaphone, I was happy. Megaphones are alot of fun, and I know James loved using them at his two prior electric shows. Pure adrenaline was pumping through the crowd. At the end he thanked all of us fans and announced that after his American Idol performance that evening, he watched his album go from #130 to #5 on the iTunes Rock Charts. The crowd went crazy with excitement!

The energy was pumping, as he sang Outcast, Right Behind You, and the awesome iTunes bonus track called Back For More. "This is one of those days you can come back for more, you just beg for it. It's a good fucking day right?", Durbin says to the crowd as everyone screams, and he blows a kiss to his wife, Heidi, sitting close by. As he goes into his next song 'Higher Than Heaven' he thanks all of his fans again for getting them to play this song on American Idol tonight, and teases all of us that maybe this will be his next single. This song was so amazing to watch him sing live, all the while singing it straight to Heidi the entire time. James, Dylan, Tyler, Blake, and Jeff tore the place up with this song, it was incredible to hear! The entire club was rocking hard, watching and listening to James' melodic vocals. On all the songs, thundering drums and brutal guitar licks dominated, while introspective lyrics were sung in that intense but cloying way that only a hard rock/metal singer (such as James) can properly deliver.

The next song he sang was his debut single called 'Love Me Bad'. Before he started the song, he talked about the Golden God Awards nomination that he received for best vocals. "We didn't win, but we didn't lose. As long as I got the respect, that's good enough for me." As he starts the first verse he tells the crowd to sing it instead. Every person in that club was singing the song. "That's a dream, you just fulfilled my dream.", he says as he reaches for another mic to sing along with all of us. What an amazing feeling, to know that we all just made a dream come true for James. At the end of the song he tells us, "Beautiful! And your harmonies were just perfect." Hhhmmm, not sure about that James! The next song is another iTunes bonus track called 'Liberate'. "We got this little song for you, it's about sticking it to the man. It's about saying fuck you to the man!" He has so much sex appeal, you can't take your eyes off of him. Reminds me a little bit of Jim Morrison in his heyday. As if the crowd was in a trance and going along for the ride with Durbin, and waiting to see what's going to happen next. His singing, his dancing, his fearlessness on stage. James' energy leaves you begging for more with every song. Liberate is a fuel pumping, heart racing, kick ass song. James makes rock come alive again, involving the audience at every moment. We were putty in his hands, laughing, cheering, singing, and chanting.

Before he sang his next song, he announced that there were two more songs left for the night. The crowd was not happy, we wanted more! He sang 'Deeper' and 'Stand Up'. Deeper rocked! That song is truely amazing live and by the end of the night his vocals were still spot on perfect. Before he sang Stand Up, he said they were late going on stage due to he & Heidi getting matching tattoo's. He said he had been thinking about this night for a few months and it was great to get the weight off of his shoulders. He tells everyone to stand up and comically says to his family "Stand up on your seats! If they tell you to get down, tell 'em to fuck off!" What a powerful song with a great beat. Really gets your adrenaline going. After the song was over, the curtains rolled shut. Everyone chanted for more, we wanted more! We weren't leaving until he came out and performed at least one more song. And the curtains reopened. His encore song of choice was "Love In Ruins". This song is awesome, and I'm so glad I got to hear it live! I loved this performance. I know that James has mentioned in the past that he loves to perform this song, and you could see the happiness and pure enjoyment in his face the entire time. Dancing and singing his heart out. When the song was over, he thanked his fans over and over again, and the curtains closed for the final time. This crazy good, wild ride was over. It ended all too soon. Evidence of such a blistering concert was etched on the faces of those leaving the show, mine included.

by Sherry Severino

The Band:
James Durbin - Vocals
Dylan Rosenberg - Lead guitar
Blake Bunzel - Rhythm guitar
Tyler Molinaro - Bass guitar
Jeff Fabb - Drums

Set List:
All I Want
Right Behind You
Back For More (iTunes Bonus Track)
Higher Than Heaven
Love Me Bad (Debut single)
Liberate (iTunes Bonus Track)
Stand Up
Love In Ruins

  • Viper Room [MOABD Tour Kick-Off] - Hollywood, CA - April 12, 2012 - Nancy Revelle

I drove from my home on the central coast down to Los Angeles Thursday morning, the day of the concert. Took two days off work and had a weekend to “recover” (it’s going to take longer than a weekend!). No problems on the way. I had maps and directions but it turned out most everything looked familiar because of spending so much time in Beverly Hills when my S.O. had his cancer surgery at Cedars Sinai four years ago. Found the Wilshire Crest Hotel without any problems. It was adorable, great neighborhood, beautiful, quaint hotel. Good parking space on the street (one of my best parallel parking jobs EVAR). Great choice, Michelle!

Hotel was spotless and extremely nice. Must write them a glowing review, and I will definitely stay there again if/when I go back to the area. Checked in and hung out for a short time while waiting for my six Durbsistas to arrive. They weren’t far behind. I had just gone out to my car to remove the radar detector (aka “invitation to break in and steal me”) when I saw the first four walking into the other door of the hotel; initial ID was Joanne’s hair! lol I recognized everyone from pictures – hugs were exchanged all around. We went to their room and talked, and talked and talked. Within minutes it was like we’d all known each other for ten years. ♥

LeAnn and Norma arrived a little later, both were driving from other spots in CA. Joanne and her daughter Teresa had flown to Las Vegas from their home in Texas, then drove from Vegas to LA with Las Vegas residents Michelle and Sherry. There were seven of us altogether. Norma had brought goodies for us all – absolutely stunning black leather snapping wrist bands with “James Durbin” on them in flame-like lettering! They were so beyond awesome!! Thank you sooooooo much Norma! You are truly an angel!!

By the time everyone arrived it was closing in on 5 pm which was when the east coast feed of Idol would be airing and for which Sherry had brought her laptop. We tuned in and it all went pretty smooth with the feed until James went on at which time the video promptly froze and the audio would play catch up making James sound like a chipmunk with Higher Than Heaven playing at double and triple speed. Grumbles and swearing emanated from our room.

We had to decide how to proceed at this point. Everyone was hungry but no one wanted to (1) miss James’ performance on Idol or (2) be late to arrive at the Viper Room. Thankfully, a home video of the performance was posted quickly on the Durbinators Facebook group so we were able to see it, despite the fact that the camerawoman (I think it was Crystal Finney Wright) was squealing and hooting and jumping as she filmed the performance on her TV. lol Having seen the performance now (with more grumbling and swearing on the lack of response of the judges AND contestants despite a phenomenal set, intro, song and performance) it was somewhere around 6 pm. In theory, we had time to taxi over to Sunset Blvd, where the Viper Room was, find food nearby and then get ourselves back to the venue to get in line before the doors opened at 7:30 pm.

In reality, however, a large block of time vanished and our taxis ended up arriving at the Viper Room at a bit after 7 pm. I suspect this time was swallowed up talking, but no one will ever know for sure… lol We’re standing out in front of the Viper Room when a staffperson opened the door and asked us if we were waiting for the show. He told us that when the doors opened, and they were scheduled for 7:30 pm, that the side door is where we’d go in so to make our line to that door… which we promptly did. Naturally we were first in line. heehee

We stand in our little line talking for what turns out to be close to an hour. More and more people show up and soon our “little” line is around the corner. Michelle and Sherry find someone they met at the Burbank show who kindly snaps the soon to be epic photo of the “Viper Room Vixens!” Norma finds that she has chocolate in her goodie bag (which turns out to be practically magic as later in the evening she pulls out ready-made tuna salad LOL) so we all have at least a few chocolate carbs in our systems now. Other than that, we have all had nothing to eat since breakfast, many of us are running on fumes with very little sleep, and we’re getting ready to go into a club (which we’re praying serves at least some snacks) filled with alcohol. Uh oh.

About 10 minutes before they finally open the doors (about 40 minutes late), we notice a silver car pulling up to the parking lot behind the Viper Room and all of a sudden there is a platinum blonde head popping out attached to a 6’+ body and a tiny little body in a red dress beside him. James and Heidi!! We scream and holler appropriately. Wisely they duck into the stage entrance out of our sight. We are EXTREMELY pumped now (as if we weren’t before)!

The doors open and because we have a VIP table reserved for our group, we’re taken upstairs first and shown to our booth RIGHT NEXT TO THE STAGE. We were ecstatic! We get comfy, stash all the gifts various people have brought and order our first round. It’s dark and kinda small, I believe the web site said the capacity was 250. Most of the room is a floor just for standing. Four other booths like ours are on the sides flanking the stage.

Please picture all that I’m describing against a backdrop of CONSTANT DurbDiscussions. I’m not that much of a talker, so I do a lot of listening. haha The first opening band, Jared James Nichols, starts to play. It’s a three piece group doing hard rock with a heavy blues flavor. They were excellent. I found them on Facebook and will be looking for CDs. The bass player was terribly cute. :)

They finish and a second opening band begins to play. This is a four piece group called Vayden which was also extremely good. Joanne is Tweeting back and forth with Nina all this time and at last we hear that she and Dylan have finished dinner and are in a taxi to the Viper Room! Vayden finish up and I whisper (read as: YELLED IN HER EAR) to Joanne that I want to hit the rest room before James comes on and will she hold my spot. The crowd is growing significantly now, and Vayden had an even bigger audience with some serious support. I squeeze past people to the ladies room, which is the size of a postage stamp with one stall not working. There are five people in there (I have no idea how!) and as I get in line for the single working stall, I realize that the woman I am two inches from has a gorgeous red dress on……. HEIDI!!!!!! I flip out, lose any composure I might have faked had I had a little warning and blurt out “OH MY GOD, HEIDI!!” She smiles kindly as I ask her for a hug and tell her I love her (this poor woman – I feel so bad for her having to deal with all us crazy Durbs!) and pull out the tiny silver bag that has the red (she had tweeted that red was her favorite color!) crystal and sterling silver necklace I’d made for her with four sterling silver cubes on it that spell out L-O-V-E. I hope she opened it at some point, it would have matched her dress perfectly. She is a seriously beautiful lady. Eventually she escapes (poor thing, she probably hoped to be able to pee in peace!) but I’m pretty sure Sherry at least got to talk to her too.

I make it back to the stage front after scalding my hands for the third time on the water in the rest room faucets. I wiggle my way back up to the front(ish) where the rest of the Durbs were still holding vigil. Michelle, with her press photographers’ pass, had staked out a spot almost exactly front-center. She must have a tremendous bladder, I don’t remember seeing her leave that spot for a looong time. lol :) We’re all waiting now for James to go on, and every drum kick behind the curtain sets us whooping again, knowing it’s Jeff back there tuning his kit up! We had caught a glimpse of him sneaking on stage from the side door, even. We spot Nina and gush over her (she too is stunningly gorgeous), I give her the necklace I’d made for her (this one is of gold, bronze & black crystal with a sterling M cube and two hand-made Thai silver beads on either side). [author’s note: I can’t remember if we see Nina before James’ set or after, but I think it was before] Lots of commotion continues behind the curtain as we wait – not at all calmly or patiently – for James. I turn around to check the crowd and the place is PACKED!!

Then, FINALLY, the moment we had all come for. The announcer is introducing JAMES DURBIN!!!!! We explode in screams and rock horns, jumping up and down as the curtain opens and HOLY CRAP THERE HE IS – FOR REAL!! I was stunned, completely in shock. As everyone who has experienced seeing him in person knows; There. Are. No. Words. Nothing I’ve thought of comes close to describing it. No one has yet invented the superlative that adequately describes looking at the real live James Durbin.

Now since the event was live-streamed, and since the videos are still on YouTube, I don’t have to tell you what he sang (and in many cases what he said between songs, including my most favorite of the night: "Tonight we just watched our album go from No. 130 to No. 5, all thanks to the fans”) because it’s thankfully documented on videos, such as they are. All I can remember for details is that he opened with All I Want and the encore was Love In Ruins. Somewhere in between all of those were Screaming, Outcast, Right Behind You, Back For More, Higher Than Heaven, Love Me Bad, Liberate, Deeper and Stand Up. So 11 songs altogether. It was LOUD and KICK-ASS and VERY HEAVY. In other words, perfect! Every time I “regained consciousness” and listened for a second, I realized with sheer ecstasy that the WHOLE ROOM was singing along to EVERY SONG!! It was beyond moving. That kind of thing really gets to me, a huge number of people singing together – it was like all 250 of us in that room became one entity, all for James. It still brings tears to my eyes as I write this.

I do want to say that the audio from the video stream and recordings are nowhere near accurate. I was less than six feet from James all night and he was pitch-perfect. You don’t get that on the videos. We begged for an encore (the entire crowd chanted “ONE MORE SONG” over and over until the curtain opened again (at which point you can actually hear ME on one of the videos shouting “FIVE MORE!”).

The whole set was so electric, so alive, vibrant and exciting. I said there are no adequate words to describe it but I’m going to give it a shot anyway: You felt each bass drum beat deep in your chest, the floor vibrated with Ty’s bass, the walls screamed with Dylan’s shredding and our hearts nearly burst with every word James sang. The music became our blood, it surged almost violently through our bodies. It picked us up and carried us away with it for the short time it lived, then threw us down, chewed us up and spit us out, before doing it all over again with the next song. And if the music was consuming, James himself was a god up there, creating every feeling, every emotion you ever had. He was pure magic. They were all magical together, but James was truly a god. I don’t mean that in a religious way, although it’s not far-fetched to describe the show as a religious experience in intensity. He was a king on his throne, and believe me when I tell you he RULED that stage with endless charisma, charm, and power. Raw power and intensity, like a white-hot flame.

But it had to end, despite praying it would go on forever and never stop, and end it did. I realized then that I was back on earth (haha) and tried to come to grips with the show being over. It wasn’t easy. But we had hopes for meeting some of the band afterward, so we waited and talked excitedly and kept our eyes peeled for anyone we’d recognize. Michelle and Sherry presented Heidi with their amazing gift(s) but I’ll let them tell you about that. First Jeff appeared (and I got a sweaty hug, swearing I would never wash that cheek again lol), then Dylan and Ty. Nina joined the thinning crowd still hanging around. I didn’t see Mona at first but she was there and I later introduced myself and got another hug. :) She too is an absolutely beautiful young lady! Not having seen her before that though, I asked Ty to give her the necklace I’d made her (just like Nina’s only in shades of blue and with an “N” cube) which he said he certainly would. I ended up adopting (or being adopted by, I’m not sure which) Michelle’s camera and followed her around taking group pictures and shots of the band (and ladies!) signing various souvenirs, shirts, pictures, etc. I was in mid-wander when I noticed Nina and Mona talking to a few of the Durbs and I heard Nina say “Nancy” and then “Durbinator with an 8” (my Twitter name, ‘Durbin8r’) and I piped up, saying “That’s me!” They had opened their necklaces and had put them on!!!! Nina said she loved hers so much she wasn’t going to stop wearing it! And Mona said she loved hers too. I took a picture of them both with the necklaces on with Michelle’s camera. I was so ecstatic that they liked them, I was back floating around again!

We talked (well, I did a lot of listening) for a long time before we eventually went out of the club to cool off, which is when we finally saw Blake. It looked like he was playing the role of roadie – packing up and loading their van. I shouted to him, “how’d you get to be the roadie, dude?” but he didn’t hear me. A bit later I did get to introduce myself (as the one on Twitter who never got his movie jokes – he said that was okay cuz he had to explain them to his new girlfriend too lol) and got a hug. I was 7 for 8 on the hug list! I met (and hugged!) everyone except James; he and Heidi left not long after the show ended as he had a 5 am interview the next morning (ugh!).

While I don’t remember every tiny detail (my brain just doesn’t do that anymore), one thing I WILL remember is how kind, sweet, and genuine everyone was. They didn’t brush any of us off, and seemed sincerely interested in what we said or asked; they made us feel truly valued. It was very special to me at least, to be treated with so much respect and kindness by people we look up to and admire so very much.

We eventually make our way back to the hotel and I dunno about the other girls, but I crashed with a big freakin smile on my face. :)

Nancy Revelle
Durbinator #1267

  • Help Kids Rock Fundraiser with Orianthi - Burbank, CA - March 2. 2012 - Sherry Sevevino

Rock School Fund - Burbank, CA
March 2, 2012

I'm not gonna lie, this post is gonna be long. There's no real way to make it a Reader's Digest version at all. A lot of unexpected things happened to us that night, which we will never forget. So bear with me and I hope you enjoy it!

I've always promised my kids (and myself of course) that if James came anywhere near Las Vegas I would take them to see him. Especially my 8 y/o daughter who LOVES him to death! She dropped The Bieb so fast when she saw James for the first time haha! So around the beginning of February, I saw a tweet regarding James playing at an LA Fundraiser for a rock school academy for kids on March 2nd. I asked my friend, Michelle, if she knew anything about it, she said she saw the tweet but that was it. I tweeted back to the person but no response. I jumped on it and started looking up info, no luck. About 2 weeks later, I hit the jackpot! The person on twitter invited me to their FB page for the event. I called Michelle to make sure she could get the time off since it was on a Friday (although she really didn't have a choice in the matter, she was going whether she liked it or not LOL). Of course she said YES!! So I bought tickets! I couldn't believe we were finally going to see James perform!!! I debated about telling my kids & tried to make it a surprise, but I'm horrible with that and HAD to tell them. They were so excited! James Durbin here we come!!

A quick tidbit before I go on: Wednesday before the show, James had tweeted that he cut and colored his hair and asked if blondes had more fun. Most of us saw the tweet and started asking him to post a pic. After waiting and waiting for a response from him, I decided to tweet to several people (including James) that if he didn't post a picture, not to worry about it because we were seeing him on Friday and WE will post one! HA! I thought I was gonna pull one over on him for once! The next day, James asked Blake to show his new hair cut. Blake responded saying his hair has it's own 'release date' coming soon. James responded back saying, "And so does mine! I may show my new hair at tomorrows fundraiser in Burbank! Or I might be mean & wear a hat. We'll see." Oh HELL NO! I wasn't having that crap, LOL. Michelle & I started devising plans and tweeting what we were gonna do if he comes out with a hat on. We decided the best choice was to use my daughter at the Meet & Greet. LOL. We were gonna have her ask him to show us his hair, who could turn a kid down right? Not James! (We're so bad using children, haha) So anyway, I'll talk more about this a little later... Back to the story!

I didn't sleep a wink the night before, I was WAY too nervous & had butterflies in my stomach all night. I tried to sleep but I couldn't. I know Michelle didn't sleep well either. We picked her up at 8am and headed to Burbank. The show didn't start until 6:30 but if anyone knows the traffic to & from Vegas and traffic in LA, that would be me. Wanted to get there before all the BS on the freeways. We got to Burbank at about 1pm and check in at the hotel was at 3pm. So we had some time to drive around and find Center Staging, which was the place holding the show. After driving around in a few circles we finally found it, less than a mile from the hotel! We were all hungry so we found a Jack-in-the-Box up the road. Of course we had our eyes peeled for any kind of sighting! He may want a Jumbo Jack or something, you never know, LOL. But no such luck... After eating & killing some time, we headed back to the hotel to check in. We wanted to get down to the show at about 5:30pm to get in line. We grabbed our cameras, autograph items, and the 2 HUGE bags full of gifts for James & family, and left at 5pm to give us time to find a parking spot. Once we got there, we were trying to find stage 11 which was where the show was. Michelle noticed some people in line across the street, so we headed over. We were 4th in line! WOOT! WOOT! We introduced ourselves and started talking to all of them, one being our newest Durb sista, Norma Jean, and a guy named Sebastian who flew all the way from TX to see James!

As we stood and talked, soundcheck was going on. We waited patiently, listening. And then it came, that beautiful voice singing Rainbow in the Dark. I wanted to die!!! So I tweeted about the soundcheck, and after I posted it I saw a picture tweet from James on stage. NOOOO!! He had a damn beanie on!! Holly G. had tweeted for us to start chanting "TAKE IT OFF!" & I told her if I chanted it, I won't be talking about the beanie. :O We were all getting excited as it came time to go in. Once we got in, we headed right to the front center of the stage. Sebastian came along with us. First up were the kids playing a few songs. Then I believe Orianthi came on and played a song with them. Once they were done, the announcer came on and spoke for a few minutes. At this time my son, Christian, tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to the left of the stage. I looked and started shaking! James was standing right there - OMG!! I pointed him out to Michelle and we were dying. My heart was beating so fast! I tried to take a pic of him standing there but I couldn't stop shaking long enough to get a good one, LOL.

The announcer finally introduced him and James came on stage. From the first moment we saw him, we LOVED his hair - yay no beanie!! He looked really hot in his outfit too. His eyes are definitely piercing blue & beautiful. He was right in front of us, about 2 ft away. We could reach out and grab him! He said "What's up?" We all cheered. "This is awful, just awful." Everyone laughed. "This isn't for me, this is for the kids." Then he screamed "How's everybody doing tonight!!!" as we all cheered much louder again. And he responded with "Hell ya!!" Then he, Orianthi, and the kids started playing Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody." Not my favorite song but I don't care...JAMES IS SINGING RIGHT IN FRONT OF US!! I was in awe, totally mesmerized by his presence. Next he sang Journey's "Separate Ways." WOW! Hearing his voice through my TV & radio is awesome, but hearing him sing live is a totally different level completely! Don't even know how to explain it really. Amazing, amazing, amazing! When the song was over, he left the stage and the kids played on. I tweeted really quick that we got pics of his hair! After I tweeted it, I realized I didn't take a pic of him with my cell phone to send over, only my camera. Oh shit!! My phone was vibrating in my back pocket, on my freakin A$$ NON STOP!! About an hour later, he came back on stage. As he was walking on stage, Sebastian hollered "YOU ROCK JAMES!!" He looked down at me, Michelle, & Sebastian and said "Nice shirts, nice CD!" and smiled! Then he went in to singing Dio - Rainbow in the Dark. Michelle was debating when to give him the RJD pic, either on stage or at the M&G. She said "Should I do it now?", I said YES! So she got it out and held on to it. I am so glad we got to witness this song. OMFG!! James singing Rainbow in the Dark, holy sheeeeeit!! This is by far my favorite song of the night, vocally. I don't know how I held that camera so still while video taping, because I wanted to melt right there. We were both dying!! When the song ended, Michelle reached up to give him the picture. Once he saw it, his expression was priceless. BIG smile on his face. Then he held it up and I can't make out the first words on the video, but he said "That's beautiful! That was for Ronnie. That was the first metal song I ever heard." Yay Michelle!!! :) I finally got a pic of him with my phone and sent it to twitter.

He left the stage with his picture and the kids came out again and sang for a bit. About 40 mins later he came out to sing the last song of the night... "Stand Up." Hehehe "We got to sing with Jaaames!" as Sheryl Crowe says it. He started singing and when he got to the chorus, he held the mic out for us to sing. At each part in the chorus he kept putting the mic down during the remainder of the song. I think this was our first "Depends moment" Holly G., LOL. We were in heaven!! I couldn't record it because I was too busy singing. I was hoping my son got it video taped on my other camera, but he didn't. However the guy standing next to us did. He told us at the M&G he would have the video uploaded to Youtube that night so we could see it. We couldn't believe all the stuff that was happening so far, and we were ECSTATIC!! He is absolutely gorgeous in person, my God! He definitely has stage presence, no one took their eyes off of him the whole time he sang. This night couldn't get any better..could it? Okay I'm done for now, I'm exhausted!! Next chapter will be all the juicy details of our 15 minutes with James and his PR guy at the the M&G. Stay tuned!

Part 2
The Meet & Greet

Before James left the stage, he walked over to each kid and shook their hands and told them "Great job". He did this EVERY time he left the stage through out the night, which makes me love him even more. Is that even possible? LOL When he left the stage, the announcer came back on and told us that James & Orianthi will be in Stage 12 for the Meet & Greet. Me, Michelle, the kids, and Sebastian flew out of there like bats out of hell! This was it, it's finally here. We're gonna meet James!! OMG! All my nerves kicked into high gear at this point. We had absolutely no clue where we were going, where the hell was stage 12? We followed Sebastian and finally found it. When we walked in, there was a line starting to form around the wall.

As we got in line, a woman came in the room and hollered out "Attention everyone! James & Orianthi will be here in just a few minutes. There is to be NO pictures taken WITH James. You can take pictures of him signing your ONE item and that is it. Do NOT ask for any pictures to be taken with him.." Wait...what? You did NOT just say that! We knew James would NEVER do (or say) that to his fans. As we stood there debating and devising a plan, James walked in and took a seat at the table. We watched as people were getting whisked through quickly. We need a plan fast! We discussed going to the end of the line so we could have all the time we wanted with James. That sounds so funny, I've never wanted to go to the end of a line for anything! LOL So off we went! We told Sebastian & Norma they were welcome to join us, but they stayed. About 15-20 more people lined up behind us, but we stayed put.

We started talking to a couple of girls behind us. They were so sweet! We talked about past idols and how far we've driven/flown to see one. We told them we had just drove from Vegas to see James tonight, and now this lady is saying we can't take pictures with him. We gave them our twitter handles to follow us. At this point, one of them said "Hey, aren't you one of the girls that tweeted about chanting 'TAKE IT OFF!' or was that someone else?" Oh dear God... They saw my & Holly G.'s tweets. LMFAO! How many others seen it? And OMG did James see it?? And NOW I get to go meet him with all these gifts with our twitter names written all over them! I must admit I turned every shade of red for a moment, which never happens. We told them "Yes" it was our friend Holly who tweeted, and that I was the one that responded back. They said they pointed us out in the show & KNEW it was us. We had a good, long laugh about it.

At one point, we noticed a boy about 10 y/o with his father. He was wearing one of James' tshirts, too cute! He didn't have anything for James to sign, so the director of the show gave him a poster and Michelle gave him one of her photos. The father thanked them profusely. The next thing I know, we're about 2 people away from James! OMG!! My heart was racing like crazy! We walked over to Orianthi first, said "Hi" to her and took pictures. Then it was time for James. Some of this next part is a total blur for both of us. Over the last few days, little bits and pieces have been coming back slowly.

The kids and I walked over to him first (Michelle was finishing up with Orianthi.) My mind was racing a mile a minute. What do I say? Here I am, 40 years old, and I feel like a giddy teenager. Finally I took a deep breath and said "Hi James! My name is Sherry and these are my kids, we drove out from Vegas tonight to see you." He looked at me, smiled and said "That's awesome, thank you for driving out, nice to meet you." Depends moment #2 Holly G.!! OMG HE JUST TALKED TO ME!!!!! He asked how we liked the show. I said "It was fantastic! My kids are learning guitar and they were amazed at how the kids played." I could feel my whole body shaking at this point. I'm having a convo with JAMES! He is gorgeous! Eyes are my weakness. His eyes are the bluest blue I've ever seen, the kind you get lost in. And I definitely got lost, haha. I could definitely see right through to his soul, and it was beautiful. I checked out his hair of course. It was mostly yellow-blonde at the roots and orangish-red at the tips. And of course he had it in a faux hawk which I love. I told him we liked his hair and he laughed. Michelle said "I'm glad you didn't hide it" and I said "We saw your picture you sent to twitter, while we were in line outside, and you had a beanie on!". He laughed and said he was in stages of trying to bleach it out. His hair went from red to orange to yellow, and now it's just a mix of everything. He said once it's done he's thinking about going blue. I said "That's cool! I had blue hair in high school!" He said "Awesome!" and laughed. The PR guy said "That's cool, you had blue hair!" I checked out his tat's.The koi is amazing! Very colorful and bold. Loved it!

I put the first HUGE bag of gifts on the table and comically said "Well, I hope you don't mind but we brought you, Heidi, and Hunter some gifts." (These bags were really huge & filled to the brim) He said "WOW!! That's so nice, thank you so much!" At this time, Michelle put the other HUGE bag of gifts on the table and said "And that's not all!" He said "OMG! Unbelievable, thank you guys SO much! I really appreciate it!" as he was looking through them. Michelle asked James if he liked the RJD picture. He said he loved it! She told him her husband does heavy metal photography, and he took the picture of Ronnie at a Heaven & Hell concert a few years ago. She also told him that she put his business card for his website in with the photo as well. He said "I saw that! Thanks, I'll check it out!" :D

James looked like a kid getting a birthday present, LOL. Very excited expression while looking inside the bags, wanting to know what was in them. Michelle said "I know you can't open all of the gifts right now, but could you open this one?" as she dug out the box. (We thought of Janie H. because she wanted to see the expression on his face when he opened "the box" LOL.) We didn't have to ask twice! He said "Sure, no problem!". He said "I need to find something to open it with" and he started looking around. He ended up using a key on his keychain. (For those that don't know yet, we bought him a beautiful Chinese red dragon. Since we already knew he liked dragons, we HAD to get him the red one. 2012 is the year of the red dragon. The color red symbolizes wealth, prosperity, and good fortune. The dragon is respected for it's ability to change the world, it also symbolizes the same thing as the color red. So, these two auspicious things combined together, it's like double the fortune, double the luck, and double the wealth!) When he took it out of the box, it was wrapped in bubble wrap. He examined it for a second, and then tore the bubble wrap off to examine it closer. Michelle explained the meaning of the red dragon. He said "This looks just like the one I drew!" Michelle said "That's why we bought it for you!" He said " Thank you, thank you, this is awesome!" We were ecstatic!

After that, my daughter handed him her picture. He smiled at her and said "And what's your name?" She smiled back shyly and said "Cameron". Then she looked up at me with her eyes wide open and a BIG grin on her face. I know she was dying inside, that was her Depends moment haha. He signed her picture and smiled back at her, then said "Thank you for coming to the show." She just stared at him in awe, LMAO! I don't think she said anything back, just left him hanging LOL. She was star struck big time! When I got my stuff out to sign, I apologized for having so much and told him if he couldn't sign everything, that was okay. He said "It's okay, I'll sign whatever you have." And the PR guy chimed in saying "James will sign it all for you. Oh! I see you brought your Revolver Magazines." I said "Of course, we didn't forget anything!" As James was signing Michelle's shirt, his pen wouldn't work right. He asked the PR guy for another pen then he signed my shirt. He needed more metallic sharpie's as well (for the photos) so I offered him mine. =) While he was signing our stuff, I asked him how Hunter was doing and if his cast was off yet. He said he was a trooper and doing good. Said that Heidi was taking him to the doctor on Tuesday, and hopefully his cast will be taken off. He also said the fracture wasn't too bad, and thankfully Hunter didn't have to have it on for too long.

We told James we were driving up for Durbin Day 2.0 and we couldn't wait. He asked us if we've ever been to Santa Cruz before. Michelle said "No" and I said "Yes, many times! I have friends and family that live all around up there." He asked if I had been there recently. I told him yes, last October. The PR guy and I started talking about SC while Michelle was getting her stuff signed. She noticed that she forgot to give James her letter that she wrote, and handed it to him. He said "That's nice, thank you" and put it in the bag. At this point, James and the PR guy just started freely giving us info. James said he knows that May 19th is scheduled to be an hour, but they're going to be playing for longer than that. Michelle said "Well good, you know we'll be there.", then jokingly said " I'll give you two guesses as to who we are." He laughed and said "Just two??". Michelle said "I would be Durbinator #1 Desdanny". And James looked at me and said "Ooh so you would be Durbinator #2!" And we all laughed and Michelle said "No, this is CrazyDurb952". And then the PR guy said "OOHH! That's YOU guys, so you already know (about Durbin Day)" Michelle said "Yes we run the @TheDurbinators twitter, the FB Fanlist, and AI". He said "You guys do SO much for us!" and thanked us profusely. James also said he's been approved to sing a Whitesnake song. For the life of us, Michelle and I could not remember which song, and viola! Today I remembered what he said: Still of the Night! OMFG!!! I can SO picture him singing this song, and can't wait to hear it!! He said he's working on getting more approvals for more songs as well. He also said that tour dates will be announced VERY VERY soon, like within the next 2 weeks IIRC. After he was done signing our pile of stuff, we asked for a picture. He said "YES of course!" =) I asked the PR guy if he could take a picture for us with my camera, he said "Sure!" I've always known that James was tall, but WOW! HE IS TALL! :D The kids and I walked over and got our pictures taken. Then it was Michelle's turn. The PR guy said he would take 2 picture's because he took two of me and the kids. We thanked James for everything and he said "Thank you for coming out." As we walked away all happy and excited I heard James holler to us "I'll see you guys in Vegas!". I stopped dead in my tracks, turned around and said "Wait what? You're coming to Vegas??" with a big smile on my face. He laughed and teased saying "I don't know, I'll see what I can do. I'll talk to my people and get back to you." and then smiled and gave us the good ole wink. :)

There are so many things that we wanted to ask and we forgot. When he's in front of you, you're not in the right frame of mind at all. Of course, we thought of ALL kinds of questions afterwards! LOL But it doesn't matter, I'm just happy that we finally got to see him perform and we got to meet him. That's all that I wanted, Michelle too. But being able to stand and talk to him for 15-20 mins was unbelievable. This is one adventure we will never forget!