Monday, October 10, 2011

Turn out the lights, the party's over

There has been a great deal of talk lately about the impending end to Barry's Vegas appearances. Since I haven't been there after he left the Hilton, I can't speak for his run at the Paris. But I can say that those Hilton years hold some very special, unique memories. It's those memories and the friendships that were made there that cause me to look back on those years with great fondness and sometimes pain. A recent death in the fan world has caused me to do a little retrospective thinking.

I remember my first show at the Hilton and how I arrived there alone, excited about my stage seats and not knowing what to expect. As I was seated on the second row, a young girl named Mandy asked me if I was alone. She was also alone and had an empty chair next to her on the front row of the Dew Drop Inn side of the stage. I moved up to sit next to her and we chatted for a bit. It was only the second time I had seen Barry, the first time was from quite a distance. Imagine my surprise when he walked over to me and asked me to help him with his jacket. It was one of those once in a lifetime moments, and even though the moment came and went so quickly, it was exciting to be thrust into the limelight even for a few minutes.

Mandy and I exchanged numbers and emails and became good friends. Over the years, we went to many shows together and still, to this day, keep in touch with one another. She was my first fan friend, but there would be many others.

I met Karen the night that Mandy had her dance with Barry. She and her husband David were sitting next to us on the stage. They joined us for a drink afterwards and we were both impressed about how much David loved Karen and how much they both enjoyed listening and enjoying Barry's music. We kept in touch, although we were never able to make it to Vegas again at the same time. One day, I got a phone call from Karen but it wasn't Karen. It was her husband David telling me that Karen had passed away suddenly. My heart broke. It was one of those defining moments in fandom when even though we only met once, I felt such a strong loss.

My fan friendships have become just as important to me as the ones in my day to day life. I have shared grief with them, invited them to my daughter's wedding, and met friends from England and Australia in Vegas. We have laughed together, cheered together, cried together, danced together and even prayed together.

All of this to say that I have missed my Vegas days the last few years. I miss getting together with friends, staying up late talking, getting up early having coffee, and being crazy for just a few days and nights while destressing. But most of all, I miss the magic that I felt when I was there and the joy that came knowing I could come back again.

For me, it was over two years ago, but the finality of it now, just makes me glad that I had those few years when walking through those doors at the Hilton gave me great joy.

The party may be over, but the friendships will last a lifetime,
Texas Fan

P.S.For those who knew Carol, I know your pain is unbearable. It may be dark right now, but her light will always be there in your heart and in your memories. May she rest in peace and may you find comfort in knowing that you were blessed to have her in your life.



3 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Paris shows are ending but I don't believe this is the end of Barry being in Vegas. Sources in Vegas are saying he's headed to Harrah's. So .. here's hoping some of the magic of the Hilton will come back.

Jill said...

I've never been to Vegas, don't know if I'll ever get there. I do understand how fans become friends. I was lucky enough to go to both the first and second fan club convention. Being amoung"friends" there was quite special. Fond memories, even after the party is over.

Jill said...

I've never been to Vegas and I doubt I ever will go. I did howver go to both the first and second fan club convention. Those are fun memories I will always treasure. Life will go on for us as well as Barry. Too much is being made of the "mixed signals" from Barry and the speculation of fans. If he suddenly decided to completely shut down his performing we still have memories.

 
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