This concert was the very first event in the brand new Sears Center, located in Hoffman Estates, north of the city. We had a difficult time getting there because the weather was horrible (cold and rainy) and traffic was worse, especially since I had to pick people up at two different airports. By the time we got everyone, checked in and ate dinner, we had to rush to the venue. We had signs made and cameras, both of which were forgotten in our rush to get to the show. I’m sure that those pictures would have been the best I had ever taken, too! Ha! Perhaps, though, this was good as we could truly only focus on the show. As we walked around, we heard a number of people talking about Andy’s departure. Obviously, news had gotten out. When we finally ventured to our seats, we were pleased that they were 8 rows back, right in front of John Taylor (Was this the last of our John seats?! Maybe…). Soon enough, we heard the first notes of Burning the Ground being played, which was how they started the shows then. I wasn’t too sure of it as a beginning but my excitement definitely increased during it! This excitement not only remained but increased as the show went on.
A number of moments stood out for not only me and Rhonda but friends of ours as well. These moments say a lot about Duran, too. First, Ordinary World was a complete standout for me. I will be the first to admit that it isn’t my favorite song and I’m rarely moved by it. Yet, on that night, Ordinary World became about Duran. As my friend, Sara, pointed out that night, “This song takes on new meaning tonight.” Duran had to find their new “ordinary world”, a world without Andy, a world after the reunion ended, a world that could allow Dom Brown, a world that could maybe embrace him. As soon as the solo started in that song, both Rhonda and I noticed that Dom played it differently than he had previously (We had seen him play in 2005 when Andy was gone to take care of his ill father). Then, Dom again drew our attention during Sunrise when he was singing the chorus. Dom began to really show himself without disrespecting the band’s loss and our loss as fans. He needed to step up but he didn’t hog the spotlight. Somehow, he managed a perfect balance that night on a night that was a true turning point. Right then and there, we were fans. We had to be.
Beyond those highlights with Dom, John and Simon seemed to be playful. It was Simon’s birthday (the next day) and he definitely enjoyed the extra attention he received from the crowd while John kept trying to bring him back down to reality by reminding him that it wasn’t his birthday until midnight. Simon kept arguing that it was past midnight in the UK. Another key highlight was that John seemed to keep looking at Rhonda and me. Perhaps, this had to do with the fact that we were in direct line of sight. Nonetheless, I was amused when John mouthed to Rhonda that she should “keep singing.”. That Rhonda can be such a slacker!! By the end of the show, Rhonda and I were full of energy and excitement that was obvious to everyone around us. In fact, at the end of the show, some woman in front of us said to us, “I haven’t seen such enthusiasm in years.” The band seemed to think the show was a good one, too. John kept coming back to the microphone to talk to the audience. It was like he didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want them to leave either.
When I look back to that show, what made it one of the best shows I have been to was it showed how strong the Duran spirit was. The band seemed to be pushing themselves to be their best. Was this because they felt like they had something to prove after Andy left? Maybe. Did they need to prove it to us? In some ways, sure, it was important to show the fans that they weren’t planning on ending and that they knew that they could and would continue on. Dom’s performance showed us, not only what a talented and respectful guy he is, but also that he would and could contribute to Duran’s future. Yes, it would never be the same but it could still be good. Isn’t that what Ordinary World’s message is really all about? Yes, there is sadness and heartbreak in life. Yet, one has to keep moving in order to find the new normal. Duran took that step on that cold, damp night in Chicago. They showed us and themselves that they were strong enough to survive.
It has been almost six years since and, in my opinion, Duran has found their new “ordinary world”, their new normal. It isn’t like it was with Andy and it isn’t like what it was with Warren. Yet, it is still good and like all of Duran history, it is worthy of appreciation and celebration.