The first question that might be asked here is how come my first show was as late as 1993. This is a simple answer. Obviously, I was WAY too young in 1981, 1982 and even in 1984. In 1987, while I was older, I was living further away from the main concert venues around Chicago. Thus, it would have required my parents to drive quite a distance to get to a show. Then, they would have had to go with me due to my age and they definitely were not excited about that. I’m not sure why since they have always been supportive of my fandom. Nonetheless, they didn’t want to go. My first concert then was in 1990, when I was 15, when I saw Depeche Mode. While my mom had to drive my friends and I, there was a new venue, which wasn’t as far away. Even better, she had a friend nearby so she could drop us off and go visit her friend. Perfect. In 1990, though, Duran wasn’t touring and wouldn’t until 1993. While I can say that I went to the very first Duran show I really could get to, that isn’t quite how it went down.
In 1993, I wasn’t paying that much attention to Duran, despite their more frequent press and media attention. I was way too wrapped up in graduating high school, getting ready to go to college and more. Yes, I was listening to music, but most of it was connected to my friend group. It is just how my life was then. Therefore, when Duran’s tour came around, I don’t even remember hearing about it. I know that we didn’t get tickets when the show went on sale. Nope. It wasn’t a concern, at all. My friend (the one who inherited my Duran stuff) saw something or heard something about the show. She then worked to get me and a couple of our friends to go with her. Despite my lack of attention on Duran, I didn’t hesitate. I knew, deep down, what Duran meant to me and how cool it would be to finally see them live. I longed for that for about 10 years. Our other friends agreed as well, even though, they weren’t big fans. They liked them well enough and thought it would be a good time. Now, even more shockingly then all this, was the fact that my friend bought the tickets. I didn’t worry about it. Yes, times have definitely changed. Yes, my priorities have definitely changed. Anyway, we were able to get tickets but they sucked. Truly. We were all in the back on the left hand side. Not exactly how I wanted to see Duran for the first time.
What do I remember from the show? Not very much. I didn’t know the new songs very well but I do remember enjoying all of the songs that I knew. I also know that my friends had a good time as well. I did buy a t-shirt, which I still have along with a keychain that a radio station was passing out. Afterwards, I do remember listening to more Duran than I had been and stating that I would like to see them again soon. Thus, in many ways, the show did what it was supposed to do. They got me listening to more Duran and got me wanting more shows. Yet, it didn’t feel quite right, for some reason.
At this time of my life, after listening to music for years, I really thought I knew a lot. I had this theory then that bands needed to be careful not to last longer that they should, that they should choose to end rather than be less than great. Around this time, I declared that Depeche Mode should do just that. (For the record: I was wrong.) After seeing Duran, I started wondering about them ending, as much as that hurt. While I liked the show and had a great time, I just had a sense that something wasn’t right. I had no idea what it was. It just didn’t feel like I expected it to. Looking back, I wonder if it was Warren. Was I so busy expecting Andy that it left me with this feeling? Was the chemistry wrong? John wasn’t at his best, personally, then. Was that it? I have no idea. Was it me? I was in the back and Duran didn’t feature in my life the way they did and should. Could that be it? Could it be that my expectations were such that they couldn’t live up to them? Could it be a combination of all of these reasons? I don’t know. I won’t ever know.
I think back to this show not with regret, not with sadness, not with excitement, but with understanding. I understand how many factors affect one’s enjoyment of a show. I understand a little bit more about expectations. I appreciate this lesson. I am glad that I went to this show and to every other Duran show I have been to since. Each and every one of them have been important to me and worthy of note. Today, I acknowledge the first and the lessons learned since that first show.