Yesterday, Duranland celebrated an anniversary. It was the second anniversary of the physical release of the album, All You Need Is Now. As soon as this became a topic around social networking, I immediately began thinking about everything that happened, everything I experienced related to this album. As I tweeted to Duran’s twitter, in some ways, the release of the album felt like yesterday and, in other ways, it felt like it has been in existence forever. Certainly, since the album was released, the band has been through quite a lot. On a personal level, I, too, feel like I have been through quite a lot.
Thinking back to the Duran universe before AYNIN was released, I remember the usual excitement over an album release but I also remember an underlying nervousness. After all, the band’s previous release, Red Carpet Massacre, created quite a divide within the fanbase. Some fans loved it and others hated it and all that it represented. I think it is safe to say that many fans were anxious to put that chapter behind us, if it meant that the fan community could come together in celebration over Duran music once again. For many fans, RCM felt like Duran had turned their back on who they are and what their music should be like, for whatever reason. On top of that, they seemed as far away from the fans, emotionally, as possible. Their paid fan community in DDM was shrinking rapidly and there was no interaction with fans online from the band. It seemed to me that Duranland was not the happy place, for many fans, during the RCM era. Perhaps, it wasn’t a happy place for the band, either. Out of this, AYNIN came about. For many of us, Mark Ronson was the perfect producer as he not only was a fan but knew how to get the best out of the band. As more and more of the music came to light, many fans seemed to breathe a sigh of relief. It was, indeed, save to return to the fold. It was safe to be a Duran fan once again. Then, by the end of 2010, the band was reaching out to make connections with fans in ways that I never thought they would by appearing on twitter and facebook. The release of the album, in many ways and for many fans, felt like the dawning of a new day. The clouds had moved on and the sun was shining brightly on all of us.
Then, of course, there were lots of wonderfully fabulous moments, including amazing shows, a live DVD documenting the tour, the Unstaged performance on youtube, playing at the Olympics, and so forth. Yet, it wasn’t always a smooth ride, especially when Simon lost his ability to reach all notes and shows had to be canceled or when Nick got sick at the end of the last leg of the tour. Those moments were tough as many worried that the end of Duran was near. Of course, these challenges, in the end, perhaps, taught us all the real meaning of “all you need is now”. We were reminded to “stay with the music” and to “let it play a little longer”. Many of us adopted this philosophy as we decided our tour plans and opted to embrace the now and to live without regret. Thus, for many within the fandom, this era represented a new beginning as the fans felt loved and connected with a band making some of the best music in decades. This feeling was so strong that it was able to endure those long, challenging months when the future of Duran’s career and Simon’s, in particular, were in question.
Was my story surrounding AYNIN similar to most in the fandom? In many ways, it was! The blog began in September 2010, a few months before both the digital release and the physical release of the album. The album, obviously, gave us plenty to talk about. Now, that we have started talking, I don’t see an end in sight. I won’t lie. Like many in the fan community, I felt this sense of renewal with the album and was thrilled that I had this place to express it. Duran Duran was back, I believed, with every fiber in my being as soon as I heard it. On top of that, I was motivated to take any and all opportunities to embrace the now. What this meant, of course, is that I did as many shows as I could over the course of the AYNIN tour. I even traveled to the UK twice! Looking back, to the shows, I don’t regret one single moment. I don’t even regret the first trip to the UK when we all found out that Simon was unable to perform. In many ways, that trip solidified, strengthened, reinforced my love for the band as I truly knew how much they meant to me when I had to face a possible end. Then, of course, the return trip, the one filled with shows, was a dream. It was the best tour I could have imagined with amazing performances and meeting and getting to know so many new friends. That’s truly the other piece to the past two years since AYNIN came out. This album, the tour that followed and their social networking presence brought me in touch with so many new people, so many fabulous people. I have friends now that I didn’t have two years ago. With every new friend I have because of the band, I thank them. I thanked them a lot in the last couple of years. Of course, since starting the blog and since AYNIN, my friendship with Rhonda remains as strong as ever. We faced this whole period of time together as best friends, as “business” partners of sorts and as fellow fans.
Truly, my feelings of love toward the band has never been higher than they were during this era of All You Need is Now, which is truly saying something as there were other times that I thought would never be beat. Those Astronaut shows of 2005 were pretty amazing. Yet, I now realize that those were just the warm up for what I, what we all experienced since the very end of 2010. I know that I will always look back with fondness on this era in Duran history and in my history as a Duranie. At the same time, my hope, my belief that the next era will be just as special, if not more so, remains strong. After all, I learned the lesson of AYNIN well. I learned that the now really does matter the most.