The meet up was fun. There was a small group of us, but that made it good as we had a chance to really talk to everyone. Rhonda and I did our traditional shots and many drinks were consumed. After the dinner meet up, we did walk around a bit to scope out the scene and went to a club here. This was a very informative time as we learned that some of our information was wrong. The line for general admission is INSIDE! In fact, it starts where the box office right by the venue, which from what we saw last night and what we have heard is tiny. Obviously, Rhonda and I beyond relieved. We kept trying to prepare ourselves to tolerate the weather and outside conditions in order to get a good spot. Now, we don’t have to worry!!! Apparently, the line has, at times, gone outside but it definitely starts indoors. Now, we are ready for our long day in the GA line. The fun part is that we will get to talk to other fans. We like that. So, as I type this, it is 8 am, local time, and there is 11 of us in line. Not sure if this is a normal deal for Duran GA as this is the earliest I have ever been in line. According to one Hard Rock employee, 7 am is usually the earliest people line up. Rhonda and I are optimistically hopeful that everything runs smoothly for the rest of the day and the rest of the tour. You can be certain that we will report on how the show was and how we survived tomorrow. We might be typing on the road as we will be ending to Atlanta. Until then, wish us luck and that this is the best show ever!!! -A
Today started super ridiculously early for me as my first flight was at 6 am. This doesn’t sound too bad but then you remember that you cannot just arrive at the airport at five minutes to 6. Yet, I reminded myself of a little phrase that Rhonda and I like to utter at times. “All things Duran are worth it,” or so we say. Thus, an early morning flight is worth it, right? Of course, this phrase will really be tested tomorrow. Why? What is tomorrow you all might ask? Well, it is the day of the Biloxi show. Yeah, and? What is the big deal there? Obviously, we have done many shows before this. This one, though, is GA. I’m so NOT a fan of GA, or general admission. I have friends who love GA. It seems that they love the atmosphere of getting there early, waiting in line, not knowing where you will end up. Perhaps, they have ended up with good seats, which, I suppose could make them worthwhile. So, why the big deal for us? Let me explain.
First, Rhonda and I are not big fans of weather. Really, I am not a big fan of any weather except for weather that I can enjoy from the comfort of the climate controlled indoors. More specifically, Rhonda and I don’t enjoy heat and humidity. While the Midwest, where I live, has experienced a horribly hot summer, I doubt that I’m anywhere near prepared to deal. I don’t go outside much. Speaking of that, who’s brilliant idea is it of Hard Rock there to have the GA line outside?! Is this some sick way of torturing fans? Do fans lining up look badly to other customers there? I don’t think so. In fact, it could be a sign that they are able to bring highly demanded bands and performers there. What do I know, though? I’m not a business owner. Okay, so Rhonda and I are going to sweat and sweat a lot. I’m willing to bet that it won’t be our best looks ever, either. Then, there is our new fear that it will rain. It is a humid enough place that rain is always possible. What do we do then? Bring an umbrella? Wear a garbage bag as a raincoat? Really, why did we think this would be a good idea? Shouldn’t we be paid to deal with this instead of us paying for the tickets?
Second, after dealing with the heat, humidity and possible rain, we have to deal with everything else related to being outside. What kind of bugs are there in Mississippi? I can’t say that I’m a fan of bugs. Of any kind. What about sun? I’m fair. I’m extremely fair. I burn easily. In fact, I burn within an hour of being outside. So, I’m picturing myself now…sweating sunscreen, which I’ll be applying every hour, droopy hair, and avoiding raindrops and enormous bugs. Again, I gotta ask. What in the heck were we thinking? I know…we were thinking that “All things Duran are worth it”. We were thinking that maybe, just maybe, we would be lucky enough to get in front. Then, I wonder about the details about waiting. We don’t plan to stand all the time but we will be standing once the show time gets closer. How long will that be? Yes, we have brought comfortable shoes but still…will that save our feet? Beyond any physical discomfort, we will have to deal with bathrooms, food, and water. While Rhonda and I have gone all day sitting, not eating, not drinking, not going to the bathroom, we aren’t prepared to do that now. We have to draw the line somewhere, right? Are there places to go to the bathroom? What about food?
It is too late to turn around now, right? We really will once again test one of our favorite phrases tomorrow. Will all things Duran be worth it or will we have barely survived? Only time will tell! If no blog after a couple of days, someone better start calling hospitals in Biloxi…
Or our blogs.
Or they’ve just read some posts from a lot of people.
No matter (and it’s probably better not to overanalyze), the fact is what was once apparently long-lost has been found, and is available for more than a single listen. Remember that Qello premiere of Diamond in the Mind? Remember the commentary that many of us couldn’t figure out how to get working properly?? Remember how it was tough to multitask enough to watch the video, listen to the commentary, squee in delight (Yes, squee. Not squeal – as only pigs squeal. We squee. Its in the Duranie dictionary. Look it up.) AND chat back and forth with friends online? Well my friends, we can do it all again. And again and again. Endless pleasure.
Yesterday I saw a couple posts that the audio commentary was now available from Eagle Rock, and sometime between then and say…now…I see that John Taylor graciously explained the situation for us. I will gladly post that link, as well as the link to Eagle Rock for anyone and everyone to rush and order.
As far as I can tell, the commentary is available via digital format, meaning you can download and watch it on your computer. (and excuse my lack of technogeek, but I think you can also watch it on your iPad and various other devices…listen, I’m lucky I can get my iPad to even PLAY music sometimes so forgive me for not being completely in the loop with what is what.)
I know a few people out there are probably already crying and screaming…I already bought the DVD or Blu-Ray and why oh why couldn’t it have just been put on there to begin with…now they’ve got to spend another $4.99 (at least) to hear it and that’s just not fair…so on and so forth. I hear you. The band probably hears you too. I am just guessing here, but I get the feeling that the commentary probably wasn’t something that was done at the same time as the DVD or Blu-Ray. They might not have ever intended to do one, but at the last minute they put something together for the premiere, and as is typical, we Duranies (as outspoken as some of us tend to be…*cough, cough*) might have mentioned several thousand times that we really wish that we could hear the commentary again….because some of us have a bit of OCD going on as well as ADD and couldn’t grasp it all the first time. Then the band came to the rescue with this delightful offering, because that’s what they do.
At least, that’s MY story and I’m sticking to it. As for the money? I hate to say it – but it’s a penny less than five dollars. Less than many if not most of the albums I buy these days (yes, I BUY my music!), and dangerously close to being less than I pay for a gallon of premium gasoline where I live. I think it’s worth it. Besides, the band is talking. I can buy this thing, download it to my computer, sync it up with my iPad and listen to Simon, John, Roger & Nick talk to me for at least half of my trip from here to Biloxi on Friday morning. That’s worth WAY more than five dollars, thankyouverymuch. Sold!! I’m going to be brutally honest: I don’t think I would have bought the download before, but now that I have the option of getting the commentary with the audio and the video, I’m in and I can’t wait to have two hours to myself in order to watch it and listen in relative peace, and yes – I think everyone out there should do the same. Daily Duranie (Ok, at least one half) gives this a big thumbs up!
So, I leave in about a half hour to get my hair done – I’m sure everyone needs to know that out there…and I would bet my red streaks that hairstylists all over this country have had many a Duranie visit their shop this week. I’ve been going around my house humming the tune “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”, and not just because my kids are about to go back to school. Oh no. It’s because not only did I get to see the band in December of last year, but I am about to see them again in 2012 for what might be the last time in a while.
Big, heavy sigh.
I know they’ve got to be tired. I know they’ve got to be nearing complete sickness of the fans. (We get it. Believe me, we get it.) I just hope they know how happy we are to see them again. I’ve been doing a bit of a self-retrospective on this album lately and what it has come to mean to me personally as well as to the fan base in general. The one thing I can say is that it isn’t easy for me to put it all into words. I feel as though this album is nearly the polar opposite of Red Carpet Massacre in so many ways. John was right when he said during an interview for People.com that there’s a connectivity between the band and the fans that wasn’t there before even 2 or 3 years ago. (Maybe more like 4 years ago now – times flies.) I feel that connectivity, and I know I’m not the only one. There’s something to be said for putting yourselves out there and allowing there to be a sort of relationship beyond the music. I have to give the band credit, props or what-have-you for that, because it isn’t an easy thing. Social media can be invasive and even uncomfortable. Even as Daily Duranie, I have had people – lovely, lovely people – find my personal page on Facebook, and then try to figure out who my children are from photos and then contact them. (specifically my oldest because quite frankly the other two aren’t allowed on Facebook.) My husband has had people contact him, and you know what? It’s weird. I’m no celebrity, I’m just a fan. I can’t imagine what its like for any of them…but I get it. It takes a lot to put yourself out there in this sort of manner, and while it comes semi-easily for me (I’m outspoken and willing. Why? I have no idea – I guess I just see this as a role that needed to be filled, and I love bringing people together?? It’s the one “job” I’ve found that I completely adore. Sometimes it’s like herding cats or children….but I love it all the same.), I have to believe that for the band this isn’t really a second nature thing. When they play on stage or go into the studio, I believe they go into every show wanting to leave all of it out there – and their best shows/albums occur when that happens. After that, I would imagine the rest they’d like to keep for themselves. Trouble is, we fans want it all. (Damn we’re demanding aren’t we?) I think it’s been a learning curve for each of them to decide just how much they want to give, and a learning curve for fans as to how much to expect.
Give and take. The story of our lives, really.
I can’t wait to get on that plane and see them in Biloxi, Atlanta, Durham and Portsmouth. I really hope that they can see just how welcome they really are in our lives…and how much we all will miss them when they’re back in the studio recording or on hiatus. It doesn’t matter what the setlist contains (Mediterranea please. I beg. I plead. I’ll even be good during Hungry Like the Wolf and sing along!!), I’m just looking forward to rocking out with my band and creating some fantastic memories to serve me during their absence.
It was fun to be on vacation. I actually relaxed, which for me is nothing short of a miracle…and for a few days, even Duran Duran was far from my mind. That didn’t last terribly long, as I was desperate to hear of how their US shows were going. A decent wi-fi connection was tough to come by, but occasionally we’d go into town and I’d be able to check in with the world.
So, what did I do on my vacation? Let me show you… (ah, the dreaded vacation slide-show!)
To begin with, I spent many afternoons on the lake. The lake we went to is called Lake Siskiyou (Sis-kee-you) and it’s near Mt. Shasta. Yes, that’s me out there on my sofa. It’s called the Siesta Lounger and yes, I even did some of that (Miraculous. I don’t ever nap!) My husband was kind enough to swim out there on occasion and bring me refreshments. The lake was beautiful and actually pretty warm for being an “alpine” lake.
The scenery was gorgeous and even as I sit here at home in my house, I am thinking about the beautiful view. I think this photo might even have my brother-in-law on his paddleboard in it. In case you’re wondering, this is Mt. Shasta in the background, and those are actually glaciers on the mountain. If you’re wondering why these photos aren’t of Duran Duran, it’s because they didn’t come on vacation with me this year. Something about doing some shows…work…wives…Nick’s fear of camping….I don’t know.
We did have a fan or two show up at the campground…those animals!! No really, there were a ton of deer up there, and oddly they aren’t afraid of people. Not sure if that’s really a good thing, but the owners of the campground told me that these particular deer have lived there for years and they think of them as pets. (By the way – I was less than ten feet from this one, who kindly posed for me.)
More scenery. One day we took a boat out with our family (my husband’s sisters and their families were with us for part of the time), and this is a bridge that people jump off of into the water. No, I did not jump. I watched other idiots, I mean people…dive. Heights and I are not friends, but I was happily entertained by the sights of others.
One day, we went to see lava tubes and caves at the Lava Bed National Monument. We passed a sign for ice caves, and my husband and I joked that there was no point in going because it was easily a hundred degrees (F) outside, so ice wasn’t really a possibility. Wrong! It was freezing cold in the cave, and after climbing down in, there was a ton of ice! This is just one small area of it, but if I would have been brave enough to climb down farther (not a chance), the tube was filled with ice from what is an underground spring that freezes. Later that day, we went into other caves, and let me just say that pitch black doesn’t even begin to describe the darkness. I was scared to death that my youngest – who has NO FEAR WHATSOEVER – was going to fall to her death because she’d just try to go charging ahead with barely a light to guide her. I’d have my light in front of me and look behind to see absolutely nothing but darkness. I’d put the light in back of me and then look ahead and see nothing, not even my family who was probably 3 feet from me. Claustrophobia much? YES!
On our last day, we went to Panther Meadow up on Mt. Shasta. Depending upon where you start, the hike is about 30 minutes straight up a fairly steep hill. Not a really tough hike, but with a wayward four year old, what should take 30 minutes takes more like an hour…go figure. The sights that awaited though? Well worth the effort. At the top of the mountain there is a gorgeous meadow with a ton of wildflowers – more than I’ve ever really seen (and this is August!). There is also a natural and sacred spring that bubbles up from the ground, and people come there to meditate or pray. Several people were there when we got there, and it was very difficult to keep our youngest quiet, but it was a learning experience for her!
It was wonderfully peaceful, and when you go, you’re encouraged to take water from the spring to drink. Super cold (and welcome after that hike!) and very, very clean – which for here in California, is a miracle. This picture is of my oldest getting filling her water bottle with the spring water. From the angle it doesn’t look like it’s really clean or on a hill…trust me, it was.
How did we survive two weeks without any of the comforts of home? HA! We didn’t!!! We simply took them with us!! Let me show you:
|The aforementioned Siesta Lounger|
|The Margarita Maker|
|Icemaker…for the margarita maker of course!|
|Bottled water = ice for the margaritas!|
|My chair. Very, VERY important!|
I’m not tired of touring. I can’t imagine ever being tired of touring. Friday cannot come fast enough as I’m terribly anxious to see Rhonda and to get to our first show in Biloxi. No, I’m tired of how Duranland responds to Duran shows. I feel like my perspective on Duranland or on Duran tours/shows has changed. As you all know, Rhonda and I flew to the UK twice last year to see them perform in their home country. A year ago, Simon was unable to sing and Duran’s future was in question. Then, he got his voice back and the band returned, better and stronger than ever. I felt this. Yet, I did not feel it when I went to the show in Chicago in October. No, I felt it when I went to the shows in the UK. Why? What was the difference? Was it the setlists? Was it me? Was it the crowd? Was it all of the above?
As I look back, I know that it wasn’t the setlists. In fact, there wasn’t much of a difference between the Chicago show in October and the shows in the UK. Yes, we heard Secret Oktober, which truly was a dream come true! Sometimes, I have to remind myself that it was real. By the third show, though, the setlist was generally locked in place. We knew what to expect and, frankly, we didn’t care. I didn’t care. Why? The shows were so amazing that I wasn’t annoyed by seeing the exact same songs night after night. A good show isn’t about that, to me. Now, don’t get me wrong. I would absolutely ADORE a few changes to the setlists. Who wouldn’t? I know that Rhonda was terribly excited about seeing Mediterranea in the setlist. I would love if they wanted to play Too Bad You’re So Beautiful. Both of us might faint, cry, scream at the same time if we ever heard the notes to Late Bar. Yet, I find myself so tired of the complaining. Duran could play a setlist of b-sides and album tracks and if they played without energy, without focus, the show would still suck. Likewise, they could play only hits and the show could be great, depending on the band, the crowd, etc. I understand fans’ desire to see new and different tracks. I feel that way, too, but I think I’m letting it go. I learned that it is so much more important to have them performing and performing well than what songs are played.
Maybe, then, the change is me. My focus, my attitude is different. I know that this can all be gone in an instant. Something can happen to them. Something can happen to me. Why complain about setlists? I see so many people saying that they have tickets to show X but aren’t sure if they should go because the setlist is so boring. Other people would love to be able to go to a show. I get to go to shows and I’m still excited! I just don’t want to spend my time getting ready to go on tour or being on tour and hearing negative or not fun things about the shows, the band, etc. It makes my attitude bad and that almost always guarantees that I will not enjoy myself as I should. Let me give you an example. Rhonda and I did three shows at the end of 2008. We weren’t thrilled with RCM and went into the shows knowing this. We were excited, we thought. Yet, when we got to the first show, we weren’t. Our seats sucked and we complained about the setlist. Somewhere between that show and the show a couple of days later, we decided to let the rest of the crap go and just enjoy the show. We got a decent spot at the show (it was GA) and liked listening to other people around us anxiously awaiting the first notes. Guess what happened? We didn’t like that first show much but really liked the last one. Is that a coincidence? I don’t think so.
My point is this. Expectations and attitudes matter. Worrying about the setlist leads to a bad time. Thinking that the show isn’t going to be that good will make it so. Interestingly enough, I haven’t seen many comments saying that these first two shows weren’t good. It has been the exact opposite. People seem to have had a great time! Maybe, the lesson really is for me. Perhaps, I need to avoid those people who would bring me down. I have a show in a week and I want nothing, nothing, nothing but that excitement that I had during the UK tour. After all, who knows when the next one will be.
In some ways, it seems like we have been talking about this performance forever! First, we had the rumors flying. Will Duran be playing? Won’t they? Then, the announcement came and all of the reactions that came with it. The media, for the most part, was horrified and thought Duran was a terrible choice. The fans, of course, were thrilled and very proud! Some of us were anxious as well as being pleased. After all, this was a big deal and the pressure would be on. We wanted so badly for Duran to perform well–not only to silence the critics but to also make the fans proud and maybe even get some new ones. Throughout Duran’s history, the big gigs have not always gone so well. I heard horror stories about some gig they played in front of Princess Diana. We all know about Live Aid and the bum note heard around the world. Even now, I feel like they don’t do so well during the important TV performances and I have heard that their shows in Birmingham are not as good as others due to anxiety or whatever. Perhaps, this kind of thing also has to do with expectations. Sometimes, fan expectations are so high that no one could meet those expectations. Anyway, whatever the deal is with important gigs, I worried. Would they prove the media right or would they show the world how fabulous they truly can be? Again, based on what I heard, saw and read, they absolutely proved their talent and skill!
Duran played for about 50 minutes for what I heard. They seemed to play a greatest hits set with a couple of new tracks. While I suspect that we all knew they would play a setlist like this, I still saw a few complaints about it. I’m sure we all understand why they would play songs that were familiar to most people. After all, it wasn’t a show just for fans. It was a showcase–to show what Duran has done. While we might be sick of those songs, casual fans and non-fans aren’t. Besides, it sounds like some of the more frequently played tracks did really well. For example, I heard that Ordinary World and Save a Prayer really captured attention. The fact that the audience, for the most part, joined in to sing the chorus to Save a Prayer shows that they really were able to connect with the audience. Good for them!
This show, of course, marked the last day of the European leg of the tour. Now, the band gets some time to relax before the last and final leg happens in the States. I hope that this Olympics show renewed the band some as I can imagine how tired they must be. A big victory like this one might energize them and us enough to finish this era of All You Need Is Now well!!!
All of that aside, I’m looking forward to the trip. I really do feel as though I need a long breather in order to clear my head. I don’t plan to check Facebook (much), I don’t plan to tweet (much), and I don’t plan to blog (no really, I don’t!!!). What’s even more shocking is that while I’m gone, I don’t plan to listen to Duran Duran. *gasp* (It is true!) Every now and then I take a Duran break. While that might be sacrilege to most of you, I find that I need that break sometimes, if for no other reason to than to truly appreciate their music when I come back. I think it is sometimes a matter of just keeping it all feeling fresh. Right about now it is getting to the point where their music is becoming more about background noise (apologies to the band!) than it is about appreciating their art, so I know it’s time.
I hate to say it, but I would expect the band is getting to that point as well. They still have a month of touring ahead, and I am hoping for some fantastic shows here in the states, but the road has been long and I’ll bet they are anticipating a wonderful break before they begin the process of writing and recording next year. While on one hand it is tough to imagine that we’ve nearly come to the end of an album cycle once again, I don’t think I’m alone when I say that for all the good this album has brought to the fan community (I think it has helped to breathe new life into a community that I felt was dwindling rapidly.), it was not without difficulty. Of course as I type that, I’m also thinking that when I play All You Need is Now, it still feels new to me. (background noise-ish at times…but new background noise!)
By the time I get back, the band will already be halfway through their month of dates in the US. When I leave to see the band in Biloxi, Atlanta, Durham and Portsmouth, it will be bittersweet. I am looking forward to seeing them again and I welcome the hours that I’ll spend dancing and singing along like we’re old friends. I’ll also be sad when it’s over, because I will know that it will be quite some time before we’re all together once again.
Breaks are good though. They keep us all fresh, healthy and appreciative of one another. So with that, I’m off to get ready for my own break. I trust you all will be fine without me and in Amanda’s capable hands – and if you really miss me, you can find me on Facebook or Twitter, although I won’t be checking (much). 😀 (typed like the true social media addict I really am….)
So a couple of reminders: we are still looking for some good blogs to post during my absence. The two topics we are looking for are: meeting the band, and a favorite concert experience (a song, a show…whatever you would like!) I know that there are many people out there that love to tell their own “band” story – here is your chance! Please send us your work by next weekend – July 28-29. Looking forward to reading some great blogs!!
I took some time this morning to catch up on some of the little video “vlogs” that the band has been posting on Facebook. These have got to be a lot simpler to accomplish than writing a blog and if I weren’t so concerned about scaring people with my morning appearance – I might just start doing the Daily Duranie blog as a “vlog”!! In any case, I’ve enjoyed these small little “snapshots” the band has given during their tour, which I know must be feeling incredibly long to them by this point. Not only have we seen sights of where they’ve been, but they seem to like giving a tiny taste of what they’ve seen and done culturally, which I really enjoy. I have added a few things to my own personal “Must see before I die” Bucket List this week as a result of these little videos. For instance, Nick mentioned my most favorite word in the video I saw this morning: Jewelry. He was speaking of the Ottoman Empire jewelry collection from Turkey…a collection I studied pretty extensively in my antique jewelry courses, and I made a note that yes, someday I need to see that in person. I find myself doing that quite a bit these days. Dom posted a photo of the famous Trevi fountain in Rome, and that is something else I’ve yet to see, and so it too was added to the list. Eventually, I’ll make it to these far off places. As it is, I accomplished a couple of things on my Bucket List: I saw Duran Duran in their own country. That was one thing I really didn’t think I’d ever do, and I still have plans to return for the convention later this year in Birmingham. I can’t wait.
It’s funny how we all have these “lists”, whether they are in our heads or actually down on paper. Amanda and I have this crazy (and probably unlikely) goal of seeing the band in every US state. I don’t know exactly when we agreed to make this a goal for ourselves – I am sure she knows – but we’re making some head way now. It’s difficult though because there are states that the band has never even gone, so it’s unlikely that they’ll travel to those places. Like Hawaii for instance. What’s up with that?? Let me say this: if they ever go to Hawaii – I’ll definitely be making THAT trip and I will be making it an extended trip! I suppose the issue there is shipping all of the equipment must be a fortune, and it’s not like they can do several shows easily. The same probably holds true for Alaska. Oh well. Maui will have to make due as “just” a family vacation once again.
What is really funny about our state goal is that as time has worn on, I’m finding that I’m less and less interested in seeing them here in my own country – I would rather travel abroad to see them so that I can experience something completely different and see friends that we’ve made online over the years. There are a few places I’d love to see the band, should they tour again. I’d like to go to the UK, meet up with our friends there and travel into Europe with them, I’d really like to go to Australia, and I’d also really love to see the band in South America. Wistfully, I recognize that the years are somewhat limited. I don’t know that the band has plans to out do The Rolling Stones in the length of their career, so the chances that I will be able to do everything are slim. Amanda and I will have to make choices as to where we should go, and I’m truly hopeful that the band really will go back into the studio and be successful writing and recording another album.
I’ve read several times this past week that the band is very tired. These statements come from the band. They’ve been mentioned to people, and let’s be honest – our community is small. Word gets ’round. There has been some irritation “voiced” more than once that fans aren’t giving the band space and privacy as they desperately need, and that the band is pretty sick of touring. Fair enough. A year and a half is a long time, to be sure. Everyone needs an extended recharge now and then, and I don’t think that fact comes to light nearly as brightly as it does when you are in a place where privacy is non-existant, as is personal space. I think it’s one thing to be in the same hotel as the band. I prefer to stay at nice hotels myself and I’m willing to pay for them, but once again I feel it necessary to remind fans that these band members ARE PEOPLE. It is simply not acceptable to interrupt their meals, their peace or their downtime. It is not OK to run up and grab them as though they are your long lost best friend. The band probably doesn’t know you, no matter how long you’ve been a fan. It’s RUDE no matter where you are from or what your culture. If they are out and about and make the attempt to hang out with fans in the bar, that’s one thing. If they are out by the pool trying to relax, why is it so difficult to recognize the situation for what it is and leave them be? I have to believe that if we fans allow them a little dignity and space, that the respect will be returned.
The band still have a busy month of touring ahead, and they’ll finish supporting All You Need is Now here in the US. I don’t mind saying that I saw them a few times at the very end of the tour for Red Carpet Massacre when they were in the Northeast US. It was beyond obvious that they were sick to death of touring, of playing and unfortunately of fans bombarding them. I am hoping that this won’t end up being a repeat of that finish for them because they are completely burnt out. We fans can help them by giving them some respect, privacy and space when we see them.
(If you’re wondering why I chose that particular title…read the lyrics.)
The band is apparently in Rome today (a special thanks to John Taylor for tweeting that – once again, I have lost track. I would be completely useless to the band if I were supposed to be the one telling them where they’re going. When Amanda and I travel – I depend on her to tell me!) So far I have heard that their Verona show was very good – in fact they put Mediterranea back on the set list and I really hope it stays there for the US. I love that song, and more distinctly, I love Dom’s guitar on that song. I’ve also heard that the fans are pretty intense in Italy.
Intense is a curious word for me. Truthfully, I can’t imagine what that really means. I’ve only seen shows here in the US (Crazy, loud…and as Roger has said…we can be raucous. It’s true and it’s something I’m not especially proud of, but sometimes you have to step away to really see yourself the way others see you.), and the UK. (Far more respectable and comfortable with the band and vice-versa) I don’t think I ever really saw anything that came close to intense. So when I read yesterday that fans had literally swarmed the hotel that the band was staying at, and that they really couldn’t move about freely, I was surprised. This is 2012, not 1984. I suppose part of the problem is that the band hasn’t been to Italy for a while, and they are far overdue for those shows they missed last year, but I really don’t know. I would imagine that for the band, it’s a double edged sword. They probably enjoy being loved that much on one hand, but on the other – I would guess it’s difficult to get used to once again. I’m not a celebrity (In fact it’s even a little odd when someone recognizes me just from a message board!) and so I don’t know what it’s really like to never be able to leave my house without being followed, photographed or “loved” by fans. I guess it’s part of the job, but even so, I don’t think I’d enjoy it much. Truth be told, I’ve stayed at the same hotel as the band before, but even when it has happened – I haven’t attempted to go wandering up to them as though we’re buddies. They don’t know me, and I really don’t know them, either. I know them from the stage. Period. Not that I wouldn’t welcome them if they wanted to talk, but the fact is – they’re people. They aren’t just the objects from our fantasies or our little piece of utopia when we tour. They deserve a little space, and you know – if they want to go downstairs for coffee or exercise in the morning I’m not going to bug them.
I know I’m definitely not the only fan who has stayed at the same hotel as the band – whether by chance or otherwise planned. The funny thing is, once we’re at that hotel we are immediately branded as “FANS”. I don’t know if it’s somehow stamped on our forehead, or if it’s the way our eyes dart around the crowd as though we’re constantly on the lookout for something, or if it’s the way we tend to move around as though we’re bees getting close to the beehive, but it is apparently obvious. This drives me crazy. I mean, there’s not much more condescending than to have a band member or even a member of their entourage look at you with that painful look of disdain as though they’re saying “Oh, of course you’re staying here.” I am truly surprised they don’t roll their eyes when they see us. On one hand, I’m almost immediately sorry I booked at that hotel, and on the other – I’m completely offended that must think they’re the only people on the planet that want or can stay in such places, AND that they’d assume that because I appear to be a fan (that damn branding mark on my forehead again, apparently…) I would even think to go running up to them begging for attention. Of course, I am but one person of thousands, and as I’ve seen, although I will control myself, others will not. Sure, I get excited seeing John or Roger, but I’m not going to have a freak-out as they walk by. I would definitely smile to myself if I saw Dom (I have not ever seen him.), but I will not be the one running up to them or causing a scene. That’s embarrassing for all of us. I cringe for the fan, for the band, and for myself, because I know that once that happens (and it always does), the band is going to be chalking us all up to be exactly the same way. It’s one thing to smile and nod or say “good morning” like I would to anybody else, it’s another to throw myself upon them as though they are just as happy to see us as we are them. Maybe that’s just me?
My husband reminds me of something when he talks about going to trade shows that I try to keep in my mind as I’m traveling – and that’s when I’ve been with him after a long day and we make our way back to the hotel lobby, and we’re stopped by yet another customer as we’re headed upstairs. It’s annoying. He’s exhausted and the last thing he wants to do is talk more business, and I’m thinking in my head as I’m smiling and nodding “You know, you’ve had him all day. My turn now.” That has got to be the way it really is for them, and I get it.
I’ve been writing a lot for my chapter on conventions this week, and I’ve been doing some research at the same time. One of the topics I use in the chapter is the idea of a “weekend only” utopian world. For those who don’t really understand what a utopia is – it’s basically paradise, our own personal Garden of Eden, so to speak. For most fans, our fandom is our escape, and in our case specifically – the band is our fantasy. We use our fandom as a way to sort of recharge, and when we go away, whether it’s to conventions, a meetup or even gigs or shows, we are submerging ourselves, even if only briefly, into that utopian world. Part of that fantasy is staying in great hotels, and living that pretentious lifestyle, if only for a weekend. Sure, part of the allure for many is the possibility of running into the band, but I also believe it has as much to do with being able to stay at the nicest hotels and truly escaping from our normally mundane and regular lives. I think that part of our problem with the band, especially when we run into them at a hotel or offstage, is that our brains expect for them to carry through the fantasy we’ve sorted them. Moreover, our brains do not recognize the fantasy for being the Arcadian place we go in our heads. Instead we see fandom as offering not an escape, but rather an alternative reality. (and one that I try to get to as often as possible!)
So, is fandom our Second Life?? What???
I’ll let you all sort that one out while I return to my regular life and do some gardening.