I will start with the second question first. I have thought a lot about what makes a tour the “best”. I can come with a few factors that someone might take into consideration:
The shows need to be great. They should be ones in which at the end of each night a statement like the following is made, “That was the best show ever! There is no way that they could top that one!!” Then, they do top that show later in the same tour.
The extracurricular aspects of a tour need to be taken into consideration. Who did you travel with? How much fun did you have? What did you do besides the shows?
*The plan worked–
Whenever one decides to attend a show or four, one has to plan some details. Who are you going with? What time do you need to leave? How will you get there? Where will you stay?
*Circumstances surrounding the band–
Are they touring to support a great album? Okay album? A not-so-great album? Are they supporting an album at all? Who is in the line-up? What is the setlist? What were they doing before the tour? What will they be doing after the tour?
*Circumstances surrounding you–
Was this an easy tour to plan? Did you have to fight for it with work, home and/or finances? Where is your headspace in terms of being a fan? Are you feeling good about being a fan? Bored with it? Expectations not too high or low?
I’m sure that I missed some other factors that can make or break a tour. So, how did I determine that this tour, at this time was my favorite? Which factors mattered? How did the other tours rank, if I were to rank them? Let’s do that. As always, I’ll rank them using these factors with 5 being the best.
Shows-Overall, they averaged to about a 3.5. Some shows were better than others.
Fun-The average was about a 3.8. Two of the nights were some of my most fun ever. Others weren’t.
Plan-3.7. Worked out but some of the details I would change.
Band-3.2. I was expecting Andy and he wasn’t there for most of the tour.
Me-4. I was ready for the tour and ready to increase my fandom
Shows-3.5. They were consistent.
Fun-3.17. A couple were fun and the last one wasn’t as much.
Plan-3.5. Again, there were some things I would definitely change.
Band-3. The band wasn’t as united and it was obvious.
Me-4. I was consistent as well.
Shows-3.75. One really great show and the other was a festival show.
Fun-4.25. High on the fun scale, especially in New Orleans!
Plan-2.5. The plan worked but some big things I would change!
Band-4.5. This is right after Andy left. They had to step up and they did!
Me-4. I could still dismiss negative aspects of our fan community.
Fall of 2008:
Shows-3. They were okay. Yes, it was Duran so better than others out there but for them, they were just okay.
Fun-3. Too much traveling to have a super fun time in any place.
Plan-2.5. Just like in 2006. Some big things needed to be changed!
Band-2. This was the end of the RCM days. They seemed anxious to have that era done and so was I.
Me-3. I was becoming more and more frustrated by game playing.
Summer of 2009:
Shows-3.5. Solid shows but not the “best”.
Fun-3. Not our most fun.
Plan-3. Not as many big negatives as some other tours but…
Band-3.5. Simon dancing to Skin Trade. Clearly, they were in quite a mood!
Me-3. The game playing continued to frustrate.
Spring of 2011:
Shows-3. One show I didn’t see due to frustrating circumstances and horrible venue.
Fun-3. I had fun in between frustrating circumstances.
Plan-2.5. I thought I knew how to tour without problems. Clearly, I still had to learn.
Band-4. They were in a good spot supporting AYNIN.
Me-3. Sometimes, it is all about who you are with.
Fall of 2011:
Shows-4.125. Two of their very best EVER.
Fun-3.5. While we didn’t have wild times, there was also nothing negative. 🙂
Plan-4. We managed to do what we want to do.
Band-5. This was the tour after Simon had lost his voice. It was huge.
Me-5. I was ready to be renewed as a fan, as a Duranie.
Summer of 2012:
Shows-3.375. One really great show, two other decent shows and one not so great…
Fun-3.125. There were some highlights but also some lowlights!
Plan-2.5. While we managed to get to where we wanted to be, it was exhausting. There were definite things I would change!
Band-3.5. They seemed tired. Perhaps, it was touring the South in the summer.
Me-2.5. I wasn’t in a good place with my fandom.
Based on this, I would rank my tours (I didn’t include one off shows) in the following way:
Fall of 2011
Fall of 2006
Spring of 2005
Summer of 2005
Summer of 2009
Spring of 2011
Fall of 2012
Fall of 2008
Thus, if I had to explain why the UK tour of 2011 was the best, I could easily explain it. First, two of those shows were two of the best ever. In fact, for me, Brighton and Glasgow were the best I have ever seen. Then, it was amazing to me that we managed to get back to the UK for the second time in a year and have everything go so smoothly. After all, we had traveled there in the spring only to find out the shows were canceled. On top of that, we were worried that things wouldn’t work out well for this fall tour either since there was a big strike in the UK leading to flights were getting canceled, trains were getting delayed, etc. Yet, we had no problems. It seemed that the band was just as excited to be finally playing these shows after having to cancel the whole UK tour earlier in the year as we were. Plus, on a personal level, there is nothing more magical for those of us in the US than to see Duran Duran play on their home soil. I learned a lot about them there. If all that wasn’t enough, we got to see Secret Oktober played live in Brighton, we got to feel the whole venue shake during Leopard in Glasgow and we couldn’t stop laughing in Bournemouth. We also got to see them in Birmingham. Magical moments.
What about the rest of you? What do you think of my criteria to determine best tour? Is there something I forgot? Should all of those factors be even like I had them or are some more important than others? What is your favorite tour? Why?