I’ve been working on a new blog submission for another site – Andy Taylor’s site actually. (If you haven’t checked it out, you really should. He’s doing some great things over there!) It isn’t really in the same vein as my Daily Duranie blogs, as this particular blog has more to do with the music industry in general from a fan’s prospective. I really need to tighten my writing up a bit and sound like I know what I’m talking about. Yesterday I spent some time in the morning trying to get it finished. At one point, I happened to glance at my Facebook account and noticed that Duran Duran had snuck – and I do mean SNUCK – a newly minted concert date up on their Facebook page. No fanfare, no “Hey guys – here’s a new US date for you!”, nothing. Just the date (and probably a hasty retreat before the complaints began to roll in!). I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one to take a while to notice the date, because at the time the post had already been up for a couple hours and there were less than ten comments underneath the posting.
Immediately my brain started processing the information. The show is on August 21st in North Carolina. That’s only across the country from me. (Listen, when you’ve flown over a large ocean to see them, crossing the continent tends to seem pretty easily done!) Of course I emailed Amanda straight away – the title of said email? You’re going to love this – “THIS IS AN OFFICIAL DURANIE ALERT!” That always tends to grab her attention, and of course this time was no exception.
Guess how much more of that blog for Andy’s site got edited and completed yesterday? Yeah, none. I rock that way.
There are several stages that I go through whenever a date is announced. The first is interest and excitement. “Oh wow, here we go again!” Then, there’s annoyance. “It’s on a TUESDAY. A Tuesday. Really guys? How am I going to make THAT work?” Then there’s worry. “How am I going to convince my husband to stay at home again. How am I going to justify going across the country AGAIN to see this stupid band?” (yes, I really did say that. Sorry…these things just come out!!) Then I just get mad. “Those F*CKERS. They only gave us ONE date. One. Their tour announcements are like a damn coffee drip! How can I plan when I don’t know where else they’re even going, when the tour starts, when it stops, etc?!?” (Again, sorry…like I said, these things just come out!!) Then I typically write something to Amanda that goes a little something like this, “You know, I’m just not going this time. I can’t. That week is school registration, I have no way of getting the kids where they need to go without involving my mother, and that’s going to be a pain. I’m going to have to miss the show and they’ll just have to play Hungry Like the Wolf to someone else this time.” Then I sniff, looking down my nose at my laptop, and fold my arms, annoyed at the entire process.
Of course later that day, Amanda will generally call me and by then I will have settled down a bit. I will have listened to All You Need is Now or some other song and realized that of course I’m going. I can’t NOT go at this point. I’m not going to miss out on an opportunity to see them. The trouble is, how to plan.
This is what I desperately need the band to understand, yet I very much realize I’m writing this completely in vain. Consider this part of my therapy I guess. The fact is, and I know this is difficult to believe, you’ve got fans who are willing to travel to see you. Some might be traveling a couple hours, some might be traveling across the state, and still others might be completely insane (points to herself) and will travel across the country if necessary and appropriate. (Truth be told, I’d travel even if it weren’t necessary, but that’s another blog.)
It’s become reasonably clear to me over the years that I’ve been a fan that for whatever reason – your management, or the people who run the Duran Duran Machine, tend to give dates one at a time. Maybe they don’t have all the information solidified. Maybe they really have no idea where you’re going and when. Maybe they don’t care about the fans. I get that. I mean, it’s business and the whole fan thing – well, let’s be honest – we’re a little overwhelming, aren’t we? I know. There are a ton of people who come to your shows that are not insane. They do not own every single poster, t-shirt, album, single, CD…calendar or even Christmas ornament that you’ve ever agreed to do. Those people don’t need more than a day or two notice for tickets to go on sale. They don’t insist on presales, and they don’t even insist on good seats. They are probably your bread and butter because again, lets be honest, the hard core fans aren’t THAT numerous. We don’t fill arenas, even though we like to believe we do. I’m still shocked that the vast majority of the people who come to your shows want to hear Hungry Like the Wolf and don’t even know Secret Oktober!!! (Please note the sarcasm there…)
The trouble is though, there are still those of us who DO all of those things. We’re long time, long term fans. We’re not going anywhere, and I think that to a large degree, we’ve proven our loyalty over the years. I don’t think we necessarily need to be rewarded for that (although sometimes it probably sounds as though I do, and I apologize.), but I do think some mutual respect is probably warranted, along with a generous portion of balance and moderation (HA!). While yes, many of us are very over the top, raucous (I use this word whenever possible because of the simple fact that Roger Taylor called US fans raucous once, and I think that’s funny. And true!) and probably extremely high maintenance, there IS something that could be done to help, especially when it comes to tour dates. It’s a small thing, but I really do believe it might help a teeny tiny bit.
I have no idea what it takes to put a tour together. Yes, a lot of it SOUNDS simple enough, but I think it’s probably wildly unfair for fans (including me) to assume it’s just about putting dates on a calendar. There’s the whole logistics thing, there are contracts to sign, insurance to gather and a million details that make me start to itch just thinking about them. I’m pretty sure that most of us feel as though it’s all about us (isn’t it?!?), and we don’t think about the thousands of moving parts that make this all work. We also tend to forget that yes, no matter how perfect we all think you are, you’re in fact…human. (I hear gasping from around the world…) I also know that many fans honestly believe you all sit around someone’s kitchen table and decide where you’re going to go on tour. There are still others that believe giving out one date at a time is done on purpose. Why? I suppose it could create a false sense of demand. If there’s only one date to buy tickets – more fans will buy tickets to that one show. The trouble is, when other dates are released, those fans get really angry. I happen to known this first hand. It’s impossible to plan, and yet we really DO want to be able to go to shows and be supportive. Perhaps I just need to befriend the right people to get the information ahead of time. (More sarcasm is just what we need!!)
The truth is, most of us sit around and try to figure out what you’re going to do next. Where you’re going to go on the next “leg” of your tour. How long you’re going to be in any one place. Whether you’ll stay the night somewhere or move on to the next stop. Hell, some people even try to figure out where you’re staying!! (more gasping I’m sure) Speculation is part of the hobby, I guess. Some people pride themselves on finding out the information, then telling the rest of us in some sort of glorified tone of “I told you so.” It’s annoying. Amanda and I are typically among the last to know the news. Yes, we’re bloggers. I never said we were journalists. 😀 So, my point is that it’s become quite a sport to try and figure you, the band, out. I especially enjoy when real news will finally be released and someone will always say “Oh, I knew about that WEEKS ago. The told me. I just didn’t want to share the info. I couldn’t. I swore I wouldn’t.” That’s when the rest of us, including me, are rolling our eyes in disgust, and in the next breath scrambling to try and figure out how we can or can’t get to whatever show or appearance is announced. It’s tiresome and frustrating.
That one thing that might help? Assuming of course that for whatever reason, giving out all of the dates, places and information at one time can’t be done. Well, I know this is going to be tough to believe, but I’ve been a fan of other bands before. (Do I hear more gasps out there?!) Granted, Duran Duran is at the top of the heap, but I do take notice of a few others out there. In quite a few of those cases, they’ll actually give us information. For instance, one of the bands often says something like this “Hey guys, we’re going on tour! We’re planning to be in the US from until about . We’re hoping to start the tour in and end it . We don’t have firm cities and dates for you yet, but check back soon – as soon as we have them, we’ll share! Sure, it’s not huge. It’s not even firm information because as most of us realize, things change. Now I know, you run the risk of feeling the wrath of fans out there if those dates change – and that’s true. People can be crazy and incredibly unforgiving at times. I’ll be honest, I don’t necessarily think that piece of it can be helped because some people really believe that if the band announces it – it’s set in stone. That said, in the fan community I’m thinking of that makes those kinds of announcements – I really don’t see the type of anxiety or anger that I see in our own. Perhaps it’s because I’m not as close, but I also think it’s because the information isn’t thrown at them in the way it is with Duran Duran. It’s simply food for thought.
Now, I’m posting this knowing that I’ll be receiving all kinds of hate mail from other fans. I’m sure I’ll get many “That’ll never work.” or “Do you honestly think they’re going to read this or that they care?”
The answer? No. I don’t expect anything. I’m just a fan!!! I said this was my therapy, get it? That said, you never know until you try…. and in the meantime I’m going to continue scratching (anxiety gives me hives as it turns out) and get my other blog finished!