Category Archives: postponed dates

What All You Need is Now Really Means

Today’s blog features a continuation of the documentary included on A Diamond in the Mind.  Last week, I discussed the band’s chosen highlights for 2011.  This post will focus on the second topic in the documentary, when Simon lost his voice/top part of his vocal range. 

When I watched the documentary, I was particularly keen to see this part as I knew that the loss of vocal range for Simon was a big problem in 2011.  As someone who was personally affected by this loss and the show cancellations that followed, I knew that it might create quite an emotional reaction for me.  Although, I thought it might be possible that enough time had passed that any emotional scar had been healed.  Plus, I had seen shows after this problem, which probably helped as well.  In case you weren’t reading the blog in May of 2011, I should probably tell you that Rhonda and I along with a couple of others traveled to the UK then to see four shows (Birmingham, Nottingham, Liverpool and London).  Unfortunately, on the way to the airport, we learned that the first 3 shows were canceled due to Simon’s problem with his voice.  We, obviously, opted to continue with the trip as we had plane tickets and other reservations already made.  Plus, we believed that we had a shot to see a show in London but that was not meant to be as Duran was forced to cancel the entire UK tour and the summer shows in Europe.  It was definitely a dark, scary time for all of us as no one knew, for sure, if Simon would heal or if it was the end of the band. 

In the documentary, Simon describes what happened when he lost the high range of his voice.  Then, each member took time to discuss the significance of this event on both the band and the current project, AYNIN.  A number of comments from the band members stood out to me.  First, Nick mentioned how they were initially in denial and hoped that they would only have to cancel a few shows.  I wasn’t surprised by that statement.  While in the UK, Rhonda and I managed to find ourselves outside their rehearsal studios.  That day, which is featured on the documentary, was the day that they came to the studios to see if Simon would be able to perform.  Clearly, he was not and they were forced to cancel the whole UK tour.  While outside, we did see the band enter and exit the studios.  Some band members seemed to be in fairly good moods when entering, including Nick.  He had a slight smile to his face as he walked by and waved to the fans.  When he left, though, he had a completely different facial expression.  He looked devastated as did John.  Simon, on the other hand, came to talk to the group of us outside before he went in.  He knew that it didn’t look good and he told us so.  He was already devastated. 

Other comments from the documentary that caught my attention were the ones in which various band members discussed how they didn’t know if it was the end of the band or not.  Roger referenced that time as “looking into a blackhole”.  John pointed out that they couldn’t help but to wonder if it was the end.  This, of course, brought me right back to that time.  What did I think?  What did the rest of the fan community think?  Did we think like the band did?  Personally, I have to admit that I did think it was the end, especially since no one really seemed to know what really went wrong and how to fix it.  I was definitely concerned that the damage was permanent.  I even had the nerve to question what the end of the band would be like in this blog even though I never came out to say that I thought it was the end.  I suppose that part of me was trying to cushion the blow that I thought would certainly come.  I wanted to be as prepared as possible.  How did people react to my questioning?  Not good.  Not good at all.  I was criticized for being dramatic or for being negative.  It felt to me like a lot of fans were just like the band with that hard to overwhelm denial.  I didn’t blame anyone for feeling that way.  After all, Nick had the same thing.  I did, too, until I saw Simon that day.  I saw his fear, his worry.  Then, I knew it was bad.  Yet, the band wasn’t expressing this fear in public.  Instead, they were expressing confidence that Simon would be back and that shows would be rescheduled soon.  I get that attitude now.  Maybe I should have gotten it more then.  Oh well. 

Thankfully, Simon did recover.  In the documentary, the band expressed almost gratitude for this experience.  John, for example, discussed how they handled it gave them strength and brought them closer.  Roger talked about how it made the tour have more meaning.  Dom mentioned how Simon is actually better and stronger now.  I definitely can relate to all of those things.  First of all, I think Rhonda and I became closer from having experienced this together and I think that when we went back for the rescheduled shows, they did mean more to us.  We probably had a WAY better experience because of it, too.  As for Simon, I agree that he is sounding better than ever and a song like Before the Rain really showcases it and allows him to start the shows in a helpful way.  Thus, I think Simon’s loss of his voice was positive, in the long run.  The band appreciated things more when they were able to return.  Perhaps, as John stated, they really did learn was “all you need is now” means.  I know that I learned a very valuable lesson then, which is to live in the moment and do not put off what you can do now.  The documentary was a good reminder of this lesson and one that I needed in order to keep focused on the now.

-A

Taking Off Makes Motion Sickness

I hope everyone has been appreciating the John Taylor lyrics as blog titles for the last few days.  I just can’t seem to stop focusing on that bass player guy for some reason.  It’s bad and I don’t even have the book yet.  *Deep sigh*.  I did note an article yesterday that featured John but had much more of a focus on Nick, his illness and the band as a whole.  The article was featured in the Huffington Post UK and can be found here.  The article provided additional information on Nick’s illness but also pondered the future of Duran.  According to the article, Nick had “hit the wall” from working too hard.  He then began to have fainting spells, which resulted in seeing a doctor and being directed to rest.  John points out how Simon had lost his voice early in the tour and Nick had this at the end.  As John points out, these illnesses were warnings to them all and that they may need to rethink the way that they tour.  Lately, their tours have consisted of 3 or 4 shows a week, usually never in the same place two shows in a row.  It is not uncommon for them to be in three different states in one day.  Obviously, as I read this, a thousand and one thoughts popped in my head.

First and foremost, I thought about Nick.  I can’t imagine how scary it is to have fainting spells like that.  It isn’t like getting a cold or an upset stomach in which you know that you will be feeling better in a few days.  No, something like this could be caused by many things, serious and not-as-serious causes.  Now, it sounds like in this case that the conclusion is these spells were caused by working too hard.  This gives me some relief as there is a simple, not serious cause and a simple, easy way to treat it.  As much as I am hating the idea that Duran won’t be in the studio until February or won’t be touring for a long time, I’m glad that Nick will have plenty of down time.  It sounds like he needs that.  Part of me feels like I can relate–not to his job or his schedule but I know what I have felt like when I have been working two full time jobs, doing this and trying to maintain my day-to-day tasks.  There have been times that I truly question how much my body can take and I’m younger than Nick.  I have had times when my caffeine intake has been through the roof along with getting only 3-4 hours of sleep a night and being under a tremendous amount of stress.  Thus, I sympathize with Nick.  I’m sure that he just wanted to get through the tour.  He might have even been counting down so that he could rest and relax.  Unfortunately, his body forced him to rest and relax early.  I’m hoping he is already feeling better.

Second, I thought about the theme of this last album and tour.  All You Need is Now.  I thought we had learned that lesson with Simon.  Heck, I was already ready to live up this past tour even before that as evidenced by the fact that I flew to the UK in the first place.  The point that is again emphasized by Nick’s illness is that nothing lasts forever.  Nothing.  While we would all like to think that Duran will play forever and that their tours will last well into the following decades, we don’t know that.  Foxwoods could have been their last show.  Obviously, we hope not!!  That said, every show, every album, every tour could be their last.  I have to admit that I was shocked by all of the people who didn’t go to a show this last tour and could have.  Most of the reasons I saw had to do with seeing them earlier in the tour or being sick of the setlist.  That said, there was an underlying assumption there that there would be a next time.  Do I think that there will be more?  Yes, I do.  They haven’t altered their plans to go back into the studio so I have confidence that they will do this next album.  My point is, though, we should embrace the now because tours, opportunities may never happen again.  Thus, if, for example, John does do a signing that I can reasonably do, I’ll go.  I am not advocating being illogical with what one can do but I am saying that people should do what they can, when they can.  No putting off what can be done today. 

The last thing I thought about with reading this article was about how Duran tours might be different in the future.  I couldn’t help but to think about this past summer tour.  I pointed out how hard it must be on the band to do outdoor venues in the summer.  I still think that.  The heat might have been a contributing factor to Nick’s illness.  While I understand that the band allows their tour people to organize the tour, I think it would be both practical and beneficial for them to do more than one show in a place.  I’m not advocating for them to do a whole run of shows in some place like Vegas but why not do two or three shows in the major cities.  I’m sure that large cities would have a big enough draw to bring people to the shows, which would keep ticket sales up.  It would also help the band in that they wouldn’t have to travel as much and would have more time to rest in between shows.  For those of us who travel, it would be SO nice to see shows this way.  It would save us money and give us a chance to enjoy the places we are traveling to.  I’ll give an example.  During the 2008 tour, we did the Atlantic City show.  We had done the Foxwoods show the previous night and did the Montclair show the night after.  This resulted in us being in Atlantic City for less than 24 hours.  I feel like I was never there because it was so fast. 

While Nick’s illness is not a positive, I’m hopeful that it turns into a positive in the long run.  I’m hoping that it is a reminder to the fans to do what we can when it comes to the band and I’m hoping that it results in a better touring schedule for all involved! 

-A

Canceled Shows, Refunds, VIP Packages and Artist Arena

Canceled shows bring out a lot of emotions in fans, in Duranies. For those fans, like myself, who held tickets to one of the shows that didn’t happen, the first thoughts were emotions, including shock, disappointment, anger at the world, and more. Those emotions are what were seen throughout Duranland as people attempted to come to grips with their own personal change of plans or with what this meant to the band and the All You Need is Now era. I doubt that anyone thought about the actual details of those canceled shows much in the first day or so. Perhaps, the fans who held tickets pondered if the shows would be rescheduled and if so, when. Even so, there probably wasn’t a ton of thought given to the steps that would need to be taken in order to get one or five shows rescheduled. At least, there wasn’t for me beyond the obvious ones.

Now, of course, the emotions have lessened and people are thinking more about the details associated with the canceled shows. For those of us with tickets, this reality is all about the refund once we knew that the shows wouldn’t be rescheduled. I have been through this part a bit before when the shows were canceled in the UK. That situation was complicated as two of us wanted to go back for the rescheduled shows and two of us didn’t out of the four who originally planned on going. Yet, in some cases, the tickets and the VIP packages to go with them were in people’s names who weren’t going back. Then, of course, the shows were rescheduled in a different order, which added a whole other layer of complication. In fact, it felt like weeks that we were dealing with emails back and forth from Artist Arena. While in that situation, things worked out, there was stress involved and imperfect solutions that took far too long to be settled. Thus, when the statement came out about how these shows weren’t going to be rescheduled, I became concerned.

Before the news regarding these canceled shows was even an hour old, I had typed an email to customer service at Artist Arena. Since I did not think it was a smooth process, I was determined to be assertive about my demand for an immediate refund. The first respond I got back was strange. The email said that they had to wait for confirmation that the plan was to give refunds. Huh? Why wouldn’t they know already? If the band had it posted on dd.com, wouldn’t their ticket agent know this? It did not give me hope but I did realize that the responders at customer service would not be those dealing with the band’s management. I responded again and the next day received an email saying that the matter had been closed. Great. What was done?! Who knew?! I certainly didn’t. Then, later that day or the next, I got another email indicating that a refund would take place. I actually checked this morning and, indeed, I did receive a refund. Good for them even if there communication was a little strange. I’m glad that it was this smooth and not complicated at all! That’s how it should be.

Of course, I have come to realize that my situation for Chicago was easy. I didn’t VIP there because there was no chance of doing so. Thus, I didn’t have to worry about the merchandise and how much money I would be refunded. Other people, for other shows, weren’t in the same boat, though, as they had done VIP. Rhonda and I did VIP for 3 shows on this leg and we had received our merch for all 3 at the same time before the shows happened. It sounded like most people got their merch around this same time, no matter when their shows took place. For example, the merch was received on August 15th. Some people had VIP shows that took place a week before that and others weren’t going to have their VIP shows for another couple of weeks. So, if everyone had received their merchandise, what was going to happen with the refunds? Would the fans have to return their stuff to get a full refund? Would Artist Arena only refund the ticket cost so that people could and would keep the merch?

Apparently, there was some confusion about this very question. It sounds like, initially, those holding VIP tickets were told that they would not be receiving refunds for the merchandise. Then, another message was sent out:

A Message from the DD VIP Fan Community:

We sincerely apologize for the cancellation of the last shows of the AYNIN tour. Though Enhanced Bundle purchasers originally received an email that they would NOT be refunded for the merchandise portion of the bundle the band, Artist Arena, Magus Entertainment and World Wide Fan Clubs have decided to refund everyone IN FULL and you may keep the merchandise as a gift.

Obviously, those people were then refunded in full and were able to keep the merchandise.

Over the course of this blog, we have, at times, criticized the fan club, Artist Arena, the ticketing process, etc. Yet, I have to admit that this seems like a generous thing to do. Clearly, they could have just refunded the tickets but didn’t. I’m sure that it cost them money but it will help with the fans in the long run. Fans will remember that this process of refunds was simple and quick. They will also remember that they got something, even if they didn’t get the shows.

Maybe, it is just me, but I’m glad that there wasn’t salt poured on a wound. I’m glad that something nice was done for the fans. 🙂

Keep the Faith!

It’s with great concern and sadness that I need to announce that the Pittsburgh show for tonight has also been canceled.  I hate having to share that information, and as I type my concern for Nick continues to grow.  Yes, I know there are thousands of disappointed ticket holders, fans, friends and loved ones out there, but at this moment, my concern is with Nick’s health – as should everyone’s.  It’s been a long tour.  Too long?  Probably not as much too long as too much.  Not enough days in between shows, not enough time to travel, rest up and feel human. (or at least 100% alien as might be the case with Nick – yes my humor remains intact!)  Not enough breaks to catch ones breath.

It wasn’t that long ago when I questioned just how rough their schedule really was.  Fans were telling me how tired they were mid-May, and I felt, that this is their job.  Albums don’t sell these days.  Tours make money. This is just part of the deal and of course they know that.  I still do feel that way, but I also feel that pushing 5 shows a week isn’t easy, especially over the course of 20 months.  It’s not the getting up on stage and playing that hurts, it’s the traveling AND pushing five shows a week that will do the damage.  I can’t tell you how many times Amanda and I have said that we wish the band would just stay put in cities for a day or two before pushing on – mainly out of our own selfishness because we’re sick of driving – but it’s true.  None of us are young anymore.  My mom keeps telling me that I’m burning the candle at both ends when I tour.  (Maybe so, but it’s damn fun!)

I’d like to address the rumor-mill at this point.  STOP.  I have heard some of the lamest, most ridiculous, heartless and cruel things in the past 12 hours – and I am nearly positive none of us really have the right, the information or the knowledge to be saying anything beyond what we’ve been told thus far.  I don’t need or want to read that your second cousin is friends with Nick’s second cousin who has an uncle that works in the janitorial department of the hotel in Atlantic City and he overheard another worker say to a bum on the street that Nick was helicoptered out of the hotel.  I don’t care that you work in a hospital that once did blood work for a Nicholas Bates and he has a drug problem AND a heart condition.  The bottom line is that A) it’s none of our business and B) We don’t know a single thing for certain.  Let me just say, even Daily Duranie gets bad information.  Yesterday evening just before the news was announced I got an “anonymous” text saying that the show was canceled.  So I jumped online to see what was going on.  In my personal FB mail I got messaged that the show was canceled, but that people were furious because none of the band ever left NYC, and it was left up until 45 minutes before showtime to call off the gig.  I was curious about that information, but honestly – I know nothing of the inner workings.  I mentioned this to a few people to get their reaction (in private), but about an hour later – I see that Dom Brown AND Simon were at the hotel in Atlantic City.  So much for the band never leaving NYC, right?  So who really knows for sure?  Not me.  Not you.  All we can do is have faith in the fact that the band would never allow Nick to get up on stage only to hurt himself, and in the end he will be fine.  Anything else is not helpful.

Seems silly that I have to give a pep talk – but in this case I feel that I must.  We have had an incredible album and tour.  Our community is more united now than ever.  We have seen the band extend themselves back to the fan community, and we’ve held out our hands in return.  We stick together, through good times and bad.  That is a lot to be thankful for.  Now isn’t the time to spread rumor and speculate publicly – it’s the time to provide support, care and concern.  Daily Duranie has no more or less of an “inside track” to information than anyone else, but we feel confident that if more information becomes available, we will gladly pass it on to everyone else.  Until then, let’s take a moment to truly be thankful and appreciative of everything we DO have.  We have great albums, fantastic memories of times long since passed.  We have had the joy of seeing this band come back from the brink of disaster more than once, and I have to say – this band has outlived a good many if not most of its brethren.  I have to believe they are good for more, and so should you.

Things we can do?  Keep up the good spirits.  Be positive. Be supportive.  Many of us have put Nick’s photo as our cover photo on Facebook, avatars elsewhere.  Let’s unite instead of dividing based on who thinks they know what.  It’s tiresome, and quite honestly – we’re all way too old for that these days.  Keep the people traveling to the shows in our hearts and minds, and understand that for these people, it’s a tightrope between being sad for Nick and heartbroken for themselves…and that is totally understandable.

Until tomorrow.  Keep the faith, Duranies!!

-R

We Travel as We Unravel…

I had a whole blog idea ready to go for today when I got the news that Duran had to cancel tonight’s Atlantic City show. According to the press release, the band had to cancel after Nick’s visit to a doctor today. Apparently, the doctor stated that he was suffering from symptoms of exhaustion and that he should not perform. After the announcement, John was on twitter expressing his very obvious disappointment and concern for the fans who were there in AC, ready to rock out to Duran. Obviously, I feel totally and utterly gutted for those fans who planned to see the show tonight. We definitely know how it feels after traveling to the UK last year, only to not see our shows. As I type this, I am watching fans tweet both their disappointment but also their desire to make lemonade out of lemons and still have a good time.

Yesterday, I posted a blog which included all of the points Rhonda and I compiled about this last leg of the tour. Many people felt like we (mostly me as I wrote it up) was too negative, too critical and that I didn’t acknowledge enough of what the band did right. Here’s the thing…as much as I/we might point out what I/we thought could be better about this leg of the tour, we still LOVE touring and still LOVE going to Duran shows. There is no place on earth I would rather be. Heck, this time around we drove 1300 miles, got about 25 hours of sleep in a week, spend a ton of money and I would do it all over again. Yes, there are elements of any specific tour that I might change, much like there are elements the band might change but the overall activity always delivers. Yes, we have seen shows that are less than steller BUT I would still prefer to be at that show than not. I have no regrets about going on tour EVER.

As I’m sitting here in my sister’s living room, about to return home tomorrow, from my tour and visit with family, I find myself thinking about my experiences touring, Rhonda’s experiences touring, the fans who are in Atlantic City, the band, and everyone associated with the band. Here’s what I know, which relates to the title of the blog…touring is intense. It is intense, physically, mentally and emotionally. I still feel wiped from my four shows because of this intensity. I think everyone who tours feels this. Obviously, on a night like tonight, the fans in AC are facing emotional intensity and the band is also facing that as well as the physical intensity. The fans there have to process the emotions and I’m willing to bet that most of them will experience anger, frustration, concern, disappointment and depression. The band is probably experiencing the same, too.

The touring intensity definitely gives the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. There is nothing that beats a tremendous show. I know how we felt after Durham this past week or felt in Glasgow last December. We felt like we were living on a cloud and that we were slightly invincible, slightly powerful. It is like we were the luckiest people on the planet to experience what we had experienced. That feeling is one that I have yet to find anywhere else in the world. Of course, because it has the ability to make us fans feel like no other, it can also cause damage when it doesn’t go as it should. It is heartbreaking. Yeah, I’m sure that there will be people who think I’m being too over-the-top here, but I’m a FAN. I’m a fan who has been to a bunch of shows and hope to do more in my future. It means that much to me. I’m willing to bet that it means that much to Rhonda and other fans.

I’m sure that the next few days will be tough on the fans who had tickets to this show. They will wonder if and when the shows will be rescheduled. It will also be tough on people who have tickets to the remaining shows. Obviously, we all want Nick to get better–both for his sake and for the band to finish this tour as they planned. Yet, I think it will be a nerve-wracking time for all fans as we are once again reminded that Duran Duran could end tomorrow. I think about all of those fans who decided not to go to a show this time around and could have. Are they regretting that decision? As John said in the documentary part of the A Diamond in the Mind DVD, having Simon lose his voice really reminded them or taught them what All You Need is Now really means. Tonight, we are reminded again.

-A

Should I be relieved…or sick?

I’m on a ride and I wanna get off….

Forgive me.  I heard The Reflex on the radio this morning and I can’t get it out of my head. (thank you very much 93.1 JACKFM in Los Angeles – it’s the only station I can hear The Reflex and Back in Black by AC/DC in one 10 minute car ride to and from my son’s school!)

However, better lyrics could not possibly have been written for how I am feeling this morning.  All I’m asking for are my four shows.  Is that really so incredibly wrong?  Am I not allowed?  Is there some sort of embargo in place somewhere that requires every single damn show I wish to attend (never mind the buying tickets, selling the original tickets, buying new tickets since the original shows are on dates I can’t be out of the country…) outside of the US be somehow plagued by bad news??

If you are scratching your head wondering what I’ve taken this morning (the answer is nothing, I swear!), there was an article in The Argus that was posted by our good friend Kitty from Gimme a Wristband.  The article is here for your reading pleasure.  As of this moment, the venue staff will not be under strike and the show should go on.  However, if you read the article – I daresay that the wording doesn’t sound all that solid for the show.  It’s a little unnerving for people who, oh, I don’t know….are traveling all the way from California and Wisconsin for the show!  Then of course there’s the issue of other public worker unions deciding to strike in support.  I don’t even know if that sort of thing happens in the UK, but it does happen here, on occasion.  It gets my paranoia going on overdrive, that is for sure.  I can’t even imagine going through what we did in May again.  I just can’t.

Might I suggest that perhaps the strike take place a week or so earlier?? 😉 Far be it from me to tell people that they shouldn’t strike – I wouldn’t dare be so bold – but I would absolutely be bold enough to say that I’ve already gone through the insanity of dates being postponed once and that I’d REALLY like to be able to attend the shows this time, thanks!

And to think I was going to talk about the shortened version of Girl Panic that is popping up…
funny thing…I’ve got a completely different type of Girl Panic going on right here.  *headdesk*

I will say one thing about the shortened version:  NOT ENOUGH BAND.

There you have it from me!
-R

The End of the US Tour and Embracing the Now

Last night marked the end of the US tour as the band played the final, official show in Atlantic City.  (Yes, I know they are doing some sort of gig in Atlanta tomorrow.)  In many ways, this tour was like any other and, in some ways, it was very different.  It was a usual tour in that the same discussions popped up that always pop up.  People debated setlists, stage setups, ticket sales, album sales, clothes, and more.  People bought tickets and many traveled to one or more shows.  Pictures and videos were posted.  Excitement was felt throughout the fan community.  In those ways, it was a standard 6 weeks tour of the US.  Yet, to me, it felt very different than any other tour.

I remember that there is a scene in Sing Blue Silver where John, I think, talks about how that 1984 was never an assured tour.  I always thought that was a strange quote.  As a kid watching that documentary, I thought he was making a really silly statement as the band was the biggest, most popular band in the world.  What did he think was going to happen on that tour?  What did he think was going to get in the way?  I still don’t have answers to those questions about that tour but I certainly do if I apply that statement to this tour and, frankly, to any tour in the future.

When these tour dates were announced, Duran’s future seemed questionable.  Many people wondered either openly or to themselves about if these dates were actually going to happen.  I saw people consider various shows and decide not to even try because they felt so uncertain about whether or not they would actually happen.  After all, this tour was following a spring and summer in which Simon lost a significant portion to his range, which resulted in tour cancellations.  I could not blame anyone for being cautious.  Then, the shows started and they seemed…well…less than normal in the beginning.  The sets were short and there was information about the band cutting songs in the moment.  For me, and others I’m sure, this raised many alarm bells.  Would Duran be able to perform these dates?  If they did, would they be as good as what people have come to expect from them?  I remember feeling very anxious while I waited for my show.  In some ways, this feeling of anticipation reminded me of years ago when I was SO excited to tour.  Yet, it was different as this time fear was present as well as excitement.  Anxiety was the word of the day.  I didn’t want to voice my concerns because I didn’t want others to feel what I had been feeling and I thought that if I said them out loud they would become more real, more possible.  Luckily, they were able to make it to my show and perform.  They were able to perform all of the shows they have scheduled.  Beyond that, it seemed that they got stronger as the tour went on and became more normal. 

What was interesting to me was watching those fans who were still fixated on things like ticket sales and album sales.  I couldn’t relate.  I get wanting the band to be successful.  I want that, too.  Yet, it seemed to me that they were focusing on less immediate concerns.  None of those external elements of success would be important if they couldn’t perform and if they couldn’t get back on track.  Thus, while I didn’t feel like last week’s Chicago show was the best ever, I still thought it a victory.  They were able to play for two hours in a way that we have all come to expect of them.  To me, that was enough.  Will someday I begin to demand more?  I’m sure.  I think there is a lesson here, though, and one that I don’t want to forget.  The album’s name was a reminder to all of us to appreciate the now and I thought I was doing that in December when the iTunes version came out and I thought I was doing that in April when I saw them in the Midwest but I wasn’t.  I don’t think I really started to do that until I realized and realized deep in my gut that Duran will end someday.  That someday might be years or decades away but it could be tomorrow.  I didn’t really get how important the now was until I almost lost something precious to me, to all of us. 

For many people, yesterday marked the end of a chapter in Duran’s history and in their history as a fan.  For Rhonda and I, it marks the end of the US part and the break before the UK tour.  Did I ever think that I would be going to the UK to see them perform?  Not really.  I went in May because my friends wanted to go.  I figured that it was a good time to do it.  Now, I’m going back because I might not have the chance ever again.  I don’t want to regret something despite the financial cost, despite the time away from work, despite the time away from other aspects of life and more.  I now know what it means to embrace the now.  I’m sure that there will be people reading this blog and thinking that we have it so easy.  We don’t.  We are sacrificing to make this happen.  Frankly, we had to sacrifice to make Chicago happen.  Shows and tours don’t fall into our laps.  The band doesn’t play in our backyards (they are welcome to, though!) so we have gone out of our way for this tour that just finished and for the tour that will be coming up.  This way I know I won’t have any regrets when the end does come.

-A

Is Duran Successful Right Now?

Is Duran Duran successful right now in October of 2011?  How can that question be answered?  Is it about album sales?  Album or single chart positions?  How well the tour is selling?  Something else?  I ask this question because an article I read, the announcement of some rescheduled dates in Europe and my observations of the band on the road. 

Many people, both inside and outside of the fandom, look to album sales and chart positions to determine how successful a band is.  I suppose in this way it is like a business looking at profits or how many of a certain product was sold.  It could also be like a teacher analyzing test scores or reading levels.  Numbers are an easy way to judge success or are they?  It seems to me that numbers can be given without context, which when known can dramatically change their meaning.  For example, let’s say a business had profits of one million dollars.  To me, that would seem like a lot but what if that business had a profit of ten million a year ago.  Then, that number seems to be negative or bad.  Likewise, an 8th grade student with a 6th grade reading level sounds problematic until you find out that last year the student was reading at the 3rd grade level.  Context is important.  That said, according to Billboard.com’s article:  Hot Tours, Duran is in the top 10 of hot tours.  This article allows us to compare Duran to other artists, which provides some context.  Does it give us the complete picture?  Absolutely not.  We don’t know what the expectations were.  How does this compare to the Red Carpet Massacre tour of 2008?  Is it enough to cover expenses and the canceled shows of the spring and summer?  I don’t have answers to those questions.  Of course, it does provide some good publicity and definitely paints this tour as successful, which can’t hurt. 

This week was also filled with more “good” touring news.  First, the shows have increased to twenty songs and are now a full two hours in length.  Second, some of the rescheduled dates for Europe have been announced for January.  Clearly, Duran is feeling more and more confident with Simon’s voice and are planning on continuing to tour for at least through January.  These could also be signs of success once people know of the context.  If people didn’t know that Simon had lost the higher range in his voice in the spring, these pieces of news wouldn’t be a big deal.  Who cares if they added a couple of dates in Europe?  Isn’t that their job? could be the random thought of the non-Duranie.  Likewise, a non-Duranie could think that it is normal for Duran to play for two hours and include 20 songs.  For Duranies, we know that this wasn’t a guarantee and wasn’t happening in the beginning of this fall US tour.  For Duranies who know the context, these are positive signs and signs of success.

Can success be completely told based on articles, numbers and facts?  Are there less tangible, less concrete elements to consider when answering this question?  For example, does it matter if the band is happy and enjoying themselves?  Does it matter if they are getting along?  Does it matter if the fanbase is happy?  I think those things DO matter and, perhaps, might matter more than those concrete statistics.  Based on what I have heard and seen via youtube and in person, it seems to me that Duran is finally starting to really relax and have fun on stage again.  I loved all of the smiles and the laughs that they exhibited on stage when I saw them on Friday.  I wasn’t hearing or seeing much of this carefree attitude in the beginning of the tour.  Now, I don’t blame them for this.  I think it is perfectly natural for them to feel the way they do and did.  It must have been a very difficult spring and summer for them and that kind of emotional trauma and worry doesn’t fade in a day or a week or a month.  It takes time.  It takes time to trust that everything is okay.  That said, I’m not sure that they are totally there yet.  While the show in Chicago was great, performance wise, I sensed a need on their parts to really get a positive response.  Simon often encouraged the audience to cheer more and louder.  Then, it seems to me that after almost every show, the guy(s) feel it necessary to comment on how great the audience was.  Do they really think that every audience was great?  I don’t know but they need us to believe that they do.  I suspect that they need this affirmation, emotionally.  They need to know that the fans are still here and are still supporting them.  Perhaps, this need for positive feedback is keeping them cautious.  Maybe they are fearful of trying something different with their live performances (like putting Secret Oktober or some other rare track in their setlists).  Maybe they couldn’t handle an apathetic or negative response.  I can understand that but I do think they will be better served when they are feeling perfectly normal again.  While they might be hoping that fans can help, in reality, only time will heal all wounds, especially emotional ones.

Thus, to answer my own question, I do think that Duran is successful right now to some extent.  I do think it is a success that they are back on the road, playing good, long shows.  I think it is great that they are having fun on stage and that the tour is making some money and getting good press.  Yet, I feel like they aren’t completely healed from everything that happened this year.  I am hopeful, though, that their confidence continues to grow and more success will follow!

-A

Getting Excited!!!

I received my tickets for the Chicago show today!  Yay!  I always feel better once I actually have the tickets in hand even though I know that I have them on paper!  On top of that, Rhonda purchased a concert ticket for the show as well!  The preshow meetup is planned and relatively set.  I have been in contact with Hoyt’s restaurant in Hotel 71 and they are trying to do everything they can do to not only accommodate our group but to make sure that we have great service!  Nice!  Thus, it seems like things are all set for the Chicago show! 

While I have been excited for the Chicago show for awhile since, of course, the UK trip disappointment, part of me had been holding back.  I think it is probably pretty natural since I flew all the way over to the UK and did not see any shows.  At that time, I honestly didn’t know what the future was going to hold for Duran and Simon, in particular.  I started to feel a little better with the positive reports from the rehearsal shows.  This relief continued to improve after each of the US shows.  This feeling, however, was mixed with a little envy at the people who got to see shows.  Part of that feeling happens with every tour and every show, at least for me and probably others.  This time was a little different.  Part of that feeling, lately, had to do with worry and anxiety.  I honestly worried that at any point I would hear that Simon couldn’t do it, that he couldn’t finish the tour.  I thought, for sure, the tour would end before it got to my show.  I won’t lie that part of me still worries about that but it is decreasing with every show. 

Now, I’m less than 2 weeks away from my first show since April and starting to feel real excitement, the kind of excitement I used to feel.  I’m feeling the excitement that had to do with seeing friends, meeting new Duranies and seeing my favorite band live in concert.  For the last few months, the excitement had to more to do with hope at best and avoiding disappointment at worst.  While waiting for the real excitement to grow, the plans have actually been made.  In the past, when we make plans, we are expressing how much we are looking forward to the show, the tour.  Lately, though, plans have gotten made because they had to be made not because we really want to make them.  I’m starting to feel the itch of making plans for FUN.  This is good, of course, because soon Rhonda and I have to really start planning for the UK tour!  In the past, making plans has been part of what I have looked forward to.  I want that to be the case now, too. 

Now that the Chicago show is moving closer and my real excitement is growing, I have started to really believe that everything is okay and that my life as a Duranie is as it should be!  Thus, I’m truly starting to look forward to Chicago and to the UK tour!!!

-A 

Emotional

I’m feeling emotional today.  Part of it definitely has to do with being exhausted from work but part of it has to do with today being the last of 4 rehearsal shows for Duran.  It sounds like the show ended a short time ago and from everything I have heard it was another smashing success!  I have seen a lot of tweets in all caps about how amazing it was, including a tweet from JT indicating that they were ready for the US part of the tour.  This, of course, is such good news.  Part of me has been definitely holding my breath, hoping that everything would be okay but trying to prepare myself for things not to go well.  All signs are pointing that everything is back on track, which means that plans can move forward.  Obviously, I love having something to look forward to and there is nothing better than having Duran shows to look forward to!  The success of these shows also indicate that Simon really is better and able to perform again!  Honestly, I didn’t know if that was going to be the case.  I’m thrilled that the shows will go on and that it seems like we can enjoy Duran for a little while longer!  That said, I am not going to lie and say that I am as excited as I could and probably should be but let me explain.

Earlier today, the Daily Duranie received pictures and updates from many of our new friends, from people we had met in the UK in May.  I loved seeing pictures of them all excited and was generally thrilled for them!  Yet, a part of me couldn’t help but to be a bit sad.  Again, maybe this is because of work and things related to that.  I think, though, it has to do with the fact that I wish that I was there.  Yes, I’m sure that there are many, many, many people who feel the exact same thing.  I think I’m feeling it intensely because these rehearsal shows were in the UK, the exact place that Duran had to cancel first.  Those cancellations includes four shows that I held tickets for.  4 shows that I flew across an ocean for.  I would have loved to have celebrated the return of Duran with the people I had met and became friends with as well.

I have attended many Duranie get togethers and parties, including a number of them before shows.  The London party we organized with Kitty from Gimme a Wristband was a first for me.  That night will forever be etched into my brain.  I remember how determined we all were to make the best of the night.  We still tried to have fun and we did, for the most part.  Yet, there was this cloud of sorts in that we had learned that the shows were canceled.  The future was unknown.  This cloud was filled with a bit of grief and a bit of fear.  Honestly, I feel a special bond with those people who I met and partied with that night.  We all experienced something together.  I remember how most of us seemed to have a moment at some point during that night.  For many of us, those moments seem to take place when a Duran song was playing and when we were dancing.  Those moments were the realization that we had lost something.  At the time, we identified that lost as a canceled show to two but now I know more.  Yes, now Duran seems to have returned and, for that, I’m extremely grateful for but we lost was more than shows and it won’t be returned as easily as Simon’s voice.  I don’t think we will ever be so carefree again when it comes to Duran.

We have all learned that we should appreciate Duran now because nobody knows what’s going to happen tomorrow (pun intended).  In this case, we now understand on both an intellectual level AND on an emotional level that Duran will not go on forever.  It could end tomorrow.  Yes, of course, the band may be able to continue without any other problem for a long time.  Obviously, I hope so.  Yes, the longer things go without a problem, the more secure it will all feel.  I doubt, though, that I will ever really be able to forget how I felt that night partying with my friends and fellow Duranies at the Reflex club in London. 

So, I guess I wish that I could have experienced something wonderful with all of them after sharing that tough night with them back in May.  I know that we are planning on meeting up again in December but that isn’t soon enough for me.  I have been really patient, I think, but now, I don’t know that I will be.  I still have 6 weeks until I will see the band in Chicago but a long time before I see my new friends.  While I’m looking forward to the show in Chicago, I don’t think it will be the same as when I see the band in the UK.  Maybe then, when I see them on stage there with my new friends, I will feel like I got back what I thought might be lost.  Maybe then, everything will be right again. 

-A