I usually title my blogs first, oddly enough. I know Simon feels that you can’t really name something until you’ve seen it – but I do it backwards. (that is so typical for me!) In any case, this time – I can’t title it yet. Hopefully something will hit me before I need to publish, otherwise this blog is going up without a title.
I have a calendar that Amanda, my writing partner for the blog, created. It’s a daily Duran Duran calendar – each date has a specific event listed. There’s no need for me to worry about whether the band is going to publish an “official” yearly calendar because I already have my own, and I love it. Every night I change out the page for the next one (it’s in a small plastic frame in my room), and it gives me a brief moment to reflect on the memory of the event, or in some cases, I just say “huh” and go on to whatever task I have happening next. Last night, when I finally got up to my room for the night, I turned the page only to reveal that on this day just 4 years ago, we got the “official” announcement that the Fab 5 partnership had once again been dissolved and we were now at 4. Truth be told, I had already learned of Andy’s leaving a couple of weeks prior – but I was sworn to secrecy, and to this day I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone just how much earlier I’d known what was going on. I don’t even really have “insider” knowledge – it was just odd luck, and it was something that at the time, I didn’t want to believe and I certainly didn’t want to share in hopes that it was false. Regardless, as I turned the page and put it into the frame, I remembered how I felt that day when I got several phone calls from my closest friends.
I think that for me at least, I don’t know that I ever expected Andy…or Roger for that matter, to stay for long. I guess it just all seemed way too perfect. I know of many, MANY Warren fans out there, and good on all of you for being able to accept him so well, but for me he was never a part of MY Duran Duran. At least not the one I fell in love with. For me, that band has 5 members, and you know their names, including those 3 Taylors. So, when the reunion was announced and I saw them live again, it WAS perfection. It was my childhood, adolescence and adulthood all coming full circle – and it was a perfect, shining moment that I never thought would last. Of course, it didn’t. I saw Andy perform with the band 4 times, and I do treasure those times. Regardless of what anyone says about his work ethic or his playing style, he provided something to that band that can’t be replicated, and I thank him for coming back at all because in doing so he allowed me to live out a dream – and that was to see all 5 of them together.
That day 4 years ago, as I spoke to friends on the phone, I had very mixed emotions. I know I was really angry – many fans have been and still are to some extent. However, I think that if anything, my anger was directed towards the rest of the band more so than Andy, particularly because from everything I’d learned about the upcoming album – it was going to be nothing like what I expected from Duran Duran (and it wasn’t). I was (and still am) convinced that the direction of the new album was at least partially responsible for the dissolution of their partnership. Many will argue with me, saying that I couldn’t possibly know what went on – but one thing I *do* know, is that if Andy were truly interested in being in the band and recording the album – he never would have allowed for a stupid travel visa (or lack thereof in this case) to be the reason he didn’t show up for recording. Out of all of the lame reasons I’ve ever heard in my lifetime – and trust when I say that working in HR and staff management – I’ve heard more than my share – that is probably one of the worst.
I also knew that I was about to board a plane headed for Chicago, where I was going to see Duran Duran be the opening concert for the brand new Sears Center. I’d already seen Dom Brown as their guitarist for a few shows – so I knew the band would obviously still play, but I wondered how they would be as they came onstage. They would be facing a lot of fans with a lot of emotion behind them – and many of us were following them on to New Orleans (they would play the Voodoo festival later that weekend) from there. It was important that they come out on stage that night and play the show of their lives to prove they could still do it without Andy – at least, that’s how *I* felt about the show.
I went to the show with a heavy heart, but also an inner yearning. I wanted that band to come out there and blow my socks off. I needed to hear that they were going to be fine, and I’ve always felt that I could tell how the band was doing by the way they were playing – they aren’t that great of actors, and I think it’s become fairly clear (to me, at least) when things aren’t great backstage. They came on that night with a fire in their bellies, that is for sure. They all sang and played with more fire and conviction that night than I’d seen since they played at the Pacific Amphitheater in Costa Mesa in 2003. John Taylor played his heart out that night, while Amanda and I sang right along with him. 😀 I looked over at Dom several times that night, wondering how he must have felt. It’s one thing to take over for someone when they are ill – but it’s quite another when you know it’s just been announced that they aren’t coming back and for the near future, you’re the guy. Dom stood off to the side, respectfully played the guitar and did a fine job. He interacted with the band, but not overly so, and I found myself being more and more drawn to him. Mostly, I wanted him to see that the fans wouldn’t eat him for dinner just because Andy wasn’t coming back. I found myself wanting to give him the heroes welcome in a lot of ways, because truly – had it not been for Dom’s ability to step in and play a superb guitar, we would not have had a show that night.
Later that weekend, I ran into Dom on a plane bound for New Orleans. He sat right across the aisle from me – and after I picked myself up off of the floor both from illness and from shock, but I took a second to thank him for playing, and I commended him on being able to step into some very big shoes. We talked a little bit during the flight, Dom was very, very kind and he’s earned my loyalty as a fan, whether he’s playing for Duran Duran or playing his own shows. (someday, I will make it to the UK to see him, or he’ll come here – but I will see him one of these days!) I know he’s not Andy Taylor, and of course he never will be – but he’s a gift to us in his own right. That weekend, Amanda and I made Dom his own sign for the Voodoo festival (and we waited all day, were practically trampled by My Chemical Romance Fans and narrowly avoided being rolled on by the lead singer of Flaming Lips in a huge hamster ball in order to show it to him), to us – he’s part of Duran Duran and therefore part of the family. The sign said “We Scream for Dom” – and I don’t know if he ever saw it, but Simon and John did – and they were trying to point it out to him. It was just our way of saying thanks and welcome. To this day when we see the band in concert and it’s a GA show, I try to position myself somewhere between Simon and Dom, that way I can see Dom, and I get a great view of Roger as well. I have no idea if Dom remembers me – but he’s got a fan until I can no longer get myself to the shows, and even then – I can still keep listening. For me, he is part of the silver lining.
Nile Rodgers once posted that the gift is always there, even in the worst of times – you just have to find it. I think that our gift is that many of us finally got that opportunity to see and hear all five together again. How many of us really thought that would ever happen?? Certainly not me. It was a brief, shining moment – and one that I continue to treasure.