Ten years ago tomorrow, I saw Duran Duran play in Chicago. This show was part of the Red Carpet Massacre Tour and the only one of that leg that I saw. They played at the Rosemont Theater, which I really enjoyed. The size of the venue was great with an amazing view from any seat or so it seemed. While that show was weird in some ways, it also sticks out as one I always want to remember.
I didn’t go to the show with Rhonda, which always feels weird. I went to the show with another friend and tried my best to make the show feel as normal as possible. A group of us went out to eat before hand, which always works to get people excited. Then, the show featured a few highlights that I would like to acknowledge here.
First, this show featured the Electro Set. Does anyone else remember the Electro Set from 2007-2008? When I first heard about it, I believed that it was going to suck. I mean…really…the band was going to stand together in the front of the stage all playing electronic instruments?! It seemed…boring, at least on paper. Then, I went to one of the Red Carpet Massacre shows on Broadway and I saw the Electro Set in person. To say that I was wrong would be an understatement. I was in awe. It blew my mind. Seriously. Needless to say, then, I was super excited to be able to see it again in Chicago.
While I couldn’t find a video of the electro set from this particular show, I did find one from another show. If you haven’t seen it, you should watch it. If you have seen it, you should watch again and remember how cool the Electro Set was. I am probably not alone in saying that I would love for the band to bring this back. Everyone I know who saw it loved it and everyone who didn’t see it in person wants to.
The other highlight is not the fact that Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins appeared to perform The Chauffeur. While I’m sure that many people loved that, it didn’t excite me all that much. I had really liked Smashing Pumpkins then I saw them live. I was unimpressed. In fact, I was so unimpressed that I left before they finished, which I never, ever do. So, his appearance didn’t cut for me. No, the other personal highlight was the fact that John Taylor came out for the encore in an Obama t-shirt.
To refresh people’s memories, the spring of 2008 meant that the United States was deep into presidential primary season. The political parties were busy trying to figure out who the nominee was going to be. Not only had I decided whom I would be voting for, but I started volunteering for the Obama campaign a few months prior in February. By May, I was starting to work pretty seriously for the campaign. My friends at the show knew this so when John Taylor came on stage in the t-shirt all of them turned towards me, all excited for me. Clearly, I wasn’t expecting this at all. I would have been fine if John did not support my favorite or didn’t agree with me, politically. Yet, it made me feel…proud in my decision to work for the Obama campaign. I loved having these two very different worlds of politics and fandom come together.
Most of the time I try to keep my worlds separate. Usually, I say the reason for this is that I don’t want to alienate others, which is true. More than that, though, I worry that I would be rejected. When I’m with my political people, I avoid the discussion of fandom. I worry that they wouldn’t get it or that they would think I was weird for loving a band so much. I definitely try to tone down the politics when I’m focused on fandom because I truly believe that some people that I call my friends in the fan community would hate me because of my activism. At that moment when John Taylor showed his support of Obama for the first time, I felt safe. I could be completely me and still be liked and accepted.
I liked that feeling. I hope that by remembering that show and those memories that I feel that way again, at least for a day or two.