Category Archives: shows

To Hear the Drum: New Year’s Eve Show Review

Happy New Year 2017!  We all made it!  Last night, I rang in the New Year at the MGM National Harbor with some friends and Duran Duran.  Overall, the night was a ton of fun even though I wished for some things to be different.

Pre-Show:

The evening started with a quick Uber ride from my hotel in Alexandria to Oxon Hill, Maryland.  While the resort/casino was busy, it was not overwhelming and easy to get dropped off at.  I worried a bit as my little group entered–how strict will the dress code be?  Will they accept our tickets to waive the fee?  The answers.  The dress code was not enforced as I saw many people with jeans and sneakers.  Perhaps, some of the clubs were more picky but the MGM as a whole, no.  Getting in was easy by simply giving your name.

After entering, we walked around to get a lay of the land a bit and to find coat check.  Again, it was easy to drop off.  From there, we headed over to the Lobby Bar, which is located upstairs, but near the theater.  We wanted to get our drink on and see friends before the show.  Many Duranies came, increasing the excitement for the show!      The only downside was that it took forever to get drinks.  Here are a couple of pictures:

Time flew and before long, we ventured over to the theater for the show!

The Venue:

As many of you know, this venue is new, only opening earlier in December.  I hoped to be impressed as I usually like a lot of smaller (in this case 3000 seat) venues.  Unfortunately, the design was poor.  After entering through a metal detector, there was little direction about where to go from there.  We walked past a bar and a merch booth, which included all of the same stuff as the summer shows, only to see a sign for sections 103-105.  Huh?  Where do we go in for the floor?  Luckily, kind staff directed us inside and showed our seats.  After sitting down in the middle front section, I had a chance to look around.  Shockingly, the sections of seats stretched far beyond the stage on the left and the right.  This means that if you had seats in the left section or the right section, you might be looking at a wall (and a screen) when facing forward.  A few of my friends found themselves in this position.  These photos below show better than I can explain:

The real kicker about these seats?  They were sold as VIP tickets.  I know that I would not have been happy to spend a lot of money for tickets with this poor angle.

The Show:

Let’s start with the biggest highlight of the show and the one that everyone was worried, anxious, excited about…the return of Nick Rhodes.  I snapped this picture early on in the evening just to remind myself that I was not dreaming and that he, indeed, was there.  It was SO good to have him back!

The setlist remained the same, which I was expecting.  The lights and the visuals remained the same and as always a strong addition to the show.

The band entered the stage with high energy, ready to bring it.  Yet, the venue appeared to be about half full when the lights went down. Did people forget about the starting time?  Were they expecting an opening band?  Soon enough, more people trickled in but there were still empty pockets, at least where I was sitting in the center, front section.  Then, I took note that a number of the people near me were sitting down.  Some even had their phones out, scrolling through their photos.  Wait.  What…the what is going on?  Don’t they know that they are at a Duran show?  I was confused and dismayed.  Maybe it was that they didn’t know Paper Gods.  No, for many, they remained in their seats through Wild Boys, Hungry Like the Wolf and the rest.  Ugh.  I felt my energy get zapped.  I cannot imagine what it would be like to be the band and see empty seats and people sitting.  I turned around to look at the rest of the venue and spotted a number of fans up off their seats dancing and singing.  I wished that those fans were in my section, closer to the stage.

My other big observation during the early part of the show is that the venue security was odd.  Many fans rushed into the aisles when Paper Gods began.  Security clearly asked them to move to their seats.  Many, who had come from those side sections I mentioned earlier, just moved into the center section, up front with no problem, taking up some of those earlier mentioned empty seats. Ugh again.  Why is that okay?  Why couldn’t my friend and I move up to some of those empty seats?  What about those fans loving the show in the back?

All that said, Duran put on a fine show.  I would not say they had the most energy I have ever seen (perhaps due to what appeared to be a slightly lame crowd) but there were some highlights.  Simon chatted up the crowd a bunch, which I always enjoy.  Two moments stick out. First, Simon talked about how awful 2016 was to many and asked the crowd if people were ready for 2017.  Then he said something along the line of, “Why in the fuck do you think 2017 will be any better?”  I nodded, laughed and thought that is the truth.  Before Notorious, he mentioned seeing twerking on TV that day.  I immediately hid my face, hoping that he wasn’t planning on twerking himself on stage.  I don’t know that I ever need to see that!  On the other hand, my friend and seat mate was ready to go!  Oh my!

New Year’s Moment:

Right before the clock flipped to midnight, Simon declared that the band was leaving the stage and that Carson Daly’s countdown in Times Square was to be shown on the big screen.  What…the what?!?  I came to have Simon count down.  I didn’t want to watch Carson.  I could have done that at home.  Now, I suspect that was the plan that the venue had as the band did not stay off the stage for long.  We watched literally 48 seconds of a countdown and then Duran returned about a minute after that.  Confetti was released and balloons dropped which was fun!  In fact, there were so many balloons that you couldn’t even move without sitting on one, stepping on one.  Later, I heard that there was champagne at the bar there but I have no idea if it was free or not.  I would have loved if the venue brought us all a glass because I know that I wasn’t going to move from the show, not even for a drink!

Post Show:

Many of us returned to the Lobby Bar after the show (despite the slow service) in order to keep the party going.  Most people I talked with had a great time!  Some were looking forward to tonight’s show and others were saddened that they were leaving today instead.

I, for one, am looking forward to tonight’s show.  Now, I have a lay of the land for the resort.  I will be wearing more comfortable jeans and shoes.  I also suspect that there will be more Duranies in attendance tonight vs. people who just got tickets for something to do on New Year’s or because of some special status with MGM.  Duran Duran should bring it tonight because I’ll be ready!

-A

The Lights Turn On: New Year’s Eve!

Rumor has it that it is a show day!  A Duran Duran show day!  Woohoo!  Yes, that’s right.  Duran Duran is playing tonight at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland.  They are playing a New Year’s Eve show, in fact, with the show starting at 10:30.  Therefore, fans in attendance will actually ring in 2017 with Duran Duran.  This significant event pulled a lot of fans like myself to the Washington DC area.  Has Duran Duran ever played a New Year’s Eve show?  I don’t think so.  They have done TV appearances for New Year’s (MTV, Carson Daly, etc.) but I don’t think they have played a whole show on this date.  (That said, someone correct me if I’m wrong!)

Show Details:

As this show has loomed closer, my social media focused on Duran started hopping.  A few days ago, an article, which you can read here,  was shared by many fans planning to attend tonight’s and/or tomorrow’s show.  The two big pieces that most focused on were the cost to get in and the dress code.  According to the article and the email that ticket holders received, the casino is charging $75 on New Year’s Eve, in order to enter.  These tickets must be purchased in advance through (my favorite) Ticketmaster.  Good news is that ticket holders to the Duran show just need to show their tickets to enter WITHOUT paying this $75 charge.  This is a good move for the casino since our tickets weren’t cheap!  I, for one, will be interested to see what the crowd in the casino will be like with this additional cost.

The other big piece of news that attendees is focusing on, which is the dress code for the weekend.  According to the article,

“MGM is also instilling a dress code for New Year’s weekend. Visitors are asked to wear “upscale or semi-formal dress, suitable for the occasion.”

MGM also points out that “appropriate attire will be required throughout the weekend, Friday through Sunday. No athletic gear, T-shirts, shorts, torn or cutoff clothing, offensive prints on clothing, baggy clothing … athletic shoes, flip-flops, sneakers, chains, ball caps.”

What exactly does that mean, people wonder?  I question it myself.  My assumption is that you can’t look like a bum.  You have to look like you wanted to look nice.  For tonight’s show, I’m wearing dress pants.  After that, I’m planning on wearing nice jeans to the New Year’s Day show.  I’m sure it will be fine.  If not…well, then, I will deal.  Unhappily.

Nick News:

If anyone was on social media on the 29th, the big topic of discussion was the Cancun show, specifically the lack of Nick.  As far as I know, there was no announcement saying that he was not going to be there nor was there an announcement saying that he was.  Yet, many/most people expected him to be there because he had just played with the band in London not that long ago.  If he was able to perform then, surely, he would be able to perform now, right?  Once people realized that he wasn’t there, speculation grew.  Why?  What is going on?  People wanted to know.  From what I could tell, it wasn’t out of a desire to be nosey or to violate Nick’s privacy.  No, it was more about wanting to know what to expect from Duran Duran.  Could people expect Nick to be at upcoming shows?  If not, shouldn’t fans know that before buying tickets?

It didn’t take long before DDHQ responded with the following tweet:

Obviously, this is what all Duranies wanted to hear.  We all want Nick there.  It doesn’t feel like the same band without him.  While I was relieved to see that tweet, part of me will still worry until I see Nick on stage for myself.  I’m a little paranoid.

Drinks!

If anyone is planning on going to the show tonight or tomorrow night, come join me at the Lobby Bar (that’s the actual name of a bar in the casino) before the show.  I am planning to be there a couple of hours before show time.  After all, I want time to see people, have good conversation, and maybe have a drink or two!

-A

We’ll Be Singing: Duran Tours

Now that I’m off of work for winter break and officially done with all the various tasks I needed to complete for Christmas, I can start to think about the upcoming Duran shows!  As we know, the band is due to play in Cancun on the 29th before moving on to the Washington DC/Maryland area for shows on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.  2017 will feature more Duran show as two have already been announced (the shows in Rancho Mirage at Agua Caliente in California) and more are expected to follow.

When the shows in California were announced, many/most Duran fans expressed surprise.  Haven’t they played enough in the States, many wondered.  Obviously, fans outside of the US felt disappointed that nothing was announced in their neck of the woods.  I, for one, can understand that feeling.  After all, is there anything better than seeing Duran live?!  I personally don’t think so!  That said, is the move to return to the United States for a third year unusual?!  Let’s find out!

When looking at the history of Duran tours, I feel that there have been different eras from the early days with the Fab Five, those middle albums of Notorious, Big Thing, etc. following the last of the tours with Warren after Medazzaland and Pop Trash.  Currently, we are living through the post-reunion tours that began immediately following the Astronaut album.  How much has the band toured since the reunion?  How much for each album?  Where did they go?  Let’s find out!

Astronaut:

Astronaut was released in October 2004.  The band played shows that fall, according to the timeline on the band’s official website:

October 3, 2004 – Columbia Halle, Berlin,Germany
October 11, 2004 – The Beacon Theatre, New York, NY, USA
October 12, 2004 – The Beacon Theatre, New York, NY, USA
December 2, 2004 – The Arena at Gwinnett Center, Atlanta, Georgia, USA (Star 94 Jingle Jam)
December 3, 2004 – Cox Arena, San Diego, California, USA (Star 100.7 Jingle Ball)
December 5, 2004 – Sony Studios, Culver City CA, USA (Bailey’s – The Set)
December 6, 2004 – The Pond Theater, Anaheim, California, USA (Star 98.7 Not So Silent Night )

If you analyze these shows, they played 7, 6 of them were in the US.

Then, of course, they toured a lot during 2005.  They shows were split into different parts of the world.

1 show in January in Europe
45 shows in February-March in North America
29 shows in June-July in Europe
16 in July-August in US
3 shows in Japan in August
4 shows in September-October in US
1 show in December in Argentina
9 shows in December in Europe

That is a lot of shows–108 shows in total.

2006 saw more Duran shows:

1 in January in the US
1 in February in Italy
1 in August in Monaco
1 in September in Hong Kong
6 in September-October in Europe
10 in October-November in US

That’s 20 shows in 2006.  Add to the 2004 total and the 2005 total and it equals 135.  82 were in North America (61%).

Red Carpet Massacre Tour:

2007 saw the release of the album in November.  The band played shows around the release:

14 shows in the US in October-November
1 show in Argentina in November
2 shows in Europe in December
5 shows in the US in December-January

Total of 22 shows with 19 in the US.

2008 shows:

1 show in Italy in February
8 shows in New Zealand and Australia in March-April
5 shows in Asia in April
23 shows in North America in April-May
20 shows in Europe in June-July
1 show in the Middle East in October
9 shows in South America in November
8 shows in North America in December

Total number of shows:  75 with 31 in North America

2009 shows:

1 show in Russia in June
6 shows in US in June-July
2 shows in the UK in July

Total number of shows:  9 with 6 in the US.  Total number of shows for RCM:  106 with 56 in North America.  The band played less shows for Red Carpet Massacre with slightly less percent in North America at 53%.

All You Need Is Now:

This album was partially released in December of 2010 and fully released in 2011.  Shows began in 2011 to support the album.

2011 shows:

3 shows in the UK in March
22 shows in North America in March-April
3 shows in Europe in May
4 shows in the UK in September
25 shows in North America in September-October
1 show in Brazil in November
11 shows in the UK in December
1 show in Ireland in December

Total number of shows for the year:  70

2012 shows:

8 shows in Europe in January-February
1 show in the Middle East in March
3 shows in Asia in March
6 shows in Australia in March
6 shows in South America in April-May
14 shows in Europe in June-July
1 show in Asia in July
11 shows in the US in August

Total number of shows:  50.

Total number of shows for All You Need Is Now:  120, which is more than Red Carpet Massacre and less than Astronaut.  The percent of shows in North America was 48%, the least amount of the three.

Paper Gods:

Paper Gods was released in September 2015.  The band played shows that fall.

2015 shows:

1 show in the UK in September
8 shows in the US in September-October
11 shows in the UK in November-December

Total shows:  20 shows

2016 shows:

20 shows in North America in March-May
3 shows in the UK in May-June
6 shows in Europe in June-July (5 in Italy)
28 shows in North America in July-September
1 show in the UK in December

Total shows:  58 (with 1 more to go!)

The total number of shows (so far) for Paper Gods:  78 with 72% in North America.

Conclusions:

Clearly, Duran Duran usually plays more than 100 shows per album cycle.  Therefore, it is not surprising that the band plans to play more in 2017.  What is interesting and different is the amount of shows in North America.  Since the band reunited in the early 2000s, they have played about 50-60% of their shows in North America.  During the Paper Gods Tour, however, that percentage has increased to over 70% with more shows planned.  Therefore, it isn’t the number of shows that is surprising or note-worthy but where they are playing that is.  While I love the fact that I, along with my other North American friends, have had many chances to see Duran, it would logical and fair for the band to try to reach other parts of the world after the spring US shows.

-A

Nick Is BACK!

While doing a quick glance through my timeline yesterday, a certain tweet caught my attention:

Wait, what?!  What’s going on?  Duran Duran is playing a show?!  Today?  For real?  Are these pictures from today, too?  I asked myself. I had to find out more!

Time Out London provided the following information about it:

Wonderstruck scientist Brian Cox and bookish comic Robin Ince join forces for a night of comedy and music

Everyone’s favourite dreamy-eyed scientist, Professor Brian Cox, and superb, erudite comedian Robin Ince join forces for their annual Christmas blow-out at the Hammersmith Apollo. The pair are co-hosts of Radio 4’s ‘Infinite Monkey Cage’, and these live shows will be similar, but with more of a variety feel, bringing together an array of scientific minds, stand-ups and musicians.

What is even more cool about this event is that the proceeds go to charities like Médecins Sans Frontières UK (Doctors Without Borders) and the Sophie Lancaster Foundation.  As I’m sure that many of you know Doctors Without Borders is an organization that works in over 60 countries to provide medical care.  The Sophie Lancaster Foundation, on the other hand, an organization working creating respect for subcultures.

While all that is super awesome, the big news for Duranies is that a certain keyboardist was in this picture!  Does this mean that Nick is back?!  Indeed, the band’s twitter featured a picture of Nick with the hashtag #duranlive, #thecontroller.  Well then!  Now, I realize this show was in the UK, but most fans are hopeful that whatever caused him to leave the tour in the summer is no longer impacting his attendance for future shows.  Does this mean that he will be at the Cancun show?  The NYE shows?  I think most of us are hopeful.  I know that I am.

While the band did not play a full show, they did perform a number of fan favorites with the following setlist:

Planet Earth
Wild Boys
A View to a Kill
Ordinary World
Notorious
Pressure Off
Rio

Do you Remember? Robbie Williams in Auckland!

On this date in Duran Duran history, Duran Duran played with Robbie Williams in Auckland. The year was 2003, and the show(s) were not without massive controversy in the Kingdom of Duranies.

First of all, who is Robbie Williams?  Yes…that is what many Duranies, particularly those of us from America, were saying as these shows were being announced. Robbie Williams is an English singer and a member of the wildly popular English group called Take That.  Prior to these shows being announced, I’d never heard of either Robbie Williams or Take That. I wasn’t alone.

However, I did know what it meant when it was announced that Duran Duran would be opening for Robbie Williams, and so did every other fan. Imagine thousands of Duranies reading the news, and indignantly announcing, “This is an OUTRAGE! Duran Duran opens for no one!”

Yep, that’s what happened.

Followed immediately by a moment of silence, almost as though the community caught its collective breath – and then the arguing commenced.  In fact, this same scenario happened the last time Amanda and I dared to bring up the subject again here on this blog. I’d like to point out that I sit on no side. I’m merely giving a little drama as I tell the story.

As strongly as many Duran fans felt that they should open for no one, there were (and are) many DD fans that are also huge Take That and/or Robbie Williams fans that felt it was the proper place for them. To complicate matters further, there was apparently some sort of confusion on the part of the band – or so the story goes – that they would in fact be opening. The lore holds that the band (management) originally was led to believe that they would be co-headlining.  The reality was, however, that the band was the opener.

To be fair, Robbie Williams is no one to shake your head at. He’s a huge star by any standards. He’s one a record eighteen Brit Awards, he’s the best-selling non-Latino act in Latin America, six of his albums are in the list of 100 top-selling UK albums of all time…and he’s had streets named in his honor, for crying out loud.

On the other hand, Duran Duran.

Personally, I don’t think there’s a contest there….but this blog is named The Daily Duranie for a reason. Bias much? Always.

In any case, it was thirteen years ago today that Duran Duran played a show with Robbie Williams in Auckland, and we all lived to go on another day. Or thirteen years worth of days, so it seems!

-R

 

 

Do You Remember? VH1 “The Set”

On this date in history, wayyyyy back in 2004 (which really doesn’t seem like it should be twelve years ago already, does it?) Duran Duran filmed a show for VH1 called “Bailey’s The Set”.

As I fondly recall, this was a show that local fans could enter a lottery of sorts for tickets. The show was filmed at Sony Studios in Culver City in front of a very small audience, and now there is an unofficial DVD of sorts available of the performance – which was shown on VH1 a week or so later.

A great many of my friends here in the area attended the show, but I did not. I tried for tickets, but this was at the height of the Fab Five reuniting, and tickets were hard to come by. My ongoing streak of luck (or lack thereof!) held through the lottery.  I have heard it was a really fun show, particularly since during that period, Duran Duran had been doing a great many arena-sized performances.

I don’t have the show in its entirety, but I did find a clip of Careless Memories to share.  These are actually kind of fun to watch, it was back when Dom was just subbing for Andy, and Anna wasn’t there – this may have been before she began touring with Duran Duran. Instead, there is Tessa Niles on backing vocals, I believe.

As much as I have enjoyed the recent Duran Duran tours, there was something very special about Duran Duran back in 2004…it was fun to look back.

Here’s another: (this clip doesn’t say it’s from the same performance but I am pretty sure it is)

-R

Some Days Are Strange to Number

Some days, some things just make me laugh.  Sometimes, the laughter happens right away.  Other times, there needs to be some space between the event and the giggles.  Tuesday morning was one of those days…

I arrived at work/school early on Tuesday.  I had much to do, including copying four handouts to start a brand new unit for my US History kiddos.  As I mindlessly stood by the copier at 7 am, I thought through my game plan.  I had to find a colleague to cover me at 9 am so that I could buy tickets to the National Harbor Duran shows.  Once my class was covered, I could seek a quiet classroom to refresh my DDM and/or Ticketmaster page frequently as I anxiously waited for tickets to go on sale.  Then, I would quickly type in the password and seek the tickets of my choice.  Of course, the perfect tickets would pop up instantly, almost placing themselves into the shopping cart without me even clicking a button.  The process would be nothing but smooth sailing.  I could then return to my classroom, having been gone for less than 10 minutes.  Yeah…those copier fantasies can be intense and terribly inaccurate.

Still, the plan seemed on track when I found my colleague and friend across the hall.  I begged her to cover my first hour class and even told her to give treats to my students if they were good since I had brownies and cupcakes with me.  She readily agreed.  Perfect.  Nothing could go wrong, I figured.  I had coverage.  I had a plan.  I had the seating chart printed.  I logged into my computer and the necessary sites.  I was all set.  

At five to nine, my colleague stepped across the hall to take over as I sought her quiet classroom to begin my incessant refreshing.  As I started to refresh the Ticketmaster page, I noticed that sometimes I would get a countdown clock and other times I did not.  Cue self-talk as I reminded myself that it would be fine and that I had done a million presales before.  There was no need for my heart to be beating that fast.  None, whatsoever.  Finally, the countdown reached zero, the page indicated that it was loading and loading and loading and loading.  What the hell?!  Do I need to refresh the page, I wondered.  Finally, after what felt like hours, I refreshed, revealing the ticket sale page.  I put my request in.  Denied.  Grumble.  Grumble.  Okay, I thought.  No big deal.  Stay calm.  Refresh again.  Up pops crappy seats all the way to the side and far back.  No thank you.  Refresh again.  Same result.  

“Are they kidding me?” I said out loud to an empty classroom.  Could the tickets already be sold out, I asked myself?!  Nooooooo….refresh again for the sixth time.  Then, Ticketmaster asked me to click on pictures with mountains.  I did that and when the page appeared it stated in big, red ugly letters that they could not fulfill my request.  I felt the blood pressure rising.  I didn’t understand.  What was going on?!  Deep breaths began.  More waiting.  Then, the dreaded bell rang indicating that I could pursue this no longer as 2nd hour awaited.  Damnit, I muttered as I crossed back into my classroom and my role as teacher.

As sweat popped up on my forehead, I frantically searched for my team teacher.  Where was she?  Was she coming to class?  Could she start the class so I could keep…attempting to get tickets?!  Finally, she appeared in the door frame.  Relief.  I begged her to start the class while I explained the situation.  She nodded while directing me to her room, to try on her computer.  That might work, I thought as I turned around to leave.  Unfortunately, ten minutes on a different computer  proved to be no more successful.  Swearing under my breath, I marched back into my classroom, knowing that I could not stay on Ticketmaster all dang day.  Teaching demanded my presence.

As I walked in, I noticed that I had another laptop to try Ticketmaster on.  I logged in while my colleague finished going over the political vocabulary.  She wandered over to my desk to ask how my pursuit was going.  I quickly explained the situation to her before jumping up to lead the students through some notes.  As I waited for the kids to jot down ideas about the political parties, I glanced back to see my colleague refreshing the page as I had done.  Involuntarily, I let out both a partial smile and a partial sob at the same time, thinking about how lucky I was for colleagues like that.  Thankfully, my misery ended when I received word that the friend I am going with acquired tickets for us.  I desperately wanted to collapse in my desk chair, exhausted, but I still had a room full of freshmen to teach!  Someday, this band really might kill me, I thought as I resumed the political science lesson I was presenting.

By now, you all have realized that unlike my counterpart, I will be attending the shows outside of DC around New Year’s.  Will I miss Rhonda’s presence?  That is a given.  It feels weird to go to any show or any Duran function without her.  This is even more significantly weird and sad is because it involves traveling and staying in hotels.  Yet, the shows made too much sense for me NOT to go.

As someone who is single, with few single friends near me, holidays like New Year’s Eve create a lot of personal anxiety.  Immediately after Christmas, I begin to wonder, each year, what I should do. Should I make plans, should I try to go somewhere, do I not try to make plans, do I stay at home.  In many cases, I can find a friend or two to hang out with but not always and usually last minute.  The holiday always acts as a unwelcome reminder that I’m single and don’t have a family.  It can be very lonely to be single during the holidays.  Yes, of course, I could always spend time with my parents, who are nearby me, but that usually doesn’t feel great despite how much I love my parents.  Thus, I’m thrilled that I not only will I not have that anxiety but that I have amazing plans.  I never thought I would see Duran on New Year’s.  Talk about a party!

The other reason that I am thrilled about going is that I love DC.  As I’m sure many of you reading this know, I’m a very political person and January marks the end of Obama presidency and the beginning of the next one.  As someone who worked for the Obama campaign and who has met the President and the First Lady, there is something special and affirming about going to DC during this transition.  It is like two really significant aspects of myself are coming together.

Now, some may argue that I am crazy for spending this money to go and maybe I am (although tickets weren’t any more expensive than some of the summer shows I went to).  Yet, this is an extra I can afford.  For me, it is worth it as I can think of nothing else that makes me happier than being at a Duran show.

-A

 

I was in that crowd of “everybody” once

The very first time I traveled to see a Duran Duran show was in 2005. I met my friends in Chicago and saw them at the then-named All-State Arena close to O’Hare. Prior to that, the farthest I’d gone to see any band from my house in Orange County, California was probably San Diego, about 50 miles away.  So, it has only been for the past eleven years that I’ve traveled to see a band perform.

My two oldest children were eight and six the first time I left them to fly to Chicago. My absence threw the house into an uproar, as it did each time following that trip. I rearranged schedules and passed off parenting and household duties. I’d leave my role of Mom behind and sink back into the comfort of just being myself—a Duranie. In some ways it was a relief to have time to myself, and in others, I always felt like I was misbehaving or shirking my responsibilities. It was a near-constant state of emotional tug-o-war.

Despite the obstacles, I managed to see Duran Duran over thirty times in that eleven-year period. I don’t even know the exact count offhand, because for me—it doesn’t matter much.

As an aside,  I’m not great with details. I’m a big picture person. Amanda is the detail person. She takes pride in knowing those things, and I think she must like being able to give exact numbers. I’m not like that, and for a long time I’ve felt inferior to her as a result, for that and a number of other things that don’t matter right now. I’m realizing now that I’m really not inferior. I’m just me…but I digress.

My point is I’ve done a lot in a relatively short period of time. That “measure” comes from nothing but how I feel about myself. There are tons of Duranies who have gone to hundreds of shows and never miss a chance to see them. I’m not talking about those people. I’m talking about ME.

I’ve definitely missed shows and tours over the years. I don’t ever try to do them all. I pick and choose. I started out doing one or two shows for a tour. It was “reasonable”. Then I went for a couple more. Maybe a long weekend’s worth. Then I traveled to the UK twice in a year, and that’s when I’d say things got out of hand. It was at the same time this blog started to gain an audience, and while leaving my house was difficult, it wasn’t impossible. I took full advantage. It was fun, I got to meet a lot of people. I like seeing people who I recognize in nearly every city. I also knew that at some point, I’d have to stop.

Thinking about the present day, I didn’t have too much of a chance to catch up on social media until yesterday evening. I checked out Twitter and Facebook, seeing that a lot of people commented on their tickets for the National Harbor shows. As expensive as the tickets might be, fans still find a way to go. I know how this is—I’ve done it many times. As one friend said as she lamented on why she caved and bought front row seats, “Seems like everyone is going.”

I’m not. I was one of those “everyone’s” once, though.  I remember getting messages, so many times over the years, as Amanda and I would announce what shows we were attending. The verbiage was always similar: people would say they were happy for us, but that there was no way they could pay that much or be gone that long, etc.

In Duranland, there are two basic public responses to those types of messages or comments: one either shows some empathy by saying they’re sorry that so-and-so can’t go, or one shines it on with a full-blown explanation of how it comes down to prioritizing, and that for you it comes down to making the band a priority.

I’ve SAID those words myself and I wish I could go back and slap myself for being such a bitch, excuse my language. Duran Duran is NOT a priority. Food is a priority. Housing, rent, etc is a priority. Your children are priorities. Children with fur are priorities. The band? That is pure entertainment. It is fun, and that is all it is. I said the line,  “I work so hard and I deserve the reward” more than once.  We all deserve a lot of things, so I need to just shut up. Not everybody gets to reward themselves, am I right?

I work my ass off every single day with homeschooling, being a housewife and all the “glory” that provides, and then working at a school. But when the money isn’t there for rewards, it isn’t there. For example, right now I work that part-time job. You’d think I would be able to use that money as “fun” money. Well, I would like to think that anyway.  I was a stay at home mom for years and years, and we made ends meet just fine. This should be extra. Except it’s not. That money – and I mean every last cent of it, goes to pay for my daughter’s housing at school. There’s none left for “fun”. I highly, highly doubt I’m alone there. I should have been a LOT more empathetic with my own thoughts and comments over the years.

Not that long ago, someone called me out here for the amount of shows I’ve done over the years. They said I’d thrown a lot of money into this. Yep, I have. I think the comment was in response to a suggestion I’d made to the band to do a residency, but the sentiment still applies. I have spent a boatload on the band. I don’t regret it. I had my fun, and I made memories that will last a lifetime. But I also recognize and appreciate that not everyone can or should spend that kind of cash. I recognize the need for Duranies to judge one another. It comes down to some sort of competition and it pisses people off to see that others can do more.

I’ll get “real” with you all about doing more. For a long time, I was convinced by the concept of “More”.  If I spent more money – if I went to more shows, if I traveled more often, if I got more front row, if I met more people, if I did more VIP parties, if I was more recognizable within the community, I’d somehow BE someone. Those things didn’t make me anything but cash-poor!I don’t know the band any better now than I did before. I’m the same person now that I was before. I’m still shy. I still have a terrible sense of self-worth. I still doubt myself on a daily basis, and I still self-sabotage.

That said, I know more people now. I’ve done a lot of writing, even though  neither of the manuscripts I’ve written have been published. I’ve seen things. I’ve experienced things. I think that as a whole, I’ve even learned things. I’ve spoken directly to Simon Le Bon and survived. The blog is recognized by many.  Doing more though, didn’t make me any more of a person. I didn’t go from being an unknown wallflower to one of the most popular and well-liked Duranies, for example. (in fact I’d say I’ve gained more than a few enemies as a direct result of this blog and my activities over the years. People don’t always love me and I know it.) Spending more on the band didn’t push me into the inner-circle of well-known fans (to the band).  I don’t have a great job, or a burgeoning career as a result of “all I’ve done“? It just made me a ton of memories…and according to my husband, slightly poorer. 🙂  (I laugh because I must – but he is right.)

So I’m not in the crowd of “everyone” anymore. I don’t think I will be for a long while. My exact words on Facebook last night were that I wouldn’t be traveling or attending a show anytime soon unless they are playing in my backyard for free or I’ve won the lottery, and that’s probably true. My two oldest are now nearly 20 and 17. One is in her second year of college and the other is in the middle of application season. I’m just hoping we can pay for school, applications and still be able to afford Christmas, to be honest. Yes, I will miss being at the shows. Yes, I will miss traveling. Yes, I will miss screaming for the band. But I’m learning that doing those things doesn’t make me a fan. They aren’t what makes anyone a fan, or what makes a good manuscript or a great blog. They’re just points along the way.

-R

 

 

New Years at MGM National Harbor?

I got word of the official announcement that Duran Duran will be playing on New Years Eve AND New Years Day this year in National Harbor – a new development just outside of Washington DC. The venue (The Theater at MGM National Harbor) is 3,000 seats – so it is intimate, and the casino (MGM National Harbor) will provide just the right atmosphere for late night festivities in order to welcome 2017. It sounds like just the plan for Duranies on the east coast, or anyone willing to make the trip.

As you are reading this on Tuesday morning, the pre-sale for the show dates are likely already taking place. You can find ticket prices and details here.

No, the tickets are not cheap. These shows are taking place on New Years Eve and New Years Day, which are both holidays, and events typically sell at a premium. I can’t blame them even if I can’t join them! The hotel (MGM National Harbor) is also very expensive – stays for that period of time are ghastly prohibitive to many Duranies unless you are willing to share a room with twelve or more of your closest buddies, but I hear there are other hotels in the area, too.  Good luck!

I’ve seen many a complaint, as always, ranging from the price of the shows (with Ultimate VIP – a guaranteed front row seat – the tickets could easily reach $600, but cheaper tickets are available), to the fact that yes, these shows are once again in the US.  I am empathetic to those outside of the US, because it is true – they have spent a good portion of time here lately.  I know it is a difficult truth, but the fact is: the band makes money here. Duran Duran is not a charity, and they don’t do this out of the goodness of their hearts. They sell tickets here. The music industry is here.  It is what it is. I do wonder if the band is really going to be doing shows in Europe or anywhere else net year, but at the moment…I’m more curious about something else entirely…

Is Nick going to be appearing with the band?

In the past, this would not have even been a question. In fact, I feel a little silly for even wondering because, well…this summer was just a fluke, right? Of course he’s coming back. Right?

However, after missing the entire leg of shows this summer, the question still hangs in my head. I didn’t have to wait long to see if anyone would ask. When the subject came up yesterday on Twitter, Katy responded that she did not have the answer to that question at this time.

Wait, what?

You mean, there really IS a question hanging in the air about this?!  I guess for me, I’m sitting here wondering how Duran Duran can plan shows without even knowing if their keyboard player is going to be there. But then I remember that MNDR played the entire tour, and did a fantastic job. Even so, wasn’t that really just a one-off thing, or is this “something” really more of a permanent deal?  Or maybe, it’s that Katy answered honestly. She didn’t want to say yes or no because it wasn’t something that had been discussed yet. I can see that. I mean, you can’t really commit to something you don’t know. Perhaps by the time this is published (I’m writing ahead!), all will be known and this will be a non-issue.

I guess the one thing I know for sure is that at some point, Duran Duran should choose to come clean on this and say whatever it is that needs said, even if that’s to say that of course Nick is going to be performing.  Having the question hanging in the air is worse than having the words out there in black and white. Fans have the right to know who is going to be playing keyboards before they shell out a handful of money to see another gig.

Amanda and I have openly chosen not to press the issue with Nick because we accepted that he wanted whatever he needed to do kept private. We get that. I get that.  To be clear, I am not requesting that the band give any more details besides whether or not he is planning to appear.  This isn’t about privacy, or Nick’s health…or needing to know every last bit of minutia.  However, if he isn’t going to tour with the band, I think it’s time to just say so.  I believe this is owed to their fans and the people who have stuck by them through several guitarists, drummers, and even bass players over the years. I think the fans have more than proven their staying power, and dammit – we’re pretty supportive when given the opportunity.

I’d like to be given that chance.

-R

 

Tour Favorites

On August 5th, Duran Duran played the last show of this most recent leg of their Paper Gods Tour.  The tour, of course, will start up again on August 27th.  Unfortunately, for me and Rhonda, our shows are all done.  Our last show was on the 2nd, less than 2 weeks ago.  Yet, in many ways, that show feels like years ago.  I’ll admit that I’m sad for the end of the tour and for other reasons.  Sometimes, right now, it makes me sad to listen or see Duran.  At other times, that’s all I want to do.

This afternoon, I want to remember each and every minute of our tour this summer.  Maybe, some of you out there, feel like I do in that you, too, are sad that your show(s) is over.  Our memories from the shows will live on, right?  Thus, here is how I’m dealing this afternoon.  I’m picking out one video per show that I went to.  The videos I choose will focus on a song or moment of the show that I really loved for some reason.

Chicago–July 8

Chicago–July 9

Detroit

Toronto

St. Paul

Paso Robles

Las Vegas

Irvine

Chula Vista

Now that I have shared moments from my shows, I would like all of you to share videos of your show(s).  Keep me watching and listening to Duran for the rest of the day and night.  Help me to keep the tour alive in my head for a few more hours!

-A