Category Archives: touring

Niavete falls from our eyes

Prospective is an amazing, wondrous thing. Sometimes, a little time and distance shines just the right kind of light on things. Today, I drove my oldest – Heather – to the airport. She flew out to see my sister for about a week. I remember the last time Heather flew anywhere alone. It was also to go see my sister, and it was the first time she’d ever gone anywhere alone. I was a nervous wreck that day. Heather has changed a lot in the past several years. She’s dangerously close to turning 21. “It’s twenty days away, Mom…but who is counting?”  She is a junior in college, lives pretty much on her own, and is anxious to discover where she’s going after she graduates. When I think back on that first trip on her own now, I realize that she really was young then, but she still managed. I can remember her excitement about being with my sister, away from home, and feeling just a little more grown up when she got home. This time, she’s looking for the place she’s going to live after college. She’s wondering what is going to come next. She’s excited, but in a very different way this time. She knows what Chicago is like (Although I cannot wait to hear about how freaking cold my California kid thinks it is when she gets there!), and her entire perspective might change a bit.

As I drove home from the airport, thinking about all of that, I did something I haven’t done in probably eight or nine years. I put in the CD from the very first time the reunited Duran Duran played at the Pacific Amphitheater in Costa Mesa. The year was of course 2003, and I was in the audience. It was not only the first time they played the Pacific Amphitheater, it was also the first time I ever saw all five original members.

The first thought that went through my head as I listened was that I wish I could bottle up the enthusiasm of the crowd from that night. The roar of fans up on their feet, cheering their hearts out for this band that most, if not everyone in the audience that night, grew up listening to, was like a tidal wave of sound. There was no way not to get caught up in it, and I did as I listened and relived that night.

So much has changed for me since that night. If memory serves, I was in the 16th row. I can remember that (oddly) because I stood there before the show began, watching all of the people in front of me as they would rush up to other fans, hugging, laughing, and yes, even some were crying and cheering as they bounced in the revelry. There was so much excitement and pure joy in the air, and yet I didn’t know a single soul in the amphitheater besides my husband. I wanted to know how they all knew one another, and most of all, I wanted in. I wanted to be a part of whatever group that was. Even though I had already found duranduran.com by then, I wasn’t a vocal member of the message board community. No one knew me, and I hadn’t quite found my place yet.

I thought about how excited I was to see Andy on stage that night. I haven’t allowed myself to even really think about his absence in the years since. I listened to his guitar as the sound washed over me in the car. All I can really say is that there was something certainly very special about the fab five. It was like this shining, perfect, moment that wasn’t ever really meant to last. I’d forgotten how differently he plays, the solo in White Lines coming to mind, but even Hungry Like the Wolf has a different feel in parts. It isn’t necessarily better, just different, and I’d forgotten.

Then there were the songs that we don’t hear much anymore. Friends of Mine, Nightboat, New Religion, What Happens Tomorrow, Virus… I know the band likes the backbone of their set list the way it is, but to hear some of those songs again just made me sit back and really listen. The way the crowd responded to every song blew me away, and yet I was a part of that audience.

In a lot of ways, I wish it could all be like it was then. I screamed and cheered no matter what they played because at the time, everything I heard was brand new, as though I’d never heard it live before.  I can remember feeling out of breath after every single song because I danced like crazy. I jumped, I screamed, I nearly felt faint, and when the concert was over, I felt completely spent. I have seen Duran Duran about fifty times since that fateful show in 2003. Sometimes, even I want to slap myself when I think about that. But, the one thing that hasn’t changed is my love for this band, and even the community that surrounds it.

I am so grateful, and moreover, my heart feels gratitude that I’ve experienced 95% of it as an adult. Sure, I was a petulant ten or eleven year old when I discovered the band. My walls were painted in a beautiful coat of Duran Duran posters and pinups, and I bled Seven and the Ragged Tiger just like most of the rest of you reading. But, it wasn’t until adulthood that I really began traveling, seeing the band, meeting friends, and of course—starting Daily Duranie. I wouldn’t want it any other way.  Sometimes though, I do have moments where I wish I could go back to the beginning, forgetting what I’ve seen and what I know.  Instead,  draping myself with the innocent infatuation I once felt for them,  and allowing the music to fully wash over and consume me.  I want to feel that same wild abandon I once had, not a care in the world beyond that very note or measure.  Listening to this Encore CD in the car reminded me of both how wonderful, and how lonely that time was for me. I still wouldn’t want to go back.

-R

 

 

Expectations are just future resentments: 2018 and DD40

I don’t know about the rest of the world, but I’m still trying to settle into the expectations of 2018. I went to work yesterday and survived. I’ve got to say, I’d be way happier about that if the day didn’t hadn’t begun at 5am. I also found out that I’ll still have a job next year.

It’s a long story, but in short, my school has secured it’s charter. There are going to be a lot of changes, one of which is that my particular region, or campus, will be expanding. The powers that be are looking at the possibility of my role being full-time. On one hand I’m thrilled because it’s touring money. I need that! On the other, I’m considering the expectations for this blog and writing in general. Time is of the essence, and I have had none lately. With the added wrench of my husband’s continued job search, who knows what will happen! We will see in the coming months.

Situations and plans change all of the time. One of the worst things to do is attempt to make plans, so I’m finding. One day I’ll blog about something I’m hoping to do, and the very next, the earth beneath me explodes, and I’m realizing that nothing is going to work as I’d written. Expectations are future resentments, so I heard once upon a time.

It is not a big shocker to read or hear that Duran’s plans for #DD40 are changing. But are they really changing?  Or, is it just that fans had huge, unverified expectations for what 2018 might bring? The supposed “build up” for the 40th anniversary seems to have been something that fans invented on their own.  While it was mentioned a few times over the course of the past year or two, the band itself never focused on it the way the fan base seemed. Perhaps fans let their imaginations run wild with anticipation over what might come.

I don’t think it’s very surprising that Duran Duran is not giving us a firm idea of when or how they plan to commemorate the occasion. The fact that there are only going to be limited dates in 2018 shouldn’t be a concern. No, it’s not a full tour. Why did anyone jump to the conclusion that it would be?

In listening to the end-of-year Katy Kafes,  the band tried to readjust  expectations. Not only was that fair, but wise. There have been some pretty amazing things mentioned about what the band is going to be doing to celebrate their 40th anniversary. The trouble is, none of that information came directly from the band. It was all assumption, rumor, and flat-out wishful thinking on the part of fans. The band never actually said they were going to tour non-stop for the next three years, for instance. Just because John Taylor said they’d probably celebrate beginning in 2018 and culminating in 2020 never meant they were going to be on the road the entire time. John didn’t elaborate publicly,  so any assumptions made based on that comment were simply that – assumptions.  Furthermore, there have been no press releases saying they were going to release Reportage, invite Warren back, sing Kumbaya with Andy, or release an anthology.  In truth, the band itself has said very precious little, at least publicly. Given the voracity of this particular fan base, I don’t blame them one bit.

The band didn’t cancel #DD40. 1978 happened whether the band acknowledges that specific timeframe of the inception of the band or not, and it isn’t as though a huge celebration was planned.  Simon simply mentioned that this year was only the beginning – and he did use the word “only”, should probably clue overzealous fans in. Yes, 2018 is the beginning, just as 1978 was just the beginning. Duran Duran went through a few alliterations before coming to be the Fab Five as we knew them in the 80s. It isn’t a surprise that for their 40th, they are going with 2020 as the “official” date. It’s called business.

Let’s just think back on 78-03, or as we all call it – The Reunion. Naming that tour as 78-03 was convenient. With the press that the band reunited and that it was the 25th anniversary of Duran Duran, it was a golden marketing moment. They needed to get out and play live, and there was the reasoning for doing it. Simple, and the crowds went wild.

This time though, timing is likely different. Duran Duran likes to tour  with new music. Simon didn’t join the band until later on anyway. Since they’ve been saying for a year or more now that the celebration would begin in 2018 and culminate in 2020, it would seem to me that not much has changed, and rest assured nothing has been “canceled”. Once again, the band never said there would be a gigantic tour, that is something that only fans have said. It is easy to make the assumption that the band would tour their 40th anniversary, but it is still just an assumption. Expectations are indeed only future resentments. Watch your footing.

While many are lauding their plan to write and go into the studio this year, Daily Duranie sits here applauding it. How many of your favorite bands are still writing?!? How many are still recording forty years in? Not many. Why are people finding fault with that?

I have even seen groups surveying the fan base about what they want, and then making incredibly leading statements that perhaps the band is actually going to listen.  If only the world actually worked that way. There is far more involved with merchandising than simply what diehard fans may want. If the world worked according to diehards, the set list would change for each show. Talk about setting someone up for a big fall! It is no wonder that John, Nick, Simon and Roger never go into great detail about their plans, and that most of them even mentioned that there would be limited dates next year. Dialing back the expectations seems to be the right way to go because the high level of expectation is palatable. Even as we wrote Daily Duranie over the course of the past year or so, Amanda and I wondered how it would be possible for the band to meet fan expectations for the 40th. In reality, they couldn’t.

It is entirely possible that fans are putting an awful lot more pressure and stock into this 40th anniversary than the band might. This is not a band rooted in nostalgia, no matter what the rest of the world may believe. Duran Duran continues to look forward, not back. This is why they are going back into the studio and creating  more music, whether it’s a full album or even a few songs. I don’t care how long that takes.

Not that long ago, someone mentioned to me that the band has nothing left to prove, that they write and perform for the sheer love of doing so. I’ve thought a lot about that, and damn, we’re lucky they do. Forty years and counting.

-R

Happy New Year 2018!

I drove home yesterday morning from a wild weekend in Vegas. I’m always tired at the end of a weekend like that, but yesterday I was also stressed (I have been writing that word a LOT lately and I really hope that settles down some in 2018).  But more on that later.

The weekend was fantastic. I saw friends, rocked out with a couple of different bands, and for a short time, forgot all about anything else and lived in the moment. I do have a list of people to thank and acknowledge, so bear with me. I know that we’ve already thanked these people but I’m doing it again because they deserve it!!

  • Thank you to Jason for offering up his Hard Rock Live to us for our Daily Duranie meet up. Above and beyond the call of duty in every single way. I don’t know how to return the favor. We can’t thank you and the management team enough for your kindness and hospitality. You made my whole weekend, and I’m not even kidding about that. (no offense Duran Duran, I’m getting to you…I promise!)
  • Thank you to Noelle Kahn for being a ROCKSTAR and jumping in to help Amanda and I out with selling raffle tickets that night. As we said in our video, logistics at these events are something we tend to forget about. If we’re busy selling raffle tickets and wristbands, it makes it very difficult for us to be good hosts. So thank you X 1000.
  • It was fantastic to meet Durandy for the very first time, and to see Kitty (Gimme A Wristband) again. They continue to inspire and remind me why I do this, even when sometimes I feel like none of it matters to anyone but me.
  • Lisa (I am being vague on purpose, but I hope your feet are doing better than they were on Saturday night when I last saw you!), both Amanda and I want to thank you for your kindness.  I know you probably feel like what you and your friend gave us was just a little thing, but it was not. People will go nuts. However, what we really appreciate even more, are the words of support from both of you. It matters more than I can properly articulate.
  • Lori and Suzie, I adore you both. I’m glad you’re my people and I hope that continues for a very long time…. you get me and haven’t even stopped to have me committed yet. Thank you for just going along with my obsessive behavior and letting me figure it out for myself that it was going absolutely nowhere. It was a good fantasy while it lasted. 😀
  • I feel very lucky to have friends that have my best interests at heart. Those of you who “show up”…whether in person or from afar, matter so much to me. You’re there when I need you, and I just want to look you virtually in the eye, since I can’t always in person, and say thank you. I mean it. You all know who you are. The hugs, the chats, even the quick smiles and waves in passing helped me to de-stress.
  • So glad I got to meet so many friends, readers, and twitter pals!

So about that show. Yes, we were in the sixth row, and yes, they were great seats. Nothing I’m about to write should get in the way of that fact. Our distractions of not one but two near-fist fights in the aisle next to us, as well as the constant persistence of people trying to get closer to the stage and the sea of people in front of us who insisted on seeing the entire flipping show through their iPhone as opposed to just watching it with their own eyes definitely provided challenges to enjoying the show.  And then there was the family of four – two parents and two very young children – behind me who were very upset when the concert started and everyone stood up. They left after the first two songs, and I felt bad because the wife clearly wanted to stay, but the husband was furious with Amanda and I because we stood up. I saw a lot of the show by peering into the space under the very tall gentleman’s arm in front of me,  as he held up his phone to video. I had to laugh, because in the end, it didn’t matter. I was seeing Duran Duran live onstage over New Years weekend! I am incredibly lucky, and I know it.

I especially enjoyed Hold Back the Rain because I could see the video screen on the wall behind the band, which showed a collage of pictures of a much younger Duran Duran. I won’t even lie about how emotional I felt when I thought about how that was my childhood up on that screen. I still have trouble getting my brain to accept that the people up on that video screen are in fact the same people on that stage…because there’s no way I could ever have gotten even this close (in proximity at a show) to those guys. There’s no way that I could possibly operate a website dedicated to that band. They were the Gods of my teen years. My brain does not compute!

If that weren’t enough, the sound was FANTASTIC. I’ve sat much farther back at some shows and yet the sound has been less-than-optimal, even if it should have been mixing well at that point.  Of course, when you’re in the front, you hear a lot from the monitors themselves and the sound doesn’t mix well at that point either. However, from where I was sitting this time, it was incredibly clear. Louder than heck, but clear. I had the chance to hear subtle things in the music I hadn’t before. Dom’s guitar part in Hold Back the Rain, John’s bass in the same song, even Sunrise and the tiny snippet of Universe Alone sent shivers down my spine. I loved the show, but there was something else on my mind that night.

Right before the show as we stood having a drink in The Chandelier, my sister-in-law texted me letting me know that my niece was in the hospital. She had been going upstairs and suddenly fainted, falling straight back and hitting her head on their tile floor. She is my only niece, and I adore her. It’s the kind of accident that a parent would have on replay in their head forever, because you want to rush to grab them but can’t get there in time. She’s in ICU now with a skull fracture and a slight brain bleed, but the most frightening part is in the process of evaluating her, they discovered an irregularity in her heart beat. It is a little more involved and more serious than I need to explain here, but she is seventeen, and is getting a pacemaker. 2018 needs to be a healthier year for my family. Enough is enough.

After the show, I tried to put my worries aside and enjoy the final evening out. Easier said than done, of course. Even with a couple of distractions, I had made the decision to get up early the next day and drive home. By 2am, my exhaustion took over and I went to bed, even though I still had people I wanted to see.

It is difficult for me to admit, but this time, the show wasn’t the highlight of the trip for me. Before anyone complains, let me explain. That doesn’t mean the show was bad or that I’m slagging off on the band. In fact, it wasn’t at all. It was just that this weekend, I really needed my friends, people who actually know me, not just the Rhonda who runs Daily Duranie with Amanda, or Rhonda-the-Duran-Duran-fan, but ME.  There might not be many people out there like that, but there are some, and I think they know who they are. I have pictures with people I haven’t seen in many years. I received great big bear hugs from wonderful, generous, kind, fans and friends who care about me. Each one filled my heart and reminded me that I belong with this fantastic tribe.

I had time to stop thinking about how awful the last quarter of this year has been and instead, look ahead to the possibilities of 2018. In truth, the band contributed. Simon said nearly those same words before he introduced Ordinary World. They helped me. I think they even helped him. It’s been a tough year for a lot of people, but the one thing the New Year seems to do – crazily so without fail each year – is give hope for better things to come. Right now, I’ll take it. ]

Happy New Year everyone. I hope I see many more of you this next year, even if the band doesn’t do many shows.  We may or may not have an idea up our sleeve to pass the time … stay tuned.

-R

Touring, Traveling and Thoughts

I am so sorry that today’s blog is super late.  It was travel day for us.  In fact, I am still traveling.  Currently I am on a bus in route to Madison after my flight to Chicago from Vegas.  The flight was great and I hoped to get some sleep or write this blog but it didn’t happen.  I watched a movie, played some games but spent a lot of the time thinking.  This is not surprising as most trips and most tours get me thinking.  Some of it is because there is always lots to think about but some of it is that real life doesn’t offer a lot of time to process.  Here is a little of what I was thinking about, in no particular order.

  1. Rhonda and I continue to make good touring partners.  We have for over a decade.  This weekend we began to ask why.  We talked about doing a little blog in the future where we dive into why.  Spoiler alert—it will be filled with some of our usual ridiculousness.

  2.  I am super grateful for our friends and those who support us and what we do here.  Special shoutout to our roomies.  Suzie and Lori have put up with us this entire 2017 Paper Gods tour.  That equals a bunch of shows, a few different cities, many make shift mini-bars, a bunch of cups with lids and lots more.  They have been so easy to tour with and have definitely made it more fun!  Besides, they understand our love of vodka.

Then, of course, we gotta thank Jason who helped with the meet up  on Friday.   It was such a good time and people were so appreciative and supportive that it has Rhonda and I seriously considering a convention for next year.  Watch this space because we are going to need some support to get it to happen.

Then, of course, we appreciate every one who reads the blogs, responds to us on social media, etc.  For me, each and every comment, subscriber, supporter keeps me going when I question if what we do matters to anyone.

  1.  That band.  I am sure that everyone is wondering what we thought of the show.   Highlights:  Amazing sound last night.  Simon sounded strong and Dom’s playing stood out.  The setlist was mixed up in terms of the order of songs.  I appreciated that as it kept me guessing, which I loved.  The performance highlight was definitely Hold Back the Rain.  If you can find it on YouTube, do yourself a favor and watch it!

Challenges:  These were our challenges ONLY.  We had two big guys right in front of us.  Thus, we had to keep moving our heads to see all of the band. Totally not their faults but where your seats are at a concert matters.  Likewise, the venue itself made things worse by having chairs and rows so close together.  It was hard to move and dance especially when the row in front of you keeps pushing it back, giving you even less space.  A similar problem happened a section over resulting in a actual physical altercation.  Talk about distracting!

That said, I am not complaining- just pointing out why it wasn’t the best show for us.  I am sure that others depending on their seats had an amazing  experience.  We are glad about that!  Plus, that isn’t to say that it was bad—-far from it!  It was a great—It just was not as great as others.  Yes, we have been spoiled.  I  acknowledge that we have been very lucky.

  1.  Last but not least.  As we say goodbye to 2017, I have to acknowledge how important the shows I went to during this year were to me.  They were my beckon of hope, my escape and what kept me going literally.    I am forever grateful that I was able to go to the ones I went to.  It scares me to think  what my year would have been without them.  I might have to find out this year.  I hope that those shows, my fandom and my friends be family empower me through 2018.

On that note, HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone.  I wish you all an amazing new year that brings you health and happiness!

-A

“Live” From a Hallway Around the Corner from The Chelsea

Since we’re together, we decided to do a video blog!  We don’t mind saying it took us five times before we finally got through the first sentence without laughing (no idea why)…and we were recording this in what amounts to a hallway around the venue, but you know, it’s the thought that counts!

Short but sweet…enjoy!

-A&R

Vegas: We Have Arrived

Surreal.  If I had to use one word to summarize this year, it would be surreal.  This trip, the fact that I’m in Vegas to see Duran Duran seems pretty dang surreal, too.  Part of me cannot believe it.  Still.  Part of me thinks that I must be dreaming.  Nonetheless, we are here and we have enjoyed some of what Vegas has to offer.  As a friend of ours said yesterday, “pace yourselves,” and we are trying to do just that.  Yes, the keyword is “trying.”  Our twitter feed from last night might say otherwise.

I arrived in Vegas yesterday afternoon, after what always feels like a long trip, to meet up with my partner-in-crime who had driven.  After enjoying a late lunch at the restaurant in the Monte Carlo and checking into our room, we did what anyone else in our situation would do…wandered over to the Cosmopolitan to get the lay of the land.  From there, we found ourselves with a little goal for the weekend, which, of course, is to try every bar in the place as there are many.  I’m kidding…mostly…kinda…not.

Anyhoo, we enjoyed a few vodka tonics (maybe more than a few), a nice meal and lots of laughter.  That is the thing that I always realize when Rhonda and I are together for any purpose, but especially on tour.  We can make each other laugh like no other.  I know that our sense of humor is not always appreciated, or even understood, by readers of the blog, but we can always crack each other up.  This can easily be seen by any of the outtakes we have of our video blogs, when we have made ourselves cry from laughing too much.  Maybe someday I could post some of those.  Now, that I’m kidding.  We wouldn’t want to scare people that much!  Anyway, I’m grateful for the laugher, the release of the stress and crap that we deal with on a daily basis these days.  We needed that badly.

After much giggling over tour memories or silly things the band has done, we danced some at Mandalay Bay’s covers band.  The best part was that they played like almost every song from Nile Rodger’s set from the Paper Gods tour!  This reminded us of more good times.  No pun intended.  Finally, we called it a night knowing that the next two are bound to be on the crazier side of things–to put it mildly.  Tonight, we have our little meet up/holiday office party at the Hard Rock.  If you are coming and RSVPed for the comedy show before hand, doors open at 7 pm!  Duranies should check in, get a wristband on the third floor  The Duran dancing portion starts afterwards at 9:30!  We cannot wait!!!  At the meet up, we will have Daily Duranie wristbands available and perhaps a raffle or two to win some Duran goodies!

Then, of course, tomorrow is the show.  I still cannot believe that!  Super excited!  On that note, Rhonda and I better get organized in our new room at the Cosmopolitan while we wait for our friends, Lori and Suzie, to arrive.  As always, if you check out our social media (especially Twitter), I’m sure you might see more of our adventures.

-A

Las Vegas here we come!

Since I have to leave fairly early for Vegas tomorrow, I decided I’d better blog in advance on Wednesday night. This will post on Thursday morning, so our readers can enjoy while I’m driving through the desert!

Amanda and I are getting to Vegas a day earlier than our other friends, primarily so that we can get some much needed work…and relaxation done! So, I’m driving out this morning, and Amanda arrives later on.

I’m excited about having a little getaway. It all still feels a bit surreal, probably because of the holiday rush – I’m still recovering from Christmas and yet here I am packing to go see Duran Duran in Vegas, of all things!

It would seem that we have quite a crowd ready to invade Hard Rock Live for Late Bar on Friday night at 9:30. If you’re going to be in Vegas, you should definitely make plans to come to where the party is going to be that night! Great music, fun people, lively atmosphere, and it’s Vegas.  If you haven’t already told us you’d like to be included on the list for the comedy show (same place, just prior to Late Bar) and you want to go, please send us a note TODAY so we can add you!

On a personal note I feel a bit guilty going on a trip like this. Things haven’t been the greatest at home, and although my husband and son are taking this opportunity to go do “guy-stuff”, and my two daughters are going to hang out, I still feel bad leaving right now. That said, I need a break. I don’t think I’ve ever been this stressed out. I like it when life is fairly settled. The uncertainty is not fun, and while sure – life can be a great adventure – I’d be much more “up” for it if we knew where Walt (my husband) would be working. The first quarter of 2018 is going to be rocky, that is for sure. I just need to breathe.

Yep, definitely need this break. It’s going to be short, but I’ll take it.

On another note, did anyone see the song DDHQ posted today? It was sort of an odd Watch it Wednesday given that it doesn’t have a video, but they chose Planet Roaring.

While I have said that I don’t care what the band plays anymore, I will admit that I, among many other fans, would love to see them do this one live. Sure, it’s a “bonus” track, but it is such a great one. The words lend themselves so well to calling out to fans – and despite what the band seems to believe about this Vegas show – there are going to be a LOT of fans in that audience on Saturday night, and the venue isn’t that big! Play this one and they’d be liable to have an entire group of fans singing it right back at them.

The problem here is that the band just has too many good songs. It’s a good problem to have.  It’s just a shame that in order for them to take full advantage of their enormous catalog of music, they would need to change-up their show fairly often, which is pretty laborious (so I hear).  So while I may be singing Planet Roaring in my heart…my head is humming Hungry Like the Wolf and loving every minute of it!

Off to finish packing – and yes, Amanda and I will be tweeting and checking in from Vegas as much as possible. Check our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!!

-R

‘Twas five days before Christmas…

…and all through the house, too many creatures were stirring (yes, I mean the cats. And kids. The dog too, I might add) in the very full house. Mama (that’s me) is dressed for the day, along with Papa, but all the kids are still cat-napping (except for the oldest, because her inflatable mattress – yes, we’re really THAT full here – decided to leak. Not good.). I’d love to say something about a long winter’s nap, but the truth is, we’ve been up since 7.  We’re both pretty stressed about a number of things, and let’s face it – who needs sleep anyway?

One good thing about going to Vegas next week, is that I’m going to Vegas next week to see a lot of my friends! I desperately need to see them right now, and yeah…Duran Duran, too. One very strange thing about going on a road trip to see the band at this time of year is that I haven’t thought much about it. I know I should have bought new clothes or something…and as I said the other night on Twitter, instead I’m fully prepared to show up to that fancy Vegas gig at The Cosmopolitan in flannel jammies and fuzzy slippers. I may get thrown out, but I’d be comfortable in the process. 😀

Hmm. Perhaps I’m taking this whole “we’re like FAMILY” thing a little bit too literally. No reason to scare people, I suppose. Although, the idea of wearing flannels and a pair of neon green trainers to a Duran show makes me grin a bit.

The truth is, I’m really stressed out about life right now. I’m fine from moment to moment, but when I start thinking about January and February, or what is coming down the road, particularly if it takes Walt a while to find a new job – I can feel the panic begin to rise.  Sometimes writing the blog can distract me, but this morning, it’s not happening. I cannot recommend this as a good way to go through the holidays, and yet my family has done it before. Seven times, actually.

Basically, I need the diversion that only a great concert and time with friends can provide, but the last thing I can really put any amount of time, effort, pain and/or suffering into at the moment is my wardrobe. I’ll come wearing clothes (you all can thank me later). The band should just be ready to make me forget about reality, if even just for a little while. If memory serves, they’re pretty good at doing just that.

-R

 

Atlantic City – 2008: Prides gone out the window

On this date in 2008, I was in Atlantic City, New Jersey. It was my very first (and only) time there. In fact, I’d never really spent a lot of time in New Jersey, even though my father was born and raised there in a tiny town called Franklin. I’d been in New Jersey just once prior, for only a couple of hours – long enough to drive by the home where my dad was born, as well as the gravesite of my grandparents. For me, going to Atlantic City was exciting. I don’t even think I’d ever looked at photos from there, so I had no expectations. I kept picturing in my head the glitz, over-the-top glam, tripping the light fantastic of Las Vegas, with an ocean in the background.

Without being rude to those who love Atlantic City, it was very different from the picture I had in my head.

First of all, to be fair, we got to the hotel just hours before the show, and it was daylight. I suppose that yes, there were lights, but it was nothing like Las Vegas. I can’t really describe what was so different, maybe it’s just a little more down to earth? Seedy, even? I’m not really sure. In full disclosure, once you depart from the actual “Strip” in Vegas, there is plenty of seediness to be found. Turn down the wrong street, and you are liable to see plenty of after-effects from a little too much “sin” in the city! For that matter, look a little too closely at the Strip itself, and you’ll see plenty more than you may have bargained for. But somehow, that day in Atlantic City was bright enough to where I didn’t have to look to hard to find the grit. It was December, unseasonably warm (I am not kidding about that – it was warmer on that day in New Jersey than it was in many parts of Southern California!), and yet the crowds had gone away for the winter. I can remember eating lunch somewhere with Amanda and the restaurant was eerily quiet.

Even though we were short on time, I was excited about being there. We had a weekend membership and reservations to eat in the restaurant up in the Foundation Room – which was a splurge at the time. And of course, the reason for our visit? To see Duran Duran.

2008 was one of the toughest years of my life. Not only was I pregnant for part of the year (it was the roughest of my three, naturally), I gave birth three weeks early, which set off a string of events and mishaps that I still take medication to circumvent even today, and my dad died two weeks after my youngest was born. I suppose we could say the year was bittersweet, because I want to be fair to my youngest, but when I think back – I mostly remember the year as being horrific. My little one was the brightest spot. (and continues to be that way even though she drives me crazy sometimes!) So the trip I took to see shows in the east that year was welcome, even though I wasn’t a huge fan of the album they were touring.  That’s probably putting it lightly.  I remember that tour as the one where I was the most cynical, and very unfair to the band. I’d also had one hell of a horrible year.

When I share that I stood off to the side for the show at the House of Blues in Atlantic City, and that during the show I actually left the crowd to sit on a couch area in the back of the venue because I felt sick, and that I barely remember anything about being there other than John Taylor correcting me on the clapping rhythm for Red Carpet Massacre, I suppose that says something about me at the time. My head just wasn’t in the game. Or the show.  I don’t even remember much about the after party, other than Roger Taylor DJing while I danced on the small dance floor up in the Foundation Room. I didn’t even know until much later that the rest of the band was there as well, sitting behind some sort of roped off area. Where was Dom, you ask? (just pretend you’re asking!) I honestly don’t know. I don’t even have a clear memory of noticing him onstage at the House of Blues. THAT was how out of it I was at the time, and I think the entire year was like that for me. I think back on how much of a zombie I must have been, and its a miracle that my friends still speak to me.

I was only in Atlantic City for less than 24 hours, because we left early the next morning to make our way to Montclair for the final show on the tour.  I hope to make it back someday, maybe in the summer, so I can see the full-effect.

Oddly, that road trip in 2008 is also the time when Amanda and I decided to embark on the book writing process. I don’t know what that says…but it says something.

Whenever these days come around on my calendar, I think back on 2008. I am a lot different of a person now than I was then. I hate equating that year with so much unhappiness, but it is difficult because the grief was so overwhelming. I was so harsh, angry and judgmental as a fan, and even as a person – I don’t think I realized how much the grief affected me. Yet, I bonded much more closely with my youngest. It was the one thing keeping me afloat, I think.

As I sit here I’m also thinking that it was the first holiday season without my dad, too…and yes, I know that Simon is going through similar this year. I think about that a lot because I know that pain all too well. It is the club nobody wants to join, and I wouldn’t want it for anyone else. In some ways, I think it’s great that Simon is getting out there for shows during this season, because he probably needs to feel that love and affection we have for him. I get that and believe me, when I was really feeling that pain, I wished I’d reached out for more help. Hindsight is 20/20, I suppose.  In other ways,  I just feel for him, period. There’s absolutely no hiding from the reality and finality. I wish there were.

I always wondered if I was weird, that having so much grief was unusual, probably because when my dad’s parents (my grandparents) died, I don’t remember my dad saying much. I mean, he was sad at first, but after the funerals, he just stopped talking about them. He’d mention them occasionally, but I don’t remember him being sad. Maybe more with my grandma than my grandfather, but I was so young then (I was about nine).  I assumed that once you’re grown, you just come to expect that your parens will die someday and that’s OK. As my friends have also had parents pass on, including Simon, seeing how he reacted to his grief, along with my friends, made me see that it’s OK. I’m not so different to miss him, and I still do. Even nine years on.

As you can read, I can’t really separate the tour of 2008 from what was going on in my own life. I think that’s probably normal for most of us. The tours and things are sort of like the points of interest along the way in our lives. This blog post turned out to be something a lot different from the “short post” I had planned to write, so thanks for sticking with it until the end!

Were you at the Atlantic City show in 2008? Let me know!

-R

Miami and that set list: Maybe it’s time to stop worrying about it?

True confession: I didn’t hear the show from Miami on Saturday night. I was thrilled it was being streamed, but what I forgot in my excitement was that I had somewhere else I had to be – my daughter’s dance show. I probably could have snuck in the first portion of it before we needed to leave, but there just wasn’t time for me to sit, so I missed out. It happens.  I would have loved to hear Lori Majewski and Richard Blade’s pre-show happenings, but it was not to be. I know they did great, though!

I did, however, check in periodically to see what anyone was saying on Twitter. There were a few fans in the audience that sent us pictures and told us it blew their minds – that’s always good to read! Honestly, from the size of the place I would have lost my mind to be included in that audience. I would have needed oxygen, for sure!

One of the things I saw most was that the set list was pretty much the same as shows toward the very end of the Paper Gods tour. Maybe I’m just in a groove, but I’m surprised anyone expected it to change, really. These are just one-off shows here and there, and the idea of the band getting together to hammer out an entirely new set list (with new songs, not just switching the order up) seems lofty at this point. I know what many will say, because I’ve said the words myself, “Other bands do it.”  Yes, they do. But those bands aren’t THIS band.

I tweeted about this yesterday. I’m tired of complaining about the set list, so I’m just not going to anymore. I’m not chiding anyone else for having opinions about it, though – we’re all different. For me, it just got to a point where I needed to make a choice: either keep going to the shows for the pure joy of being there regardless of how many times I’ve heard their hits, or stop going, and shut up. Not everyone is going to agree with my point of view here, and that’s fine. I have seen some people say that they’re not going to any more shows until they switch up the set. I get that. There’s no “wrong” answer.  I know I’m a lot happier these days, and for me that’s all that matters.  I didn’t want any of this to stop being fun, ever.  I get a lot of joy out of seeing Duran Duran. I feel like I have made good friends, and I can’t really think of people I’d rather spend time with for at least part of my New Year celebration. To me, it’s a win the whole way around.

Just a reminder – we are having a meet up the night before the show (12/29) at Hard Rock Live at the Hard Rock Cafe on the Strip!  If you can make it, please join us! Also, if you are interested in being on the guest list for comped tickets to see the comedy show that will take place at Hard Rock Live at 8pm before our Late Bar party starts – let us know at dailyduranie@gmail.com and we’ll add you!

 

-R