Category Archives: touring

Keep the Rhythm Going

Sometimes, I have no problem getting started on a blog and other times, I struggle.  Today is one of those days of struggle.  I have a couple of ideas in my head.  I started to blog about the first one but felt lost, without a big idea.  So, I scrapped it.  Maybe, I’ll try the second one.

I have a number of Duranie friends on Facebook.  I enjoy them on days like John Taylor’s birthday when people share pictures or favorite videos.  I like having a timeline filled with John Taylor!  This morning, a friend shared a little video she took at a recent show.  I watched the video as I always appreciate a little Duran in the morning, but I also noticed the comments.  A number of people stated how much they enjoyed the video and how Duran always put them in good moods.  I stopped and thought.  Is that true?  Does Duran always put me in a good mood?

Throughout my life, I have always used music to deal with my various moods.  I can remember playing Seven and the Ragged Tiger, for example, on my little record player as a young kid and singing and dancing along.  I’m not sure I would play the album to put me in a good mood or not, but I agree that it did work.  I was in a good mood after that!  Later, as a teenager, I adopted a different music policy.  I played music to match my mood.  If I was angry, I wanted a song to match.  If I was feeling hopeless, I picked songs that emphasized that feeling.  The music allowed me to indulge in my negative feelings.  Many of my college friends would say that they could tell my mood simply by what song they heard loudly being played coming from my room.

Now, some people might say that it wasn’t/isn’t healthy of me to play songs that are negative by nature.  Some might say that those songs would just reinforce my less-than-cheerful feelings, which allowed them to continue rather than to be diminished.  Maybe.  I have found, though, that those songs made me feel understood.  I felt less alone, less isolated.  I was also able to get rid of or purge my own negative feelings that way.

Now, as an adult, I have found that songs alone don’t have as much power.  Experiences matter more in altering or fixing my moods.  My feelings have experienced quite a number of ups and downs for the last few months.  Before I went on tour in March, things were getting really bleak.  My feelings of hopelessness and frustration were growing and I felt very isolated and alone for a lot of reasons that don’t need to be mentioned here.  Yet, that tour allowed me to push those negative emotions away.  It felt like I moved the storm clouds away to reveal sunlight for the first time in months.  I felt renewed and joyful.

Why is that?  Was it just Duran Duran’s music that did it?  I think their music definitely played a role.  There is nothing better than being a Duran show.  Truly, it is where I let everything go and just live in the moment.  I am the happiest there.  I also had a chance to have some good conversations with Rhonda, which were needed and appreciated.  Beyond that, of course, we had a ton of fun with other friends and got to make more new ones!  That was my favorite kind of weekends and led me to experience more happiness than I had been.

Now, as time as gone by, I have found those positive effects from that mini-tour fading away.  My emotions are experiencing more downturns lately.  I want to wrap myself in those less-than-happy songs.  Instead, what I must do is get ready for the next little mini-tour, which is thankfully approaching quickly.  What my task will be then is to figure out how capture the feelings from that weekend so that the feelings last.  I want to be able to bottle tour feelings and be able to let out a little every so often as I need it to balance out the reality of life.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  It would certainly make me happy!

-A

The Concert Ticket Buying Experience

Yesterday afternoon, while I was in the midst of grading the last set of semester finals (woohoo!), my partner-in-crime posted a video on our Facebook page.  Immediately, people watched and expressed not only how entertained they were from it but also shared stories indicating that they related to it.  What video did Rhonda share?  What was it about?  How come so many could relate to it?  I’ll tell you this much–if you have bought concert tickets online, you will appreciate it.  Click on the link below and watch it.  Trust me.

When You Are Trying to Buy Concert Tickets Online:

https://www.facebook.com/thebragsydney/videos/1539565626056578/

Okay, people, who has purchased concert tickets online?  Raise your hands.  Don’t be shy.  Yeah, I’m willing to bet that most/many/a lot of you have.  I think you all know that I have.  Heck, I wonder how many blogs focus on the ticket buying experience, especially for those little ticket sales we call pre-sales.  So, what parts of this video can I relate to?  What parts are accurate?  Where do I start?!

Honestly, I could relate to SO much of this.  The person in the video definitely does a lot of talking aloud.  I’m not gonna lie.  I do the same when by myself going through the ticket buying process.  Self-talk isn’t a bad thing, correct?  Right from the beginning of this video, I found myself nodding with much agreement.  I refresh the ticket websites over and over again with 20 minutes before the tickets go on sale then 3 minutes before then 60 seconds.  Of course, I also usually spend time talking to friends about the plan especially if we are all trying to buy tickets.  This reminds me of the shows that we went to in March.  Rhonda bought for a show and I bought for a show.  Up until the time of purchase, I was so nervous that I would buy for the wrong day and we would end up with 4 tickets for Friday and 0 tickets for Saturday.  Luckily for us, it didn’t happen.

The ticket buyer’s feelings were right on, in my opinion.  I have uttered the phrase, “I have been dreaming of this concert for so long!”  Likewise, I have paid a lot more money than I probably should have all in the name of a concert “of a lifetime”.  Usually, for us, the phrase is a little different.  We are more likely to say that it is going to be the “tour of a lifetime” or “you never know when a tour will be the last tour” or “they might not tour for years after this”.  The sentiment is the really the same as are the tears of relief and joy once the tickets have been purchased.

One part of the video that I found especially entertaining is when the ticket buying does not go as planned.  In this case, the site wouldn’t load and the wi-fi wasn’t working well.  We have all experienced something similar when buying our tickets, especially when Ticketmaster is involved.  Just recently, when buying tickets for the San Francisco show, I couldn’t get the site to load on my computer and I ended up buying the tickets on my phone.  Like the video, I knew that I wasn’t the only one as I exchanged messages with a friend leading me to buy tickets for her, too.  Of course, like the video, the fear of having the show sold out or only having crappy seats left is real, my friends.

While I loved the heck out of this video, I do wonder about something.  Hmm..anyone else?  Why is a dude dressed in a wig and attempting to sound “like a girl”?!  Is the implication that only “fangirls” would respond this way to concert ticket sales?  Was the idea behind the video to mock female music fans?  I assume that the main character was also supposed to be young, probably a teenager since “she” lived with her dad and didn’t know her post code.

Perhaps, I’m assuming ill will where there is none.  Maybe the creators of this video just wanted to relate the concert ticket buying experience in a funny, relatable way.  That’s very possible.  That said, why not have a teenage girl or a teenage boy or…an adult woman in it?!  I think that still would have been funny.  Why not show multiple types of fans since we come in all ages and genders?  How hard is that?

-A

These Beautiful Colours – It’s All About Happy

I don’t know about everyone else, but I’ve had it. It’s Monday, and I’m already done.

I’d really like a day, heck, I’ll even take a MORNING, where there’s at least a little peace. Life is busy. My schedule is crazy and changing every single week because of various things going on. I never know where I’m supposed to be (and when). I have things written on my huge master calendar at home, in my phone, and even on a calendar I keep near my desk, and yet I still forget things. I’ve even had to turn down a couple of really fun and quite frankly, once in a lifetime type of opportunities for various reasons – all of which have to do with being an adult and putting my own feelings aside. On one hand I feel like I did the right thing, and on the other I wish I could just seize the day and take a chance for a change. Isn’t that just like being an adult???

I’m not even mentioning the world. I don’t really need to do that, as I’m sure all of you have heard the news each day. I don’t want this blog to turn into a political forum, but I will say this much – peace would be good right about now. It’s pretty bad when I am thinking about stocking up my trailer (camping caravan), throwing my phone in the garbage and heading north to pine trees, blue skies, and no internet connection.

There are moments when I see all that is happening here at home and abroad, and wonder if the “good old days” are totally behind us now. Sometimes I think that’s what the media wants us to believe. Sometimes, I even think that’s what we want one another to feel.  But then, there’s Duran Duran. The bright light.

The band tweeted this picture this morning from a show they did for a Princeton University class reunion this weekend. (Never before did I wish I went to an Ivy…) Dom retweeted it saying that he loves the colors. At first all I could think about was that in a month from today, I’ll be picking Amanda up at the airport and we’ll be headed to San Francisco. That thought alone made me smile. I can’t wait to see Amanda, our friends, and yes – the band.

Dom says he loves these colors. To me, they are joy and happiness.

I am no different from any other fan. I’m excited to go see the band in July. On one hand, I feel like I’m going to be seeing old friends that weekend, and on the other, I sound like a hopelessly deluded fan. They don’t know me. I only know them from their posters. Yet it all feels so familiar after thirty—nearly forty—years.  I can’t help but feel that way. Yes, I hope to at least make eye contact long enough to say hi and let them know they were missed, and I’m glad they’re back.

In many of my blogs, I try to remind the world that to the band, our relationship is probably more transactional than anything else. Very few of us have a real person-to-person connection with them. Yes, it would be nice if it were more than that after all this time, but realistically – how can they really know thousands upon thousands of people?? I’m even shocked when Simon says he recognizes faces in the crowd.  Even so, as I sit here writing this—I’m thinking of how lucky I am to be able to still go and see the band I grew up idolizing, and sure—a big part of me wants to pretend that when they see me standing in the audience, they recognize my face. Who doesn’t?

It is very hard not to feel like there’s some sort of relationship there, just based solely on the amount of time I’ve invested. Of course there really isn’t—I don’t know John, Nick, Simon or Roger—but as a fan, there’s all the loyalty in the world there. Of course, then there’s Dom. I’ve met him more than once. I’ve spoken to him while on a plane and traded emails a few times. Yet every time I see him up close enough to say hi, I’m pleasantly surprised he addresses me by name. I don’t really know why that surprises me so much, because if he were anyone else – any other guy for example – it’d be normal! There are many people I’ve met one time, and then seen again two or three years later, and we all manage to know and remember one another’s name. Yet with him, it’s different. I both love and kind of hate that all at the same time, I must admit.

I just think now, more than ever, if you get a chance to be close enough to say hi, give/receive a hug, or whatever – it’s important to let them know we care. There’s a lot of bad going on in this world. Even if, like 99% of us, you only know them for being Duran Duran, I think right now, it’s good to let them know how much they’re loved.  Love is a very good thing. We’re lucky to have this relationship, however confusing, messy, and undefined it may be. Not everyone does…and these moments are what carry me from one show to the next. The memories of a hug, a hand squeeze, or even a wink from the stage remind me that all is not so bad. So in the moments when I’m struggling to remember what paperwork I was supposed to bring to a doctor’s appointment, or that I need to contact the registrar at Gavin’s school about his high school transcripts, I try to think about those happy times. It helps.

I’m also really excited that for at least a couple of days – I’ll be nothing BUT happy. So the more I looked at the photo, the more I realized that yes, for me – the colors are happy. I need happy. Don’t we all?

-R

School’s out for Summer!

I am ready for summer! Today, as you read this, I am at work, and it’s the first day without students in the building. I am hoping for a quiet day so that I can get to the task of cleaning out my supply cupboard and packing away things for summer. I have two days to clean out – today and Tuesday, and then on Thursday I go down to San Diego for a final staff meeting, and then I am off for the summer. I made it through my first school year!

I can hardly wait to have real time to myself. I have a stack of books next to me on my desk (in my new office space!) to read, an office to paint, and maybe a book proposal to write with Amanda. Imagine that! My son graduates in two weeks, and then I have to get ready for Amanda to visit in July along with a wild and crazy road trip as well as a camping trip for the family. It’s going to be a busy and fun summer and I haven’t even gotten to the part where I take a bulldozer to Gavin’s room so that we can pack him up for college!

Of course, I’ve had summers before. I mean, they happen each year.  I just don’t know if I’ve ever really appreciated them quite as much. After all, for twenty years, I stayed at home. I became very well-versed in the art of procrastination because if I didn’t finish something, I always had tomorrow. But now, I have about eight weeks completely to myself, and then I’ll work from home for a few days, and then it’s back to the grind.

But first, it’s fun time, and that means planning for a road trip to the Bay Area. Amanda arrives in California on July 5th, and then we are going to spend a night somewhere up in the LA area, and then drive to San Francisco the following morning. We’ll have a night to ourselves, and then shows the following couple of evenings before we head back down to Los Angeles. It’s a short trip, but somehow I think we’ll find enough time for a fair amount of craziness! It is funny because this time, I haven’t given a lot of thought as to what the band might play—it would be lovely to hear a different set list, but I suspect we’re going to be getting a carbon copy of what we heard in Rancho Mirage—and we’re going to like it!

Yes, I’m excited for summer and am looking forward to having time to obsess over Duran Duran a little with Amanda and friends, too. I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated the idea of summer quite so much, and I intend to make the best of it.

That’s a warning for those of you coming to the Bay Area in July.  Yes, you too, Duran Duran.  Good luck!

-R

 

Newcastle show canceled, 2011. Do you remember??

On this date in 2011, some of the longest “waiting” of my life began. Duran Duran was to play the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle that evening, and was the first show to be canceled during the All You Need is Now tour.  Here’s the original announcement from DDHQ:

(from duranduran.com) Singer Simon Le Bon has today been diagnosed with a throat infection that is forcing the band to postpone their Newcastle Arena show that was scheduled for tomorrow, May 18. All fans should hold on to their tickets. Details of the rescheduled date will be forthcoming within the next couple of days.

I can remember hearing about this show being canceled. I can still feel the shock waves that reverberated through my body when my friend called to tell me the bad news that day. Every one of my hairs stood on end and I really didn’t know what to do.

Amanda and I, along with two of our friends, were to fly to the UK to see shows in Birmingham, Nottingham, Liverpool and London.  We were leaving in less than 48 hours for what was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime. I had an afternoon flight from LAX on the 20th and would arrive in London the 21st. I’d meet Amanda and the rest of our friends that day and we booked a car to drive us to Birmingham. We would stay at the Birmingham Malmaison in a very fancy suite that we’d spent a bundle to book, and continue on from there. It was going to be the second time I’d been to the UK, and the first time I’d ever flown outside the country without Walt. For me, the trip was huge.

I stood there by my stairs, listening to my friend rant on and on about what my choices were and whether or not she thought I should still “chance it” and make the trip. All I could do was stand there, bite my nails, and hope it was a one-time thing and that Simon would be fine for the next show, which was in Glasgow the following day.

Of course, it wasn’t. The next day, it was announced that Glasgow would be canceled. I was to leave the very next day, and this was about the time I began to panic.  I think I kind of knew our shows would be canceled, but I held out hope until the following day, literally minutes before I left my house. My bags were packed and I was waiting for my husband to arrive home to take me to LAX so I wouldn’t have to leave my car.  I believe I got a phone call from one of our friends, who alerted me to the latest announcement from Duran Duran, canceling the next three shows….all three of which I was supposed to attend.

I remember thinking about what my options were that day, but my husband quickly quelled any plans I had to stay home. “You’ve already got your plane ticket. You’re going.” I knew he was right. It was a lot to give up, and at the time, there was still that London show. It was possible he’d be able to do that, right? I gathered my things, made my flight and hoped for the best.

As we all know, the entire UK tour was canceled, so no – London didn’t happen. It was months before Simon was in the clear and able to perform again. The trip itself was good, but strange. In some bizarre way, I think going over there and experiencing the cancellation with people who understood how I felt was oddly comforting. Amanda and I tried our best to make the trip fun, and parts of it were. For me personally, the trip was cathartic. I can say that I came back home as a completely different person. A totally different fan.

I’m still annoyingly critical, sarcastic and judgmental. I still make plenty of rookie errors when dealing with the public. But, the love I have for Duran Duran is far, far different now. I think that trip made me see them as humans. Finally. Not every fan wants that. Some want to keep the band on their pedestal as perfect, mystical beings. That’s fine. It just wasn’t the path I wanted. I can’t say it’s helped with my writing or even the blog (I have still upset fans in the past and will likely do so again at some point), but I think maybe the trip gave me a little more perspective.

Later that year, Amanda and I went back, this time seeing shows and experiencing all that a Duran Duran tour in the UK had to offer. The memories from that trip are wonderfully happy and I’m glad I went back. However, the trip that taught me the most was the one that didn’t go as planned. Maybe there’s something to that.

-R

Leave Her Out Now She’s Having Fun

I know that I got the lyrics wrong in the title.  I did it intentionally since it is about me and I identify as a “she”.  The thing is that I’m looking forward to this weekend.  Heck, I look forward to every weekend.  I like the break from getting up early and not having to go to work or deal with teenagers.  Normally, weekends are my time to get caught up on whatever I didn’t get to over the week like…you know…sleep.  Good weekends mean that I have something to look forward and special weekend mean that the something is really good.  This weekend is one of those.

Before you ask, I’m not going on tour.  I wish but I will be thinking about that and will mention it again later.  It isn’t that special but it is pretty dang special.  I have a whole weekend of plans!  Shocking, I know!  Friday afternoon, I’ll go out and get a drink with my team at work.  I have to admit that I feel very lucky to have such fabulous people to work with.  They definitely make the day-to-day grind of teaching so much easier to deal with.  Then, I will come home and sleep.  I hope to sleep lots.

This will ensure me that I have energy for Saturday evening in which a number of people are coming to my place for some Duran games and viewing.  All of them have previously come by at some point or another to celebrate that Duran fandom.  I’m looking forward to all of the above for a good time with little thought to the “real world” and what tasks await me.  Let’s be real.  If I can’t be actually on tour, this is the next best thing.  I can’t think of anything I like more than sitting around, watching, talking Duran with other Duranies.  Those nights remind me of why I’m a fan and how amazing they are.

Why so much going on in one weekend, you might wonder.  Simple.  I guess you could say that I’m celebrating being on planet earth (pun…totally intended) for another year.  Of course, when I think about what I wish a few things pop up in my head.  I might wish to know Duran’s complete schedule when it comes to the rest of this year and next.  It would really help Rhonda and I plan.  Heck, I would be happy just to know about this summer.  When might the band be arriving in California?  Where might they be staying?  I know…I’m not asking anything big, right?  Here’s another idea.  I might request a slight change in the setlist.  Planet Earth, anyone?  A little Careless Memories?  Perhaps, an additional song or two might fit, something like Late Bar.  Now, that I’m asking, I wouldn’t regret a proper meet and greet.  Would anyone?  Ha…a woman can dream, can’t she?

While I certainly wouldn’t reject any of those (I’m not crazy!), I would happily sacrifice any of those if it meant that democracy could be secured or world peace could be guaranteed.  Selfishly, I would trade any of those in to ensure that my parents would be healthy and strong now and for decades to come.  I would love for my friends and family to be healthy and happy, even if that means that I don’t get any of those mega gifts.  Really, when I look at my life and this year on the planet, the one thing I keep coming back to is that I was lucky to have it and hopefully, I get to enjoy another one(s)!

-A

 

You Won’t Miss Me When I’m Gone

Well, the spring run of shows is over, and the band has gone back to England.

I feel a little deflated, and yet my shows ended weeks ago. If that weren’t enough, I’ve seen a few people comment that they’ve never seen a tour happen this way – and so that must mean it’s farewell.

Oh come on now. Really?

First of all, I’ve seen a lot of tours like this. As in, most, if not all of them. The band always adds dates here and there, at least for as long as I’ve been actively paying attention. They do first, second…sometimes third and even fourth “legs”, and Duran Duran is FAR from the only band in the universe to do this. As John Taylor said recently in an interview, sometimes dates (like the South American shows) come up, and they have to get their whole group together, and so it just makes sense to add in a few more shows to make the trips worthwhile. I’m not going to find fault with that kind of sanity.

Second, if we’re talking about the fact that they haven’t gone many other places aside from the UK, Italy, the US and now South America – again I have to say it’s about money. Like it or not, the band has bills to pay, and they only go where they’re being paid to go. I know it’s hard to imagine, but the cost involved with doing a world tour – a real world tour – are staggering. They can’t just fly to Australia and do one show, and they can’t do more than that if promoters and bookers aren’t getting them shows. It’s that simple, whether we want to believe it or not. Sometimes, I think Duran fans look for conspiracies that just do not exist.

Lastly, even if this is their final farewell, does it really change anything? Does it change how YOU are touring? What shows YOU are attending? For me personally, I’m going to what I can. Even if I knew it was the final countdown, I couldn’t possibly do more shows right now, even if I wanted. I mean, what more could I really want though?

I’m not the type of person that is going to sit and wait for them outside of their hotel, or at an airport. I love them, but I also feel awkward doing that stuff. I know a lot of others do, and that’s great. It’s not my thing. There is only one time I’ve asked one of them to sign something for me, and in all honesty it was Dom, it wasn’t Simon, or Roger, or anyone like that. I’m just not that kind of fan, not that I think those people are wrong or weird or anything like that – it’s just that for me, I don’t want or need much signed. I’ve been to the UK. I’ve seen Birmingham – out of everything I’ve ever done in the name of “fandom”, that was the one thing I really wanted and it lived up to every last possible expectation and then some. Truth be told, I would really like to go back to the UK again. Very much so. I don’t know if I will have a chance to take that trip though, just because of timing and family expenses (again, college is NOT CHEAP).  I’ve taken long road trips with Amanda, I’ve had some wonderful experiences at shows, and I have made a lot of friends along the way. I just don’t know if there’s much else I could reasonably want, except more.

So while the idea of “farewell” bothers me, I can’t go on worrying about it looming overhead. A bit of advice my dad gave me before he died was that I needed to not worry so much about the dying. I’d call him at least a few times a week towards the end, and I’d always ask how he was feeling. It was natural, and I meant it in the most loving way possible – he was my dad and I was worried. Dad got tired of talking about how he was feeling though, because let’s face it – he already knew he was dying. It was no secret. He didn’t want to focus on the end, he just wanted to enjoy the living. So, he told me that the end was going to be just that, the end, and that none of us had much control over when that was going to be, or how that was going to transpire. What he and I could do though, was to enjoy the time we had. So I am, and I will. It was still a shock when the end arrived, and I still went through all of the same stages of grief as anyone might. But, I’m kind of glad my dad gave me that little pep talk though, because it’s come in handy more than once in the almost nine years he’s been gone. That’s my dad – watching out for me up until the very end!

Of course I’ll be wistful and sad when they stop touring. I have friends that I don’t know if I’ll see again when that time comes, even if I don’t think now is that time. I can’t imagine not seeing the band, or Dom, or even some of the roadies again. We fans have known them so long we can’t imagine not having them around and yet they really don’t know us at all. There’s really only one person in or around the band that truly knows me or my name, and I don’t even question whether or not he’ll know me in a crowd. It’s kind of like going to family reunions every time they tour or do a show, and I’ll miss those.

I think that’s really just it. Family. Somewhere along the line, this band and all of the fans that go along with them, have become a family, whether we like it or not! Some I might see as crazy uncles (there’s always one!), and others are probably related only by marriage and we don’t really know how they fit in, but they’re part of the group. I can’t imagine that feeling of family just ending, can you?

I don’t know what the band has coming next. I know that they’re coming back to California in July. I have heard rumblings of other possibilities, courtesy of the monthly Katy Kafes. I don’t think this band is quite done yet, but I’m not going to worry about that. I’m going to enjoy seeing pictures, chatting with friends, and planning for the shows I will see in July. I am going to work on a couple of projects I have going on here at home – including a high school graduation for my son, and I’m going to be reveling in the joy I have bubbling within for getting him to this point. I’m going to savor each moment as it comes, and live in gratitude for each day I’m given, and so should you.

-R

Lost in a Crowd: Why are audiences different?

I’m in research mode again, and for some reason, that always makes me a little more inquisitive about the human condition…or the fan condition, since that’s appropriate here!

I wrote about Lollapalooza yesterday, or at least about the crowd. Admittedly, I’m at least partially fascinated by it because I’ve never seen anything like it at any of the shows I’ve been. No, I don’t go to festivals, and but even if I had—I just don’t think we draw the same sort of crowd. But, I wasn’t sure, so I checked!

As a sort of baseline for myself, I started with what I knew. I couldn’t find a firm attendance number for Voodoo Fest in 2006, but I do know that the following year’s crowd shattered all previous records at just over 100,000 for the three days.  That tells me that however many people stood watching Duran with me the year before, it probably was not as many as Lollapalooza in Argentina. This was not a surprise, but I decided to go check Coachella’s figures.

According to Forbes.com, Coachella averages about 99,000 on each weekend (it runs over two weekends).  Lollapalooza is at 300,000…but this is the US Lollapalooza, because the article was comparing US music festivals in terms of attendance, ticket price, and cost to hydrate (water bottles).

 

So in terms of attendance, I was wrong. They’ve played to nearly the same amount of people here on occasion.  I just don’t remember it being such a big deal. Do you?

Before someone emails me, yes – I read John’s book and yes, I saw he mentioned it in there. I can remember when John alluded to being on the bill for Coachella right on Twitter and there was no denying his excitement. I remember seeing the show online, and I remember the band commenting about how cool it was, too. So there is that. But somehow, I felt like Lollapalooza was different. I wasn’t there, but I’ve seen the show. I really watched the crowd whenever the camera panned over them. It was very different from anything I’ve ever seen.

First of all, I think my (American) culture very much plays into this. I’d love to say we’re a peaceful people. I’d love to say we’re full of love and joy….and to some extent, we are and do. But, we’re also big into territory and personal space. We build fences around our property. (no political comments necessary) We like to know that what is ours, is ours alone. I don’t find that Americans are an especially “huggy” sort of people. I tend to stick out my hand before I ever offer a hug, for instance. Here, we hug our friends and people we love, like family. Other countries hug, go for a kiss on the cheek, or even both cheeks. We’re not used to that so much here. Suffice to say, if I’ve hugged you, it’s because we’re good friends and I care about you. I’ve had to get used to the fact that Duranies are pretty huggy people!  So, at festivals, and even GA shows, while most other cultures don’t mind being on top of one another for hours on end, it (can) make an *American’s skin crawl.

In watching the footage from Argentina, I saw a lot of generally good partying going on. People clapping, hugging, laughing… I think that happens here too, but maybe to a lesser extent?  I don’t know, at the shows I’ve been to (and I have been to more than one festival in my life, just to be clear), it seems as though while MOST people are there to have a good time, there always seems to be a group of people who, for some reason, are out to ruin it for everyone else.  I can point to any number of things that ignite that behavior: drugs, alcohol, anger…lack of space, lack of food, etc.

Anger is a weird thing here because it seems like for any celebratory thing that happens, it creates anger as some sort of side effect. I don’t know how often this happens in other parts of the world, but I know it happens here frequently enough to take notice.

I suppose to most people, this type of thing isn’t very interesting, but to me it is, particularly because I think it may influence fandom. My friends from South America tell me that there is nothing like the audiences there, and I really just want to understand why that is the case.

Maybe what Amanda and I need to do is research audiences!

“Sorry honey, I have to go on a business trip around the world to research audience reactions and see what correlations exist between audiences and cultures.” 

Somehow, I doubt he’d buy it, but it’s an interesting thought.

I will still end with the same thought I had yesterday: I wish our audiences could excite the band as much as the Lollapalooza audience did the other day. While I personally am not anxious to be in a crowd of that magnitude, I would love the band to see how much they are loved here in the states. For as often as they visit the states, it would be nice for them to feel that same sort of gratitude from us.

-R

*The caveat being that I’m finding younger generations—younger festival goers, for example—are a little less “this is YOUR space and this is MY space” than say, I might be.  My kids don’t have quite as big of a hang-up about space (among other things), for example. I have some theories about why that may be, but I’ll save that for another day.

 

 

Of Crime and Passion, or Mosh Pits and Survival…

What defines “passion”?

The last festival I attended was Voodoo in 2006. My memories of that show are pretty graphic. I’d walked onto the festival grounds with Amanda, our friend Sara and my sister that morning, thinking we were so smart. We’d bought general admission tickets, and figured we’d wait through the day, securing spots in about the second row or so.  All was fine until late afternoon, and then things quickly turned ugly. It wasn’t long before we were no longer congratulating one another, instead calling ourselves idiots while ruefully laughing.

At one point, I turned around to see the hell that was behind me. The crowd went back as far as my eyes could see. I made a silent pact with myself to never turn around again, no matter how bad it got. (I’m more than slightly claustrophobic and that was a sight I never needed to see) About that time, My Chemical Romance took the stage, and we went from a mildly calm crowd to a mosh pit. I would not use the word “passion” to describe the scene. No, instead I would describe it as a cauldron of anger, and I was floating in the middle of it, right alongside Amanda, Robin and Sara.

It’s one thing to be in a mosh pit at say, a club the size of the House of Blues. You feel people push and shove and you just step aside. It’s not a big deal. It is entirely another to be in a crowd of tens of thousands and feel the wave of energy overtake you. I remember feeling as though it was similar to being in the ocean. Nothing was going to stop that wave, and I was either going to go with it, or it would mow me over, and I’d drown. The trouble is, there isn’t much to hold on to, and I’m of the opinion it is rude to grab onto someone I’ve never met and hope for the best while quickly introducing myself.

“Hello, my name is Rhonda, and I’ve never wanted to be in a mosh pit. Chalk this up to a crazy idea to see Duran Duran…a band I am starting to have second thoughts about supporting, if I’m honest. I’ve got two kids at home, and honestly I just want to survive. Help me!” 

That wasn’t the route I took. Mostly, I just fell into Amanda, Sara and Robin and hoped we weren’t all going down for the count in the process. I stumbled a lot, tried to not to fall down completely and made a lot of bargains with the universe.

“Dear God, if you let me live, I swear I will NEVER go to another festival again.” 

“This stupid band, WHY did I think this was a good idea???” 

If that weren’t enough, there were the crowd surfers. Bless their evil little hearts. I couldn’t care less if someone wants to live out their fantasies of being carried by people they don’t know, as long as I’m not involved. However, that’s not what happened that day. People came by, surfing away—and they expected you to hold them up while they might grab and pull your hair, kick you in the head, not-so-playfully slap you, or use their razor-like long nails to scratch your face—which is exactly what happened to me that day.

Never did I expect to leave a Duran show with a scar, but I earned one that evening. It’s very faint and blends in well, so most people don’t notice. I’ll never go to another festival again unless I’m invited to watch from backstage, and since that’s not gonna happen, I’m good right here at home. It’s not a lack of passion that keeps me here—it’s a little bit of fear (well, more than a little, really), and a whole lot of sanity. I didn’t enjoy having my face scratched, or holding on for dear life while the crowd surged. The fact is, I like going to shows. I love cheering for Duran Duran. I’m not interested in blood loss, among some other personal atrocities I haven’t mentioned, while doing so.

At this point you’re probably wondering why I’m telling this tale. Well, for the last week or so, I’ve seen tweets from Duran Duran and others, talking about how amazing a time they’ve had at Lollapalooza. By now, you’ve also read about how passionate those fans are, and that they played in front of 95,000 fans in Argentina. On one hand, I’m glad that they’re having such a great time. On the other, are they really any more passionate than the rest of us…except that they seem to be en masse?

It’s a word I’ve seen used a lot this week by various band members…including my personal favorite…and I just have to wonder what that word really means. Let’s face it, I live in the US, and overall, it’s easy to be a fan here. The band performs a lot in the states. We don’t have to wait decades or even more than a few years at most between shows. Does that mean we’re less passionate as a result? I’m sure some fans around the world would say yes. But is that a fair statement? Just because it’s easy to be a fan doesn’t necessarily mean there’s less passion or loyalty. On the other hand, it is very difficult to argue against the sea of people who screamed for the band in Argentina, and I am not taking anything away from those fans anyway. Sure, you can look at the crowd and say that they weren’t all there for just Duran Duran…but they sure look and SOUND like they are, and the videos I’ve seen don’t lie. It’s the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen, and while I think it looks amazing from the stage, I am still relieved I wasn’t there. I can feel my heart begin to race just thinking about being in that crowd, and not in a good way, but that’s just me.

The fact is, I have to remind myself when I see tweets about how great those audiences have been, that for the band, those big crowds keep them going. It might not be very fun or exciting for them to play in front of 3,000 people (even if I’m having the best night of my life at the time), particularly if they’re playing in a casino where chunks of the audience were given their seats because they’re high rollers at the casino, or won the tickets from the radio. On the other hand, when you’ve got 150,000 music lovers screaming for you, of course you’re going to come away feeling energized, ready, and wanting for more. Those shows are what keep you going. It’s no contest, even if you’re like me, and want the band to love coming to where you live to play. I know the audience in Rancho Mirage, or anywhere else I’ve seen them lately,  didn’t even come close to in comparison.

In America, as much as we die hards love Duran Duran, it’s an uphill battle for the band, and they know it. We know it, too. Doing festivals here can be tough work. They don’t necessarily “fit” with every festival, and the crowds can be very fickle. Other countries don’t seem to have quite the same problem. I could be wrong, but I don’t think that America would ever draw the same sort of audience for them as they had in Argentina for Lollapalooza. That makes me sad, but it’s the reality. I’m sure it makes Argentinian fans wonder why the band doesn’t take advantage and tour there more often—and thankfully, it’s not my job to figure that out!

So are those fans really more passionate? Individually, I doubt it. I think a Duranie is a Duranie, no matter where they live. I’m not convinced enough to say that I don’t have the same passion as someone else, because we all do whatever it is that we can do. We all love the band. However, there’s no denying that crowd, and I’m glad Duran Duran got to experience that type of energy. They deserve it.  While I don’t wish I had been there, I do wish that our audiences created that same type of energy for the band.

Good luck Atlanta, Florida and North Carolina fans. Have great shows, and give ’em what you’ve got!

-R

 

Anaheim House Of Blues in 2001 – were you there?

Today marks a kind of special day for me in Duran history. I almost forgot it…but thanks to the spreadsheet that Amanda has painstakingly amassed, I was properly reminded.

On this date in 2001, Duran Duran played at the Anaheim House of Blues. Just a normal date, on a normal day, right? Yes, except that at  this show, my fandom was reawakened.

In 2001, I was a young mom of two very little kids. My son Gavin was barely two, and Heather was four. At the time, Duran Duran was about the furthest thing from my mind. My days were spent doing laundry, trying to make sure my kids didn’t kill one another (you think I’m joking, but I assure you I am not).

At the time, Walt and I had annual passes to Disneyland and California Adventure, and we spent many a weekend taking the kids to the parks. On one of those weekends, we were strolling through Downtown Disney, and Walt happened to notice that the marquee for the House of Blues announced an upcoming show for Duran Duran. He asked if I wanted to go and I laughed. That’s right, I laughed. I hadn’t really listened to Duran Duran in years. I still had all of their albums, and fond memories, but I was in the throes of Mommyhood. I didn’t love Medazzaland, and admittedly, I hadn’t even bought Pop Trash.  Walt looked at me pretty insistently, saying I needed a night out (which meant getting a sitter, and that seemed like so much work!), so I told him to go ahead and get them. I really wasn’t excited, but I figured I might as well go.

Yes, telling this story makes me laugh…and kind of embarrasses me at the same time. It was like I was a completely different person back then!

I really was.

The night of the show arrived, and we got to Downtown Disney early enough to grab dinner. That’s right, I didn’t insist on getting there at 5am to grab a good spot. We walked by the line of people waiting to get in — it wasn’t very long — and Walt asked if I wanted to go wait. I said “No way, I want to eat dinner! I don’t need to be up front!!”

Insanity, I tell you.

We got dinner, went in about twenty minutes before the show started, and I decided I didn’t want to stand on the floor. I ended up being by the stairs in the back. Plenty close enough for me, because I wasn’t a huge fan. I’d given that up years before, right? Before long the show started and Simon, Nick and Warren took the stage.  I remember thinking to myself how, after all these years, I was finally in what I could consider to be the same room with Simon and Nick. Not the same arena, but the same breathing space. I was only a matter of feet from them. Yeah, Warren was there too, but I convinced myself that if I just ignored that part of the stage, it wouldn’t matter. (Sorry Warren fans. I was reliving the Fab Five as a Fab Twosome) John and Roger’s absence were noted, and I wondered wistfully what it would have been like with them there, but I didn’t dwell on those thoughts. I just lived and breathed the music that night.

I don’t remember much after that. I screamed, nearly cried and lost my mind.  Something happened during that show. Something deep, meaningful and visceral.  I remembered who I was before children, before getting married, before becoming whatever I was right then. I was reintroduced to the girl I once knew, and I really liked her.

That show was pivotal for me in so many ways. I can’t really talk about some of the things I’ve felt since then, or how that single show really woke me back up. I’m just thankful and filled with gratitude that I went. My life went from being pretty grey to complete Technicolor after that night. My husband didn’t realize what he’d done by insisting that I go with him to that show until it was far too late. I would imagine if he could, he’d go back and change that plan, in a lot of ways. On the other hand, that show saved me. I can’t even explain how or why—even for me, some things are just too private to blog about—but that show saved me.

I have a long, long way to go. But, I’ve reclaimed much along the way. I suppose in some way, I’m trusting the process (and what a process it is!). I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I am lucky. Yeah, I tease and joke about the band, and they drive me crazy at times—but I’m lucky I have this fandom.

I don’t know how many people think they grow out of something like this fandom, only to be reintroduced much later and jump back in with both feet. I did, and I’m not leaving. The Anaheim House of Blues on March 28, 2001 was a special night, I hope to never forget it.

-R