Category Archives: touring

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

 

 

No rest for the weary?

When I last saw Duran Duran in July of this year, the shows were bittersweet. Of course I enjoyed seeing them. I always do. Yes, I’ve seen them perform that same setlist or very similar many times now, and in tours past I would comment on how I’d wish they’d change it up. I still have moments where I wish they’d pull something completely different out to surprise me, and sometimes – they have!  I don’t have a clear answer about why my attitude changed, only that it did. Instead of wishing for other music, I started really enjoying just being there with them and being thankful I can hear “Hungry Like the Wolf” one more time. My sadness came from knowing that it would be the last show for a while. I tried not to let that drag me down and soaked up as much joy as possible.

I assumed it would be at least a year or two before I saw the band again. Albums take a while to write and record, and who knows what would go on during the interim? Then of course, the show in Las Vegas was announced, along with one in Miami Beach for Sirius XM, and now Dubai in February.

First of all, I’m not going to Dubai. Let’s get that out-of-the-way right off the bat. I love Duran Duran. I love traveling. However. Yes, that one word says it all. HOWEVER. I’ll just be here cheering them on from home. Even I have my limits. As does my bank account, and these days, that limit is pretty darn narrow and close to home.

Second of all, is there no rest for the weary?  I asked that yesterday as the Dubai show was announced. I asked the question partly in jest, purely out of my surprise that they’re continuing to announce the odd show here or there. I figured that once the Paper Gods tour was complete, the band would drag themselves home, take several months respite, and go from there. I remember hearing that they would go back into the studio toward the end of this year for “fun”, and I also remember hearing that they might go into the studio next year to start the recording process once again, but I figured they’d still take time off. Thoughts of the upcoming 40th anniversary lingered in my head, and I figured the band would at least want to rest up before beginning that craziness. The lesson here, is to never assume anything about this band!

During the last hiatus in between All You Need is Now and Paper Gods, Amanda and I were anxious and ready for that band to hit the studio on Day One and keep going until a new album was placed in our hot little hands. This anxiousness wasn’t because we are part-time slave drivers, but because we had so much fun with All You Need is Now that we couldn’t stand the idea of that ending for long. Selfish? Probably, but our hearts were in the right place.

Fellow fans and readers were less-than-thrilled with our eagerness, saying that they didn’t mind having time in between projects and tours, and neither should we. Bank accounts needed refilling, and many cited that they had other priorities. “The band needs to rest!”, we were chided, over and over again. We started to feel bad that we missed “hanging out”—if for only two hours as they are onstage while we dance in the audience—with this crazy band we’ve loved since childhood. This time, I see plenty of people commenting on their anxiousness, eager to see any sign of studio work happening. Fans are excited by the prospects of the upcoming anniversary, even though the band themselves have not said much with regard to what fans might expect. It is a very different time in 2017. No one says much about the possibility of the band being tired from touring and performing, and that surprises me. What is different this time around?

Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea that the band isn’t going away, and that they seem to be doing a few one-off shows here and there. After all, we blog about them each day, and having things to write about makes my job far more interesting. I’m cheerfully surprised that it might not be several years before the world has the opportunity to see the band again. I love that fans are excited that they’re continuing to do a show here and there, and I’m tickled that so many are anxious for studio time and new music to be released. Equally, I am beyond thrilled that I will may have the chance to see my friends and the band again. I once told Dom that I was sad it would be five years before I likely saw him again, and that didn’t seem right.  It looks like it wasn’t right about that at all, and I don’t mind one bit.

My bank account, on the other hand, is very concerned. I’m a little surprised there’s not a giant “lock” emoji on the photo of my iPhone banking app at this point. I might just be imagining it, but I am pretty sure I see frowning faces pop up whenever I check my balance before making a purchase, concert-related or not!

Oh well, can’t make everybody happy all the time, right?

-R

When all around you earth turns to fire

When it rains, sometimes, it pours.

Last week was a rough week here. First, this very website went down – and not even with a blaze of glory, but with a White Screen of Death (for those unfamiliar). As that was being fixed (no seriously, AS it was being sorted through a flurry of texts), the family truck dies. That was a little closer to a blaze of glory. In fact, it’s still being worked on, and if you’re at all familiar with how much mechanics charge per hour, your jaw has hit your desk or floor. Mine did too when they gave us the estimate.Those two things happened on Sunday. (It was a long week!)

On Monday, our trailer, which was being towed at the time by our now “out-of-commission” truck, had to be retrieved. Another day, another rental car, or truck in this case. I think that was the day we found out just how far this little fix-it job was going to set us back.

On Tuesday night, our microwave died. I don’t know about the rest of you – but we rely on that little appliance a lot. I can deal without a truck (sort of), but the microwave? Come on now.

On Wednesday morning, I came downstairs to find a small mess around and near my coffee maker. I assumed that when I poured the water in to the machine the night before, I missed and didn’t notice. Nope. The coffee maker has a leak. Seriously???

Later on that day, I also found out that my last living uncle on my dad’s side passed away. My uncle Joe was 92 and had lived a long, full life. Like my father, he was Sicilian, and the family tales of his possible-Mafia involvement were semi-legendary. We never knew for sure, because he kept those cards very close to his chest (and I appreciate that simply because I didn’t want to be involved). However, I will say one thing about my uncle: he was the one person (after my dad died), I could call if I needed help. I knew and trusted that about him, even if I did not see him regularly. He lived in Florida and each year we exchanged Christmas cards. He’d tell me he was coming out that summer, and I’d smile, knowing that there was no way he’d make it. He meant well, and most of all – he was the last vestige of family I had left on my dad’s side. I will miss having that little bit of comfort. I think I’m still coming to terms with what it means and how I feel, particularly because I didn’t have time to really process it because of what I’m about to share next.

Next was Thursday. The piece de resistance to the week was coming home to find Walt’s rental car sitting next to the curb. As soon as I pulled into the driveway, I knew. I always do. I gathered my things, took a deep breath, ushered my youngest into the house and asked, “Were you laid off?”, already knowing what the answer would be.  “Yep.” , was the reply, coming from the kitchen.

Awesome

In the US – we say “laid off”, elsewhere you might call it “being made redundant.” In other words, he is now unemployed, which is a disaster with two kids in college who both need their tuitions paid this month.

What a WEEK.

So forgive me again for waxing nostalgic, as I take a minute or more to remember back to a much happier time. On this date in 2011, I saw Duran Duran in Glasgow, Scotland.

I don’t know that I’d say I’ve done a lot of traveling outside of the US. I feel lucky to be able to say I’ve done a little, that trip to Glasgow being a highlight. Many American people that I know or grew up with have never been outside of the country at all. To give the tiniest bit of insight, I think my parents were pretty average people. My dad had a white-collar job, but it wasn’t terribly high paying, and my mom was a secretary once she went back to work when I was about ten. We had most things we needed, but very few things that we really wanted, I think.

Vacations were a luxury, and the most we ever did for a family vacation was go camping – and that didn’t happen until I was in high school. Until then, my parents would take a two-week vacation from work each summer, but we didn’t really go anywhere, and that was not unusual for the parents of my friends, either. I flew on a plane with my parents exactly once, and that was to go up to the bay area to see family one Thanksgiving.  My dad considered flying to be a luxury, and not one we could readily afford. I had aunts, uncles and cousins – siblings of my father and their children, as well as the same on my mom’s side – that I never met because they lived across the country from us. I didn’t travel outside of California until I took a special trip to Washington DC in 8th grade, and after that I didn’t go on a plane again until I was well into college.

The idea of traveling to see a band is still pretty “out there” to many people, I guess. My friends from high school are surprised when they see my posts, not because I go to see a band (they’re used to that part now!) but because I’ve gone some crazy places to do it. One of my friends commented that the farthest she’s gone from home has been to Arizona, which is where she lives now. That’s pretty shocking to ME. There’s an entire world out there to explore, and yet a lot of the people I know would be satisfied to just see the capital of our country. That is why when I say the US is a big place and many people don’t travel outside of their general area, I say it with confidence.

So for more, one of the shows I’m most excited to be able to say I attended, was Glasgow. We weren’t even really supposed to be there! It wasn’t a part of our original plan at all, but when these tickets came up, Amanda and I agreed we should just do it. We took a train from Birmingham into Glasgow, which in and of itself was a fantastic trip. Then we stayed with Amanda’s friend in Edinburgh, and even spent time in that city before going to Glasgow for the show. I loved every minute of it. The winter markets, seeing ice and snow on the ground (yes, I’m from California and to me that’s a novelty!), going to a Scotch club and just walking around – memories I will keep forever.

And then there was the show.

It was our last show on that little mini-tour, and while I know the band likely had no idea who we were (Except for Dom – by then he was probably concerned I’d never go home!), I would swear they played with extra energy that night. Hungry Like the Wolf was ridiculous, as John and Dom came right to center stage and played off of one another. Amanda and I nearly had strokes! I reveled in the show, turning around to watch the crowd clap and respond. To say I enjoyed myself would be an understatement. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to top the experience I had at that Glasgow show.

So, when things are down, like right now, I tend to think about those moments. I don’t know if anything like that can ever happen again. I’d like to think so because otherwise, it’s all pretty hopeless, but you never know. I treasure the memories.

The other day I was chatting with someone online, and they mentioned that the nicest people they knew from the US were those who had traveled abroad. I understand what they meant by this. It is very easy to remain complacent and somewhat naive about the world we live in when we aren’t able to see HOW one another actually lives, There are a plethora of reasons for this, but I think when we rely solely on media for our information, it is very easy to make assumptions without verifying using our own eyes and experiences. My own eyes were opened much wider after my first visit abroad, and every time I get the chance to go somewhere new, I learn more.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m hoping for a better week!

-R

I’ll Hold On To the Memory

This morning, good ole Facebook reminded me of what I was doing and where I was six years ago today through the following picture:

Duran Duran in Birmingham - Tweet
Our infamous tweet before the show in Brume

Yes, six years ago today, Rhonda and I were seeing Duran Duran play at the LG Arena in Birmingham, England.  Funny enough, every time I think about it, I have to pinch myself to remind me that this really did, indeed, happen.  Looking back at that show and that tour, two big ideas come to mind.  First, the phrase “all you need is now” pops up, the idea of just living in the moment.  Then, there is the significance of that trip and place for my personal fandom.

In 2011, we went to the UK twice.  Of course, the first trip, in May, did not go as planned to say the least.  Simon lost his voice and the shows we held tickets for were canceled.  We pushed through, made the best of the situation, and ignored the worry that we had seen the end of Duran.  Thus, when the shows were rescheduled, we didn’t hesitate to jump at the chance to go back.  Looking back on that decision, I cannot remember pondering the decision very long.  I  didn’t debate the pros and cons of doing another UK trip.  Normally, when shows are announced, I go through the internal checklist.  Is the date one in which I can attend?  If it is during the school year, can I take off?  Do I have the money to go?  Will someone be around to check in on the cat?  That time, though, those questions weren’t really even asked.  We leaped before we looked, definitely.

Was that wise of us?  Probably not.  After all, I had struggled with work to be able to go the first time.  Then, during the same month of the trip, I had the chance to go to an Obama White House holiday party.  Would I be able to do both?  I assumed that I would for some crazy reason.  In hindsight, everything worked out and worked out easily.  It wasn’t anything like the struggle I had in May to be able to go.  Was I lucky?  Beyond.  It almost felt like it was meant to be.

What lesson did I learn from this trip?  The message I received, I think, is that, at times, I just have to go with my gut.  I shouldn’t think everything to death or assume that it cannot or should not happen.  When there is an opportunity for something amazing, I gotta go with it.  I am all for having responsibilities and being responsible, but…  (Seriously, people who know me know that I’m hyper responsible.  Is that from teaching for over 20 years?  Maybe.  Campaigning for political candidates?  Possibly.)  Was it super weird for me not to think about my obligations?  Yes, but it is good for me–not only to be able to enjoy some crazy good times but also to let myself live a little.

Both trips meant a great deal to me.  On the first trip with the canceled shows, I gained an insight into the band and my fandom that I would not have had otherwise.  Rhonda and I had to make the best out of an extremely disappointing situation.  While I don’t know that I would say that it was the most fun, it was the most eye-opening.  The extra time meant that we could walk around Birmingham and get a real sense of where the band came from.  That humanized them in a way that I didn’t think possible.  They were no longer just celebrities but people, humans.  This idea was reinforced by seeing them outside of their studio when they were open about the situation and how they were feeling about it.  I felt honored to have been there.

Fast forward almost 7 months later and the dream was finally fulfilled.  We got to see the band play in their hometown.  I still get goosebumps just thinking about it.  While the show was not the best I had ever been to, it was monumental to me.  As a kid, I remember thinking about how exotic Birmingham sounded to me.  My family was not well off and any vacations we took typically took us to a nearby state, if that.  We never traveled by plane (I took my first flight at 17!) and I didn’t know anyone who went overseas.  So Birmingham sounded so unusual to me.  I couldn’t even imagine what it was like and I never expected to find myself there once, forget about more than once.  What did I discover about the city?  It really felt like a lot of the industrial northern cities here do.  As someone who grew up in the south side of Chicago, it felt almost familiar.  I realized that I actually liked it and would love to spend more time there, which is not what I expected at all.

Six years have gone by.  My fandom grew stronger from those trips.  One thing is certain.  I’ll hold on to those memories for the rest of my life.

-A

Duran Duran at Brighton Centre, 2011

I am apologizing, but I don’t think there’s ever going to be a year when I don’t take a second to fondly remember the first time I saw Duran Duran on UK soil. Self-indulging?

ABSOLUTELY.

That’s the thing, this is a fan blog. It is myblog. It’s totally self-indulging. So I’m doing it.

On this day in 2011, Duran Duran played the Brighton Centre in a very windy Brighton. I can remember walking back from the venue to the hotel, the wind had quite a bite to it that night! I don’t even know why Amanda and I tried to do that – it was very clear we were going to get lost from the onset, which we did. Thank goodness we found a cab, otherwise we might still be wandering around Brighton, or blown out to sea! I loved traveling to Brighton along with other parts of England and Scotland, and I will never be sorry I went. Not even for a moment.

I still can’t quite believe Duran Duran broke out “Secret Oktober” that night. I’m forever grateful. After all the crap we went through to get there, it was such a wonderful moment and lived up to every possible expectation I could have had, and then some. I stood there pinching myself through half the show. I don’t know when I’ll have the opportunity to go back to the UK (and if I do go, whether or not I can be convinced to come back home!!), but I encourage anyone and everyone who has the chance to go. I had my own experiences, but the fact is – traveling changes ones view of the world. Even if that just means traveling from one state to another, I believe it makes a difference.

Our world is such a crazy and different place now, six years later. I am just thankful for the opportunities I’ve had and the friends I’ve made along the way. It is good to take the time to think back, not just because I had a uniquely wonderful experience, but because I’m grateful. That trip changed my view of a lot of things, not just about the band but regarding my life in general. So sure, for those who want to see the negative – yep, I’m bragging. For the people who really matter, they know that trip, along with the one earlier that year was a life-changer, and quite possibly saved me.  I am grateful.

So, who was in Brighton Centre loving every second of “Secret Oktober” with me that night?? Anyone??

-R

Late Bar: The Daily Duranie Holiday Office Party!

Has everyone gotten their travel arrangements together for Las Vegas? If you happen to be arriving the day before the big show at The Cosmopolitan, we might have just the right answer for your evening!

Our friend Jason works at the Hard Rock Cafe in Vegas, and was willing to put together a fabulous meet-up for us. On December 29th at Hard Rock Live at the Hard Rock Cafe on Vegas Strip (across from Monte Carlo) , we are going to party the night away in style, complete with a soundtrack provided by Duran Duran and other New Wave along with Happy hour drink specials. It is going to be a late start – at 9:30 pm – that way those who are arriving closer to evening time have a chance to settle in before they get out and enjoy our own special edition of Late Bar.  Hard Rock Live also has a comedy show happening at 8pm that night, and admission is FREE to  Daily Duranie followers who want to attend. Just RSVP to us at dailyduranie@gmail.com and we will get you on the guest list!

We have an event page set up on Facebook, and in the details I have the end time as 12:30am – truth be told that Facebook insists on an end time, so that seemed like a good one. Otherwise, this could be an all-nighter with Amanda and I reaching up for the sunrise before we call it done!

We have given this the tagline of our holiday office party because it is unusual that Amanda and I are actually in the same state, much less are able to celebrate the holidays together!  I can assure you – we will be making up for lost time that night. Come hang out with us, be social, make new friends, and create plenty of memories to bring in 2018!

Hope to see as many of you as possible that night – it will be a great warm up for the following evening!

-R

 

Long days are coming up and staying out and playing

It is Lyric Friday…no wait, that isn’t right. It is Lyric Sunday! What was my result when I hit shuffle? Taste the Summer. I call that irony considering that we have now entered the winter holiday season. Christmas is a month away. Despite that, I took a gander at the lyrics and picked out a line that suited me. That line is: “Long days are coming up and staying out and playing”.

Now, of course, that line refers to summer when the days get longer and people often have more time to stay out and up. As a kid, it definitely meant playing outside with neighborhood friends longer as there was no school to attend and no homework to complete. Yet, that won’t fit for right now. So, how can I use that line? I know! I have a little trip planned in about a month that will equal long days in that I won’t sleep much. We definitely will be staying out and playing! Ah, yes, Rhonda and I will be traveling to the city of Las Vegas to see a certain little band play a show on December 30th at the Cosmopolitan. I suspect that for us those three nights there will definitely include some playing.

Yes, this is what touring means to me. It definitely includes late nights. Over the course of our touring “career” Rhonda and I have logged some very late nights. On our first tour together, in March 2005, we managed to be up for 38 before separating to go home. Sunrise marked that weekend, I think. On that Sunday of our marathon tour, we ended up at the mall as Rhonda had a couple of hours to kill before her flight. As we walked around, we swore we heard Sunrise playing. Was it? Maybe. Could it have been an auditory hallucination brought up due to being sleep deprived? Possible. It may us laugh then and it makes us laugh now. I remember driving home that night and making phone calls to anyone who would talk to me to keep me awake on the drive. It was brutal but worth it. The lack of sleep thing hasn’t changed much. Although, I don’t think we have been awake all night since 2011 after the Glasgow show. We stayed up simply because we were afraid that we felll asleep we would miss our early morning fight. Plus, we were giddy from the show. Will we reach up for the sunrise this upcoming trip? No clue. If we were going to, Vegas is always a good location as they are open all night long.

So what about the playing part? Will that happen? As a kid, summer playing meant riding my bike around the neighborhood, hanging out at the park or swinging on my homemade swing in the backyard. Somehow, as an adult, it has come to mean something different. For Rhonda and I (and our friends), it often means finding some place to hang out. Ideally, this place serves vodka tonics and plays some music. On really great nights, that music including Duran and their peers. Our last tour, in Oakland and San Francisco, included some nights at the Cat Club where they featured Duran after the show. Rhonda and I danced that night until we couldn’t dance anymore. Such fun!

What does Vegas have in store for us? Well, I will tell you one thing. There will be a Daily Duranie Meet-up! The details are still getting completely finalized but I can tell you all this. It will be taking place on December 29th, the night before the Duran show. It will definitely focus on my adult version of playing! So, mark your calendars and make plans to join us! Then, watch this space for details, an event page and more. I know that Rhonda and I are looking forward to celebrating with all of you then!!!

-A

I’m Thankful…

Yesterday, Rhonda wrote a heartfelt blog about what she is grateful for during this Thanksgiving holiday so I figured that today might be my turn. Like Rhonda, I’m very thankful for my family. I’m lucky in that I have amazing parents. That fortune is increased by the fact that they live near me so I am able to not only enjoy them as people but benefit from all the little things they do to help me out. As they get older and need more and more of my assistance, I want to always remember that they deserve my love and care even when my patience is thin and I have more on my plate that it seems like I can handle. This year, my nearby family grew when my oldest niece arrived in Wisconsin to attend college here. To say that I am overjoyed by having her close by is an understatement. Like with my parents, sometimes, this has means that she needs me for some purpose, but I would gladly sacrifice my time in order to have her close. After all, she and her sister have spent their formative years in North Carolina far away from me. I missed many of the big moments and countless small ones over the years. Now, though, I get to be a part of seeing her finally come into her own and reach adulthood. She has become an amazing person who is getting smarter, more confident and stronger with each passing day. This Thanksgiving, in fact, I got to spend it with her and a couple of her fiends, which was fun.

On top of my personal family, I have to acknowledge my work family. It isn’t easy being in education these days. Heck, it wasn’t easy being a teacher 15 years ago but the last 7 or so have been especially difficult for reasons that I won’t go into on this blog. Let’s just say that we are being asked to do a lot more with less and have very little holding us up in terms of outside supports. The job requires more of my time, energy, and emotions and the kids are getting tougher too (through no fault on their own). Throughout it all, my colleagues have been there for me. When things were getting really bleak, I had colleagues checking in, giving me stuffed animals to represent strength, offering to help and more. Truly, when I think about what keeps me going in teaching, a lot of it has to do with them. Of course, the other factor is the kids. While I struggle to reach them all, there are a number of students I have gotten to know pretty well over the years. Being a part of their struggles and their successes also keep me moving forward. I’m truly the lucky one to be their teacher.

Yes, work does take up a lot of my life. Just last week, I calculated that I worked 58.5 hours, which didn’t even seem so bad to me until I realized that it was more than 18 hours OVER what it should have been. It was like I worked an extra 2 days. No wonder I’m super tired all the time! While I wish my job wasn’t so time-consuming and stressful, there is a part of me that is proud of the work that I do. I believe that I’m a decent teacher. My kids, generally, learn from me and, more importantly, become more passionate citizens of the world. That is all I can ask for. If that wasn’t enough, I’m still involved and working, politically. I have to keep fighting to make the world a better place, both in and out of my classroom. I’m grateful to those people who work along side with me, telling me that I’m not alone and to keep going.

Beyond all the fabulous people at my jobs, what really helps to keep me going is my fandom. First, this blog helps on a daily basis. I love that it forces me to stop and think about something other than work or politics. Every morning I do the question of the day. It makes me sit down and take 10-15 minutes in the morning to clear my head, which probably saves my sanity and my students first hour. Then, on the weekends, when it is my turn to blog, I can take longer to think about all things Duran. During many weekends, it is my break, my time away from grading or household chores. While it is something on my “to-do” list, it isn’t really a chore. I look forward to it and I often find myself thinking about what I’m going to write about or how I’m going to write about this topic or that. There is always a corner of my brain thinking about Duran, fandom and this blog. This also means that I allow myself to check in with Duranland during the week so that I can comment in future blogs. I might not always have time to respond or make comments but know that I’m always watching (as much as I can) and thinking about what I see, read and hear related to this fandom. Again, this probably keeps me sane. (No comments, Rhonda!)

Beyond the time spent during the week on my Duran fandom and blogging, there are the times I go on tour. I truly cannot think of anything that makes me more happy. Touring is the one time that I can (and do!) push everything else to the side. When I’m on tour, I’m not thinking about anything on my to-do list. I’m not worrying about my parents or about kids at school. No, I can take a break and just HAVE FUN. People will always ask me, “Why are you going to another show? Don’t they just play the same songs?” The answer to that is yes. They typically play the same songs. While the setlist matters somewhat, it isn’t the big reason. No, it is about that fun that I have. Of course, I wouldn’t have fun without the people with me. In 2005, I discovered the best touring partner around. Sometimes, when I think about it, I cannot believe that Rhonda and I really tour so well together. We trust each other when it comes to money, buying tickets, reserving rooms, etc. We approach traveling in similar ways and have the same general philosophy when it comes to partying, staying up late, etc. More importantly than all of that, is that we enjoy spending time together. We know that when we are together we will laugh and laugh and laugh. Truly, I get more laughter in during a touring weekend than I do all month long. I swear! I will always be grateful to have her in my life—not just for fun touring but also because we share this blog, planning meet-ups and conventions and writing. I couldn’t ask for a better fandom partner. Rhonda and I have also been extremely lucky with the friends we have made. In a little over a month, we will descend onto the city of Las Vegas with our friends, Suzie and Lori. Much like touring with Rhonda, they are easy people to tour with who are also a lot of fun. Let’s just say that we all appreciate our vodka! I couldn’t be more thrilled to have another opportunity to hang out with them this year. So lucky to have found them.

Of course, none of this would be possible with the band that started it all. From the first time I heard their music until now, Duran Duran gives me such joy. When I hear their music, I’m reminded of good times, great experiences, and the most fun I have ever had from the little moments of my youth to the silly times of today. I recall the joy of getting a new album, putting up a new poster or tuning into MTV to catch a new video with my childhood best friend. Now, when I think of my fandom, I think of the lovable teasing about fashion choices or giving cheers in a hotel bar. I am reminded of leaving notes encouraging the playing of Planet Earth while watching closely the stage location for every JoSi or DoJo moment. Overall, I am grateful that this band entered my world and refuses to leave even after three plus decades.

-A

Hammersmith Odeon – London, 1982. Anybody remember?

It is getting to that time where I desperately look at the dates in history for blog inspiration. On today’s date, there are several things the band has done, but one in particular sticks out.

On this date way, way back in 1982, Duran Duran played at the Hammersmith Odeon in London. There are MANY different clips on Youtube from the show, but the one I chose is unique purely because it isn’t a song we hear from them very often.

Hard to believe this show was thirty-five years ago today. Wow. I’m just going to sit with that thought for a while.  Do you remember this show?

-R