Category Archives: touring

It’s a Video Blog! – Fox Theater Oakland, CA 7/8/17

Hi everyone!

We apologize for the lack of blog yesterday. I’ll simply say that it was a rough morning, before we knew it we had to leave for Oakland… and we’ll leave it at that.

So, for your viewing pleasure today – Amanda and I did a video blog to talk about the show, and dancing with other people’s bodies against you….and heat.

We’re having a great time, but as always, it never seems like we have enough of it before it’s time to go home. Like I’ve said before, I just wish time would stand still or go a lot slower on tour.  I hate the fact that we’ll be driving home tomorrow and for us, Paper Gods will be done and we’ll be back in limbo-land.

Yeah, not a fan.

There might be tears tonight. Hell, there were tears LAST night, but for different reasons. It’s been a rough (but at the same time wonderful) trip.

Day One on the hills in San Francisco!

Daily Duranie is together and in San Francisco!  If you were on Twitter last night, you already know that we arrived yesterday, and even ventured out in search of food (and drinks!).  We called it an early night because my counterpart had already been up for the better part of 24 hours, and she’s still sleeping as I type!  The funniest thing to happen thus far was when we wandered around the floor of our hotel, in jammies, searching for the ice machine. It was quite a scene as we prayed to the Duranie gods that no one open their door to find us sneaking down the hallway. We walked the entire way around our floor, realized there was no machine, and then discovered we had to go down a floor for it, on the elevator! Thankfully nobody saw us, but they may have heard us laughing hysterically in the elevator on the way back up to our room!

Originally we were going to only drive part of the way yesterday, but the more I drove, the more I realized that by the time I really got tired, we’d almost be here anyway. So, we added a day and got here around 8 last night. Not terrible, and the drive was easy (although driving up the very steep hill to our hotel is another story and not for the faint of heart).  It’s nice to have the extra time to explore, something we rarely get when we’re traveling between shows.

One thing I’d forgotten about San Francisco—or blocked from my memory (I don’t get up here very often)—were the hills. Like, the entire city is built on hills, and I don’t mean just a little hill, but these incredibly steep hills. Driving on them is not fun. Walking UP them is something akin to torture. I was ready to lay down and call it after about 50 feet up the first one during our walk back to the hotel last night, but we made it.  Barely.  I will take pictures and tweet them from the Daily Duranie account today. I should have just taken video of me trying to walk. Far, FAR funnier.

Today, I think we’re doing the tourist thing! Amanda has never been here, and I’ve been several times—but not enough to really know the city. We’ve had a few things mentioned: Alcatraz, Museum of Modern Art (definitely want to do that), Golden Gate Bridge (Amanda won’t step foot on it but I’m sure she’ll at least take a photo from a distance!), and there’s some sort of hop on/hop off city tour that might be fun.  We’re pretty much open to anything, just as soon as I can get her to wake up.  I also hear that there are wine tasting rooms near Ghirardelli Square, so I’ll be getting us over there at some point before we leave.  She’s burrowed under covers in her bed (understandable given her marathon day of traveling yesterday) and I’m up and ready to go like it’s Christmas morning. I’m a light sleeper on any given day, and with the city noise outside—I’m up!

Our roommates come in later today and then the real party begins! We’re on several forms of social media, but I think Amanda and I settled on using Twitter and Snapchat for this trip (although I’ll throw things up on Facebook and Instagram too – it just might be a bit later). Amanda is going to handle Snapchat and I’ll do Twitter, and maybe, just maybe, we’ll do some Facebook live and/or video blogs.  So, if you’re not already following us—you should!

-R

Trying to be Strong Enough

This is the last blog post before I leave for the latest tour.  Yes, come Wednesday, I will get up at an ungodly hour to catch a bus to take me to O’Hare.  From there, I will fly into LAX to meet up with my partner-in-crime to venture north towards the Oakland/San Francisco area for two shows.  These shows, as you all know, are general admission which means that normally we would not even consider them.  Yet, they are in California which works well for Rhonda and they announced these shows the morning after a fabulous show at Agua Caliente that we were at.  We were weak then.  We couldn’t say no!  Nonetheless, I am absolutely certain that we will have a blast as always!  Despite the GA format, I look forward to the shows and am anxious to see my friends!!

Now, I know what many of you are probably thinking.  Maybe you are thinking about how lucky I am or how spoiled I am.  It is common that whenever Rhonda and/or mention going to a show that someone comments about how jealous s/he is.  I get that.  I am jealous of those fans who will see them after these California shows.  I am jealous of my niece right now who is in London.  It is a common emotion.  I also acknowledge that I am super lucky to have the opportunity to go.  I am relatively healthy and have the financial means to do so.  Everyone is not in the same boat.  I honestly wish that everyone was able to go.  Yet, in thinking about my fandom history, I have to acknowledge the fact that there is risk involved in going to shows, in traveling.

When I first got back involved in the fan community during the reunion era, I had never traveled to a concert for anyone.  Yes, I had driven to a nearby city but I never even got a hotel for a show before.  It was always drive to a show, see it and drive back.  While I wish that I could argue that it was work or money that kept me grounded but in reality, it was fear.  Yes, I didn’t have a ton of money then as I was finishing up grad school but I could have squeezed out money if I really needed it.  I was working full time after all.  Likewise, I could say that I could not travel due to those work or school obligations but that isn’t the whole story.  It would have been challenging to get out of those responsibilities but I could have if I tried.  After all, I do it now.  

What was the fear?  Was it fear of stigma or people talking badly about me traveling for shows?  Not really.  No, it was really two things.  First, there is the fear surrounding traveling.  I hate flying.  I am a pretty logical person.  Logically I get that flying is safe and the likelihood of a plane crashing is small.  Yet, my logical part of my brain struggles to silence the anxiety part of my brain.  Maybe some of this is that I was not on a plane until I was a teenager.  Maybe I think too much about the bad things that could happen. On top of that, I worry about everything surrounding travel.  What if I don’t get to the airport on time?  What if my stuff gets stolen? What if something horrible happens at a hotel?  I could go on and on.  Then, the other big worry is the fear that I will be rejected by the people I am with.  What if I travel with people and they decide I am a huge geek and never want to be near me again?  Just last night, I dreamt that I was a party and had a falling out with everyone there.  I ended up hanging out in the basement by myself.  Again, logically, I know it is silly.  Rhonda has hung out with me a lot.  I doubt she will decide I am a loser now.  Likewise, our friends who we are sharing a room with us have shared a room with us before.  If they thought I was a loser, they wouldn’t stay with us again, right?

Looking back, I recognize that I had to take some big leaps from my own comfort zone to do the traveling I have done to see the band.  I could have always made excuses.  Even now, it might have been just as easy to say that I couldn’t afford to go.  After all, I just came back from my sister’s in North Carolina.  I usually can use work as an excuse, if I need to.  Yet, I know it is super good for me to push myself out of my safe place to do what I really want.  I think I have become a stronger, braver person as a result of taking the risks to travel to see the band.  I still fight the anxiety but I believe it is worth it.  

-A

Beautiful Clothes….and Me

I am beginning to bounce off the walls a bit. It’s been a couple of weeks since my school year ended, I’ve been at home…and now I’m ready to hit the road. I’m punchier than usual, and anxious for the weekend. It’s Thursday and I’m acting like it’s Friday.

Yesterday, I went shopping with my oldest. She works at what I would characterize to be her idea of a candy store at one of our local malls, which means she works at a clothing store. She has been after me to go in and take advantage of their sales and her employee discount ever since. Heather knows that most of the time, she has to take charge and insist we go shopping to get me to buy myself things. So yesterday, she announces she’s going to take me shopping, meaning I’m going to get in the car with her, and drive us both to a store and use my own cash card to buy myself new things.

I hesitantly agree, and set my expectations incredibly low. To begin with, as most know – I’m curvy and not a size two.  I’m also not, well, 20 years old. In the past, this has been difficult for Heather to grasp. I appreciate her vote of confidence, but seriously. Look at me. It’s a delicate balance, and the store she works at is geared for a younger crowd.  Then again, what stores REALLY reach out to the 40-something who wants to look good, but not quite hoochie-mama?? It requires a careful eye, and someone who has no trouble calling herself out and getting “real”.  So, I was prepared.

First of all, if I had my way—I would live in jeans. Oh wait, I already do. 😀  You’ll never see a dress on me, and if you do, someone needs to ask if I’ve been drugged. Dresses are for those people who don’t run the risk of tripping, and can behave like a lady.

Well, I’m a lady.  I’m just not a lady.  I’m Rhonda. I’m a Duranie. I’m a mom. I’m also a klutz, and ‘graceful’ is not a word that has ever been used to describe me. I’m one of those people who will be in a crowded bar or restaurant, and will stop to map out the path I’m going to take to get from point A to point B before I even set foot out of my chair. The chair is safe. Typically I don’t quite fall out of chairs, so I tend to grab one, sit down, and not move. It’s just too dangerous to have me out and about. So, I really do think about where I’m going to go before I bother to get up. Heaven help me if someone comes out of nowhere and gets in my way. I’ll fall on my face, and that would be a scene from hell. So, there’s that. Hence, dresses are really not my friend.

Back to shopping.  We get to the store, go inside and I’m already groaning. Spaghetti straps as far as the eye can see, and stop it already with the strapless!

My daughter insists on bringing over all of these camisole tops that I can wear under things, and the thing she wants me to wear them under is some sort of sleeveless dress thing that is actually a jacket. Well, I try it on with the tops she brings, and I have two thoughts:

  1. Is it a dress? Is it a jacket? Who in the hell wears this kind of thing…and why does it make me look like I just gained back the 30 pounds I lost?!?
  2. Why do clothing manufactures assume that all females are built without a figure??? I am not a rectangle, thank you. Oh, and BTW, if you’re going to make camisoles in sizes above say – a six – you might consider that some of us have boobs.  That’s right, I said it. Again, thank you.

I say as much to my daughter, who responds with a patient, yet slightly annoyed, “Mother, the jacket is EDGY. Don’t try to button it, and just wear it with a camisole.” I complain about the fact that I actually insist on wearing the proper undergarments to control my top half (no really…it’s a thing and y’all can thank me later), and that if some clothing manufacturer would just figure it out…women everywhere would appreciate it.  My apologies to those of you out there that don’t have to bother.

Wait, why am I apologizing???

Back to the clothing expedition…. I decide that although I would sincerely love to be “edgy”, that ship has sailed. Anybody who has met me or knows me that I’m the opposite. I’m not quite “grandma in the kitchen making cookies”, but I’m really more of the “martinis in the afternoon while Skyping with Amanda” sort.  There’s no changing that, and although I still have envy over those who can wear the smokey eyeliner, chokers, leather, and Doc Martins, I’ve settled into who I am. Kind of. It’s sort of an admitted annoyance, really.

Here’s the thing, I envy people who can stand in the audience, wear something as similar as a jacket over a tee and look like a million bucks. I know someone who wore a vegan leather jacket to a show last summer, and never ONCE did she look sweaty. She looked calm, cool, collected. Amazing, basically. Why can’t I do that??

I’ll tell you why.  I have zero fashion sense or even the confidence to pull off shit like that.

After some wrestling in and out of camisole tops that could have been perfect torture devices under the right circumstances (none of which included the hot, harsh lights of the dressing room), I come out of the store with some really cool buckled creepers (shoes) with peek-a-boo sides (they’re as cool as I can pull off), a faux-suede moto-jacket (Look Amanda, I bought vegan!!!), and several cami-tops that are truly miles too big on me in some ways, but they fit in others (I’ll be sewing this weekend). The thing is, my daughter is very good at sales. Like, too good, because as I looked at my closet this morning, I realized I have nowhere to wear most of this stuff.

I’m gonna need to go to some more shows, I guess. 😉

-R

Paper Gods Tour: The Final Leg

I know the final leg of Paper Gods #Duranlive is coming because I see the tweets from DDHQ.  The posts with a stage shot, sparking my anticipation a bit. I look at the calendar and recognize that next week at this time (I’m starting to lose track of what day of the week it is – which is WONDERFUL), I’ll be nervously packing up the last of the things I need and getting ready to drive up to Los Angeles to pick up my copilot for this final leg!

What a road it has been, and not all of it smooth or easy to navigate. In a lot of ways, I can’t believe this is really the last leg of Paper Gods.   It seems like just a few months ago that Amanda and I received the full album and gave it a good listen. Even less since I picked Amanda up from LAX and drove to our hotel near the Hollywood Bowl (apparently it’s been long enough for me to forget the name…), or since she and I hung out at the W in Los Angeles, or drove over the Canadian border. I don’t know where the time went, but I have to say, I think I really did love every minute of it!

Paper Gods, for me, wasn’t an easy sell. I didn’t fall in love at the first listen. Falling somewhere in between Red Carpet Massacre and All You Need is Now on a musical level (for me – your experience will be different and that’s wonderful!), I didn’t have that immediate bonding that I craved. It took time and patience, which was something I wasn’t expecting. I wrote many a review, and spent a lot of time trying to pinpoint what I loved, and what fell short.  Even so, it would be unfair not to recognize the musical genius within. The hard work is evident, and it is very clear that the band went full-throttle with heart, soul and everything in between to finish.

On the upside, the touring here in the states has been nothing short of phenomenal. The Hollywood Bowl, Ravinia, Red Rocks, shows on New Years Eve and New Years Day, but to name a few. Absolute craziness. Shows were announced without warning, and it’s a good thing I take blood pressure medicine religiously, because one never knew what would be announced next.

On the other hand, there’s the rest of the world. A handful of shows in Italy, a few in the UK, Lollapalooza in South America, Gran Prix in Singapore…and a scattering of others. The rest of world pretty much missed out. Yes, there are a million verifiable reasons why the tour shook out this way, none of which provide much in the way of solace for fans who have been waiting. I might also gently suggest that the band saying “We really want to go to the Far East!” or “Hoping to hit Australia and even New Zealand!” probably didn’t help, although, if one really listened and read through the lines, particularly just before the album was announced and the band was saying they probably would not get to a lot of places on this tour and that it would be shorter, maybe there wouldn’t be as much of a surprise. Even so, as a fan, I have to wonder what is really going on. No conspiracies, but to leave out the rest of the world seems odd. Promoters work to get the band booked places, and I have a difficult time believing there is no demand for them in say, Japan. Or Australia. Or anywhere in Europe besides Italy.

Here we are, standing ever closer to the edge—together. We’re near the end of one album cycle, one final leg of the tour left, not entirely sure of what will follow. There’s talk of the studio, of a three-year celebration of the 40th anniversary (I still have a hard time typing that number. It feels like a mistake and I have to remind myself that yes, it really has been that long.), of a musical, and still many other fans believe that band is going to retire and they’re on their way out. None of us really know what will come next, until the band tells us. So while I’m anxious to go see the shows next week, I’m also slightly apprehensive of the unknown. After all, I’ve had a lot of fun and I don’t want it to stop!

Nagging thoughts aside, I get the feeling we’ve only just gotten started.

-R

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