Category Archives: touring

Touring, Traveling and Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-A

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

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

Short but sweet…enjoy!

-A&R

Vegas: We Have Arrived

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

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

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

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

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

-A

Las Vegas here we come!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-R

‘Twas five days before Christmas…

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

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

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

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

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

-R

 

Atlantic City – 2008: Prides gone out the window

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-R

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

-R

 

 

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