Category Archives: touring

Can You Feel It?

I know that I can feel it.  Call it nervous energy.  Call it cautious excitement.  Call it positive anxiety.  I don’t care what you or I call it but I have it.  I have had it all week.  In fact, it has been slowly building, which has caused me to get less sleep than I should have last night.  How do I know that I have it?  I know because I feel slightly giddy at times and completely irritated when I must deal with real life issues, at other times.  I alternately want to speed up time and worried that I don’t have enough time to be completely ready.  I have made lists upon lists and double and triple checked the ones I have already made.  I have sent multiple messages to multiple people to “check in”.  Weather.com has regained status of one of my most active links, which hasn’t happened since the last winter snow storm.  My closet looks like it has been through a war as random clothes were pulled out, tried on, and thrown to the floor in rejection.  What does all of this mean?  It means that there is a show tonight!!!!

I cannot be the only one who gets this nervous energy, right?!  Part of it, absolutely, is nothing but excitement!  I haven’t seen the boys in a couple of years and I’m thrilled with the new material.  The positive reviews from my partner-in-crime and others have only increased my level of anticipation!  Perhaps, this year is a little bit more special because it has been a rough one for me.  I remember, years ago, when I had a show coming up, it was all that I thought about, all that I worried about!  I no longer have that luxury as real life has hit me upside the head a few hundred times since December.  Therefore, maybe, I’m looking at these shows as a sanctuary, a place to get much needed relief.  I have a whole weekend to just enjoy friends who I love and music that I love.  I don’t have to think about my future, my career, my finances or anything else like that.  It is all about fun and good times.  I bet Duran likes it that way, too.  🙂

Of course, the other part has less to do with excitement and more to do with nervousness.  Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a planner.  My friends always tease me about the tour binder but I suspect that I would be a basketcase without it.  I need to know that any information I might need is readily available and that I have enough planned to ensure a smooth tour.  Now, don’t get me wrong, there is plenty left open to make choices about!  Despite being beyond prepared, I’m always a little worried about those elements of a show or tour that I can’t control!  Will we get there on time?  How long will the line be?  Should we have lined up earlier?  Will we have to fight for our spots (I hate GA!)?  Did I take care of everything at home?  Is there something I should have done before I left?  I could go on and on.

Many reasons for today’s blog post.  First, I suspect that I’m not the only one to feel this same sort of mixed anticipation.  Second, I find expressing my thoughts and emotions to be a positive way to deal with my feelings or some crap like that.  Lastly, this is a warning to our readers, to my family and to my friends, near and far.  I experience this before just 2 shows in the Midwest, near home.  I am an experienced tour goer, especially in both Minneapolis and Chicago.  I swear that I would be capable of doing it all well in my sleep.  That said, in less than a month now, the Daily Duranie and friends leave to go to England where we will be doing multiple shows in multiple cities.  This type of tour will increase both the time and intensity of this nervous energy.   People may want to proceed with caution when dealing with me for the next month!   

Now, I plan on enjoying myself thoroughly for this weekend as it is the preview, the warm up, to the tour of a lifetime!!!

-A

The Music’s Between Us

I wish that I was in San Francisco this weekend.  Yes, I absolutely wish that I was there to see Duran live, but I have two shows coming out next weekend (Minneapolis and Chicago).  Really, I wish that I had been there for the meetup on Friday.  I know that Gimme a Wristband planned a fantastic get together for the fans complete with merchandise and entertainment.  I haven’t heard much about it but I’m sure that it was beyond fun.  I love meetups like that!

Sometimes, the meetups end up being more fun than the shows themselves and other times, they just make the shows more fun and more memorable.  I’m not sure how many of you went to the “fan show” in New York City in June of 2007, but that was a situation in which the meetup was WAY more fun than the show.  Like the meetup in San Francisco, it took place the night before the show.  It was in a club that had an 80s night.  The club wasn’t that big and wasn’t that expensive.  It allowed us to meet each other in a fun, relaxed atmosphere with good music and cheap drinks!  Then, of course, the next day we all witnessed a show in which Duran was not at their best.  I know that I was thankful that the meetup had happened because it made me feel like the trip there was worthwhile then!  Of course, I have been to many shows in which the meetup took place a few hours before the show.  In those cases, they are usually somewhere where people can get drinks and dinner.  I know that I have met many Duranies that way and have stayed in contact with some of the people I have met.  In most cases, I truly enjoy meeting other fans.  I love hearing about their experiences, including the shows that they have gone to and the times they have been lucky enough to see the band in person.  I also enjoy sharing my stories.  Sometimes, you get to see people you have met before, which is cool, too.  We can then spend some time catching up!  No matter the specific circumstance, the meetups, for me, often get me more and more excited about the upcoming show!  I feed off of the energy from the other fans!

This little mini-tour will not include meetups for me.  People haven’t been planning them much.  My guess is that people aren’t interested because the shows here in the US have been GA.  Fans don’t have time to meetup with each other because they are busy standing in line in order to get a decent spot.  In this case, the meetup would not be relaxed in any way as people would be concerned about the growing line outside, even if the meetup took place at a close venue.  Perhaps, this is part of the reason that I hate GA.  I find it sad that I don’t have time to meet other people.  I don’t like that I don’t get a chance to see people I know or to meet new people.

I’m hoping that things will be different for our UK tour.  I am hoping that meetups can and do take place as those shows are all seated.  I know that Rhonda and I are both interested in meeting other fans.  We want to meet new people but we also want to get energized by other people’s excitement!  Right now, we don’t know of anything specific planned for our four shows.  I’m hoping that as those shows get closer something will be planned.  We know that it will be difficult for us to do anything before the Birmingham show as we will be just getting into town right before the show, but we will have time before Nottingham, Liverpool and London.  If meetups don’t work for those specific nights, we will also be in Birmingham for one other night and will be in London for a few leading up to the show at the O2.  I feel like if we can meet other fans, our tour will feel good and complete!

-A

Here is to Friendship

This weekend was a busy one for many a Duranie on the east coast.  If anyone was lucky enough to score a ticket to the Second Chance Prom in Hartford CT, Duran Duran did an acoustic set there on Friday night, and on Saturday they played at Foxwoods (also in Connecticut). I’ve seen photos both from the “prom” and from Foxwoods, and it looks like a good time was had by all.

Seeing the pictures and hearing the tales of the weekend reminded me of my trip to see Duran Duran at the Foxwoods resort a couple of years ago.  Naturally Amanda and I traveled together, and the show at Foxwoods was our first for that particular extended weekend!  We had the chance to meet some new friends that night before the show at the Hard Rock Cafe there at Foxwoods – “MichDuran” (her screenname) and SusanDeFeo (her real name…which was her screenname too!) sat across the table from us along with their husbands that night.  I remember thinking that their husbands were so nice to be willing to go along with them to the show, they were certainly good sports about it, and that my husband was sitting at home with our three kids at the time!  I’m not sure that we really made the best impression on our new friends at the time. (in fact I’m pretty sure I should continue to apologize for our behavior…) Amanda and I had just had our typical celebratory shot at the bar (that as far as I can remember was ridiculously strong and took effect rather quickly!), and since it was our first full night out together in several months, I am sure we were crazier than usual – making up for lost time, so to speak.  They all seemed to be very nice though, and after dinner I think we all ran our separate ways to get to the theater on time for the show.  I know I saw a few from that dinner after the show that night at whatever club we ended up at in the hotel, but it was nothing more than a fleeting “hi” and we were on our way.

Months later, a show was announced in Las Vegas.  Amanda and I made plans to go, and mentioned them on the message boards.  Sure enough, other friends were traveling out for the show, and we made plans for dinner on one of the nights.  Mich and Sue caught up with us on DDM and we made plans to meet them that night, along with another one of their friends – “Whooosh” (also her screenname!)   When the time came, we did catch up with two out of the three at the restaurant, but due to circumstances beyond all of our control we didn’t actually end up eating together.  We saw one another after the show and took a photo together, but there wasn’t a lot of catching up that we could do in the short amount of time we had.  We promised to do better next time, and went on our way, because really – that’s what you do during these short trips.  You squeeze in what you can, and promise to do better later.

Sadly, there isn’t always a next time, as we all learned some months later.  Sue DeFeo passed away in her sleep, and for Amanda and I – we won’t have that chance to catch up with her again.  I think the two of us learned a very powerful lesson from that experience, and that is – if you’re given the opportunity to connect with a friend, you take it.  You move mountains to spend that time if that’s what it takes, and you appreciate it, because you might not get the chance again.

As I said at the beginning of the blog, this weekend was busy for the folks on the east coast.  I know that Sue’s friends went to the prom and to Foxwoods this weekend, and I have no doubt whatsoever that Mich thought of Sue the entire time.  I hardly knew Sue and yet I found myself thinking about all of them – Mich, Whooosh, Sue…and a host of other faces I recognize but have yet to connect screennames with yet.   This was the first show that Mich went to without Sue, and I’m sure that it wasn’t easy.  I think to all of the traditions (sentimental, crazy….and “other”) that Amanda and I have, and I can’t imagine all of that just ceasing to exist.  Of course, we all know that Sue really WAS there with all of her friends (I have no doubt whatsoever.  There’s no way she was missing out on that acoustic set!), but I’m sure it was bittersweet to start new traditions and experience old ones without her physical presence.

I know this fan community has a lot of drama.  I also know there’s a lot of bitterness at times.  There’s also a lot of love and friendship.  When the time comes that I’ve stopped blogging, and stopped getting online and only have my memories of going to shows and being a fan to rely on – I highly doubt that I’ll remember the arguments or the one-upping that people seem to like to do.  My guess is that I’ll remember the tour binder, the customary shots we take to begin each of our touring weekends, our stops at IHOP, and the fact that I have three other people that I can call, day or night, to bail me out of jail if ever necessary.  😀

Here’s to starting new traditions, remembering old ones, and keeping our friends in our hearts and minds!  – R

Looking Forward (Cautiously) to the Upcoming Mini-Tour!

Three weeks from today, I’ll be in Minneapolis waiting for my first Duran show since the summer of 2009.  To say that I’m excited is a bit of an understatement!  I have been barely able to keep myself in check while I see others attending Duran shows, including my writing partner.  Soon it will be my turn.  Like Rhonda, I will be able to see two shows before we head to the UK.  Unlike Rhonda, these shows will be back-to-back, in Minneapolis and Chicago.  In my opinion, these shows are the warm-ups to the shows in the UK.  It isn’t that I’m not thrilled to go to them, but they will be different.  First, they are general admission shows, which I hate, but will suffer through.  The shows in the UK have seats and we have pretty good seats for them.  🙂  Then, for the shows here, I’m sure that I will run into people I know!  While this is generally a good thing, I will be able to experience the freshness, the fun of meeting new people while in the UK.  Lastly, I will be attending these shows in the Midwest with some people I have attended shows with and some new people.  No matter what, it will be different than what I am used to.

I have been “touring” for what seems like a long time now.  When I first started attending multiple shows back during the 2005 tour, I went to shows with a ton of different people and had an awesome time doing it!  Then, as the years progressed, I found myself getting into a touring pattern of sorts.  I now have a routine to attending shows.  It usually goes something like this.  A show or series of shows are announced, I call Rhonda.  We both comment for hours about how silly the dates are and about the genius was who came up with the shows in this way.  At the same time we are doing this, we are contemplating what can be done and what should be done.  After a conversation or three, we generally have a plan.  (This is pretty much how we decided the UK tour, too.)  That plan usually consists of the two of us finding our way to a location where a show is taking place.  From there, we pick a typical hotel for us and fill in an agenda.  We have actually developed traditions on tours that we can’t imagine not doing now.  For example, we like to eat at IHOP at some point.  Bet you would never get the Duran connection there…Anyway, we have developed a similar style of traveling and a similar approach when it comes to the show itself.  For example, some fans like to get to the venue at the last minute.  We aren’t like that.  We prefer to arrive in time to scope out our location, get a drink, etc.  I’m not sure if we were really this similar before we started touring together or if it just happened naturally over the years, but it is what it is now.  I have to admit that I like it this way.  It is comfortable and both of us know what to expect of it and of each other.  Obviously, it has worked well for us as we keep doing it over and over again.  If it didn’t, we probably wouldn’t be planning to travel to the UK together for 9 days! 

Now, for my Midwestern mini-tour, I will be going with people other than Rhonda. I’m obviously looking forward to seeing the band live, especially seeing the new songs performed, but I’m also looking forward to the experience of going to shows with different people.  My Midwestern travel buddy is a good friend of mine here and is someone who is going with us to the UK.  We are good friends who have attended shows together before.  We have even been to many of the same Duran shows but we have never really gone together.  (That seems really weird to me, by the way.)  While I believe that we are going to have an awesome experience both at the shows and 
traveling to them, I still know that it will be different than when I go with Rhonda.  I’m pretty serious when it comes to my Duran show experiences and hope that I don’t scare her away or anything!  LOL.  Beyond my hometown buddy, three other people will be joining us.  One of those people will be another good friend of mine who lives in Minneapolis.  She has attended a Duran show with me and knows what to expect (I think.  I hope.)  Will these two friends get along?  I suspect that they will!  Then, for the Chicago show, we have two others joining us.  One of them is a friend of hers whom I have been looking forward to meeting for a long time.  She isn’t a Duranie, though.  She likes the band and is looking for a good time.  Will this person think I’m insane?  I can be pretty intense about my fandom.  (If this blog wasn’t proof of that, the book will be!)  The last person has yet to be completely determined.  I’m hoping that my cousin’s wife is able to go.  She has been a long time Duranie and I know she will have a blast, if she is able to arrange for a baby-sitter. 

I have three weeks to finalize my plans for this little mini-tour.  The concert goers will all be set as will the times of departure in all locations.  We will have a game plan about when to arrive to the venues and where we should head to when we enter them.  Hopefully, we will have a chance to see other friends when out and about.  I have no doubt that the band will live up to my expectations.  I suspect that despite any concern I have about this little mini-tour, I think it will still be absolutely fabulous and will wet my appetite for more!

-A

Past and Future

Some days in Duranland, I’m completely focused on what is currently happening with the band and there is a ton happening, including new leaked material, new shows, new interviews, etc.  I suspect that I will add some commentary about some of those things before this weekend finishes.  Today, however, I’m going to celebrate both my news of the week and an important show that took place six years ago on this very date!

As many of you have heard through both this blog and via social networking, I, finally, received approval from work to go on my trip to see the band in the UK in May.  I won’t get into the details here, but it was a long and painful month as I kept calling and checking and begging to be allowed to go.  This trip is more than just a tour for Rhonda and I as we both feel it is important to check in with the Duran fandom in their home country before we wrap up the book.  How can we truly talk about Duranies, if we are only covering American ones?  Yes, we realize that we are still not examining so many other places filled with Duranies, which sucks.  We would love to be able to get a flavor for all Duranies.  Unfortunately, our real lives do not allow for that.  Neither one of us has the time or the money to do that, especially within a few months. We both really want to finish the book as quickly as possible so we had to grab our opportunity when it presented itself.  Anyway, I couldn’t be more thrilled to be able to go and am so looking forward to meeting so many people when we are over there!  Yeah, I’m excited about the shows, too!  One of the things that will be special for this tour is that Rhonda and I are actually doing VIP.  We aren’t doing VIP for every show (trips like this are SUPER expensive), but will enjoy what we can! 

Rhonda and I don’t typically VIP.  We have had good luck with regular presales, especially with how it used to be with those Tier 1 seats through DDM.  Thus, we always felt we had a good shot of getting decent seats so VIP wasn’t super necessary.  We have VIPed twice before, though, and the first time happened six years ago today.  We attended the Chicago show at the All-State Arena together in 2005.  It was a significant show for us for a variety of reasons.  Yes, it was memorable because we went VIP, but more importantly, it was our first show together.  There was a fairly large group of us who decided to VIP for that show, including a number of people who flew in for it.  Rhonda was one of those people.  We had only met a few months earlier at a Duran convention in New Orleans, but had hit it off pretty quickly over a few drinks on Bourbon Street and singing publically to Rio (that’s a story for a whole other blog!).  Therefore, it seemed perfectly normal to be planning to go to a show together.  After much discussion, the group decided on who was going to get the tickets and how many as there were too many of us to buy our tickets all together.  I volunteered to buy the tickets for Rhonda, myself and another friend of ours. 

The show was amazing.  I often wonder if the show was really that good or if the setting made it so good!  Obviously, we had good seats.  Third row in front of John Taylor, in fact.  The arena is a large one-probably seats about 20,000 or close to it and it was packed.  The energy of the crowd was awesome!  The band seemed playful and really into it despite missing Andy Taylor that night.  For me, it was also the first Duran show I had seen in awhile, which probably always enhances my enjoyment.  Yet, I also think my concert partners made a difference in what I thought about that show.  I will never forget singing “We are Family” with them when the band dived into that song from Notorious.  I will also never forget the look on Rhonda’s face during Tiger Tiger.  I remember laughing with thousands of my closest friends about the fact that Roger’s drums had a problem after Wild Boys.  I’m sure that Rhonda thinks fondly of how I threatened her life when she got in the way of my viewing of JoSi.  Overall, everything seemed to fit together.  The songs, the band, the crowd, and my people were all together creating an incredible experience.  Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the rest of that weekend was amazing as well with another show the following night, lots of late night conversation and laughter, drinks, and more. 

The next VIP experience I will have will be with the same people and a new addition in Birmingham.  While I doubt that anything can really compare to that night six years ago, I’m hoping that Brum has at least a little of that magic. 

-A

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

I don’t mind telling you all that today’s blog is going to be shorter than normal because I’m neck deep in UK planning.  🙂  That’s right – we’re back to planning!

Before I go further, I just want to take a moment and express my sorrow, concern and hope for those who are living in Japan.  My husband has co-workers and friends there, my daughter’s dance teacher is there right now, and we hope everyone is as well as can be expected.  I consider ourselves to be extremely lucky – he was in Japan exactly one week prior to the earthquake – a week earlier than he’d originally planned.  Unfortunately it seems as though the news gets more dire with each passing day.  I know that Americans can seem overly concerned about themselves and not really be aware of what is truly going on elsewhere in the world – and while I won’t argue that point (sadly it’s true) – my thoughts are with those in Japan.

Now for our daily dose of excitement!  Our big snag in the UK trip has been untangled, and I’m thrilled to be completely stressed about buying train tickets in advance, finding hotels and all of that good stuff.

If only I had the nerve to submit a question to the DD roundtable that Katy does with the band…my question would be “What is the fastest way to get from London Heathrow to Birmingham (New Street) the day of your show.  Is it better to take the train (even though I hate the idea of having to transfer in central London, which seems REALLY counter intuitive….), should we go ahead and pay a taxi, or better yet – can one of you pick us up on your way??

I’m kidding about that last part.                Mostly.

Driving ourselves is NOT an option.  First of all, I don’t want to kill anyone, including myself, and that whole driving on the left thing – forget that nonsense, especially with jet lag!  Secondly, if the first reason weren’t enough for you, I just don’t know what to say.

Oh, and if you have good suggestions, and if someone could explain the Oyster card to me – brilliant!  I understand the concept of the card, but I don’t know if it would really benefit to have one.  For much of our trip, we’ll be outside of London – going from Heathrow to Birmingham, then from Birmingham to Nottingham, next day would be Nottingham to Liverpool, then I think we’re going to back to Birmingham for a day, and then to London to finish out the trip.  What is the best way to do all of that??  Buy in advance?  Get a railcard of some sort?   To someone from the US who is used to just jumping in the car and sitting in traffic on the freeway, this tends to make my head swim.  Never mind what happens when I made the mistake of downloading a rail map….holy cow.

Well, I am off to find a hotel for Birmingham.  We already have the hotel for our first night, but Amanda and I are going back for an additional night before we head to London for the show at O2.  We’re not sure where to stay, but we do want to be near restaurants, shopping, nightlife and that sort of thing.  Any ideas? Send them to dailyduranie@gmail.com or post them here!  Thanks a bunch!!

-R

Training for the Marathon

On Monday, I blogged about longevity.  More specifically I blogged about my lack of being able to keep up with my friends – many of whom are 5 years younger than I am and quite obviously are blessed with FAR more energy and endurance!  

My dear partner Amanda was quick to remind me that the key is training and that tours are a marathon, not a sprint.  I’m not at all surprised that I had somehow forgotten this along the way.  Back in high school (oh SO many years ago now), I was on the swim team – and I was the sprinter.  If they needed someone to do the final laps in a medley or a relay race, I was the girl.  One day, one of my coaches needed someone to do the middle laps in a longer relay, and some brainiac on the team mentioned my name.  After convincing me that I was only a sprinter in my own head, my name was submitted for that race, and I quickly found myself jumping into the pool – we had a great lead and there shouldn’t have been a problem.  Except of course, that there was.  I was good for the first couple laps – it was what I was used to swimming and I finished them quickly, but then I had to keep going.  My brain quickly announced that I was insane, and my body began to feel like lead in water.  Well, you can imagine what chaos ensued from there. (contrary to popular belief – you actually *can* hear when your teammates and coaches are screaming at you to “get your ASS in gear and move, we’re losing the lead!!” as you’re swimming!)  In any case, my suspicions were confirmed that day: I am not an endurance competitor, nor am I all that thrilled about anything but the shortest swims.   My high school swimming career ended shortly after that first season on the team, but not really because of that race. (more likely because I hated the idea of swimming in freezing cold water that my school district was too cheap to keep heated in the winter time – keeping in mind that I live in Southern California where it doesn’t really freeze.  Read: I am a wimp!)  So, hearing that I must once again train for a marathon isn’t exactly good news.  
I’ll be honest with you, I’m the girl that is great for a one night knock down drag out party.  I can stay up with the best of them, and although I don’t want this to come across as bragging because it’s really not – I can drink my weight in alcohol without much of a problem.   I think I either take after my dad in that respect or I can thank my years as a Zeta Tau Alpha at Cal State Fullerton for that training – that’s right – I was a sorority girl.  (go ahead and laugh – I certainly do.  If you knew me, you’d realize that I am the antithesis of what a sorority girl usually is!  Unfortunately I think my sorority house found that out as well.)  The trouble is, I seem to burn out over the course of that one night.  The next day I wake up, and am generally useless.  I’m not necessarily hung over (although in recent years I cannot make such claims) but I have NO energy and the idea of doing all over again later that night isn’t a welcome thought.  Naturally, when I’m on “tour” with the girls, there’s no way I could beg off a night of partying.  They’d laugh, hand me a drink and say “shut up, it didn’t kill you LAST night.”  So, you would think I’d learn.  Of course, NORMAL people would learn, wouldn’t they?  I might add that normal people also don’t follow a band to the extent that many of us have for 30 years now…..but hey, it’s not my place to ruin the party.  
I suppose I should also add here that it’s all in the ambiance.  I don’t party like that here at home (very tough to do that with 3 kids), and as I mentioned on Monday – I don’t even like clubbing much these days.  I think I reserve all of that for when I’m with the girls for a weekend or I’m touring.  Don’t tell my husband!   Touring begs for living in hotels, living on cocktails (hey…isn’t there a song in there somewhere…like maybe “Hey Day” by Mr. John Taylor? :D), late nights, laughing and friends.  I wholly admit that to do all of that here at home just is not the same, primarily because my closest friends aren’t here.  So, when I meet up with those girls once or twice over the year, I think I’m making up for lost time!  
So that brings me to the topic at hand.  How does one train for such a marathon?  Normally my “touring” is limited to a weekend at a time.  I might get in as many as 3 shows, and by the time I’m headed to the airport for my flight home – I am completely spent.  Never mind how I get off the plane and resume my “mom” duties – my husband and I are somewhat at odds over what happens when I get home.  As I recall, he typically is running out the door for work in order to leave the chaos of the BOMB that went off in my home while I was gone; he claims that I spend the next two or three days in bed recovering.  (Don’t I wish…)  Regardless, there is no getting around the idea that I’m exhausted when I get home.  This time, aside from the couple of shows I am doing here at home over the next month or so, I am headed to the UK for 9 days.  We’ll do 4 shows, and I think we’ll be spending quite a bit of our time doing some quality assurance visits at every pub we can.  How can I prepare?!?  
I can make all sorts of promises to myself: I promise to sleep.  I promise to eat properly.  I promise not to drink all of the cider at any one pub on any one night….(yes, I love cider.  I also love red wine, beer of all kinds… and the occasional vodka tonic)  the reality is, I am sure I won’t be sleeping much, I will likely forget to eat (don’t ask how – I think it’s adrenaline), and I won’t even begin to discuss the libations.   All I know is that I’m getting excited by the prospects, and since we’ve already agreed that my partner-in-crime will be attending with me and we will definitely be blogging on the road (thank goodness we don’t do webcasts – I don’t think anyone needs to actually SEE the effects of my lack of marathon training), so you all can laugh right along with me! (or at me, as the case may be!)
-R
Did I even mention the band by name in this blog???  Oh wait – I did mention John.  *whew*  Close enough!

The Cost of Fandom

Some days, I know exactly what I am going to write about and other days I really struggle.  The days that I have difficulty with picking out a topic are the days, usually, when other things weigh heavily on my mind.  I wonder if my writing partner feels the same way.  Today is one of those days for me.  As I have mentioned here, I live in a state that has been ground zero for the discussion on workers rights and unions.  Despite weeks of hard work, sacrifice and protest, the workers lost their battle.  I am one of those workers.  Today, my union met and signed a contract extension, which will cover us for the next couple of years.  I should be happy about this and I am, but it only really will help with non-financial aspects of the job.  Based on this, I now know exactly how much money I will be losing each month beginning in July.  It is substantial.  Now, again, I’m not here to debate the politics regarding my job, my compensation, this bill or anything else connected but as part of dealing with the impending loss of income I began to think about Duran.  Fandom costs money.  It does.  It costs money to buy cds, to buy t-shirts, to go to shows and especially to travel to shows.  While I have in no way shape or form been someone financially able to do whatever I want in the name of Duran, I have been able to save money in order to go on tours.  Assuming that I stay in this position and stay where I am now (which is assuming a lot), this spring will mark the end for me.

My impending loss of compensation is so great that my days of touring will be over.  In fact, I will have to move from my apartment, if I stay where I am.  I cannot begin to justify going to shows or traveling for tours, if I cannot afford to keep my home (and when I mean home–I mean my one bedroom apartment).  Looking back at the last five or six years, I realize how lucky I have been.  I have been able to go to 20 shows since 2005 and most of those shows have required significant drives or flying.  I hope to have 5 more under my belt before summer hits.  Therefore, these upcoming shows better be the best ones ever because they may have to last me for quite a while. 

Now, do not get me wrong here, I am not giving up.  I refuse to have to move backwards like this and have been and will continue to fight it every step of the way.  Obviously, part of this fight might be to consider my options.  Different profession?  Different location?  Both?  I’m hoping that I do find something that allows me to keep this element of my life.  For me, Duran is both my escape and my fun, especially touring.  I do not want to give that up.  The band and everything that goes with enhances my quality of life.  Could I live without them?  Yes.  Do I want to?  Nope.  For one thing, it means that I won’t see my Duranie friends much as most of them live far away from me, including my co-author.  That is extremely upsetting to me.  It also means that I no longer have things to look forward to as I once did.  Anyone who knows me knows that I’m the queen of countdowns.  I normally count down every day until a big event like a tour because that countdown helps me gets through each day.  It gives me a positive thing to focus on.  Soon, that will be gone.  I can’t rely on Duran to be the lighthouse of relief in the sea of stress.  I cannot even begin to tell you how sad it makes me that I won’t be able to see my friends as much.  Yes, we are all on the internet but it is not the same.  I won’t have the money to travel and we won’t have the excuse of Duran to bring us together as much as we did because I won’t be able to afford it.

I now understand how Duranies who have always been in this boat must feel.  I apologize if I ever seemed uncaring or not very understanding.  I get it now.  I get it in such a way that these last shows will be appreciated by me in a way that I probably haven’t done since 2005.  I look forward to them as I desperately need the escape but I also dread them in a way because I know that they will be the last for a long time.  I feel like I do at every show when I hear the opening notes to Rio, which is typically played at the very end, because I know that the song will be great but I also know that the show is almost over.  It is always such a bittersweet moment.  Now, the whole show will be like that for me.

-A

Collections

This week, Duran Duran played a show in London, which marks the beginning of their year’s touring season for them and for us.  For some of us, extremely lucky fans, this means that we will get to see our or one of our favorite band in concert (again).  Yet, for others, these shows will not only give the chance to see them again but will also provide the opportunity to expand one’s collection.  Obviously, many Duranies have a collection of their albums and singles.  Yet, some fans go beyond collecting the music to collecting other items related to the band and related to touring.  Collections may include t-shirts, tour books, bootlegs, posters and more.  These collections can and do grow during touring season.

Many fans of bands and other things like to show off their fandom through wearing t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, etc.  Interestingly enough, Duranies do, too.  When I was a young Duranie, I didn’t have many Duran related clothing but what I did, I wore ALL the time.  For example, I had a Duran Duran nightshirt that I wore until that lovely picture on the front faded.  Now, I have many Duran t-shirts.  Some of these were gifts or purchased on their website but most of them were bought at concerts.  I really appreciate the ones that had tour dates on the back that show what tours I have attended!  I’m such a dork!  Now, I admit that you can’t wear Duran Duran t-shirts everywhere, but I do try to sneak them in my wardrobe when I can.  I suspect that when I hit my first show or two, I may have to buy another one or two, especially if they look cool.  I did see a picture of the t-shirts they were selling this past week.  I wasn’t wild about it–it was a group picture from the video but lacked color. 

The other item I will look for at my next show is the tour book.  I have a number of them from previous tours and look forward to this one.  One thing about Duran is that they tend to have really quality products when it comes to things like a tour book.  They want to make sure that all of their products are well-done, which is a quality that I admire.  I’m hoping that it is something like the Astronaut one, which just seemed huge!  Plus, the Astronaut one had a pop-up piece to it!  Who didn’t love setting up the pop-up band members and being able to move them around the little stage?!  Of course, I would be happy with something like the book for RCM, which wasn’t too terribly fancy but still had quality.  These items will, unfortunately, increase my costs at the shows, but they are well worth the price to me and to my collection.

One collection that might not require a lot of money is one’s bootleg collection.  It is not uncommon within fandom for people to have bootlegs of concerts.  These bootlegs could be video or audio.  (Now, I’m not going to talk about the legality of bootlegs here-just acknowledging that they exist in fandom.)  For some people, they might want to have a copy of the shows they have attended and, for others, they might want to have every show possible.  Perhaps, they hear something new or different with each show.  Maybe, they feel like they are on tour this way, even if they aren’t.  It seems to me that most bootlegs in Duranland are not passed around for profit but are done through trading from one fan to another.  Thus, new shows mean new bootlegs.

It seems to me that having a collection is one way for fans to show or express their fandom.  Each fan who wants to express their fandom this way decides which thing to collect.  Some may focus on the music.  Others may focus on something like t-shirts that can travel with them.  It doesn’t matter to me, but think anything that increases or reinforces one’s fandom is a cool thing.

-A

I’m seeing the band WHERE?

Today is Wednesday March 9, and that must mean it’s Presale Wednesday!  Like the dutiful Duranie I am, I got up and proceeded to stand (or rather, sit!) watch…waiting with much anxiety while the clock ticked ever closer to 10am PST.  I read the boards, got two children off to school, cleaned up numerous messes from the one still here at home with Mommy, got my credit card ready for show time…and waited.  I worried about whether or not my credit card would work (we had real trouble with the UK shows in that area. I later found out it was because my credit union didn’t like that I was trying to purchase tickets overseas from a website. Food for thought for the next time I guess!)  I worried about whether or not every other Duranie in California also wanted to go to the show. I thought about whether or not my husband (who is going to be my date for that night since none of my partners in crime will be in the state of California at the time!) will be willing to leave work early enough to drive out to Pomona for the show, and I bit my nails.  A LOT.  Once the clock hit 10am, I was quick like a bunny and got my tickets to the Fox theater show in Pomona California – bounding in and out of the presale in about 2 minutes, and it only took that long because I made triple sure I’d bought the right tickets to the right show. (somehow, I think my husband would have had plenty to say had I clicked on ‘VIP’ tickets instead of regular….)  All of my worrying for basically nothing.  (well, we’re not at the show yet….we’ll see if my husband will actually make the effort to get home early so we can get there on time!)

After the anxiety of the morning, I decided to take advantage of the beautifully clear skies and 80 degree Southern California weather and go for a walk with my little one.  I needed a break, and she desperately needed a change of scenery, so off we went.  As we were walking, my normally very chatty little girl became quiet and I was alone with my thoughts. (very, VERY unusual around here!)  I thought about the upcoming shows, the momentous UK trip, and about presales in general.  I realized that this is the first presale that I’ve actually done, for myself, for a show in the state I actually LIVE in…in a very, very long time.  I believe the last show I went to here in my home state of California was the show at the Pacific Amphitheater (Costa Mesa) in July of 2009, and I didn’t buy those tickets (thanks goes to Amanda, because she is the Queen of Presales)!   Prior to that, I don’t think I’ve been to a show in California since 2003, and I’m not kidding!  I believe the last Duran Duran show I went to in California was KROQ’s Inland Invasion Festival – and that feels like a lifetime ago.  I suppose that for me, it really was – I’ve had a baby since then!  I missed their show here during Astronaut because I had the audacity to be vacationing on a cruise ship at the time (and I wasn’t giving that trip up, even for Duran Duran!), and so for that tour I did shows in Chicago and Milwaukee, then later that same year I saw them in Las Vegas.  Then during the Red Carpet Massacre tour I had a newborn.  In fact, the very night that they began their North American tour, April 29th, 2008 I was in a hospital having the strangest childbirth experience EVER. (another story for another blog – but I will say that as I was coming out of it – Hungry Like the Wolf was playing in the background and I thought I was in Hell.  Like I said, another story for another blog!)  That point was a very difficult time in my life, due both to having a ridiculously messed up childbirth experience as well as my father dying two weeks later.  A concert was the very last place I could go, both physically and mentally, so I missed that tour here.  I did catch them later on…for three shows on the east coast…because really, why see them anywhere nearby?  😀  It’s been a joke between my friends and I that the band would never be able to place a face to my name along with where I lived or normally saw them because I’ve seen them everywhere BUT where I lived, which is really kind of true.  Not that they would know me from anyone else at this point – and yes – I do take comfort in that.  😉

So that brings me to once again realizing just how lucky I’ve been.  I know there are many of you out there that haven’t had the opportunity to travel to see the band, and still more of you that have to wait just so that they even come to your country. I know how lucky I am to have the chance to see them somewhat regularly, and I also realize how unfair it must seem to those of you who do not. This blog isn’t gloating, although I suppose one could read it that way – please do not.  I think that mostly I’m counting my own blessings.  I came from a very modest upbringing, in fact – I hadn’t even been on a plane more than twice before I was married, and the very idea of going to a concert was a luxury, much less traveling out of state to see a band!  If I had only known in 2001 that just by my husband taking me to one single Duran Duran show at the House of Blues in Anaheim that I would find myself here – well, I would have jumped at the opportunity a lot sooner, and I think my husband may have thought twice before insisting I go to that concert with him!!  It’s been a wild, strange trip at times, and I’m very much looking forward to getting back out there to see my friends, meet new ones, and of course to exchange a smile or two with the band!

So Pomona, California – here I come!  -R