Category Archives: touring

Taking the Fun Out of Touring

Apparently, Wednesday’s public sector workers strike in the UK is still scheduled to take place.  We are still scheduled to land at Heathrow Airport on Wednesday.  Many, many, many messages and emails have been exchanged between Rhonda and myself and between the two of us and friends.  The messages between us have consisted of two things:  listing our options and expressing frustration.  The messages to us have been suggestions of alternatives and good wishes for us.  Obviously, we appreciate everyone’s attempt to help the situation and people’s support. 

In summary, the problem is this.  The people who work at border controls, including those who work at customs at Heathrow are planning to strike, which will cause huge lines to get into the country as normal staff will be gone.  These huge lines could cause such a backup that people would not be allow to depart from their flights and planes would no longer be able to be used to actually transport new passengers.  Other flights would not be allowed to land as there would be no space for them, which would result in cancellations.  Obviously, we cannot control the negotiations between the unions and the government there.  Yet, we are seriously both hoping that a resolution takes place before this worst-case scenario comes to fruition.  So, what can we do to avoid this?  The answer, unfortunately, is not much. 

Rhonda and I are both busy people with responsibilities and commitments at home.  Neither one of us is able to travel a day earlier due to those responsibilities.  We tried, though.  We looked into it and tried to think of any and all possible alternatives, including leaving a day early and flying to different locations.  Unfortunately, for now, those options really aren’t possible for us.  It would be nice if we didn’t have those responsibilities, but we do.  Thus, for now, we are hoping that resolution takes place.  Our plan is to meet up in Chicago as originally scheduled.  We will hope that the problem has been fixed, isn’t as bad as they fear OR that the airlines can figure out a solution for us.  I, for one, am relieved that we have decided on a plan, even if it isn’t great.  It has been horribly stressful just to figure out what our plan was going to be.  I was spending a ton of time trying to figure out what to do.  My stress level has decreased since we made a decision.  Will it be the right one?  We don’t really know.  It might mean that our flight gets cancelled and that we really aren’t able to get there for any of the shows because there won’t be room for us on any upcoming flight.  On the other hand, it might mean that we worried for nothing or something in between these two possibilities.  I am glad that we will deal with the situation on Tuesday, together.  We will figure out what to do then when we are at the airport and when all of the circumstances are known. 

Now, I’m just tired.  I feel like I could sleep for days.  I didn’t expect to be exhausted now, before the tour even starts.  Yet, I am because of being so busy and because of being so stressed.  Here is another thing I know.  The fun of touring has been lost, to a great extent.  Obviously, I’m hoping that this is a temporary deal.  Only time will tell on that front.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I like planning for tours.  I like figuring out which flights to take, where to stay, how to get places, etc.  That’s fun.  It is like shopping.  It is also done, knowing that at the end of the day comes a huge reward.  A show.  A Duran Duran show.  In the course of all of our discussions surrounding Tuesday, we haven’t even mentioned the band or the show.  That to me is the worst part about this.  I have a hard time even remembering why I’m going in the first place.  I have a hard time even thinking about that reward at the end, the show.  I haven’t even been thinking about seeing Rhonda.  That is unacceptable. 

Here is what I know.  Touring is supposed to be fun.  It is supposed to be something to look forward to, something that keeps you going during the daily grind of life.  Yes, touring may contain problems or challenges but this isn’t right.  This time around was supposed to be good.  It wasn’t going to be like last time when we found out the shows were cancelled on the way to the airport.  Do I think that my mood surrounding the tour could be turned around?  Of course.  If/when we are able to get to Brighton, I’ll be excited for the show, to see/meet people, to be with Rhonda.  I’ll be thrilled to be some place new.  Maybe then, I will say that it was all worth it.  I sure hope so.

-A

I’m a girl and I guess I’m in a panic….

No, I really don’t think I could be any more “corny” today.  (Actually, I probably could.  Nobody needs to see that though, am I right??)

There are days when it has already been predetermined what I am going to blog about, and this is supposed to be one of those days.  Luckily for me though, Amanda lives nowhere near me and can’t come “get me” if I choose to ignore our plans!  There is just simply too much being posted for this blog to solely be about Simon and John’s appearance on the Morning Buzz on VH1. (I could say something here about how I probably didn’t even say that right – the name of the show anyway – and I really don’t give a damn….but that would be FAR too cornball….)

Their appearance was about 8 and a half minutes in length, and I’ll admit that I was fairly entertained.  I’m always amused by the interviewer(s) who talk to the band because it’s almost ALWAYS a female and they always admit to being huge fans.  Aren’t we all?  😀  I really think there’s some sort of scientific method to determining how big of a fan the interviewer is by the amount of giggling they do within the first 30 seconds of the interview, and in this case, the girl is off the charts.  I applaud that, I do.  I know at times Amanda and I can be really tough on interviewers because we don’t love the giggling and stupid questions, but sometimes it can be charming and aside from one brief moment where I felt that she was gushing WAY too much over Simon – in fact I yelled “Don’t feed the bear!” because she was going on about how gorgeous he is (seriously, he’s got a pretty big ego as it is, doncha think??), admittedly I lived vicariously through her a bit.  I’d probably need to be doing some major self-talk through an interview with them, reminding myself not to gush and reminding myself to remain composed! So, I give her credit.  I think it was especially clear that she was a fan when she asked John to sign her poster at the end of the segment.  I dare to dream.  🙂

Notice I didn’t mention much about the main subject of the interview?  That’d be Girl Panic!  the video…

That video will be premiered on Monday, November 7th.  Happy Birthday to me.  😀  Until then, there have been a series of sneak peeks posted on Duran Duran’s Facebook wall that I’ve watched.  Each snippet is about 10 seconds in length, and so far what I’ve been able to extrapolate is that the video is about 9 minutes in length (Longer is ALWAYS better, although it’s what they do with the length that matters most….*curtsies* Yes, that’s some cheek for ya on this lovely Thursday), and that for some reason, they thought it would be cool to have each of the supermodels play a different person in Duran Duran.  I’m not sure how on board I am with that concept yet, but we will soon see.  I also saw one snippet this morning that reminded me very much of the hallway in the movie “The Shining”…you know, the one with the twin girls?  I would SWEAR they were going for a moment like that, but without seeing the whole video it’s hard to really tell for sure.  They’ve been posting sneak peeks all morning without any sign that they’ll be stopping or continuing, but it’s been interesting to see what they’ve got so far.

I will say this – I’ve yet to see a sneak peek with Yasmin, but out of what I’ve seen so far, I like Cindy Crawford as John the best, although I’m still not sure I like the whole idea.  I can’t wait to see the video and review it though.  Nine minutes can’t be a bad thing!

It was also announced that Duran Duran is coming out with a new 2012 calendar, also due out on Monday via the DD store on their website.  I know many a Duranie who is thrilled to hear this is coming, and I must admit that even I am somewhat tempted.  I’ve never bought a DD calendar, believe it or not!  I have a daily calendar that Amanda created that I use every year – for each day she’s found a photo and a “what happened on this day” tidbit on there.  I love it!

Rumors continue to circulate regarding the possibility of yet another US tour next year.  I’ve heard several dates mentioned – most swirling ’round about springtime.  Mind you, not one single date has been leaked or venues mentioned and already there are many complaints coming from all directions, whether its “Why are they going back to the US AGAIN without coming to X (country) first.  It’s not right!!” or my favorite “They are ignoring my city AGAIN and you know, they always go to LA and NYC.”  I get it. I understand the disappointment, and yes I know that not everyone can afford to travel…and some won’t even drive out of their way to see them, so yeah, it’s disappointing when they won’t play near us in favor of playing in a larger city that will afford them more concert ticket sales.  Or that they made a different choice altogether and say…completely missed St. Louis and a thousand other places which makes no damn sense at all…but hey I’m not complaining.  I’m just saying that I get it.  Vent away, but do it in a way and at a time that makes sense.  None of us even know if they really are for sure coming back that soon, and certainly none of us know where they are planning to play.  Its one of those things that surprise me even though I know it shouldn’t.

In the meantime, I’m working on UK details for the Daily Duranie.  We’ve got hotels – or as we like to call them – places to store our luggage.  (we hardly sleep, so it seems)  We’ve still got to get a flight from Glasgow (or actually Edinburgh since that’s where we’re staying in Scotland) to London the day we fly back to the US, but it’s all working out.  I’m starting to feel a sense of panic (hence the title of the blog today) over the idea of leaving my kids again…especially my little one…but it’ll be fine.  I’m excited and nervous all at the same time.  We leave in 26 days.  AAHH!!

-R

John Taylor is a big tease!

Sometimes, I just want to reach out and smack them.

Oh, come now – you know that sometimes, you’d do it too if you could!

This morning on Twitter, John sends out a tweet that says “Pondering a map of the US thinking, ‘Where can we play next year…’

Of course, that one tweet got the fans going, and I think they’re on a nonstop tweetathon to John (hee hee, a rhyme!) as to where the band should play next year.  Naturally, John immediately (and smartly so) tweeted a follow up saying that of course they had many other places throughout the world to go first.  I would agree.

The fact is, they’ve been here twice this year.  Do I count myself lucky?  Oh yeah.  Yes I do, because I was able to take advantage of both tours and see some shows.  I’m also painfully aware that they missed many a state here in the US, and fans in those areas were not nearly as lucky as I.  The truth is, they could spend 8 more weeks here and still not get everywhere that the fans feel they need to be.  Like my backyard, for instance.  And yours.   Meanwhile the rest of the world has had nearly nothing by way of tours for several years, and I’m sure the band recognizes that, and hopefully they will be willing to do something about that next year.  I know he mentioned Europe, South America, Australia and Asia…and of course Brazil here in the next couple weeks along with the UK in December.  But after that, they really want to come back to the US again?  They didn’t get enough of the raucous American fan base yet??

I suppose my thought was that they would go to Brazil and the UK, then do Europe and where ever else they wished to go next year…never once thinking they’d come back to the US, and to be fair to John, just because he mentioned coming back doesn’t mean they actually will.  They have a lot of people to please, and there are a few other people in the band besides John that might have a differing opinion.  I suppose the new plan is to tour the hell out of this album until everyone in the world has seen them, bought a copy and knows the words to every song by heart – and I’d have to say, that’s not a bad plan.  The Killers toured Hot Fuss to death until everyone in the US really *did* know the songs by heart, and only then did radio begin to play them.  It’s not a bad plan, even for Duran Duran, because I really think – and I know at least as much as my next door neighbor about the music industry (my next door neighbor is an inspector for Fluor Daniels. Not in the music industry at all.  I don’t even think he listens to music.) – that the key to getting radio play is getting exposure.  The more people know the album, the more people will insist that their local radio station play it.   The only kind of promotion that counts these days is the kind the band does on their own, so it seems.

Like I said, I know at LEAST as much as my neighbor.  😀

Honestly though, what else is really working?  Many people postulate on the boards that the bands promotion is horrible, that their PR people should be fired.  My response is always “What PR people?!?”  Like I know or something…which I do not.  In all seriousness though, the band could do meet and greets for radio stations until the cows come home (and I hear that one lone cow showed up in Atlantic City ’round about encore time….) and that wouldn’t be enough to get radio play.  Leave a Light On isn’t going to be enough to stimulate sales, and I’m not even sure that’s the point.  The point is that the general public isn’t you or even me anymore – they are the ages of our kids (if you’ve got kids…and if not, I’ve got a couple you can borrow for the sake of argument), and for the most part, they don’t even know who Duran Duran is!  If we’re going to talk about people our age, then aside from diehard fans, those people don’t even realize that Duran Duran still plays together.  It’s alarming and I typically have to refrain from reaching out and smacking those people back into reality.  How many times have you mentioned going to see a DD show, or buying the new album only to have someone respond “Oh wow, I remember them!  They’re still together??”   I have had to start working very hard not to wince when people say that.  Or do that eye rolling thing that I hate seeing my kids do….

So while I still think John Taylor is a big ole tease and just likes to start trouble….perhaps continuing to tour this album is the right idea…and hey, if they need a backyard to play in….I’ve got one!

-R

Oh, is that tonight??

Since I arrived at home on Saturday evening, it’s been pretty much non-stop stress for me.  The details aren’t really important, suffice to say that I’ve given Duran Duran precious little thought.  I did recall that the Gimme a Wristband party was last night (I’m sure it was a great time), but I didn’t honestly think about the shows I was missing.  I was on Facebook yesterday and then again this morning, reading a litany of status updates from people saying that they wished they were in NYC, or talking about the party and the show at Madison Square Gardens tonight…and my first thought was “Oh, is that tonight?”

After I had that initial thought, I really started worrying.  What is going on with me?!  I don’t even care about the show?  How can that be?!?  Keep in mind, I still don’t care about the show – I’m just a little surprised by my own apathy!  Normally when I take a trip like the one I just made to Chicago, I’ll come away craving more.  I’ll think about how I could have been on my way to Windsor, Ontario; Montreal, or yes…even NYC.  This time, there was none of that.  I got home and went back to real life.  I mentioned as much on Facebook and had some good friends talk me down from the “Am I losing my Duranie?” ledge I was sitting on.  

Initially when I started really going to a lot of Duran shows during adulthood, it was just after the reunion.  I’d gone to many shows prior to that, but I’d not traveled for them or anything like that.  It was purely a case where if they came to L.A. (and as I’m reminded, they do come here often!), I would go to a single show.  It wasn’t until the reunion where I started going to as many shows as I could manage (which weren’t many to begin with), and then started actually traveling to see them as well.  At that time, I think it really was about seeing the band for me.  I craved their live shows.  I wanted to be in that moment with them as much as possible.  Along the way, I met friends.  Real, life long friends.  What was once about seeing the band suddenly became seeing the band with my friends.  Using the shows to be the backdrop for amazing weekends and that sort of thing.  When I think about it, a change happened in May that goes well beyond just traveling to the UK.  It was the first time I’d planned a major trip with friends assuming the band would play, only to have those plans changed and suddenly the trip became purely about being with friends.  Not only did I have the friends I’d traveled with, but I met new friends in London when Gimme a Wristband and Daily Duranie held their joint party at the Reflex.  We became friends over some bad circumstances with the shows being postponed, but I think the feelings all of us had that night helped to bond us to one another.  Friendship truly transcended the band that night, and it continues.

So I guess what I’ve discerned with the help of friends today is that my friendships are what I crave most these days when I travel for the band.  Touring is tough.  It seems like a lot of fun (and it is), but can also be brutal and punishing.  My body is 10 years older than it was when I started all of this, and while I’m still not quite an old lady – I’m not a kid with endless energy either.  I fear for our UK trip, to be honest.  4 shows.  6 days.  About a zillion miles of travel via airplanes and trains.  Tired is going to even begin to cut how we’re going to feel, but I know it’s going to provide a lifetime of memories due to the friendships I’ve made along the way.  For me personally, I don’t know of a lot of people going to the Madison Square Garden show, so my interest isn’t quite there, regardless of it being THE Madison Square Garden. (although I should wave an enthusiastic hello to our friend Kitty from Gimme a Wristband – have a great show!!)  Atlantic City is slightly more interesting to me, but I think my saving grace is that Amanda isn’t going, and I have about 34 days until I leave for the UK.  Amanda would be pleased that I actually know how many days we’ve got!!

A good example of this comes from my show on Friday in Chicago.  I sat alone at this show while Amanda and her cousin had seats in the pit up front.  I knew I’d be buying a single ticket, and that wasn’t a problem at all.  The show was great, but I’d be lying if I didn’t mention that something felt slightly off during the show.  I was excited to see the band, yes, and they didn’t disappoint, but even so – there was something missing.  I was even slightly offended when Simon tweeted after the show that it was their best show of the tour and possibly their career.  I remember calling that tweet “complete BS”. (actually I think my language might have been slightly more colorful….)  What was my problem?  Well, it’s easy – I was alone at the show.  There is something to be said for having someone next to you to squee along with (and no, my husband doesn’t count at all on that one!!) when John comes over to your side of the stage, or when you can comment about Simon’s choice of attire, or the fact that he still does those fancy karate moves at the end of Notorious, or when Roger twirls his stick (come on now!!).  But, when you’re alone, there’s nothing to say – and try as I might – the guys next to me were not interested in hearing my comments!  It really was a great show and I was excited to be there – but that feeling would have been amplified tenfold if I’d have been sitting with friends.  Naturally, I’d do it (sit alone) again if I needed; but I hope I never need!

The night of the show, I sat in the audience and tweeted something about how after 30 years, it’s great to be experiencing all of this with so many friends, and that we’re so lucky that a band of all things brought us together.  I think that statement really holds true for so many of us “hardcores” in the community.  I don’t know if I’d still be going to shows if I hadn’t made so many friends – and to be honest I think this very subject is one of the reasons why Amanda and I have taken this blog to heart so well.  We WANT fans to find connections with other fans, and if Daily Duranie needs to be vehicle to help make this happen – we happily accept that challenge.  We want EVERY fan to have the types of experiences that are life changing, and when it comes right down to it at the end of the day – it’s our friendships with one another that will make that happen.  That isn’t to say we’re all going to be friends with one another and be a happy family – that’s not the point and it’s not reality.  What I mean is simply that going to the shows and meeting the band is one facet (a face of a cut diamond) on a very large uncut diamond. (Yes, I’m a gemologist when I’m not a Duranie…)  What is going to make that diamond special and unique is to fill in or cut the other facets so that it shines like no other, and those “facets” are the experiences we have with the other people we meet along the way.  I love bringing people together and giving other fans an avenue or opportunity to have experiences similar to what I’ve been lucky enough to experience along my own journey.  We may never be able to get front row, but we will certainly have the joys of a lifetime along the way, and we want to share that with others however we can, whether it’s through as many meetups as we can manage or other experiences.

This week has been full of life lessons for me, both on a very personal and “Duranie” level, and it’s only Tuesday!

-R

It’s about that time

It’s a drizzly and cool day here in California.  As I type, it’s very foggy where I am, and the ground is wet from the amount of moisture in the air.  I’m actually surprised the TV stations aren’t going on and on about it because this practically constitutes a “Storm Watch” in Southern California.  It’s the type of morning when I wish I was still in bed sleeping.  I have to admit that the weather kind of matches my mood today.

There’s always a point just before I leave to go on a trip where I say to myself (or out loud!) “Why did I plan this?”  That time for this trip is this morning.  Actually, it really hit last Friday, but I ignored it then.  My son is having a very difficult time in school this year.  His grades are dismal, and I’m trying very hard to help him – it’s actually forcing me to relearn 7th grade math, which is joyous.  I have never loved math.  He has a band concert tonight that I somehow have to get everyone picked up from school, fed and ready to go by 6pm so that he can be dropped off.  (never going to happen.  I don’t even get home from picking up the oldest until about 6 these days!)  My oldest is on crutches at the moment – I know I’ve mentioned it here before but she’s a commercial dancer at an arts high school, and unfortunately she fell while bike riding a few weeks back, so there’s been zero dancing lately.  Unbeknownst to us prior, she has Osgood-Schlatter’s disease, which is not a big deal – but it’s a bone issue that is extremely common during childhood and it tends to cause pain, which she had when she was younger – we thought it was growing pains.  Ha.  It’s something she will (and has begun) to grow out of, but when she fell, she apparently aggravated the problem, and there’s a possibility that she also has a small fracture in that same area that they can’t seem to pick up on x-ray because of the angle.  She should have been off the crutches as of Monday, but naturally things are taking longer to heal that we would all prefer.  As a result, she’s going to see our sports medicine doctor every day for treatment.  My husband is in the middle of his annual sales meetings and I haven’t seen him for any real length of time since Monday. I’m not even sure if he realizes I’m actually leaving tomorrow and that he actually has to be “in charge” around here.  I hope he remembers to pick the kids up!!  I typed out a schedule for him yesterday, but I don’t think he’s even seen it.   Lastly, I’m sick again (as is everyone in the house).  It’s just a cold, but to put it in terms everyone will understand, I’m already hoarse in the morning and I haven’t even been to a show yet!  Can’t WAIT to see what I’ll be like come Saturday morning.  It’s all of these things that stress me out, and then I think to myself that it would have been so much easier to just stay home.  Of course it would have been, but then I would be missing out…

I think it’s a terrible tug-of-war sometimes to be a parent/wife/whatever and wanting to go and do things for yourself once in a while.  I have a particularly hard time with it at times, and yet I know that in the end, it’s good for me to go.  My mom had some pretty harsh words for me last week when we saw my son’s progress report from school – she reminded me that my first (and as far as she’s concerned, only) priority was to my children, and that I can’t count on my husband to step up when I don’t feel like it – it’s my job.  Her feeling is that I spend far too much time on this blog and on things “Duran” related and not enough with my kids.  I’m not sure I completely agree, although her point was well-taken.  I write the blog in the morning while most of the kids are at school.  I try to keep my writing to about a half hour, but sometimes it does take longer.  After that, yes – I can waste my time by being on line, and I’m sure I’ve done that – but I also spend a lot of time doing all of the things any other mom does around the house, and then my entire afternoons are spent picking kids up, bringing them home, getting them motivated to start homework, and then I fight traffic to and from the school my oldest attends – because she spends a full day at school, then has two hours of “conservatory”, which are her art-based classes.  In her case, it’s dance.  I get home here by 6pm, make dinner, eat, clean up from dinner, then I have to get my little one into the bath, get her to bed, then sit down and go over my son’s homework.  Last night I spent an hour just on his math homework so that I could make sure it was correct.  It was, and now I remember how to multiply, divide & reduce algebraic fractions again.  I was finished with my work by 10pm, in just enough time to download a few books for my trip tomorrow, and a couple of albums as well.  My light was off by 10:45 and I was up again this morning by 6:30.  What does my husband do around here?  Good question.   He didn’t even get home from his sales meeting until 11 last night, and while that’s not normal, I think it’s fair to say that while he does have responsibility to the family, he also has responsibilities outside of the home, and during the week at the very least – those take precedence.  For example, when I commented on my worries about getting everyone where they needed to be today (and yesterday for that matter), his response was “I’m sure you’ll figure it out.”  Gee, thanks honey.

At first when my mom started in on me, I agreed with her and felt guilty (I still feel a little guilty), but the more I think about it, the more I’m not sure what more I can really do.  I’m sure that every mom out there knows how I feel when I say that I love my family, but that isn’t enough.  Sometimes, I actually need to take care of me and take time to cherish some of the things in life that I enjoy(ed) on my own, before I became a mom.  It’s a tough balance.

And just think, in a month – I’ll be doing this all over again!  Just thinking about it already makes my blood pressure rise….eek!!!!

-R

Getting Excited!!!

I received my tickets for the Chicago show today!  Yay!  I always feel better once I actually have the tickets in hand even though I know that I have them on paper!  On top of that, Rhonda purchased a concert ticket for the show as well!  The preshow meetup is planned and relatively set.  I have been in contact with Hoyt’s restaurant in Hotel 71 and they are trying to do everything they can do to not only accommodate our group but to make sure that we have great service!  Nice!  Thus, it seems like things are all set for the Chicago show! 

While I have been excited for the Chicago show for awhile since, of course, the UK trip disappointment, part of me had been holding back.  I think it is probably pretty natural since I flew all the way over to the UK and did not see any shows.  At that time, I honestly didn’t know what the future was going to hold for Duran and Simon, in particular.  I started to feel a little better with the positive reports from the rehearsal shows.  This relief continued to improve after each of the US shows.  This feeling, however, was mixed with a little envy at the people who got to see shows.  Part of that feeling happens with every tour and every show, at least for me and probably others.  This time was a little different.  Part of that feeling, lately, had to do with worry and anxiety.  I honestly worried that at any point I would hear that Simon couldn’t do it, that he couldn’t finish the tour.  I thought, for sure, the tour would end before it got to my show.  I won’t lie that part of me still worries about that but it is decreasing with every show. 

Now, I’m less than 2 weeks away from my first show since April and starting to feel real excitement, the kind of excitement I used to feel.  I’m feeling the excitement that had to do with seeing friends, meeting new Duranies and seeing my favorite band live in concert.  For the last few months, the excitement had to more to do with hope at best and avoiding disappointment at worst.  While waiting for the real excitement to grow, the plans have actually been made.  In the past, when we make plans, we are expressing how much we are looking forward to the show, the tour.  Lately, though, plans have gotten made because they had to be made not because we really want to make them.  I’m starting to feel the itch of making plans for FUN.  This is good, of course, because soon Rhonda and I have to really start planning for the UK tour!  In the past, making plans has been part of what I have looked forward to.  I want that to be the case now, too. 

Now that the Chicago show is moving closer and my real excitement is growing, I have started to really believe that everything is okay and that my life as a Duranie is as it should be!  Thus, I’m truly starting to look forward to Chicago and to the UK tour!!!

-A 

Lacking Meets and Greets, Shows and More…

Somedays, when writing this blog, I can step back and be completely objective, an observer of fandom.  Other days, I feel such a part of the fandom that I struggle with my words.  Most days, I fall somewhere in between as I am aware that we are both observers of our fandom and part of it.  Today, I am struggling with the balance. 

As many of you are aware, my partner-in-crime is on her way to the Valley Center show.  I couldn’t be happier for her!  Where am I?  I’m laying on my couch hoping to feel better as it appears that I caught some sort of stomach bug.  Ick.  Obviously, I would love to switch places with her–not that she would with me, though!  Anyway, while I’m happy for her and for everyone else who is going to this show or has been to one of the previous shows, I can’t help but to want to be there myself.  I think this is the natural aspect of being in a fandom, right?  We all want to do every show.  Yet, of course, for a variety of reasons, we can’t or most of us can’t.  While we know that, logically, we still can be envious.  Now, I will admit that I have been rather lucky in terms of the number of shows I have seen in comparison to many people.  However, I know of people who have been to many more.  Does that bother me?  No, on most days, it doesn’t.  I understand that I can’t do it all.  I have responsibilities in terms of work and I have financial restrictions that limit my fandom activities.  That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t bother me, sometimes.  It does.  It is also clear that this bothers other fans, too.  Do you know how many comments we get from other fans from different parts of the world who are bothered by the lack of touring near them?  We get a lot of them!  What about those fans who can’t ever get to a show even if the band is touring in their country?  They, too, get upset about it. 

Another element of this that comes up during touring seasons is meet and greets.  Rhonda discussed VIP packages the other day and many, many people talked about the lack of meet and greets on this US leg of the tour.  A lot of people think that the band should do meet and greets with the money VIP tickets cost.  I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about this.  Now, before I go further, let me be perfectly clear.  We have never had an official meet and greet with the band.  Both of us have “met” them at cd signings but nothing like an official meet and greet.  Yes, we have been fans a long time.  Yes, we have VIPed some.  Do I think that the band should do meet and greets with all of the VIPs?  I’m not sure.  From everything I have heard, they don’t last long and most fans get moved along pretty quickly.  If this is how it is done for a few winners, how long would they last if ALL VIPs got one?  I suspect that they would be VERY short.  I wouldn’t want that.  I have already had that with the cd signing.  Then, there is always a part of me that has a hard time with the money connection.  VIP tickets cost a lot of money.  Should it be just the fans who can afford VIP who get to meet the band?  Then, what about those people who always have VIP?  Should they get to meet the band 10 times a tour?  5 times a tour?  Is that fair?  I don’t know.  Maybe it is since they would be paying for that privilege. 

Then, what about those people who win contests to meet the band?  On one hand, money is no longer the determining factor, which is good, in my opinion.  They requires good luck, however.  I have seen many friends of mine winning things like radio contests to meet the band.  That’s cool.  The only show I’m going to is in Chicago, a city more than 2 hours away from me.  If there is a radio contest, I wouldn’t know because I don’t get Chicago radio.  Thus, in this situation, geography and not money blocks my chances.  I have also seen or heard about people who aren’t really fans playing these type of contests and winning.  That is upsetting, too, as it means that Duranies don’t get a chance to win.  Don’t get me wrong here–I’m thrilled for anyone who wins a meet and greet and excited for people who get to shows I can’t do.  Yet, I’m acknowledging that even those of us who get it, logically, can still feel a little envious, can be upset and that this is normal.  It is normal to wish you were the one at the show.  It is normal to wish you were the one at the meet and greet. 

It seems to me that there is a wide spectrum of what Duran fans can and have done in terms of shows and meeting the band.  There are some fans who have seen one show and there are other fans who have seen well into double digits of shows.  Some fans have never met or seen the guys at all and others have done it a bunch of times.  I’m willing to bet that those fans who have been to a few or no shows feel a little hurt, a little upset watching and hearing about fans who do more.  The same is true for meet and greets.  Do the fans who have been to a ton of shows and/or have met the band a bunch of times feel this way, too?  I think they might.  Again, I think the thing about fandom is that people want everything they can get or else they wouldn’t be fans! 

This post is really just to acknowledge that I believe these feelings exist.  I’m not judging those feelings.  I’m not saying that people should try to change their feelings.  I think, too often, people are encouraged, openly or not, to keeping those feelings to themselves.  I’m sure that someone is going to write and tell me that these feelings are selfish and that they never feel this way.  To those people, I’m happy for you, but it doesn’t change my mind that I think the feelings do exist for a lot of people in the fandom.  Now, tomorrow, I will be better, both physically (I hope) and emotionally and can get back to counting down the days until I’m the lucky one at the Chicago show.

-A

The Joys of Plotting

I love days like these!  I love days when I have all sorts of grand plans but other more enjoyable tasks get in the way.  🙂  Typically, weekends are when I catch my breath after working a long, intense week.  It is my chance to do everything not related to work, including things around the house, other projects, write, read, etc.  That was my plan for today.  Fortunately, Rhonda decided that her Saturday morning was going to be spent plotting for upcoming Duran shows!  I say that this was fortunate because it is WAY more fun to plot for Duran shows than it is to do things around the house! 

Obviously, there have been many signs to let us know that all is right in the world of Duran lately from the fantastic reports of the rehearsal shows to the fact that John Taylor is now sporting blond bangs again!  Someone on twitter even asked him about his new do and he said something about how he knew that it would get us all excited!  He isn’t wrong.  As a John girl, I couldn’t be more thrilled!  To me, it was also a good sign about the upcoming shows as I have noticed that John often changes the hair before a tour.  Then, of course, he talked about how Simon was already in the States with the others soon to be following.  Heck, even today, I saw Dom saying about how he was packing for more than 6 weeks.  Truly, it is hard to believe that they will be playing again in less than a week and that this will start off a good trek around North America.  Perhaps, these signs led Rhonda and, in turn, me to start plotting with more seriousness!

Much was accomplished today in regards to the upcoming Chicago show.  Rhonda booked her flight and we booked our hotel room!  We have some ideas of things that we want to do in the city when she is here.  I know that we mentioned wine and vinyl.  We both love going to art museums as well so the Art Institute or the Contemporary Art museums might be on the agenda as well.  One thing we talked about was figuring out dinner for Friday night before the show and to see if other Duranies want to join us.  I am hoping to find some place close to the venue and with a good variety of food and drinks.  Anyone know of any place like that you would recommend?  Anyone interested in joining us?  If I know how many of us are interested in doing dinner with us, I’m sure I could make a reservation.

Of course, once we have Chicago planned, we will turn our attention to the UK.  Right now, we are still trying to figure out flights, when to fly in, etc.  From there, we will think about hotels, trains, etc.  The thing is that it felt really good to talk about all of these plans today.  While Duranland might not be completely carefree, it does feel right at the moment.  It seems like we were holding our breath for so long to see what was going to happen next.  The fun had been pushed to the side.  While plans were getting made, they were always cautiously done.  Now, I wouldn’t say we aren’t being cautious but now the fun and excitement is coming through more. 

I’m now looking forward to the next few months in a way that I haven’t been.  I’m also thrilled to be plotting for tours once again!

-A

All Night Parties…Cocktail Bars

Those lyrics have always summarized what the best touring experiences have been for me.  Yes, a great touring experience typically includes staying up late and enjoying a cocktail or 5.  ;D  I started thinking back to my most favorite touring experiences after seeing the clip of Duran performing the song where the lyric comes from and thought that now would be a good time for me to remember those times as opposed to worrying all the time about Simon. 

While I would say that I haven’t toured a ton, I would have that I have done it some.  I haven’t done it enough that I don’t appreciate when I get to do it.  It still feels like a big deal to me and I get just as excited as I once did as every tour still holds the potential to be the most fun ever!  My touring life really began in 2005, even though I had seen Duran before that.  2005 was the year in which the various elements that I now associate with touring came to be.  Before this, going to a show meant driving to the concert, seeing the show, maybe going out a little after the show and driving home.  I slept in my own bed and costs were kept to a minimum.  Then, I met some Duranies, including my partner-in-crime, and those expectations changed.  Now, touring means staying at a hotel, at the very least, and living it up.  Often, touring now includes air travel.

One of my favorite touring experiences happened in the spring of 2005.  When Duran had announced tour dates in December of 2004, I knew that I would probably be attending the Chicago show.  What I didn’t know then was how much of a party it was going to be!  Before tickets were purchased, a fairly large group of people decided to come to Chicago for this show, including Rhonda.  We all decided to get to Chicago the previous day (the show was on a Friday) to have some fun.  That Thursday night was filled with drinking at the hotel bar while waiting for each person to arrive!  Every time someone new arrived there would be much excitement and frequent reminders from the hotel staff that we needed to keep it down!  We did not get much sleep that night as we continued to enjoy the bar as well as food from nearby Steak and Shake and IHOP (my favorite IHOP, to be exact!).  The next day was filled with last minutes errands and getting ready for the show.  Clearly, we had decided then and there that our 3-4 hours of sleep were good enough!  After the show was over, we again returned to the hotel bar to celebrate a fabulous show!!  Many beverages were consumed, including a couple of special bottles of wine.  Apparently, we were also so loud that the hotel felt it necessary to close the bar!!  What was particularly interesting about this day was that we ate at 11:30 and then didn’t eat again until the next day.  Oops!  There wasn’t a lot of time for rest again as we had to drive up to Milwaukee for the next show!  This night wasn’t filled with many drinks as we drove right back down to Chicago after the show.  Did we go to our hotel to get some much needed sleep?  Nope.  We hung out in downtown Chicago.  No sleep for us.  At all.  While we did have a hotel room, we never slept in it.  We stored our luggage there.  We showered there, but we did not sleep there.  Later in the day, Rhonda and I walked around a mall in order to stay awake before her flight.  At that mall, we both swear that we heard Sunrise playing.  Although, it really could have been sleep deprivation kicking in!

We had another fantastic weekend of all night parties and cocktails in the fall of 2006.  In this case, like the previous time, we went to the Chicago show then added the Voodoo Festival in New Orleans.  We all arrived in the city on that Thursday, the day of the show.  We rushed to get ready as traffic from the airport was horrible!  Luckily, we were able to grab some dinner before the show, knowing that it was highly possible that we wouldn’t be eating until the next morning.  After this show, we decided to hit a club until about 4 in the morning.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get much sleep here either as we had to get to the airport early as we were all heading to New Orleans (different flights).  I figured that I might be able to get some sleep on the plane since the pathetic 2-3 hours of sleep weren’t going to be enough.  No such luck.  The next three nights in New Orleans were exactly as anyone familiar with Bourbon Street would expect.  There was much drinking and very little sleep.  We were often reaching for the sunrise on that trip!  One night, we were still out when all but the strip joints were closed.  Ouch.  By the end of those 4 nights, we had almost twice as many drinks as we had hours of sleep.  Good times!!

2007 wasn’t any different except that we traveled to New York City for just one show, the fan show.  While the show itself was horribly upsetting, we had a good time in the city.  We, especially, enjoyed ourselves at the fan get together at the Pyramid Club, a club that features a night of 80s music.  It was so nice to meet and party with Duranies!  We were actually pretty tired on the night of the show due to our previous night’s adventures and because we were walking everywhere!  Did I mention that I usually lose weight on tour?  I do.  I suspect that this is due to all of the walking and very little eating! 

We have been lucky enough to have more weekends like this in 2008, 2009 and 2010.  We obviously tried to have a week like this in May and are trying again for October and November.  The thing is that Rhonda and I have tried to have weekends like this in between tours.  Those non-show weekends have generally been fun, especially since they still often feature reaching up for the sunrise and consuming all of the vodka in any given city.  They aren’t as fun as show weekends, however.  Something special happens at a Duran show.  Our excitement increases.  Rhonda and I are pretty capable of having fun on our own but we both enjoy having fun with other Duranies, too!  These memories remind me of what I’m hoping for this fall.  They remind me of a quote I read from John Taylor once and it went something like this, “Did you ever have so much fun that you didn’t know if you would ever get over it?  It was like that.”  He was obviously describing being in Duran but I can use it to describe touring. 

What about the rest of you?  What are your fondest memories of touring?  Do you experience all night parties and cocktail bars like we often do?

-A

Tour Choices

It has been almost a week since Duran announced new tour dates for the US and Canada.  Many people have developed plans and some have even bought tickets, through the DDM presale or the regular public sale.  Other people are figuring things out and debating which shows, if any to go to.  I think that this indecisiveness is common.  Yet, I don’t really feel like this upcoming fall tour will be normal.  Maybe I feel this way because I flew all the way over to the UK to see some shows and didn’t get any.  Perhaps, it is because I have a lot of questions in my own future.  No matter the cause, I find my thinking about the tour to be different than normal.  It isn’t just a tour in the long line of tours.  It isn’t just the fall tour 2011 with more following.  I don’t know what it is but it isn’t like every other tour to me.

One question or comment I have seen more than once relating to this tour is when Duran is coming back to the US.  I am actually a little surprised by this question as it seems to me that many who are asking it, are hoping or thinking that Duran will come back in 2012.  It seems to me that the people asking this are people who aren’t able to see a show now.  Maybe, thinking that they will come back sooner rather than later helps them deal with their disappointment.  I get that.  It would help me, too.  That said, I’m still surprised about it.  First, I am still worried about Simon.  Do we really even know if he can do these shows.  While we know that he has been able to sing many notes that he wasn’t before, I haven’t seen anything to indicate that he is perfect.  Will he be able to make it through these 20 some dates?  If he does that, will he be able to make it through the UK?  My point here is simple.  Let’s worry about getting through what is already scheduled but don’t assume that everything is like normal.  It isn’t.  Then, if things are back on track, what about the rest of the world?

Duran still needs to reschedule Europe.  They owe it to those fans to do that next.  Yes, I think there is a very legitimate argument to be made that they should have done the UK first then Europe before coming back here.  I wouldn’t disagree with it.  I understand why they are doing this, assuming that they had these dates scheduled before they postponed Europe.  That said, I do think it would be good for American fans to remember that our country has had them twice in one year before the UK or Europe, not to mention the rest of the world.  They still haven’t done dates in South America (yes, I know that they have ONE date scheduled in Brazil), Asia, Australia or make up the dates in South Africa.  There are a LOT more places for them to play before they come back here.  No matter how much we love them here or how big our country is or how much money they make here, there are other places in the world, other fans that need to be reached.  We cannot and should not be selfish.  Yes, obviously, I want to see them as much as I can.  All fans do.  I try to understand, though, that the US isn’t the only place in the world. 

Now, I can imagine that many of you are saying something along the lines of, “You live close to shows so it isn’t a big deal for you” or “You have the time and money to travel”.  I won’t deny that I have been VERY lucky with what I have been able to do.  I am within driving distance of a major market (Chicago) and have been very fortunate to be able to travel to see other shows.  That said, it isn’t like I’m able to do everything I want to do.  I can’t go to all the shows I want to.  I can’t travel all the time.  I have to make choices and I have to make it work with the dates and locations I have been given.  I have to be willing to drive or fly to the shows that I want to see.  I have to be willing to sacrifice buying some things that I want in order to be be able to go to a show.  It is about choices and priorities for me.  I realize that the band isn’t going to play in my backyard or charge me less for tickets.  I have to be willing to work with what they have given as far as any tour goes.  If I’m not willing to travel or spend the money, then it isn’t their fault.  In my case, it is MY choice to not travel or spend the money.  Now, obviously, some people don’t have the choices I have.  For many people, I know, that they can’t buy concert tickets because it means that they won’t have money for necessary items like groceries.  I also know that there are people who can’t drive distances for whatever reason.  Yet, some people might be able to sacrifice one thing or another to get to a concert.  If those people go or don’t, it is about choices.  They choose to go or not.  They aren’t forced one way or another and I respect whatever choices they make. 

Tours or concerts will never be perfect.  Duran won’t always play where you want them to play.  They won’t always play when you want them to play.  The ticket price will never be what any of us wants.  I recognize this.  I accept it.  This fall tour isn’t want I really want it to be, in terms of dates, locations, etc.  That said, I accept that it is what it is and I’m willing to make the choices and sacrifices necessary in order to get to at least one show.  In the back of my mind, I now know that every show, every tour could be the last.  I can’t wait for them to come back.  I can’t wait for 2012.  This could be it so I will do what must be done, at least once.

-A