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Chicago Show #2 Review!

I wanted to think of a catchy title but nothing is hitting me this beautiful Sunday afternoon.  I guess I could have named it the weird but wonderful Chicago show number 2.

The Smoke/Fog Machine:

Within the first few minutes, we knew that the show was going to be super entertaining.  The band came out to play Paper Gods with the smoke/fog machine enveloping the stage, creating a very cool atmosphere.  Yet, last night the smoke machine didn’t turn off when it was supposed to.  It kept going and going.  Poor Dom Brown couldn’t even be seen.  I was impressed that he could continue to play in the midst of it!  As soon as we all realized that the fog machine had a mind of its own, we started laughing.  Soon enough, Simon and John were laughing, too.  Thus, right away, we knew that this show was going to be a funny one!

Clothing changes!

I’m not going to lie.  My friends and I have spent quite a bit of time the last few days discussing John’s…pants, you know the ones he has been wearing most of the time at the shows.  They look like track pants with an orange stripe up the side and a length that is questionable at best.  Clearly, we do not love these pants.  Thus, as the pants came up in conversation, we began pondering whether or not we should offer to take him shopping or if we shouldn’t buy pants ourselves and toss them on stage for him to wear.  Yet, last night, the man wore different pants!  Text messages expressing our delight were quickly exchanged.  We all approved of these other pants!!!

Simon also appeared in a new white jacket, which also met our approval.  That said, the man wore a new hat during White Lines that we had to wonder about as you can see below.IMG_2747

Again, seeing Simon in this sparkly pink hat alerted us that this show was something to behold!  Perhaps, there is a connection between this moment and another Simon moment that happened on this exact date in 2009.

We have to wonder when is the madness going to end??????

Those Damn Beach Balls:

Speaking of madness, again, giant beach balls appeared during Rio.  Many of them found their way to the stage where the band would gleefully punch, throw, or kick them back out to the crowd.  At one point, John’s microphone stand almost fell over from one while he was singing into it.  Then, just a couple of minutes later, he sent a beach ball into the audience, knocking the stand completely over.  It was all distracting.  Where do I watch?  Am I watching the band?  Watching the balls to ensure that I don’t get hit on the head with one?  Even after the song ended, the crowd and band continued to toss them back and forth.  Craziness.

Holy JoSi, Batman!!!

Oh my.  I’m still reeling from all of the fabulous JoSi moments last night.  Honestly, there were SO many that I wondered if I had taken a time machine and it was 2005 all over again.  On top of the frequency of those John and Simon moments, they were also longer and…dare I say…more quality.  Longer eye contact, for example.  At one point, Simon walked over and kissed John’s shirt, which was the mouth from Rio.  Well, then.  Simon even grabbed at John’s collar to pull him closer.  Let this pattern continue for the rest of the tour.  Please.  I beg the Duranie gods!

Song Highlights:

Both Rhonda and I are REALLY loving New Moon on Monday.  For both shows, it just adds something to the show.  I love how it connects Duran’s history with more recent Duran.  I also thought Pressure Off was great, but I missed the confetti terribly.  Wild Boys was great fun!  I have also liked I Don’t Want Your Love both nights.  Last night, though, I noticed that while Simon introduced the song, John and Dom were mouthing the words that Simon was saying.  Clearly, they have heard it a time or two.

There were a couple of moments that reminded me of times past.  First, during Planet Earth, I had heard that the crowds had not been shouting “switch it off” anymore.  Well, we proudly did.  Last night, John saw us yell and responded by saying, “That’s right!”  On top of that, Simon ventured off the stage to encourage the crowd to sing the “ta na na” part of the Reflex.  If that wasn’t enough, Simon also messed up the lyrics to not one song but two (Hungry Like the Wolf and Save a Prayer).  Again, we wondered if we didn’t go in a time machine?!

Ravinia and the Crowd:

While these two shows were great fun, I’m for one glad to be moving on to different venues.  While last night’s crowd was way better, there were still so many people there who were NOT there to see Duran Duran.  It is hard to remain excited when you hear people say things like, “Who’s Nick Rhodes?”  On top of that, the venue is far from the city, from downtown and a serious pain in the ass to get to and from.

Overall:

I would have to say that Friday’s show was probably a better performance but last night’s show was way high on the entertaining side.  They seemed more relaxed and that they were having fun.  We look forward to seeing how things go for the next couple of shows in Detroit and Toronto.

-A

 

The time has come

After a late night, it was really nice to sleep in this morning—a luxury I rarely allow myself at home. When I woke up, I realized that today is the day!  Amanda should be driving in and other friends will be arriving. Tonight we will celebrate the beginning of our Summer Tour 2016.

Amanda and I will celebrate the completion of our massive rewriting project.  We made it to July, and Ravinia is happening tomorrow night!!

I did see a few posts from people who went to the Nashville show last night. Seeing that the show wasn’t rained out made me happy. No one likes seeing that happen. Everyone said the show was great, but the comments that stood out most to me were the ones about the friendship we share. I love seeing other people give testimony to things Amanda and I have felt for many years now.  The love of a band brought us all together. That’s amazing.  The music is outstanding, but the real gift has been the friendships we’ve made along the way.  I love seeing other people react similarly.

Right now, I am so thankful for just being here and having the chance to celebrate with everyone, I still couldn’t care any less about what the band is playing tomorrow night. Something about the past week or so has really been a kind of wake up call to just enjoy the moments. I keep telling my sister and my friends that I just want to have fun and not worry.  Just breathing and not thinking too hard has been a relief.

Every single time I’ve set out on one of these road trips, no matter the length,  I’ve learned something more about myself. I suppose this is all as much about personal discovery as it is listening to great music and losing my cares for a couple of hours each night.  This time, it seems that I’m learning how to live in the moment and not the little things get me down.  (And I haven’t even been to a single show yet!)

I hope to see many of you at the meet ups we’re doing, or at shows along the way. If you aren’t already following us on Twitter, you might join in—I’m sure Amanda and I will have plenty to say, some of which might even be printable!  We also have an Instagram that definitely be filling up too.  We’re ready to take everyone along on this road to insanity!

The rest of my morning includes preparing for Amanda’s arrival and getting this show—Summer Tour 2016—on the road!

-R

Top 10 Reasons For Tour Excitement Part 1!

I’m a little over ten days away from leaving for the first part of my summer tour!  I have a list of touring things to do like getting the oil changed in the car and getting my hair cut.  I’m starting to think about what clothes and other items to bring.  My dreams are even starting to reflect the upcoming tour.  (Last night, I dreamt that a bunch of Duranies I know decided to go Trick or Treating the night before a show, which means I thought the tour was happening around Halloween??  Weird…)  All in all, I started to think about what I’m really looking forward to with touring.  Here are the Top 10 things I can’t wait for!

10.  Our meet ups:

This summer, we have four meet ups planned in Chicago (both nights), Toronto and Las Vegas.  Who doesn’t love seeing Duranies meeting each other or seeing each other after a few months or a few years?  Stories get shared.  Pictures get taken.  Everyone gets more and more excited for the show.  If you are going to these shows, we would love to have you join us!  Links to the details and the place to RSVP:

Friday Night Ravinia Pre-Show Party (Facebook)

Saturday Night Ravinia Pre-Show Party (Facebook)

Toronto Pre-Show Party  (Facebook)

Vegas Pre-Show Party (Facebook)

9.  Meeting new people:

Each show and meet up brings the opportunity to meet new people.  In many cases, we get to meet people we have talked to online, putting faces to names.  Other times, we meet people who have been reading this little blog for years who come and introduce themselves.  Of course, we meet people waiting in line or sitting in our seats.  I still love that moment when you are talking with someone and you realize that this person loves the band like you do.

8.  Seeing old friends:

Of course, each show brings the chance to see people you haven’t seen in a long time.  For this tour, for example, I know that I’ll see people whom I haven’t seen since 2006 or 2009.  Yet, I’ll also see friends who I haven’t seen since the fall shows.  I can’t wait to see everyone!!

7.  Late nights at clubs and bars:

For Rhonda and myself, touring means that we will be spending quite a bit of time in clubs and bars, talking, laughing, drinking, dancing, etc.  The extroverted part of me really loves going out like this and I certainly don’t get much time to do that at home.  You know what else is really fun?  Blogs written late at night after we have consumed an adult beverage or two are usually a pretty fun read.  I’m thinking of blogs like “WHAT DO I DO, AMANDA…I CAN’T GET AN INTERNET CONNECTION!!”  or “ALL I NEED IS VODKA….”  If you all are really lucky (or unlucky, depending on how you look at it), you might get a couple of those this summer!

6.  Following touring traditions:

Over the years, Rhonda and I have developed quite a few traditions while on tour.  Some of these you might be familiar with like drinking vodka tonics or creating set lists that we share on social media.  (Fair warning, Duran Duran, this tradition will live on this summer and I’m sure we have plenty of suggestions for you!)  Others are simply behind-the-scenes, so to speak.  For example, we try to find a takeout menu in which we record funny quotes, moments, etc.  It is a silly way for us to document the tour.

5.  Getting out of town:

I don’t know about any of you but I like to get out of town, sometimes.  While I enjoy where I live, I also like a break from the usual household chores, making dinner, etc.  When I get out of town, I come back fresh and appreciative.  I haven’t really been out of town much during this year at all.  I have been too busy with work and book writing.  Thus, a change of scenery will be really appreciated.

4.  Seeing new places:

One of the biggest reasons I enjoy touring is that I get to see places I haven’t seen before.  The shows give me an excuse to travel to new places.  In fact, this fandom has forced me to travel about 1000 times more than I did before.  While flying still isn’t my thing, I have learned to tolerate it.  Other than that, I have found that I enjoy traveling.  This time around, I will get to see Toronto for the first time.  I have wanted to visit this city for a number of years and now will get to!  Better than that, I’ll see it with my good friends, Rhonda and Heather!

3.  Being in places I haven’t been to in a long time:

Of course, touring also means going to places I have been to before and have good memories of.  This year, we will spend a lot of time in Chicago, which always makes my heart happy since I grew up around the city.  Then, we will travel through Michigan, which also brings back good memories of my grandparents who lived there when I was a kid and going to college in Kalamazoo at Kalamazoo College.  Likewise, on the second part, we will spend a couple of days in Vegas, which definitely brings up some crazy Duran-related memories.

2.  Laughing with Rhonda:

As you all know, Rhonda and I live pretty dang far away from each other so tours bring us an opportunity to actually be in the same city at the same time.  No matter which tour we look back on, there is one certainty on tour.  We will laugh.  We will laugh a LOT.  Sometimes, we laugh at absolutely nothing as we sit in a restaurant booth at 4 in the morning.  Other times, we laugh we drive or run through major downpours.  We can even laugh when Rhonda busts her head open on a soap dish or when I fall flat on my face on the streets of New Orleans.  Thus, I’m sure that there will be plenty of laughter coming up for us this summer!

1.  Seeing shows:

Last but certainly not least, tours mean seeing shows.  The reasons that shows are awesome are too numerous to mention in a short little paragraph.  Thus, I’ll cover all of those details in part 2, which I will write next weekend!

No matter what, there is still nothing that gets me more excited than touring.  It isn’t just about the shows, but about everything that I mentioned here and more.  When I’m on my deathbed (hopefully a long time from now), I’ll look back to touring fondly knowing it was the most fun I ever had.  So, what about the rest of you?  Why are you looking forward to going on tour or seeing a show(s)?

-A

 

Go Directly to the Voodoo with DD in Austin Texas!

Ed note: We’re always looking for willing bloggers to share their concert experiences!  Today we have a guest blogger from the UK sharing a tale of his adventure to the US for a recent gig!  

By Nigel

When DD hit the scene I was in my early twenties. I bought their first two albums , I still think the first album is their best, followed now by Paper Gods. Through the nineties, DD were on my radar, with songs like “Ordinary World” striking a chord. I also remember a small TV concert with Emma Bunton (Baby Spice)  while I sat on a sofa. I don’t remember hearing of reunion gigs in the early nineties,  but I do remember “Sunrise” being released.

Then in  mid-2015, I saw A Diamond in the Mind on TV.  I was impressed with their fantastic live show. Dom and Anna on stage enhanced the whole performance.  Songs like “The Reflex” with its longer intro sounded even better than the original . After a few plays of the classics I slowly began to enjoy the new songs like “Girl Panic”, etc. This led me to see if any other new material was about.

The timing was perfect because Paper Gods was to be released in September, followed by a world tour.  I decided on going to my first DD concert and set about learning all the songs on Paper Gods.

My first DD gig was to take place on December 10th in  Bournemouth, only 80 miles from my current home, and also my second home town having spent all my childhood holidays in my parents caravan nearby (Simon said at the concert that he had been nearby in Canford Heath in his early years, maybe we met on the beach 50 years earlier?).

As I arrived at the concert I was aware that the audience was still mainly female, but there were also couples and some mums and daughters etc. Being a straight male at my first DD concert on my own, I felt at ease with the crowd around me, as I was about to sing every word to all the songs. I have to say the atmosphere from ten thousand middle age women screaming was quite exciting!!  I was hooked. (Why had it taken me thirty years to see this, I wondered?) The concert was amazing!  In my opinion, Duran are still at the top of their game due to their fans, their songwriting, and their performances

After the show, I met some great Duranies at  Bar So, just opposite the concert venue.  Whilst chatting to some lovely ladies from Southampton, we were joined by a guy from the US (Boston, actually), dressed in a green superman cape.   He joined in with our conversation and appeared to be known to most people in the bar. I had a spare ticket to see another great British band the following night in Bournemouth. (Status Quo)  I offered the ticket to my new friend in the cape.  The following night was a real laugh with an American who had never heard of Status Quo. (they opened Live Aid).  At some point, he suggested that I should come to the US when DD tour next year.  I thought to myself, what a great idea for a holiday!!

After an email from my new friend in USA, I decided that Austin, Texas would be ideal for my next DD concert. With Chic supporting it meant that my two favourite bands ever would be on the same bill! I bought two tickets, and my best mate Stuart agrees to join me for a lads week away in Austin.  Time to party!!

We arrived in Austin two days before the concert and partied on sixth street.  We went to Buffalo Billiards, along with a very posh bar at the JW Marriott.

Friday marked the day of the show.  We took a taxi for $50.00 to the 360 Amphitheatre, and we weren’t sure if we could get a taxi back.  Our British phones weren’t working, so we had some residual fear in the backs of our minds that maybe we would be stuck there all night.

Before the show we had a drink.  Two ladies from Tulsa ask if they could join us as we had spare seats.  I answer, “Of course!!”  The conversation began about DD. They asked,  “Are you from England? That is a long way to come!!”  After some great banter, friendships were made with Dannette and Petra. Petra is a JT fan and told me that JT’s middle name is Nigel.  I corrected her by explaining it was his real first name, which amused her friend Dannette greatly!

My two new lady friends, Dannielle and Petra. Courtesy of Nigel
My two new lady friends, Dannielle and Petra.
Courtesy of Nigel

We then convinced them to give us Brits a lift back into Austin after the show . They were going to search the hotels to find DD.  I told them about my other new friend  in the green cape and said that if he was at the show, he would probably be in the right hotel with DD !!
The concert began and Chic took the stage. Nile sang “Get Lucky” as well as all the classics, which was fantastic!  The last song was “Rappers Delight”,  and people from the audience were also on the stage.  I looked up and there was my man (the caped crusader from Bournemouth) in a high visibility jacket. (He owed me a favour for that free ticket in Bournemouth!)   During the intermission before DD took the stage, I tracked him down in the crowd.  We spoke and I was able to get some “after show information ” from him.

I realize it was going to be a great night, worth traveling 9,000 miles!   The DD concert is even better on a hot Texas night, with a full moon over the stage during “Hungry Like The (were) Wolf!!”  Tributes were paid to Prince (Simon’s first to him) as well.

After the show,  we met our new lady friends from Tulsa. Petra was trying to get backstage with the wrong pass, and Dannette phoned to tell her I had good information from the caped crusader!!
We left the venue for the hotel in Austin.  In our best English accents we attempted to teach two girls from Tulsa how to say “Bon, Simon Le Bon”, with no American accent!! We were all having such a great time!!
As we arrived at the hotel, security was tight, but I was ready.   There was only Valet parking,  and so after one lap of the car park,  I hop out (of the car).  With my English accent in a Texas hotel, it was “obvious” I was with DD, right?  The car was parked for us, and we walked to the bar, closely followed by the caped crusader, (now known as high visibility man !!  ) And….. ooh yeah…. SLB along with the rest of the DD entourage, etc.  Our two new lady friends were in heaven, and admittedly I was feeling pretty good too !!  My mate Stuart is not a Duranie, mind you, and found it all to be a bit funny.

Me, my friend Stuart and Dannielle and Petra photo courtesy of Nigel.
Me, my friend Stuart and Dannielle and Petra
photo courtesy of Nigel.

The caped crusader joins us for a drink and SLB is on the next table.
What a night!   We lived life to the fullest!!  Good times on a DD adventure!!!

Nigel was born in 1961 in Swindon Wilts Uk. (Swindon is abNigel Thumbnailout 20 miles away from Salisbury. He thinks he read somewhere that JT has a house near Salisbury but he’s never seen him shopping…and he wonders why did he change his stage name to John??)  His musical tastes through the seventies were probably similar to DD.   Bowie, Queen, and T. Rex to name a few. His first concerts were quite heavy metal: Deep Purple, Judas Priest. In the later seventies he also liked Disco: Chic and Earth  Wind and Fire (who he saw in concert early in the eighties).

 

 

Southampton Common People Review

Another great review to share from a guest blogger!  Thanks so much for submitting reviews, our readers love them!! -R
By Carron Stacey
Six months ago, my Duranie friend asks if I want to go to this festival in Southampton to see Duran Duran.  I thought to myself, it’s just before my birthday, what a great idea.  We decided to upgrade to VIP tickets! Together, we’ve seen them three times. The first – no John sadly, but still good. The second – in Birmingham, fantastic to see JT at last (he’s always been my fav, my friend preferring SLB). The third – extremely special in St Andrews football ground. We were so close and I was pregnant with my son Ben, dreaming JT was the father!
Fast forward to this gig. We are so excited. Recovering from tonsillitis, I didn’t even know last week if I was going to be able to make it. We must’ve looked a type in the VIP Nook. I don’t know, 40-45 year old mums on a day out? Must be here to see DD. We met some lovely ladies with whom we shared the event, and a group of Southampton couples, with whom we bantered about Pompey -v- The Scummers etc. Yes we’d had a few drinks.
In the VIP Nook area, the toilet blocks are separated by hessian screens. My friend returned from a trip there and said “I’m sure you can see where they’ll go on stage from.” With that, we ran out before they came on. We peered through the small squares in the hessian screen. Lo and behold, there they were! I took a few pictures of them getting ready, listening to the crowd going wild for them. I was almost spellbound, definitely starstruck. I’ve seen you on the stage and I’ve seen you on TV (see what I did there?) but there was something mesmerizing about watching them prepare. Psych up. Whatever. The crowd was crazy and this next bit was worth the extra payment for the VIP area – I saw JT shake his hands together in the air and genuinely look excited at the anticipating audience! It was amazing that he (they) still get turned on by this. That it’s not just ‘”oh some municipal festival or whatever”. This is a DD gig with massive fans and casual fans alike, all cheering their hearts out to see you. I shouted to the sax player “See you in a minute!” He said, “I can’t see you!” and I shouted, “Yes, you can, look here’s my foot” and stuck my foot under the screen. He laughed! They climbed the stairs, we ran back to our bench.
Now I must just take the time to explain what sort of fan I am. I am not, unlike the two lovely ladies we met, uberfans. They’ve seen them so many times. Met them at book signings and on the Eurostar, being asked for headache tablets! They know where JT’s mansion is. I don’t know even know all the words to Notorious, but I think I can fudge it. I certainly don’t know Sunrise off by heart and I haven’t (the shame) listened to Paper Gods, their new album. I am a huge fan, but only really of the first three albums. Duran Duran, spawning the singles Planet Earth and Girls on Film, is the best. I know every song, every lyric, every drum beat, every synthesized Nick note… Rio is just perfection. I know this like I know the first album too. It doesn’t sound dated even today. Seven and the Ragged Tiger, well I can’t say this is a “great” album and it does sound a bit dated, but I loved it at the time and so it remains on the list. Notorious was out in 1986, but by this time, I had gone all Smiths and Cocteau Twins. I do like the funkiness of Notorious and Skin Trade, but I don’t even think I bought it. I think I just preferred the New Romantic stage. Oh and the Look-At-Our-Ostentatious-Video phase.
So, the setlist. Well first off, Simon seems to have had the same illness as me! His voice was croaky and he could be seen coughing off-mike quite a lot. Fair play to him, I’d have expected him to rely on his backing singers more, but he didn’t. He sounded better than I’d heard him before, in spite of his croakiness. No duff notes there Simon! Paper Gods to start off. Wild Boys – always a crowd pleaser. Hungry Like the Wolf – ditto. View to a Kill – loved the Bond theme before. Later when introducing the band, SLB said of himself “The name’s Bon. Simon Le Bon.” Come Undone – I like it but not as much as my friend, it’s her favourite. Last Night in the City – a new one for me, quite good! Notorious – funky as flip. Pressure Off – a newbie but I do sort of know it. Planet Earth/Space Oddity – I’d forgotten they were doing this. It worked well and the crowd appreciated the nod to one of DD’s heroes, Bowie. Ordinary World – a crowd favourite, but not really one of mine. I Don’t Want Your Love – OK. White Lines – they get a lot of stick for this cover version but do you know what? We all love singing it so why can’t they have some fun? Sunrise/New Moon on Monday – obviously I was mostly impressed with the New Moon on Monday bit! Girls on Film – awesome. Their encore – I missed what SLB said as I’d fallen off the bench and launched into the man in front at that point, but it was something like “Without Prince, (our?) music wouldn’t sound like it does”. We held our lighters, I mean phone torches, aloft in memory during Save a Prayer. Rio – the last one. Such energy!
As we were on this hammock/bench thing, we had a great view of the whole festival field. Everyone’s hands were in the air during the 90 minute set. They were awesome to look at (not just the band but the whole set up), the backing singers weren’t annoying like sometimes they can be. They looked part of it. Simon worked the audience. There were youngsters behind us singing every word. Older people singing along. Older couples slow dancing to the hits. I kept catching the eye of a woman dancing near us, and at certain points, it was like we were talking in shorthand about a shared history we’d never had. Who would’ve thought DD were a festival band? They were last night. Of course I’d have liked more old hits, but the whole show was slick, energetic and current. No 80s throwbacks here. The whole atmosphere was enhanced by sharing the experience with our new Duranie friends; we just sang along and screamed like teenagers. I took a blurred photo of us in mid scream. That summed it up. What a fantastic night.
Just as we’d seen them enter the stage, we ran back to our peep-hole to see them exit. We filmed with our phones over the top of the screen this time and watched them descend the steps, to be chaperoned in to their waiting cars. First Roger, then Nick (I always love his lip gloss), the guitarist and sax (sorry I don’t know their names – Dom?), John and then Simon. I shouted to Simon, “Hope your voice gets better.” And this next bit made my night. As he was putting his jacket on, he gave me the peace sign. Swoon. Do you know, I think I may trade my allegiance … JT gave me nothing but SLB gave me a V! I am 10 again.
photo courtesy of Carron Stacey
photo courtesy of Carron Stacey

Carron Stacey has loved Duran Duran since their first album came out when she was 10. JT is her favourite, though she may switch allegiance to SLB after their latest gig. She adores the first three albums; after that she went all goth (she can muddle through at gigs though). Carron lives in the south of England, blogs regularly about being mum to an embarrassed 10-year-old boy and teaches French and computing.

A Night to Remember in Dallas

As Amanda and I are STILL out on hiatus (June 15th is coming…), we are happy to feature a guest blogger sharing her experience at a super special meet and greet experience at the Dallas show in April.  As always, we warmly welcome guest blogs.  We also wish to remind our readers that the views and experiences shared by guest bloggers are not necessarily representative of the those held by this website.  -R

 

By Kim-Loan McDuffie

I wanted to share our experience at the April 19, 2016 Duran Duran concert in Dallas, TX.  We are Duran Duran fans who have NEVER seen them in concert… growing up as a child in the 80’s meant that we were able to fall in love with the music and with the band members, but not quite old enough to attend a live show.  When Heroes for Children (a local non-profit dedicated to raise funds to help families of children fighting cancer) announced an auction for a chance to meet John Taylor of Duran Duran and 2 floor tickets, I literally jumped at the opportunity!  The week ticked by and the bidding war went up until the last second but I managed to win it… we scored the ticket package AND all the money went to help children with cancer!

April 19th came, my friend and I eagerly counted the minutes until the concert.  We had the special arm bands and tickets in hand, and at 7:45, we were escorted backstage to meet John!  Honestly, my friend and I had crushes on Simon, we were a little disappointed that the meeting didn’t include him, but we quickly changed our minds as the evening went on.  Into a nice lounge area in the back of venue, we were sat at a table… ALONE.  It was not a group setting type of meet and greet, it was one-on-one time with John Taylor!  When we realized the enormity of the situation, we went to the beverage station where they had snacks and drinks, where we opened the bottle of white wine to calm our nerves.

A few minutes later, in walks the unbelievably handsome John Taylor, hair spiked up and casual in jeans and a t-shirt.  He smiles and sits down and we just looked each other in awe, jaws wide open.  His tour manager (she was so nice!) had told us that John was as sweet as he was good-looking, and she wasn’t lying.  I broke the ice and asked him how he was doing, was he tired from all the touring?  He said that it was not bad at all and they had the weekend off before this show.  What did they do with a quick weekend off during a tour?  They went to go see the movie The Jungle Book.  We giggled like school girls because my response was, “So you go up to the ticket window and say hi, I’m Duran Duran and I need 4 tickets to The Jungle Book”,  He then laughs and said that it doesn’t happen like that, they buy tickets without introduction and go inside.  The movie didn’t impress him, he said it was a little different from he expected but he was nostalgic for the original version.  Much like the rest of us, who knew?

About 5 or 6 minutes passed and his manager came back to escort him out until he said “Do you mind giving us another 10 minutes please?”  So John Taylor was so entertained by two Dallas girls who must have babbled and talked his ear off.  He asked us about our kids and what we did for a living or for fun, and we told him about our roles as advocates and leaders in the area for children born with heart defects.

My friend and I “work” as non-salaried volunteers for Hope 4 Tiny Hearts, a foundation to raise funds for pediatric congenital heart defects.  I’m known as The Heart Fairy as a volunteer and supporter at a children’s hospital, and I am a Wish Granter for Make A Wish.  Once he got the back story as to why she and I were so active with children’s services and saw pictures of my son after his first open heart surgery, he looked a little sad.  Oh my gosh, I thought,  if I make John Taylor cry, I’ll hate myself.  So, I quickly showed him photos of my son today.  He’s doing well and looks good even though he will have to have another heart surgery.  What was so touching and made us just fall in love with John Taylor’s heart was the fact that he was just so genuinely nice, he wanted to know that my son was ok.  The warmness and kind, positive energy of his just fills a room.  Somehow our ten minutes fly by and he has to go get ready to be on stage soon.  “Are you ladies joining us after the show to come back and hang out?”  We had the blank stare of a new-born puppy who can’t find its momma, so John laughed and asked his manager to grab us a couple of VIP passes.  “But let’s get the girls some photos before I leave.”  Yes, let’s!!!  He took as many photos as we wanted, but we weren’t gonna be greedy and ask for prom poses like we had imagined, ha!  Off down the long hallway John went, we got our passes, walked from the behind the stage area on to the concert floor.  We had to sit down because our legs were wobbling from the entire experience.  We met John Taylor of Duran Duran and he was more amazing than we could have imagined.  Instantly, she and I forgot that we had crushes on Simon… until Simon took the stage.

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There was a concert.  My friend and I were still in a daze as to what just happened and what will happen after the show, so honestly, we could not get into the music.  The entire show for us was like “Did we just meet John Taylor and are we really going backstage to meet the rest of the band?” along with the irrational fear that some crazy fan will steal the VIP lanyards off our neck if we weren’t careful.  Sitting third row on John’s side, we were able to catch him smiling and waving at us a couple of times (and we had to sit down for that to fangirl) and the couple of times Simon looked our way during the show was enough to make our blood pressure rise.

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Once the concert was over, there was a group of maybe 16 people brought to the same lounge area where we met John.  The band members and the others (sax player, guitar guy and gorgeous back up singing girls) trickled in and made their way around the room to say hi.  Eventually Simon made his way to our side of the room, and boldly, I waved him over to our table.  We were told that he was on strict orders to not talk to save his voice (he was battling a cold/laryngitis, and he won’t want take photos that night), so we just wanted to see him up close.  Wow.  All 6’2” of him towered over us, so we sat back down and he kind of bent down to hear us better.  The ironic part was that we wanted to hear his accent and him talking just to say anything to us!  I told him he sang well and how happy we were to finally meet him.  He made a lot of silly faces and gestures to make us laugh, and said we can take a picture.  We each got huge bear hugs from Simon Le Bon (swoon!) and he let us take a group selfie with him, and individual bear hug pictures.

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Luckily, Nick Rhodes walked past us and we said hi and asked for a photo, and kindly he allowed us to!  As for the last Duran, as he was on his way out of the room, I caught his glance and asked the super shy Roger if we can get a photo with him. He said of course, chatted for a second while we took the selfie photos with him.  He said that I looked nice tonight, and I said that I can say the same for him!  He was freshly showered and dressed in a cute blazer, looking more like a school boy than a 56-year-old.  Up close, he is even cuter in person!

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By then, we didn’t get to say hi or bye to John, he left the room before the others.  Standing by the door, I saw each member exit the room.  When it was Simon’s turn, he waved bye to me and as I extended my hand, he actually grabbed it and gave it a couple of squeezes as went into the hallway.  And just like that, the evening was over.

In my wildest dreams, I never imagined an experience like what I had.  Duran Duran knows how to treat their fans.  Their show (what little of it that I remembered) was amazing and their patience and understanding of how much it means to us to get a photo/ hello from them is apparent in how nice are to the fans.

My friend and I promise to pay more attention to the concert the next time we go.  Front row.  In September.  Because we are Duranies for life now.  Thank you John Taylor and Duran Duran for being so wonderful!

 

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 Loan (pronounced “lawn”) McDuffie, has loved Duran Duran since seeing her first video on MTV!  Like most people her age, she tries to keep up with the new music but always goes back to 80’s music and anything from Duran Duran.  Simon Le Bon was her first crush, but this year after my first concert and meeting them, it’s fair to say I have crushes on them all!  She is a mother, wife, business owner, and volunteer/children’s advocate and fundraiser residing in the Dallas suburbs.

No Duran Duran Live?!

Lately, my questions of the day have focused on which songs people have seen Duran Duran perform in concert.  This idea came from the ever-frequent discussions regarding set lists and how there are many within the fan community who are tired of hearing the same old songs when they go to Duran Duran shows.  For example, I could do without Come Undone and Ordinary World, just saying.  Yet, as I started this set of questions, I heard from some fans that they have not had the opportunity of seeing Duran Duran in concert.  After hearing this more than I would have thought, I did what I usually do and began to wonder why, especially as someone who would like to understand fans and our fan community, in particular.

Could it be Duran Duran’s fault that some fans have not seen them i concert?  Are they a band that don’t tour much?  While there definitely has been times that they haven’t toured much, those dry spells don’t last forever.  Now, of course, the band tours in some places more than others.  For example, we are all aware that Duran Duran tours the U.S. a lot more than they do…many other places like South Africa or New Zealand.  So, I can definitely understand that for fans living in those rarely toured countries that they might not have had an opportunity to go.  The same is obviously true for those fans living in countries that the band has never toured.  Yet, it seems to me that there are many people living in the United States, for example, that haven’t seen Duran Duran.  Perhaps, for some of those fans, they might say that while Duran Duran comes to their country, they don’t come where they live.  That’s true for many states in the US.  For example, I don’t think Duran Duran has ever played in Alaska or Montana.  Heck, I live in Wisconsin.  The last time they played in this state was in 2005.  The last time they played in my city, though, was in 1984.  Therefore, if I want to see the band live, I know that I have to travel.  I have to.

This leads me to wonder if everyone can travel.  I’m sure that there are some reasons that might truly stop people from traveling.  For example, there might be some physical limitations due to health conditions that might stop people.  What else could stop people from traveling?  In the US, the main means of traveling are car/bus, train or plane.  Are those options all available to everyone in the hopes of getting to where Duran Duran might be playing?  For the most parts, cars/buses can get you anywhere you want to be in the lower 48 states.  You might need a lot of time, though, to get to where you want to go.  Trains would be a good alternative but they really aren’t available everywhere.  Planes are available in decent sized cities but do cost the most.  It is clear that traveling isn’t always super convenient either due to time it takes or the cost.  Many Duranies do accept this as a price to pay, though, in order to experience Duran live.  I know I do.  Ask anyone.  I’m not a fan of plane travel but…I do it.  I do it for Duran Duran concerts.

Speaking of prices to be paid, clearly, there is a cost involved to going to a Duran show.  Ticket prices have gone up since the first time I saw them, especially if one is interested in a VIP package and the opportunity for a really good seat.  That said, there are usually cheaper tickets available.  For example, the California Mid-State Fair that just went on sale had tickets starting at $41, which isn’t too bad.    I suspect that most people have to actually save money in order to go to any concert, but especially when it also requires money for traveling.  Speaking only for myself, I have to admit that I really do prioritize Duran Duran over lots of other things.  For example, I desperately need new carpeting and a new fridge.  Yet, those will get funded only AFTER my Duran fund has been met.  Some might think that it is crazy but that is my preference.  I figure that I can put a little bit away each month to feed my fandom.

Another aspect of going to Duran Duran concerts that I have is the fact that I have a touring partner, a buddy, a partner-in-crime.  I have someone to go to shows with and someone who I travel with.  That is huge.  Here is a little secret.  The main reason that I started hanging out at Duran Duran message boards was to find someone to go to shows with.  I knew that none of my close friends where I lived was into Duran.  Thus, I had to seek elsewhere and was lucky to find someone I have a ton of fun with!  Could this be the problem for some fans?  This is part of the reason that Rhonda and I do what we do here.  We are hoping to help others make connections and friendships with other fans.  We were lucky that we did.

What am I missing?  What else might stop someone for going to see Duran Duran live in concert?  To me, there is nothing better than going to see Duran Duran live.  Nothing.  I would love for everyone to be able to experience a Duran Duran show for themselves.

-A

Work Sucks…I’m Going on Tour!

Today, for my teacher meeting, I was asked to bring in a favorite t-shirt.  I have many, many t-shirts to choose from.  The t-shirts I considered included some Punk Masters t-shirts as well as some Duran Duran ones.  Yet, the t-shirt I decided to go with is a t-shirt that my friends and I got made in 2006, which says, “Work Sucks!  I’m going on tour!”  Part of me wondered if this t-shirt was the right choice or not.  After all, it seems pretty in your face.  It seems very anti-work, right?  Plus, is it so good to have my fandom out there so much?!  Is this my sad attempt at reaching a balance between teaching and what I do in relationship to fandom?

I have a love/hate relationship with work.  I am sure that many people feel that way about their job.  I love the actual teaching part of my job, including writing, creating and delivering lessons to teenagers so that they understand some historical event, era, concept, etc..  Generally, I have great relationships with my students.  This week, I was reminded again of the fun that I can have with my students.  Let me give an example.  On Tuesday, I wanted to celebrate the anniversary/birthday of Planet Earth.  So, I played the video at the beginning of each class period.  Most of my students didn’t know what to make of the song or the video.  I did have a few kids who declared that they liked Duran Duran.  Although, in fairness, some might have said that just to earn some extra brownie points from their teacher.  Still, other students took this as an opportunity to give me a hard time about my musical taste.  No matter the students’ reactions, I had fun introducing my favorite band to them.  It gave me a chance to talk a little musical history and fandom.

On the other hand, I am sitting in meetings all day today, which is not what I want to be doing.  I have grading that I’ll be working on over the weekend.  In fact, I work so much on nights and weekends that I get pretty excited when I get a day “off”.  If that wasn’t enough, I spend a lot of time trying to do tasks that are required of me by my school, district or state that doesn’t do much to help me or my students directly.  I don’t really hide some of my frustration over these “requirements” and extra work.  Let me honest here, too.  Part of the problem is that these extra tasks often interfere with other things that I want to be doing.  I want to be writing and researching about fandom.  I want to be organizing and holding fan events.  Therefore, is my bringing this anti-work t-shirt too much?  Too negative?  Perhaps.  Yet, it is honestly how I feel a lot of the time.  I would rather be on tour.

I also wonder if this type of t-shirt show too much of my fandom?  Should I hide my fandom at work?  Some obviously would argue that I should hide it and that it has no place in a professional setting.  Yet, it absolutely doesn’t interfere with my duties.  My social media interactions should prove this as I’m rarely able to be online at all during the day and only during my lunch and planning periods. Yes, my students know that I like Duran Duran.  I don’t think it is wrong for my students to see me as a person with likes, passions, interests.  I hope it encourages them to share their interests, their fandoms.  Plus, one thing that I want all of them to understand is that there is nothing wrong with being in a fandom.  There is too much stigma already with fandom.  If I keep my fandom closeted, so to speak, I would think that I’m sending the message that fandom should be hidden, secret, something to be ashamed of.  Do I worry that my supervisors would think less of me?  I don’t for two reasons.  First, I am good at my job.  My fandom doesn’t impact that.  Second, I don’t want to hide who I am for anyone or anything.

At the end of the day, the real question isn’t whether or not to hide my fandom.  The real question is how to keep the elements of my job that I like while allowing me the time to focus on other interests like my work surrounding fandom.  Any suggestions?!?  Anyone offer me a deal so that I could go part-time with my teaching?!  Can I get paid for going on tour?

-A

Paper Gods, The Book

I needed a diversion from reality last night.

So, I cracked opened the Paper Gods book that my ever-fearless partner-in-crime-and-everything-Duran-Duran sent me for Christmas!

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When I opened this particular present, I was delighted because I’d heard it was well-worth the £20, and I hadn’t ordered it myself because I just wasn’t sure I needed it. I own a few of their tour books from the past, and while they’ve always been a sort of “Oh, that’s really nice to have”, I wasn’t positive about this one. All I could think of was that it was 120-pages of photos, and did I really need a book of photos in my collection? I wasn’t sure. I wanted to see more of it in person before making a decision and I didn’t know when or how that might happen. Sometimes, a book like this needs a little previewing, you know? (It’s too bad DDHQ doesn’t know a fan website that could do that kind of thing for them every once in a while…..) So when I opened the gift and marveled at how big the book really is…and then began thumbing through it, I realized just how much I needed a book like this in my collection!

And…it’s not really so much of a tour book, although there are certainly a plethora of pictures in there (even some of Dom, Anna, Jessie & Simon W!). I would describe this book as being sort of the Encyclopedia-of-Anything-You-Wanted-to-Know-About-Paper-Gods-But-Figured-You’d-Never-Be-Able-to-Ask.

First off, the book is big. It’s not your basic 30-page tour book that’s mostly pictures (although yes, there are plenty and I mean that).  At 120 large format pages (13.25″H x 9.5″W), it’s a bit of a monster…and I mean that in a fantastic way!

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There’s actual writing in this one, and not just a welcome note from the band or anything like that. There are interviews, thoughts, feelings…lists of words or phrases I can’t quite figure out yet (but trust me I am enjoying the process of trying!), and I’m not even halfway through it yet! Each of the band members gives a full-length interview about the book (and believe me, these are not short answers to questions), and they also interviewed Nile, Ben Hudson and Josh Blair. They even talked creative with Nick and Alex Israel, the artist who did the front cover of the album!!  I AM IN HEAVEN AND I’M NOT COMING BACK!!

I love that they took the process of recording this album and thought to have a book made for people like me.  People who basically dreamt of being a fly on the wall during the entire painstaking process: everything from those first jamming sessions at Dom’s studio down to seeing their reactions to the art for the cover.  The book is really something very special, indeed.

If the interviews and writing doesn’t grab you, the photos certainly will. This book is art…and if you needed to have large format photos of each of the band members, here they are for you to gander at will. I really love how each of the band members has a black and white full-page headshot, along with what I can only describe is a sort of silver “giclée” shadowing overlay printed on a heavier, plastic-like sheet. Way cool. And if you like stickers – they’re included too!

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As I said, I haven’t even read through it all yet. I had to stop myself at 11:15 last night because I needed to get some sleep, and even after I put it down I kept thinking about what I’d read. In many ways that Amanda and I will get into later as we dissect this book from cover to cover on the blog (oh yes – it’s happening), I think the book makes me see the album with a completely different set of eyes, and I’m curious if my ears will pick up anything different too.

My only problem with this book is simply that they really should have marketed it differently. It’s such a great piece of Duran-memorabilia, you’d think they would have gone to more trouble to alert the fan base to it, you know? Seems like they could have used a resource…such as this very website, thankyouverymuch…to get some enthusiastic words out to the fan base and beyond. Amanda and I have a certain knack for grabbing the attention of the fan base when it comes to things like this, and let’s face it..the book is also a freaking steal at £20. (That is $28.91 USD as of this morning)

Let’s just talk about that price for a second before I settle back into my chair and read a bit more: for less than $30.00 US, you can have a large format, coffee table-sized book on Duran Duran (It is paperback). Everything from what some  might describe as “lickable” photos (I certainly wouldn’t say that..,coughs…but hey… I may have heard the term used before somewhere…) to in-depth discussions of the music and process. For the more abstract-minded amongst us, there are poems and lyrics and lists to read and ponder, as well as the aforementioned photos, both posed and from live shows (from the last year). I can’t really get over the value on this one – it’s the best bang for your buck I’ve seen in quite a while.

Like nearly everyone reading, I own a lot of Duran Duran books. I’ll go one further and say I own a lot of books period, but particularly within the realm of fandom and music history of this particular band  – I own a lot. This is a book that any fan of Duran Duran should have in their collection, and I’m thrilled (and shocked!) that they’re not charging the $50 or $60 that the book is really worth, even as a paperback.

Run out and grab a copy while you can! As I said, in coming weeks Amanda and I plan to do several blogs about the interviews and other writing within the book, but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who is running off to order their own copy right now…so go get it!

Meanwhile, I’m going to settle back in my chair and read Nile’s thoughts on Paper Gods…

-R