Category Archives: Uncategorized

Something On My Mind

Hello, Monday. I feel as though somewhere along the way, I lost one of my weekend days, because it feels like Monday arrived far too early. I’m still trying to regain some of the hours of sleep I missed out on from being at Vidcon last week. I wish I could say it was due to having so much fun, but in this case, I just didn’t sleep well.

We drove home late Saturday night, and arrived to see many tweets and posts about the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 – corresponding with the Kennedy Space Center show tomorrow.

I’m light years away

When the show was first announced, I knew right away that there’d be no way for me to get there. Sure, I could blame it on not having enough notice, but I could have had a month’s notice or even more, and still not been able to attend. Several years back, I went to a lot of things. I would fly across the country, and I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that many times, I didn’t even think twice about it. Three spousal job layoffs/changes, one very large move, childbirth, college, and countless grey hairs later, I’m finding that I not only think twice, I know I can’t travel like that anymore.

That fact is something I guess I’m still coming to terms with. I went from going to one show a tour (or even less), to taking a single trip to New Orleans and then Chicago, which ignited something in me. Suddenly, I felt the need to try and go to everything. My husband was less-than-thrilled with the arrangement. Usually though, I’d win him over by saying I’d save money in other ways, or that he didn’t have to buy me birthday/Christmas/Valentines/Mothers Day gifts, etc. In some ways that worked, but in others – I can see how selfish I was. Any extra money I came across would go towards seeing Duran Duran, and the fact is—when you have three kids and live in Southern California, there isn’t a lot of extra anything!

My head is full of chopstick

Even so, fandom – or planning to go to shows – was sort of like a drug for me. I couldn’t say no, and yet I didn’t go to nearly as many shows as a lot of people. Gigs would be announced and I’d think “Fly to Chicago? Oh, I shouldn’t…but I will!” “Go away for five or six days and see more than three shows? YES!” I wanted to go. I desperately wanted to be a part of the fandom wave that everyone seemed to be caught in.

During the Astronaut tour, which was really the first when I’d gotten involved online and knew people from all over the country – I’d sat on the sidelines for the most part. I went to two shows: Chicago and All-State Arena, and Milwaukee. That last one had been added to my itinerary without telling my husband. He’d expressly told me prior to even buying my Chicago ticket that I could choose ONE show to see, and that was it. “The concerts don’t change that much, Rhonda!”

Turns out, that while the set might not change that much (One night I heard “Nice” and the other I heard “Union of the Snake”), there are far more other, more subtle things, that do. Roger waved at us in Milwaukee. I cried when I heard “Tiger Tiger” in Chicago. I stood outside and waved to the band when they left the Riverside Theatre in Milwaukee. I had my closest friends with me for Chicago, and got to drive to Milwaukee with a full car of Duranies. That was the first time I’d ever done something like that. After those two shows, I never wanted to miss anything again.

I’m making a break

However, that was/is an impossibility, at least for me. I’ve never had carte blanche to go to any show I want. I don’t work outside of the home, and my money is never my own money. Even when I’ve done what I consider to be a ridiculous number of shows, I’ve had to pick and choose. Sometimes, I’ve chosen wrong. That’s the crap shoot of life, I suppose. In darker moments, I wonder what it would have been like if I could have gone to all the Astronaut shows my friend Jessica went to see, or if I could have flown overseas as many times as other friends have gone. Would I feel any differently about the band now?

Over the years, I’ve seen people come and go. After having been an active fan in the online community for nearly two decades now, I have seen some patterns of behavior emerge from the fog and dust. I think about the people who seemed to be “regulars” for the Astronaut and RCM tours, and for the most part – those people don’t come around often now, and I rarely see them.

Maybe they stopped going to shows or participating online because life circumstances changed. Perhaps it was because they got sick of some of the childish drama that goes on between fans. Maybe it was something else entirely -but the fact remains that they’re not doing much these days. I have friends who went to 14, maybe 15 shows for Astronaut that just stopped following the band for the most part Can there really be too much of a good thing?

They should be mine

Getting back to my situation here – I have serious budget constraints that make it nearly impossible for me to fly very often. I don’t even fly to visit my mom or sister, so how on earth can I justify flying to see a band that doesn’t even know I exist? It is particularly frustrating when I’ve made the decision to buy tickets to something, and then another opportunity comes up that sounds even better.

For example, tomorrow Duran Duran is playing at the Kennedy Space Center for the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11. As soon as this show was announced, I knew there was no way I could go. The idea of traveling to Florida was out of the question. A flight from here would easily cost $500 during the summer, plus the $300 ticket for the concert, another $300 or more for a hotel room and the additional expenses for food, uber and drinks. It adds up quickly to a similar amount that my family might spend on a camping vacation – one that we’re not even taking this year. HOWEVER…

Had I known that they were going to be playing this show in advance of buying the tickets for Las Vegas (each was $441, if I remember correctly) I might have chosen differently. Sure, I’ll see Duran Duran three times in September whereas if I’d gone to Florida I’d only be seeing them once – but how many times does someone get the chance to see Duran Duran at the Kennedy Space Center??? I worry that I made the wrong choice. Zigged when I should have zagged…bought when I should have waited.

I’m saying this in private

Similar scenarios have happened before. In 2013, Amanda and I along with a committee of amazing helpers worked our butts off to put on a fan convention in Chicago. I can’t remember the precise timing, but I would say that within days of returning from that weekend, Duran Duran announced a special opportunity to see the debut of UnStaged at MOMA in New York City.

I think that at least to begin with – both she and I weren’t too upset. I mean, to some degree we’d wished we could go. We’d worked hard to put on that convention for fans, and in a lot of ways New York City seemed like it would be a great way to reward ourselves. Even so, Amanda didn’t have time off from work, and my husband had pretty much declared a moratorium on spending money and traveling. Just getting to Chicago was hard enough. Amanda and I paid the same amount of money to attend the convention as every one else. That’s right – we bought tickets to the very convention we were putting on for everyone else to enjoy. I paid for my flight from California, and Amanda and I split the cost of our hotel room., same as everyone else. That money did not come out of the convention budget. No sooner did I get home and back to an exploding family crisis when the MOMA show was announced.

We absolutely tasted our share of sour grapes while watching a few of the same people who came to our convention fly on to NYC. I remember feeling so dejected after I saw how the evening went. What started as a screening ended up as a cocktail party with the band present. There were pictures, and the band seemed so welcoming to fans that night…those who were there were so lucky!! Oh well, right? What can you do??

Breaking open doors I’ve sealed up before

Even with the missteps I’ve taken along the way (and there have been many), I can’t be bitter. My days of sour grapes are over. I’ve done and seen a lot – much more than a lot of people. I’ve had times when I’ve been able to afford to go to a lot of shows and travel, and now I’m in a time where I really just can’t. Oddly, I feel like I’ve won the lottery because for the past few years – coincidentally the time when I’ve been least able to afford to fly – the band has played within reasonable driving distance to where I live. I am very lucky, which is why you’re not going to see me complain about set lists or much anything else. My luck isn’t going to hold out forever though, and I would imagine that next year – should they decide to tour for their 40th anniversary – I’ll be sitting at home doing most of my cheering.

I also can’t ignore the fact that for most of the rest of the world, they’ve had to sit on the sidelines since before Paper Gods was released, watching the US fans complain about ticket prices, set lists, and the like. It is easy to forget that many of these worldwide fans would pay whatever ticket price the band wanted, and would be willing to listen to whatever set the band plays, just to be able to see them.

Looking for cracks in the pavement

The reality is, most of us just can’t go to everything. I feel like I’m a recovering addict in that sense. Every time something is announced, I have to forcibly talk myself out of feeling like I need to go. I’m learning to say “no” to myself more and more often. I can’t say it’s easy, but a lot of times, it’s necessary. I’m not responsible for only myself. I have a family and husband to consider, and I wouldn’t trade my family for all of the Duran Duran shows in the world. That’s progress, right?

I see friends tell one another all the time that they should just buy the ticket and that they’ll make more money later. That thinking might work, until something catastrophic happens. I’ll never forget going to New York City in 2007 to see the special fan show that fell on Father’s Day. My husband and dad were fine with me going, and I came home to celebrate with them the following weekend. Little did I know at the time, that was the last Father’s Day I’d ever spend with my dad. I think about that a lot.

I’m a work in progress. Every single time I start feeling self-pity because I can’t be in Florida, or something else, I quickly force myself to acknowledge that other fans in the world haven’t done much in several years. I have one hell of lot of nerve feeling bad about one single event. That usually snaps me out my funk. I still feel like a recovering addict in some weird ways – but I’m working on it.

-R

These Beautiful Colors

Good morning, Duran Duran fans.

It is Thursday morning, and I am currently sitting in my daughter’s apartment in Fullerton, California. It is about a zillion degrees in here, and the traffic from the street outside is enough to wake the dead

My kids and I arrived yesterday to go to Vidcon. We went to pick up our badges and things when we got to Anaheim, and then drove to where we’re staying with my oldest. I’ve only been gone from Southern California for six months, and I’ve decided that I can never come back here to live permanently. Too crowded, too frenetic…and just too everything. I apparently have slowed WAY down since moving, which is both good and bad, I suppose.

Til the colors bleed

So, Vidcon. It’s like all the internet fandoms poured into a confetti cannon along with rainbows, unicorns, and glitter. Then someone stood in the center of the convention center area with a firehose, and sprayed. Vidcon is both horrifyingly shallow, and incredibly inclusive. I can’t quite figure it out. I’ve never seen so many girls (and yes, I do mean girls – they’re way too young to be women) so worried about how they look. Nor have I seen SO many selfies being taken all at once. Upon first glance, I admit being concerned for my youngest, and youth in general. That said, I suspect there’s far more depth going on than meets the eye.

Yesterday afternoon, I stood in line to use the restroom, and a girl walked past in a micro mini skirt, tube (or bandeau) top, and platform sneakers that had to be at LEAST a foot high. Another very tiny young lady was with her mom as she was being herded towards the “Creator” area, wearing the smallest, most glittery, silver boots I’ve ever seen. Nick would have approved. I didn’t know who she was, but she was stopped more than once for selfies on the short walk to the roped off area set aside for talent, production, and other YouTube creator-types. (I suppose our few v-logs don’t really count!)

There is a lot of that at this convention. I’ll see kids swarming around someone like worker bees to a queen, and then they all move on to another one. All the while, I’m trying to see if I recognize the person they were surrounding, and so far, the answer has been “nope!” The trouble with YouTube, or at least as I see it – there are too many freaking YouTube channels with far too many pseudo-celebrities!

Everyone’s their own universe

Sure, there are some serious breakout YouTube stars. There are people pulling down far more per month or year than I’ll make in a lifetime. That said, there are far more kids that have YouTube channels and subscribers that aren’t exactly Sofie Dossi, Jake Paul, or Kasey Neistat…or even Pewdie Pie. (In full disclosure – I had to consult with Gavin on those names. I don’t know who in the heck these kids are, but I will say out of the four names he gave, only one is female. Fascinating.) There are many people who work very hard only to have a few thousand subscribers or even tens of thousands, and yet they’re not really stars in any other arena besides YouTube. It makes me wonder.

So today we’re headed out for a full day of programming. I’m looking forward to seeing these fandoms in their full glory and reporting back! Is it all that much different from Duran Duran?? We will see!

-R

CNN Interview with Hala Gorani

Did you see the interview with Simon and Nick on CNN yesterday? They sat down with Hala Gorani to promote their upcoming rocket-fueled show at the Kennedy Space Center later this month. It has been quite some time since I saw an interview with Duran Duran on CNN, so I was excited to see it. Naturally, in every interview there seems to be the inevitable point where the same questions seem to get asked. This used to drive me crazy. Often, I’d exclaim, “Is there NOTHING else that you can ask?” in complete frustration. I’d think to myself…or even tweet, “This is a band who has been around for forty years, and we’re still asking them about favorite songs and lines of lyric?”

As a self-proclaimed die hard fan, it’s easy for me to sit back and say all of that. Sure, I could get mad about it, and rest assured – I have. There’s been time spent feeling anger and frustration because journalists can’t ever seem to get past the simple questions and dig a bit deeper.

So what does “The Reflex” really mean?

Yesterday though, I didn’t feel any of that. Even as Simon fielded the question about what “The Reflex” means—and still did not give an answer—I just smiled. At the time, I didn’t think about how many times I’d heard or seen that question come up before. I just thought about how Simon was answering it this time. When Gorani asked why the band still made music, it didn’t frustrate me at all. I loved that Nick talked about how they don’t like making the same album twice.Simon described how one of them might play something that reminds someone else in the band of something new they’d come up with, and that after awhile it starts to feel like a candy floss (or cotton candy for us American folks!) machine that keeps building and building. I can’t get mad at any of that.

It is 100% true, die-hard fans could probably ask all the deep, soul-searching questions. What I think we tend to forget though, is that we die-hards represent a very small percentage of the viewing audience. You’ll never convince me that Duranies outnumber average, ordinary, viewers for CNN, and it is those average people that interviews cater to. Maybe someone watched that interview yesterday who hadn’t seen the band in years and didn’t even know they’re still around!

Don’t believe me? Well, nearly every show—particularly those that have me flying somewhere—I run into at least ONE person who says, “You’re going to see Duran Duran? I didn’t even know they’re still together!” Then, without fail – they break into the chorus or the doo-doo-doos from my favorite song (and yours), “Hungry Like the Wolf”. As I always say, it’s the song that will outlive us all.

Doo-doo doo-doo….

Yep, I think we’ve all felt like we could do a better job asking the band interesting questions. It is easy to feel annoyed. It is also very easy to miss the real point and heart of the questions when you’re annoyed. The peace comes when you hear the same questions being asked over and over, and somehow – you’re still able to find joy.

At this point in this band’s career, when many of their peers have retired, quit, or just plain given up – Duran Duran is playing at the Kennedy Space Center. That fact alone, blows my mind and I sure hope it blows yours, too. I love listening to Simon explain – over and over – that he’s never going to explain “The Reflex”, and that he wants to keep Duran Duran going for as long as he can. Simon shared that he sum of all the parts each member brings adds up to so much more than each of them could do solo. Their interviews, regardless of what is being asked, still make me smile. That’s where I find my peace, and my joy.

-R

Another YouTube Star

Today is a busy day. I had an appointment in the morning and then a meeting with Amanda. I leave for another appointment in a few minutes. Later, I’ll pack for a trip to SoCal with two of my kids (and we’re crashing at the apartment of the third).

I’m headed to Vidcon.

Those are words I never thought I’d be typing. So far in adulthood, I’ve learned that saying “never” almost insures the opposite happening. Going to Vidcon, with all of it’s teen influencer glory, is exactly the opposite of what I’d hoped this summer. Alas….

Looking for the real world

My youngest is 11. This year for her birthday, she begged for a ticket to Vidcon. This is basically a convention for YouTubers. I’m still struggling with the idea that my child watches YouTube like I would have watched television, or even music videos! Anybody ever heard of MTV??

As convention time has grown closer, I’ve considered the full enormity of what I agreed to do. The thought of wandering around a very crowded convention center, dealing with the tween+ crowd for four days…. Well, I’ve likely lost any good sense I had left, anyway. I look forward to bonding and trailing behind her – likely FAR behind her (she is, in fact, a tween!) this week. I’m also inwardly groaning a bit. I’ve caught myself thinking about how I was as a tween several times this week. While my girl seems to have idols that are creators (she loves animation), I was obviously into music. My parents had just as much interest in taking me to see Duran Duran, as I do Vidcon in some ways.

My plan is to really be on the lookout for obvious displays of fandom. I suspect I won’t have to look far. Also, Amanda and I have been tossing around an idea for a new writing project, and I’m curious to see how some of the themes we’ve discussed may manifest themselves. The fact is, pop culture in the day and age of YouTube is something that I haven’t had too much of an opportunity to study. I’m looking forward to seeing it in person. Is teenage fandom in 2019 all that different from what I experienced during the mid-1980s?

In this screen-lit room

The good news is that I’m not the only adult on this road trip. Her big brother has moved back home. As a veteran Blizzcon attendee, he had all sorts of thoughts and ideas for his little sister and her first “con”. Then a light bulb went on – I could just get another ticket and have the boy go along with us! After all, he’s been on YouTube since it’s infancy. While he might not spend as much time watching now as he once did, the kid knows his way around a convention. He understands the community far better than I do, and this seems like a great brother/sister bonding opportunity.

I’m lucky in this regard, because my son and youngest daughter are very close. He’s taught her, or tried to teach her, everything he knows about computers and gaming. While he tries to play it off as not caring too much about Vidcon, I have a feeling he’s going to enjoy being there.

My first concert was seeing Power Station at Irvine Meadows in 1985. My cousin and I couldn’t go alone, so somehow her older brother was put in charge and had to go along with us. I suspect that whatever adult made that decision probably thought that it would be good bonding for us too. All I remember about any bonding going on was being told to “stop screaming like a girl and sit down”. Sit down? At a concert???

If we can stay awake

So tomorrow is the day. We will leave early in the morning, and I would imagine it’s going to feel like the longest day ever. However, I’m sure the littlest Rivera (who isn’t really that little anymore) will have a great time. Me? Oh, I’m going to find the Parent Lounge and park myself for at least part of the time – and I’m sure I’ll be tweeting and trying to find some sort of smart commentary to make with regard to fandom!

-R

Happy 4th of July, 2019

The majority of folks who visit this site are from the USA, as are Amanda and I. Today is our Independence Day, or as the rest of the world calls it – the 4th of July. Incidentally, this is actually my favorite holiday of the year. I love fireworks and the idea of the beach, sand, sun, picnics, and everything that goes along with it. As such, this is one day that I can assure you – I’m not going to be online much.

This year, my family is celebrating Independence Day in a new town for the first time. Due to the area we live in, being a tinder box – meaning that there’s dry brush and kindling everywhere – we can’t set off fireworks here at the house. My house sits in an extreme fire area, so even my fireworks-loving husband knows there’s absolutely NO way we’re lighting even the tiniest sparkler here at home. There’s not even a public display in our town. So, we’re headed out to the ocean tomorrow, and setting up our camp for the day at a park overlooking the Pacific. I’m still in the habit of expecting LA basin-sized crowds, so we’re leaving early, and hoping for the best.

There is much to continue working on in America. I’m not going to pretend otherwise. This country of mine continues to be a work in progress. I’m just hoping to have a nice day with my family. When it comes down to it – I want to enjoy the time I’ve got with them. The worries of the day/year/decade are still going to be there after the last hot dog is eaten and the final firework has exploded. But for this one day, I’m also going to enjoy the sun, the two kids I have at home with me, and yes – even time with my husband.

Have a wonderful and restful 4th of July, whether you’re in the USA, or elsewhere in the world. Catch ya next week!

-R

Running Against The Tide

I’m sitting here, trying to remain relatively calm before a pre-sale begins. The lyrics to “Pressure Off” are on repeat in my head, but the truth is – I don’t really need to be nervous. This show, the Agua Caliente show on September 5, is really just a bonus gig that I wasn’t expecting. Was anyone expecting it???

The really surprising thing about this show – aside from the fact there IS a show at Agua Caliente on the 5th of September at all – is that they’re doing a GA floor rather than seated.

I’ve had a few people ask me what I thought, and honestly – what I think is that I’m glad I’m not in charge. I just buy the tickets! In all seriousness though, I think doing a GA floor gives the band a chance to have a larger audience, and it definitely lets the venue sell more tickets. Whether or not those tickets will actually be sold for a show taking place the Thursday following Labor Day, in Palm Springs, is another question. I’ve heard from startlingly few people who are actually planning to even participate in the presale. I’ve also come to learn that Duranies are a secretive sort of people – so who knows?!?

As for my own plans, it turns out that I will not be going to this concert alone. I’m going to be road tripping with my sister! I’m looking forward to having some sister time before descending upon Duranies in Palm Springs.

Flash ahead a half-hour, and the presale is over for me. I didn’t get GA tickets, opting for some well-placed seats in the LOGE section on Dom’s side instead. There was a slight hiccup when the sale began because the link from DDM to the ticketing site wasn’t working, but they ended up just posting the address and I copied/pasted. Simple. What I really loved though was the interface on the etix site. There were several options for buying, and one of those included clicking on a seating chart. When you did that, you were able to see the view from the section (a real photo), and that was really helpful. It actually made me think twice about buying seats I had in my cart, and I threw them back in order to buy others that had a better view. I wish that all presales could be that simple!

I don’t think I’ll be getting to the venue early enough to host a meet up before the show, but I’ll definitely be out and about afterwards if any Duranies are there and want to meet up. Comment or let me know if you’re going to Agua Caliente, and I’ll come up with a meeting spot!

-R

What Keeps you going?

What happens when there’s a power outage and I’m still sleeping?

Basically, I slept in far too late, and now I’ve got a blog to write and publish in record time before a meeting with Amanda.

They get me

Many fans responded to my question about fandom. What keeps you interested as a Duran Duran fan? Handfuls of fans responded, from incredulous sounding “The music, of course!” to the slightly more introspective, “Because they get me.” Several others feel that it is a combination of the music and the friendships they’ve made along the way.

I feel as though I need to clarify that Amanda and I weren’t fishing for specific answers. There’s no one “right” answer that we were hoping someone would type and send. Our creative juices needed a jump start. I think we needed reminding as to why we’rehere to begin with. I call this, “getting stuck in our own head(s)”.

That said, of course we assumed that most were still here because of the music. I think though, I was hoping to gain a better understanding of what about their music it really IS that keeps us all anxious and waiting for whatever project comes next. When I think about why I’m still a fan, it all feels fairly overwhelming. Where do I even start?!? I suspect many of you might feel the same.

The push and pull

Does anyone think that their feelings about Duran Duran have changed since they first became a fan? Maybe their videos intrigued you, initially. Perhaps like me, you loved the idea of a synths paired with a rocking electric guitar. As the decades flew by, you can see that your interests in them have changed.

So in my case as I became a fan back in the 80s, I felt that other bands that relied more heavily on keyboards and synthesizers. While I can name many I liked, it always felt a bit shallow, or thin in sound to me. Duran Duran had this push and pull of balance, the sound was layered and deep, and I liked that. As the years have gone by, though, I feel as though the band has changed a little in that regard. I don’t think there’s that same constant struggle for equilibrium, although the depth of sound has always been there.

No fast food

I’m not going to rehash the band’s career because that’s not really my point – but I’ve found that my interests in their music have evolved a bit. I find myself listening to the words, recognizing how the music may drive the lyrics (or vice-versa). I love the way each one of their songs is a full-package. No two are the same, just as no two albums are the same. Speaking of albums, the one thing I appreciate most about Duran Duran is that their albums are typically meant to be listened to from start to finish. It is a full, complete story. There’s no “fast food music” delivery here, where you can buy a song or two on iTunes and feel like you’ve gotten the complete meal. No, with Duran Duran – sitting down and committing the full-45 minutes to an hour to really absorb the entire message is key. I felt that with Paper Gods, with All You Need is Now, and yes, even with Red Carpet Massacre, believe it or not!

If anyone has more to add on this subject, I am always ready and willing to share ideas. I love reading what everyone has to say about what continues driving their fandom. So much has changed during the four decades the band has been in existence – I want to hear from you. What keeps you going?

-R

And we’re Gonna Go to Space…

Welcome to Thursday, everybody! I’ve been semi-absent the last few days because all three of my kids have been at home. I took full-advantage of the time I had with all of them. Alas, those moments are fleeting these days, as my oldest heads back south today.

Even during my little mini-vacation, I mostly kept up with the news. Duran Duran had a great show in Iceland, and I saw plenty of pictures to continue convincing me that I need to visit at some point. If you missed out on Anna Ross’ video from the Blue Lagoon, you need to find it. Facials, anyone??

Makes my hair stand up on end

I was also treated to a bit of a surprise when I noticed an email from DDM. They were announcing a very special show on July 16 in Florida at none other than the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral!

The concert is a 50th anniversary celebration of Apollo 11, the shadows of the Rocket Garden serving as the backdrop for this exciting event! Tickets are $300, and those who are current members of DDM are able to participate in the pre-sale. Profits from the concert will go to benefit several charities, including the Aldrin Family Foundation’s STEAM educational organization. Entry will begin that evening at 8pm with a special guest DJ opening before Duran Duran takes the stage for a full set.

Where it’s gonna end up, anybody knows

The launch of Apollo 11 was a major milestone in American history. My father-in-law worked on that mission, along with several others. First as an engineer, and eventually as a director – I can’t honestly explain what specific portion he was responsible for, other than to say it was one of the rocket engines. Science was never one of my strong points, much less engineering! Listening to him speak about Apollo, his pride is evident. One might think it only happened a few years back. Hearing that my favorite band will play a concert to celebrate such a pivotal and important point in our history is something very special, indeed. I am once again envious of all who are able to attend.

According to the band’s announcement, which came via email to all current members of Duran Duran Music—the band is creating a special set for the show. If there was ever a time to break out “Astronaut”, I dare say this would be it.

Thankfully, none of us have to wait that long before hearing what unfolds at the show!

-R

Was the Pop Trash Era Best?

Now that the beat is slow

DDHQ’s choice of the video for “Someone Else Not Me” for “Watch it Wednesday” sparks discussion of the Pop Trash era.

Admittedly, there were years from the mid-90’s until I saw the band for the Up Close & Personal tour in 2001, when I didn’t pay quite as much attention as I did in the 80’s. I was still interested, and believe me when I say my ears perked up at the mere mention of Duran Duran. Even so – my room was no longer wallpapered with posters and pinups. I grew up, and stopped needing those posters, I suppose.

I’ve spoken or traded posts and messages with a good many Duran Duran fans who proclaim the Pop Trash era to be their favorite – and if it wasn’t the music itself being mentioned, it was the live shows. Many of these fans are my personal friends within the DD community. I dare say that most of my friends in this community are die hard Duranies at heart.

Something I want to say

I only went to one Pop Trash era show—the one at the House of Blues for the Up Close & Personal tour in 2001. I will continue to scream “that single show changed my entire life” from the rooftops, but not for the same reasons that seem to come up with other fans. For me, that show re-opened up a door into my heart. I felt so much joy in being there in that room that I completely lost myself in the show. I didn’t even know the Pop Trash album that well at the time. The music between us, indeed.

Obviously, we can all make note of the hysteria present during the early 80s. Clearly that was missing by the late 90s. The era tends to ignite my curiosity not because of the fans who had left by that time, but by those who stayed connected.

Burst this bubble

So many of my friends who were truly engaged during Pop Trash speak so fondly of that time and those shows, over the years I’ve wondered what made it so. Sure, for many who loved the Pop Trash and Medazzaland albums, the answer is obvious. The music fuels the passion. For others, it was likely the proximity to the band itself. I have friends who tell me that back then, the band really seemed to embrace the fans. Rather than treating them like asylum escapees with a registered potential for violence quotient – they acted like they were old friends.

Were the fans just friendlier at the time? The late 90s -2000s were early days of the internet. Social media hadn’t yet hooked us with its talons. The reunion was a blip on the horizon, but no fan even suspected the possibility just yet.

Were die-hard fans during this period there more for the music than the nostalgia?

To type the words seems so judgmental. I don’t mean it quite that way, but to be fair – don’t you wonder what the ratio between die-hard and “I-heard-a-single-from-Pop-Trash-on-the-radio” potential fans were in any given audience on the Up Close & Personal tour might have been? Let’s just be blunt: there IS a certain percentage of the greater fan base that continues to show up because they’re still in love with the pinup images of John, Simon, Nick and Roger. That doesn’t mean every fan from the 80s lives in nostalgia, it simply means some still might.

Hardest thing is to let go

I can’t say whether I’ve tested my theories enough to call them law, but I have definitely noticed a certain “Where were YOU in the 90s?” attitude that has permeated over the years. If you suggest that you stuck around during that time, you’re alright. If, like me, you mention a sabbatical, however brief – one can sense the eyes upon you narrowing as they scrutinize from head to toe. Judgments are made based on how one answers the simple questions of what live shows you’ve seen, or whether or not you remained a “true” fan during the lean 1990s.

On the other hand, and most likely one attached to the body of someone who haughtily says they’re not at all nostalgic to 1980’s Duran Duran – there is the fact that during these same Up Close & Personal shows, the band played a FAR more varied set list, filled with songs from—oh yes, you guessed it—their first few albums and B-sides. Not nostalgic, you say? Please, tell me more about that. Fandom is fueled by nostalgia.

I don’t necessarily think I’ve discovered the answers to the questions on my mind, but on second thought, I’m really not sure there are black and white answers to be found. Fandom is complex. This isn’t math. There aren’t firm answers, even though people like me really might prefer that. A lot of the ground we walk on is slippery. I would know, I’ve fallen a lot. And repeatedly. Then, I’m a bit of a klutz trapped in a china shop. Save the china!!

-R

Playing with Uranium

It’s Wednesday, everybody – we’re nearly on the downward slide to Friday! Today, I wanted to expand a little more on the topic from yesterday. It was nice to receive some feedback, so let’s dive in a little bit deeper!

In for an evening

One subject that came up a few times in comments was the idea of a personal connection between a fan and the band. Rest assured, I am not suggesting that just by merely being in the audience and seeing Simon (and/or Nick, Roger or John for that matter), that you’ve somehow engaged in a relationship. I’m also not asserting that someone can’t be a real fan without that experience. I know of many fans who have never seen the band live – they’re as big of fans as anyone else, if not bigger.

There does seem to be some confusion with what I may have meant by the band seeing me at the rail. I meant that in strictly literal sense. Rather than being back in 7th row and saying, “Oh, I think he looked my way!”, not really knowing if he saw me, the person next to me, or someone four rows in front, when you’re in front row and they look down (especially if you’re elbows on the stage), there’s not much doubt about who they’re looking at. I really meant they SEE YOU. On the contrary, I don’t think that being at a gig and having a band member look your way, wink at you, or even grasp your hand at the end of the set is the same thing as developing an personal connection – just in case my words came across wrong.

Maybe my bar is set high on what that developing a connection to another person might entail, but I think in order to really connect with someone, there has to be more than a quick glance at a show.

Lite entertainment

So, the anxiety I felt with being in the front row, wasn’t due to the potential for suddenly becoming besties with Simon. (please read the sarcasm – he didn’t know me from anyone else that night) It was that genuinely, in the past, I felt like just another anonymous head in the crowd, and I was pretty comfortable in that role. That night at the front though, I felt incredibly close in proximity. I was right in front of them. The idea that they could actually see me, my reactions, incredible dance moves (again, read the sarcasm), etc, freaked me out.

I remain uncertain if meeting the band or having any sort of face-to-face time with them acts as an enhancement to fandom. Perhaps that’s a personal decision. The whole notion is very interesting because it draws different reactions from nearly every fan I’ve ever spoken to. Some crave it. Others have had that time, and value it to the point where they refuse to discuss it. I’ve talked to fans who couldn’t care less about ever meeting them, saying the music is all that matters. There are a few others I know who seem rather blasé . They’ve been backstage many times, but how dare . In my mind, some people need the band to remain on a pedestal, and maybe those folks are people who don’t really ever want or need to meet the band. Maybe other fans like the idea of meeting them and seeing them as real people. Still others just want their ten seconds of infamy. There’s no right answer, but I will say that in my experience – there can be of a lot of judgment depending upon how you feel on this subject. I felt it even yesterday after I’d posted.

If it blows up in my face

This is also the one sticking point that I wish, as fans, we’d just get over. Yes – sometimes, some members of the band do recognize people. I don’t believe that the recognition is some sort of barometer for fandom, either. The only person who should be concerned with what kind of fan you are, is YOU. Sharing anecdotes from the field, so to speak, shouldn’t be viewed as a warning shot fired over the bow. Yet far too often – it is seen as exactly that. Jealousy seeps and spreads thickly throughout this fandom. So much so at times, it is a threat to its real function.

I don’t know why we fans judge one another so harshly, except to create a sense of false competition. Even if Amanda or I were to meet every band member and become personal friends with that person – there’s nothing to “win” here. Yet many fans would indeed view that proximity and those types of personal connections, as a win. How close can you get to the band? Who can you count as a personal friend? Those imaginary hurdles or boundaries count for so much that at various moments over the years of blogging, Amanda and I both have needed to censor things that have occurred, purely to save ourselves from the onslaught.

See you on the other side

The subject of interpersonal relationships between the band and fans is almost always a slippery slope into what I like to call “The Valley of Death”. There’s no safe trail. Either one is crazy for suggesting the possibility, or they’re hated for being side stage with the band. Truly, one is taking chances by even suggesting the band recognizes people from time to time.

I’ll end with one thoughtful comment I received yesterday. “They can mean a lot to me, without me meaning a lot to them.”

Perhaps that’s the safest way, which in turn might serve as a very good explanation for why there are so few fans that become friends of the band to begin with.

-R