Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Drop of Blood on Evil Beach

So, the Duranie fallout from Mike Bell’s unfavorable review of the Calgary show continues this morning. I can’t remember the last time Daily Duranie had so much discussion on its Facebook page, actually.  Dissenting comments populated our page and spread like wildfire.

Coyly, one commenter asked, “Is he not allowed an opinion?” She continued by saying she didn’t know if she would agree with his review until she went to see the show.

Fair enough.  Her loaded question made me think.  Mike Bell, and others like him are critics. In order to be a critic, opinions are necessary.  I mean, you can’t very well review something if you don’t have an opinion, can you?  But is that the point here?  I’m not so sure on my end.

There have been numerous times when Amanda and I have given an unfavorable review. Fans are not afraid to call us out when they do not agree.  We’ve had it pointed out to us occasionally that we’ve been too harsh with regard to one topic or another. Carefully, we  cite reasons, give examples and with varying levels of success—we attempt to be fair when we write blogs that are less than favorable. It isn’t easy, and we don’t expect everyone to agree. Our job is to start the conversation and let it go from there.

Those details that Amanda and I try very hard to incorporate here, such as examples, reasons, and yes, fairness, were missing yesterday. It wasn’t so much that the reviewer didn’t like the show, it was that I hardly saw critique of the show.  His article displayed his predetermined utter dislike for the band with a few dismal sentences about the show thrown in for good measure. Had he taken the time to prove why he felt that HLTW wasn’t quite up to par, or how he felt that the band was inanimate, perhaps the review might have gone over differently.

That’s just it though, these critics don’t have to prove anything. They can just write their drivel, and for the most part—it goes unnoticed and unchallenged until a blog like Daily Duranie comes along. I make no apologies for starting the conversation.

-R

 

Summer Tour 2016: By the Numbers

Today marks the official end to my summer.  It isn’t that the calendar states September whatever to indicate the beginning of fall or that my students arrive in my classroom tomorrow.  It is, for me, though the last day before I go into that classroom and prepare it for students.  Yes, kids, this teacher is going back to work tomorrow.  (Please note…the utter enthusiasm…HA!)  Before I do that, I want to take one last, long look back to my summer and, more specifically, the summer tour!  Following in our touring tradition, I give you all our summer tour by the numbers!

Miles Driven:  2348

On the road to Toronto
On the road to Toronto

We drove a LOT.  I mean A LOT.  For the first leg, I drove from Madison, Wisconsin, to Toronto and back.  During the second leg, Rhonda drove from her place in Orange County to Paso Robles to Vegas to Chula Vista back to Orange County.  It is definitely the most we drove for any  “tour”.  I can speak for Rhonda when I say that we are SO thankful that we have days and breaks in between driving.

8 Shows:  (1 extra for each of us)

During this summer leg, we saw 8 shows together and one extra separately as Rhonda went to the LA show in May and I drove up to Minneapolis.  I know that some might think this is excessive.  My response to that is simple.  We did just as many shows during the All You Need Is Now Tour.  They were just split up more.  (Logical response, right?!)

Chicago July 8
Chicago July 8
Chicago July 9
Chicago July 9
Detroit
Detroit
Toronto
Toronto
Paso Robles
Paso Robles
Las Vegas
Las Vegas
Irvine
Irvine
Chula Vista
Chula Vista

7 Hotels

We stayed in 7 different hotels in the following places:  Chicago, Kalamazoo, Detroit, Toronto, Tinley Park, Paso Robles and Vegas.  I generally like staying in hotels but they are a killer on the pocketbook!

7 States/Provinces:

Like the hotels, we were in 7 different states or provinces:  Wisconsin (just me) Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ontario, California and Nevada.  Those places remain standing.  As for their vodka supply…perhaps, not so much!

Those Damn Pants:  

If you were reading our blog while we were on tour, you might

Las Vegas
Las Vegas

have seen a mention or two (hundred) about John Taylor’s pants.  I won’t go into detail other than to say that they were not my favorite and I saw him wear them for 5 shows (Chicago night 1, Detroit, Paso Robles, Vegas and Irvine).  Call this acknowledgement closure on my end.  I promise.  They will never be mentioned again.

Holy Confetti Batman!

Our summer tour began without the confetti at the two Chicago

Irvine
Irvine

shows.  We missed it terribly.  The other 6 shows more than made up for it!

Average Number of Drinks:

Cheers!
Cheers!

Uh…I thought about doing this one as just a straight up number but I figured that it might scare people (or me!).  Let’s just put it this way.  We had quite a few vodka tonics.  Maybe we had more than a few.  Some might say we had a lot.  So, I think we averaged between 4-5 per day.  I think.  Maybe.  We apologize to all of those cities that had to replace the vodka after we left.

5 Setlists:

Our Paso Robles Setlist
Our Paso Robles Setlist

One of our touring traditions is to suggest a setlist for each show we go to.  This time, we gave the band a break on the first leg since Nick was not there.  By the second leg, we felt confident that MNDR knew how to bring it leading us to suggest a setlist or four.  Of course, the fifth one was the one we actually got, you know…from the band, on stage!

 

 

 

4 Official Meet-ups:

We organized and hosted 4 official pre-show meet-ups in Chicago (both nights), Toronto and Vegas!  We had a good time and were thrilled with the turn out!!!

1st night in Chicago
1st night in Chicago
2nd group meet-up in Chicago
2nd group meet-up in Chicago
Toronto meet up
Toronto meet up
In Las Vegas
In Las Vegas

2 Bloggers on Tour:

Sometimes, touring can be lonely.

All by ourselves in Irvine
All by ourselves in Irvine

Sometimes, touring can be tiring.

Catching a few zzz's
Catching a few zzz’s

One Wristband Given:

For this tour, we had new wristbands made with the idea being that sales of them would go towards next year’s convention.  Many people at our meet-ups bought one (or more than one!), which we are truly thankful for.  I am forced to admit that I did give one away, but just one…to this guy below.

Nile wearing the wristband
Nile wearing the wristband

One Future Blogger:

The Irvine show had a special attendee.  We are hoping that she will be ready to take over for us one day!

Sabrina's sign

One Awesomely, Amazing, Durantastic Tour and Summer!

I have had other summers that featured touring but nothing quite like this one!  I felt like I was on tour for literally most of the summer and when I wasn’t on tour, I was either getting ready or recovering from it.  I’m anxious to go it again, but I doubt it will be any time soon.  That said, I’m willing to plan for an East Coast show, though…

-A

Split Personality

The  end of a tour usually brings thinking and introspection.  This summer tour is no exception.  In fact, it might have brought more, especially since I go back to work next week.  Yes, the school year officially starts for me even though the kiddos don’t arrive until September 1st.  The classroom needs to get ready.  Lesson plans need to get written.  Adjustments to curriculum are required.  Despite the fact that I have been teaching a LONG time (this will be my 19th year!), I still don’t feel like I have the beginning of the year smooth.  Perhaps, I wonder if the lack of intensity is to blame.

I remember being a kid or even a young adult and feeling determined to figure out exactly who I was and where I needed to be.  Should I commit myself to being an activist, I asked in college.  A teacher should focus 110% of the time on one’s classroom and students, I believed early on in my career.  Where and how does fandom fit in with all of this, I periodically asked.  Yet, I felt that I had to choose ONE.  There was only one path that led to personal success.  Success required intensity and extreme focus.
As I have gotten older, I began to see and feel life with more complexity.  Yes, I’m a teacher and, yes, there are parts that I LOVE about the job.  I love when my students get into a serious debate over political issues of our time or the moves that were made by the United States throughout history are discussed.  My favorite moments are when I see my students’ passionately engaged in a topic.  Unfortunately, I’m well-aware of aspects of my job that I feel less (in some cases, much less) excited about.  I am not a big fan of meetings filled with educational jargon about the latest trends that will supposedly increase student achievement.  Grading is time consuming and often painful.  I despise the amount of time and energy this “full-time” job takes.  During the school year, I desperately long for breaks or at least a day away from school related work.  Teaching is not my whole life and it is NOT the defining characteristic of who I am.  It is one part of who I am.
Beyond teaching, I can be a political activist.  At times, that has meant diving deep to work on specific political campaigns or for specific candidates.  At other times, it means joining a protest or two about issues that matter to me.  It almost always means that I’m watching politically focused shows and reading the latest news.  Many conversations with friends and colleagues feature political discussions.  Yet, like teaching, it is not who I am but a part of who I am.
Likewise, fandom is a part of who I am.  It is just as big of a part as teaching or being an activist.  The commitment I have made with regards to this blog or our various projects show that.  If it didn’t matter to me, I simply wouldn’t do it.  I wouldn’t take the time to read the latest Duran news and the reactions from fans.  I wouldn’t write about Duran or the fandom surrounding the band.  There would be no Duranie focused event planning for me.  Is everything about it perfect?  Of course not.  Just like in teaching or campaigning, there are elements that frustrate me, that I don’t like.  Do those negative aspects affect what I do with my fandom?  It can and does.  I’m only human.
Sometimes, I think I would be a better teacher or activist or fan whatever you want to call it if I would focus on just that aspect of myself and my life.  I wouldn’t be distracted by the other two.  I wouldn’t be split into thirds.  Maybe this singular focus would help make my good teaching great or make my political activities so much more affective.  The laser focus might improve this blog or my writing or the fan events we plan.  Yet, I also know that I’m wouldn’t be happy just doing one over the other two.  Some aspect of my personality needs all three or a FORM of all three.  Do I have to be in a classroom to enjoy teenagers engaging with historical topics?  No.  Do I have to be writing a blog to be a good fan organizer/writer?  Probably not. Yet, I would need something like those examples.
Does my participation with all three hurt my performance, actively hurt it?  Maybe.  Some think so.  Then, the question becomes how do I make myself happy (while still paying my bills) by acknowledging all three aspects of myself without harming or muting what I could be doing with these three ambitions?  How can I commit myself more to them, individually, while maintaining all?  How do I make it so the lack of time and energy from doing all doesn’t kill the reason I love these?  I need to find a way to show and maintain my passion for all three to be the most effective and most happy.  While I feel as though I have accepted the complexity of myself and my passions, I feel like I struggle to keep those passions AS passions or struggle to show them as passions.  My goal for this year is to figure out how to do just that.  Clearly, it won’t be easy but I have a feeling that it will definitely be worth it!
-A

Last Time La Luna

I don’t want to be sad. I hate tears and that kind of thing, particularly in front of other people. (I’m a really good shower crier) The last thing I want to do is start to cry at a show. In front of the band. I’d say no thanks, but I already did at the last show (Irvine). Damn that “New Moon on Monday!” I discreetly wiped the few that escaped and tried to sing and clap along as I willed myself to stop thinking about how that song encapsulates everything I know and remember from my youth, or how that was the second to last time I’d hear the song this tour. Now tonight, I’ll hear it one last time (for me) on this tour. I look forward to hearing it because I love the song, but I also dread the wistfulness that will be attached.

I knew the eight shows would go by fast. The first four certainly flew by, but then I anticipated the next four and that got me through a very busy week in between. But now, well, it is different. Mind you, I do have things to be excited about. Early Saturday morning, I’m leaving for a two-week vacation with my family. Before you all get jealous—we’re camping. In a trailer, thank you. We are going to Arches National Park in Utah (where we will bake in the sun), then up to Yellowstone for seven days, and then the Grand Tetons and back home. In case anyone is curious: yes, touring and camping are complete opposite ends of the spectrum. It is going to be detox in a major way as we are fairly sure I won’t even have cell or data service for at least portions of the trip. I get a nervous tic whenever I start thinking about not being able to check in with the world. Life will be returning to normal in a big way once I drop Amanda off at the airport tomorrow.

I have more fun on this tour than ever. Sure, our seats have been great most of the way, and the band has entertained us wildly. Amanda and I have laughed until we’ve cried. We’ve successfully ducked from Simon’s White Lines spitting trick five times so far (the other two times we were so far back or to the side it didn’t matter).  I’ve been hit directly on the head by a beach ball about four times, and twice Dom has kicked a beach ball right in my direction. My reflexes still work well enough to duck in time. We spent time with our Canadian bestie, Heather. We drove over a border and weren’t arrested. Twice! I witnessed Amanda’s horror at walking through the livestock section at a county fair (priceless!!). We tried (and failed) at winning enough money in Vegas to pay for our bar bills (which have been atrocious this tour and I’m not even going to joke about that).  I think we tried to pack as much fun, laughter, serious discussion and even a bit of work (yes, we’re working on a proposal for a brand new book…and yes, it’s on Duran Duran!) as possible during our time together. But, it’s never enough.

Oddly, I distinctly remember questioning whether or not I should even embark on this tour. Something happened to me after finishing that manuscript in June. I really wondered if maybe I had completely reconciled my feelings to the point where I was done being a fan. Did I still love the band? Did I still love being a fan? Was I ready just to walk away completely? I felt very much as I did after I’d had my first baby (who is now 19), that maybe it was just time to let it go. I told my husband and everyone I knew that this was my last trip for Duran Duran. I couldn’t afford it any longer (true), and that you can only go and see the same show so many times. I convinced myself that this was my swan song, and that I had to do everything I possibly could this tour to get it all, and I mean ALL, out of my system.

I didn’t know what that meant for Daily Duranie, and I never really discussed that with Amanda. I figured that I would probably still blog, and that if they came to California again at some point, that sure, I’d go see them. But, the traveling and touring days were over. I knew I’d keep writing books, and I just told myself that I didn’t have to actually go on road trips or tour in order to be an author. The week before I left for Chicago, my mom’s partner had a massive heart attack and died, and at that point I was even more convinced that this tour would be my very last. My mom isn’t young, and she will need my help going forward doing the things that Dennis used to do for her. I started feeling even more guilty about the money I’d spent, and by the time I left, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to have fun even though I desperately needed some. I had some hard conversations more than once with Amanda along the way, and while I knew she understood that my life had taken a turn, I also knew she wasn’t happy about it. By the time the first set of four shows ended and I was dropped off at Midway, I was beginning to waver.

On one hand, I did (and do) recognize the expense of doing what we do. I’d like to take more vacations that do not consist of me cooking and cleaning all the time, but with traveling like this, it doesn’t leave much in the budget. I also know that my mom and kids still need me and yet I’m running around the country like I’m still in my twenties, so I’m told. (and it’s fun!) I know my husband isn’t a big fan of me going to all of these shows because he doesn’t like me being gone. That’s another problem that I’ve grown very tired of dealing with. I feel torn. I’ve spent twenty years putting the needs of others before my own. It isn’t as though I tour every month or even every year. I don’t even see Amanda every six months consistently. But the guilt and the annoyance factors are strong. Sometimes it’s just easier to give in and make everyone else happy and just convince myself that it’s for the best. I think a lot of moms do that and it becomes a basic skill of survival.

So now, here I sit the morning before my last show. The show I’ve told myself would be my final one. We stayed in fancy hotels, we hung out in bars. We tried to do meet-ups that would bring the community together. We laughed WITH the band onstage. I tried to show my support without seeming like a crazy, desperate fan. Do I feel like I’ve done everything I set out to do?

No.

If I’m really being honest, the answer is no. There are two levels to that answer. First of all, as a fan, the one thing this tour has taught me is that the set list really doesn’t matter as much as I thought it did. I still have a fantastic time no matter what they play. They put on an amazing show with SO much energy, and they honestly and truly loo like they have fun doing it every single night. In turn, I have a blast every single night. I don’t want to stop doing that. Ever.

Secondly, Amanda and I want to keep writing. We can’t control whether or not we ever meet the band beyond a quick “hi” at a signing.  We aren’t in their “inner circle” and probably never will be. We write what WE see, witness and/or believe here, whether or not the band and management agree.  That might not always earn us friends, but we can look ourselves in the mirror. That matters more to us in the end. Showing up at places we think the band might arrive will get us nowhere. Asking people we thought we could count on for help has also done very little. (Let me be clear: both scenarios continue to get us nowhere.)  We are irrelevant in that sense, so for the two of us—it is about our writing and bringing this big, dysfunctional family we call a fan community together. We are determined and can do this—on our own steam no less, because we’re just crazy enough to believe it can be done. I am proud of that work and want to keep doing it. Some may not call what we do “work”, and you know what? I don’t fucking care what anyone else thinks, to be incredibly blunt. I want to keep doing meet-ups, planning conventions, and writing. Not all of that requires that I attend countless shows, but some of it really kind of does.

So where does that leave me? Well, aside from broke right now, I’m not sure. I’m pretty stubborn when I want to be. As result, there’s a part of me that is desperate to sell these manuscripts to publishers so that way I can look a lot of people in the eye and say “I told you so, and I can do this whether or not you claim to know me, or respect our work, dammit.” I’m annoyed by my own life circumstance just enough to throw caution to the wind and get it done. I just hope to stay determined in the coming months as life gets challenging with college applications (it’s my son’s turn now!), homeschooling, and schedules.

Stubbornness aside, I wouldn’t be surprised if tears are shed tonight during “New Moon on Monday. I’m glad I’ll have Amanda there, because she’s really the only one I know who understands me. Once I had a friend who did something like thirteen shows on a Duran tour. She traveled with friends for like three weeks and I know she had the time of her life. She cried when she got home, and I could never figure out why.

I get it now.

Last time La Luna.

-R

 

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.

JT loan

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.

simon onstage loan

josi loan

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.

loan simon

 

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!

bandmember shots loan

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!

 

loan thumbnail

 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.