My first Duran Duran concert
October 17, 2011 at the Tower Theater, Philadelphia
Having been a fan for almost 30 years it was a surreal experience. I still have trouble putting those feelings into words. My seat was on John’s side of the stage and I was just mesmerized from start to finish. I remember being in a trance almost the entire time and just staring at John. I mean, staring. I felt like I was a young teenager again, plopped in front of MTV and was engrossed in their videos. The show was better than I could have imagined. I remember telling myself that I should look at Simon and the other people on stage and take in the experience, but I couldn’t take my eyes off of John. And at the same time, I was also trying to capture as many moments as I could with my camera. Of course in hindsight, I wish I had put my camera down and absorbed as much as I could that night. Little did I know that it would not be my only time seeing the band that year. In an uncharacteristically impulsive move, I saw them again eleven days later in Boston.
Seeing the band arrive at the Tower Theater
I went to that Philly concert by myself, so I got there a bit early and killed some time in the pub across from the venue. I met some other fans and we had all decided to skip most of the opening act (Neon Trees) and head to the theater between acts. As we were leaving the pub and walking across the street to the theater, a white van drove past us and went down the alley to the backstage entrance. Very quickly, whispers turned to excited-yet-still-low-key squeals saying that it was the band. My initial thought was No Way! They must already be there at the venue. Well it turned out I was wrong. We tried to be cool and saunter over to the alley to catch a glimpse, and our suspicions were confirmed. They waved hello in response to some brave fans who called out their names. I was in Duranie fandom heaven, and I hadn’t even entered the theater yet.
Turning lemons into lemonade in Atlantic City
I planned my summer vacation around this show (August 25, 2012). My friend Stephanie and I wanted to attend a show on that summer tour together, but she ended up going to see them at Foxwoods the night before and I chose AC because I could visit some nearby family. That choice was a critical one for me because she got to see the band and I did not. As we now know, they ended up cancelling this show in Atlantic City as well as the remainder of that U.S. tour. I found out the news like many would-be attendees did: at a bar in the casino, within an hour of the start time. It was another surreal Duranie fandom experience, but in a sad way.
One amazing opportunity did rise from these ashes though. After commiserating with other Duranies and trying to make the most of the situation, we heard rumblings that some of the band was in one of the other bars at the casino. Sure enough, I ended up meeting Dom Brown, Anna Ross, and Simon Willescroft (saxophone). I had a lovely chat with Dom about his solo work. So for not being able to see the band live, the night gave me my only chance (so far) to meet members of the band.
JT’s book signing in Toronto
2012 was turning into a tough Duran-year for me. I also missed John’s book signing in Toronto. Regrettably this one was my choice though. It was the day that Superstorm Sandy was due to hit land, and although I was nowhere near the direct path of the storm, it did cause some pretty severe weather in western NY. After a lot of debate and even a little heartache, I decided not to make the drive to Toronto out of safety concerns. I think I avoided Facebook and other social media for a week because I didn’t want to see what I had missed out on.
But somehow the Duran karma was looking out for me again. Not too long after missing the chance to meet JT, I won a signed copy of his book from DDHQ. Of course it wasn’t the same experience I had hoped for, but I do treasure it nonetheless.
The controversial Duran Duran & Steve Aoki show
June 20, 2012 at Terminal 5, New York City
Oh I know the controversy this show caused. I read the fan forums and the criticisms both before and after the show. You can look them up yourselves. I am grateful for the experience no matter what. Perhaps another time I’ll write about my entire experience, but in a nutshell, it was a one-of-a-kind Duranie fandom experience that I don’t regret one bit.
I truly ventured out of my comfort zone for this one. I went to New York City for the first time. I was a guest of a Duranie who was looking for a +1 for her ticket. I had faith in a fellow Duranie, but it was still a risk to put my faith in this stranger in NYC. It all worked out just fine, and we met up outside of Terminal 5 in time for the show. We ended up being among the first group of fans they let in, so we got pretty close to the stage. And as Steve Aoki says in the video that captured the essence of the evening, I had no idea what was about to unfold. Yes, I got cake on me, was sprayed with champagne, and many sweaty, annoying 20-somethings bumped into me with little regard for my safety. But I also got to meet some awesome Duranies, witness a new arrangement of HLTW, sing Happy Birthday to John, and even watch the band watch Aoki from backstage. And even though it was a short set, it was a unique Duranie fandom event that I’m glad I took a risk on.
Do you have a list of your Duranie fandom moments? Share some in the comments below!