Outside Looking Into Myself: Adult Fandom

As much as I love being with friends, it is nice to be back at home.  I think I’ve settled back in, and I might have even caught up on my rest.  Compared to the band, ten days isn’t very long to be away, but for me—it was quite a while. I’m the mom, master-scheduler, housekeeper, cook and chauffeur. I’m sure you get the idea. Things tend to fall through the cracks when I’m not here, and it’s up to me to gather the loose ends when I get home. I might be young again while touring, but when I’m home, it’s back to “adulting” I go!

This is my catch-up week before Amanda arrives next Monday evening and the madness begins again. Part of that catch-up involves reading the reviews I missed last week, and seeing some of the reactions on Twitter.  One of the comments I’ve seen over and over, whether we’re talking this tour or ten years ago, is “I feel like a kid again when Duran Duran is on that stage!”

I know that feeling well. I described the night I saw them at the House of Blues in Anaheim in 2001 with similar words. This was before the reunion, before Dom joined the band, and before Daily Duranie became “a thing.”  I caught a glimpse of myself back at the age of twelve, and I didn’t want to let go. I felt vibrant, energetic, and yeah, young.

Each time I went to a show, I felt transported back to the mid-80s. The music had a way of doing that, I guess. In many ways, that feeling was addictive. But after a while, I started experiencing the shows as an adult. That reads weirdly, but stick with me as I try to explain.

At first, it was all about experiencing Duran Duran as I would have done when I was a teen. “Rio”, “Hungry Like the Wolf”…”Planet Earth”…all of those songs…and it was because back when I was a teen, I never saw the band live. Singing and dancing my way through those shows gave me some sort of closure on that part of my life and that part of my fandom. I acted silly. I wore light-up horns. I held up signs. I did everything that I probably would have done back then. It was fantastic!

Somewhere along the line though, I stopped wearing the horns. I didn’t bring signs to shows. I stopped willing myself back to the 1980s. Instead, I started appreciating that I was in the 2000s. And then the 2010s. And so on. Don’t get me wrong, I still hope against hope that they play some of the songs I’ve never had a chance to hear live (old habits die-hard and I’m not at all sorry about that). It’s really more that when I go to the shows, I don’t feel twelve any longer. I feel like an energetic and vibrant 40-something.

What does that really mean? To begin with, I see the band a lot differently now than I did when I was a kid. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to bust anyone’s fantasies here, but they are human. They are real people with failings like anyone else. (I hear gasping out there.) They sometimes make very poor fashion choices. They are occasionally very slightly off-kilter when it comes to their talking points. Other times, they are brilliant. Their music speaks to me, and for me, in ways I couldn’t have ever written on my own.

They were my childhood heroes in the same way that once upon a time, my dad was Superman. Once I grew up, I came to the harsh reality that my dad didn’t know everything and was not the strongest man on the planet.  Similarly, the same reality check came upon me for the band.  Now—well, now they are people I deeply admire, even if they have no idea who I am.

There’s also the attraction thing. Yeah, I know it isn’t cool with the Duranie guys out there that the girls notice the band’s good looks. Perhaps if someone else were writing this blog, they wouldn’t mention it, but the truth is—of course I notice. I’m female. I would be lying if I said I didn’t notice their good looks. I’m attracted to them. I scream for them.

That doesn’t mean I’m standing in the audience, desperately hoping for my one night stand with any of them. Yeah, I might be a soccer mom. Sure, I’ve been married for twenty years (to an engineer, not an accountant, thanks), and yeah – if one of them looks my way I’m gonna smile back. That said, if I were to run into the band somewhere after the show I’m not wanting for much other than a conversation. That’s part of being an adult. We can converse without expectations for more.

Despite however much screaming, flirting, or fawning I’ve done over a band member during a show, let me be clear: the last thing I need to continue my fandom is a quick one-night stand in the room of a band member. I would much rather go for friendly conversation over a beverage, and walk away knowing that no one is going to be hurt by that in the end.  Love the fantasy, hell—I wholly encourage such behavior simply by writing this fan blog—but reality is another thing altogether. Self-awareness is a real thing.  I’m not saying anyone else shouldn’t bother, but it’s not my goal.

Another thing about experiencing fandom and shows as an adult is that I really try to stay in the moment. I want to soak it all in. I can’t speak for the rest of you reading, but I swear the years from about ten to twenty-six went by in a blink. I didn’t do too many DD shows when I was in my twenties but there were a few, and I hardly remember them. Even the first few shows I went to after the reunion are a distant memory. I barely remember the first Astronaut show I went to in Chicago of 2005. The memories are a blur after a vision of the band walking to the front of the stage with a heartbeat vibrating through the floor of the arena.

As time has worn on in the years since, I have tried to remind myself to embrace each moment of the show.  If I could slow down time during any point in the set, I’d choose New Moon on Monday.  I’m still sitting here marveling over that song. I just never thought I’d hear them play it and now I’m afraid that someday I’ll forget they ever did.

Sometimes, I’m more successful than others at enjoying each note of the show. I’m still guilty of occasionally grabbing my camera during specific songs in the set. I try to remember that I don’t know what the future holds. I should enjoy each second. Kids don’t typically do that because they think they’ll live forever. Unfortunately, I know firsthand that we do not.  So I work harder to be present.

I am happily embracing that I’m in my mid-40s, seeing shows and having a blast. I feel young and vivacious, and sometimes I pay for that the next day which reminds me that yeah – age can hurt sometimes!  Even so, I wouldn’t trade this tour, or any of the experiences I’ve had along the way. I am enjoying being a fan of this band as an adult, and as John says, “You’ve just got to go with it.”

-R

2 thoughts on “Outside Looking Into Myself: Adult Fandom”

  1. No Gasps Here!:) I`m, FULLY AWARE That THEY ARE HUMAN And NOT PERFECT!:) But They Are ALSO MAGNIFICENT And PERFECT TO ME!:) WARTS AND ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:)<3<3<3<3<3

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