Happy Whateveryoucelebrate!!!

Since today is my last blogging day before Christmas – I thought I’d send out my own holiday greetings to everyone.  Christmas is a pretty big holiday here for my family, we celebrate with my husband’s family on Christmas Eve, mine on Christmas Day…and then we have a big party on New Years Eve and typically don’t get to sleep until dawn, then spend the next day wondering why we thought we could still behave as though we were in our 20’s. (We can’t but we certainly try!)  By the time these weeks are over, I’m exhausted!  I love this time of year because it gives us a chance to spend time as a family, and if you’ve been reading the blog you know that my oldest has 3 years until she goes off to college.  Those times are special, and I hope all of you have the opportunity to spend time with the people you love and call family (whether by blood or by choice) as well.

Speaking of people we love, of course I want to send my best wishes for a wonderful holiday out to the band, regardless of what or if they celebrate, of course.  A holiday is a holiday – and I’m well aware that means a vacation in Britain.  They certainly deserve just that.  I have to get sappy and fan girl for just a moment and say that they have given me SUCH a gift this year.  Some of the very best shows I’ve ever been to happened this year, both before and after Simon’s vocal issues.  I really didn’t know if I’d ever see them play again after my fateful trip to the UK, and boy – did they ever deliver!  For those of you who are waiting patiently for the band to come your way, and I really hope they do, make no mistake – they are worth the wait.  I love each and every one of them and could not possibly be prouder to say I’m a fan.  Happy Holidays.

There are LOTS of other people in this world that I adore, and many of you are those whom I’ve met just this past year.  There are so many, I wouldn’t dare name all of you in fear of forgetting someone – but I hope you all know you are.  I don’t use the word “blessed” very often – I’m really not religious in that way, but I am SO blessed to be able to call all of you my friends. I thank my lucky stars each day that I met each of you, and I love you more than I could ever say on this blog.  It has really been a fabulous year when it comes down to the friendships I’ve made and continue to enjoy.  Its funny because I don’t even feel as though I need a single thing under my Christmas tree – I’ve already gotten anything and everything I could want.  Merry Christmas to each of you and your families.

Of course then there is my partner-in-crime.  Where to begin with that girl, I just don’t know.  We did it, didn’t we?!?  We actually saw that stupid band play REAL SHOWS in their homeland!!  They didn’t cancel the gigs when they heard we were coming, and they didn’t run the other way when they saw us in the audience….in the same basic seats….each night for the first four shows!  (and again I’m sorry to Dom Brown if he thought we were stalking him.  I swear we didn’t pick the seats – it just happened that way!!)  Unreal.  I still shake my head in wonder about the whole thing.  I had the best time, I really did, and I have you to thank for that.  (yes, there might have been other…people…involved, but we’re not talking about that here)  Thank you for putting up with my insanity, my forgetfulness and my scatterbrained self on almost a daily basis.  Who would have thought when we met in New Orleans that we’d dare try to change the Duranie world and write a blog with heart and soul?  Hope you’re working on  that chapter for the book….and yes, I need to finish my chapter too!  I hope you have the merriest of Christmases ever, and that 2012 is a better year.  Period.  I don’t know how in the hell we’ll ever top the latter part of this year, or if we should even try, but I look forward to more insanity ahead!

Lastly – have you followed Dom yet?!?  You haven’t??  Well get on it people!!  Dom on Facebook   Dom on Twitter    Yes, I see that he’s not Andy.  I know he’s not Warren.   Does it really matter??  He’s a good guy, a great guitar player (don’t even try to argue with me)….and he deserves our support!  So go, go do it now…and happy holidays!!

Peace, and I’ll be back on Monday!

-R

My Duranie account is overdrawn?!?

I think I might finally be feeling better because I’m actually considering baking today.  Then again, that might just be a sign that the fever has affected my brain.  Its a good thing that my oldest daughter loves to bake…if I could only get her to wake up (yes, it’s after 11am my time.  Must be nice to be a teenager…).

So after the talk of their touring coming to an end for this year, I saw this morning that the band is playing a one-off date in Dubai next March.  Dubai?!?  I was just mentioning to my husband that I would like to go there one day…

No, the band does NOT have to worry about seeing me at their show in Dubai.  Apparently my Duranie fund has been depleted.  *gasp*  Imagine my shock and horror!  (My husband used words and phrases such as “overdrawn”, “you’ve reached the debt ceiling”, “get a REAL job”….)  *sigh*

Of course I’m joking (well, mostly).  Its not exactly fun to go from planning a big trip to planning nothing but Christmas dinner.  2012 is coming, and while my husband and our retirement fund is hoping (rather loudly I might add) for a tour-free year….I’m secretly (at least it’s a secret from my husband!) hoping that the band comes back to the US.  I’ve threatened to rent a motor home and go on tour with them.  The only solace my husband has is that it would take a lot to convince me to actually drive a big old bus or motor home.  I won’t even drive the truck when we’re towing our travel trailer to go camping.  That’s his job!  I have heard lots of bits of return tour rumors, but nothing solid now, and although I’m looking forward to hearing dates – I’m also nervous because I can’t imagine not being able to go – yet the phrase “overdrawn on the Duranie account” isn’t friendly either!

What I think about more often than not these days though is how I can’t imagine never seeing the friends I’ve made during this past year again.  So many of them live an entire continent….AND an ocean…apart from me.  Its not exactly a cheap plane flight…so my answer is to either become a pilot and buy a big plane (somehow I don’t think the Duranie fund will accommodate that purchase, much less the pilot lessons), or start saving.  I have said it again and again that the shows were great, and they were.  I couldn’t have asked more out of the band – they gave and gave and gave some more.  I felt like connections were made between the band and audience that I’d never witnessed before, much less felt a part of, and those made the shows.  On the same token though, what REALLY made the trip were the people I met and the friendships I’ve made.  It really bothers me to think that I wouldn’t see those people again, so I refuse to accept the idea.  Are we sure there’s no way to become professional Duranies???  😀

And with that, I’m off to my other priority – insisting that my oldest start baking with me!

-R

Why I haven’t renewed

I’d been a member of DDM since it’s inception – give or take a month or two.  My renewal date was in October, and I’d faithfully renewed each year, until this one.  In the past I’d often wondered if I really needed to renew, but in my head it just felt like another cost of being a fan – and at $35.00 a year, I didn’t think it was that much money, and it really isn’t.  I know that over the years a lot of the original members stopped renewing, but in the past I guess I just wasn’t ready.  It didn’t seem like such a big deal to keep my membership going, so why did I decide to quit this year?  This year…as in the middle of a big world tour…this year?

For me, it had everything to do with circumstance and nothing to do with the band.  I don’t even know how much, if anything, they really see out of DDM (money wise), so I don’t feel as though I’m slighting them by not being a member.  That part I worked out of my head a long, long time ago.  I can still be a fan, and a pretty good one I might add, without that membership.  I also noticed that I was going over to DDM fewer and fewer times each month, and I had completely stopped going to the forum, or message boards.  The only real reason to keep my membership, and the only reason I still wonder if I shouldn’t sign back up is because of presales and possibly buying VIP tickets in the future, but at the end of the day I’m just not sure that’s reason enough to be a member.

From day one people have complained about DDM.  Not only the cost, although that’s certainly a good deal of the problem, but also that there’s just not enough offered to make the cost worth the trouble.  I would have to agree.  Ultimately, the “exclusive” things offered by DDM – the Katy Kafe’s for example – just aren’t enough.  Yes, the site has some decent features, but nothing that couldn’t or shouldn’t be offered by the band’s own website.  It just doesn’t make good sense, and DDM certainly doesn’t offer anything beyond the mundane.  Yes, you can get presale tickets, often within HOURS notice of tour dates being announced.  Yes, there is the off chance that the band will agree to do meet and greets for a “lucky” few. (no offense to the band on that one – its just become rather obvious that the same “lucky” few tend to win over and over and over again.  How many times can you really meet and greet the band on tour before the band themselves start wondering if they’re having a deep sense of deja vu each night???)  Absolutely, they do offer VIP tickets, and sometimes, those tickets are actually worthy of being called VIP simply due to where they are located – meaning that while the seats themselves might be good, there isn’t much offered along WITH the VIP ticket that would indicate it’s premium.  Yes, there are t-shirts that come in the package, along with a laminate, a poster, maybe a tote bag… all sent to you either before or after the show.  At the show itself though, aside from your seat, there’s not much to being a VIP.  I guess if I were doing the planning, I might make being a VIP a little more desirable.  A little more special and exclusive.  Private entrances and exits, a special bar area…a reasonable attempt to allow the first 5 rows access to the stage railing without a big security guy telling you no, even though you paid the same amount as the folks in the front row.  For around $300 a ticket, it seems as though it might be worth the extra effort.  I think that generally speaking something has been lost in the translation between idea on paper to execution.

As I said before, in my case it came down to circumstance.  October came and went, I was busy, and money was at a premium in our house.  I felt as though I needed to curtail my own spending to some degree, and DDM is very much just an “extra”, so out it went.   I very much wish that DDM was something so special that it would have felt a little more difficult to make the choice, but it was not.  I know many that will gladly say that when the next set of shows are announced (whether its for this tour or another), and I’m crying that I don’t have presale access, they’ll be the first to say they told me so – and that’s fair.  Perhaps by then I will have signed back up.

The real point I’m trying to make here, in case it was somehow lost, is that its a shame the decision wasn’t made more difficult for me in the end.  DDM is one of those things that doesn’t really have much of a soul.  You pay money, you have a shot at presale tickets, and they throw some silly extra things your way to try and make you feel good about paying them for the opportunity….but not too good.  If you’ve got the extra cash, it probably doesn’t matter and you don’t think much about it when you renew each year.  I played that way for a few years myself.  This year though, I just decided it wasn’t worth it.

-R

I should be in Tahiti!

Today my best friend from here in “The OC” is at a beach somewhere on Bora Bora in Tahiti.  I’m sure it’s sunny, warm and deliciously non-winter like.  They are staying at a fancy resort where their rooms are huts out over the water, and I can’t wait until she gets home next weekend so that I can sit and salivate over the pictures and descriptions of what it was all like!   I’m only partly jealous because while this is an extravagant vacation, I happen to know just how often her husband is away from home during the year (I honestly think Duran Duran spends more time at home with their families than my friend Dave does with his)…and besides, I spent my vacation seeing Duran Duran while my husband and kids were still here at home!

Yeah….Tahiti still sounds pretty enticing!  Simon, Nick, John, Roger & Dom aside….

Here in California today, it is grey, cool…almost threatening to actually rain (*gasp*), and I am sick on the couch with the flu.  Some winters I’m lucky and don’t get sick very often, but so far this winter is not measuring up.  This flu is particularly bad though due to the fever I’m fighting, and since its the week before Christmas – which in our house is a major holiday – the timing really couldn’t be worse.  Today I was to go grocery shopping for the entire week, including Christmas – and then tomorrow is cookie baking day. My sister arrives on Wednesday, and then after that the week and tasks become a blur through until next Monday.  Instead, my husband took one look at me before he left for work this morning and said “Rest. Stay in bed.  Make me a list and I’ll take care of it.”   Famous last words, although I appreciate his optimism.    Staying in bed and “resting” don’t work with a 3 year old, even though my older two are home on holiday break for the next couple of weeks.  My point is that I don’t even work outside of the house and it still takes me all day to accomplish things.  He’s going to be at work until about 6, get home here around 7pm and then go shopping?  Oh boy and good luck!

So my friends, I do need to get better.  Quickly.  It makes me wonder how the band does it when they’re sick.  I mean, they can’t go around canceling shows whenever they’re ill, although I suppose they power through it the way I need to do this week.  I think it was Dom that said something about having tons of adrenaline.  I need some of that, except I’m pretty sure I used that all up during my trip!  I need to reload.  In the meantime, I’m going to take some Advil (thank goodness for Advil), grab a blanket and try to rest.

Hopefully I’ll have some dreams of being on a beach in Tahiti.  You can pick the band member that will be my personal bartender and bring me drinks!

-R

Connections

Last night was a crazy, fun one for the Daily Duranie despite Rhonda being sick and thousands of miles away from me.  What was the cause of the crazy, fun?  In this case, it happened to be a tweet from one Mr. John Taylor.  He responded to something Rhonda had said about traveling to see the band and how it was our best fan experience yet.  So, what do two grown women do in response to such a thing?  Well, I did what many good Duranies would do and that is that I called up Rhonda!  She answered the phone immediately and we proceeded to giggle like teenage girls!!  Then, our twitter and facebook started going crazy as many people commented about how happy they were for us and whatnot!  We were then able to share in the silliness not only with each other but with friends all over the world. 

This fun was followed up by Rhonda’s response to my blog post last night.  She agreed that the UK tour definitely renewed her sense of being a fan.  Her main point, however, had to do with friendship, both the friendship we have and the friendships we have made.  She’s right, of course.  First of all, we were extremely lucky to have met each other in the fall of 2004 at the Duran Duran Fans Convention.  Obviously, we hit it off right away, but that isn’t so extraordinary as many people get along upon first meeting.  Since then, however, our friendship has gotten stronger through good times and bad in both Duranland and in our real lives.  We toured together in the spring of 2005 when many of our touring traditions began, including staying up extremely late, not eating much, giggling at nothing and everything at the same time and more, which continued through last tour of ours.  Our touring also survived through the not-so-fun, divisive RCM days of 2008 as well as through the setback with Simon in the spring.  In our personal lives, we have seen some great stuff and some tough stuff as well.  We have both suffered through grief at the loss of loved ones and have witnessed changes as well with the birth of her youngest and my involvement in political campaigns.  Yet, despite everything, of maybe because, of everything our friendship continues and has gotten stronger over the years. 

The reality is this:  Rhonda and I wouldn’t have met if it wasn’t for the band.  We don’t live near each other and don’t have much in common (on paper, anyway).  The band is also responsible for many of our other friendships as well since we have met many people on tour, on message boards or on social networking sites.  These friendships both work to reinforce our fandom and to intensify it as we can share every moment in Duranland with other people.  Yes, we probably would be fans even without being friends with other fans, but it wouldn’t be the same.  It wouldn’t be as fun, frankly!  Thus, a big part of fandom for us is making connections with other people!  Heck, that is part of the reason that we blog in the first place!  Yes, we like to write about what is on our minds but we also want to connect with other people.  I suspect that most fans want this as well.  Yes, I realize that not all fans post on message boards, have a facebook or twitter account but, I suspect that they try for connections somewhere, even if it is just by reading this blog. 

Thus, my point is that last night really reminded me about what I think fandom is all about and that is connecting with other people.  Yes, the connections begin with the common interest, Duran in our case.  The connections increase one’s interest in the idol(s) and, in many cases, can and does go beyond the common interest to include real life stuff.  It certainly has for Rhonda and myself.  Have you experienced connecting with other fans?  Has it developed into strong friendships like it has for us?  Has it changed your fandom in any way?

-A 

Renewed Duranie Spirit!

Today marks the end of the UK tour for Duran Duran.  I’m sure that many of our friends will be feeling what Rhonda and I have been feeling–a bit of post-show emotions!  While the end of a tour typically brings a low, post-show depression of sorts, this tour has brought something else, something more positive to me.  It has worked to renew my Duranie spirit!!!

I have a Duranie scrapbook that I have been keeping since I started touring with vigor back in 2005.  I wanted some place to capture everything that touring is as I didn’t and don’t want to forget a moment!  This scrapbook contains setlists, receipts from purchasing tickets, seating charts, the tickets itself and more.  One of the best parts of the scrapbook is my tour write-up.  During this write-up of sorts, I go into detail about the tour from start to finish.  I describe traveling, what happened, how the shows were, etc.  It is like a journal or diary of sorts.  When I’m really good with it, I will add pictures to show what I am talking about.  Since I have returned from the UK, I have been working on this one.  As you can imagine this one is much longer than a tour with one or two shows since a lot more went into traveling overseas.  When I reread these, how I felt about the tour becomes very obvious.  For example, in the spring of 2005, I was begging and pleadingly for more.  I couldn’t get enough!  Everything was positive and exciting then for me.  Then, I reread the one I wrote in May after going to the UK and not getting any shows.  That one was filled with forced determination.  Looking back, I can tell that I was trying really hard to be and stay positive.  This one, in contrast, is very different.  I feel like everything is back to being positive again!

Obviously, I know a lot more in 2011 than I did in 2005.  I know WAY more about touring, traveling as well as how the fan community seems to work.  I know that not everything is perfect and there are a lot of people who don’t like and who won’t like us or what we have to say.  Heck, we have been dealing with that this past week on Twitter.  Yet, this isn’t bothering me because I have too much good stuff surrounding me!  This tour of the UK, for me, gave me so many positive things.  First, it was an accomplishment!  It was a dream fulfilled!  That in and of itself should be and would be good enough!  Truly, that is what Rhonda and I wanted to begin with!  Fortunately, though, we got WAY more than that.  We saw so many wonderful friends whom we met last May.  On top of that, we made more friends!  Now, I can’t imagine life without them.  This has reminded me that there are SO many wonderful people in Duranland.  Sometimes, it is so easy to forget that, when all you see are negative people.  It was so nice to be able to relax and have fun with other fans!  Lastly, and most importantly, I fell in love with the band again.

Like many of you, I have been a fan of this band for decades.  I cannot remember a time when I haven’t been a fan.  They are a part of me, at this point.  Thus, I can’t imagine having something happen that would result in me walking away or not caring.  Heck, I have a blog about being a fan of theirs!  I’m committed!  That said, like Rhonda, I wasn’t sure that I would ever be able to capture the spirit of excitement that I once had, as evidenced by my 2005 write-ups.  I enjoyed myself at the Chicago show, but it wasn’t the same.  Maybe I was worried about something going wrong or that something negative was right around the corner.  Maybe the band was in a different spot then, too.  Then, I saw those 4 shows in the UK.  Some of those shows were the best I have ever seen!!!  That show in Glasgow, for example, continues to invade my thoughts!  I was reminded in a very serious, very intense way about what is so great about this band, their music and their live performance.  I became a fan all over again!!!

Maybe the lesson here is that fandom goes in cycles like this.  You feel all excited and everything is good then too much negative happens and you forget about the wonder and the fun.  Then, if you are lucky, you are given the chance to start all over again in a way.  Maybe I’m the only one who has ever felt this way.  Maybe the band feels this way and that they have been able to keep going because the cycle continues or because they have been lucky enough to have their spirits renewed over and over again.  Whatever the cause, I’m grateful!  Now, I’m already dying for more shows!!!  My Duranieness is back and ready to go!!

-A

Boys on Film

Duran Duran played in Manchester tonight.  While that is exciting, what is more exciting is that the concert was filmed.  Duran’s facebook and twitter have made numerous references to this fact in the status updates and tweets.  John has mentioned this as well on his twitter.  I have seen other fans talk about this filled with such enthusiasm over the idea.  Initially, I was right there with everyone else!  I mean what kind of Duranie wouldn’t like them to film a live show?!  We all would, right?  I definitely would love a permanent, edited version of a show on this tour as it has been a special one for the Daily Duranie.  Heck, I would love a live DVD of at least one show per tour, even if the tour wasn’t all that exciting.  I would buy a copy of each one even if I didn’t attend any shows during that tour.  That said, I find myself wondering if this excitement will be short-lived or not.

Duran Duran has recorded many, many moments throughout their long careers in some way, shape or form.  Nick, for example, takes photographs during shows and has for many, many years.  I can’t remember the last time that he didn’t take pictures.  Yet, we haven’t seen all of those or even a tiny fraction of them, I’m sure.  Heck, we haven’t seen any audience pictures from the UK tour AT ALL (yet)!  I, for one, would love to see all of them.  I want to see every single picture that Nick has taken.  I’m sure that he has many photos of fans and many photos of the band.  I would love them all, I think!  Beyond the photograph is all of the footage that Duran has taken before on film!  I’m still waiting for Drama Americana about the ’05 US Tour.  I bet I’m not the only one who wants to still see it!  Yes, yes, I know that they recorded and released Live from London.  That quality DVD is from shows in 2004, which is a long time ago now!  I’m willing to bet that they have other shows recorded between Live from London and tonight’s show in Manchester.  So, where did those other shows go?  Don’t they realize that they could be making tons of money by releasing live shows on DVD?  Heck, people would pay money to hear live shows on CD or mp3.  I guess my point here is that I hope that this recording will actually be made available to the public.  I would buy it and I bet others will, too!

My desire to buy such a product comes partly from my insane desire to have everything Duran related but the other part comes from my wish to have a show on this tour captured.  I want something to refer back to when I describe what these UK shows were like.  I want one so that I don’t forget what they were like!  Shows on DVD can take you back in time, at least for a couple of hours, and remind you of what a great experience you had!  Of course, I’m making a huge assumption here.  I assume that this show was similar to all of the rest.  I would hope that they would be capturing simply one of many shows with the same flavor and not something completely new.  It should represent the tour, which includes all of the elements found in the UK Tour ’11.  I want to see Simon have a fan start the Reflex or to hear John talk about tweeting to introduce tweeting #Duranlive during Tiger Tiger.  I want the authentic experience.  Live from London seemed to do that (I didn’t go to any shows in the UK then so I’m assuming….if I’m wrong, let me know).  I’m not sure I could say the same for As the Lights Go Down.  Did all of those other theatrical elements happen?  Probably not, I suspect.  While my ten year-old self appreciated that and even my grown-up self can appreciate the artistic quality, I would still want something accurate, something true to the shows.  They don’t need to add anything.  The show is good enough!  Trust me, it was!  Then, of course, there is Arena.  Like many other Duranies, I own it.  I still don’t understand the point of making it sounds not-very-live.  What purpose was served by that? 

I hope that the filming went well today and that they are able to make a quality DVD out of it, one that the public may purchase.  I hope it is representation both of the time but also stays true to what it is, a live show.  Live shows are filled with glitches and other problems.  I want those, too.  I want it all.  While I want to be excited by Duran being “Boys on Film” today, I don’t want to get my hopes up too much in case it is never made public or in case it doesn’t show the fabulousness of these shows. 

-A

It’s been a year!

The other day I was trying to remember exactly when I first heard All You Need is Now.  I’m horrible about dates and things like that.  Amanda is much better – I don’t know how she does it, but she keeps track somehow.  My excuse – and this is the one I honestly use on a daily basis – is that my brain is full.  Every time I ask it to remember something new, it pitches other things into the garbage bin. Sometimes this could be useless information, such as the phone number I had while growing up in my parents house (don’t really need that anymore), and other times, its things like remembering I have to take my youngest to dance class on Wednesday afternoons. Yep, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!  Amanda though… she even has made a daily Duran Duran calendar for me that I use.  Each day of the year has it’s own Duran “event” that she has somehow made note of and keeps track over their history, and even though I’ve used the calendar for a couple years now, I still like seeing what each day has down as the event.  My guess (and yes, this is a HINT to my dear friend Amanda) is that it’s time to update the calendar since we’ve had a few things happen since she last printed it.  I’m so helpful, aren’t I?  😀   So, as I was wracking my brain trying to remember what month I heard the album (yes, my memory really IS that bad), I happened to come across a post or something somewhere that indicated the album had been released on iTunes last December (I thought so!).  That’s when I decided to Google the question.  (thank goodness for Google)  The song was released December 14th of last year, and the album came out on December 21st.  What a year it has been.

I don’t know about anyone else, but this year has felt like a complete whirlwind.  It really doesn’t feel like its been all that long since I reviewed the album, watched the band play at the Super Bowl pre-party thing on TV, kept track of them during SXSW in Austin, traveled to the UK the first time, sat here biting my nails all summer wondering if the band would ever be able to play again, saw a couple shows in the fall and then went back to the UK again….I’m tired just thinking about it all, and that’s just my “Duranie” life!!  It all just seems to have happened so fast, and what drives me crazy is that no matter how often I remind myself to enjoy the journey and stop looking ahead for more, its all over before I know it.  The UK tour is coming to a close, the holidays are upon us, and we’re staring into 2012…hoping for a better year.

I remember when I heard the album for the first time.  Hell, I remember hearing All You Need is Now for the first time.  I’m not an emotional person – I hate crying.  Yes, I really hate it and will do just about anything to stop the tears from coming.  Well, when I heard the song, I didn’t cry – but I did break into about the biggest grin I’ve had in years.  I remember saying to myself and even tweeting the band saying “My band is back”.  That’s really how I felt.  I’ll admit that I did find certain parts of the song a bit jarring at first – but what’s funny is that now after having seen them play it live several times, I love that song.  It’s perfect and contains just the right message for the right time.  I think *I* needed to hear that song as much as they needed to write it, and that’s the one thing about this band that I have always loved: they just seem to know what we need.   The day I heard the whole album though – that was truly epic.  Song after song, all I could think of was that they finally found themselves again.  The band had come nearly full circle and FINALLY realized that they needed to own up to whom they really were – and in my opinion, they did just that in spades.  That day, I did end up in tears.  Very big, very happy tears of joy and pride.  I love music.

The song that put me completely over the edge was Mediterranea, though.

I don’t know what exactly it is about that song that did it, but I can remember not even being able to get through the entire song the first time. More dang tears.  In hindsight I think it was the perfect blending of guitar and synth that did it.  After all of this time, they finally got it right.  They learned how to use their guitarist to their benefit and yet still allow the synths to give atmosphere in a way that only Nick Rhodes can really do. I still love that song and it completely annoys me that they don’t play it live more often although I know why they don’t – it slows the show in a way that SAP just never seems to do. (I just think they need to figure out where to put it in the setlist and how to work it to their advantage because the song is PERFECT and it showcases….well…certain members that may or may not have a 1966 Epiphone that is to die for.)  That said, I did get to hear it in Brighton and I think I soaked up as much as I could have from that performance.  However, if they wish to play it again….I’ll gladly swoon.  😀

Since I seem to be doing a bit of a retrospect here, when Amanda and I were on the train going from Birmingham to Edinburgh, I had a lot of time to just sit, listen to music and think.  I almost NEVER have that opportunity at home, so this time was welcome. I sat there looking out the window, thinking back to which song off of the album has changed for me the most in the past year.  I don’t know how to explain this very well – but basically what I mean is that when I first heard the album, I formed certain opinions rather quickly and then reviewed the songs.  Its been a year now and I think things change over time – especially when we’re talking about an album that I’ve grown to love even more now than I did when I first heard it.  So, which song has really changed the most??  I went back and re-read my reviews to see if anything has really changed.  I was actually surprised how well my reviews have stood the test of time, so I really can’t pick out any one song based on my reviews.  However, I have to say that based on pure feeling – the one song that has really changed for me is Before the Rain.  It’s still haunting, its still pure genius in my opinion, but I have an affinity for the song that I didn’t before.  Several fans have said that they don’t like this song as an opener for their live shows, and I can understand where they’re coming from, but I have to say – I LOVE IT.  I think of this song as the affirmation that all really is well in the world of Duran.  I love that it’s slightly dark and mysterious, and I do think it works for the opener.  I don’t think they have to always have this as the opening number, but for now – its beautiful.

Now, if you ask me what song in their entire catalog means something different to me now than it did a year ago…that would be a totally different answer.  If you’ve read my blogs lately, you might have a clue.  Silly guitar players….

-R

The Closet

Last night I was folding our annual family letter and stuffing it into envelopes along with pictures of my 3 kids, and while I was doing so – I was reading Twitter.  I have to admit that while I never mind writing the letter (go figure), I don’t enjoy doing the folding and stuffing.  This is probably one reason why I was never very good at secretarial work, on top of the many other things I don’t enjoy about working in an office.  As I was reading, someone asked if I mentioned my Duranie exploits in our holiday letter.  Although no one could hear me, I laughed.

To explain my laughter means going back and explaining me, which isn’t exactly an easy task OR light reading for a Wednesday morning, but I will try to entertain as best as I can.

As you all know, I’ve been a fan now for 30 years.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but that seems like an incredibly long time to be a fan of any one particular thing.  My parents and my friends all knew how much I loved Duran Duran as a kid – and aside from some pretty strict rules from my parents and some good natured kidding from my dad – my parents were fine with my little obsession.  As I grew up, I am pretty sure my conversations centered around Duran Duran less and less, which for most people is probably natural.  Of course we all know that it didn’t stay that way because here I am writing this blog.  When I met my husband, it was back in 1992 (am I dating myself much?) and I was a junior in college.  Duran Duran was sadly not the center of my universe at the time – in fact I didn’t think much about them at all. (although I did go to a concert that summer at what was then called Irvine Meadows Amphitheater!)  So while I am sure that I must have mentioned that Duran Duran were among my favorite groups, especially growing up, I don’t think much was said beyond that.  Walt and I both grew up in the 1970’s and 80’s – we’re only two years apart (he’s the older one thankyouverymuch), so our tastes are similar.  He loves disco.  I don’t.  I love heavy metal & hair bands.  Walt?  Not even remotely close.  We both love 80’s alternative though, which is where we tend to meet in the middle.  In any case, as much as I was a Duranie back when I was a kid, and as much as I’m a Duranie now – when we met, it wasn’t an issue.

The trouble of course is that Walt and I are very different people.  He is fairly conservative in nature – politics aside – and I’m really not.  I *can* be conservative when needed, as in child rearing, but compared to Walt, I think I’m pretty carefree and almost bohemian.  He would NEVER be OK  It can sometimes be very tough to find middle ground, and for a while, Duran Duran was one of those issues.  We’ve worked through tough times to arrive at a place where I can feel comfortable in letting him know that I am going to be flying back over to the UK for a Duran Duran convention next year.  Oh wait, did I just say that?!?

ANYWAY….Where was I?

I want you all to know I’ve written, deleted and rewritten this blog about 5 times now.  The truth is that when I think about it, as much as I’d like to lay the blame on someone else – it all comes down to me, doesn’t it?

I think that a part of me still feels as though being a fan isn’t accepted.  I do get made fun of by friends from high school although it’s mainly in good nature.  My mom is constantly telling me that its time to grow up (she doesn’t use those exact words), and my husband…well…he just wants to know how I’m going to turn this blog writing and touring thing into dollar signs since I spend so much time doing all of it.  I know how strange it must sound to people that I spend a fair amount of time on Facebook and Twitter talking to other fans, writing blogs, writing a book…and of course giggling like a school girl at times over our favorite band member(s).  I could say that any one of those things is enough for me to hide my inner Duranie, much less all of them, but the issue still comes down to me.

One would think that once I turned 40, I’d stop caring what other people think, and to some degree I suppose I do.  I don’t care that fans make fun of Amanda and I for this blog because there are FAR more people that read it and love it than otherwise. On the other hand, I’ve always been a people pleaser and have been afraid to fail…or to even put myself out there so that there’s risk involved.  I have always taken the “safe” route…and that includes getting married and having kids at a relatively young age for my generation. There are reasons that go back to very early childhood on that one…as I tell my kids “No one gets through childhood unscathed.”  It’s true and we all have our baggage, don’t we?  In my case, I have a difficult time showing people exactly who I am, which is why the fan community has been so incredibly helpful for me.  I don’t think I’ve ever breathed quite the sigh of relief that I did when I went to the Duran Duran Fan convention in New Orleans back in 2004.  I stood in a room with about 100 other people that were very much like me.  That feeling was incredible, and while yes – the fan community has more than its fair share of back stabbing, negativity and overall nasty behavior – I haven’t forgotten what it felt like to finally feel welcomed, included, and just RIGHT.  That’s what I want other people to feel, and that’s why I write the blog.

The funny thing is that when I talk about The Closet…I really mean THE CLOSET.  I have a small “walk in” closet at home (I’m talking small as in I can go in, shut the door and turn around in a circle while standing in one place and reach everything), and its where I keep all of my Duran Duran things.  I have posters up on the wall, all of their CD’s in one cupboard, the memorabilia in another…it’s all in there.  Walt calls it the Duran Duran Vault.  I think it’s very telling about how I am as a person because no one except all of you and the people that live with me know its there.

So to answer the question about my holiday letter, the answer is of course no, I never mention my Duranie exploits in there although I did briefly mention my UK trip with Amanda.  Writing this blog has made me think long and hard about my closet though, and perhaps its time I learn to let people in.  If they don’t like what they see, I suppose they can always leave – and if they do, chances are they were never worth my time anyway.  I’ll work on it and let you know how it goes!

-R

Its not where you do it…

There are some days when I really have trouble finding an appropriate title for the blog, and I suspect this is going to be one of those days.  I didn’t wake up with a writing idea for today (although I did wake up with a monster headache), so I knew I was going to need to spend some time this morning reading and finding some sort of a launch point.  I think most fans know that last night was the concert at O2 in London.  This was originally one of the shows that Amanda and I held tickets (GREAT TICKETS for, I might add) back in May – and it was one of the shows that we unfortunately had to sell purely because I couldn’t be gone from home this particular week.  As it turns out, neither could Amanda – but that’s another story for another day.  Yesterday I watched our Twitter feed with great interest, purely because reading the tweets of excitement from people made me feel just a little bit more connected with what was happening a good 5,000 miles away from me. Then I drowned my sorrows in a dirty martini or two….and today I’ve got a headache.  Coincidence??

Where was I again??  Oh yes…the London show.  O2.  When we were there in May, we went to see the O2.  This venue was very curious to me because its so different from anything I’ve seen here in the US. To begin with, our venues typically don’t have so many bars and restaurants in them.  The closest thing to the O2 that I can think of offhand is Staples Center here in LA. It is where our LA Lakers play (that’s our basketball team for those of you not from the US) and it’s right next to a dining/entertainment area called LA Live – but this area is more open air or outside rather than contained in the venue.  It certainly isn’t a tent as the O2 seems, which reminded me of a giant birthday cake with candles sticking out of the top.  I couldn’t get over the size of the place – it’s huge, and from the pictures I’ve seen of last night’s show – its flat out enormous on the inside as well.

The shows that we saw while in the UK didn’t seem to be quite as large, and from the bit of research I did this morning – none of them were even remotely close!  According to what I’ve read, the SECC in Glasgow can hold about 10,000 people in Hall 4, while the O2 holds about 20,000.  Since I wasn’t at the show, I don’t know how sold the show was in London, but Glasgow appeared pretty well sold out.  There might have been seats on the sides that weren’t opened or sold, but I’m going to be honest – I didn’t notice that night.  I was busy paying attention to the stage.  🙂  That was probably our biggest show, along with Birmingham.  Regardless, 20,000 people is a LOT of screaming fans.

Over the course of the many months that this tour has been discussed, one theme continues to arise out of the excitement – and that’s whether or not fans like arena shows.  Many don’t mind them but question whether or not the band could actually sell enough tickets to make the arenas worth their while; and still others hate them with intense passion.

I suspect that the way one feels about those sorts of shows has everything to do with where they’ve sat, and most likely the crowd near where they have indeed sat.  There is something extremely special about being in a huge arena and near the front.  The energy is infectious, and when the crowd is thunderous, you can really feel it!  On the other hand, I’ve had the experience of being near the front at a GA show where there were not quite 500 people in attendance, and the energy was every bit as solid – if not nearly as loud.  The trouble is when you’re at an arena show, your seats are nosebleed and everyone around you sits.  That’s a buzzkill that can ruin an entire show for anyone.  Conversely, earlier I was at a show – the Fox Theater in Pomona, and due to circumstances that were entirely my husband’s fault – we got there late and were about 3/4 of the way back on the floor – and still had one of the best GA shows I’ve ever experienced.

For me personally, I like a mixture of both types of shows, but the key is where I’m sitting and what the crowd is like.  In Bournemouth, we were in a theater (of sorts) that held about 6,500 people and we were in the 4th row, but off to the side a bit and everyone around us sat down.  The show was still good, but compared to the rest of the shows, I have to say it was my least favorite.  In Brighton we were still 4th row, but more towards the center and the people around us (especially right in front of us!) were having a party – and that made the atmosphere just that more festive – which it was!

Bottom line?  It’s not necessarily where you do it that matters nearly as much as whom you’re doing it with!

-R