Back home and running!

This past weekend felt extremely long…probably because it started on Thursday for me!   The trouble with those weekends though, is that come Monday morning, reality sets back in with a vengeance, which indeed is the case.  It’s the price we pay I suppose.

My weekend was a lot of fun and I’m glad I had the opportunity to head to Chicago for some fun! I felt as though I had to squeeze a lot into the two days I was in the city, and I tried my best to make every moment count (and then some!).  Seeing fellow Duranies at Hoyt’s was memorable, and I hope everyone had a good time.  We will definitely do it again!

The concert.  The concert was fantastic.  I have to admit that the band has improved quite a bit over the show in Valley Center – and even that show was great – so I can honestly say the band is in top form.  Madison Square Garden is going to have a fabulous show, that is for sure.  I known Amanda posted our joint review of the show – and I have to reiterate that while it was our intention to do a video chat of the review – be glad you don’t have to see that, and pray the video never gets leaked.  No one should ever have to witness something like that, and we’ve learned our lesson:  never do a review at 5:45am.  Ever.

As for me, I headed home to a lot of not-good things going on here at home that have to take precedence, so I must tend to them.  In the meantime for today though, I wanted to share a couple of photos of the show with you.  If I catch anyone using them without MY permission, you’ll be cursed to a life without a Duran show.  Yes, I do have those powers.  (Listen, you don’t really know or can’t prove that I don’t have magical powers…so I wouldn’t chance it!)

Have a good week everyone!
-R

Is Duran Successful Right Now?

Is Duran Duran successful right now in October of 2011?  How can that question be answered?  Is it about album sales?  Album or single chart positions?  How well the tour is selling?  Something else?  I ask this question because an article I read, the announcement of some rescheduled dates in Europe and my observations of the band on the road. 

Many people, both inside and outside of the fandom, look to album sales and chart positions to determine how successful a band is.  I suppose in this way it is like a business looking at profits or how many of a certain product was sold.  It could also be like a teacher analyzing test scores or reading levels.  Numbers are an easy way to judge success or are they?  It seems to me that numbers can be given without context, which when known can dramatically change their meaning.  For example, let’s say a business had profits of one million dollars.  To me, that would seem like a lot but what if that business had a profit of ten million a year ago.  Then, that number seems to be negative or bad.  Likewise, an 8th grade student with a 6th grade reading level sounds problematic until you find out that last year the student was reading at the 3rd grade level.  Context is important.  That said, according to Billboard.com’s article:  Hot Tours, Duran is in the top 10 of hot tours.  This article allows us to compare Duran to other artists, which provides some context.  Does it give us the complete picture?  Absolutely not.  We don’t know what the expectations were.  How does this compare to the Red Carpet Massacre tour of 2008?  Is it enough to cover expenses and the canceled shows of the spring and summer?  I don’t have answers to those questions.  Of course, it does provide some good publicity and definitely paints this tour as successful, which can’t hurt. 

This week was also filled with more “good” touring news.  First, the shows have increased to twenty songs and are now a full two hours in length.  Second, some of the rescheduled dates for Europe have been announced for January.  Clearly, Duran is feeling more and more confident with Simon’s voice and are planning on continuing to tour for at least through January.  These could also be signs of success once people know of the context.  If people didn’t know that Simon had lost the higher range in his voice in the spring, these pieces of news wouldn’t be a big deal.  Who cares if they added a couple of dates in Europe?  Isn’t that their job? could be the random thought of the non-Duranie.  Likewise, a non-Duranie could think that it is normal for Duran to play for two hours and include 20 songs.  For Duranies, we know that this wasn’t a guarantee and wasn’t happening in the beginning of this fall US tour.  For Duranies who know the context, these are positive signs and signs of success.

Can success be completely told based on articles, numbers and facts?  Are there less tangible, less concrete elements to consider when answering this question?  For example, does it matter if the band is happy and enjoying themselves?  Does it matter if they are getting along?  Does it matter if the fanbase is happy?  I think those things DO matter and, perhaps, might matter more than those concrete statistics.  Based on what I have heard and seen via youtube and in person, it seems to me that Duran is finally starting to really relax and have fun on stage again.  I loved all of the smiles and the laughs that they exhibited on stage when I saw them on Friday.  I wasn’t hearing or seeing much of this carefree attitude in the beginning of the tour.  Now, I don’t blame them for this.  I think it is perfectly natural for them to feel the way they do and did.  It must have been a very difficult spring and summer for them and that kind of emotional trauma and worry doesn’t fade in a day or a week or a month.  It takes time.  It takes time to trust that everything is okay.  That said, I’m not sure that they are totally there yet.  While the show in Chicago was great, performance wise, I sensed a need on their parts to really get a positive response.  Simon often encouraged the audience to cheer more and louder.  Then, it seems to me that after almost every show, the guy(s) feel it necessary to comment on how great the audience was.  Do they really think that every audience was great?  I don’t know but they need us to believe that they do.  I suspect that they need this affirmation, emotionally.  They need to know that the fans are still here and are still supporting them.  Perhaps, this need for positive feedback is keeping them cautious.  Maybe they are fearful of trying something different with their live performances (like putting Secret Oktober or some other rare track in their setlists).  Maybe they couldn’t handle an apathetic or negative response.  I can understand that but I do think they will be better served when they are feeling perfectly normal again.  While they might be hoping that fans can help, in reality, only time will heal all wounds, especially emotional ones.

Thus, to answer my own question, I do think that Duran is successful right now to some extent.  I do think it is a success that they are back on the road, playing good, long shows.  I think it is great that they are having fun on stage and that the tour is making some money and getting good press.  Yet, I feel like they aren’t completely healed from everything that happened this year.  I am hopeful, though, that their confidence continues to grow and more success will follow!

-A

Daily Duranie Review-Chicago Theater, Chicago, Illinois-October 21, 2011

I have to apologize for how late today’s blog is.  Today was the day in which both Rhonda and myself traveled back home to reality after a VERY brief little mini-tour in Chicago.  Before I get to the actual review of the show, let me enlighten you readers on a fact about the Daily Duranie.  We should never be allowed to attend shows together as we had about 90 minutes of sleep last night and consumed quite a bit of vodka.  I have also had the good fortune (not) of losing my voice.  I can’t blame Rhonda on that one but I can blame a certain band that we all know and love. 

This review wasn’t going to be standard.  We had every intention of actually doing a little video clip of the two of us giving the review.  We filmed it at 5:45 in the morning.  Let’s just say…it wasn’t fit for public consumption.  I have no doubt that we looked beyond exhausted and probably didn’t make a whole lot of sense.  Thus, we decided to return to the good, old-fashioned words method of reviewing a show.  I will be summarizing and combining our thoughts.  For the most part, we saw the show in a similar light.  That said, if part of the review belongs to one of us, only, I will make that clear.  Also, do remember that this was my first show since April and the first one since the UK trip.  For Rhonda, it was the first show since Valley Center earlier this month.  Our perspectives differ, which may or may not impact our review.

Setlist:
This was the exact same setlist as the previous two nights.  How boring for them and for those fans who went to more than one of these shows!  Of course, it could mean that they really feel like this setlist and that they thinks it works for them.  We won’t lie.  We were terribly disappointed that they didn’t play Secret Oktober.  Many, many fans were requesting it on twitter, which could be openly seen on the twitter scroll in the background before the show.  Some fans even brought signs and banners.  Yet, they ignored those requests.  Why?  I am sure that they could say that it didn’t receive that great of a response when it was played but it didn’t feel that way to us when we saw people’s reactions.  As this point, they aren’t really listening and responding to the fans, which is upsetting.  You would think that they would listen to their audience.  After all, we are the ones in the crowd watching the show.  You would think we would know what would work.  Besides, Secret Oktober would have gone in place of Tiger Tiger, a b-side over an obscure album track.  It is not like casual fans would really know either one of those so it would be harmless to switch it up.  In fact, it would make serious fans happy and it would open up those casual listener to not-common Duran, which can’t hurt.  Rhonda pointed out that as Duran moves further on, the audience will become more and more just serious fans.  You would think that they would want to make us happy since we will be there until the end.  It would also provide energy to the audience as serious fans would get really excited!!  There were songs that went over well, including Planet Earth due to its position in the setlist, Notorious except for the extended part of that as Rhonda felt like it went over better in Valley Center, and Wild Boys with Relax in the middle of it.  Relax falls into the song, seamlessly, as people really know it so people jump in right away!  Speaking of extending songs, Rhonda isn’t a fan.  She would prefer to fill those minutes with another song, which is a good point!  We wonder why Duran chooses to do this.  Is it to make a song more interesting to them?  Do they think it will make it more interesting for us?  Will the critics and reviewers respect them more if they do this?  As far as the new songs go, in our opinion, Safe and Blame the Machines isn’t catching any one’s attention.  We aren’t sure why people don’t seem to enjoy BTM, but people who are unfamiliar with it don’t seem to.  It is like they don’t get it.  As far as Safe goes, we both feel strongly that the female vocal makes a huge difference.  Unfortunately, Anna’s voice is very different than how the song was recorded.  We thought that All You Need Is Now went over pretty well and Leave a Light On was okay.  Perhaps, the band would be better served by dropping either BTM or Safe for different new tracks like Too Bad You’re So Beautiful, for example.  We both liked Leopard.  Rhonda really liked the video at the end of the newscaster telling the story to be a good way to present that part of the song.  I liked how John had the audience clapping right away with the song.  It was a good way to bring in audience members who haven’t heard the song before.  Plus, he was singing the lyrics to himself, which I always like. 

Stage Setup:
Rhonda is not fond of the faces at the top of the stage.  I, on the other hand, didn’t look at them at all.  I couldn’t see them from where I was.  Rhonda feels that the angle of the faces make a big difference as some angles are not flattering.  We wonder why these faces were even necessary.  The band is on stage and there are lights and video footage or images on screens behind the band.  Isn’t that enough to focus on?  I really like a lot of the video footage they chose to play fit the songs.  For example, the military images fit well with Before the Rain with the military sounding drums.  We both appreciated that Anna wasn’t as noticeable for this show as she had been in the spring as back-up singers and musicians should be just that—back-ups.  We don’t get the reason they need an extra percussionist.  Is she just to get more men to come to the shows?!   

Band Performance:
John and Dom seemed to interact quite a bit!  They certainly seemed to enjoy playing together.  I noticed how John would be obviously pleased when Dom did something well and vice versa.  Rhonda also feels like the band is laughing more than they did in Valley Center.  Perhaps, they are more relaxed now after their past six months or so of serious stress.  Simon was good with lyrics, setlists and even vocally.  He did make one little mistake in Girl Panic but nothing major.  Yet, the one thing he did that got people to react was when he made a comment about the Iraq War ending before All You Need Is Now.  He described former President George W. Bush and former Prime Minister Tony Blair as “war criminals”.  The crowd openly booed him.  Both Rhonda and I didn’t understand why Simon felt it necessary to say anything like this at all as any political statement runs the risk of alienating one’s audience.  We also couldn’t figure out the reason people booed.  Did they boo because they didn’t want to hear anything about politics at all since they were there to have fun?  Did they boo because they don’t agree that Bush and Blair were war criminals?  If you were there and you did boo or felt like booing, can you drop us a line and let us know which reason caused you to react in such a way? 

Overall:
The show was good.  It was great that it was a solid two hours long.  Rhonda felt like this show was an improvement over Valley Center and that this show felt like a FULL show.  We did see that Simon tweeted that the band agreed that this was the best show of the tour and possibly one of the best of their careers.  While we both thought the show was a solid performance, we didn’t think it was one of their best and here’s why.  We thought that the audience did not produce the tremendous energy needed for one of the best shows.  At times, the crowd was into it.  Obviously, there were some audience members who were into it the whole time but there were many who weren’t.  I was sitting in the PIT (4th row) and there were people even in that section who were sitting down and when I glanced around I noticed that in other sections as well.  (By the way, who does that?!  Why would you sit at a Duran show?  Okay, maybe, there is some physical limitation, then you should be dancing in your seat as much as possible, in my opinion, especially when they took good seats from others.)  Now, is the lack of audience energy because the band didn’t perform as well as could be?  Not necessarily as they cannot control who comes to their shows and their level of dedication and fandom.  However, perhaps, mixing up the setlist as suggested above might have helped.  A couple of changes in songs could have made a HUGE difference.  It is also possible that Simon thought it was such a great show because the Daily Duranie was there!!!  LOL!  That said, we are absolutely thrilled with the show and cannot wait to go to the UK for 4 more shows!!!

-A

Show Day!!

Duran Duran’s twitter tweeted that about an hour ago. It seemed fitting to me. This is what I live for as a Duranie, days like this. I’m in a city I love with my partner-in-crime. We get to enjoy some of the city before we meet up with more friends and fellow Duranies before the show at Hoyt’s Tavern at Hotel 71, which looks really nice, by the way. Come join us! Then, it is show time! I’m sure that the energy and excitement from all that will keep us going until the wee hours of the morning!

I have been counting down the days until this show as I have been feeling more excited for this show more so than I had for shows for a very long time. Why is that, I ask myself. I think there are many reasons for this. First, it is my first show since the failed attempt at seeing the band in their home country. I’ll be honest here. When I was over in the UK and saw Simon in front of me and a group of fans, telling us that they weren’t going to be able to the show at London’s O2 the next night, I was devastated. I honestly believed that Simon might not be able to sing again. Obviously and luckily for all of us, that isn’t the case as it appears that the band is doing well and Simon is much stronger as evidenced by the increasing number of songs in the setlist. Therefore, this show means a lot to me. As a Duranie and someone who loves touring, loves meeting other fans and loves hearing the band play live, I can’t imagine not having this as part of my life. Now, that it appears I really will get to hear the band play live again, I find myself appreciating the whole thing a lot more. Nothing gets you to appreciate something like having lost it or almost losing it. The second reason has to do with the people. This will be the first show that Rhonda and I have been together for since 2009! That’s insane! Beyond that, I’m seriously looking forward to going to the show with my cousin-in-law and seeing many good Duranie friends. I’m thrilled that it is a seated show and on a weekend so people are able to get together and really have a good time! Lastly, I’m think I am really looking forward to the show for personal reasons. It has been a tough year for me for a variety of reasons. This show has provided me with something to look forward to, which was very much needed. It has also been a sign that life is turning back to being positive. Now, beyond this, I have the UK trip to look forward to, a trip to visit my sister and wonderful nieces for Christams!

On that note, I have to get up and moving. We have food to eat (which doesn’t always happen for us on tour), fun Chicago places to visit and then a show to get ready for!!!! Tomorrow, we hope to do a blog of a different sort, but I promise you will also get a review of the show. If we are lucky, it might be a review from both of us!

-A

Up, Up in the Air!!

By the time you read this, I’ll be on my plane bound for ORD – Chicago’s O’Hare airport.  I believe I’m due to land at 2:20pm, and I’m going to hit the ground running.  I am going to grab a cab, head to my sister’s apartment…no idea where that is in the city, thankfully she sent me a set of directions for whatever “lucky” cab driver gets me in their cab….and then we’re going to go grab a bite to eat and perhaps a celebratory drink to start my weekend.  I’m celebrating the fact that I actually made it, because if you read yesterday’s blog, you must understand how ridiculous my schedule can be at times.  I’m on holiday at the moment though, so we’re not going to discuss that!!

Since I’m writing this the day before I leave, I have no idea how my flight will be – but I’m guessing it will be uneventful as always.  I have window seats both ways. (typically I fly aisle because I’m claustrophobic, but I learned on my trip out from the UK that I kind of like having a window seat!  I can get in there and hole myself up for the flight – read to my hearts content and not be bothered!)  I downloaded some new music (Naked and Famous if you must know – I don’t know why I like them, but I do.  Kind of reminds me of some stuff I used to listen to back when I was in high school I suppose), and I’ve got 5 books waiting for me to tackle – and yes, I really will read them all by the time I get home.  Amongst my other talents, I’m a speed reader, and no, I’m not kidding.  Too bad I can’t WRITE books as quickly as I read them!

I can tell you that I didn’t sleep well last night (and just so we’re all on the same page – I’m literally writing this blog at 9:40 am the day before I even leave…but I know myself.  I never sleep the night before I travel.), and that I already have butterflies in my stomach.  I’d love to say that they’re from excitement of seeing the band, but truthfully, they’re from nerves.  I quietly freak out until I get through security. *sigh*  There’s something about making sure I’ve followed the rules, and the anticipation of being felt up by a complete stranger that makes my stomach feel like it’s on a roller coaster.  Ugh.  Here’s a thought:  if the whole band thing doesn’t work out for Duran Duran, I’m pretty sure they could get jobs as TSA agents.  I’d bet my husband’s salary that they’d have a LINE of women waiting to allow them to do a pat-down.   Just sayin’.

Amanda has our whole trip – all 48 hours or so of it – completely planned out.  I scanned it, but honestly, I let her tell me where we’re going and when we’ve gotta leave.  After being the one to plan everything out at home, I’m happy to sit back and be told what to do for a change.  We don’t have any huge plans other than to meet up with some other fans on Friday before the show (remember everyone – Hoyt’s Tavern at Hotel71.  5pm sharp and come prepared to have fun!!) and of course go to the show (reminder to self: BRING YOUR TICKET!), but other than that, we have some side trips planned to some places we enjoy.  It should be a very fun, but very brief trip.  I wonder if I’ll actually have time to sleep….

In any case, Amanda and I do have a surprise or two planned for the blog.  I’m crossing my fingers to make sure it works out, but rest assured, it should be funny no less.  You’ll be hearing from Amanda and I over the weekend, and of course we’ll tweet when we can as well!  Please feel free to say any chants, beg the gods, do any rituals you can in hopes that Secret Oktober, Shadows on Your Side or even Is There Something I Should Know is included in the setlist on Friday night!!!

Happy weekends everyone and I’ll be blogging on Monday!

-R 

It’s about that time

It’s a drizzly and cool day here in California.  As I type, it’s very foggy where I am, and the ground is wet from the amount of moisture in the air.  I’m actually surprised the TV stations aren’t going on and on about it because this practically constitutes a “Storm Watch” in Southern California.  It’s the type of morning when I wish I was still in bed sleeping.  I have to admit that the weather kind of matches my mood today.

There’s always a point just before I leave to go on a trip where I say to myself (or out loud!) “Why did I plan this?”  That time for this trip is this morning.  Actually, it really hit last Friday, but I ignored it then.  My son is having a very difficult time in school this year.  His grades are dismal, and I’m trying very hard to help him – it’s actually forcing me to relearn 7th grade math, which is joyous.  I have never loved math.  He has a band concert tonight that I somehow have to get everyone picked up from school, fed and ready to go by 6pm so that he can be dropped off.  (never going to happen.  I don’t even get home from picking up the oldest until about 6 these days!)  My oldest is on crutches at the moment – I know I’ve mentioned it here before but she’s a commercial dancer at an arts high school, and unfortunately she fell while bike riding a few weeks back, so there’s been zero dancing lately.  Unbeknownst to us prior, she has Osgood-Schlatter’s disease, which is not a big deal – but it’s a bone issue that is extremely common during childhood and it tends to cause pain, which she had when she was younger – we thought it was growing pains.  Ha.  It’s something she will (and has begun) to grow out of, but when she fell, she apparently aggravated the problem, and there’s a possibility that she also has a small fracture in that same area that they can’t seem to pick up on x-ray because of the angle.  She should have been off the crutches as of Monday, but naturally things are taking longer to heal that we would all prefer.  As a result, she’s going to see our sports medicine doctor every day for treatment.  My husband is in the middle of his annual sales meetings and I haven’t seen him for any real length of time since Monday. I’m not even sure if he realizes I’m actually leaving tomorrow and that he actually has to be “in charge” around here.  I hope he remembers to pick the kids up!!  I typed out a schedule for him yesterday, but I don’t think he’s even seen it.   Lastly, I’m sick again (as is everyone in the house).  It’s just a cold, but to put it in terms everyone will understand, I’m already hoarse in the morning and I haven’t even been to a show yet!  Can’t WAIT to see what I’ll be like come Saturday morning.  It’s all of these things that stress me out, and then I think to myself that it would have been so much easier to just stay home.  Of course it would have been, but then I would be missing out…

I think it’s a terrible tug-of-war sometimes to be a parent/wife/whatever and wanting to go and do things for yourself once in a while.  I have a particularly hard time with it at times, and yet I know that in the end, it’s good for me to go.  My mom had some pretty harsh words for me last week when we saw my son’s progress report from school – she reminded me that my first (and as far as she’s concerned, only) priority was to my children, and that I can’t count on my husband to step up when I don’t feel like it – it’s my job.  Her feeling is that I spend far too much time on this blog and on things “Duran” related and not enough with my kids.  I’m not sure I completely agree, although her point was well-taken.  I write the blog in the morning while most of the kids are at school.  I try to keep my writing to about a half hour, but sometimes it does take longer.  After that, yes – I can waste my time by being on line, and I’m sure I’ve done that – but I also spend a lot of time doing all of the things any other mom does around the house, and then my entire afternoons are spent picking kids up, bringing them home, getting them motivated to start homework, and then I fight traffic to and from the school my oldest attends – because she spends a full day at school, then has two hours of “conservatory”, which are her art-based classes.  In her case, it’s dance.  I get home here by 6pm, make dinner, eat, clean up from dinner, then I have to get my little one into the bath, get her to bed, then sit down and go over my son’s homework.  Last night I spent an hour just on his math homework so that I could make sure it was correct.  It was, and now I remember how to multiply, divide & reduce algebraic fractions again.  I was finished with my work by 10pm, in just enough time to download a few books for my trip tomorrow, and a couple of albums as well.  My light was off by 10:45 and I was up again this morning by 6:30.  What does my husband do around here?  Good question.   He didn’t even get home from his sales meeting until 11 last night, and while that’s not normal, I think it’s fair to say that while he does have responsibility to the family, he also has responsibilities outside of the home, and during the week at the very least – those take precedence.  For example, when I commented on my worries about getting everyone where they needed to be today (and yesterday for that matter), his response was “I’m sure you’ll figure it out.”  Gee, thanks honey.

At first when my mom started in on me, I agreed with her and felt guilty (I still feel a little guilty), but the more I think about it, the more I’m not sure what more I can really do.  I’m sure that every mom out there knows how I feel when I say that I love my family, but that isn’t enough.  Sometimes, I actually need to take care of me and take time to cherish some of the things in life that I enjoy(ed) on my own, before I became a mom.  It’s a tough balance.

And just think, in a month – I’ll be doing this all over again!  Just thinking about it already makes my blood pressure rise….eek!!!!

-R

Secret Oktober…Is There Something I Should Know…or bust!

So last night in Philly the audience was treated to not Secret Oktober, but Is There Something I Should Know.  They also played Tiger Tiger…which means the setlist is now up to a respectable 20 songs. (Not that 18 wasn’t respectable in it’s own right!)  This, my friends, is indeed progress!

I have to admit that now I’m curious as to what will really get played on Friday night, as well as what will really get played in the UK.  It would seem that the band has plenty to choose from!  As much as I’d love to hear Secret Oktober, I also must admit that Is There Something I Should Know is my #1 favorite Duran song of all-time.  This is the one song that I could hear over and over again at concerts and never get tired.

I also love the video.  I have no idea what any of it really means, but I don’t even care.  I would sit and watch that video for hours. I can remember running home from school – I think I was probably in 8th grade at the time.  The last bell would ring, I’d run to my locker, get my clarinet and books out, slam the door and make a run for the crosswalk.  I lived about a block and some away from my middle school, and I’d run (ok, really I would walk “quickly” because as most of my friends know, I wouldn’t ever run unless I were being chased….but run sounds better here!) home, my clarinet case hitting the side of my knee as I walked.  I swear I’ve got permanent bruises from that case!  I’d get in the door, throw my things down on my bed, and then go get the VHS cassette and pop it in the player.  I love seeing Simon walking along with a fork in his hand (Why?  Did he just come from the lunch truck and happen to still have the fork with him??), watching Roger mumble his “Please, please tell me now” line at the end…and of course laughing as they sing “you’re ’bout as easy as a nuclear war” line.  I mean, this is great stuff!!  I’d rewind that part over and over.  So yes, if they play this Friday, I’d love every minute.  The fact is, they’ve got such a great catalog and so many fantastic songs – it’s a great problem to have and they’ll never please us all.  Isn’t that why we keep going to shows??

So, I have no idea what they’ll really play that night.  I still say they can ditch Hungry Like the Wolf, but you know – no one listens to me anyway.  All I really know is that I love this band and I can’t wait to see them again.  This time, I’m going to be on John’s side. (for the first time since the second leg of the Red Carpet Massacre tour)  It’ll be like watching an entirely different show with an entirely different band!

I’m off to get this house in order – it’s amazing what can be done to destroy the place in 48 hours (about the amount of time I’ll be gone) – so I must do what I can to get it together beforehand!

-R

Can we get real here??

Clothing.  Shopping for clothing.  I swear that sometimes, it’s the bane of my existence.  I’ve hesitated commenting publicly about what I’m wearing to the shows because you know – there are likely threads all over any message board of your liking about such things.  The fact is though, I’m really starting to have a tough time finding the right clothes for concerts, and I’m betting that there’s got to be at least one more of you out there that feels the same.

If not, just humor me.

To begin with, I may have mentioned once or twice in the blogs that I’m not really much of a fashionista.  Jeans are my everyday friend, and yes – I really do wear sneakers or flip-flops depending on the weather.  I’ve never been one of those moms who dresses up just to get their kids off to school, and just so we’re clear – anything more than jeans, a t-shirt of some sort and shoes justifies dressing up.  Let me take more than two minutes to apply mascara, or let me come out of my closet wearing a blouse as opposed to a t-shirt and my husband is asking me where I’m going.  It used to drive me crazy when he’d ask, as though he was trying to catch me sneaking out with a boyfriend or something (I don’t know why he would even think that – Roger lives nowhere NEAR us…), but I’m over it now.

Secondly, I’m not one of those women who looks good in anything.  I’m just your average size (and I’m proud of that because I spent this past year losing about 35 pounds!), but my legs are a little short, and I’m not stick thin.  What’s funny is that I’ve lost this weight, and yet I still look in the mirror and think “ugh” when I see myself.  I’m not big, but I don’t look good in everything, either.  I’m not the kind of woman who necessarily enjoys putting all of their assets on “display”…so to speak.  I’m shy.  I would rather cover up than let it all be out there…flapping away… (do you get my point?)  It’s a comfort thing for me.   I know there are lots of you out there that can put on a corset, a pair of jeans and some super high heels and rock it at a concert.   That’s definitely not me.  I’d be pulling at that thing all night, hoping it didn’t fall – and I’m not a small girl in that way – and I’d be worried that I’d show far, far more than I wanted.  Heels?  Oh hell no.  I’m the one wanting to wear her Chuck Taylors to a show, although I suffice with boots most of the time.  Corsets?? Nah… I’d sooner wear….a T-shirt!  😀

Thirdly, I’m not 20 any longer.  Call me crazy, but I just don’t think I can get away wearing some of the fashion statements that are out there these days.  I just don’t think my legs were meant to be stuffed into sausage casings that the rest of you call “jeggings”.  Halter tops with no bra?  I’d probably give myself a concussion if I turned too fast!   I’m 40 years old, and while I’m no old lady – I’m not going to try and pretend that I can wear some of the stuff I did at 20.  Short skirts??  I have to tell you, I have a serious aversion to wearing skirts or dresses.  I think it comes from the fact that I grew up in a time where if you were wearing a skirt or dress, you had to have stockings on.  Stockings were probably invented by a male…just like mammography machines.  Just saying.  I can’t imagine being comfortable enough with myself to go out wearing a short skirt, and besides – this show is in Chicago.  I’d freeze!!!  I just wish that there were a store out there that catered to women around my age, but had some fashion choices in there for going out – show some skin but not nearly as much as the young kids, flatter what we’ve got, hide what we’ve got way too much of, and flatter the rest without it costing a fortune.  Why is that so difficult?!?

Lastly, I’m on a budget.  Aren’t we all?  I’m going to be really serious here – if we have extra cash, it’s going to be used to buy clothes for my kids or husband, not me.  There’s no point in my spending money on clothes since the bulk of my week is spent here in my house cleaning and running after my 3 year old.  I miss the days of shopping at Ann Taylor or Nordstrom, but those days ended when I stopped working.  I’m a bargain shopper and will even go to TJ Maxx  or even *gasp*, Kohl’s or Target if necessary to find clothes.  Don’t get me wrong, I will shop at other stores for decent clothes, but for my day to day stuff, we’re talking dirt cheap here.

So today I took a serious look at my closet.  I have quite a bit of clothes in there, but not a lot for concerts, and I’m dead tired of wearing the same things I’ve already worn.  I have to laugh, but the thought crossed my mind that god forbid they (and you know exactly what “they” I’m talking about, don’t you?!)  see me at a show with the same thing on twice.  As if..right?  The thing is, I know there are people out there that are nodding their heads at that.  I know they can’t see me.  Even if I’m in the first few rows, there is no way that they’re gonna look out from that stage and notice me in a sea of people.  Logically, they don’t know me from anyone else.  I know that.  (Ok, maybe some of you are saying “Hey, they recognize me.  They know me.  I’m cool like that.”  Well, good.  Then you can just ignore this paragraph and move on to the next one, although if you’re super cool you probably won’t understand this entire blog entry…..   I won’t be offended, promise!)  It’s funny how we women can talk ourselves into believing just about anything bout ourselves, isn’t it?   In any case, I decided that I simply could not be seen wearing the same grey short-sleeved drape neck shirt again…and gosh, those jeans again too?  Really Rhonda??  So I went shopping.  I tried on clothes.  I tried on one shirt that made me resemble a sausage.  I tried on jeans that were miles too big, and another pair that were miles too tight. (honestly – a size 10 really should not vary THAT much across brands, thank you.)  Then I found a few shirts that I really liked.  They were t-shirts…and I bought them at Target.  😀

-R

  

Do Music and Politics Mix?

People amaze me.  Roger Taylor’s status on facebook last night said something about how they were in DC and now sharing the air with Obama, as in President Obama.  As you can imagine, the responses came fast and furious.  As I type this now, this particular status had 120 responses.  Some of those responses were probably pretty typical responses that included statements like, “Have a great time!”, “Enjoy”, “Miss you already!,” and more.  I suspect he gets those types of responses all the time.  The other responses, however, were, generally, either ones filled with praise at this statement or contempt at the statement.  The last type of responses were people responding to the passionate responders.  It seems to me that anytime a member of the band voices any sort of opinion about religion or politics, people feel it necessary to tell them they are right or wrong.  I saw it happen earlier this year or last when John made statements about increasing gun control in the States and I certainly saw it happen when Simon declared himself an atheist.  Is this the same type of situation?  I’m not sure.  Is my opinion about people’s responses the same as before when I blogged about John’s situation?  Yes and no.

First, I am not even sure that Roger’s statement was political.  He stated a fact.  He is in DC where the President of the United States is and that president happens to be Obama.  Yes, he acknowledged him.  Is that wrong to people who are politically conservative?  Apparently for some, it is.  To me, though, he could have made a much stronger political statement, if that’s what his goal was.  Let’s assume as most people on that facebook thread seems to think that this was Roger supporting Obama.  Why didn’t he say something like, “It is so exciting to be breathing the same air as the wonderful President Obama”?  He didn’t.  To me, it seemed like Roger wasn’t really inviting a political discussion with that statement since he could have made it much, much stronger.  No matter his intention, obviously, most people assumed that he holds Obama in high regard.  Again, though, this could be just out of respect for the office.  I don’t know.  Anyway, for the sake of argument, let’s assume he supports Obama.  Did his fans respond appropriately? 

A number of people who responded to Roger’s status seemed to appreciate that he indicated support for President Obama.  People said things like “Yay”, “No wonder you are my favorite”, “This make me love you more”, “I always knew you were smart”, and more.  Does it matter what your idols think, politically?  It obviously does to many people.  I get this to some extent and then I don’t, on the other hand.  Now, readers, if you have been paying attention to my posts, I’m sure you know where I stand, politically.  Politics matters a great deal to me.  That said, I have many people who I care about who think differently than me, politically.  I do have some fundamental values that I couldn’t accept in others, however.  For example, I doubt I could really be friends with someone who is homophobic and against gay marriage, but I could accept if someone has a different opinion on what should be done with health care or the economy.  I guess I feel the same way when it comes to my idols.  I wouldn’t be able to accept them if the members of Duran indicated that they were racist or beat their wives.  Those would be a deal breakers but I could deal with the rest.  That said, I always remind myself that I became a fan of Duran Duran because of their MUSIC and not because of their political views.  Yet, many people on this facebook thread seem to feel differently than I do.

A number of posters on Roger’s thread said that they were going to stop liking him now that he seemed to support Obama.  Really?  It matters to you THAT much?  Other people who disagreed wanted to believe that Roger was joking or kidding in some way.  Still others gave him sympathy for his opinion or told him to stop drinking the “kool-aid”.  One person said that she was going to wear a Republican t-shirt to her upcoming show.  Another person said that Roger shouldn’t be holding Obama higher than the working people who come to his shows.  My reaction to their reactions was that of shock!  Okay.  People disagree with Roger and Obama.  That’s fair.  Why did these people respond, in my opinion, so disrespectfully?  Couldn’t they recognize that Roger has the right to an opinion (again, I want to put out that we don’t even really know his opinion)?  Couldn’t they respect his opinion instead of putting his ideas down by indicating that they were a joke?  As for the commenter who said that Roger was holding the President in a higher regard than the people who go to their shows, I really don’t understand that one.  Where did Roger say that?  I’m completely confused.  Now, there were many people who disagreed who were still respectful.  Those people made comments like, “I can’t say that I share your opinion but I hope you have a great show!” or “I disagree but I still like your music.”  To me, that is the right way to respond, if people feel it necessary to say something.  You can disagree without being disagreeable, I think.

This just shows me how divisive politics can be.  Maybe it would be better for Roger and company to leave politics out completely.  It might be easier and less problematic for people.  That said, I also feel strongly that they do have the right to their opinions and should be able to voice them, if they so choose.  One person said it well when she thanked Roger and the rest of the band for bringing people together, no matter the race, creed, nationality, religion or political beliefs.  I wish that everyone on that thread could acknowledge that Duran’s music can and does bring people together as we all share the belief that Duran writes and plays great music!  For me, right now, that’s more than their political beliefs!

-A 

The Impact of Duran Duran

As the Chicago show get nearer, I find myself in touch with some of my people (friends) who are also going to the show.  As part of those conversations, I have found myself talking about Duran, which isn’t surprising but, in this case, I have found myself talking about the impact of Duran Duran in the world and in my own personal life.

This is the reality.  Duran Duran has been one of the biggest bands in the world.  They have sold a ton of albums (I have heard 70 million to 100 million), played thousands of gigs, won awards including lifetime achievement awards and have become part of the public psyche.  Say the name Duran Duran to anyone of a certain age here in the States and that person would have heard of Duran.  In most cases, that person could also name a song or ten and might be able to name a band member or 5.  Duran was huge and still is often referenced in movies, TV shows and books because people know them and the reference makes sense.  For example, a couple of years ago the TV Show, House, mentioned Duran and their song, New Moon on Monday.  I read a book not too long ago by Tiffanie Debartolo in which the main character was told that her true love was going to die at an early age.  This character worried about John Taylor.  These references show how big Duran was and is.  They show how their presence was and still is felt in the world of popular culture.

As a fan, I have seen and felt this impact.  On one level, I have to admit to feeling like I have been a part of something huge, something important, something monumental.  The only other times I have felt a part of something this huge was during the Obama campaign in 2008 and during the Wisconsin protests that took place this past winter and spring.  As a fan, I helped to make Duran huge.  I bought their albums, went to their concerts, bought their merchandise and more.  Without people like me, they wouldn’t have become so huge, so important.  John Taylor, himself, has recognized this and acknowledged it.  I remember seeing a clip on Behind the Music in which he talks about how songs like the Reflex and Save a Prayer aren’t theirs anymore but belong to the public psyche.  He’s right.  He goes on to say that to be a part of that is a gift.  Well, I feel the same way.  I feel like I have been able (along with millions of others) to be a part of something much bigger than myself.  Thus, the fans have had a serious impact on the band members’ lives.  We helped them make an impact.  In turn, they impacted our lives as well.

I have been a Duranie for over 27 years.  I have been a Duranie for a lot longer than I haven’t been.  I have been a Duranie for so long that I can’t remember not being one or what it was like to not be one.  They have helped to form many of my opinions, my likes, my dislikes, my interests and more.  For example, I love contemporary art.  Yes, my mother is an artist but I doubt I would love it as much if I didn’t find myself exposed to art through the band.  Another example is that many Duranies, including myself, have found themselves being attracted to a certain type of males.  I may or may not be attracted to guys who have similar characteristics to John Taylor just like my partner-in-crime may or may find herself attracted to men who are similar to Roger.  Did the band might have had an influence there?  I suspect that they did.  They have opened my eyes to books, movies and music that I’m sure I would have never even heard of without them.  On top of all of that and most importantly, they have brought me some amazing experiences, some absolutely fabulous times and some meaningful friendships, ones that I can’t imagine not having now.  My world would have been a much smaller, much lonelier place. 

The simple fact is that I can’t imagine my life without them.  Obviously, now, my daily life is filled with checking in on what is happening with the band and their fans.  It is filled with writing or reading this blog.  When I’m lucky, my days are spent planning, preparing and going on tour.  Duran Duran is always present in my world, in some shape or form.  The truth is that us, fans, have impacted their lives and they have impacted ours.  Together, we have created and sustained something big and meaningful.  I, for one, am grateful that I have been and continue to be a part of it.

-A

An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!