It is fun to get away, and really nice to come home. That is exactly how I would characterize this past little road trip on all accounts. In some respects, being with friends and seeing #Duranlive again really felt like coming home; and in other ways, walking into my house last night after a long weekend of driving 1200 miles, some mild debauchery was really welcome. I’m tired!!
For a lot of fans, the joy of a tour comes from seeing the band. This is obvious – I mean, one goes to a show and sees the band play. Done and done, right? Then there are the other people, like me, who have gone to “more than a few” shows over the years, and have made quite a circle of friends as result. The shows go from being solely about the band to being about having a reunion of sorts. It isn’t all about the band any longer. Don’t get me wrong, they’re still a huge part of the allegory (indirect storytelling, usually used in reference to large paintings). The band is like the background, and the connections, relationships, and friendships are the details.
This past week was a perfect example of the community that this band has created, whether by design, or circumstance. I drove to Hollywood on Tuesday to see Duran Duran at the Jimmy Kimmel show, and as I walked in the 93 degree heat to the back of the theatre, I immediately saw friends. Suddenly the afternoon wasn’t defined solely by the torture of standing on a very hot sidewalk while trying not to melt; instead we talked, laughed, and maybe even squealed in delight when we saw the band arrive, caught a glimpse of Mr. Hudson and Dom speaking on stage (We were peaking through the chain-link fence bordering the property!), and especially when we heard the sounds of “You Kill Me With Silence” mixing with the exhaustive late-afternoon heat. Even without Amanda present, I felt completely at home with friends I hadn’t seen since April or prior as we filed past security and found space to stand in front of the stage. When the band finally filtered onto the stage, it was clear they were just as happy to see us – smiles of recognition and surprise exchanged, as the next layer of details began to be added to our story.
During the next 24-hours, Amanda arrived (it is so nice to have both halves of Daily Duranie together!), our friend Heather arrived from Canada, and we found ourselves doing more laughing and talking over, yes – drinks – at more than one bar in the city. (I even got Amanda to eat at In-N-Out, which was a MIRACLE!!! She had grilled cheese, since she’s a vegetarian. She survived!) The next day we paid (Ok, I paid) for the activities of the day prior, and then we hosted our fan meet-up at the Hollywood-Highland Hard Rock Cafe. I never quite know how these things are going to go. I’m not confident enough to assume that everyone who RSVP’s is actually going to show up, so I spend at least part of the time worrying. I needn’t this time, because we had about 50 DD fans show up to celebrate with us. It was fantastic! There were friends from near and far, and some as far away as Canada. We loved seeing people come up to our area as virtual strangers and end up leaving with new contacts and friends – that is the whole point! We’re proud to be a small portion of the catalyst that brings people together. We sat at a series of lined up tables, talked, laughed and reminisced our way through bad service until it was time to leave for the VIP party at the Hollywood Bowl.
The Bowl itself was another story – 17,000+ people is “kind of” a lot, and I found it to be a giant clusterfuck of activity. Not that it was a bad thing – but after floating with the crowd through the gates and up to our seats, I just stayed put. Even so, friends were tweeting throughout the venue, and it was clear that many of us were all there together to support the band. There’s something incredibly unifying about that. I know the band probably loved the idea of so many “new” people in the crowd for them (and rightly so!), but as a long time fan, there was a part of me that loved knowing so many diehards (like me) were there too, experiencing and probably exhibiting the same pride and affection that I felt that night. That’s good stuff!
After the show, there was a cocktail party for the band and friends, family, and industry types. As I’m sure most know – Amanda and I were shockingly left off the guest list!! (read: sarcasm.) I had a male friend ask where I was that night because he was at the party and spoke with one of my close friends. I appreciate the vote of confidence, but let’s face it: I’m no celebrity or rock star, and no “friend of mine” offered to get me in. (cough, cough) So once again we floated back down the hill with the crowd, got into our shuttle, and spent the next 45 minutes in traffic waiting to get back to our parking spot at the Hollywood-Highland Center (next time, I’m walking). Then we changed into proper driving attire (read: comfortable), and boarded the Duranie “bus.” (my car, which is not really a bus at all) for a 3-hour drive before we stopped for the night. We spent that trip listening to Duran Duran, talking about the show (it was our friend Heather’s very first DD show ever), exchanging texts with a friend who was at the cocktail party, and dishing over the shows to come.
Our next bit of activity took place the next day as we cruised into Berkeley. Another Duranie friend (that we’d never met in person, no less) did us the kindness of planning a get-together for dinner before the show in Berkeley, so our pre-show was once again spent with friends – both old and new – laughing about everything under the sun. By the time we walked back up through the UC Berkeley campus to the venue, we were in a great mood, tired or not, ready for a fantastic show ahead. As we sat in our seats that night, anxious for Duran Duran to take the stage, several really great friends that we hadn’t seen in a long time came up to see Amanda and I. I loved seeing everyone, and it reminded me that our Duran-world is small and closer-knit than we might think.
After the show, Amanda and I agreed to go for drinks (As the bus driver, I had water, thankyouverymuch.) with our friends Melissa and Julie. We walked back down through the now very much drunken side streets of UC Berkeley on the way to find a bar. I’d forgotten the fun of Friday nights in a college town, and I’d also forgotten that we were about twice the age of most of the kids present, but we still found a great place to hang out for a while as we relaxed and rehashed the show, and only got a few sideways-looks from the kids who showed up for beer and giant-sized Jenga.
The next day, we started our long trek to Rancho Mirage, which is in the California desert near Palm Springs. 7-and-a-half hours is a long time to spend in the car, even if it’s MY car. Even so, we spent our time wisely: devising a set list of epic magnitude, that we then tweeted directly to Simon, John (yes I know he’s no longer active on Twitter.) and DDHQ, similar to what we’d done in the days prior. Why? Because yes, we are as obnoxious as possible sometimes. As Amanda and I made the initial list of songs, and then meticulously discussed the order in which the songs should be presented (we even created a medley), our friend Heather remained mostly silent in the back seat. Out of nowhere, Heather mused, “If people only knew how much time and energy you two spend on every single detail…” Amanda and I just started laughing. It was a silly set list, but we wanted it to be perfect. Can you think of a better way to spend 7 hours in the car?!?
Saving the best for last, we arrived at Agua Caliente and hauled our luggage upstairs to the room where our friend Shelly was waiting. We didn’t even make it all the way down the hall before Shelly was out the door, into the hall and hugging us. It was like coming home. We quickly ordered pizza, changed clothing and got ready to go downstairs for another Daily Duranie meet-up in the bar. We arrived at Rendezvous to Shannon and her friends waiting at a table. We quickly commandeered our own table, ordered a round for ourselves and let the party unfold. So many Duranies showed up that night – I lost count, but it was fantastic. We met new friends like Liz “@Adora2000” and Suzie “@STOgonewild” along with many others that I am completely forgetting…and still an absolute ton of longtime Duran fans reuniting, hugging, giggling, talking, and contemplating our collective journey. We talked Paper Gods, band members, touring band members, future touring hopes, and leather pants, of all things. Before we knew it, showtime was upon us and we were ready.
Post-show saw continued festivities in Rendezvous (liked the hotel, did not enjoy the cigarette smoke in the air which threatened to leave me sans voice), with a somewhat smaller, but louder(!!) group of fans. Amanda and I were treated to a few rounds of drinks by a reader named Richard (thanks again!!), and LOTS of laughter. Despite( or even in spite?) of it being the last show for a while, we remained joyful, replaying the entire show, elbows on stage and all, over and over as we sat at the table until wee hours of the morning when a few tweets from a certain guitarist signaled that the band had made their way safely back to Los Angeles and on to whatever came next. For Amanda and I, it meant a short night of sleep before once again climbing back into the Duranie bus for a trip to LAX.
Today, I’m at home. I’m about to get ready and get in the car one more time to drive Heather back to LAX so that she can board a plane bound for Canada. I’m in disbelief that the good times have ended, so I’m simply saying I need to give the band a break from me for a while. I mean, there’s only so much of me one can take, never mind the rest of you, who seem to keep coming back and reading again and again, of which Amanda and I are so thankful. Seeing the band again was so fantastic, and I have a whole set of memories about the shows and interacting with them that I haven’t even began to touch upon here, but I wanted to share the memories I have with a lot of YOU from the weekend. In the end, those moments matter just as much, if not more.
Simon said something at a couple of the shows that really struck home with Amanda and I, because we’ve said it many times! He talked about how after they create the music, they really give it to the fans and it becomes ours. Then they go on tour, and share it with us – and it becomes a sort of cyclical process where they give the music, we take it and then we give energy back to them – it’s really synergy in that respect – but the point is that we’re part of the cycle. Amanda and I have talked about that many times here on the blog (MANY. TIMES.), and I want to encourage everyone – when they announce tour dates, find the time and go. I can’t create a proper picture in words of what that band does at a show, or how I feel when I have had a long weekend with the friends I’ve made as a result.
You just need to go, and I’ll see you there.