Quite a Year for Duran and Duranies!

It is the time of the year when many people take some time to look back at the year, analyze it and decide how best to move forward. The band did this, to some extent, with their year end lists. (Note to everyone: Rhonda and I will do our own year end lists tomorrow.) While I could take time to look over their lists and comment on what they wrote or didn’t write, I thought I would summarize the year that both Duran and their fans experienced!

It really was quite a year!!! Obviously, it wasn’t exactly what any of us expected. Yet, looking back, I have to conclude that it was a positive year and one in which we all learned a lesson. This lesson was a very important one and one that the band was trying to teach us but couldn’t do it until the late spring and summer.

The year started out on a such a high for all of us!!! Duran had released the short, digital form of All You Need is Now in December of 2010. Many (most?) fans celebrated this release as a return to the Duran that we know and love. We had the chance to be excited about the 9 songs that we had and look forward to the full release in March. TV appearances, radio interviews and shows were also on the horizon. Everything was going super well! By the end of January, the first tour dates were released, which included 11 dates in the UK. For the two of us, this meant presales and initial plans to travel to the UK to see the band. It was an exciting time!!

February and March continued in this same path as we witnessed first interviews and TV appearances like the one for the Superbowl Fan Jam as well as the full album release! Tour dates were also released for small venues for the US. For many fans, tickets, travel plans and more were arranged to attend a show or two. Duran celebrated a significant event with the Unstaged Performance at the Mayan Theatre in LA. This performance was streamed online and directed by David Lynch. On a personal level, Rhonda enjoyed this show in person as well as another show in her area. I had the good fortune of planning a couple shows in the Midwest. It seemed like everything was going well on the Duran front. Of course, on a personal level, I was fighting for approval to take some time off of work to go to the UK. I was determined that it would all work out. Oh boy…

Spring continued to be kind to Duran as more dates were played and more dates were announced in Europe and elsewhere. It seemed like 2011 would be a solid Duran year, much like other years like 2005 or 1993. My work approval, finally, came through and we began to prepare for our trip in a serious fashion. Duran continued to play some smaller, private type gigs in Europe, including a show in Rome and a show in Cannes. We now all know what happened there. Simon sang and proceeded to lose the higher range of his singing voice. This led to initial shows being canceled for the UK, then more shows in the UK to all shows in the UK. We expressed this utter disappointment while actually being in the UK. Soon enough, all the shows in the summer were canceled and Duran’s future seemed more than uncertain. For all of us, fans, this was a very difficult time. Many of us tried to remain positive while preparing for the worst.

Then, as fall moved closer, hope began to develop. Then, Duran played some rehearsal gigs in the UK! These shows not only gave us hope about Duran’s future, they gave us hope that Duran would be willing to expand their touring setlist. Soon enough, more shows were announced in the US. Fans planned and hoped. Then, those shows happened and Simon was able to sustain his voice through full shows. We were lucky to enjoy a show or two, ourselves, as we prepared to go back to the UK for the shows we missed. By the end of the year, the band enjoyed a successful UK tour and a new video that managed to get quite a buzz in Girl Panic! More shows are planned for 2012 and the promise of even more to be announced! It is like the year had gone full circle for the band and the fans as we had experienced serious highs and serious lows.

I think that this year was a positive one for the band and the fans. The title and message of the band’s current album is to remind us all to live in the moment and to enjoy that moment. In the early part of the year, we all claimed to be doing that and maybe some of us were. By the summer, though, we learned that our fandom could suffer the greatest of losses by the end of the band as Simon’s future as a singer was in question. Luckily for all of us, Simon healed and the band came back, better than ever! Speaking for myself, this lesson of living in the moment and appreciating what I have truly was learned by this experience with Simon’s voice. Maybe all or most of the fans experienced this same lesson. While I think that this lesson was impossible to ignore for Rhonda and I due to traveling to the UK, I suspect that it was very obvious to all fans.

Now, we can look forward to 2012. While I hope that this is an exciting and wonderful year for Duran, I hope that we don’t lose the meaning we found in 2011. We need to appreciate each and every moment. We need to appreciate everything positive and wonderful that happens with the band. I’m not saying that we can’t criticize them, if needed, but we need to remember that this band won’t continue forever and that everything can change in an instant. We need to remember that all we need is now.

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