Amanda had asked me to come up with my top ten Duranie Fandom moments several weeks back, after having sat down and doing so herself, complete with photos to illustrate. At the time, I had trouble coming up with even ONE. Stress does that to a person, and honestly there are times when it feels like so long ago that I even attended a show…well, it’s just very far removed from daily life here at Casa Rivera these days. Yet I blog about Duran Duran each morning….how does that happen?!?
Truthfully, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it’s all I can do to jot down a few words about the date in history (which we’re now just calling “Duran Duran History”). Sometimes I’m just not feeling very fan-like at all. Maybe I’m really stuck in “mom-mode” or “wife-mode”…but definitely not “fandom” mode. It’s been a rough few months, to put it lightly.
As I said yesterday though, having a single weekend away helped. I was able to stop worrying about things I cannot control (we all have our weaknesses.), and just smile, enjoy the music, laugh…and remember why it is that I’m still writing about my Duranie fandom! So, I’ve decided that since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I can take some time to describe my own top ten fandom moments.
Rhonda’s Top Ten Duranie Fandom Moments (not in any sort of order)
Finally meeting the band
After 20 years, or whatever it was at the time – I finally got the chance to go to a record signing. It was for Astronaut, and the signing was at the Virgin Megastore in Hollywood. I still remember standing in that line near the door to the store doing some major self-talk. “You will NOT sound like an idiot”….”You absolutely will NOT tell any of them that you’ve loved them since you were ten.” ….”Do NOT pass out.” I pasted a smile (hopefully not maniacal) on my face and went in there with my head held high. I did great until I got to Roger, and only then did I gush with “Thank you so much for coming back to the band, Roger. You’ve always been my favorite.” Seriously?? Oh well…I tried!!
Third Row – All State Arena, Chicago 2005
There are probably many who will follow that up with “Oh, I had front row at____________”. Yeah well, good on you. I’ve never won a meet and greet, either. Third row was the best it got for me on that tour, and let me tell you – I’d take those seats again and again and again in a heartbeat. I had never been closer, and up until that point I’d never attended a Duran Duran show with other Duranies. Talk about Duranie fandom. Oh yes. I will never forget Roger Taylor (did I mention that he was my favorite??) coming to the front of the stage during the heartbeat at the beginning of the show. I stood there shaking so badly that I continued to fumble with my camera the entire time he was in front of me. Oh well, at least I didn’t blind him before the show with my flash photography, right??
Front Row – DPAC, Durham 2012
Yes, I finally got front row. Twice this tour…once in Biloxi because I was crazy enough to get myself to the venue by 7am and wait all day, and once in Durham because a good friend (thanks Jonee!!) saw something that she wanted to facilitate. (mainly that I had adoration for some guitar player who will remain nameless…) I squeezed up into that line of girls in the picture…and I’ll just say this: BEST SHOW EVER.
Almost getting that drumstick at Voodoo 2006
No, I don’t have a drumstick in my “collection” (what collection?!?). I do however, have a memory of Roger Taylor reading a sign I held up high for him at the Voodoo festival in New Orleans, cheekily asking if I could twirl his stick. (Wow Rhonda. Just wow.) I’m glad Roger is a good sport, because he just grinned and asked if I wanted it. (To clarify, by “it”…I think we all know he meant his drumstick, thank you.) I nodded yes. It sailed through the air, coming straight for me. It was a perfect throw, until someone reached up and grabbed it right out of the air. Oh well. I looked back up at the stage, Roger winced, mouthed “I’m sorry” and I was in heaven. He spoke to me. Sort of. No, I don’t have the drumstick, but the memory is vivid.
Getting a guitar pick from Dom
I’m not a very pushy fan, I don’t think. I’ve never ASKED the band for things. (Unless you count those front row tickets I’ve asked for here on the blog. In jest. Seriously in jest!!) I mean, sure – I asked for that drumstick I guess, but that’s different! In Biloxi though, I found my voice. I had been wanting Dom’s guitar pick since he joined the band, but I could never get close enough, and I never ran into him at a point where I thought he’d have one. At the end of the show in Biloxi, Dom came close enough to where I was standing that I could ask him. My voice worked. I asked, he flicked one to me. (in my head at the time he flicked it I was like “Are you kidding me? You’re flicking the damn thing? Do you not read the blog? Do you not know that I can’t catch??!! AAAH!) By some sheer miracle, I caught it. I put it in my pocket. Then his guitar tech came out and literally threw the other six of them from his mic stand right at me. Seriously. Two of them hit me square in the head. Thanks for making sure I got one!!
Interviewing Dom for Daily Duranie
A dream come true…and if I could do it again, I would do it completely differently. (I’d try for a face-to-face or Skype!!) Most know that I worked up a Q&A for Dom to answer, but I don’t think anyone but Amanda knows I emailed Dom to ask him if he would be willing to do the interview. I came home from the tail end of the All You Need is Now tour in 2012 and wanted to ask Dom if he’d be willing to let me interview him. I figured there was no way this would ever fly, a long shot at best. I emailed him. I figured he wouldn’t have the foggiest idea who I was – he meets thousands of people every night, and I’m just some face in the crowd. Well, he told me he knew exactly who I was. Then he agreed to a Q&A and the rest is history. I still pinch myself from time to time to make sure I’m not dead. 😀
Some might say that convention planning has become sort of a hobby. Others might say I’m crazy. Both are probably at least partially true. I can really say though that nothing, and I mean NOTHING, has ever energized my Duranie fandom the way that planning and attending conventions has done. I love that feeling of freedom and togetherness that being at fan conventions gives. It’s like experiencing one shining, perfect moment with a lot of other like-minded people. Maybe it’s like a really long show without the band actually being there. I don’t know. I just know that in times when life isn’t working out as planned – I think of those weekends and they still make me smile.
A certain plane trip in 2006
Here’s a fantasy for you: you’re getting on a plane to go to a concert and you look up to see touring members from that band headed down the aisle towards you. Then they sit across from you. Go ahead, think about that for a minute or five. This happened. For real….and no, I didn’t get photos. I didn’t even THINK about photos, because I was too busy thinking “OH MY GOD”. Duranie Fandom? Oh you bet. Did I speak? Yes, and I’ll never forget that two or three-hour plane trip. Good times.
Finishing the manuscript, writing this blog
I know our book isn’t yet published. We’re working on it. The fact is, we finished the draft. That’s more than I could have hoped for even if it never sees the light of day beyond that. Who knew an entire book could be written on Duranie fandom?? I wasn’t sure…then I did it. If that weren’t enough, we write a blog every single day. I’ve learned how to create a website, MOVE a website (albeit not well, but you know….it’s a learning curve really), and do things I never, ever wanted to learn how to do. All for the love of a stupid band. Well, not stupid….but you get it. NOW FINISH THE ALBUM, DURAN DURAN!!
I’m almost afraid to give the last one, because the truth of the matter is – I’m not done. I’m not done living or going to shows or being a FAN for that matter. Seems silly to come up with a top 10 list of Duranie fandom moments when there hasn’t been an ending yet. That said, there is one moment that in my head, almost always rises to the top whenever I think of moments. It’s the saddest moment I’ve ever had as a fan. On the same token, it’s the most meaningful.
Standing in front of Simon as he told all those at the studio in May of 2011 that the UK shows would be canceled
This memory is especially poignant, and even just the slightest bit painful. That day, Amanda and I had gone to the studio (here’s the funny part -I’m not even sure “which” studio we were at because someone else had taken us there. Had it not been for this person, Amanda and I would have never even seen the band on our first trip to the UK in May of that year, and if we were to go back to the UK, I don’t think I could find my way back there. That should provide some comfort for all involved!) We all said hi to Simon when he got to the studio that day, knowing that two of our shows had already been canceled and that this rehearsal would decide the fate for the rest. He didn’t sound bad, but he took the time to explain to us what was going on. He seemed particularly concerned for those of us who had traveled a long way to be there – and it was the first time I’d ever really felt connected in any way to him. I mean, I love Simon as does any fan – but this was different. I can’t put it into words. I just know that I’ve never felt fandom, my Duranie fandom, like I did that day.
Today I’m just thankful and counting my blessings. I’m so glad I convinced Amanda to start this blog, even though there are times – recent times – when I wake up in the middle of the night in a panic because something isn’t working right on the blog, or because maybe in the past someone has written a horrible comment to us that I can’t seem to let roll off my back, or because I offended someone I hadn’t meant to offend. The overall experience has been beyond words. I’ve learned far more than I ever expected, both about myself and about the band, believe it or not. I’m lucky to say that I’m 50% owner of this operation, and that we’re headed into the next album with nothing but excitement and hopefulness for more incredible Duranie Fandom moments ahead. Happy Thanksgiving to our US readers, and Happy Thursday to the rest of the world. Thanks for reading!!