Tag Archives: 2005 Astronaut tour

They Lay Back Laughing at Naivety’s Star

Thirteen years ago on this date, I saw Duran Duran play in St. Louis.  This show blew my mind despite the side seats, the massive headache I had and the excessive heat.  (Seriously, it was over 100 degrees that weekend and the sweat just poured off of Simon.  I felt bad for the band as it must have been three times as bad for them with the stage lights.  Interestingly enough, I never saw one bead of sweat on Nick.  Hmm…)  Anyway, while the show was great, the after show is what sticks out the most in my mind.

Let me provide some context.  This show took place during the second leg of the Astronaut tour.  I had been to shows during the spring but still was pretty new to the ways of touring.  I didn’t go with Rhonda but a couple of other friends.  We had decided beforehand that we would try to find the band after the how.  After all, I had tried during the spring with no luck and I kept seeing and reading about so many other fans who had their moments.  I wanted a moment, too.  I never questioned my desire to do this.  To me, it just seemed to be what fans in this fan community do.  More importantly than that, I never considered what would happen if we did.  I never thought about how to act.

In order to achieve our goal, we did what so many have done since.  We guessed a hotel.  Yes, we were that awesome.  Funny enough, though, we were right along with what seemed like hundreds of other Duranies.  Once we got there, I made a decision.  I would just try to get John Taylor’s autograph.  That’s it.  I wouldn’t ask for anything else.  (Maybe this shows how naive I was.  It seemed to me that so many other fans wanted/expected a lot more from the band whether that would be photos and autographs or photos and their time.)  Quickly after that decision was made, the band pulled up.  As the band members exited their vehicles, my group split, trying to get to the band member of choice.  Looking back at this, it makes me cringe.  Never once did I stop and think about how it the band members would have felt in having strange people approach them as they try to enter a hotel.

Soon enough, I reached the crowd surrounding John Taylor.  Many of the people there seemed to be those professional autograph hunters who had tons of professional photos to get him to sign.  I just wanted my poster signed.  When I got to him, he kindly signed my poster.  Then, I simply walked away.  Mission accomplished.  I went to go find my friends.  I saw one talking to Roger.  Did I say anything or do anything?  Not really.  I already got what I came for.  (Later, I wondered if I should have asked for something.  Did I miss an opportunity?)  Then, I walked into the hotel to find my other friend.  Once inside, I found John Taylor surrounded by people in the lobby.  He could not move beyond the crowd.  As people started to touch his arm, he turned looking for security.  This made me uncomfortable.  He seemed trapped.  Did he want people touching him?  Did he want all this attention?  It got me thinking.   Does being famous mean that you don’t have the right to consent or freedom of movement?  Is that part of what he signed up for?

Fast forward a bit.  I desperately needed something to drink.  One of my friends had found a spot at the bar…next to Roger.  Well, then.  My mixed emotion self did not really know what to do.  Do I try to butt in and get in the conversation?  Do I leave her alone?  I knew this much.  I was dying of thirst.  After all, it was ungodly hot that weekend.  Perhaps, this was my way in.  I could get a drink, which would give me a logical reason to be there.  But it also meant standing there for awhile to get someone’s attention to take my request.  After a few minutes of just standing there, I left.  I distinctly remember feeling just foolish on top of not really knowing where my comfort level was as a fan.  How do I manage to have my fan moment without doing something that makes me feel uneasy?

The next day forced me to think more about the issue as the message boards exploded with posts and comments about the post-show activities.  Many fans were excited for those who shared their moments or their photos.  Still, others criticized the fans there, implying that some crossed the line.  I had no idea that there was even differing philosophies when it came to interactions between fans and the subject(s) of their fandom.  All of a sudden, the fan community felt a little less safe to me.  After all, many included me with the group of fans who were harassing the band.  Did I?  Looking back, maybe I did.  I followed some of the people I was with.  Maybe I shouldn’t have.

By even the next day, I knew that while I, too, still wanted my moment, I needed to decide about how I would ever act in that situation again.  I starting figuring out what makes me uncomfortable for either myself or a band member.  Notice I said what makes me uncomfortable, where my line is.  That line might be very different for others.  I get that.  Heck, I don’t think I totally have it figured out for myself.  I am still learning.  One thing I feel strongly about now, in 2018, that I didn’t even really think about before that night is St. Louis is touching.  I know that if I ever see a band member or anyone else famous, for that matter, there is no way that I would touch that person without seeking consent first.  Have I always done that?  No but it is something I am working on with people in my life as well and when I have done it, I feel really good about the interaction.  Let me give an example.  When I met President Obama, I consciously decided that I would assume nothing about how the interaction was going to go.  I was there, along with others who had worked on his campaign.  We were lined up to meet him.  I watched to see how he greeted people ahead of me.  When it was my turn, he opened his arms for a hug which I happily returned.  Besides touching, I have also decided that I really like giving anyone famous space.  I won’t surround someone as that would make me uncomfortable.

I know that many people out there might disagree with my philosophy.  You all might be saying…but they are famous.  They had to know what they signed up for.  I think they signed up lots of media attention, sure.  People want to know them and know what they are up to, but, personally, I think they should have the right to their own bodies.  It is okay if you disagree with me.  Fans do not always have to be agreement.  It doesn’t make me a better fan or a bigger fan.  All it means is that after 13 years, I’m starting to get an idea of who I am and what I believe in as a fan.  It has taken me a long time to get to this point.  I have made a lot of mistakes.  Heck, I did 13 years ago today.  That night, that weekend provided a crash course in fandom that I didn’t ask for and didn’t know that I needed.  Looking back, I’m thankful for the experience.  It taught me a lot about fandom, but about myself, too.

-A

Just a Perfect…Weekend or Two!

I am happy to report that my dad is home!  My mom, my niece and I picked him up this morning.  He is a million times better than he was but it will take him some time to fully get his strength back.  While he finishes recovering, I can start to return to my normal life.  It, too, will take me awhile to get back to normal as everything got pushed to the side.  One of the things that I find happens when something like this takes place is that my mind cannot focus on anything besides my family.  I look forward to thinking about other things besides worry, status updates and doctor visits.

It has been so crazy that I haven’t been able to keep track of days, times, etc.  I have noticed that my partner-in-crime has posted a couple memories on Facebook, reminding me of where we were last year on this date.  Oh, yes, March 18th is one that I definitely want to remember.  In fact, this is one of those dates that my Duranie self should always remember as two incredible weekends happened on this date.

In 2005, 13 whole years ago, I was in Chicago seeing Duran play at the All-State Arena.  It was the first show I ever saw with Rhonda and it led us to where we are today.  I tend to think of that weekend being the first bookend to my fandom.  While I had been a fan before that (duh) and had even seen the band in concert before, that weekend in 2005 changed it all.  In many ways, it was the perfect weekend.  No, it did not feature front row seats or a meet and greet with the band.  Yet, it was so much fun that I became addicted to this fandom thing and to touring.

What made it so fun?  It was definitely a combination of factors.  First, I knew a bunch of people attending this show and called them all my friends.  Most of us were staying at the same hotel, resulting in multiple late night parties.  We ended up closing the hotel bar both nights and still were not ready to call it a night as hotel rooms became gathering places for late night/early morning conversations and laughs. The strong connection carried over to the concert venue as the show was enhanced by engaging looks and acknowledging moments with each other.  Okay, it didn’t hurt that we were in the 3rd row in front of John Taylor, either.  Then, of course, Rhonda and I along with some other friends continued the fun the next day at the show in Milwaukee.  By the end of the night, Rhonda and I were so ridiculously tired that we ended up laughing at nothing for hours.  When Rhonda left that Sunday, we both knew that we had found touring partners for life.  I knew that I had found something so fun that I would do a lot to experience it all over again.

Fast forward to 2017, a full 12 years later, and Rhonda and I found ourselves at another weekend.  This time, it was closer to Rhonda’s neck of the woods in California.  While we might have been surrounded by different friends, it was still an amazingly fun weekend with great shows, late nights, partying and more.  I wouldn’t say it was the same at the weekend in Chicago but it was just as good, including more amazing seats.  My addiction had been fed.  In fact, it was such a great weekend that I thought to myself that if that weekend was the last tour, it would provide the best bookend possible to this touring thing.  It didn’t become that touring bookend as more shows followed, but I would have been more than okay with that.

Truly, I realize how lucky I have been.  Not only is my Dad better and back at home, but I have had the good fortune of having some amazing weekends with friends and Duran Duran.

-A

Rhonda’s Birthday Blog 2017!

Once upon a time, there were two women living in different regions of the country, unknown to the other.  One was a stay-at-home mom of two while the other a teacher.  Both were living their lives, seeming to be content with their day-to-day existences surrounding children and never-ending to-do lists.  On paper, these two women appeared to be polar opposites.  Yet, despite their lifestyle differences and five year age gap, they shared one very significant commonality.  They both were Duran Duran fans in the 1980s as kids.  Still, there was no reason for these women to ever cross paths as one lived in California and other in Wisconsin until events led them to the same place at the same time.

In the early 2000s, the woman in California attended a Duran Duran show near her house at a House of Blues, reawakening the love she had for the British band leading her online to find information about the band and other fans.  Around the same time, across country, the other woman was deep in her Masters of Education program and in her new job as a middle school special education teacher.  That band she loved as a kid was far from her thoughts.  Around this time, that band reunited, awakening Duranies all over the world and calling them back into the fan community.  Still, it was not until 2003, as the Wisconsin woman was finishing her masters that she heard or took note of this dramatic event.  Soon after finishing grad school, she, too, took to the internet to find all she could about this reunion. 

In 2004, the two women found themselves at the same message board, a small, clean-looking, friendly one called DuranDuranFans.com.  Due to the size, the two began to see each other’s posts, thinking not much about the other.  Then, the stars aligned again in September of that year as both flew into the city of New Orleans for Friends of Mine:  The DuranDuranFans Convention.  On the first and most of the second day, the two women stuck to their friends and didn’t exchange many words beyond simple pleasantries.  Then, during the dinner/dance portion of the convention, they both found themselves at the bar ordering vodka tonics.  They laughed a little at sharing the same favorite drink.  As the night progressed and more vodka tonics were consumed, the two women found themselves to be a part of the same group heading out onto Bourbon Street for more partying.  At one point, late at night or early in the morning, the two women realized that they were appreciating the company of the other and seemed to get along easily.

Fast forward a few months when Duran Duran announced the long-awaited Astronaut tour.  The two again found themselves in the same group planning to attend the Chicago show together.  Tickets were purchased and hotel rooms were reserved.  By the Saturday night of that weekend, they discovered that despite all of their differences, being around the other made them laugh and not just laugh a little.  No, they laughed a LOT, more than a lot, an excessive amount.  From there on out, they decided to stick together in their fandom journey, sharing a lot more than the love of a little band and an alcohol beverage.

This, obviously, is how Rhonda and I became friends.  Over time, the group surrounding us shrunk, changed members, added members and more.  Yet, at the heart, is always the two of us.  After that first touring weekend in March of 2005, we have gone to countless others.  Sometimes, we have gone to shows without each other, but, when that happens, it is always just a little weird.  Just recently Rhonda commented on a blog post that we are a packaged deal.  In 2005, on our first tour, if someone had said that to us, we probably would have laughed.  While we enjoyed hanging out that weekend, we would not have assumed that we would have formed an unbreakable bond, but we did.

This bond that began on tour in 2005, deepened at shows and a dreaded festival in 2006, grew substantially stronger as 2008 came to a close for a simple reason.  We decided that our fandom was unique and that we wanted to understand more.  Thus, we began a journey into figuring out fandom, ourselves and our friendship by researching fandom.  Through that process, we learned a lot and improved our writing and research skills.  Then, we dove into the idea of writing a daily blog about being Duran fans, which has brought us incredible amounts of joy as well as some painfully frustrating situations.  From there, we began meet-ups and organized a convention with some of our friends.  Of course, in between, we have also been to a tour or three.  Soon enough, in 2018, we will head to Indianapolis to share some of what we have found out about our female dominated fandom to a significant Popular Culture convention.  All of this, we hope, will just be the beginning.  The beginning of what, we are not sure, but one thing is very true.  I definitely would not have done any of this without her.

Now, today, I celebrate not only her early birthday (it is actually on Tuesday) but I also celebrate our friendship.  I appreciate our differences but cheer our similarities.  For example, we still do appreciate our vodka tonics:

Cheers!

Obviously, we love the heck out of going to Duran Duran shows!  They are truly our happy place.

Chula Vista

Sometimes, we share insane ideas and even follow through with them, such as when we felt it necessary to go and recreate a favorite fashion choice.

 

 

 

 

 

Many times, we enjoy planning meet-ups and conventions!  I suspect that there will be one for the Vegas show in December.  Watch this space.

Our meet up!

We definitely both appreciate the DoJo!

Of course, we created this blog and have kept it going for over 7 years now!  We are committed.  Of course, some might say that this is proof that we should be committed…

Of course, I cannot forget the love we have for Simon’s dancing!

In all seriousness, I would have not have done everything that we have done without my partner-in-crime.  Rhonda keeps me going, keeps me laughing and keeps me focused on doing what must be done.  I have learned a lot about friendship, about working with others, about being a better person and friend because of her.  I truly am the lucky one.  So, on this Sunday, I wish her an early happy birthday!  Then, on Tuesday, I get to wish her a real happy birthday!  I hope you will all join me both today and on Tuesday!

-A

Amanda’s Five Joyful Moments of Fandom

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about an idea I had. This idea was a simple one–that I was going to take time to think about moments when I experienced real joy, related to my fandom. These moments might happen when the band is around and they might occur when they are not around. The idea was to acknowledge those times when I stopped for a second or two, looked around and realized that, in that moment, I was truly happy. Those moments might not be big or small and they might not have been perfect but something was happening that made my heart feel full. I have taken some time in the last two weeks to think of these moments. Some of them I knew right away and others took longer to pop into my head. Here are five of those moments, in no particular order. I’m certain that there were more but I’m going with these. Then, next week, I’ll share five more.

1. Singing Hungry Like the Wolf at Howl at the Moon on Bourbon Street in New Orleans in September 2004.
This moment happened on the second night of the Friends of Mine Convention.  At the time of the convention, I had just returned to the Duran fandom and felt like I had taken a huge risk in going to this convention. After all, I had never traveled for fandom before and didn’t really know anyone except for the person who went with me. I knew that this would be a moment that would either cause my fandom to grow or to fade. Luckily for me, I had an absolute blast and met so many amazing people, including Rhonda. It was a turning point, indeed. While I didn’t know that at the time, I knew that I was having an absolutely amazing time when we were at the piano bar, Howl at the Moon. We had finally convinced them to play some Duran and there we were, late at night, singing loudly and proudly to Hungry Like the Wolf. I felt like I had found my people.

2. Secret Oktober in Brighton in November 2011.
As many of you know, Rhonda and I flew to the UK in the spring of 2011 to see Duran play in their home country, only to have the shows canceled on us due to Simon’s lost vocal range. At the time of that trip, both of us felt fairly certain that the band was done and Simon would never sing again. Of course, we didn’t dare utter that thought from fear that it would be true. Thus, when the band was able to perform again, we didn’t hesitate to go back, to try it again. Brighton was our first show of that tour, which will always make it magical but when we heard the first notes to Secret Oktober, it transcended even that. Rhonda and I looked at each other in shock and awe before hugging like goofs and turning our attention back to the stage. Magical, indeed.

3. Agua Caliente show in March 2017.
This has been a tough year for me and it was especially tough in those first couple of months. One reason was that Rhonda and I weren’t communicating as we normally do. We felt distant from each other and I desperately fretted that our friendship was slowly dying. When the shows at Agua Caliente were announced, I knew that I had to go. I figured it might either be my last tour or it would turn things around. Both shows were amazing but the second night, up front, felt like everything was right again. At the end of the show, I posted the following on my personal Facebook, “The truth is that I love this band more than I can say. I can’t imagine never seeing them again. They bring me joy…” Indeed.

4. Laughing hysterically at Tempo Cafe in Chicago in March 2005.
While the convention in 2004 brought me my people, the spring Astronaut tour made Rhonda and I touring partners for life. We saw two shows that weekend in Chicago and Milwaukee. After the second show, we ended up needing food and caffeine at like five in the morning. Tempo Cafe was the only place in downtown Chicago that we knew was open twenty-four hours a day. After waiting for forever to get a seat, once we got our food, Rhonda and I could not stop laughing. I have no idea what the heck was so funny but we laughed and laughed and laughed until tears were flowing. I knew then that when we get together, laughter will always follow.

5. Hail storm in Brompton Cemetery in London in May 2011.
When Rhonda and I went to the UK for shows that did not happen, we promised ourselves that we would not just sit around and feel sorry for ourselves. We were going to make lemonade out of lemons. Thankfully, friends took sympathy on us and gave us some info on where some Duran landmarks are located, including Brompton Cemetery, the one featured in the All You Need Is Now video. We spent one day following this mini-tour, including stopping by the very cool cemetery. The funny part is that every time we got near a Duran specific place, it would thunder and rain like you would not believe. We wondered if the gods were trying to tell us something. By the time we hit the cemetery, we were ready for whatever. Whatever is what we got. No sooner had we entered through the gate when it started to storm. This storm included some significant hail. We ran until we found shelter, laughing all the way, as we were certain that we looked like drowned rats.

Now that I have five of my fandom moments that have brought me joy, I ask that all of you do the same.  I want to read everyone’s very cool moments related to their fandom.  I guarantee that my week will be better off because of them.  Then, next week, I will share five more to round out my ten joyful fandom moments.

-A