Tag Archives: Agua Caliente

Turnabout is fair play when it comes to the set list

Sorry I’m so late with today’s post. Our morning was wild here, and the afternoon is not faring much easier, as far as time goes!

I think I’m still coming to terms with my weekend, which was amazing. Anytime I can spend the day out by the pool and see my favorite band at night is great, but there were some additional “happenings” that make this particular weekend even better than normal. Those are the things that make me smile when my day might be going rougher than I’d hoped, and help me sleep at night. Or not sleep, I guess.  I’m just gonna leave that thought right there.

In any case, one of the funnier themes of the weekend was that Amanda had no interest in following rules. I probably need to be more clear about that.  For example, I would never dream of, say, telling the band what to play.

Ok, that’s a flat-out lie. The one thing we didn’t do this weekend was tweet out our own super-special set lists! Normally I’m all about telling the band what I think and what to play. This weekend though, I really didn’t care. They could have gotten up there and played just about anything. I believe my expectations for the weekend were summed up like this, “All they have to do is show up, Amanda.”

So when they broke into Only in Dreams on the first night, it took me WAY longer than I care to admit for my brain to sort out what it was I was hearing. Then they followed up with Is There Something I Should Know.

OH MY GOD.

That is my favorite. My all-time favorite song. Ever. I nearly had kittens. It’s not as though I have never heard it before, but to have them play it without expecting it was even better.  But then I knew something was missing. I kept waiting, and no, Planet Earth never showed. I can remember standing there beside Amanda thinking “Holy shit. She really IS going to have kittens!! And she blogs tomorrow, too!!”

So, she was really disappointed. No, the band can’t play their entire catalog, but Planet Earth has been a staple. I can’t remember the last time they didn’t play it, actually. I know she loves it, but I also recognize that sometimes, they have to do something to mix it up. Even so, I didn’t know what Amanda would do.

Fast forward to the following evening. We had a friend at the front and were talking to her during the show when Amanda saw a list taped down at Simon’s spot. Appropriately titled, “Palm Springs Agua Caliente”,  she could read the set list from where she was standing, and I could see she wasn’t happy about what it said. On the other hand, I won’t look at the set lists before the show.  I like being surprised, and I don’t want to know when it’s going to be over.

I liken this to Christmas presents. My sister used to go on a full-on hunt for the gifts when we were little. She would find everything and either be satisfied, or annoyed and disappointment at  what “Santa” was going to bring. One Christmas, I succumbed to her urging.  Using a swivel desk-chair to reach the door to our attic, I tried to find a set of skis I had almost NO chance of getting (and didn’t!) only to fall and sprain my arm because A. I am klutzy and B. I was using a stupid SWIVEL CHAIR. Not my smartest or proudest moment. Robin STILL teases me about that Christmas present hunt to this day. (I love younger siblings.) I learned my lesson. I prefer to be surprised.

Amanda looks up at me and says “It hasn’t changed.”  I wasn’t surprised. This band (sorry guys), hasn’t necessarily been the greatest about changing up the set list from night-to-night lately.  I didn’t know what to say, but Amanda was already digging through her purse, mumbling something about leaving a note.

A note?

WHAT? “Noooooo Amanda, you can’t!” I exclaim, half laughing.  “What if they see it?!?”

The trouble is, I know when Amanda is determined, and she was. My protests weren’t going to stop the inevitable. She was going to leave that note, and there wasn’t a thing I was going to be able to do about it except laugh along with her. She found an envelope (our ticket envelope, no less) and wrote out “PLANET EARTH!!!” in big letters with a Sharpie.  Great, but where to leave it? I figured she’d throw it up there, and within two seconds of the band getting on stage we’d never see the likes of it again. Easy.

Oh, Amanda had that figured out already. She was going to tuck it in with the existing set list. Amanda kind of climbed up and halfway laid on the stage so that she was able to work the note in and secure it. She hopped down, and shared a laugh with us(mine was somewhat more of a nervous laugh), we knew we were on our way. To hell, I’m sure.

a harmless suggestion, right?? Photo courtesy of Janet McCabe

I felt the blood drain from my face, and went to my seat. Surely they wouldn’t know, because (thank goodness) they don’t know our handwriting!!

Of course, now that I’ve typed this, it’s not secret.

(GOOD THING THEY DON’T READ THE BLOG, RIGHT?!?)

The band comes out for the show. I’m not really sure if Simon ever saw the addition to the set list, but I won’t lie – I giggled at the thought. No, they didn’t play Planet Earth, but I could swear I saw him look down at the note, and then look down at the two of us (three if you count our friend Suzie!) and narrow his eyes more than once. I immediately mouthed “I didn’t do it!” and pointed at Amanda.

Hey, if you can’t throw your best friend under her own damn bus….

and then White Lines began. Now – I love this song and by then, I felt strongly that we were going to experience “The Spit Zone” more than ever before. I was going to enjoy that guitar solo no matter what (and I did, thanks to Dom), but I was worried. I knew we were in front, and from the amount of smack we’ve given that band and particularly Simon over the years, he could let us have it. Again.  Simon went back for his long drink of water, and came back with a mouthful – the kind of mouthful that was going to drench someone, really. I saw Nick smirking out of the corner of my eye and thought to myself, “Here we go!”  I just looked down and felt the fire-hose worth of water spray onto the back of my head and arm. GAH. I looked up and just laughed because at that point, what else could I do?

I have a feeling we had that coming.

Turnabout is fair play. Until next time, anyway. -R

 

That’s why they’ve done it again. Presales again!

I realized at about 7:45 tonight that I hadn’t blogged for tomorrow, which is funny because tomorrow around 10am, this whole “tour planning” thing starts all over. Presales again.

I have a little story for you, my friends. It’s about the time I went to a show and before leaving the hotel on Sunday morning, I was already plotting for another tour.

Picture the end of a Duran show, the final chord from Rio hanging in the air, confetti still swirling it’s way to the floor of the stage. There’s that moment when you know in your head it’s over, but you take one last longing look at the stage and smile, because damn it – the band is good.

That was me on Saturday night. I had ZERO complaints about the show, other than it being over.  I turned, told Amanda that the vodka and empty barstools weren’t waiting, and made a run for the door (true story).  Typically, I hate that bittersweet feeling I get when my final show is over, because of course it’s a let down, and the night seems to drag on after that. I wasn’t about to let that happen this time, because as far as I knew, it was my last show for this year. I wanted to savor time with friends and, well – not think about tomorrow.

I hightailed it to the Waters Cafe bar in the hotel, and found our other friend who kindly saved us seats. It wasn’t long before most other fans I knew trickled in, and before I had even finished my first drink, a friend of ours (Amanda’s and mine) wandered over with an interesting bit of news.  Someone she knew had commented on one of her posts about a show. She even named a venue. In July?? WHAT?

All of us sat staring at one another. Was it possible? The band was coming back to California? Again?? SERIOUSLY? It was the kind of thing you had to just tuck away in the back of your mind for later and hope for the best.  As the night wore on, we heard this rumor swirling around some more, and the next morning I woke up to what seemed like a very alert Amanda.

“HOLY SHIT!” (Amanda has a mouth like a truck driver when not in front of her class, apparently.)

I sat up straight. I’m not gonna lie, it had been a long night, we had drank (and closed up) every bar in the hotel. I wasn’t ready for the morning ahead.  I didn’t know whether to start packing, or duck and cover.

“What?!?” I could feel my heart pounding. In my head.

“Those motherfuckers just announced more dates, Rhonda. What we heard last night was true!”  Amanda started reciting the information straight from the email. I could barely follow along and desperately needed caffeine. And Advil (Ibuprofen for those of you not from America. It is my friend.)

As always, I immediately began cursing and planning, almost simultaneously. Then, as is typical, the negative thoughts began swirling around. I had no money for a presale, much less a presale that was going to start in….48 HOURS??  Presales again?

This band. Let me count the ways in which they make me want to run screaming at times, and let’s not confuse this with the fan girling we discussed yesterday. Very, VERY different, indeed.

First off, why back in the US? Money. Of course it is money. And demand. And promoters and bookers. It is the business, and it is what drives the band. Yes, I’m aware they’ve played here a lot this year. I’m also aware that the rest of the world has had very little. I don’t work for Duran Duran, and I don’t know what to tell the rest of you. Don’t confuse my excitement with a lack of empathy for everyone else, though. It does seem thoroughly unfair, but this business is not fair.

Second, why summer? Why San Francisco and Oakland and Canada??  Who knooooooooooowwwwssss.  Surely not I.  But the presales again?

SERIOUSLY, PEOPLE. GET IT TOGETHER.

DDHQ – I’m looking at you.  If there was one thing you all could do to improve the relationship with all of us – the fans – it would be to figure the touring thing out. I just don’t believe that it is necessary to push fans to the brink every single time a tour announcement is made. I just don’t. The worst part of it is, no matter how I feel about it, we’ll still buy the tickets. And that’s why you keep doing it. 48 hours is not a lot of time to figure out how, when and where.  Joyful and thankful as I really am to have more shows to attend, I’m also keenly aware of the stress this kind of thing adds to everyday life.

Our ride home on Sunday was spent figuring it all out. I also spent a little time digesting Saturday night, both before and after the show. A lot goes down in a weekend when you’re at Duran shows, you know?  Crazy stuff. (there’s that word again!)  I also needed to reconnect with Amanda. The weekend had gone by very fast, and to be painfully honest, the past year has been rather tough on our friendship. We needed more time, and now it looks like we’ll get some in July. We need it.

So now I’m home, and like many, I become a silent observer to the rest of the shows.  Well, not quite that silent, but I think you get the point.  We’ll do the presales again tomorrow (today as you read this) and then wait for July to arrive. In the meantime, real life takes over.

-R

 

The fun begins TONIGHT: Daily Duranie goes to Agua Caliente!

I can barely stand it. I actually am expected to go to work and DO things, all day…be a mom, make dinner, chauffeur a small child to and from her own choir practice, and then go pick up Amanda tonight from the airport.

As an aside, I have to tell you, this whole “working” thing all day before collecting my best friend at the airport and having a weekend filled with activities that could likely land us both on the shuttle bus to hell someday? (I’ll save you a seat, Amanda!) FOR THE BIRDS.

What I really need is rest.  Don’t we all?  The trouble, of course, is that even if I had the time to rest up, I’m so excited I can’t! As I teach I’m thinking about what to pack. When I grocery shop, I throw a box of cocktail stirrers into the cart. As I’m driving to go to work, I’m thinking about how long it will take us to get to Rancho Mirage. AND…when I’m listening to Duran Duran, I’m wondering why I haven’t seen any tweets from any band members yet, or what songs they plan to do this weekend, or….whether or not the audience will be showered with confetti.

So, have pity for my boss, and my students today. While I’m not a teacher, I am the office lady/campus supervisor/nurse/surrogate mom. I love those kids and would easily lay down my own life to protect any one of them, but secretly (well, not-so-secretly now!) today I’m wondering if we couldn’t just skip the whole “school” thing and go right on to the weekend! That seems reasonable to me!

The next time you hear from me, it will likely be on social media.  There may or may not be alcohol involved. The band will DEFINITELY be involved, even if not in person at the time!  I cannot promise video blogging, but you never know.  Stay tuned!

-R

Four Days to go till Rancho Mirage!

In between sneezes, I am attempting to blog about Rancho Mirage. I think Spring has arrived in California. The outdoor thermometer is forecast to hit 85 degrees (Fahrenheit). Daylight Saving Time means that it is still dark at 6am. Lastly, my allergies indicate that yes, pollen is indeed in the air. Yay.

The good news is that it’s Monday. Not that I’m a fan of Mondays, but in this case, I only have four days until Thursday. This is important because Amanda arrives on Thursday, and that is when the fun begins! Rancho Mirage, here we come!

My weekend was spent doing the necessary prep work for this trip. Waxing, tweezing, coloring, exfoliating….you get the idea. These things take time! I picked out my wardrobe for the weekend, and today I need to take the time to figure out who needs to go where and when while I am gone. It is a crazy time of year for me to be taking off for a weekend, but I’m doing it anyway.  I spent some time trading messages with Amanda and our roomies for the weekend, too, as we made plans for stocking our own personal in-room bar, and deciding how to spend the daylight hours (likely near the bar at the pool).  I also downloaded Snapchat, figuring that since Amanda and I would be together this weekend, it might be fun to upload photos there (find us as dailyduranie). I can’t even imagine what might be posted by the end of the weekend!

It would appear that all that is left to do is to get through the week ahead. #Duranlive time came upon us so fast, as it usually does, I almost want time to slow down a bit now so that I make sure to enjoy myself. So often I get so focused on the driving from show to show and all of the extraneous stuff needing to happen so that we can get from place to place, I’ll forget to relax and have fun. This time, I really have no excuse. I want to slow down, take a deep breath and savor the time. This really isn’t just about seeing the band, it’s about seeing friends. Sure, I’m looking forward to seeing the band. I have a special place in my heart for John, Simon, Nick and Roger….and of course Dom, Anna and Simon W, too.  It’s just that I will spend about 4 hours (give or take) seeing them over the course of the weekend. The rest of the time is for friends.

Time will tell for sure, but I think my outlook for weekends like this has changed quite a bit since that first show in Chicago with Amanda back in 2005. I can remember how excited I was to see Duran Duran take the stage. We were in third row, pretty much right in front of John. I can remember when they all came out to the front of the stage, as we heard the loud heart beat begin a rhythm that continued throughout the show. I shook so badly and felt so incredulous that they were really right there in front of me as I stood in third row, I couldn’t even hold my camera straight. Having the band in front of me doesn’t give me quite the same sort of shock it once did (although the excitement is still there!). I can remember the two of us conspiring and planning to find the band. We were positively giddy, and stood outside of the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee just so we could get a glimpse of them leaving. Then raced back to our car so that we could follow them. (Yes, we were those fans and no, I don’t think we caught up to them on the highway…but we tried.) Ridiculous? Absolutely. We laughed the entire way back to Chicago.

Now, I’m not saying that I wouldn’t want to see them after the show, but I am saying that I think our days of driving at crazy speeds from Milwaukee back to Chicago might be done. I like living, first of all. Secondly? I’m weird. The last thing I want is for those guys to think I’ve been hanging out somewhere waiting for them all night. Well, unless I’ve been waiting in a GA line for their show. That’s different!  I’ve run into one or two of them (never all of them at one time, and some of them I’ve never run into at all) now to decide that the whole scene makes me feel weird, which is why unless they’re staying where I’m staying and it’s serendipitous, I doubt I’m gonna be seeing much of them. While at one point I might have been disappointed, this time, I’m really fine. Yep, I used to obsess about where they might be, and in hindsight, I think I ruined plenty of my own trips that way. Their job is to play a show, and my job is to have fun. Done.

That is of course, assuming I can get my work done by Friday so that I can leave this house and head to Rancho Mirage guilt-free, which cannot happen if I don’t get started, so off I go!

-R

 

With you my friend: International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day.  Coincidentally, I’m at home today, and my youngest is sick – I think she’s got the flu. I am not planning to go on strike (I’m a mom and that just doesn’t really work), but I had planned to casually work in a little reading about some prominent female historical figures today. She’s sick though (and still sleeping!), so that will have to wait.  Meanwhile, the blog awaits…

So, here I am, eight days away from picking Amanda up at LAX, and, like before every other trip or weekend away I’ve taken, I’m beginning to worry that I shouldn’t go. Now, of course, I *am* going – so Amanda doesn’t need to be concerned about that, but I put myself through this torture every single time. I’ve been planning this weekend for a while now, and I carefully set the time aside, saying to myself that I wouldn’t let a single thing get in the way. I should have just started laughing as I thought that to myself, because inevitably, something does. In this case, it’s a few things – and now I have to leave those things to my husband while I go off and have fun.  (Truth: I will have fun.  Untruth he seems to assume: I won’t think about my family the entire time.) I’m already worried about missing a couple of things and I haven’t even left yet. Sometimes I really wonder why I plan these trips because of the amount of worrying I do before I go.

I’ve been majorly stressed out lately. Things are really crazy at work, and things are even more so here at home. My oldest is going through serious heartbreak, my son is waiting for college admissions decisions, my youngest is getting ready for Certificate of Merit testing for piano, amongst quite a few other things. As much as I worry about going, I know that I very much need to go, and this is really normal for me. Just ask Amanda.

Speaking of Amanda, I’ve gotten so caught up in work and stuff going on around here that I haven’t even really thought about the things I need to do to get ready for the weekend.  I don’t even think Amanda and I have really talked much about the trip at all, which is crazy! Normally by now we’ve carefully planned each minute of each day, and this time, I feel like we’re both just gonna show up and let the weekend unfold however it does. In a lot of ways, as much as it’s really different from what we’ve done in the past, where we’ve obsessed over most details, maybe we both need a little spontaneity.    The last six months have been so strange. I went from talking to Amanda nearly every week to talking with her only a few times since August. I don’t check-in nearly as much, although from time to time we still trade texts. Sometimes, I only know what is going on with her from what she writes here on the blog! I feel like I’ve been caught up in a vortex: homeschooling, working, eating, sleeping, cleaning house and repeat, without a lot of anything else.  On one hand, it has actually helped my blogging, because I don’t take it all so seriously.  I write what I want to write and I don’t think about much else.  On the other, I have no idea of what is going on outside of the little bits and pieces I catch in between what’s going on here with me.  I’m looking forward to a weekend where I don’t need to think, and I can just sit and gab with friends!

In 2005, I flew to Chicago on the 17th of March. I landed at O’Hare around 9 or 10pm, I think, and then took a shuttle to what was then the Doubletree near O’Hare. We called it the “Duranie-dorm” because it was the hotel that had a group rate for Duran Duran fans coming in for their show the following night at what was then called the All-State Arena. I walked in to the lobby and fell into a chorus of hugs and laughter from women that I had previously met in September at the Duran Duran Fan convention in New Orleans. I had never felt so welcomed in my life, and I mean that. I can remember standing there fighting back tears (I rarely cry), because I hadn’t felt that kind of acceptance, friendship or love in a long time. It was St. Patrick’s Day, and while I didn’t really think much about celebrating that night – I stayed up and practically reached for the Sunrise with this group of friends. Amanda was in that group of women that night, and we’ve stayed friends ever since.

I am so lucky.

Twelve years later, and this time, Amanda and I will be arriving at the Agua Caliente resort, ready to see Duran Duran on stage and mingle with friends. There will not be the same group of women waiting for us. Many, if not all of those women, have since moved on. While I think our exuberance for the band isn’t exactly the same now (for example, I’m probably not going to be sporting those same light-up horns I wore in Chicago and Milwaukee at the show in Rancho Mirage), our love for this band and their music is pretty damn strong.   Through thick and thin, we’ve managed to be Duran Duran fans, remain great friends, and even write a blog for six years. You want to talk about the strength of women today? How about that??

So, on this International Women’s Day – I am going to think about my friendships with other women, and how together we really are stronger. Yeah, sometimes the road to get to where I need to be is tough. However, I know that I need my friends, now more than ever, and I’m looking forward to revitalizing that bond….and how better than a weekend with Duran Duran??

-R

It’s about the money, honey! Those darn ticket prices

Lately, the blog has been void of truly controversial topics.  I have stuck to basics, like commemorating days in history and that sort of thing. The writing has been easy, and I’ve enjoyed not having my inbox/comments flooded with inflammatory and argumentative replies. I don’t miss that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, nor do I miss being called out by people on Twitter who really know nothing about me.

However, sometimes, no matter how incendiary a topic might be, it is worthy of some discussion. Amanda and I never used to shy away from the tough topics, and I don’t want to start that now just because of my own comfort zone.  Over the past few days, I noticed a friend comment about the ticket prices for Duran shows. I replied, commiserating over the cost.

On this same thread, another Duranie commented that he didn’t feel the band cared how we felt about their prices. First of all, let’s be clear: I am not all that sure that the band even knows what they charge for concert tickets. As Simon has said many times, they don’t really get involved on the business side – after all, that is why they hire management, right? Second, I would agree that they probably don’t care. I think the band comes out on stage, sees that most of the seats are full – if in fact they can even see that well past the first several rows – and they go about their business of playing their set. They aren’t fixated on how much their shows cost, only what they need to do at the time. Third, Simon himself (and I’m sorry to “pick” on Simon, it just so happens he’s the one who I remember making any mention of this subject) has said that when a fan buys a ticket to their show, they are getting a terrific value for their money.  So I think we all know where he stands, and I can’t blame him.

As the thread continued, another Duranie friend chimed in.  She’s seen them quite a bit over the years, and flat-out refuses to spend so much money to see a band that she’s seen so often. She continued by saying that their latest releases have underwhelmed her, and that also plays a part in her decision not to attend shows. I can’t argue with any of that, either. I mean, why pay to see a band that is putting out music you’re not into? Fair enough.

The one question that always seems to come up during these conversations is whether or not the band is really just into it for the money.  Now, before you hit the comment button here – I KNOW WHAT THE BAND HAS SAID. John Taylor has said in more than one Katy Kafe that it is not just about the money for them. I KNOW.  I would simply ask what do any of us think they’d really say in public?? I highly doubt ANY band would openly say they are still working and performing purely for the money. Even if we don’t think they’re ONLY in it for the cash (which for the record I do not), let’s be fair: making money is part of the deal. It’s called business.

Curiously, the answer to that one little question matters to fans. We white knuckle the belief that the band we love really is not about taking us for everything we’ve got and are willing to part with, to see them.  Yet I think most of us know in our heads that money has to enter into it all somewhere.  The question is, where is that line between having a successful career and selling out purely for cash drawn, and why?

Discussion points are continually made that the band isn’t continuing to sell out massively large venues, and that they’re playing Festivals and casinos. No argument there, although I have pointed out in some conversations that this past summer – they definitely came close to selling out at least some of the venues they performed in that while touring with Chic.  I’ll admit, in my own personal opinion, the ticket prices were pretty high (considerably so if you bought VIP, which I did).  While no, they aren’t playing the same size venues this spring [in the US], the ticket prices have not come down that much. I do see other bands besides Duran Duran on occasion, and while I pay the most to see DD (VIP cost having a lot to do with that so to some degree it is my own fault and I own that), I have found that other tickets are still expensive. It’s just not cheap to go to concerts anymore unless you’re willing to sit in the back or on the lawn.

This is not just about priority for fans. The implication that if you really want to see Duran Duran you’ll pay the price and if you’re just a fair-weather fan, you probably won’t and that’s your problem, is distasteful.That belief gives far too much leeway in passing judgment on others. After all, five years ago, I could afford to do whatever show(s) I wanted, and didn’t have to work outside of the home. Now, I can’t, and I work. Things change, and it isn’t just about priorities. There are real fans of the band who have just gotten to the point where they feel as though the ticket prices are too high to see the same basic set list, or to see songs from albums that just have not hit home.

In closing, I’ll throw out one more sub topic to mull over.  In recent weeks, Amanda and I have had conversations about where the band sits in the overall hierarchy of popularity.  The band (DDHQ) markets their success with Paper Gods.  I made the comment to Amanda just this past weekend that if one listened to management, it is easy to believe that things have never been better for the band.  On the other hand, the energy and buzz have certainly changed over the years we’ve written this blog. It is vastly different now, for a variety of reasons. It is difficult to really grasp the true interest level. On one hand, they can sell out the Hollywood Bowl when touring with Chic. On the other hand, they tend to go for the low hanging fruit and play festivals. They have the opportunity to play for huge crowds without the risk of booking massive venues on their own.  They also play a lot of casino shows.  More and more often, I read of long time fans decide to sit out shows and tours, saying that they’ve given enough to the band over the years.  Is it just the people I follow, or is it a growing trend, and why? Is it our age? Our circumstances? The cost? Are we really that worried about whether the band is only in it for the money these days – or is it just reason to complain?

-R

 

 

Musical Offer!

Duran Duran’s social media posted this picture yesterday:

Photo from Duran Duran’s Twitter Account

The tweet that went along with the photo was, “Happy Friday!  Nick and John in the studio in London”  After I saw the photo, I texted Rhonda to ask, “Know why they are in the studio?” as I figured that I missed some statement due to my insane schedule.  Rhonda said that she figured that they were working on the little musical those two are writing.  After all, Nick mentioned their goal to finish a second draft before shows started, which made sense to me.  This got me thinking.  Dangerous, I know.  Here’s the conclusion I came up with…  (Just a heads up…what you are about to read is supposed to be funny, a joke.  No hate mail.  Thankyouverymuch.)

Dear Nick and John,

It has come to my attention that you two have been working on a Broadway musical.  In fact, based on the most recent Katy Kafe, which took place in January 2017, the first draft of this musical is done.  You have finished writing it.  Now, you are working on perfecting your ideas by completing a second draft.  Obviously, your fans are thrilled to hear of the progress of this exciting project.  More than that, we are all anxious to be able to see and hear the musical ourselves in person.  Yet, we recognize that the process is lengthy and that there are many steps in between idea to completion.

One of the many steps that needs to be completed is to play the musical for a selected audience in order to receive necessary feedback of a project of this size.  After all, the intention of the musical is to be actually seen and heard by an audience, by people.  You would need to know what people think about it, right?  

Therefore, I am writing to you to offer Rhonda and myself as your guinea pigs, so to speak.  We are putting ourselves out there as a potential focus group.  You can then plan to play your musical for us and we would be pleased to provide some feedback, offering both much praise (we are sure!) and any potential suggestions for changes, adjustments, etc.  

The perfect time for this feedback session to happen would be in March, specifically surrounding the weekend of the shows at Agua Caliente in Rancho Mirage, California as we will all be in the same place at the same time.  In fact, my flight will arrive in Los Angeles late on Thursday, March 16th.  We could then schedule a listening session for that Friday, March 17th before the show.  We would be available all day for such purposes.  Of course, during the day on Saturday and Sunday would work as well since my return flight does not take place until Monday morning.  

In conclusion, both Rhonda and I myself wish you the best of luck in completing that second draft and hope that you will consider our offer to listen and give necessary feedback in order to reach your end goal with the musical successfully.  You can reach us here through our social media as well as through our email.   We look forward to hearing from you.  

Sincerely,
Amanda and Rhonda

If you are still reading, hopefully you understand that we don’t really expect this letter to be read or responded to (although we would be open if we did get a response!).  I wrote it just for fun.  That said, how cool would it be to get to hear this musical while they are in the process of writing it!?!

-A

Is It March Yet???

I slept in this morning as I often do on Saturday mornings, hoping to recover from a very long week.  As I grabbed some breakfast, I glanced at my super long to do list that includes some cleaning, paying bills, grading some paragraphs, and more.  Instead of getting started right away, I opted to ignore the list.  I decided to go online to look for a plane ticket.  Where might I be going?  Simple!  I have a couple of Duran shows to go to next month!

That’s right.  Rhonda and I will be attending the two shows at the Agua Caliente casino and resort in California, during the weekend of March 17th.  I, for one, am very much looking forward to these shows for two reasons.  First, we have seen Duran perform there before in October 2015.  I loved the venue.  It is small, has good sound, and no barricade up front.  I cannot imagine that there is a bad seat in the house frankly!  Second, these shows will take exactly 12 years after the first shows Rhonda and I saw together.

That’s right.  Rhonda and I went to our very first show together in March of 2005.  We went to Chicago to see them play at that the All-State Arena, north of the city.  It amuses me that we will get to see another show on the very same day.  I think back to that show in 2005.  My childhood fandom had been reawakened and I could not get enough.  I remember the day before the show.  My colleagues practically pushed me out the door since they were so sick of me talking about nothing but Duran.  Since that show, I don’t talk about Duran as much at work.  My love has not diminished.  It is more that my fandom  has become just intertwined with everything else that makes up me.  I cannot separate my Duranieness the way I could in 2005.  Now, being a Duranie is part of who I am in such an essential way.

All of that said, it isn’t like my colleagues don’t know about my love for Duran.  Just this week, I participated in a trivia night fundraiser with a couple of colleagues.  When Duran Duran’s Save a Prayer was played in the music category, they were impressed (or frightened) that I could name the song in literally 2 seconds.  Then, my colleagues went on to explain to others at our table about my “dedication” to Duran, including this blog and going to as many shows as I can.  I think the others at the table were a little surprised as I saw a lot of blinking and silence filled the space.  That reaction isn’t new.  I didn’t take that as negative, more like they didn’t know how to respond.  I suspect, though, they were happy with my answer since it helped for our team to win.

Speaking of wins, I got another win when I asked my principal if I could take a couple of days to go to these shows mentioned earlier.  His response, “Sure.”  Nice.  It is nice to be able to move forward with plans.  More than that, having something fun to look forward to is keeping me going.  Now that we have our tickets, our hotel room reserved and I have my plane ticket, I’m ready for the countdown to begin.

What about the rest of you?  Do you have a countdown going for a Duran show or for something else?

-A

New Year’s Day Show and Overall Weekend Review

I returned home last night after a long day of travel from the Washington DC area with Duran Duran and the weekend still on my mind.  Throughout the day, I exchanged text messages with Rhonda about the show and weekend.  I suggested that I provide today’s blog in order to review the New Year’s Day show while it was fresh in my mind.

After I emptied my suitcase and started the laundry, I glanced through social media and came across a post with a review from the show, which you can read here.  What do I think of this review?  Read on, people.

The author begins by going over band members and stating how they seemed excited to be there.  I would agree.  Their energy level was hundred times greater than the previous night.  I’ll give a couple of examples.  John Taylor bounced up and down a TON more during Wild Boys on the 1st versus the 31st and we got Sunrise/New Moon on Monday, which we did not have on the 31st, which I love.  Anyway, unfortunately, then, she goes on to rave about the venue.  The author writes:

“There are so many music venues across the country that were never really designed for concerts. This theatre was designed with concerts in mind and its apparent. Soon, I believe, The Theater at the MGM National Harbor will rank as one of the top concert venues on the East coast. So remember you read it here first!  The modern style theater holds around 3,000 people but still manages to feel intimate, there isn’t a bad seat in the house helped out by two huge screens on either side of the stage.”

As I read that, I scratch my head.  There isn’t a bad seat in the house???  Our last two posts, which you can read here and here, point out that there are seats that literally face walls.  Yes, she is right that there are screens and I am sure that people in the back appreciated them.  That said, some seats had such extreme angles that the only way to really see was to watch a screen.  To me, when I go to a concert venue, I want to watch the actual band.  On top of that, the barricade between the stage and the front row was HUGE, causing all others on the floor to be pushed back.  The flat floor does not help attendees who are short see beyond taller people in front of them.  Needless to say, I was not impressed.  Now, in fairness, the author stated that the last time she saw Duran it was in a muddy field.  This would be better than that.

The rest of the review focuses more on the performance with the standard ‘they haven’t aged at all’ comment.  The author mentions the crowd and describes how they “lit up screaming”.  I cannot disagree with this.  The front center section appeared to be full and what I could tell they were up, off their feet, singing and dancing the entire time.  The crowd felt more like genuine fans.  I cannot help but to think that there is a correlation between the band’s energy level and the crowd.  Better crowd equals more energy and vice versa.  The two feed off of each other.

The author goes on to mention some specific songs, including Planet Earth with the David Bowie tribute, The Reflex and more.  Interestingly enough, she called them “oldies.”  Ouch.  Yes, these songs that she referenced were released decades ago but to call them oldies hurts.  She also compliments Simon’s voice as well as the backing vocals of Erin Stevenson and Anna Ross.  I agree that Simon generally sounded strong and unlike the previous night, I didn’t notice any lyrical goofs.

The rest of the review discussed aspects of the casino itself from the parking to size of the casino and how she liked what she saw.  Overall, I would say that the casino has potential but needs to iron out some details that detracted from the fun.  First, I appreciated how friendly and helpful all of the staff were from coat check staff to cleaning staff and everyone in between.  I liked the layout with the casino in the middle surrounded by restaurants on the outside perimeter.  All that said, last call inside the bars was 1:30 even on New Year’s Eve.  This particularly did not make sense to me as cocktail waitresses inside the casino itself still served beyond that.  Some of the bar staff was super slow to deliver drinks.  Restaurants also closed early, which was a problem when you want to hang out late into the evening and needed food.

I saw lots of people I have seen at previous shows, which was great!  At one point over the weekend, I declared that there should be a Duranie yearbook with people’s names, pictures and a list of shows they attended as it is hard to remember everyone and when/where you met them.  The Lobby Bar, which was an open (no door man monitoring who comes in and out unlike the other bars in the place), bar served as a decent meet up spot for Duranies both before and after the shows.  As always, I saw people there whom I didn’t have a chance to talk with much but wanted to.  Time flies when people are having fun.

That said,  I felt a bit of a disconnect there.  If I had to guess why, it was the hotel situation.  The MGM hotel was far too expensive for the vast majority of us to stay in.  Therefore, we sought out different places within a short distance.  Some stayed there in Oxon Hill, others in Alexandria like myself and Nat, and some in DC proper.  There wasn’t the same running into people during the day like you would find at a typical casino show.  During the day, everyone scattered to do different activities only to meet up very briefly before or after.  On top of that, the early closings of bars and restaurants did not make it easy to stay late and hang out.  When I go to a casino show, I want to be able to hang out all night long.

Overall, I still feel as though I made the right decision to go.  I loved being able to finish off a year with a Duran show and starting a new one the same way.  One thing that Simon said at the New Year’s Day show that stuck with me was this theory that whatever you were doing on New Year’s Day is how your year will go.  I would love for that to be the case.  My year would be a great one if it was filled with Duranies, Duran music, and fun.  I loved seeing many friends there and enjoyed getting to know my friend, Nat, more.  She put up with me, which is always impressive!  Just ask Rhonda!  It also increased my excitement for the next shows in Agua Caliente in California in March.  With a little over 10 weeks until that trip, I know that I’ll be ready to go!

-A