Tag Archives: Agua Caliente

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

Rhonda’s Merry Christmas Wish List

This is my last blogging day before Christmas. It is amazing how quickly I filled up my “work-free” week with, well, WORK. It is the unpaid kind, and while I enjoy blogging, that isn’t the kind of work I’m talking about. It’s the shopping, wrapping, baking, cleaning and cooking variety that has worked very hard to make sure my lower back is in quite a bit of pain just before Christmas, and I am sure I’m not alone.

So before I make a mad dash to try to contain the mess in my house before my sister arrives late tonight from Chicago, I thought I’d settle in and post some good wishes.

This year, I barely got my family Christmas cards out before the holiday. I think that’s a side-effect from working, college applications  (which are finally done!) and teaching at home. There are plenty of my friends who appear to have it all together and got their cards out with time to spare. Me, on the other hand, well…I’m learning. Maybe next year will be better! In any case, I want to say a very Merry Christmas to all of you. It has been a wild year for me and my family, and while we’ve had good cheer, there has been a fair amount of heart ache and loss. My wish for Christmas is time for peace, love and reflection, for all.

I feel very fortunate to be able to write most days. The latter part of this year has been about finding the enjoyment again in doing so. When I first started working, I couldn’t find the time to write. What I’ve begun to realize is that once I started enjoying it again, finding the time was easy. Hmm. Must be something to that, somewhere. The same holds true for being a fan (for me). I am thoroughly enjoying being a fan again. It is one of many things I love, and I’m thankful. My wish here is just for more of the same. I would like to keep writing and enjoying. I don’t have big dreams for the blog or my writing—I just like doing it.

I learned this year that it really doesn’t matter if fellow fans like what I write, or if the band likes it, or even if a publisher likes it. I write for me. It took me a long time to get back to this space and my wish is to stay here and enjoy the moments as they arrive.

Naturally, I can’t forget the band. We’re really and truly talking about their fortieth anniversary coming up. That blows my mind. We’re all “those” fans who have stuck with the band forever with no sign of stopping. I remember going to see the Beach Boys about ten or even fifteen years ago with my husband—laugh if you must, but my parents loved them, so they’re a sentimental favorite. Anyway, we saw a couple of elderly fans being wheeled in and even a couple with oxygen tanks in tow. Walt turned to me and said, “Maybe that’s going to be you someday!” I was not amused. I felt like I would give up the live show before then. I’m not quite elderly, but I hope to never give up the music. Simon says that it can’t go on forever (live shows). I say we should give it a good try.  😀 I can’t imagine the day when this kind of fun just stops.

When I was young, I wished for a lot of things. I still have that type of wish list, but I find that the older I get – the more I wish for the things that just can’t be wrapped. Time with family and friends, peace and quiet, loud concerts, drinks at a bar with people I rarely see…those are the moments I long for.  Additionally, I am thinking about college acceptances for my son, time with my youngest curled up beside me on the couch as we read together, mother/daughter time with my oldest, and a place to retire with my husband with plenty of space where I never have to hear a phone ring (from someone else’s house – yep, I live in Southern California where I can hear my neighbors!) or hear a garbage truck pass.  I think about the simple enjoyment from writing a good blog post, putting on fan get togethers, and yeah—a smile or shared laugh from the stage to cap it all off.

This year’s wish list for me is simple, yet tough to pull off. Much of it, I am going to have to work to make happen on my own. Some of it just requires telling the people I care about how I feel.  So, Merry Christmas to all of you. I’ve met many of you over the years. My memory is poor when it comes to matching names to faces, but my heart is full. I am lucky. I met a lot of wonderful people this past year, especially. I want to thank all of you and tell you that yes, you matter. Every time someone says that they enjoyed the blog or love what Amanda and I do, it means something. I get embarrassed when people say that to us—my red face is a dead give-away, I’m afraid—but I relish it every single time, and I appreciate it.

I hope to see as many of our readers as possible in March at the shows in Palm Springs (It’s really Rancho Mirage at Agua Caliente). Have a fabulous time if you’re headed to Cancun. (oh, to be headed to Cancun….) If you’re going to the shows in DC, I hope you have an amazing time and that you hang out with Amanda. I am looking forward to reading her reports from the road next week. I don’t know how much blogging I will be doing next week, as I have family here from out-of-town, but I will check in and will be back blogging as usual come January 2nd.

Merry Christmas!!!

-R

Time for Temptation: It is Presale Time!

It is that time again.  Agua Caliente Presales!  While this one may not affect most of you, those who are planning to attend the shows in Palm Springs at Agua Caliente in March are beginning the countdown to clicking “buy tickets” later this morning, myself and Amanda included.

You’d think we’d get used to it. The jittery nerves, the lack of sleep, the feeling of nausea deep in the pits of our stomachs….  you would think that would all be old hat by now. I’m willing myself to shake it off, say it’s no big deal and take whatever tickets I can get…but my inner self-talk is saying “OMG what if you aren’t able to pull up any? What if they use…gasp… TICKETMASTER?!?!  What if the only seats you can get are last row? (hasn’t happened since my very first Duran Duran concert at then-existing Universal Amphitheater)”  The words go on and on…

and my jitters take over.

The fact is, the jitters last for a matter of minutes, and then we’re on to the planning, plotting, and anticipatory stage of the pre-concert process. Next to the few moments where I am buzzing like a bee, trying to remain seated when the lights go down and the entrance music begins just before the band takes the stage, I live for pre-planning.  That moment when they walk out, though? It is triumphant, and the feeling is so addictive that I can’t stop myself from the next presale. Hence, here I am today, counting down the minutes until alarm strikes, ever so patiently.

I’m getting ahead of myself though. First, I must manage the presale and buy the tickets. As I’ve mentioned, I’ve told myself that it doesn’t matter where we sit, as long as we’re in the venue. I will continue to keep up that mantra until the confirmation for the ticket sale arrives in my inbox. I’m just thrilled to have the opportunity to do this again, particularly when I didn’t think I would, quite this soon.

As excited as I am, I know many friends who either cannot buy because the Agua Caliente presales are so close to Christmas, or live in parts of the world that the band rarely visits. It does seem unfair. I have to acknowledge that unfairness, even if I cannot do anything about it on my own. I wish I could offer some sort of explanation—the only thing that comes to mind is that the reasons must be purely financial.

I’ll end here with what I tweeted earlier, “May the presale gods be with us all today.”  Good luck everyone!

-R

Just when I thought my credit card was safe!

Back in August at the show in Chula Vista, California, I said my goodbyes. The show was bittersweet, but I knew I was at my final show for a while. I knew I had a busy school year ahead, and had a lot of fun.  I even tweeted Dom, saying I’d see him again in five years with my “special” brand of sarcasm. I came home, got a job and in a lot of ways, ran full-force in the opposite direction of fandom for a while. I figured I wouldn’t be missing much since the band was either taking an extended vacation, or they would be touring other parts of the world.

I know I’m glossing over the part where they announced shows on New Years Eve in DC and just before that in Cancun…shows that I will not be attending (but my partner-in-crime will be!!)…but I am trying to explain just how far from Duran Duran I’ve been lately. Sure, I still write four times a week (and lately I have really been enjoying that again, which is wonderful), but other than that, I’ve kind of gotten immersed in my own life here at home.

So yesterday (Sunday), I was furiously Christmas shopping, hoping to get finished. I felt my phone notify me of tweets throughout the day but truthfully, I ignored them, assuming I’d catch up later.  However, at one point I actually picked up my phone because I needed to text my son, and I saw something about 2017 Duran Duran dates. My first thought was honestly, “So what?!” I knew they’d eventually announce shows, but they’re not here, so who cares!  Then I caught the words “Agua Caliente”.

Me being, well…me, I assumed there must be other Agua Calientes in the world. (It) Could not possibly be the one here in California, right? They were already here. They played. I saw them! We’re done now. It’s time for them to go other places. Yes? So then I saw that a Duranie friend had messaged me about these new 2017 Duran Duran dates and asked if I was going.  I was incredulous. Not only are they coming back here, to California – but they are planning shows in Atlanta, Miami, Dallas and Houston in the same time frame! There I was, in the middle of Kohl’s (a store near my house), wandering among the racks of clothing. It’s quiet in the store.  My response?

Are you freaking KIDDING me, Duran Duran???”  

Here is the thing: on one hand, I’m dumbfounded. Those fuckers surprised me. I did not see this coming, I had no inkling at all that they were even maybe coming back here. Usually, I have some sort of vibe coming in on the radar. Maybe a friend tells me, maybe I get word from someone in the know. I haven’t even been talking to people lately.  As far as I knew, I would be Duran Duran show-less in 2017.  So after the initial shock and re-reading the post on dd.com several times to make sure I wasn’t seeing things, I recognized I had choices to make.

I could just say no. Surely this is the avenue my husband would advise. I could just say I’m done, not go, be responsible and do the right thing. (I think we all know how this is going to go, don’t we? I write Daily Duranie. Just saying.) On the other hand, I’m overjoyed. They are coming back here. To So Cal. I have to go!!  I didn’t say that I’d never see them again, only that I wasn’t going to be doing a lot of traveling to see them. I don’t have to fly. I just have to drive! I’m also going to have to buy these tickets, and that’s going to be expensive. I swore off that sort of thing, didn’t I???

So I type out a quick cheeky tweet in reply to Duran Duran’s date announcement and try to concentrate on shopping, which didn’t work. At. All. Meanwhile, my husband wanders up to find me pacing up and down the aisles aimlessly, staring at my phone.  Never a good sign for him, he asks what’s going on and I tell him.

I swear I saw him take a deep breath….probably because I’ve told him about 40,000 times since that Chula Vista show that I wasn’t going to go to any more shows for a while. (it’s been a while, right??) We were making other plans, trying to figure out how to pay for college, keep food on the table and still make life fun for our eight year old. So yes, I get it his deep breath.  But, it’s Christmas and he needs a gift for me, even though just that very morning I told him not to buy me anything this year.

So yes, I played THAT card. “Consider it your gift to me, my dear.”  I smile sweetly. But….he wants to know how much the tickets are.  My turn to take a deep breath as I tell him that VIP are only $335 total this time. (as opposed to $300 on top of the cost of the ticket, right?!?)

His reply? “EACH?”

We’ll get back to him later.  Like much later.  After I buy tickets. 🙂

In the meantime, Amanda sent me a tweet asking if I had seen her email. Email? Oh yeah. I’d been out all day and never bothered to download it. Go figure. I downloaded the email, clumsily commented back to her that I have choices to make and then started wondering to myself if Amanda would be thinking about coming out for the shows. At this point, I didn’t even know when the band was playing – it took me about five times of reading the post to actually see the dates they were playing Agua Caliente. I am overjoyed to see that they’re playing Friday and Saturday nights, which means I can go to both—and that those dates are the 17th and 18th of March.

Funny thing about those dates: the first night is St. Patrick’s Day – which is the night I flew into Chicago in 2005 for the first show Amanda and I saw together, and the next night is the actual anniversary of our first show. I started wondering if Amanda would even be willing to come out. I can’t imagine going without her, and yet—maybe that’s really what will happen??

In my defense, I know Amanda is going to DC and that those shows are pretty expensive. I also know she’s going back to DC a few weeks later. I hate that my first thought wasn’t about how we were going to plan for her to come here, but the whole scenario was just so weird – it was like a scene from Twilight Zone. So in the car as we’re going home I ask her if she’s considering coming out.  In the meantime she has already sent me an email asking if I’m thinking about including her in my plans…because we’re both slightly stupid, apparently. And it is only then that I start feeling like this is normal again.

It has been less than 24-hours since I found out about the shows, and we’ve already gotten our roommate situation together, booked a room (Listen, when I looked at the hotel there were only five double queen bed non-smoking rooms left and so I jumped on that, and you should too if you’re planning to stay there!) and have a game plan for ticket buying. And I’m still trying to ascertain what exactly is going on with Duran Duran….

I’m going to be brutally honest here: I don’t get it. Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled to have the chance to see the band again. Of course I am! But I’m also perplexed. They’ve been here a few times for this album already. I thought they were going to try to visit Australia and South America (well, I guess they are going there for Lollapalooza), among other places. Why back here again?

Many fans have been saying the same thing, and in a lot less polite of terms, I might add. Fans are angry, and while I don’t especially enjoy being in their crosshairs for being glad the band is coming here again (By the way – we fans in the US don’t have any control over where the band decides to play, and if they’re going to come here, of course we’re going to go. What should we do, not go in protest and insist they play elsewhere? Come on now.), I can understand how they feel.  I empathize. I have my own ideas as to why they are returning, but nothing that I can point to as fact. So I will keep those thoughts to myself for now. I think it is fair to ask the question though, and I certainly don’t blame anyone for being disappointed. I did see that more shows will be added in 2017 though, so I wouldn’t count anywhere out just yet.

And of course, what about Nick?  Everybody wants to know about Mr. Rhodes. Will he play? Is he still with the band? Did something happen? Why is he so willing to be out and about in public if he’s not going to tour with Duran Duran? All questions (and many others) that I’ve seen in posts all over…and naturally I have answers to none of them, and I think it’s safe to say DDHQ and the band isn’t saying much either. Sure, I’m curious too, but I’m still buying tickets to the shows, regardless. I hope he’s there, but I’m prepared to still applaud and cheer even if he’s not.

In the meantime, I see I have a Kafe to watch…so I’m going to go do that with thoughts of upcoming St. Patrick’s Day shows to see in my head. 2017 Duran Duran dates? Who would have thought?!

-R

A few of my best moments of 2015

30th of December, 2015. We’ve got about a day and a half left in this year, give or take depending upon where you are in the world. Speaking for myself, I’m happy to see this one end. I have friends who look at New Years with some sort of wide-eyed optimism for possibilities, and I’m not sure I’m in that camp. I wouldn’t necessarily say that I’m looking for a do-over, but I do kind of think of January as a sort of reboot. It’s a good time to sort of purge the system, clean the slate, and start over. Before I move forward, I like to close out the year with a good look back.

This is always a sort of strange time of year for me because typically either I’m sick (as I am this year), or my kids are sick…or even the husband (I shudder to think). It all adds up to where I almost never leave the house for that week between Christmas and New Years, and it is typically right about now when I’m starting to get cabin fever….which I am.  The idea of going out shopping sounds great in theory, but then I take a deep breath and realize that I shouldn’t be going anywhere just yet. And I’m exhausted just thinking about it…so instead I’ll try to recap some of my better moments of 2015.  Granted, I have to actually try to remember all of last year. My memory seems to stop right at April 1st.

January 2015 Katy Kafe

The first thing that comes to mind is the January 2015 Katy Kafe with John Taylor. It isn’t often that I go back an re-read blogs, particular those that were written nearly a year ago…but in searching for something else, I re-read this one. I can remember writing it with absolutely no idea what Paper Gods, or as I fondly call it, #DD14, would have to offer. I wrote about how excited John seemed. How passionate he came across about the new music…and I clearly recall having a sense of real anticipation for the year ahead.  It was a good, breakthrough moment to start the year, without a doubt.

“It’s like riding a bike, Rhonda – you don’t forget!” – Amanda (while we were trying to buy pre-sale tickets to the David Lynch Foundation show)

I remember the day that Duran Duran announced that they would appear and play at the David Lynch Foundation Gala at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles. To begin with, I nearly choked on my coffee. I just wasn’t expecting that sort of news on that particular day. Then again, I must admit I’m almost never expecting show announcements and they always surprise me! I can remember sending texts to Amanda, full-well knowing she was in class, but I didn’t care. I even sent it with the “bat-code” for CHECK THIS RIGHT NOW.  I also remember how overjoyed I was at the very idea that they were going to be coming to LA after so long. I always joke that getting show announcements feels similar to having been running through the desert and you finally see a drinking fountain or a swimming pool. Naturally, I blogged about the hilarity of the pre-sales being one hour after the band announced the date, which you can re-read here. (It’s even new if you haven’t read it before!)

Hearing a snippet of Pressure Off for the very first time

In all fairness, I can’t seem to remember when this happened. Was it before or after David Lynch?  I’m thinking before. I know they had announced “Pressure Off” being the single by then, but even as I tried to search our archives, I couldn’t find mention of it. Probably because we were on Spring Break at the time. No matter, I remember listening/watching to a horribly distorted snippet of the song that one of the radio DJ’s who attended some sort of party that Warner put on up in Northern California – this was right after it was announced that DD had signed with Warner for this album. I must have watched that snippet (and searched for other longer versions) 50,000 times. I can remember listening quizzically – as though that single 30 second “snapshot” was going to give me all of the answers I was seeking about #DD14.  The one thing I do remember feeling though, was hope. I liked the tiny bit I’d heard.

I know that not long after that snippet made its way through the internet, Roger commented in a Katy Kafe that he really didn’t like that it had been posted because the production couldn’t really be heard. Gotta tell you, Roger – with all due respect – it didn’t matter.  Here’s the thing: and I’m speaking purely from the point of view as a fan – when fans find things like that online – just tiny little slices of new music and so forth, it’s really not about getting a full taste of the production quality. It’s about just hearing the tune, so to speak. I don’t think anyone truly watched that video with the idea that they’d judge the whole album by what was seen. It was more about satisfying the urge. Imagine being thirsty – I mean REALLY thirsty. You don’t sit down and think about what you want to drink. You just need some water, and you guzzle it. Quickly.  And then you refill the glass.

The David Lynch Foundation Gala

We were expecting one song but ended up with three, and had a fantastic time with friends both old and new.  One of the best nights I’d had in a very long time, and of course we tweeted, blogged, and Instagrammed our way through.  Plenty of people chuckled at the idea that Amanda would travel all the way to California for a single song, and I say to them that they just don’t get it. The band was a great backdrop, and sure – they were definitely a motivating factor, but it still comes down to friendship. Amanda and I hadn’t seen one another since the previous summer, and it was time.  There are also those photos with John, Dom & Simon, too.  Of course then we wondered just how much longer it would be before we’d see them again.

Pre-Sales (for the US shows in the Fall)

Yes, I know…pre-sales are both the joy and stress of being a fan. That said, there was something that felt very good about getting online, blood surging through my clogged arteries as I had Amanda on speaker phone that morning in May, both of us working to get the best tickets possible for the shows coming up in October. It felt good. It felt right…and despite that moment when she couldn’t get the darn website to take her credit card expiration date…we survived….and to think we hadn’t even heard the entire album yet.

Listening to Paper Gods

It felt so good to finally have the album in my hand. I relished in taking the time to really look at the icons and the artwork. I read over the liner notes, and then played the album itself non-stop for weeks (from start to finish each time, thank you!). After three years, many of the songs being released early, it finally felt like we’d made it. I remember the exact moment I finally “got” the album – not just hearing it but actually GETTING it. I called Amanda, triumphantly acknowledging that the album wasn’t just about the BAND….it was about fans as well. The album, as a whole (not counting the bonus songs) very much listens as a musical journey throughout the band’s career. There’s a reason why Simon suggests we listen to the album as a whole, all the way through, at least once.  Pure, unadulterated joy…and profound respect are feelings I can easily assign to Paper Gods.

The US Fall tour

Rather than just pick one show – I’m choosing to just say all of them. After three years, seeing the band was one of the best parts of this entire year.  From standing there in second row center at the Hollywood Bowl to leaning my elbows on the stage at Agua Caliente – I don’t think I will ever be able to top those moments as a music lover. What more could I really ever ask for?  I’m really not sure. I just know that the band exceeded my expectations, and whatever I enjoy from here on out is bonus.

 

There were so many other little moments I could have mentioned, but these were the big Duran Duran moments for me this year.  I also want to make mention that while I didn’t include the moment I read that all of the band members were fine and safe after the Paris terrorist attacks – on a very personal level, I don’t think I’ve ever been so thankful. It didn’t seem right to include that in this list, nor did it seem right to include my pride in their decision to donate the their proceeds from EODM’s version of Save a Prayer to charity, but they are not forgotten. I will never forget that so many music lovers, like myself, did not come home from the simple act of going to a concert.

-R

I’ll hold on to the memories

Funny thing while writing this post earlier…I had just finished this 800-word blog and saw that I needed to delete one single word. I navigated to the word, hit “delete”, and the cursor moved, deleting each letter. Then it kept going. No matter what key I hit or how much I screamed (because you know that I was), the cursor kept going. 700 words later, I finally got it to stop. Well, that’s lovely.

I really don’t know what I hit, but it was user-error of epic proportion. So, I did what any human on a time-constraint might. I said several four-letter words, and slammed my laptop shut. So here I am, back for round two!!


Real life has been “challenging” as of late for me.  As those tests mixed with a few frustrations surrounding getting tickets for shows, I’ve found myself starting to think more and more about selling the tickets I had (or asking Amanda to sell them) and just not doing any shows next year.  Too expensive, too stressful, too unfair, and real-life problems are not sorting themselves out fast enough for me. So off and on I’ve considered that perhaps it is time for me to sit this one out.

This thought was in my head quite a bit over the weekend and truthfully I’m still not sure what I need to do. I am hoping that by not doing anything right now and just letting it all sort of “stew” during the winter holidays, perhaps after the first of the year the right answers will come. Like anything, it’s complicated.

As these thoughts were floating around in my head, I went about my business until I came across a quote posted on Anna Ross’ FB page.

12369235_1240463495967310_6818379035438028618_n

I stopped and read the quote, and then really thought about it. Oddly, I haven’t been listening to a lot of music lately.  Even when driving back and forth to take my kids to school – I’ve kept the radio off and driven in silence. (I needed peace) Even so, the quote hits home with me. It isn’t just about hearing the music, although sometimes the music is great. It’s the memories.

No matter how many times I’ve heard some songs live – new memories seem to be made each time.  One example I can give, and I tend to hesitate greatly with this one, is “Hungry Like the Wolf” (cue groaning). I was so sick of hearing that one live…until the All You Need is Now tour when Dom and John started coming to the front of stage to taunt…..err “play”…..part of it. I almost look forward to it in the set list now! “Save a Prayer” is another good example. I have seen it played many times and while I’ve always liked it, my memories of the song were mainly hearing Simon ask us to light up our mobile phones, that is, until the last time I saw it played at Agua Caliente. When I think about the song now, I think of driving all the way to Berkeley, back to Palm Springs, and then to my house. 1000 miles gives you a lot of time to think, rethink and overthink the simplest of things.  I remember Amanda reading me texts from friends while I was driving late at night, or walking to dinner and navigating uneven sidewalks in Berkeley while reading and answering email. “Wild Boys” takes me to the morning after the Agua Caliente show when  I drove like a crazy person from Palm Springs to LAX in order for Amanda to make her flight. It rained most of the way – which is pretty unheard of during October in So Cal – and that didn’t help me make-up time. “Pressure Off” makes me think of a party, complete with confetti cannons – which is a perfect description of the last tour in many respects.  I can’t really even think of “White Lines” without laughing at the memory of me ducking down behind a friend as Simon did his infamous water trick.  Farther back in my mind, I think of listening to John’s “Fields of Eden” as Amanda and I traveled in the UK by train, and “Secret Oktober” will forever remind me of being in Brighton – making it to that first UK show ever for me – and having the band break that one out.

The music would not be the same without the memories of people, places and things attached. The thoughts of those people, the places I’ve gone to see them, and the things I’ve done with them make me smile, even through some of the more painful portions of life.

I might not have all of the answers, but when I think about all of the fantastic memories I have from over the years I’ve seen Duran Duran – and all of the people I count as friends as a result, I don’t know how I could even think of missing shows next year. We will see.

-R

I Don’t Want to Wake Up

Has it really already been a week since I’ve been back home from this Duran Duran tour?!? I don’t even know where the time went. On one hand I feel as though I got back into the swing of things very quickly and feels very much as though I never left. On the other, I can’t believe a week has already gone by.

In many ways I let Amanda take the helm in describing the tour and how the shows were for us – she and I are typically on the same page when it comes to those things, and I knew she would convey exactly how I felt. On the other, I summed up my feelings about that 3-show “tour” with one tweet almost immediately after I walked out of the theatre at Agua Caliente.

“I may as well I may as well stop touring right now because I will never have a better show experience than tonight. Wow.”

I’ve said it before but it bears repeating here again that Amanda and I purchase our own tickets to the shows. We don’t ask the band for tickets.  I had a few people insinuate or flat-out ask, and while it’s a lovely thought that some people believe we matter, I think Amanda and I are well-aware that to 99.99% of the people involved with the band, we’re just a couple of fans who write a silly blog. We get it, and we don’t overstate or over-think our importance. In any case, that night at Agua Caliente, Amanda and I were in for a huge treat. We knew we had front row, but aside from that – we didn’t know much else. Neither of us had been to the venue and we were honestly more concerned with where our seats would be (meaning would we be in front of Simon, John, Nick, or Dom) than where the seats were in regards to the stage.

 As we walked down to our seats at Agua Caliente, we counted the chairs from the aisle and discovered we were right in front of Simon. I mean RIGHT in front. Then we realized there were no barricades between us and the stage. Finally, we quietly marveled that during the show, we could seriously lean our elbows ON the stage. I couldn’t believe it, and to be honest, I still can’t. As show time grew closer, our friends Krista and Sandy took their seats right next to us, and I knew before the band even took the stage that it was going to be the show experience of a lifetime.

It very much was – including being in the “spit zone” (Thank you Krista for taking the brunt of it…willingly…as I ducked behind you.  Yes, I did see you chuckling at our antics, Nicholas. I’m going to continue pretending that Simon did NOT veer ever so slightly in the direction of Amanda and I…We sort of had it coming though, didn’t we?)  There were so many moments during that show for me. Seeing Nick smile during Hungry Like the Wolf (I was a very good sport, thankyouverymuch…epitome of a well-behaved fan!!), watching Simon walking to the front of the stage like a man on a mission with a mouth-full of water as I thought to myself, “Oh boy…here we go…DUCK!”, having John and Dom flank either side of Amanda and I during Planet Earth, watching Roger twirl his drumstick during Sunrise…having Dom come over directly in front of me to play several times throughout the show, and shaking some of their hands at the end of the set.

Can I take a minute to write about the end of their set?? After the finale, they walked to the front of the stage as they typically do to say goodbye. I’m right there, basically becoming good friends with their feet, and examining their shoes and socks. (Nice striped socks, Dom…liked them with the leather pants!) I wish I could properly explain how I felt in that moment, but the words don’t really match the feeling. It was as though electricity was running through my body. I mean, I was inches from these men that I have adored since I was ten years old. I turn 45 next month. That’s a very, very long time. It was as though I couldn’t quite believe what my eyes and ears were telling me as I stood there, frozen to the floor. I didn’t even reach up to shake hands with them, because I couldn’t. I just smiled at them, tried to clap, mostly just stood there in shock (and awe!).

Nick stood in front of me for what felt like a long time, but I couldn’t even move my hand to shake his. It wasn’t out of disrespect, just the opposite really. I meant it when I said that my head couldn’t quite make sense of it at the time. I’m still not sure if I can. I did notice a faint, very quick glimmer of, well…what…recognition maybe??…in their faces as they would smile down at us and make eye contact. I couldn’t even let myself think about that at the time. I had difficulty just getting past the notion that I was standing there right directly in front of them. Yes, I’ve been writing this blog for five years now, and yes, I suppose that by a lot of accounts, I’ve had far more “experiences” with the band than many fans out there. However, I’ve never been right in front of them like this. Not in this way. It felt incredibly surreal. Daily Duranie or not, no matter how many readers we have, or the size of our real audience, or our post-reach on Facebook – I am still a fan. That’s exactly how I felt that night. I am still a fan like anyone else. I needed that.

Do you know what I was thinking about in that moment as they were all standing at the front of the stage?  I was remembering how I would sit on the edge of my bed, in my “Summertime Green” painted bedroom (Nasty, horrid bright green color, with orange carpeting no less.). I would stare at the biggest poster of them I had, which happened to be on my door, and wonder what it would be like to be right in front of them. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d write about them someday, or be in the front row at one of their shows (much less two or three), or actually KNOW what it felt like to be in front of them. Never.  How do you soak up the answers to 35-years worth of daydreams in less than two hours?

As they were leaving, Dom reached down and grabbed my hand and it was only in that second I kind of came back into present long enough to realize that he had my hand – only for a split second – but again, I’m trying to describe how I felt at the time. I’m pretty sure I shook Roger’s hand too, but I can’t remember now.

I don’t think I will ever have a show quite like that again. That thought both exhilarates me and makes me wistful all at once. I know what it’s like to be center “elbows on the stage” front row. I’m incredibly thankful I had the opportunity to experience those feelings. Even if my time never comes again – which likely not – I won’t let the memory slip my mind. I really can’t see what could possibly top those seats, and so when I jokingly yelled out, “I QUIT!!” after the last of the hand squeezes from the band took place and they all left the stage area, it was with the thought that I’d reached the pinnacle of what a fan could really experience.  There isn’t much more to “want”, aside from more of the same, maybe.

Almost oddly, I sit here today typing this thinking to myself that it’s a good thing that Amanda and I have had the chance to do so much, at least from the standpoint of writing and understanding ourselves as fans. I’ve sat in the very LAST row at a show (my very first one), and now I’ve sat in the very front row. I’ve been to the UK, seen Birmingham, walked Cheapside (If you do not know what Cheapside is, we need to talk. Seriously…email me!), had Simon stand directly in front of me, eye-to-eye and explain why the shows cannot go on as planned. I’ve lived through Twitter, Facebook, and message boards. I have had canceled gigs, various guitarists, and favorite band members leaving only to return 20-some years later. I have watched MTV, read magazines like Star Hits and Tiger Beat, as well as rely on getting news solely from the radio and other fans. I’ve completely missed tours, been disappointed with albums, and overjoyed by others. I don’t know if I’ve done it ALL (actually, I know for sure that I have not…), but I know that I’ve experienced a lot, and those adventures, moments, and nuggets of knowledge come in very handy when you’re writing a fan blog.

I know what it is like to be a fan, and I continue to walk the fine line between writing about it, running a blog, and experiencing it as anyone else might. Amanda and I always say we know what fans want because we ARE fans…and that’s the truth. I only hope we continue to cover the things that matter with the same amount of love, affection and excitement as we do right in this moment. I’m looking forward to planning the next set of Duran Duran tour dates, meet-ups, parties, and hopefully a reasonable road trip as we witness the upcoming UK dates from afar.

-R

CA Paper Gods Tour by the Numbers!

Traditions.  It is a word that often makes people think of awkward or silly family habits surrounding holidays.  For some, the word might equal boring, stuck-in-the-mud, unafraid of change.  The word doesn’t always have fun connotations.  Yet, for us, traditions do because they are all about touring traditions!!  What are some of those tour traditions?  We bet you can guess some without even thinking too hard…Yes, one of them is about drinking all of the vodka in the city.  Another is reaching up for the sunrise!  Many of our traditions have been around for 10 years, since the spring 2005 Astronaut trip.  Others have been created VERY recently.  You all will get the good fortune of seeing one of the traditions here.  Although, we must warn you.  It will probably amuse no one but us.  Well, it might amuse our friend, Heather, who was stuck with us for this tour.  What is this probably-totally-lame tradition?  Summarizing the tour through numbers.  What are we hearing?!  groaning  Why add math to fandom?!  I thought this was supposed to be fun!  Oh…just wait…Duranies!  You are in for the really-not-that-exciting CA Paper Gods Tour by the numbers that we promise has NO math to it!

1200 miles

Beginning about 20 minutes south of Disneyland in California where Rhonda lives, up to Hollywood, on to Berkeley CA, back to Rancho Mirage and ending at LAX airport.  Good times!!

Yep, the Daily Duranie version of Thelma and Louise!! Photo courtesy of Heather Todd
Yep, the Daily Duranie version of Thelma and Louise!!     Photo courtesy of Heather Todd

50 People at the Hard Rock Cafe

We were really excited to have so many people join us at the Hard Rock for an official Daily Duranie Pre-Show Meet-up!

The staff at the Hard Rock Cafe had to keep adding tables to our already ridiculously long table!
IMG_1998
Even though it took quite a while for our food and drink orders to come through, Duranies had a great time chatting, talking and laughing!
IMG_1993
Fans brought memorabilia to look at, and stories to share which made the afternoon go by very quickly!

We were hunted down 50 times!!

We heard everyone’s favorite song, Hungry Like the Wolf, about 50 times between all the shows, every single time we turned the iPod on, and the two times Rhonda had to watch them perform it at Kimmel (Even weirder: we’re starting to look forward to hearing it!!)

This band drives us to drink!!  (18 times!)

Ok, so this number really isn’t so bad considering we were gone for 5 days. Of course, much of that time was spent driving up and down the center of California….but let’s just not talk about that.

Berry Press - Hard Rock

IMG_2074

We lived in 4 hotels (…and on the aforementioned cocktails…)

It’s always fun to pick hotels…and then find out that the hotel you thought was fine was actually a motel in disguise with a big bug in the bathroom…but you know, always an adventure!!

Kettleman City Best Western 1

Best Western Kettleman City 2

We spent an average of 4 hours a day commuting on the “bus”.

Oh my gosh!  Someone forgot to reserve our seats on Duran Duran One…can you believe it?!? The audacity!!!  So, we took Rhonda’s car instead. (thank goodness it proved as reliable as always!)

CA Driving 1

CA Driving3

3.5 hours of sleep!

Sleep?!? We can sleep when we’re dead!!  We treated ourselves to about 3.5 hours of sleep each night. Or morning if we’re being honest….

3 Meet-ups

In addition to the meet-up at Hard Rock Cafe in Hollywood, we had two smaller meet-ups: one at Gypsy’s in Berkeley for dinner, and another at Rendezvous at the Agua Caliente Hotel.

Berkeley Group Selfie
Berkeley Group Selfie
Rendezvous at Agua Caliente
Rendezvous at Agua Caliente

We “fixed” Duran Duran’s set list 3 times

And they ignored us…three times…and we can’t even imagine WHY!!

Suggested set list for Hollywood Bowl
Suggested set list for Hollywood Bowl
Suggested set list for Berkeley
Suggested set list for Berkeley
The special set list for Agua Caliente and, yes, Skin Drivers seemed more fitting that day!
The special set list for Agua Caliente and, yes, Skin Drivers seemed more fitting that day!

3 Shows!

That’s right, kids.  We did three shows on this tour:

Hollywood Bowl–

Photo courtesy of Heather Todd
Photo courtesy of Heather Todd

Greek Theater in Berkeley–

JoNiDo at Berkeley

Agua Caliente in Rancho Mirage–

Photo courtesy of Heather Todd
Photo courtesy of Heather Todd

2 fantastic performances by Nile and Chic!!

Nile HBowl
You can see Craig Robinson from TV’s The Office in the background on this one taken at the Hollywood Bowl.
Nile Berkeley
Chic at The Greek Theatre – Berkeley CA
IMG_2040
Chic – Greek Theatre – Berkeley CA

We danced 2 times to Danceophobia!

We were obviously cured!!

2 Post Show Gatherings!

You didn’t think that we would be satisfied with just a drink or two before the shows, did you?!    No, we needed to celebrate fabulous shows with friends!

Berkeley
Berkeley

Berkeley

Agua Caliente
Agua Caliente

1.5 Meals Per Day!

Here’s the thing about touring and us.  We often forget to eat or don’t eat complete meals.  Are we too busy going from place-to-place?  Do we have too much nervous energy?  Do we drink our dinners?  Whatever the cause–it still equaled an average of 1.5 meals per day on this tour, which isn’t really that bad!!!

1 Familiar Looking Security Guard

Hmmm...
Hmmm….

Are we the only ones who think that this guy looks familiar?!?

One “Play the Fucking Bass, John!”

Clearly, we were not the only ones who found ourselves missing John’s little intro as people chanted, “Play the Fucking Bass, John!” in Agua Caliente both in the beginning of the show and at the intros. Sometimes, change is embraced and welcomed and other times, people long for those traditions!!!  Just sayin’!!

The Star!

When on tour, it is essential to do anything and everything Duran related.  Since we were in Hollywood…a trip to the star was a must (especially for our dear friend, Heather, who hasn’t had the chance before!).  This picture, of course, proves us to be the dorks that we really are!

At the star

1 Amazing, Awesome, Durantastic Trip!!!

While this wasn’t our first Duran tour and hopefully, not the last one,  it was one of the best!!!  We have had some amazing tours over the years and this one ranks right up there!  If we had ANY doubt that we still love this band, love our friends, and love touring, this trip pushed all of that right out the car window!  Oh, yes, our love was renewed and then some!  So, anybody know when we can go again!?!  We have had almost a week to recover so we are ready!!!

-A & R

Paper Gods CA Tour: The Aftermath

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.

-R