Tag Archives: All You Need is Now tour 2011

REPOST: The UK Brain Dump

Today is a big day in my world.  Actually, the next four days are beyond big.  For those not familiar with campaigns, the three days before Election Day and Election Day are the most important dates when it comes to field operations or the ground game.  It is the time that we try to reach each and every supporter to make sure that they vote.  For me, this means that I’m working 14 hour days.  Unfortunately, what this means for the blog is that I don’t necessarily have time to write as much as I would like.  I thought it would be better to have a blog repost instead of not blogging at all.  When I thought about what to repost, I wanted to think about a time in which I was worried that things were going to go badly and then everything went splendid.  When I think of my Duran Duran fandom, the UK trip in November 2011 fits that description.  The following lengthy blog by my writing partner shares all of it.  I am hoping that Tuesday night feels just like when Rhonda and I entered Heathrow Airport and realized that we would make the Brighton show after all or the moment that we heard the first few notes of Secret Oktober being played that night.

THE UK BRAIN DUMP

I distinctly remember the day I casually, even offhandedly uttered the words, “We really should just go to the UK and do a tour.”  I’m not even sure I really meant them at the time.  It was one of those things I tend to do – state a dream out loud as though I can somehow make it happen.  At the time, I have to admit that of course I’ve always wanted to go (who doesn’t?!?), but I could never imagine having that conversation with my husband.  Flying to the UK isn’t exactly cheap, and while yes – he travels a lot for work and we have tons of frequent flier tickets racked up as a result, it never occurred to me that I could actually use one to fly there without him.  It seemed like something I’d use to go on vacation with him, not away from him.  Oddly though, Amanda jumped right onto that train with me.  She wanted to go, but of course there were so many details to sort: work (her), home (me), money (both of us), etc. etc. etc.  Both of us felt that there may not be many more opportunities to go, and that if we really wanted to live in the moment, we’d better just go for it.  So we did.

Naturally, we all know how that first trip ended up.  Even the planning for it was not without trial, and in hindsight (its 20/20, right?) I think we should have sensed that all was not sound with our plan.  Both Amanda and I came home with very mixed feelings, and to this day she insists that we both had some post traumatic stress.  I hate admitting things like that, but it’s probably true at least in part.   Staying in the UK during the days that followed was extremely difficult, but I have to say – from the time I left my house here in California the day I caught my flight out to London, there were no tears from me.  I simply refused them.  I’m not a crier by nature, and I refused to give that stupid band any of those tears.  Yes, that’s really how I felt.  While we were in the UK, I kept as brave of a face on the blog as possible, tried very hard to be a good sport and never let on just how incredibly disappointed I was.  Besides, as bad as it was – and trust me it was bad – for Amanda and I, in the back of my mind I knew that I had absolutely no right to my disappointment.  I wasn’t Simon or the rest of the band.  They had it far, far worse than I ever did.  I could go back home and continue to be me – but what about Simon?  That thought is what kept me from completely losing it on that first trip.  Once I got home, I threw myself back into my normal life, and figured that time would take care of the rest.   Although, I did hold on to a tiny, minute shred of hope.

At first, hope was all that kept me writing. Some days I’d be fine, others – well, others I’d have writers block.  Then the news would come creeping out that Simon was improving, and I’d be thrilled on one hand, and on the other I’d wonder if it were true.  (horrible, I know)  It was around this time that the rescheduled UK dates showed up, and I have to tell you all, throughout the entire planning process for Amanda and I – I never once really and truly believed we’d ever see those shows.  We both were so casual about the planning this time!  We sold tickets, bought new ones…and then stopped planning altogether.  Then the announcement of the rehearsal shows came, and I wondered just how likely it really was that Simon really *could* sing.  It was difficult to say from here, so I relied on news from UK friends.  Then the shows happened, and I have to say – and some of you who are close to me know this – I questioned whether or not it was really Simon singing and not a backing track.  Blasphemous!!!  To be fair, I just worried about him in general.  Then of course the US dates were announced and even then, I had very little desire to go.  I’m not quite sure what it really was, but I didn’t have that deep seeded pit of excitement that I normally do.  It was almost like buying tickets for any other band, I guess.   Where was that sense of excitement???

The night of the Valley Center show arrived, and I still wasn’t very thrilled to be going.  I tried to play it off here on the blog as something different, but all I can tell you is that I was not that excited.  It could have been because I was going with my husband (its not the same as going with Amanda or my friends), it could have been because I had 50,000 other things going on including my daughter’s first high school homecoming dance, but I just felt like it was one more thing I had to go do.  Odd.  If I had to place a finger on how I felt that night, it was as though I was angry.  When they came on stage that night, I couldn’t even look at them.  I saw Simon come out and begin to sing Before the Rain, and I had to look down and practically turn away.  Hearing him sing actually hurt, and I can’t explain it.  It wasn’t until a good minute into the song that I gathered up enough courage to finally look up, and yes – the first person I saw was Dom.  He was right in front and winked at me. (yes, it really was AT me.  I was 3rd row that night right in front of him so there was really no mistaking it.)  I highly doubt he knew what was going on, but it did help.  I gave a small smile in return and tried to get into the rest of the show.  It was a good show overall.  My reaction was so weird that night, I mean – I’m a fan and all but seriously even *I* know when I’m being weird, and this was definitely just past weird.  The rest of the show was fine, but I couldn’t wait to get out of there and get home.  Poor Walt, he tried cheering me up but I just wasn’t having any.  I didn’t long to go to other shows, I just wanted to come home.

Then Chicago came about.  Originally I wasn’t even planning to go there – so when I finally said “OK, I’m coming” I think I even shocked myself.  In hindsight I’m really not sure why I didn’t plan to go sooner, but I didn’t.  I waited until pretty close to the last second to buy a ticket, went to the show, had a great time with friends – but still I felt almost nothing.  Once again the day I left, I couldn’t wait to get home.  I really thought that maybe I’d gone the distance in this fandom and that I’d run my course.  That worried me sense I was about to embark on what was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime to the UK…but what could I do except try and explain my lack of excitement away?

By then, Amanda and I had to really plan for this trip.  Every single part of planning had gone very smoothly.  She got the time off, Walt didn’t mind that I was going on another trip, buying and selling tickets went pretty easily, everything seemed pretty cut and dried.  That is, of course until we heard about the strike.  I have to tell you all, that really threw me.  All I could think of was that once again – we were going to miss a show, and that REALLY ticked me off.  That said, and I want to make this clear because I have friends who were involved in the strike in one way or another – never once did I fault anyone for going on strike. I was frustrated over the irony of the situation, not for the strike itself.  The UK is not my home country, and both Amanda and I felt that it would not only be unwise, but flat out rude for either of us to comment about the political or economic happenings over there.  Both Amanda and I felt that our options for travel were severely limited based on her work schedule and my child schedule here at home, so we agreed to stick with our original travel plans…and while I was ready to do some Duranie sacrificial offerings, I did stop just short of throwing my Red Carpet Massacre CD into the fire.  (just barely)  Hope for the best, expect the worst, right?

So that brings us to last Tuesday, November 29th.  I didn’t start packing until the day before I left.  Quite unlike me, if I may say. I also don’t mind mentioning that my bizarre ambivalence towards the band continued up until the day I left.  Over the weekend, I told Walt and the kids that this was my last trip.  I might go to see them when they come back to the US, but that I was done traveling for extended periods to see them.  I even told Walt several times that if it weren’t for Amanda, I would have cancelled the entire thing.  I just felt like it was way too much trouble.  I’d even said the words “I think I’ve lost my inner Duranie.” (oh the drama…and I dare wonder where my oldest gets it from.  Gee, I don’t know.) I cried the morning I left as I held my little girl – she’s 3 – on my lap, and I don’t even know why.  (insanity I’m sure)  So I get to the airport after walking away from our car with a lump in my throat, go inside and prepare myself for battle.  Security.  🙂  Once again the good TSA allow me to collect my baggage and head for my gate, and once I arrive I realize my flight is going to be late.  First by a few minutes, then by more than an hour.  This is nerve wracking, but even so I figured it was just more nails in the coffin that was to be the Brighton show.  We still had 3 more.  Amanda and I texted, then I boarded the flight, only to have it announced that the door to the plane wouldn’t shut and that they were having maintenance come check it out.  At this point, I literally got up from my seat, ready to get my bags and head home.  No, I’m not kidding.  The lady next to me even asked me if I was going to leave.  I remember thinking at the time that this was it, that I just was not meant to ever get to the UK, and while many other fans were allowed the opportunity, it wasn’t in the cards for me.  That really annoyed me, but at that point I was just done.  I texted Amanda as much, and as soon as I sent the text (I think it said “I am ALL DONE with this nonsense”), the pilot came on over the intercom and announced the door had been shut and that we were leaving.  I slowly sat back down and buckled up.

Alrighty then.  We’re making progress now.

It was at this point that I think the trip took a serious turn.  I don’t know how to describe it other than to say that I really and honestly felt like an angel was on my shoulder the rest of the way throughout the whole experience.  I think most of you know that my Dad died a few years ago (nearly 4 now).  We were very, very close.  I’m not overly religious or anything like that, but its easier for me to believe that my dad is somewhere rather than nowhere. I could just imagine his telling me that it was all going to work out just fine that day, and for some reason, that comforted me. So we get to Chicago without incident – I’m a little late, but nothing horrible.  Amanda and I eat dinner, comment that this trip isn’t going to happen and that it sucks to be missing Brighton, then go on our way.  When we boarded the plane it was very obvious that it wasn’t a full flight – in fact we were able to move to other aisles and have enough room to stretch out and sleep – which we did.  Amanda and I almost never sleep on a plane, so this was good.  Then the pilot told us that while the strike did take place, the reports from Heathrow were that it wasn’t badly affected as of yet.  We held out hope for what I really think was the first time since May.

When we arrived at Heathrow, Amanda and I were ready for the worst, but as we got off the plane I swear I could have dropped a pin and heard it as it hit the cold tile.  Amazing.  The workers were grinning, happy to share the news that there was no wait – and we were shocked.  Even a bit giddy!  We got through border control in under 5 minutes.  Unbelievable.  We were so excited.  Brighton was going to happen!!  The funny thing is that at that moment, this was the first time that I genuinely felt real excitement.  It started as a tiny bubble, and by the time we actually boarded our train for Brighton a little later – it felt like a fountain!

We met up with friends we’d met in May for dinner, Nicky and Rie. I have to say that the gift…or the silver lining, of what happened in May is that we made some wonderful new friends.  Nicky and Rie are two of those people and we were overjoyed to be able to see them again.  We ate at Jamie’s Italian that night, and I won’t lie – I could barely eat.  This is what Amanda and I know to be “concert anxiety”, and boy did I ever have it.  I will feel like I can’t eat, I’ll be anxious and can’t sit still – and it’ll feel like I’ve got a tuning fork inside me.  It had been a long, long time since I had that feeling – and it was welcome!!  When we walked into Brighton Centre for the show, my initial thought was “Wow.  The band is playing in a high school gym!”  That’s truly what the place looked like.  I half expected to hear that there was a basketball floor underneath the temporary cork boards they’d put down, or to see scoreboards up in back of the risers they used for seating.  I guess arenas are older there in the UK than here… but we went off and found our seats, which were great for this show.  4th row, right in front of Dom.  Nah, he’s not my favorite at all.  Oh. Boy.

Here is where I want to make a disclaimer…we did NOT pick our seats for these shows.  We took whatever we could find, and oddly….we ended up smack in front of Dom for every single show we attended.  Yes, it was weird, but I promise I wasn’t stalking him.  Never mind that if given a choice I would have sat in the same area…..I wasn’t stalking!  I’m sure he got very sick of seeing us out in that audience, so I’m sorry for that!

When they came out on stage it was all I could do not to burst into tears.  The joy of seeing them up there – I had to keep pinching myself to remind me that I was in the UK.  I was finally getting my chance to live out a dream.  It was completely unreal and even today I have to look at pictures to prove to myself it really happened.  Then the unthinkable happened and they played Secret Oktober.  I just wish someone would have taken video of Amanda and I because I am sure it was priceless.  At first, I remember my eyes getting super wide, and then I yelled “OH MY GOD”.  I looked at Amanda, she looked at me, and then we hugged.  Hilarious.  Then I stood there in shock for most of the song.  I will never, ever forget that moment.  I’d flown a long way and gone through one hell of a lot to get there.  Then they had to go and follow that up with Mediterranea – which is one of my favorite recent songs, and Dom played his 1966 Epiphone, which is incredibly gorgeous and sounds amazing.   After this show, I wanted more.  Finally.

The beauty of going back to the UK is that we’ve been writing the blog for over a year and have had the opportunity to “meet” many new people on Facebook, the blog and Twitter.  There is a real community of DD fans out there, and it was as important for Amanda and I to meet them as it was for us to see the band.  What we didn’t count on was that so many Duran Duran fans wanted to meet us as well.  Amanda and I write Daily Duranie for a lot of different reasons, but the main one is that we enjoy it.  We want to bring the fans together in a way that nothing else really does.  We want people to get to know one another, and we want there to be a “safe” place to discuss the band and being fans – and even the downsides.  I don’t think that we ever really take too much time to consider that people genuinely love the blog – I mean we’re thrilled that anyone reads it, but its not like we expect to be recognized for our efforts.  We just love what we do and hope that comes through here.  We love being fans.  We love the band, and we both love to write.  It’s the easiest job I have.  🙂   In any case, we met many, many new friends on this trip, and we’re very thankful to have them in our lives.

A few new friends invited us to go with them to Bournemouth the next day. We’ll be forever indebted to Michelle, Amy & Sarahjane for allowing Amanda and I to squeeze into their car and gab the entire way.  Hands down it was the best travel day of our entire trip and we owe it to the three of you.  Come to the US and we’ll tour this place together!  We really did have a lot of fun with these girls and I adore them!   After dinner with the girls, we met up with Julie and Alison for a drink before the show.  Once again, more laughing commenced.  I have to say that it never really mattered to me that I didn’t run into the band or that I had no idea where they were staying or what they were doing – I just enjoyed being with new friends, and that’s the way it really should be!   I had a very, very nice surprise while waiting to get into the venue that night – Faby came up from out of nowhere and hugged me, which was crazy!  She is yet another fantastic person I met when we were here in May, and at that time there was just something about her that made me want to be friends.  She’s vivacious and happy and I think her smile is infectious.  I was so thrilled to see her in Bournemouth, and I only wish we’d spent more time!

I’m trying to force myself to write one nice detail from each show as opposed to giving another review of each show because let’s face it – we’ve all got lives and this blog today is going to be epic in length as it is.  So for the Bournemouth show I have to say that it was my least favorite, but not because of the band – because of our seats.  We were farther to the left than necessary at this show, and it taught Amanda and I a real lesson: go for the good seats!!  It matters where you sit and what the crowd is like around you.  Its never good to see people sitting in the front row, and even if Dom did wink at me more than once – I craved more.  *clears throat*  MORE SHOWS, thankyouverymuch!  🙂  I think Amanda hated those seats even more than I did because she’s a John girl to the very core of her being, and he hardly came over to that side of the stage.  I felt bad that night because as it was all of our seats were on Dom’s side of the stage – but this made it even worse.  Even so, it was a good show.

Our trip from Bournemouth to Birmingham the next day was via train.  In hindsight I wish we’d gone with friends, but at the time Amanda and I didn’t know what we were doing, and we didn’t want to keep someone else from going off and say – finding the band or getting to their hotel or whatever people do.  Once in Birmingham though, we got settled into our room and had room service delivered.  Champagne and pizza.  What could be more American??  We also had a visit from Asha, a friend from Twitter, which was lovely.  Later on, we met up with Bryony, Rie, Anu, the girls we’d traveled to Bournemouth with along with other new friends including Eileen and Sam, some girls from Germany whose faces I remember but names are escaping me….  So many people!!!  I know I’m forgetting names and faces and I feel badly about that – I hope you forgive me if you were there that night or if we met at another time on the trip.  We were at a pub, and there were many, many drinks to be had, which we did.  I miss Strongbow already, although I just found out that I can get it here at my favorite wine store, which is fantastic!!

What to say about Birmingham…it was the show of a lifetime.  I still can’t quite believe I went to see Duran Duran in Birmingham and was actually allowed in the venue.  I told Amanda that for the first time, I felt like an outsider that night.  It was the only time during the tour that I felt that way – and I think it’s just because standing there that night, I knew that it was a hometown crowd.  The band seemed just the tiniest bit more nervous, and I just didn’t quite feel as though I belonged there.  That said, it was a great, great show.  I have memories that I won’t ever forget – some of which may or may not include certain people up on stage that were insistent that I sing Hungry Like the Wolf and like it.  If you read the blog then you know just how much I dislike that song. Don’t get me wrong, I used to love it.  I loved the video.  I hated watching Roger get kissed by the girl in that video.  I loved seeing John Taylor in that video.  I laughed at Simon’s changing haircolor.  Then about 10 years ago, I got sick of hearing that song.  So sick that I’ve completely deleted it off of my iPod, iPad, iPhone…computer….well, you get the idea.  It simply does not exist in my home, and when I hear it live, it means it’s time to take pictures.  Yes well, that plan was blown all to hell the night of Bournemouth.  Trust me, the song has new meaning for me now.  Thanks Dom, thanks a lot.  We’ll see if you remember the next time you come to the US, because I’ll be there, and if I have my way – I’ll be up front!  Oh and by the way – yesterday I played the CD’s that were in my changer in my car, and that blasted song came on.

I let it play the entire way through.  Dang it!!!

Let’s see, that brings me to our last show.  Glasgow.  To begin with, we took a train from Birmingham to Glasgow.  That was one HELL of a long train ride.  5 hours.  I’m not a huge fan of trains to begin with because here in the US, they seem to crash a lot.  Call me crazy, but I like living.  Regardless, we were on one for most of that day.  I have no idea where we were most of the time, but I’ve got to say – the English countryside is gorgeous!  We just don’t have areas like that here where I live.  There wasn’t much to do on the train except for listen to music, sleep (we did a little of that), talk, and blog (I did!).  We passed through many tiny little towns along the way, and then there was Newcastle.  I was shocked by how far it is from Birmingham – I guess I never pictured it that way, nor did I picture the city being so large.  Eventually we made our way to Edinburgh, which is where Amanda’s friend Tanya lives.  We stayed with Tanya and her husband for the final two nights of our trip, which was a lot of fun.  They took us for some outstanding curry and then we spent the evening at a Scottish Single Malt Whiskey club.  My husband continues to be envious….and I admit that makes me smile just the tiniest bit wider.  He’s never been to Scotland and I have!!!  😀

So, Glasgow.  I already reviewed the show, so you know how that went.  We met up with Kayren and her fiance Andy, and another friend – Nath from France, before the show.  We laughed a lot – most of which at MY expense, which is probably just as it should be.  😀  As we sat there in the bar that night though, I couldn’t help but feel a little bittersweet.  It was our final show, and although I’d gotten to do a lot of the things I’d wanted, there were some things that, as a fan – I still completely missed.  I made the decision not to dwell and to be thankful that I was there at all.

The show was a dream.  Truly.  Second row center.  Right in front of the band.  Who doesn’t want seats like that?  And….for the fangirl segment of this epic blog:

Every single time John and Dom would come over in front of us – which was often during this show – I’d get all giggly like I was still 11.  Honestly.  I roll my eyes in disgust at myself.   Another funny thing happened at that show that I have to share, and it was during White Lines.  You all probably know the part when Simon saunters on back over to the risers for Roger’s drum kit and he takes a drink of water…you figure he’s gonna swallow but no, instead he thinks it’s super cool to come over to the front of the stage and basically spray it on everyone. He’s been doing that for a long time now – at least since Thank You came out.  The US fans pretty much hate it (although I think some probably like it), and I think he’s gotten to the point where he doesn’t do it much over there.   I’ve threatened to do many things if he should so choose to spray me with that water – and I’ve meant them.  Well, that night I came prepared.  I had an umbrella in my purse (zebra striped) and I was all ready to put the damn thing up should he get close.  The funny thing is that when he went back for the water, I realized my purse was safely under my chair and I was up right by the railing, sans umbrella!!  Not only was I nowhere near the umbrella, I was close to the stage – and center stage at that.  So I did what had to be done.  I backed the hell up!!  What’s really odd is that instead of spraying at center stage, he went to John’s side.  Simon was allowed to live another day!

They were so close to us and the energy of the arena was outstanding – it was a dream come true.  I still smile when I think of that show and how Dom would look over, making an attempt to connect with anyone who was looking. (and yes – I was absolutely looking!!)  Then there was Hungry Like the Wolf again…all I will say is that Amanda – I win!!!  😀   Dom made the show fun for me, to the point where I have to remind myself that yes, I’m still *supposed* to be a Roger girl and that there were actually other people on the stage that night.  Go figure!

Is anyone gagging yet?  🙂  Well, you’d think I would have asked for a pick or sticks or SOMETHING at the end of the show, but no.  I’m a little too shy for that.  Ask Amanda.  I’m all talk until it comes time to actually see them, and I will find any reason to avoid it.  I guess the reality is that I just don’t want it to go badly, and I don’t want to give them the opportunity to crush 30 years of my fandom.  Does that make sense?  I think Dom would be different, mainly because I’ve met him before – I’ve had a real conversation with him in a very strange place (an airplane), and I am fairly sure he knows exactly who I am and that when he sees me at a show he recognizes me (which must mean I’ve been to far too many shows…), but even so, I couldn’t bring myself to ask.  *sigh*

When we waved goodbye that night – it was a little heartbreaking.  Amanda and I have been planning this trip for an entire year.  Now what?!  (I’ll tell you what – I’ve got to get my Christmas shopping done, that’s what!!!)  We did what I consider to be the ultimate fan thing – we went to the homeland.  We saw shows.  We met what I hope will be lifelong friends.  Now what?  I really don’t know.  I don’t think I’m overly depressed, just trying to figure out what we’ll do next.  We have some ideas, though.

………One of which involves a winnebago and me driving…….

-R

When all around you earth turns to fire

When it rains, sometimes, it pours.

Last week was a rough week here. First, this very website went down – and not even with a blaze of glory, but with a White Screen of Death (for those unfamiliar). As that was being fixed (no seriously, AS it was being sorted through a flurry of texts), the family truck dies. That was a little closer to a blaze of glory. In fact, it’s still being worked on, and if you’re at all familiar with how much mechanics charge per hour, your jaw has hit your desk or floor. Mine did too when they gave us the estimate.Those two things happened on Sunday. (It was a long week!)

On Monday, our trailer, which was being towed at the time by our now “out-of-commission” truck, had to be retrieved. Another day, another rental car, or truck in this case. I think that was the day we found out just how far this little fix-it job was going to set us back.

On Tuesday night, our microwave died. I don’t know about the rest of you – but we rely on that little appliance a lot. I can deal without a truck (sort of), but the microwave? Come on now.

On Wednesday morning, I came downstairs to find a small mess around and near my coffee maker. I assumed that when I poured the water in to the machine the night before, I missed and didn’t notice. Nope. The coffee maker has a leak. Seriously???

Later on that day, I also found out that my last living uncle on my dad’s side passed away. My uncle Joe was 92 and had lived a long, full life. Like my father, he was Sicilian, and the family tales of his possible-Mafia involvement were semi-legendary. We never knew for sure, because he kept those cards very close to his chest (and I appreciate that simply because I didn’t want to be involved). However, I will say one thing about my uncle: he was the one person (after my dad died), I could call if I needed help. I knew and trusted that about him, even if I did not see him regularly. He lived in Florida and each year we exchanged Christmas cards. He’d tell me he was coming out that summer, and I’d smile, knowing that there was no way he’d make it. He meant well, and most of all – he was the last vestige of family I had left on my dad’s side. I will miss having that little bit of comfort. I think I’m still coming to terms with what it means and how I feel, particularly because I didn’t have time to really process it because of what I’m about to share next.

Next was Thursday. The piece de resistance to the week was coming home to find Walt’s rental car sitting next to the curb. As soon as I pulled into the driveway, I knew. I always do. I gathered my things, took a deep breath, ushered my youngest into the house and asked, “Were you laid off?”, already knowing what the answer would be.  “Yep.” , was the reply, coming from the kitchen.

Awesome

In the US – we say “laid off”, elsewhere you might call it “being made redundant.” In other words, he is now unemployed, which is a disaster with two kids in college who both need their tuitions paid this month.

What a WEEK.

So forgive me again for waxing nostalgic, as I take a minute or more to remember back to a much happier time. On this date in 2011, I saw Duran Duran in Glasgow, Scotland.

I don’t know that I’d say I’ve done a lot of traveling outside of the US. I feel lucky to be able to say I’ve done a little, that trip to Glasgow being a highlight. Many American people that I know or grew up with have never been outside of the country at all. To give the tiniest bit of insight, I think my parents were pretty average people. My dad had a white-collar job, but it wasn’t terribly high paying, and my mom was a secretary once she went back to work when I was about ten. We had most things we needed, but very few things that we really wanted, I think.

Vacations were a luxury, and the most we ever did for a family vacation was go camping – and that didn’t happen until I was in high school. Until then, my parents would take a two-week vacation from work each summer, but we didn’t really go anywhere, and that was not unusual for the parents of my friends, either. I flew on a plane with my parents exactly once, and that was to go up to the bay area to see family one Thanksgiving.  My dad considered flying to be a luxury, and not one we could readily afford. I had aunts, uncles and cousins – siblings of my father and their children, as well as the same on my mom’s side – that I never met because they lived across the country from us. I didn’t travel outside of California until I took a special trip to Washington DC in 8th grade, and after that I didn’t go on a plane again until I was well into college.

The idea of traveling to see a band is still pretty “out there” to many people, I guess. My friends from high school are surprised when they see my posts, not because I go to see a band (they’re used to that part now!) but because I’ve gone some crazy places to do it. One of my friends commented that the farthest she’s gone from home has been to Arizona, which is where she lives now. That’s pretty shocking to ME. There’s an entire world out there to explore, and yet a lot of the people I know would be satisfied to just see the capital of our country. That is why when I say the US is a big place and many people don’t travel outside of their general area, I say it with confidence.

So for more, one of the shows I’m most excited to be able to say I attended, was Glasgow. We weren’t even really supposed to be there! It wasn’t a part of our original plan at all, but when these tickets came up, Amanda and I agreed we should just do it. We took a train from Birmingham into Glasgow, which in and of itself was a fantastic trip. Then we stayed with Amanda’s friend in Edinburgh, and even spent time in that city before going to Glasgow for the show. I loved every minute of it. The winter markets, seeing ice and snow on the ground (yes, I’m from California and to me that’s a novelty!), going to a Scotch club and just walking around – memories I will keep forever.

And then there was the show.

It was our last show on that little mini-tour, and while I know the band likely had no idea who we were (Except for Dom – by then he was probably concerned I’d never go home!), I would swear they played with extra energy that night. Hungry Like the Wolf was ridiculous, as John and Dom came right to center stage and played off of one another. Amanda and I nearly had strokes! I reveled in the show, turning around to watch the crowd clap and respond. To say I enjoyed myself would be an understatement. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to top the experience I had at that Glasgow show.

So, when things are down, like right now, I tend to think about those moments. I don’t know if anything like that can ever happen again. I’d like to think so because otherwise, it’s all pretty hopeless, but you never know. I treasure the memories.

The other day I was chatting with someone online, and they mentioned that the nicest people they knew from the US were those who had traveled abroad. I understand what they meant by this. It is very easy to remain complacent and somewhat naive about the world we live in when we aren’t able to see HOW one another actually lives, There are a plethora of reasons for this, but I think when we rely solely on media for our information, it is very easy to make assumptions without verifying using our own eyes and experiences. My own eyes were opened much wider after my first visit abroad, and every time I get the chance to go somewhere new, I learn more.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m hoping for a better week!

-R

I’ll Hold On To the Memory

This morning, good ole Facebook reminded me of what I was doing and where I was six years ago today through the following picture:

Duran Duran in Birmingham - Tweet
Our infamous tweet before the show in Brume

Yes, six years ago today, Rhonda and I were seeing Duran Duran play at the LG Arena in Birmingham, England.  Funny enough, every time I think about it, I have to pinch myself to remind me that this really did, indeed, happen.  Looking back at that show and that tour, two big ideas come to mind.  First, the phrase “all you need is now” pops up, the idea of just living in the moment.  Then, there is the significance of that trip and place for my personal fandom.

In 2011, we went to the UK twice.  Of course, the first trip, in May, did not go as planned to say the least.  Simon lost his voice and the shows we held tickets for were canceled.  We pushed through, made the best of the situation, and ignored the worry that we had seen the end of Duran.  Thus, when the shows were rescheduled, we didn’t hesitate to jump at the chance to go back.  Looking back on that decision, I cannot remember pondering the decision very long.  I  didn’t debate the pros and cons of doing another UK trip.  Normally, when shows are announced, I go through the internal checklist.  Is the date one in which I can attend?  If it is during the school year, can I take off?  Do I have the money to go?  Will someone be around to check in on the cat?  That time, though, those questions weren’t really even asked.  We leaped before we looked, definitely.

Was that wise of us?  Probably not.  After all, I had struggled with work to be able to go the first time.  Then, during the same month of the trip, I had the chance to go to an Obama White House holiday party.  Would I be able to do both?  I assumed that I would for some crazy reason.  In hindsight, everything worked out and worked out easily.  It wasn’t anything like the struggle I had in May to be able to go.  Was I lucky?  Beyond.  It almost felt like it was meant to be.

What lesson did I learn from this trip?  The message I received, I think, is that, at times, I just have to go with my gut.  I shouldn’t think everything to death or assume that it cannot or should not happen.  When there is an opportunity for something amazing, I gotta go with it.  I am all for having responsibilities and being responsible, but…  (Seriously, people who know me know that I’m hyper responsible.  Is that from teaching for over 20 years?  Maybe.  Campaigning for political candidates?  Possibly.)  Was it super weird for me not to think about my obligations?  Yes, but it is good for me–not only to be able to enjoy some crazy good times but also to let myself live a little.

Both trips meant a great deal to me.  On the first trip with the canceled shows, I gained an insight into the band and my fandom that I would not have had otherwise.  Rhonda and I had to make the best out of an extremely disappointing situation.  While I don’t know that I would say that it was the most fun, it was the most eye-opening.  The extra time meant that we could walk around Birmingham and get a real sense of where the band came from.  That humanized them in a way that I didn’t think possible.  They were no longer just celebrities but people, humans.  This idea was reinforced by seeing them outside of their studio when they were open about the situation and how they were feeling about it.  I felt honored to have been there.

Fast forward almost 7 months later and the dream was finally fulfilled.  We got to see the band play in their hometown.  I still get goosebumps just thinking about it.  While the show was not the best I had ever been to, it was monumental to me.  As a kid, I remember thinking about how exotic Birmingham sounded to me.  My family was not well off and any vacations we took typically took us to a nearby state, if that.  We never traveled by plane (I took my first flight at 17!) and I didn’t know anyone who went overseas.  So Birmingham sounded so unusual to me.  I couldn’t even imagine what it was like and I never expected to find myself there once, forget about more than once.  What did I discover about the city?  It really felt like a lot of the industrial northern cities here do.  As someone who grew up in the south side of Chicago, it felt almost familiar.  I realized that I actually liked it and would love to spend more time there, which is not what I expected at all.

Six years have gone by.  My fandom grew stronger from those trips.  One thing is certain.  I’ll hold on to those memories for the rest of my life.

-A

Duran Duran at Brighton Centre, 2011

I am apologizing, but I don’t think there’s ever going to be a year when I don’t take a second to fondly remember the first time I saw Duran Duran on UK soil. Self-indulging?

ABSOLUTELY.

That’s the thing, this is a fan blog. It is myblog. It’s totally self-indulging. So I’m doing it.

On this day in 2011, Duran Duran played the Brighton Centre in a very windy Brighton. I can remember walking back from the venue to the hotel, the wind had quite a bite to it that night! I don’t even know why Amanda and I tried to do that – it was very clear we were going to get lost from the onset, which we did. Thank goodness we found a cab, otherwise we might still be wandering around Brighton, or blown out to sea! I loved traveling to Brighton along with other parts of England and Scotland, and I will never be sorry I went. Not even for a moment.

I still can’t quite believe Duran Duran broke out “Secret Oktober” that night. I’m forever grateful. After all the crap we went through to get there, it was such a wonderful moment and lived up to every possible expectation I could have had, and then some. I stood there pinching myself through half the show. I don’t know when I’ll have the opportunity to go back to the UK (and if I do go, whether or not I can be convinced to come back home!!), but I encourage anyone and everyone who has the chance to go. I had my own experiences, but the fact is – traveling changes ones view of the world. Even if that just means traveling from one state to another, I believe it makes a difference.

Our world is such a crazy and different place now, six years later. I am just thankful for the opportunities I’ve had and the friends I’ve made along the way. It is good to take the time to think back, not just because I had a uniquely wonderful experience, but because I’m grateful. That trip changed my view of a lot of things, not just about the band but regarding my life in general. So sure, for those who want to see the negative – yep, I’m bragging. For the people who really matter, they know that trip, along with the one earlier that year was a life-changer, and quite possibly saved me.  I am grateful.

So, who was in Brighton Centre loving every second of “Secret Oktober” with me that night?? Anyone??

-R

My ten moments of joy

Amanda asked that I share ten fandom moments. So far, I’ve written down nine. Number ten is harder for me to put a finger on, but I’m going with what I’ve got for now!

These are moments of complete inner-joy. Oddly, they aren’t necessarily times directly in front of a single band member or anything like that.  Flittering seconds of sheer happiness, in a very uncertain world.

Childhood

I don’t have many vivid memories I can share as a preteen Duranie, but there is one that sticks out. It was the very first time I saw a Duran Duran video, and it was at my friend’s house. I am pretty sure it was during Friday Night Videos, on the ABC network. I don’t know if “Hungry Like the Wolf” had been out a while, or if this was really the premier (I doubt it?), but I can remember sitting on my knees on the floor, in front of her TV set that night. It seemed like forever before they announced that video was coming up next, but I can remember squealing and wiggling, as if to settle in. I could barely sit still, and then it started. I’m pretty sure my mouth fell open as soon as it began. It was so hard to catch every last detail. I wanted to watch it over and over again, but of course I couldn’t—she didn’t have a VCR then (only one of those huge laser disc players). We screamed, in excitement and in frustration when it was over. Although I’d already seen the band in pictures, there was something so unique and special about seeing a video. For a long time, I wanted to believe that the people in the video were just as they were in person. I suppose that’s where the whole idea of putting the band on a pedestal developed. Even so, those videos helped to fuel my fandom for many years—I didn’t see the band live until 1989—so videos were easily even MORE important to me than the live shows, back then.

Anaheim House of Blues, March 2001

I can remember the exact moment my fandom took a complete 180 degree turn back towards the band, and it was at this very show. Up until then, I falsely believed fandom was a thing for pre-teens. The band took the stage, and I recognized I was sharing actual breathing space with Simon Le Bon. Once that happens, there’s really no hope, is there? 😀

Sharing my fandom story at the Friends of Mine Convention

I have never been quite as proud as I was the evening I stood up, took the microphone, and shared my own fandom “truth”. It was a little bit speech, a whole lot of heart and soul shared that night. Never before had I felt like part of a group. That feeling fueled me for months, if not years after.

A little walk around Cheapside, Brighton, UK.

Some people go to England for vacation. Others, to follow a rock band on tour. Me? I go so that a rock band cancels their entire tour and I’m left to figure it all out.  Amanda and I suddenly found ourselves with nine days to fill in a country we had never been to before, in a city that we’d already been warned was “the pit” of England by the lovely man at Heathrow who inspected our passports. What do you think we did? We walked as much of Birmingham as we could! Our walk included the Cheapside area, which most fans know as the austere, initial “home”, of Duran Duran.  Seeing where the band began provided me with an entirely different view of where they sit now.  “Joyful” doesn’t quite cover my feeling that day. I will never be sorry I boarded that plane, no matter how many shows were canceled.

Valley Center, CA

This was the first show I attended when the band resumed touring that year. It was hard not to burst into tears the moment the band took the stage that night, but I didn’t. Instead I stared at the floor while “Before the Rain” played. I didn’t dare even sneak a peek at Simon. I had gone to the show with my husband, who thinks he gets my fandom, but he doesn’t. He would have half-dragged me out of there had I broken down in tears, and yet I could feel them all in my throat as I heard him sing each note. Eventually, I dared myself to look up, because really—what was I going to do, stare at the floor the whole night? I looked up and met the gaze of not only Dom, but Simon too. It was simultaneously awful and kind of beautiful because I think they knew what I was feeling. Maybe.

Later that same year…

Not quite seven months later, Amanda and I went to Brighton. In and of itself that’s a story, but the moment of pure joy came for me when Nick played the opening chords to my favorite B-side, “Secret Oktober”.  If I hadn’t been so firm on my rule of no crying, the flood gates would have opened that night for sure. The culmination of thirty some-odd years of fandom, flooding to the surface.

Later, in Birmingham

In my opinion, this wasn’t the best show of the four I attended in England 2011, but to be standing in DD’s hometown watching them was simply amazing. I’ll never forget. Pure, unadulterated joy.

And still later in Glasgow!

Yes, a lot of my pure joy was found in England. In Glasgow, I ended up in second row at the front of the stage. The show blew my mind, but turning around at the beginning of “The Man Who Stole a Leopard” and watching the entire arena clap their hands overhead made me see how significantly SMALL of a part I play in this fandom. We all do. My heart still swells at the thought.

Durandemonium

I really enjoy seeing our community come together.  I especially enjoy seeing the community come together and thoroughly enjoy themselves, knowing that I played a tiny part in making it happen. Durandemonium was that for me. I still think about the committee of people who helped make it happen, mistakes I made, and things I would do better if possible. I also think about the successes of that weekend, and I’m proud of just having the audacity to even try.  Seeing everyone that weekend – well, that WAS pure joy.

And then there’s the bit where, after the last shuttle bus picked up the final revelers at the Late Bar and dropped everyone at the Amalfi Hotel, Amanda and I locked arms, and ran in the other direction away from the hotel! We went and got a very late-night breakfast.  Sometimes, even fandom needs a break.

Agua Caliente, March 2017

I’m not going to exaggerate – my “journey” with this band has been weird. I didn’t even think I would go to shows this year, much less see  four. I think because of that reason, I had no expectations beyond getting some sun and having fun with my friends. As a rule, I’m uptight and I know it. Stress is always just below the surface, and I let dumb things get to me and STAY with me. So, my plan was just to have fun. I did. Standing in front of the band that night made me see just how much fun I really have with them. They make me happy, and no one should ever be able to take your bliss away.

So those are my ten. I threw the last one in there just under the wire because when it comes down to it, Duran Duran is my bliss. Every time I see them, there is joy. I’m learning not to let the small things take that away.

-R

 

 

Amanda’s Five Joyful Moments of Fandom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-A

 

Wrightegaarden, Norway 2011–Do you Remember?

Do you remember 2011?  I can barely remember it myself. Actually, even yesterday feels like a struggle right now, much less 2011….but I’ll try.

On this date in 2011, Duran Duran was scheduled to play Wrightegaarden in Norway. (We know that there are more than a few fans out there that might remember this)  Unfortunately, the band had to cancel, and yes, this was included in the set of dates canceled due to Simon’s vocal problems during the All You Need is Now tour.

Even sadder, the band has not made it back to Norway since. We can only hope that the band will in fact return there – maybe for the 4th anniversary celebration. Right about now, it seems easier to fantasize about what the band might do and where they might go to celebrate than thinking about real life. The sky is the limit, as they say. Reality comes later, but for now, we can hope.

-R

Question of the Day: Thursday, July 7, 2017

I apologize for yesterday’s video mix-up.  I thought I was so cool that I posted the question of the day from a bus on the way to the airport in the dark at 5 am.  Alas, I apparently copied the wrong link.

Let’s try it again with the right clips!  Which live version of Wild Boys do you like better:  2011 All You Need Is Now Tour or 2015 Paper Gods Tour?