Tag Archives: Astronaut tour 2005

Built on Hope and Burnt by the Sun

I had hoped that the summer would bring me more time to be involved and to be thinking about any and everything in Duranland. The last couple of weeks have definitely fulfilled that goal. There has been a lot more thinking, writing, discussing Duran, for sure. Interestingly enough, it has made me question some things rather than just bring me back into the fandom fold. Questioning isn’t a bad thing but different from what I thought would happen.

When I think about my history in this fandom, I go back to 2004 and what I wanted then. When I jumped in online, the reasoning was a simple one. I wanted to make friends and I wanted people to go to shows with. That’s it. Nothing more and nothing less. Did I accomplish that? I have met a ton of people through this fandom. There is no doubt about that. I couldn’t have been more excited and happy. I remember this feeling of utter contentment. Some of those friends did attend shows with me and many of them remain as people I would still list as friends even if we don’t speak much anymore. Of course, Rhonda is the big exception.

Speaking of, we quickly discovered that we could tour together easily and have so much fun. I never laugh so much than when I am with her. So fandom in 2004 and 2005 was just joy. Of course, this perfectly coincided with the conclusion of graduate school, which meant more time and money. Life felt pretty good. I was filled with hope that this could continue indefinitely. Naive is probably the best word to describe how I was then. Soon enough, as 2005 turned to 2006, cracks in the pavement (pun intended) started to appear. I began to notice that not all fans got along with each other and definitely felt the wrath of those who believed that I did not express my fandom appropriately, at all times. On top of that, the reunion excitement fizzled as Andy left and the Red Carpet Massacre era brought division.

Hope remained high still for me. Those intensely positive memories from the Astronaut era offered protection against the negatives even when I began to worry that I was all alone or would be all alone soon enough. I remember making the decision to go see the band during their Broadway run in New York City in 2007 as the band promoted RCM. I went with a college friend who knew next to nothing about Duran but was excited to see me and wanted to support my interests. I had a good time (as I would at any Duran show) but it wasn’t the same.

By the fall of 2008, my hope began to return as Rhonda and I began studying fandom. If I understand this social phenomenon, I thought then I could do what needs to be done to keep it all positive. Then, the All You Need Is Now era began and, for the most part, my life in Duranland was great. It wasn’t perfect but it was pretty good. I went to the most shows ever and had a chance to see the band in the UK. We began to do meet ups and even planned a convention, hoping these events might bring friendships and joy to other Duranies like we had and that the fan community might be a more positive place.

Paper Gods brought a lot more shows and new friends. However, as the fandom wheel continued to go around, I found myself relying on shows and touring as my main means of escape and joy. Fandom provided the balance to the ever increasing stressfulness of my job and the real world. But I began to realize that the balance that fandom brought was delicate. Real life began to feel like I was walking on a very thin railing and hoping that I wouldn’t fall off. If I could make it to the shows or to a tour, it would feel like I made it across the railing to get to firmer ground. Yet, that firmer ground was getting shorter and less fun. It felt like I needed fandom differently than I had in the beginning. In 2004, I needed it for fun. By 2017, I needed it to keep me from falling into a deep, dark hole of sadness and loneliness.

Realizing this, I began to look around. Was fandom still providing me the same things that it once did? Was it bringing me new friends? Yes, I know people but I’m not sure how many of them I feel particularly close to or feel like I can rely on. So, I did what I had to do and focused some of my attention and energy on friendships outside of Duranland. What about going to shows? I still have people to go to shows with but those shows are getting harder and harder. Lately, it has always meant a long day of travel and the stress of missing work and flying. I have to wonder how much is it worth it. Yet, I fear that once I stop traveling to shows, those goals from 2004 will go up in smoke. It was the mark the end. Now, I am still a fan and will always be one. I just have to wonder if the days, my days in this fandom are numbered. In 2007, a lot of the friends I had made in 2004 and 2005 were walking away and now I feel that same sense. I pushed through then and kept hope alive but I’m not sure that I can now. I’m tired. I’m tired of being the consistently there and consistently strong one. I have to do that in real life so I don’t know that I can do it in fandom, too.

Now, I have been around long enough to know that how I feel right now may not be how I will feel next month or next year. Maybe I will have the most amazing time in Vegas in September that I cannot imagine myself not traveling to see shows. If the timeline about new music coming out next year is at all accurate, that might keep me around for another cycle. After all, I still think it would be cool to see the band play in the UK for their 40th, if that were to happen. This I do know. I cannot force any of it. I cannot control what the band does, what my friends do or how I feel. So, for now, I will try to keep that initial hope alive.

-A

If We Can Stay Awake

I have been sitting on my couch for awhile now trying to get some idea, any idea about what to write about. This is not common for me. Usually over the course of the week, I come up with many ideas, but not this one. I blame my lack of sleep. The sleep deprivation I have been experiencing has been forming over weeks. It isn’t that I didn’t get enough sleep last night (although I didn’t). I haven’t gotten enough sleep in days, even weeks. Then, the days have been packed with events and long lists of things to do. This results in not great sleep when I can get it as I am over-tired and stressed.

I am actually a really big fan of sleep. Most people, most adults, I know are. Yet, I have fond memories of times when I have gotten anything but. Strangely enough, many of those experiences surround touring. I wonder why. Here are some of my favorite highlights or lowlights or most sleep deprived moments or however you want to call them.

Is That Sunrise I’m Hearing?

My first real Duran Duran tour happened during this time of year in 2005 as part of the Astronaut Tour. I was extremely fortunate in that the tour swung through the Midwest at the exact same time as my spring break. This meant I was able to see five shows over the course of the week, including Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul, Moline and Detroit. It was definitely one of the best spring breaks ever, if the best.

In many respects the first weekend of that tour was the most fun. That weekend included the Chicago and Milwaukee shows. Like many others, Rhonda flew in for the weekend and it felt like a party from the very beginning as Duranies filled the hotel bar until the wee hours of the morning. Even after it closed, Duranies packed hotel rooms to chat, to laugh, to ponder everything and anything Duran. I believe that the first night of the tour, which was the night before the show, we got to sleep about 4 hours of sleep. Turns out that was a good amount.

The next night featured the Chicago show and an even later night. Again, the hotel bar was hopping as fans and the opening band enjoyed drinks until late. By the time our heads hit the pillow, it was very late or very early, depending on how you look at it, bringing our sleep total to about seven hours for the entire weekend. Then, Saturday night hit, proving that all things Duran are worth it or so we thought.

On Saturday, we drove up to Milwaukee for the show then did the obvious by driving back to Chicago in hopes of seeing the band after the show at their hotel. (Of course, who wouldn’t do that?) As the hours ticked by, we sat in the hotel bar, chatting, waiting, uncertain about what to do. At which point, I knew that I would need caffeine if I would be able to get us back to our hotel, resulting in a visit at an all night diner where Rhonda and I started laughing hysterically and couldn’t stop. If I had seen us, I would have thought we lost it, for real. By the time we got back to the northern suburbs, the sun was rising and there wasn’t really enough time to sleep before friends needed to be dropped off at airports. This means that we literally got a hotel room that we never slept in. All it did was store our stuff. Yes, we are geniuses.

By that Sunday afternoon, Rhonda and I found ourselves killing time by walking around a mall, waiting for her to be dropped off for her flight. We only had about 7 hours of sleep in three nights and had been up for well over 24 hours. At this point, we swear we started to hear “Sunrise” playing in the mall. Was it? We don’t know. Maybe? Maybe not? After all, it could have been an auditory hallucination. After I dropped Rhonda off, I began making phone calls as I ventured north to Madison. I was that worried that I would fall asleep at the wheel. Despite my exhaustion, I loved every minute of the weekend.

We Might As Well Stay Up

In 2011, we had one of our most favorite tours, which was doing a few shows in the UK in November/December. Initially, we were just going to do the shows in Brighton, Bournemouth and Birmingham. Then, we noticed great seats for the show in Glasgow for sale online. It would mean traveling up to Scotland and arranging a flight back to London but that show seemed to be calling us with the amazing seats available. On top of that, my friend was living in Scotland and could offer us a place to stay. We jumped at the opportunity.

That show in Glasgow was amazing. It was well worth the additional travel cost and money on top of the ticket price. Honestly, it remains one of my favorite shows of all time even if we didn’t stay too long after the show as we had to get back to my friend’s place in Edinburgh through the light snow that evening. Still, by the time we arrived back, there were only hours until we would have to turn around and get our ride to the airport. Right then and there, we decided to just stay up. After all, we didn’t want to miss our flight back to London, which would mess up the right of our travel plans or so we told ourselves. In reality, the show left us with such a concert high that we spent the few hours we had searching online for any videos of that show or any of the other shows we saw.

Touring Is Tiring

I have so many pictures of Rhonda and myself at the beginning of a tour looking refreshed and healthy. I have an equal number of photos of us looking beyond exhausted and that we had partied hard. I distinctly remember a sign I saw at O’Hare one time coming back from a tour that said, “I’m ragged. I’m raw. I’m a rock star.” I think it was an advertisement for shoes or something but that phrase sure felt fitting. Touring has always meant little to no sleep. While I do love sleep, the fun that we have had makes the lack of sleep totally worth it. I’m sure the heck hoping that I feel the same lack of regret come April 2nd, Election Day. Then, like any post-tour, I’ll recover and get ready for the next time. That said, anyone know how to bank sleep? Anyone? Anyone?

-A

That There’s Something Missing

On this date in 2005, Duran Duran played in New York City in Madison Square Garden.  It was the last date in the band’s spring Astronaut Tour in North America.

I did not attend that concert.  Did any of you?  I remember thinking to myself that Madison Square Garden was a big deal.  Do I believe that because it is a large, well-known venue or because of that story within Duran lore?  I’m sure you all know that one.  I’m referring to this idea that John Taylor has shared many times when he said that the plan of theirs was to play Hammersmith in 1982, Wembley in 1983 and Madison Square Garden in 1984.  The band met those goals.  I could not even think about attending the show in 1984 there.  No way.  If my age didn’t stop me, the distance would have.  But what about the show in 2005?  Was it as big of a deal as those 1984 shows there?

In thinking about that 2005 show, my thoughts immediately turn to the reunion.  I have such strong memories of that time.  To me, as a fan in 1980s, the reunion represented a real hope of a repeat of that time period.  After all, the five original band members were back together!  I knew what they were able to accomplish in the 1980s.  Why couldn’t they do that now, I wondered.  It felt to me as if the band was everywhere in terms of press.  For instance, they appeared in my local paper.  If I had taken a bet about how successful this reunion was going to be, I would have said that it was going to blow the roof off.  All of the fans from the 80s would return and they would bring new fans in.  They would return to the top of the charts and everyone would love them.  Thus, when I saw this particular date on the tour schedule, it felt perfectly normal.  Of course, they would play there.  Don’t all the big artists perform at that venue?  To me, it was a sign that they had returned to form, in all aspects.

Looking back now to that show, am I sad that I didn’t go?  Maybe.  Maybe not. I went to a bunch of shows in 2005.  So I have no room to complain at all.  Still, then, I went to shows that I could drive to and that’s it.  While at that time I had traveled to go to a convention, the thought of traveling to shows was unheard of in my world.  Even weirder than that was the notion of taking time off of work to do so.  I never even allowed my brain to go there at all. Back then, my life centered around work and my students.  It was one thing to think about taking a day to go to a convention but not to a show.  After all, they would come here Chicago.  I would be able to see them.  Then, I was really lucky that they played a lot of shows near me over my spring break.  After attending most of the Midwest shows, I never even considered  this show in New York City.  At the time, I recall feeling a tiny bit jealous of those fans who were going but I didn’t let myself feel more.

Now, though, knowing that there was not many shows there since then, do I regret not going?  Sure, it would be cool to say that I have seen them play there but more than other shows?  Hmm…I don’t think so.  I wonder if I had seen them there, would I have felt like I had done it all.  I saw the band play at this ever important venue, their peak goal in the beginning of their career, so that I could walk away knowing I had been to the top.  Maybe.  It is hard to say.  Looking back, I’m also glad that I just jump in and do everything all at once.  Perhaps, fandom would have burned out then.  No, I think my fandom journey is good the way it is.  I have no regrets.

-A

Watching Over Lucky Clover

The other day Duran Duran tweeted a question about how they celebrate anniversaries of songs, albums, etc. and then asked fans what DD dates they commemorate.  Immediately, I responded about how I like to remember my concert show dates.  In fact, in our homemade Duran calendar, the dates and locations of each show that Rhonda and I have attended, together or separately, is listed.  Today is one of those dates for me.  On this date in 2005, I saw Duran play in Detroit.  It was the last of my spring Astronaut shows and the end of an amazing Spring Break in which I saw five shows that week.  More significantly than that, it was the first show I saw with all five original band members.

At the time of Astronaut’s release, I remember feeling so behind the curve because I had yet to see the Fab Five live.  It seemed so many other people I knew saw all of them in 2003 or 2004.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t in the cards for me so I had to wait until Astronaut.  In December, tickets were purchased and a countdown began.  January and February felt like the longest months ever.  During that time, I kept my excitement about seeing all 5 mostly to myself.  I didn’t want to point out that I wasn’t a cool fan like all those who saw reunion shows.  Then, finally, my part of the tour approached only to find out that Andy had to fly back to the UK to take care of his dad.  Obviously, I understood but was disappointed.  Others around me expressed that while I quietly convinced myself that I would still enjoy the shows, which I did.

By the time the third show came, I stopped hoping that Andy would return.  I reassured myself that this was just one tour and that the band would be back around.  Yet, I was stunned when my friend called the day of the Detroit show telling us that Andy would be there for the show!  I cheered along with my friends and my excitement of the show increased immensely!  Indeed, it was a special show and have a fond little spot in my heart for it.  As I drove home the next day, I found myself feeling very, very lucky to have been able to see the Fab Five live and it didn’t matter that it was in 2005 rather than 2003 or 1984.  I did it.

Speaking of lucky, I believe that I have been a very fortunate Duranie in that I have had the opportunity to see the band live with not only Andy, but Warren once and Dom a bunch of times.  The debate of Duran’s guitarist will probably never die.  While I personally love Duran as it is right now and feel strongly that Dom should definitely be there, I appreciate the history that came with Andy and the creativity that came with Warren.  I know that each guitarist has brought something to Duran that cannot really be measured.  So, on today’s date, I celebrate not only the Detroit show that took place 13 years, but also the guitarists that have been a part of the Duran story.

-A

Do you remember the Dayton show in 2005?

I know Amanda must. I seem to recall her mentioning this show….

2005…the Astronaut tour. TONS of US dates. So I have to ask, who went to Dayton??

I did not. I was at home, in California. I had already met Amanda the September prior. We had met up again in March in the lovely city of Chicago for the show at the Chicago All-State Arena. I didn’t have the opportunity to do other shows later that summer, though.

It’s kind of funny when I look back on it all now though. I have met enough people over the years that when these dates come up, particularly the ones in the US, but even some from the UK and other places as well, I immediately associate someone with the show. I don’t have actual memories from that show, but often, I remember who was there. In the case of Amanda, we’ve talked and written back and forth about our memories so often – that sometimes I remember specific stories too.

Makes me kind of wonder what I’ll remember from the Paper Gods tour in ten years.

Then again, maybe it’s best not to think about that right now.

-R

 

…And We’ll Remember

Twelve years ago today I drove to Chicago to join my new Duranie friends for a weekend of fun and Duran Duran.  While I had met many of these new friends months prior in New Orleans, the weekend in 2005 was the first time I would attending a Duran show with any of them.  When those Astronaut tour dates were posted, we made plans quickly, including deciding to gather in Chicago to not only see the show, but to buy those more expensive VIP tickets.  I purchased those tickets for myself, Rhonda and another friend of ours.  In reality, I had no real idea if I could trust them to pay me back, but they did.  I had no clue if I could really hang out with them for an entire weekend or whether or not Rhonda and I would share a hotel room without a problem.  I took a leap of faith.

By 5 am on March 20th, 2005, I knew that it Rhonda and I were able to not only go to shows together but could travel “on tour” well together.  During that weekend, I laughed more than I had for an entire year, I swear.  I had so much fun that I wondered if it shouldn’t be illegal.  I almost questioned my grip on reality because it exceeded every expectation I had.  The joy I felt was pure and fulfilled me in a way that I wasn’t even aware that I lacked.  To say that the weekend changed my life would be an understatement.  Everything changed after that.

When I look back at the 12 years that have transpired between then and now, I almost cannot believe it and I certainly wouldn’t have believed it then.  Rhonda and I have shared so much.  We have traveled to the UK twice together.  We have seen shows ranging from Glasgow, Scotland, to Toronto, Canada, to New York City, New York to Biloxi, Mississippi, to Chicago, Illinois, to San Diego, California and more.  Beyond those shows, we started this blog here.  The Daily Duranie became way more than just a simple, little blog about Duran Duran.  It became about fandom and about us and about our fan community.  The blog has become a part of us and who are are, both as individuals and as a pair.  I think ending the blog would feel like cutting off an arm or at least a finger.  I would miss it.

Beyond the shows and the blogging, we also organized many fan meet-ups and a weekend long convention.  We have written two full manuscripts and have come up with many more ideas.  The love that we had and have for a band blossomed, bloomed into real action on our parts.  We have criticized widely for our approach, our questioning, our criticism.  We have also been praised by our dedication (or insanity).  We have been accused of being too negative by some and thanked for keeping the fandom going.

Rhonda and I met in New Orleans in September of 2004.  While that weekend included some amazingly fun activities as well as an acknowledgement that we were kindred spirits when it comes to Duran Duran, it didn’t create the domino affect like that the weekend in Chicago in March of 2005 did.  A convention is a one weekend off event.  It is not something that can be easily replicated.  Shows, though?  They happen more often.  Tours provide us the opportunity to relive that first weekend over and over, at least to some extent.  That first touring weekend started a snowball of fandom that has grown even as it has changed.  It solidified the beginnings of a friendship that has meant the world to me.

Now, on the anniversary of that date, I wonder what will come next.  Will the snowball of fandom continue to get bigger?  Will it stay the same in size while totally changing shape?  What about Rhonda and myself?  In many ways, our friendship has been tested a lot.  We have faced rejection, been ignored, the receivers of some insulting and hateful comments over the years.  Beyond that, we recognize that our “real” lives are often pulling us in opposite directions while we continue to work together and to be friends.  I don’t know exactly how we will navigate the next twelve years, I just know that I hope we can continue to do it together.  After all, we aren’t done with Duran Duran yet.

-A