Tag Archives: Danceophobia

Concert Review: Montreal Bell Center 4/11

We are overjoyed to have another review to share with you – this time coming from Canada!!  Send your own reviews to our gmail, and we’ll be happy to publish them! – A & R


I was just off the heels of my great California adventure when Duran Duran announced their 2016 North American tour. My credit card had barely recovered and with Christmas quickly approaching, I sat back in utter dismay as the fan community plotted and planned which shows they would attend. Presale day came and went and I felt neither the thrill nor frustration of purchasing my tickets. I’d later learn, that the predominant feeling was frustration, as the Ticketmaster presale didn’t ensure priority for Fan Club members. I could at least sit back and think, “I would have gotten crappy seats, anyway.” Sour grapes. Sad fan indeed.

But, as many of you are well aware, there is a certain magic that threads some of us Duranies together. I got a twitter DM from Janice (she wrote the blog for the Niagara shows), whom I had met briefly in Palm Springs, wondering if I wanted to buy a pair of tickets off her. And even better, she didn’t need the money right away. And as if the Paper Gods had not already smiled in my favor, I would later find a ticket for the Toronto show under my Christmas tree a few days later. From disappointment to fangirl excitement in a matter of weeks!

Before I get into the actual review, there is something else that you need to know about me. I’m a small town girl with a big city attitude. Yeah, I have the attitude, but none of the actual experience to go along with it. My husband currently lives out of province for work, so travelling to this show, meant travelling alone. Also worth mentioning, is that my husband is a native of Montreal. We’ve been there many times over the years, and of course, he drives, knowing the city like the back of his hand. I am always the passenger who watches the scenery pass by. (He’s “The Chauffeur”, perhaps?) So this truly would be an adventure. A Duranie with a terrible sense of direction, driving in downtown Montreal—alone. Amanda once told me, “you do what must be done”, when it comes to all things Duran. This was clearly one of those occasions.

In the weeks leading up to the show, I booked my hotel, chatted with other fans in anticipation, and trained myself how to follow a GPS while driving. (Honestly, I had no idea what 800 m really meant, until a few weeks ago.) I connected with a twitter friend who tipped me off about another show the night before the big event. So, I purchased tickets to see the Dandy Warhols, marvelling at how easy and stress-free that ticket-buying experience was.

Days turned into weeks, weeks into months and finally, it was time. A week before the show, my 18-year-old son and I drove to a truck-stop not far from our home. Imagine it, in film-noir black and white: It’s just past midnight, in the pouring rain, and an 18-wheeler pulls off the highway. Janice’s husband, who had been travelling most of the night, hopped out of his rig to hand deliver me my tickets. I couldn’t imagine a better scenario in which to begin this adventure!

The night before my trip, I tossed and turned in what was a mixed bag of excitement to see the band again and utter terror of having to negotiate a labyrinthine set of directions to get to my downtown destination. In the dark of the early morning, I began the long, eight-hour drive. But with every pit stop, there was a flurry of twitter chatter as other fans sent me their well-wishes and shared in my excitement. By the time I arrived in Montreal, I was just too tired to even care about being nervous. The Paper Gods smiled upon me again. I arrived at my boutique hotel without incident. I had just enough time to fit in a disco nap and I was off to the first of my shows.

It never ceases to amaze me how well you can get to know someone on twitter. No sooner had I stepped inside the venue for the Dandy Warhol’s, did I hear someone excitedly call out my name. This was my first time meeting Tammy, who also travelled all the way from Newfoundland, yet, it was like we’d known each other for years. Still excited to see Duran Duran, I took in the show, quickly losing myself in the crowd and in the post-punk psychedelic music. I might add a quick mention of the Seratones, the opening act, who completely blew me away. This band should go places!

The next day, of course, was show day! It couldn’t have been a crappier morning—a fresh layer of snow had fallen overnight which by daybreak had turned into freezing drizzle. However, nothing could dampen my spirits. I found my way to a Quebec-style breakfast café and fuelled up for what would become an adrenaline (and alcohol-soaked) day. Even though I was alone, my virtual friends were a constant source of entertainment. By the time my husband arrived in the city, it was time to get my show on the road!

This was my first time at the Bell Centre, home of the Montreal Canadiens. My husband had attended many shows at the old forum, and was curious about the venue as well. Friends who had seen shows there before, mentioned the great acoustics. We arrived on scene and entered La Cage aux Sports, the adjacent sports bar. We ordered drinks and then entered the venue from there. I have to say, that I was quite surprised how organized everything was when we finally passed through security. This is no longer the Sing Blue Silver days!

How many of us have “dragged” our spouses to shows? This was the first time for mine, and judging by the texts he had been sending me in the days leading up to the show, I could tell he was excited as well. As a child of the late 70s and early 80s, I knew he would also be in for a pleasant surprise with Chic. As we made our way into the heart of the venue and to our seats, my husband looked around and remarked how at the old forum there would be a thick haze of smoke hovering just over our heads. Some things do change. I stood in front of my 12th row centre seat and immediately started sending messages on twitter with earnest. One of my high school girlfriends, one of my original Duranies, was at the venue. It’s amazing how easy social media can make finding someone in a packed stadium. Within seconds, we were waving to one another, and arranged a quick meeting. Because of this, I missed out on the opening act, Shamir. In retrospect, his act seemed rather short, and that is all I can say about that.

Having Chic on tour with Duran Duran is such a treat. I boogied to Le Freak, long before I was even aware of Duran Duran. And music-wise, this is about the only thing that my husband and I have in common. (Let’s just say he sported a mullet and head banged to Iron Maiden in the 80s.) Chic’s show never disappoints. From Nile Rodger’s touching speech about his cancer diagnosis to his high-octane medley featuring the artists he’s produced, you can’t not dance! Luckily, some of the girls beside us opted to miss the act (fools!) so we had plenty of room to boogie. I had the pleasure of seeing this show in California, and what differed, was of course, Bowie. Instead of being woven into the medley, Bowie’s Let’s Dance was presented in a place of honour, and Nile’s introduction was as gracious as only he can be.

I admit that I snuck out during the last song to purchase more alcohol. I was more than ready for Duran Duran!

After more excited tweets to other fans, I downed my drink just in time for the house lights to dim. This was it. I have to say, that the song Paper Gods, now sits in the top three of my all-time favorite Duran Duran songs. It’s the perfect opener, the slow, almost dirge-like quality that eventually crescendos into a crashing dance-track. I’ll always be happy to be greeted by the band through the dry-ice mist with this song. One thing I noticed, was that there were some definite improvements to the light show and to the staging. Now the tiers are all synchronized with the light show, which reflects the animations projected on the backdrop. The entire set started like a racing train, building energy and steam with each song, until they slowed things down with Come Undone. (Yes, I see that look, Amanda!)

I was glad for the change in tempo, as I was totally rocking the 12th row. I had a pretty decent view of Simon, Nick, Dom and Roger, though I could catch occasional glimpses of John if I craned my neck just so. However, the frenetic momentum quickly recovered with Last Night in the City. Anna Ross’s vocals are incredible and it never feels that the song is missing Kiesza’s touch. The one interesting thing I did notice, was John playing the synth bass on this song. I don’t think this happened in California? Is this new? (Yes, he played it during Danceophobia, but this one?) No matter, it afforded me an even better view of the bass-god, though I wasn’t about to slow down and admire the scenery (tempting as it was.) It’s always a treat to see What are the Chances—Dom’s playing is positively sublime. Pressure Off, I think marks the top of the roller coaster, and my secret worries were put to rest when my husband and I found ourselves in the middle of a pink and white blizzard. The piles of confetti that blanketed the floors and seats provided me with unending amusement as I grabbed it by the fistful and continued to toss it in the air throughout the rest of the show. Yes, I was that annoying fan.

And then the part of the show that I was really looking forward to—the Planet Earth/Space Oddity medley. (Incidentally, the “switch it off!” part could have been stronger on the audience’s part). You could hear it in Simon’s vocals—it was pure heart and soul, honouring both the song and the artist. Space Oddity, also draws attention to Dom’s powerful guitar licks. It was completely unexpected, but boy did he own parts of that song.

If there was an equivalent to a saggy diaper within the set, I’d have to say that it was I Don’t Want Your Love. Maybe it was a combination of it being one of the lesser known songs, and not a particular favorite of mine, but it seemed to suck the energy right out of the room. No matter, and moving right along, it’s back to the fan favorite White Lines, and my husband doing the jazz-hands along with the rest of the audience. If I Don’t Want Your Love was my least favorite, then, I can balance that out with the Sunrise/New Moon medley. What a treat to see New Moon on Monday live!

Shall we discuss Danceophobia, the song that threatens to divide an entire fan community? While it’s not in my top five, it’s certainly not among my most loathed. (In case you are curious, All She Wants Is, might find itself on that list, not that I have to worry about it suddenly appearing on the set list anytime soon.) It’s the complete antithesis to Simon’s more cryptic and obtuse lyrics and I am okay with that. There is nothing wrong with being shallow and superficial every once in a while. In fact, I always get a bit of a chuckle when I hear Lindsay Lohan as the voice of reason during the song. Regardless of Lohan’s merits, it’s such a treat to see live, as I completely adore Jessie Wagner and how she has completely made this performance her own. So, let’s just say, I looked around and forgot the crowd.

My evening was quickly coming to a grinding halt. When introducing Save a Prayer, Simon said some lovely things about music being a force for good, in his story about the Eagles of Death Metal at the Bataclan during that horrible day in Paris last fall. We all lit our cell phones and swayed in a crashing wave of feels. I knew Rio would probably be the last of the set. And even thought I love the visuals from the album projected two stories high, it’s a bittersweet moment. It’s almost over. Nevertheless, I do love how the show ends on such an upbeat and positive note. BUT! Montreal shall never be outdone by Toronto. This is a Canadian fact. No sooner had the band completed their final bows, did the crowd begin to chant in earnest: Reflex! Reflex! Reflex! Now I know there is some debate whether this song should remain in circulation, but hell, if it means one more song out of the band, I’m going to scream it from the top of my lungs. (I’d even scream for an acoustic version of Shotgun, for that matter!) And there is nothing quite like the reverberation of 20,000 chanting people. I hope at the very least, that the band appreciated this little bit of magic from us. I certainly did.

Nick did his very best sound-effects and the show, all too soon, came to an end.

It was over and I was sad. Did I have a good time? No. Not really. I had the best time.

After the magic, comes the driving. Eight more hours of it. There’s not much more to say about that. Except this…

See you in Toronto!

 

Heather Todd Duran starHeather Todd is a Duranie from  New Brunswick, Canada. She saw
her first Duran Duran show (with none other than Amanda and Rhonda) in October 2015.  A self-described weirdo, Heather is a writer, video game enthusiast and beta reader (and wields a mighty red pen!!) for Amanda and Rhonda’s manuscript!!

How Beautiful the Closing Down

This week is sucking, gotta say. I am already in a mad hurry today because I have to take Heather, my oldest, to the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles). Why? Today she FINALLY takes her drivers test. She will be 19 next week. I pray she passes. (and no, we were NOT insisting she wait this long to get her license. That, my friends, is a long story from which I have since learned the lesson. Gavin goes for his permit test TOMORROW!)

Anyway, I’m in a rush. Today is crazy. Dropped two younger kids off, ran home, and as I came in the door I said out loud to absolutely no one, “No one had better have died today because I need to write this blog quickly!”  Opened the laptop, jumped online and found that Alan Rickman – aka Severus Snape amongst many other characters over the years – has passed away. Also aged 69, also from cancer.

My fandoms are taking a severe beating this week. Unbeknownst to many, I’m a Harry Potter fan. I’ve read the books, own the movies in two different formats, been to Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida, read MuggleNet as often as possible…I just love that whole world. I share this fandom with my youngest. She was tiny when her big brother was given the movies as a gift, and it was she that insisted we play the movies over and over and over yet again. She is a huge fan and she’s yet to actually read the books (she’s only 7)! I am not looking forward to explaining this loss to her, whether now or at a later date.  So once again, it’s a sad day for many.

It wasn’t my intention to begin AND end this week with a sad blog, of course. I had thought about what I’d write today – not coming up with much other than I’ve been listening to Paper Gods again.  I think that album is going to end up being one of my very treasured favorites. It took me so long to come to terms with it, and that bothered me.  Truth is, most of my very favorite art is that way. I have to sit with it a very long time and let whatever is bothering me about it sort of sink in. Percolate. Make sense of it.

That’s kind of how my journey with Paper Gods has been, and it’s not over yet. Reading the tour book has really helped. The one word that comes to mind over and over as I consider the book and the album is “committed.” This isn’t my first rodeo with Duran Duran, of course. I’ve been around a long time. There have been many albums at this point, some of which I’ve connected with better than others of course – and that’s natural. The difference between Paper Gods and many others is that word, “committed.”  I see it. I FEEL it when I’ve seen them live. This isn’t a band that put out an album and stood back tentatively, hiding their faces and wondering what would happen. This is a band that continues to be incredibly proud of their work, and have a genuine sense of drive to get it heard. I think that is what was missing from Red Carpet Massacre, to be honest. Even if the band was totally committed and ready to sell it to us – they certainly didn’t convey with the same sort of confidence and positivity.  I know for me, that is very much an influence.  I’ll take Danceophobia for an example: I don’t mind saying that I couldn’t stand the song when I first heard it. I really couldn’t, and sure, that had PLENTY to do with Lindsay. I can’t help it, I had real issues with her being on the album and for the most part – that hasn’t changed. However, I have also seen them do this song live. John Taylor OWNS it, so does Dom and Simon. I’m sure Nick and Roger do as well – but they don’t move around the stage so there’s that. There’s no standing around, no hiding in a corner, no looking like they’d like the floor to open and swallow them. They play, and they work damn hard to get the audience going. John is even behind the keyboard and STILL moves. I can’t help but love that. They’re completely committed to selling the song to the audience, to making us love it…and I daresay they’re committed to making me eat my words and say I love the song.  Kudos on that commitment. It works.

It’s been a tough week. The silver lining for me has been the music, of course. I’ve listened to quite a bit of Bowie, and a lot of Paper Gods this week. It’s helped. Even reading the tour book has brought a smile to my face and a longing for July to come. One thing is certain: I live for music. I have the score to Harry Potter upstairs – it’s the entire soundtrack, and I may just drag out my clarinet and play a little. It’s how I manage.  I hope you’ve all been able to find the necessary diversions and ways to escape this week.

RIP Alan Rickman. Thank you for bringing Professor Snape to life.

-R

Something Is Happening to Me!

I have been back from tour for almost 2 weeks.  Since then, I have noticed something strange with myself, something different than before I left.  This something new isn’t bad and really hasn’t caused me much grief or pain.  Yet…I fear…that it might.  What is it?  I have this uncontrollable urge to listen to the album, Paper Gods, over and over and over.  It is bad.  I’m not going to lie.  I have attempted to switch to something else–anything else…a different Duran album, shuffle, Brandon Flowers, John Taylor solo and still I find myself with that itch.  You all know that itch.  It is when you find your fingers hover over the iPod or phone or stereo or whatever musical device you might have anytime it plays something NOT off Paper Gods.  At that moment, it takes all self-control not to change the song.  It is like having obsessive-compulsive disorder but a super duper specific one.  So, what is the deal?!  How did this started?  How do I stop it?  HELP!

I figure that the first step is admitting that I have a problem.  I do.  I cannot stop listening to Paper Gods.  I think my cat is sick of it.  He gives a weird meow whenever it plays.  Heck, I think the drivers on my morning commute must recognize it by now simply from how loud I have been playing it.  (It is a good waker-upper!)  Even when I am not listening to the music, I start singing songs in my head, thinking about lyrics.  It is not good.  I am definitely distracted by this and somehow, I doubt my boss would be very excited by this.

The next step, I think, would be to figure out the cause, the origin of the problem.  Since I didn’t have it before the tour, I have to think that it happened WHILE on tour.  Now, I don’t really remember any weird conversations with Rhonda or Heather or Shelly or any of the other numerous friends who I talked with that could have led to this condition.  Yet, I did have a sense that something was happening (and maybe it’s happening to you, you, you!) in Berkeley, California. I noticed it then, but I assumed it was all of the driving, the lack of sleep, the minimal meals we had been consuming.  Maybe, it was the vodka.  No matter the cause, I brushed it off and said that whatever was happening to me was due to an extreme situation, as being on tour is pretty intense.

Now that I think about it, I do remember getting a sense that something was happening to me right away, as soon as the first song on the setlist in Berkeley began.  What was that song?  Paper Gods.  Hmm…what did I notice?  I remember the instant that John’s bass kicked in.  Huh. I hadn’t noticed that on the CD, at least not to that extent.  As the song continued, it was like changing something from black and white to color or from standard TV to HD.  Things got sharper, more noticeable.  See what I mean:

Then, later on, I noticed something else when they played the song, What Are the Chances.  This was a song that I had liked before the tour…but after seeing it performed live.  I love it.  It is one of those of songs that has been played over and over again since I returned.  I remember watching Dom and John on stage.  Dom played his heart out while John sang along to every word with a beautiful back drop behind them.  Magical.

If that wasn’t enough to tell me something was amiss, I found myself saying the following statement after the show at the Agua Caliente casino, “I hate to say it, but I’m starting to like Danceophobia.”  I hoped that people would assume that it was the vodka talking but I don’t think it was!  That isn’t right?!?  What I really think made me say this was that ridiculously dorky but oh-so-entertaining dance that John Taylor does during that song!  Seriously!  I think I could watch that for hours!  Unfortunately, despite my constant searching on YouTube, I haven’t found a clip that really shows it!  This is the best I found!  🙁  Anyone got a better clip that you can share with me?!?  I’ll be your best friend (Not really, Rhonda!  Don’t worry.  I’m just saying that!)

I think the problem is really quite simple when I break it down.  You see…I liked Paper Gods before tour.  Yet, seeing so many tracks played live really got the album under my skin.  Now, the question becomes:  What do I do about it?  I would like to say that I should plan more shows.  I am ready.  I know that I haven’t completely put away everything from this tour but I can do that when I die, right?  I would much rather be planning the next!  If not, I fear that winter really will march on this year.  sigh

-A

 

Paper Gods: Can’t Stop Believing

Today is October 6, and that means it’s 4  5 (I am so sorry that I cannot seem to add simple numbers after 11pm at night, which is when I wrote this.) days shy of the first month that Paper Gods has been available.

What a month it has been. Truly.

As everyone has likely already read on this very blog, Paper Gods was not an immediate “love at first listen” for me. I really needed to allow the music to sit and percolate. I needed to pick out elements that I really enjoyed, and give myself permission to take the time necessary for Paper Gods to take ME on a journey.

Let me be clear: I am not a patient person. It is my biggest fault, by far. I expect things to happen instantly. I’m not one to want to wait for much of anything, and unfortunately sometimes – Duran Duran ends up bearing the brunt of that impatience. I shared my experiences with the album as they happened at the time, but I never really came back and explained that after giving the album some much-needed listening, I dearly love Paper Gods.

It seems strange to type that now, nearly a month into an album’s release, but it’s true. It is really difficult to put my journey into words that make sense here, but I’ll try. Like most anything the band has ever done, Paper Gods isn’t a one-listen, throw away album.  It has depth that goes far beyond the words or music, and I should have realized that was going to happen based on the cover art alone.

In a lot of ways, I’m kind of glad I didn’t fall into immediate love with the album. I really like that Paper Gods challenged my ears, something that hasn’t happened in a long time. It isn’t enough to just sit down and pop the CD into a player or hit your iTunes icon. In order to get something out of it, you’ve got to really listen in the same way that I think in order to understand the full breadth of the band’s career – you’ve got to really be willing to look beyond the pinups and videos. I appreciate that the band, and particularly this album, have forced me to think. I’ve needed to pull the band out of the box and off of the pedestal I previously had them, which overall has been a good thing.  Let me give you just a few examples:

Danceophobia was by far the one song off this album that I just could not digest. Yes, the Lindsay Lohan thing really bugged me. It still does to a large extent. That said, it is so much fun live!!! The first night I saw, I couldn’t even move. I just stood there, watching the band. I won’t lie – I wanted to see them SELL IT.  If they really wanted me to like it, then they had better fucking bring it BIG time. I didn’t want a repeat of other songs off of other albums that I won’t even mention here. I wanted to see the band love the song at least as much as they expected us to do. Well, John Taylor danced like a crazy man, and Dom “co-writer of Danceophobia” Brown (shout out to my dear friend CK for constantly reminding me of that fact over the past several weeks) couldn’t seem to stand still either.  I marveled at the scene as my foot started to tap on its own. (dammit!) Then there’s Jessie, the new backup singer, who has more energy than an entire AUDIENCE of Duranies. I’ll say this much: she’s a much better doctor than Lindsay. Big controversial name on the album or not, the song has become one of the most fun in  Duran Duran’s live show, and dammit (again) – I danced. I DANCED. It’s just a silly dance song, and that’s OK.  Not every song they do has to be deep and insightful. Some songs can just be shallow, fun, and tongue-in-cheek. Yes, the band sold it. More importantly, they sold it to ME.  I can’t fight that. (Don’t even bother emailing me your “I told you so’s” CK….)

In some of the early reviews Amanda and I did, I wondered out loud about the album feeling so electronic. It’s something that I’ve heard a lot out of the mouths of a lot of fans, including my own from time to time. Is that really all that fair, though?  I’m not quite so sure. The album still has guitar, PLENTY of bass and a ton of drums. Just because they aren’t necessarily served up in the same way as All You Need is Now doesn’t mean they aren’t there…and this just goes back to taking the band out of the box we’ve been keeping them in. It’s not fair to them, and it is definitely not fair to our own ears or heart. For weeks I sat by my stereo, thinking to myself that I really liked what I heard, but then I’d second and third guess myself by thinking about the lack of whatever it was I thought I needed at the time. The point is that it’s all still there…and if you haven’t grabbed a copy of Bass Player magazine (you know the one, with JT on the cover), you probably should. Many of my concerns, and likely yours too, are addressed in there. The real difference with this album that I believe 100% is that the band is totally behind it. They made their own choices with the instrumentation – and I refuse to fault them for that. In fact, I applaud them.

I’ve seen a few of the songs live at this point: “Pressure Off”, “Paper Gods”, “Last Night in the City”, “Danceophobia”, “You Kill Me With Silence” and “What are the Chances.” That’s half of the regular album, and they haven’t even started the “real” tour yet! I won’t lie: I wanted to see what, if anything, changed with the band as they played from this album live. I wanted to see if they were still one cohesive unit. Let me tell you: they are all that and then some. Sure, there are some songs that require John on synth bass and Dom is in the back because the guitar isn’t quite as up front. There are songs where Roger’s drums – which are in fact STILL drums, thank you – are mostly electronic. There are also songs where everyone is nearly all over that stage, like “Last Night in the City”- you can’t help but dance to that one, and I challenge any EDM fan to stand still – it cannot be done. There are songs such as “What Are the Chances”,  when Dom lights up the entire theatre with his work. Make no mistake, he has made that song his very own at this point. When they play “You Kill Me With Silence”, you can feel the bass coming up right through the floor and it puts me on pins and needles in a way no other piece of music has ever done.  This band has made it a point to learn to play this music for the live show. Don’t miss out on the chance to see or hear any of that.

Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time should know that Amanda and I are “thinking” people. We really enjoy reading the lyrics, looking at the art work, watching the videos and analyzing how they all work together to create an overall picture. I think the one thing I love most about Paper Gods is that, like an onion, there are so many different layers. I can’t take the music at face value any more than I should take the cover. When you listen to the songs – it might be really easy to write them off as pure pop. They’re so much more than that once you add in the words, and when you start considering that some of the songs with the most depth are also done with a lot of synth, it’s an interesting sort of dynamic. Just as the cover is far more than a bunch of stickers put up on a backdrop, the album is far more than just some EDM or pop. You don’t actually HEAR that on the first listen, it takes much more attention than just one listen. If you take the album as a whole, you start getting the feeling that this album is an overall look at the career of the band. From “Paper Gods,” a song all about the materialistic nature of our society – using a term that could easily be applied to the band themselves, to “Last Night in the City, ” a tune that is truly about touring, to “Face for Today,” which really seems to be a good bit of advice to today’s young celebrities, on to “Only in Dreams,” which seems to echo some of the feelings a lot of fans have about the band…and finally “The Universe Alone,” which really seems to describe the end. I dare say that the album starts to feel just a bit like a loosely held concept album.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this band is so much smarter than any of us have ever given them credit for.

We waited a long, long, time for this album – and I’m telling you as a fellow fan, it was worth every single second of the wait. Give it many proper, thorough listens from start to finish. There’s a story in there, waiting to be discovered.

-R

 

 

 

 

You Don’t Dance? Apparently We Do!

I started this blog while sitting at Rendezvous Bar at the Agua Caliente Casino with some of my favorite Duranies so it might not be the best written ever.  It was our last night in the city and I was and still am filled with lots of emotions.  I know that people are probably interested in a review of the Agua Caliente show but I want to reflect on some other aspects of the shows and touring instead.  I will say this, though.  Friday night’s show at Berkeley was probably technically better for all the reasons I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, including all of the interactions and energy.  That said, yesterday, it was our last show.  It was a longer show.  It was a show that included both White Lines (thanks for getting us once again, LeBon!) and Save a Prayer as well as Wild Boys.  There was also a very high hug between John and Simon after What Are the Chances.  More importantly for me and Rhonda, we had front row center at a venue that allows you to put your arms right on the stage.  That changes everything.  Everything.  It increases the intensity by about 10,000.

As long-time readers probably know, we first had front row in Biloxi in 2012 after waiting all day long in the general admission line.  I absolutely sucked at being front row that night.  I was too overwhelmed to interact or give real feedback to the band.  I desperately wanted a do over but that didn’t happen until this tour.  At Berkeley, we had front row right. This was a perfect taster for me.  The stage was high and I wasn’t really near my favorite (John).  I could get used to it and get comfortable.  Last night, though, we were front row center.  I was literally right by Simon.  I had to be ready and I was.  There was no standing there, being stunned.  No, I asked them to bring it so I had to bring it, too!

I sang, screamed and danced like I haven’t in years.  I’m surprised I still have a voice.  For once, I wasn’t hiding my love for the band.  No, I was showing it openly and wished for the band to see it and feel it.   There were moments that I felt like they knew that I was there, supporting, giving love and more whether it was a brief glance or a quick smile from one of the guys.  I am like everyone, though, in that it is never enough.  I wished to shake John’s hand or tell Simon how great he was or request a coveted item like a setlist or a guitar pick.  Yet, I did none of the above.  I’m not good with being assertive like that, especially when others near me are trying for the same things I am and, in some cases, are willing to step on others to do so.  For example, last night, I was hoping to stand there for a few minutes longer after the show to soak it all in, to process, but I soon found myself literally being smushed in a painful way between two people trying for the setlist that had been taped down on stage for Simon.  No, in those moments, I back down.  Nothing is that important to treat others around me disrespectfully.  That said, someday, I have to hope that karma will work to my advantage.

Now, as I sit here, preparing to leave, I find myself rather introspective.  Was this tour worth the work to get here?  Was it worth the hassle?  Did it provide me with the fun and the break that I so desperately needed?  I had to work really hard to get to do this tour and to be ready to go.  As this tour winds down, I have to say that it was worth it.  Did it live up to every hope?  Did every dream get made?  Absolutely not, but, many did.  I had the most amazing seats for all three shows, for example!   More importantly,  I had a kick ass time with a bunch of great Duranies and friends!  I saw three fabulous shows.  Heck, I even managed to find a way, I think, to tolerate, to appreciate Danceophobia!  How, you wonder?  Simple.  Watch John during it.  His enthusiasm and dancing  make it fun!

Will the return to reality hurt?  Extremely.  I might, once again, question my decision to go then.  Yet, I know that I could look back to this blog and even the blogs prior to today’s to remember that it was worth it.  The Berkeley show and  last night’s show made all of the driving worth it, for example.  Being front row made it all the more special.  These shows and this tour reminded me of the fun, the friendship and the pure escape that comes with the territory.  Isn’t that what it is all about?!  It is for me.

-A