I like to believe that my timing is pretty good. If I want to be on time, I can be. This time, though, I’m even a little early. What am I early for? I’m early in wishing my partner-in-crime, my fellow blogger and Duranie a HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Tomorrow is the actual day but Monday’s aren’t my day to blog, typically. On top of that, I will also be at work for at least 12 hours as I put in a full day and hold four hours of parent-teacher conferences after. Thus, I’m using my Sunday blogging opportunity to write a little blog, celebrating not only my best friend’s birthday but also to cheer the friendship that we have.
In looking back at a friendship that began in 2004, I recognize that we have shared quite a few emotions and a number of significant events together. I believe that strong emotions and significant experiences help to solidify friendships so that they can endure the up and down nature of life and relationships. This blog, then, will attempt to shed light on some of those feelings and events.
One thing is for sure—a lot of our friendship has been fueled by our shared excitement for Duran Duran happenings. Looking back, this began in December of 2004 when a flurry of phone calls took place surrounding upcoming tour dates supporting the reunion album of Astronaut. I still recall the feeling of pure joy in calling Rhonda mid-day later that week to report that I indeed was able to acquire VIP tickets for us for the Chicago show in March 2005. Of course, this type of activity has been repeated countless times since. The most recent being when the band released the video for Last Night in the City, inspiring repeated viewing and a little video review, which you can see here:
In many cases, those feelings of excitement translate to pure joy when the anticipation becomes reality. For us, over the years, generally, the joy has come from screaming, singing and dancing at a Duran Duran concert. It might even come when we squee over DoJo. The first one was in Chicago and the last one was in Chula Vista, California, with shows in between in various locations like the Northeast, the Southeast and even the UK.
Of course, our fandom has been more than video releases and concerts. A lot of our fandom has been about talking, thinking, discussing about all things Duran. I think of countless examples of times that we have watched or listened to something together. Last year, for example, we exchanged a series of text messages as the lyrics to different songs on Paper Gods sunk in. When we really paid attention to the lyrics of Last Night in the City and realized that the words described how we feel on tour, then the album began to take hold. Years earlier, we viewed the brand new video for All You Need Is Now together, squeed in delight and picked apart the images we loved the most. Sometimes, our need to discuss take place at strange times like when the video for Girl Panic came out. I couldn’t wait to talk to Rhonda about how smart the video is so I called her from my classroom during my brief lunch hour.
While our friendship has often surrounded fun and good times, we have also experienced moments of extreme worry. We grieved when Andy left for the second time, for example. Another instance was when we felt for that we were facing the end of Duran Duran when Simon lost his voice in 2011 and the UK spring tour had to be canceled. There we were in the UK, having flown for four shows and getting none. Instead of staying away from all things Duran, we ventured out to the band’s studio where we witnessed Simon explain that he didn’t think he was going to be able to sing followed by John’s look of devastation. Like others there, we put on a brave face. Rhonda and I did what was logical. We went for ice cream to drown our sorrows in dairy and sugar.
Unlike almost all of my other friendships, Rhonda and I took a very brave, but risky step to do more than just be friends. We decided that we would work together. Sometimes, this decision brought us closer together when we faced challenges and bonded over a shared realized that only we could understand what we experienced. Other times, we pushed and pulled against each other, wanting to dig in our heels about something or another while at the same time reaching for compromise. I look back at some of those moments and realize that the push and pull always brought out the best in us even if it wasn’t always easy. Yet, we weren’t afraid to have those little disagreements, knowing that our foundation as friends was strong. Clearly, we have worked well together on this blog, with fan events, with a convention and even with writing, despite any and all setback. Truly, I didn’t just gain a friend but someone that helps me bring out the best in me.
The thing is that a lot of friendship surrounds fun. Sometimes, our hard work has led us to celebrate. At other times, it is simply being together that brings fun, whether in person, on the phone or via Skype. Luckily, many of our in person good times have been at Duran shows. I won’t lie. We have held many “all night parties” and enjoyed many “cocktail bars”. At the end of day, there isn’t much better than having a vodka tonic or two and laughing over some ridiculous quote that one of us had uttered.
Looking at all of these emotions that we have experienced together, I also have to appreciate the little moments. I look back at all the times we were in a car driving to or from a show. Those moments were filled with listening to Duran while creating what we thought would make a great setlist. Other little moments that I have enjoyed include going to art museums together, dancing to 80s music at a club, or simply talking or exchanging emails.
On this day then I celebrate our friendship and the person, the friend who puts up with me and who has shared all of these emotions with me. My world would be a lot smaller, a lot less fun and a lot less happy. On that note, then, I wish her the happiest of birthdays and many more to follow! I also hope that all of you wish her a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!
The other day, we had a guest blog that contemplated whether or not Paper Gods marked the beginning of a long-term exit strategy for the band. After all, they certainly can’t keep playing forever, can they? (All due respect to the Rolling Stones…and even Paul McCartney on that one…)
I have to admit that when I posted the blog, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I had chatted back and forth with Jeff, telling him that I felt like his ideas would be in a safe place here, and I really believed that. However, one cannot ever know for certain how something will be interpreted. Once you publish something and it’s out there, it really doesn’t belong to you any longer.
I was both pleasantly surprised…and perplexed…by the responses. While there were some that hoped “out loud” that he was wrong, there wasn’t a single “call to arms”. No one called him names, questioned his fandom, or did much of anything besides encourage him. I was relieved. I was also surprised.
In the past, Amanda and I have floated similar ideas past the fan community. They were shot down in a hail of proverbial bullets. Granted, timing and wording likely have everything to do with why that may have happened, but I would not be doing MY job as a blogger if I didn’t just throw it out as a conversation starter. Why is now so much different? Are we ready to accept the possibility as a community? Why is that?
As for me personally, I am not ready to say goodbye …but I don’t know if I would ever really be. In other words, I’m not ready for the band to quit, but if they do, I suppose I’m as satisfied as I’d ever be. I’ve been ready to at least entertain the notion though, for a while now. I don’t know why that is, but I suppose I’ve sensed the possibility lurking behind each new corner. I hate being surprised, and so my thinking has been that if I prepare myself…I’ll be ready. Just in case.
I agree with much of what Jeff said the other day. I have felt like this entire album cycle has been, well…weird. Like my friend Michelle mentioned on Facebook, I don’t know why. I can’t put my finger on it. I keep thinking that maybe it’s just me. The shows have been fun, the album is good, but there’s something just different about it all – and maybe the difference is me. The odd thing is that more than a few have mentioned the same thing to me in passing. Weird.
Yes, as I read through Jeff’s blog, much of it made me nod in agreement. I can’t ignore some of the more obvious things that make me think they’ve got an exit strategy. I don’t understand the way the band has decidedly pulled back from fans, whether its ducking in and out of a back door at a venue or hotel, or the way they’ve stopped engaging (for the most part) on social media. The setlist never freaking changes. They play their hits because it’s a cross-section that pleases everyone. I’ve wondered if the reason they never found a new guitar player is because they knew it would be a short-term thing. I don’t know. Maybe it’s all just a coincidence. Maybe it’s fans reading way more into it than they should. I really don’t know, but I appreciate the conversation more than any of our readers could ever know. Sometimes, it just feels better to get the words out and have an honest chat with people who share the same emotionality. It’s been especially nice not being flooded with nasty notes about his blog, too.
I share many of the same questions. I have none of the answers, unfortunately. Whether it’s an exit strategy or not, all we can really do is continue to enjoy the music. The one thing I know for sure is that the music will continue to live long after the band plays their final chord as Duran Duran. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, and I intend to keep right on enjoying!
It is the final week of this part of Duran Duran’s Paper Gods Tour. Tour time moves so fast. I feel like Paper Gods was released just a few weeks ago rather than a year ago (anniversary is a week from tomorrow!) and that they just start playing shows. As this part of the tour comes to a close, I wanted to take a few minutes to summarize some of the latest news, info, reactions regarding this tour.
Saying Good-bye to Chic
This past week, Chic played their final show with Duran. Social media marked the moment with photos and videos. The photos started a few days before including this photo posted on Duran Duran’s social media:
Clearly, the touring family is a large, happy one based on this photo! Then, Nile tweeted about how he is going to miss being on tour with Duran. I think most people who saw the two bands together would say that they, too, will miss him being on tour. There were many, many, many times that I read and heard about how perfect of a bill this was. Usually, fans ignore the “opening band”. In this case, that was impossible. Instead, the shows often felt like there were two genuine headliners. On a personal note, I definitely believe Nile’s appearance on stage with Duran during Notorious breathed new life into that song!
Anyone who has seen Chic live or watch videos of their performances knows that during their final song, Good Times, they bring people on stage with them. This creates a real party atmosphere! Well, apparently, for their final show, a few special guests appeared.
Here is a longer video of this song:
Clearly, there is a lot of love between both bands and I’m sure that Chic will be missed by both Duran and their fans.
Duran Duran is playing in Cancun, Mexico, on December 29th. Earlier this week, the pre-sale information appeared on the DuranDuranMusic website for those fans hoping to get tickets before the general public sale. Today, though, the tickets went on sale through Ticketmaster for everyone. This is a show that would be fun to attend, especially since it is taking place somewhere warm in December when I will likely be driving through snow and wearing a winter coat. Unfortunately, the costs for this show are out of my budget, but I’m sure that everyone who is able to go will have a blast!
Awaiting More Dates
Fans all over the world are anxiously watching and waiting for more tour dates. There are many areas of the world that hasn’t seen a Duran show for many years. Then, there are some areas like South America that has seen/heard touring rumors for 2017 but nothing official has been said. Of course, Duran also stated previously and repeated with the Cancun pre-sale that they are hoping to have one more show on the East Coast of North America before the end of this year. Many fans are hoping for word on that show, sooner rather than later! I know that I’m anxious to see where and when while hoping that it is such that I might be able to squeeze a trip in somewhere.
Until more dates are announced, I am going to focus on appreciating the last few dates in North America for this leg of the Paper Gods Tour by watching videos, looking at photos and reading stories from those in attendance. I hope those fans scream loud enough for me!!
Today marks the beginning of the third or fourth leg (depending on how you look at the fall 2015 shows) of the North American Paper Gods Tour. I don’t know about the rest of you but while I knew that the Duran shows started today, I couldn’t remember where they were going and when. Here are the upcoming dates, according to DuranDuranMusic:
If these dates weren’t enough, DDHQ also announced that they were hoping to schedule one final show on the East Coast of the US before the end of the year. On top of that, I have seen some rumblings about a South American tour next year. Of course, there are lots of part of the world, like Europe, Australia, Asia to name a few, who are anxiously awaiting tour date announcements for their neck of the woods.
While I personally hold no tickets to any of these announced shows, I love to see others’ excitement about their upcoming shows. I know lots of people traveling or getting ready to travel. Other friends are searching the internet for any indication of whether or not the tour rumors could be true. Still, others are contacting us about planned meet-ups. Did you know, for example, that there is a meet-up being planned for the September 10th show? There is! You can find details here.
Do I wish that I could go to these shows? Without question. When I typically think about touring, the first thought that comes to my mind is about the fun I have. It feels the ultimate freedom despite having jobs like doing this blog and organizing and hosting meet-ups. Work, on the other hand, does not equal fun or freedom for me. Does it for anyone? It is time consuming and stressful. Yet, when I think about both touring and work, I recognize the reason I keep doing both.
While touring is, of course, about seeing Duran Duran perform live, it is more than that. It is about traveling and partying. Yet, at the end of the day, what really keeps me going back is having connections. Every show provides the feeling of connection between the band and the audience. A great show for me always include the band interacting a great deal with each other and with the crowd. A beyond great show is when there feels like more of a personal connection with me personally, which can happen by locking eyes with a band member or laughing with a band member. Again, though, the connections go beyond the band on stage.
Duran shows remind me of all the connections that I have made with other Duranies over the years. I could go to a show anywhere in the country and I suspect that I would find people I know there. I remember being in Minneapolis this summer and spending a lot of time before the show roaming the floor greeting people I know. Then, I think of the times in Vegas with a crowd of people filling up the Eye Candy bar at Mandalay Bay to hang out with each other. At those moments, I feel very connected to others. There is no better feeling for me than to feel like that.
Then, when I think of teaching, connections keep me in the classroom. Connections with colleagues help me to push through the changes and the stress of a new school year. Then, after the first few weeks, connections with the students form. The connections with the kids give me the real joy from the job and keep me in the classroom despite the crappy pay, disgusting treatment by too many politicians and devaluing of what teachers do by too many of the general public out there.
Despite being a person who is content to be by myself a lot, I need those connections. They motivate me at work and they motivate me with maintaining my fandom. Maybe that need is why I hope that the East Coast show happens at such a time that I’m able to go. I want to keep up the connections I have and make new ones. In the meantime, I anxiously await to hear about these shows from the people there. In fact, every post, tweet, update makes me feel like I have an indirect connection, which is better than no connection at all.
Today marks the official end to my summer. It isn’t that the calendar states September whatever to indicate the beginning of fall or that my students arrive in my classroom tomorrow. It is, for me, though the last day before I go into that classroom and prepare it for students. Yes, kids, this teacher is going back to work tomorrow. (Please note…the utter enthusiasm…HA!) Before I do that, I want to take one last, long look back to my summer and, more specifically, the summer tour! Following in our touring tradition, I give you all our summer tour by the numbers!
Miles Driven: 2348
We drove a LOT. I mean A LOT. For the first leg, I drove from Madison, Wisconsin, to Toronto and back. During the second leg, Rhonda drove from her place in Orange County to Paso Robles to Vegas to Chula Vista back to Orange County. It is definitely the most we drove for any “tour”. I can speak for Rhonda when I say that we are SO thankful that we have days and breaks in between driving.
8 Shows: (1 extra for each of us)
During this summer leg, we saw 8 shows together and one extra separately as Rhonda went to the LA show in May and I drove up to Minneapolis. I know that some might think this is excessive. My response to that is simple. We did just as many shows during the All You Need Is Now Tour. They were just split up more. (Logical response, right?!)
We stayed in 7 different hotels in the following places: Chicago, Kalamazoo, Detroit, Toronto, Tinley Park, Paso Robles and Vegas. I generally like staying in hotels but they are a killer on the pocketbook!
Like the hotels, we were in 7 different states or provinces: Wisconsin (just me) Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ontario, California and Nevada. Those places remain standing. As for their vodka supply…perhaps, not so much!
Those Damn Pants:
If you were reading our blog while we were on tour, you might
have seen a mention or two (hundred) about John Taylor’s pants. I won’t go into detail other than to say that they were not my favorite and I saw him wear them for 5 shows (Chicago night 1, Detroit, Paso Robles, Vegas and Irvine). Call this acknowledgement closure on my end. I promise. They will never be mentioned again.
Holy Confetti Batman!
Our summer tour began without the confetti at the two Chicago
shows. We missed it terribly. The other 6 shows more than made up for it!
Average Number of Drinks:
Uh…I thought about doing this one as just a straight up number but I figured that it might scare people (or me!). Let’s just put it this way. We had quite a few vodka tonics. Maybe we had more than a few. Some might say we had a lot. So, I think we averaged between 4-5 per day. I think. Maybe. We apologize to all of those cities that had to replace the vodka after we left.
One of our touring traditions is to suggest a setlist for each show we go to. This time, we gave the band a break on the first leg since Nick was not there. By the second leg, we felt confident that MNDR knew how to bring it leading us to suggest a setlist or four. Of course, the fifth one was the one we actually got, you know…from the band, on stage!
4 Official Meet-ups:
We organized and hosted 4 official pre-show meet-ups in Chicago (both nights), Toronto and Vegas! We had a good time and were thrilled with the turn out!!!
2 Bloggers on Tour:
Sometimes, touring can be lonely.
Sometimes, touring can be tiring.
One Wristband Given:
For this tour, we had new wristbands made with the idea being that sales of them would go towards next year’s convention. Many people at our meet-ups bought one (or more than one!), which we are truly thankful for. I am forced to admit that I did give one away, but just one…to this guy below.
One Future Blogger:
The Irvine show had a special attendee. We are hoping that she will be ready to take over for us one day!
One Awesomely, Amazing, Durantastic Tour and Summer!
I have had other summers that featured touring but nothing quite like this one! I felt like I was on tour for literally most of the summer and when I wasn’t on tour, I was either getting ready or recovering from it. I’m anxious to go it again, but I doubt it will be any time soon. That said, I’m willing to plan for an East Coast show, though…
I got my ticket for the Duran Duran show in Atlanta as soon as they announced the dates and went on sale. I made the decision to get a ticket by myself in the chance that it would get me a better seat. My other friends made the same decision. We planned to stay at the same hotel, go to and from the show together and have a mini meetup.
The day after I got my ticket my best girl that I describe as my “egg” asked me if I would mind if she went with me. I was delighted. I immediately started looking for a ticket close to me but there was nothing right beside me. Still, I was over the moon excited! My best friend wanted to share this with me. I got her a ticket 1 row up from me in the next section. So we would be divided by almost nothing but a little space. This was perfect! I emailed her and we started to get excited. My little group booked our hotel rooms and began the countdown. My mind started to go to giddiness! Duran Duran, and my 2 best friends. I even pictured how our pictures were going to look.
My best friend had some family emergencies come up and she was unable to go. I was bummed. I felt crushed but was still going. I worried about the ticket and I worried about the show and worried about our friendship—which should not have been worried about. I started posting about a ticket I had and hoped to find someone to buy it. On the day before the show, one of my girlfriends from high school, Crista, said she wanted to go. She liked the band and thought it would be fun. We planned on her going.
Three of us, including my high school friend and another friend (Kelle), made our way to Atlanta to see my friends and, of course, my band! On the way down there, Crista stated that she wasn’t feeling well so she was going to lay down. I was driving and I looked into the rearview mirror to see Crista asleep in the backseat. When we got to the hotel, I did the introductions and saw my other friends. Crista went up to the room to sleep. I went out to lunch with the friends I was meeting there in Atlanta. We caught up and were just over the moon happy to be together and to be going to the show. I came back to the room and Crista said she would meet us at the concert because she still wasn’t feeling good. My worry level jumped to high, at this point.
I continued to follow the plan to go out for dinner and drinks before heading over to the show. While at dinner, I got a text from Crista stating that she was there and was happy with her seat. We talked about enjoying the show, taking pictures, and being happy, having what we call a “Durantastic” time.
The next day we were heading home after sharing goodbyes and more pictures. Crista told me her love for Simon and she would now be a “Duranie”…which happens every time!! LOL
This week, almost four months after the Atlanta show, I was out with Crista and other mutual friends. I heard Crista tell our girlfriends about the show. She shared something I didn’t know, which moved me. Something I didn’t mention is that Crista has lupus. She spends a lot of her time in bed in pain. Simple tasks like taking a bath can be tough and there are times where she doesn’t leave her house or bed for days or weeks at a time.
She talked about Nile Rodgers and Chic onstage. She said the minute they went on, everyone at the Atlanta show was on their feet. Everyone was dancing. Everyone around her: young, old, big, small was dancing, laughing and acting like they were all friends. She shared that in the midst of all the dancing and enjoying the music Nile shared his cancer story or as I call it his testimony. He talked about how the doctor told him that he didn’t have long but he lived life and beat his cancer. Crista recalled this story this past week and shared how this made her want to live and enjoy life, which made my heart full. One best friend couldn’t go, which gave another best friend a chance to hear the words she needed to hear to live her life and try to enjoy the little moments.
Of course, she then went on to tell me how good Duran Duran was live and how all the band members were good looking (DUH!!!!). I gave her a copy of the Paper Gods CD and she said her favorite song is Face for Today. That song is so her! Every time I hear it I think of her. Every time I look at a picture from Atlanta I think of her. She wasn’t in a lot of the pictures because of her illness but she is in the memories of my heart and that show. She made friends with the girls there and this has expanded my little area of Duranies in Tennessee.
Kim has been a DD fan for as long as she can remember after the video for Hungry Like the Wolf really hooked her. Kim’s favorite songs are Seventh Stranger and Pretty Ones, but her moods change and she finds herself being pulled toward different songs based on her mood. Kim is also a John girl and always has been. She was relatively new to the Duran concert and meet up scene at the end of the All You Need Is Now Tour but found herself at a number of shows and meet ups with a great group of friends since then! She lives in Tennessee with her husband and pets.
Last night, Duran Duran posted the following on social media:
If you haven’t had a chance, read the terrific Yahoo Music interview with MNDR, where she talks about her experience touring with Duran Duran. We’re happy to announce she will be continuing on the Paper Gods tour for the remainder of the N. American dates!
As you might imagine, the fan community reacted. As I looked through the comments on both Twitter and Facebook, I found 4 basic types of reactions.
MNDR was great at ____________ show and the keyboards are in “good hands”
My worry has increased since Nick has been gone so long that it must be serious. Can we please have an update about what is going on?
Happy? Why use the word ‘happy’? Who is happy about it?
So upset that Nick won’t be at ______________ show. Expected him to be there when bought the ticket.
None of these reactions surprised me. Whenever some upsetting news is given, people respond with all sorts of emotions. It happened in July when the announcement first came that Nick had to return to the UK and it has happened now. I can’t blame anyone for his/her reaction as they are all very human responses.
MNDR Was Great:
I have to admit that I would probably fall into this camp. Both Rhonda and I have mentioned numerous times over our shows this summer that we thought she did a fabulous job. I still think that. Does that mean that I preferred her over Nick? Of course not. It just means that I was happy that the shows could go on and that the quality of the music was not harmed significantly by a replacement. Many of us have held tickets to canceled shows in the past. There is not much worse than that. If the band had canceled, when would they be able to return? Who knows? They might not have and if they did, would I have been able to attend the show(s) then? Who knows again? Having MNDR fill in was the best choice, I believe.
I totally understand people’s concern. We all want everything with Nick to be fine and for him to attend the shows. Yet, we know that he is physically fine based on the Katy Kafe that was posted on the 10th. Clearly, he wishes that he could be on tour but he has something to take care of. Who I know what that is? No. Do I need to know? Not really. I look at my job. Do I tell my students every time I need to be gone from work? No. I don’t tell them anything that won’t effect their classroom experience. If it doesn’t affect the job, it doesn’t need to be stated. I understand why people want to know. They care. They worry. Yet, clearly, this is something that Nick wants to keep private. As hard as it is for all of us who care about Nick a lot, I think we have to try and respect that wish. I know that it is much easier said than done.
Ah..word choice. As someone who writes a blog, I am well-aware of how ONE word can upset people. Those who are upset about the use of the word, ‘happy’, do you really think that DDHQ means that they are happy Nick is gone? Or do you think they are happy that someone good can stand in so the shows don’t have to be canceled? Again, as someone who writes and puts thoughts out there to be consumed by the public, I wish people were a less little critical and assume that there was nothing but good intentions behind it.
Again, I totally understand those people who have tickets to shows and expected Nick to be there. I, too, would be upset. Heck, I was upset that he wasn’t at my shows. Again, though, I ask that people assume positive intentions. Nick and the DDHQ didn’t do this to anger people or frustrate ticket buyers or to dupe people out of money. Things happen. We don’t have to like it and we can be angry at the situation but I don’t know that the anger should be directed at the band or their team. I also ask people about the alternative. Would people really prefer the shows be canceled only to possibly NEVER happen? Yeah, the situation sucks. For sure. Yet, I believe that something is better than nothing.
On that note, I continue to send love and support to Nick and his family with whatever it is that is being dealt with. Clearly, there are a lot of people out there doing the same.
On August 5th, Duran Duran played the last show of this most recent leg of their Paper Gods Tour. The tour, of course, will start up again on August 27th. Unfortunately, for me and Rhonda, our shows are all done. Our last show was on the 2nd, less than 2 weeks ago. Yet, in many ways, that show feels like years ago. I’ll admit that I’m sad for the end of the tour and for other reasons. Sometimes, right now, it makes me sad to listen or see Duran. At other times, that’s all I want to do.
This afternoon, I want to remember each and every minute of our tour this summer. Maybe, some of you out there, feel like I do in that you, too, are sad that your show(s) is over. Our memories from the shows will live on, right? Thus, here is how I’m dealing this afternoon. I’m picking out one video per show that I went to. The videos I choose will focus on a song or moment of the show that I really loved for some reason.
Now that I have shared moments from my shows, I would like all of you to share videos of your show(s). Keep me watching and listening to Duran for the rest of the day and night. Help me to keep the tour alive in my head for a few more hours!
I have to make this blog a fast one as I’m already late for today’s plans. As you all know our tour ended Tuesday night in Chula Vista. Wednesday was all about travel for me. I flew home during the afternoon but due to the time change I arrived back in Chicago well after 9. That isn’t totally fair. I landed before 9. Then, my plane proceeded to drive around O’Hare for the next 35 minutes or so. I wish I was kidding. By that point, my patience had worn very thin as I was tired, anxious to use a bathroom and had people waiting for me.
Typically when I come back from tour, my parents pick me up, which generally means they stop the car long enough for me to throw my suitcase in before hitting the expressway. This time, though, they parked. It wasn’t about me, though. No. It was about my nieces, their granddaughters. Earlier this summer, arrangements were made to have my two teenage nieces fly from North Carolina to visit with us here in the Midwest. It seemed logical to have them fly in on the same day that I returned to avoid an additional trip to the airport as Madison is over two hours from O’Hare. The nieces arrived about 2 hours before me and they were all waiting for me by baggage, which I admit felt pretty nice.
A normal ride home from a tour includes me trying to convey some or any of what the tour was like to my parents who typically listen and try to understand as much as they can. This time, I wanted to hear about my nieces, including their trip in, the time spent on their vacation at the beach, my eldest niece’s writing camp, and their school schedules. Part of me still wanted to talk about tour, of course, but the time with the girls is limited. The drive home Wednesday was long as we stopped for food and drove through a ton of construction. I’m not really kidding when I say that the entire state of Wisconsin was under construction. The two o’clock bedtime meant that part of me still felt like I was on tour despite being no where near the show in Glendale, Arizona.
Yesterday, we went to see Star Trek: Beyond and played a lot of games as we typically do when the family is together. In between activities, I slept. I felt like I hadn’t really slept in days. Weeks. Months. The level of exhaustion was intense. Even this morning, I planned to get up and do some laundry before today’s marathon shopping (as requested by the nieces). Alas, I turned off that alarm and slept a good three hours longer than I had planned.
Why am I sharing all of this on today’s blog? Simple. Normally, the first few days after a tour is spent not only recovering but processing. I look through pictures. I tally up the tour by the numbers. The tour binder gets emptied and put away. A lot of time is spent thinking about the shows, thinking about conversations, thinking about the moments that I really want to remember forever. This time, though, that processing will have to be done later after the girls leave. Of course almost immediately following their departure, work meetings begin. Rhonda and I also have a list of things that need to be done for the next upcoming projects. There won’t be much time to focus on the fabulousness of this year’s tour.
I admit that there is a part of me wanting that time to process, needing that time. I want to revel in the memories. Every single second needs to be remembered. Yet, I also recognize that there is another part of me that would quickly become sad at the realization that the tour is over. Plus, who knows exactly when (or ever) there will be another one. Yes, my bank account needs a rest (a serious one). Emotionally I know that I would be struggling if it wasn’t for being busy. In that way, maybe, I planned this tour perfectly to avoid the very real post Duran show/tour depression.
We were fortunate to get a couple of different reviews for the DD show at BB&T Pavilion in Camden NJ – this one coming to us from Cindy Koller. Thanks so much for sharing, Cindy!! We welcome any and all reviews of DD shows, so if you feel inclined to write – let us know! -R
By Cindy Koller
The dawning of July 21st brought a lot of excitement. I had just returned the night before from a brutal 10 hour drive north from Myrtle Beach. I was ready to have some fun, and I knew the Duran Duran concert would fit the bill nicely, so to speak.
I am a fan of 33 years and this would be my twelfth show over a 29 year span. Duran has never disappointed me and always puts on a great show, so I knew it would be a fantastic night. I gathered two of my Duranie friends and made the 90 minute drive to Camden: a city with “a tricky reputation” as Simon would say later that night.
An additional fun fact was that by a pure happenstance, an old Duranie friend I had not seen since high school was going to be joining us for the show, instead of my son. She has attended many shows over the years, from The Dead to Dave Matthews to John Mayer. She is a regular attendee of the Philadelphia Folk Festival. Yet, she had never seen Duran live. She would bring a whole new realm to my experience that night.
I was actually excited to see CHIC a little more than Duran, as I have liked them since 1979 and had never seen them live. Their music is part of the foundation of my musical taste that would eventually lead me to Duran. I love Nile Rodgers and just could not wait to see him perform with his band.
We arrived at the BB&T Pavilion, and after getting our refreshments, we entered the venue. It is an open air amphitheater, with 7,000 seats under the roof and a large lawn area beyond. I had purchased tickets 5 rows from the stage, on John’s side. I was beyond thrilled! As we walked to our seats, TOKiMONSTA was just finishing her live DJ set. She soon took her bows and my small group chatted while we waited for CHIC.
The venue was still half empty as CHIC was announced, but they were nonplussed. And the set they performed was sheer perfection! Nile and his band were tight and obviously loved performing as they put on one hell of a show. Both female singers were great, but the one named Kimberly gave all of us chills! Her voice was so warm and full of soul. Fantastic! They played a few of their hits and launched into a set of hits that Nile had helped pen, like Diana Ross’ I’m Coming Out, Philly’s Sister Sledge’s We Are Family, Daft Punk’s Get Lucky and the highlight, Bowie’s Let’s Dance. CHIC was absolutely phenomenal! I can see why John Taylor says they raise the bar for Duran’s performances.
Another small intermission while CHIC’s gear was broken down was another chance to just enjoy my friends and the atmosphere. CHIC had definitely gotten us in the mood to groove, so by the time the smoke started to emanate around the stage, we were ready to party!
With the first thunder crack, I actually looked behind me, to the lawn area behind, wondering if the bad weather that had been threatened had arrived. But with the next crack and the light flash, I knew it was Duran’s opening. The lights went down and soon I could see some silhouetted figures moving across the stage, one headed right towards us. I watched as John slipped his bass on to his shoulders and I felt the surge of electric excitement as they were about to launch into their set. Paper Gods filled the venue followed by the screams of the crowd. The stage lights came up and we were off!
Now, I will admit I have been one of those fans complaining about the lack of change in the set list. It really hasn’t changed much since the AYNIN tour, but I have to say, it just works. The others with me were thrilled with the song choices, and probably would have been disappointed if “Rio”, “Come Undone”, or “Hungry Like the Wolf”had not been played. I always grouse before the show, but once I’m there, the setlist is golden!
So, needless to say, song after song, I danced my behind off, enjoying the performance masters that are Duran Duran. Nick was still absent, but TOKiMONSTA filled his spot for the first time and she did quite well! Every moment was to be savored and I did my best to do so. It was a warm and humid night, but that did not stop us from singing and dancing along.
Encore time and “Save a Prayer”was dedicated to those who have experienced the craziness in our world today, lost loved ones to the craziness or just feel the world is a frightening place. Terrorism touches us all now and cell phones were held high in solidarity.
Simon bantered with the crowd about Camden, since it is in New Jersey, but is also directly across the Delaware river from Philadelphia. Were we a Philly crowd, or a New Jersey crowd? I still think Philly won the scream vote. He danced and turned and frolicked about the stage, seeming to defy his 57 years. And yes, he caught his tambourine!! (I watched him clock himself with it in 2008 and always hold my breath whenever he throws it.)
Roger was the solid man we all know him to be, his drumming precise and on beat. Dom was his phenomenal self, playing his parts perfectly. Anna and Erin, two fantastic singers in their own rights, were great and loved to get the crowd involved. Simon Willescroft sauntered about the front of the stage for his sax solos. Am I leaving someone out?
Oh! John Taylor! Of course I could not forget him! Since we were seated directly in front of his bass speakers (!), every note went right through us. Literally. When he went to his bass synth for Last Night in the City, the others in my party were shocked! Why yes, John now has a synth in his arsenal. He smiled and danced and seemed to be having a fantastic time. The only curiosity was why did he leave his leather jacket on all night? He wore it through the whole set until they reemerged for the encore. The man had to be sweltering! And he had the last words of the night, as he mentioned all of the Philly venues Duran had played in over the years, thanked Philly for “the long fucking journey with Duran” and promised to see us again soon. At least he got city/state the loyalties right!
All in all, it was a fantastic show that was over much too fast.
I asked my high school Duranie friend to give me her impression, as it was her first Duran show. Here are her thoughts (with permission):
“Having the opportunity to finally see Duran Duran live and in person was amazing! Seeing those boys come running out on stage and performing Wild Boys, brought up nostalgic memories of loving this band to the point of obsession. They were fun and energetic, seeming to never slow down! This was a high energy show, with no low points to speak of. I see many concerts, and this show was the most fun I’ve had. Every song delivered the appropriate goose bump effects.”
Funny, even though it was my 12th show, Duran still brings out the goose bumps in me too.
Cindy Koller is a mom of two (raised to be Duranies, of course), that has been a Duran Duran fan since July of 1983. (33 years!) She lives with her husband and teenage kids in Western Chester County, Pennsylvania, about 75 minutes outside of Philadelphia. She is a letter carrier in Kennett Square, PA who is lucky enough to have a TAYLOR Street on her delivery route!
An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!