Tag Archives: Duran Duran shows 2019

Standing On A Roof Up Here

This is where it starts

One of the best things to ever come from listening to Duran Duran, at least for me, has been friendship. When I was in sixth and seventh grade, completely awkward looking and feeling (may those school photos never surface…), finding other girls who liked Duran Duran helped me feel a little more normal. Still nerdy and weird, but not alone. As a mom of two, Duran Duran was my one “adult-outlet”. Now, as a middle-aged mom of two adults along with one 10-going-on-15 year old, I have a few incredibly good friends that are my people.

Now, I know that the band doesn’t like to pat themselves on the back for that sort of thing. I get it. You can’t just go around taking credit for saving the world and all that. On the other hand though, isn’t it remarkable that the music continues to bring people together?!? Relationships have been formed, many of them proving to be long lasting and able to withstand thousands of miles in distance. No, I don’t think you can be “proud” of that, per se….but I do believe it’s worthy of marveling over, just a little.

Saying goodbye to darkness

I think of my own fandom in two parts, really. The first would be when I was in school, all the way through college. I adored the band, but I wasn’t involved in a true fan community. Coincidentally, this was all before social media was ever a thing. The second part started in about the year 2000, continuing through present day. Naturally, social media plays a gigantic role in my fandom activities. It is how I first “met” every single one of my current Duran Duran friends. It is also how I stay in touch. I’m not a phone person. I’ll text all day long, but I HATE speaking on the phone. A lot of that has to do with my hearing, but that’s another story for another day.

I’ve known Amanda since 2004. I have a few other friends (Jess, Lisa, Tarcia, Tracye, Robin, Krissie and a few others that I’m failing to list and will likely hear from later) that I’ve been friends with since almost Day One, which would be slightly before I met Amanda. Many of those women have drifted off into their own worlds now, but we still stay in touch. Who said you can’t meet “real” friends online???

When Amanda and I hosted Durandemonium several years back, our goal was to bring fans together. It mattered very little to me whether or not we received any sort of “notoriety” from having put that party together. I didn’t care about being recognized, or having someway call me an uber fan. My joy came from seeing people make new friends. I still see many of those friendly faces when I go to shows, and I like the idea that the weekend that we, along with a great group of organizers, brought people closer.

Now I can see the big idea

Lately, I’ve been spending more time on Twitter. The whole social media thing has had it’s own strange learning curve with me. At first, I spent more time on Facebook (after message boards), then I moved to Twitter, and then back towards Facebook. Now, I’m on Twitter a lot.

Plenty of fans backed off from Twitter once John and Simon stopped tweeting. Even Dom only surfaces once or twice in a blue moon, and I don’t see nearly the same amount of activity on Twitter from fans. But I’m not really there for the band members. (Yes I know everyone says that. I’m not, though. I was there before Duran Duran even joined Twitter!) I like the flow of Twitter. Ignoring the political stuff, the anger and angst – I like to talk about music. There are plenty of people on there that know far more than I do, and I enjoy learning from them.

I feel like I’ve started to fall in with some new friends, whom I treasure. They don’t seem to mind that I write Daily Duranie, or that I’m overly opinionated about some things. I definitely don’t mind that most of them know far more about Duran Duran than I do. In fact, I appreciate it. Our chats range from discussions about Nick’s fashion sense to talking about newly mentioned producers.

One of my newer friends is a podcaster (If you haven’t taken the time to listen to “The D-Side”, you should), another is a photographer (shout out to @BBamok – you’ve seen her work because DDHQ reposts it every once in a while. She is incredibly talented!), still another lives in Birmingham and does beautiful sketches and paints, and a few others are DD collectors that have proven over and over that I know almost NOTHING about Duran Duran. I love them all.

One of them is planning a Duranie party in Atlanta in April. I’m actually considering using a frequent flier ticket and going out there. I haven’t done something like that in years – and I think getting together with other fans is exactly what I need. Just like anyone else, getting away from the house isn’t an easy task for me, so I am going to need to figure out the logistics and have answers before I mention it very quickly in passing to my husband…but I’m working on it!

An empire in a day, built on hope

So what is all of this musing really about, then? I suppose that I’m reminding myself that the best part of being involved in a fan community is in fact the “community” part. Meeting new people, making new friends, learning new things. That is what makes life so wonderful and rich. In turn, if I can remind someone else of that before going into what can sometimes be a crazed, fan-frenzied environment, so be it.

The real experiences and memories don’t come solely from getting that picture of John Taylor. I know that very few of you will believe me there, but it’s true, at least for me. I have one photo with Simon, and another with Dom. Those memories are nice, but when I think about being a Duran Duran fan – those pictures aren’t what my mind drifts to most often. Obviously, the shows and music go without saying, but what else?

My smiles come from thinking about ordering that first vodka tonic with Amanda, when we discovered we liked the same cocktail. I think about listening to Mac tell me about the time John came walking down an escalator. One of my favorite memories was the time Walt drove Amanda and I up in the Hollywood Hills, which culminated in a litany of curse words from me as I exclaimed “Start the damn truck Walt and get us the hell out off of his driveway!” I think about the Ace Hotel, the Sunset Marquis, and how cocktails that mix vodka and champagne are unkind a few hours later. Hurricanes and PB&J’s with Mac and Jess in New Orleans, my friendships with Lori and Suzie, and of course those trips to the UK are the things I think about whenever I start to feel down.

When I can raise it up again

I am so lucky. So, so lucky. It feels good to spend a few minutes in gratitude over the times that I have had in this fan community. I really don’t want or need time directly in front of the band or a band member in order to make my life full or have meaning. I’ve hit the jackpot in so many other ways when it comes to Duran Duran. Seeing the band again in Las Vegas, and more importantly having the opportunity to connect with everyone while I’m there is a bonus to what has already been a wonderful ride.

I wish everyone the very best time in Vegas or New Orleans. We’re going to have a great time! Hope to see many of you along the way – say hi if you see me!

-R

See them walking

As the lights (or sequins) flashing out are so bright

Is anyone else enjoying the pictures, set lists and tweets that seem to go hand-in-hand with touring? I love seeing the flurry of activity, the pictures from backstage (Questionable fashion choices included, l might add. Nice sequins, John.), and even the posts from other fans at the shows. It reminds me of how much I enjoy the whole touring process, even if I can’t be at every show.

Walk right out to the four line track

This week, however, I am very lucky to be able to say I’m getting ready to leave for Las Vegas on Thursday. In the past, I’d hop in my car and just drive the four hours. Maybe I’m weird, but I LIKE driving. I love the idea of being alone with my own thoughts, listening to my own music, and making my own way (no pun intended…really…) there. Unfortunately though, the distance from my current address makes the trip less-than-optimal, so I am flying. I leave on Thursday morning, and I’m flying on a fairly tiny plane – just 30 seats – which should make the trip interesting!

Naturally, the one time I am flying on a very small plane, there’s a chance of snow. Now, I realize most of you live in snowy climates. Snow isn’t exactly “news”…except that this is happening in Las Vegas, which is really not known for snow. I’m not really concerned about the weather – as long as my little plane is able to take off and land at the appropriate places. I would also like to put it out there that I hope everyone else has safe travels, too. After that, I’ll be inside…and probably at a bar. I mean, it’s my vacation!

Sense a rhythm humming

We’ve had quite a few people ask us about meet-ups this week. Here is the thing: we get in on Thursday afternoon and will be ready for fun by late afternoon! This time though, Amanda and I sort of agreed that we’d do things more casually. The pressure of putting something together didn’t appeal to me, and I liked the idea of just going with the flow. I realize that for many of you coming, you might have been hoping for firm plans and big parties. What I will tell you is this, we’ll post where we’re going and you can decide to join in. It’ll BE a big party no matter what, but it takes a little bit of the pressure and planning off of us to do it more like a “pop-up” hangout. Looking forward to seeing everyone!!

In the meantime, I can give the heads up that Mandalay Bay has a pretty good live band that plays in their Rhythm & Riffs lounge right in the middle of the casino. Their name is Phoenix, and they’re a solid cover band. They’ve been at Mandalay for at least 6 years now, if my memory serves. They play a pretty good variety, but they are mainly rock, not pop. They’re not going to break into “Rio”…for example. They go on at 10 on Thursday, and I believe 10:30 on Fridays. I wouldn’t be surprised if you found a bunch of us there on Thursday night, if you happen to be in town and want to open the weekend with a good party!

Wider baby, smile (we haven’t made a million…more like SPENT a million…..)

Now, for those of you who aren’t going to be in Las Vegas, I am going to try my best to keep my phone out of water this time, and post more videos! Dance parties, meet-ups, bar “visits”…Duran shows… what could be better?!? Even if you’re not there, our job is to make you feel like you are still taking part in the action! Watch this space, and stay tuned to our social media!

If you’re not already following Daily Duranie on Facebook , @dailyduranie on Twitter, and dailyduranie on Instagram, what are you waiting for? Add us, and stay up to the minute with our Vegas adventure!!

-R

And I Cut So Far Before I Had to Say

I am so stupid. Well, I don’t really mean that but I do sometimes wonder what the heck I was thinking. Then, I question why I feel the way I do and remind myself of what is logical. I’m sure all of that was clear as mud. Let me explain.

These February Duran Duran shows were announced in the fall. It was the heart of the campaign season as I remember getting the tweet notification on my phone while I was working at the temporary campaign office. As soon as I saw that Duran was playing in Vegas, I texted Rhonda and returned to reporting numbers and keeping track of volunteers. While I was all for going and was excited that she, too, was all for it, I couldn’t think much about it. I was drowning in campaign materials. At the time, I assumed that the election would be long over so going wouldn’t be a problem.

Fast forward to now. February. Months later. While THAT election is over, another one is looming. As I have shared on here before, I’m working on a campaign for a local candidate. On Tuesday, there will be a primary. My candidate will make it through as there is only one other candidate still in the running. (The third candidate dropped out.) The results next week will give us the best idea of where the race stands as polling is not an option for a campaign of our size. This makes me nervous. Has my campaign plan been effective? How much more do we need to do after that to either stay up or catch up? This weekend is full of activities to reach as many voters as possible. Likewise, there are campaign events on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. While I’m already feeling pressure to get everything done and to be effective, this adds some significant stress.

Beyond the worry about Tuesday’s result, I find myself also concerned about work. My students are about to start a big project that needs a little of time on my part to get it organized and to get them started. I am concerned that I’m so distracted that I am going to forget some key pieces. On top of that, my students have been…well…not super angelic. I worry that my room won’t be in one place when I return or that there will be massive bloodshed spilled. (I am exaggerating…slightly.) Of course, things are also piling up at my house. Bills have been sitting on my coffee table for far too long. The dishwasher is over flowing and my cat wonders if I sometimes don’t like him because I forget to see if he needs food.

Despite the need to deal with any and all of the above, what do I want to do?! I want to write up the agenda for the tour or see what needs to be done when it comes to transportation to the hotel. I want to watch Duran video’s from the show in Miami. Questions like will there be merchandise are wanting my full and undivided attention. Alas, I push through all that to get back to my to do list as I wonder if I should even be going on tour right now. The campaign only goes until April. My students could definitely use a more focused, less exhausted me. On top of that, I am concerned that the guilt over having gone will result in less fun and me not being able to really be in the moment. I don’t want that.

Part of me says that I should just cancel. I’m too all over the place to get myself in a state where I feel like I could leave everything behind for a few days. I even wonder if that is the mature, professional thing to do. Then, I stop this line of thinking. The candidate I am working towards knows that I won’t be around. She supports me going. My household chores will wait and I have a great sub coming in for me at work. They might even do better with her than with me. I need to stop this sense of guilt from even forming. After all, don’t I deserve a break? Am I not worthy to have fun sometimes? I think it is fair to say that I work hard (and a lot). Even during my snow days, I worked. I have worked each and every day since November except on Christmas. I need this break. I will be better off for having it. I will be a better teacher and a better campaign manager.

So, why do I have to battle this line of thinking? Is it that women are taught by society that we have to take care of everything and that when we do something for ourselves we are being selfish? I definitely think that is part of it. I feel bad because being on tour is about me, my good times, my enjoyment. Could it also be that a part of me has bought into the notion that fandom isn’t important or that there would be something wrong with me if I’m too into it? That could be, too. I’m only human. I could have internalized all that. I also think part of it is simply that when I get involved with something, I care about the outcome a lot. It is what makes me a good teacher and a good organizer for political actions/movements.

All that said, I’m going to be done worrying. Yes, I have a massive list of what needs to get done before I leave Wisconsin on Thursday morning. It will be an intense week, but I am pretty sure that the reward at the end will be worth it.

-A

Live Beside It, Laughing Till You’re Crying

You might have heard that Wisconsin has had quite a winter. Actually, it started out quiet and very mild and then it took a turn. We have experienced almost the entire season’s snowfall in a few weeks on top of having beyond frigid temperatures. This has resulted in six snow days. I have been teaching for a long time and we have never had as much. In fact, the number is double the maximum number of days we had in the past. What the heck. Anyway, when I have been at work, there has been a lot of discussion about what to do with our curriculum now that we have a lot less days to work with. This led to a funny discussion.

Before I dive into the details, I have to provide some context. When I first started teaching at this school, the entire United States History Team consisted of women, except one. Even our assistant principal was a woman. Over time, this slowly changed. Now, I look around and realize that I’m the only woman among all men. How did that happen?! Luckily, the men I work with are generally good guys (not that I would ever tell them that!). They are well-aware that I’m a pretty outspoken colleague when it comes to issues surrounding women’s rights and women’s voices. (I do teach Women’s Studies, after all.) While they respect that and do try to check themselves, they also cannot resist to give me a hard time every once in awhile.

Earlier this week, we went over the daily topics for the next few weeks. By doing that, we realized that Wednesday the 20th would not be a teaching day. On that date, our juniors take the ACT. While many teachers proctor the exam, the 9th grade teachers like myself have a meeting. Then, the afternoon is usually open for us to work. This led me to literally shout out in glee. Is it because I don’t want to teach? No. It has to do with perfect timing! The free afternoon will give me time to get the plans for the substitute teacher ready. It will ease my stress at work tremendously.

You can imagine my colleagues shock when they heard me squeal. They know that I’m not usually one to enjoy teacher work days. This forced me to explain that I will be gone on the 21st and 22nd while still giving minimal information about where and why I will be out. It isn’t that I’m ashamed of my Duranie activities but knowing my colleagues, they would twist it, somehow, to give me a hard time. Finally, after too many questions, I told them that I would be in Vegas for Duran. Their response was super predictable. One of them said, “There you go again. Letting your life to be dedicated by a bunch of guys,” before laughing his head off. I laughed, too, especially after I threw a pencil at him.

I wasn’t even mad by the comment but clearly he doesn’t really understand fandom or at least my fandom. Yes, the subject of my fandom is Duran Duran, a bunch of guys. That’s true. Yes, I’m traveling to Vegas to see them live. Absolutely not a lie. While it might seem like my life revolves around them, it doesn’t. While I adore Duran shows and believe that seeing them live in the best way I could spend two hours ever, they are more the excuse, the icing on the cake. Yep. Duran Duran is the best excuse I have to get together with my friends, away from home.

My Duran Duran weekends do consists of hours watching, singing and screaming during those two hour concerts. More than that, though, they consist of spending time with my female friends. There is something that is good for my soul when I am surrounded with other women. While we might have really different lives, opinions, perspectives, etc, we do all have some shared experiences simply by being women and then by being Duran Duran fans. It feels safe.

For those of you who do not know me, let me share a little secret. I very much like to be in control as it makes me feel safe and protected. When I’m around my female friends, there is less of a need for that. Instead, I can let me hair down, so to speak, and just have a good time. This is a welcome relief from the day-to-day experience of what I call “normal.” Besides, who else can I laugh with when it comes to talking about how the aging fanbase needs different touring items now that we are in our 40s? Who else can I giggle with when we begin to discuss some of the band’s more interesting fashion choices or dance moves?

So, in reality, going on tour isn’t really about five guys in a band. No, it is about having a girls weekend spending time doing what we love best.

-A

Holding Back Now Friends of Mine

They said they were friends of mine

Hey, did you know that Duran Duran played a show in Miami last night? It feels GOOD to be able to type that sort of statement once again! Writing Daily Duranie is something I thoroughly enjoy each day, but writing blogs while the band is touring is extra special.

We wouldn’t be Daily Duranie if we didn’t write about the show. Granted, I wasn’t there in person. Instead, I sat on Twitter, waiting to hear the latest from the crowd, and of course – I couldn’t help but be curious about the set list.

Silly lies, don’t have to advertise

If you read yesterday’s blog, you’ll know that I specifically wrote that I liked surprises. I didn’t need to know every song on the set list. There was no reason for me to know every last costume or detail. I even said surprises are good.

Well, I lied.

Something happened to me last night, and you know – maybe it happened to you as well. Read on and see if it sounds at all familiar. I finished writing the blog, did some housework and spent some time with my daughter. Sometime around oh, say 4:30 here, I realized it was 7:30. I thought about the show happening that night and thought I should just take a quick peek at Twitter. Why not?

Said they were passing time

About that time, I saw a tweet from Dom about the show, and then a couple of tweets from friends in line, and then I put down my phone. I got back to folding laundry and other mundane chores. As I walked out from my bedroom back to the kitchen, I saw that it was then about 5:45. 8:45 in Miami. Hmm. They must be getting very close to showtime. I thought – why not take a super quick scroll through Twitter, then I will start dinner?

I picked up my phone, and immediately saw tweets from the show. Friends and I continued kibitzing over possible opening songs. I looked up from my phone and it was just after 6 my time. Well, they should be onstage soon, right? People from the show started sending less-than-happy texts about how it was getting late and the band wasn’t on stage yet. I looked at the clock and it was now 6:25. Not only was I late in even STARTING dinner, but in my head – the band should have been on around 9pm.

What are you waiting for?

(I found out later that the band wasn’t scheduled to be onstage until about 9:30 so they weren’t late – seems to me though that DDHQ could say when the band is taking the stage so that people would know and not complain – but maybe that’s just not possible. I don’t know. I’m just a blogger!)

Right about then, DDHQ posted a picture taken from the show with the caption, “Ready?” Interestingly, the photo had a backdrop with what looked like three stained glass windows in the background. Hmm…what could THAT be about, I wondered. I sat back down in one of our barstools by our kitchen island just as the tweets started. “OMG – it’s NEW RELIGION!!”

I jumped up, pumping my fist into the air. Yes!!! New addition to the setlist! While I was thrilled to see something new added, I wondered if this was the song John mentioned that hadn’t been played since the 80’s. Uh, no, I thought. I’ve seen them do that song live. Dang it – I hope that’s not it!!

Georgie Davies is coming out

Even with that niggling thought, I was thrilled. Who cares, when it’s all said and done? I went to put my phone down, figuring I’d see the posted set list in the morning and all would have been fine. Except.

Yes, except…my watch started tapping my wrist pretty continuously, and every time it did, I checked it. I’d see that it was a new tweet about the set list, the costumes, the visuals, the crowd…and I just couldn’t be stopped.

I threw dinner on the stove. “Spaghetti night it is!” I announced proudly to no one in particular. My phone or watch would buzz, I’d read the next song, tweet about that, and before you know it – it was already 7:30. Husband walked through the door and caught me red handed, tweeting away.

It’s time that you were told

“That band just played Seventh Stranger for the first time since the 1980s!!!” I announced proudly, as he looked around pointedly to see if dinner was anywhere near ready. (It was. I can multitask, you know.). As we were eating rather casually, I sat with phone nearby, reading every single addition to the set list.

Not only was there New Religion and Seventh Stranger (which really – even hearing that would be a triumph), but Tempted and Friends of Mine were played as well. As the show ended and DDHQ posted their thanks and goodbyes, I sent a little tweet their way.

“Now THAT was a set @duranduran!!”
You came to PLAY!!”


Why don’t they drop the bomb

Euphoria doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings last night, and I wasn’t even there. Instead, I was about 3,500 miles away, hanging out in my kitchen!

I sure am glad I stuck it out last year and didn’t do something stupid to myself. It isn’t easy to explain. I just know that I was already very excited to be able to go see the shows in Vegas yesterday afternoon, and today – I am over the moon. Not only am I excited to see friends, but I am very excited to see John, Roger, Simon, Nick and Dom. Even if the only way I see them, is from hundreds of feet away while they’re onstage.

It’s not just “the band” thing, either. It is knowing that I really work through some of the worst feelings I’ve ever had. I feel so much better now. I’m not a different person, but I’m in a much better place emotionally. Now, I get to celebrate. Trust me, I will be doing just that. If you happen to be in Vegas next week, I hope you’ll raise a glass or two with me.

I’m not too late

I finally did put my phone down at about 8:30 last night. The battery died, and my eyesight was as blurry as ever. It was a great night to be a Duranie.

I suspect it will not be the last time I feel that way.

-R

Sound of Celebration: Welcome to the Newbies out there!

the lights turn on

It is a strange feeling when you know Duran Duran is actually in the same country and that your friends are traveling (or have already traveled) to see them. Every once in a while, I’ll sneak a peek on Twitter, just to see if anyone recognizable has posted a photo or anything. (Thank you to Anna Ross for playing along nicely!)

I’m excited because I know that next Thursday I’ll be making my way to Vegas for their shows over the weekend. It also feels like the next week is going to take forever to get through. Then again, I have kind of a lot to do between now and then so…I’d better get to it!

and still they come

As difficult as it is for me to still believe sometimes, there are Duranlive first-timers amongst us, running rampant in the public! I joke, but I also love running into new concert-goers, whether online or in person. They are typically so darn joyful, their excitement is palatable and contagious all at once. I live and breathe for that joy! This weekend, Amanda gave excellent advice for GA shows. They can be tricky, and honestly require their own play book, in my opinion. Even seated show attendees could use some advice, though.

First off, I’m no expert. Really. There are many, many Duranies out there who have gone to far more shows than the fifty I can count over the years. Fifty shows isn’t very many when you consider that this is #DD40. On that same token, I believe about 40 or so of those shows have taken place since the year 2004, which means I’m not only NOT an expert, I’m also probably a bit nutty, and damn gleeful about it.

That said, I am 100% quirky and proud of it. I spend a lot of my time before and after these shows just people watching. Seeing fans mingle, observing families taking it all in, I even gauge the age of the audience. I love seeing how people interact (and yeah, I pay special attention to the known Duranies because, dang it – you’re a super-special sort. Like me!). All of that observation over the years has taught me a few things.

we come here calling

First of all, if you’re new to this whole thing: welcome. I know we’re a daunting group. Overwhelming at the very least! My advice is really simple: JUST HAVE FUN. If you’re not on social media, you should try it. Twitter, for example, doesn’t have to be horribly serious or time committing. It’s a quick and easy way to meet people – it reminds me a lot of the days on message boards, because there’s true banter between fans. It sometimes takes a while to find us, but we’re there. Follow @duranduran, check out the people who seem to tweet things you might be interested in. Some like to talk about band members, others like to discuss the music, still others talk about all of it. Try it, you might like it!

My hope in suggesting to meet other fans online, a newbie can find a group to hang with, both before and after the show. Life is way too short and Duran Duran concerts are far too much fun, to go it alone. Connecting with other fans is one of the very best parts of this community. It is how Amanda and I met, and it is how I’ve met some of the closest friends I have over the years. One of the goals we’ve had for Daily Duranie in the past has been to bring fans together and allow them to connect. This past year, I know I’ve strayed a bit from that path, but I’m getting back to it, little by precious little.

to gather here

My other piece of advice, which might be coming in too late for some of you – is to travel in early. What I mean by that is, if you’re going to a show on a Friday, get there on Thursday. Why? Two reasons really. One, giving yourself a bit of a cushion is far better on the nerves when a flight is unexpectedly canceled, or weather becomes a problem.

The second reason is that a lot of times, people will meet up the day before. Amanda and I have been known to plan parties the night before a show for fans to meet up. This time in Vegas we don’t really have anything planned, but I have seen other groups of people mentioning getting together that night. I can promise we will be out and about, but we agreed to give ourselves a break this time and let others do the planning.

we’ll light up the land

When it comes time for the show, even at a seated venue, I’d tell you over and over again to wear shoes you’re going to be comfortable standing in for hours. Some may disagree with me, and that’s fine, but trust me when I say that the band isn’t going to see your shoes. They don’t care. They want to see you up and dancing. Impress yourself and don’t worry about anybody else is my motto. During the hours before and after the show, you’re going to be walking, standing and talking. Be comfortable so that you can enjoy it all! Cute and comfortable IS a thing, whether that’s in heels, flats, trainers or something else entirely!

So when you see me wearing flat shoes or even flip-flops to a show (I’ve done it before and will definitely do it again!), know that I am totally 100% happy and confident wearing them, and I don’t care about what anyone else thinks. I’ve done the heels before, no thanks!

can you hear the planet roaring

My opinion is simply that if you don’t come out of a Duran Duran show sweaty and completely elated – you’ve done it wrong. Nobody should be sitting through a Duran show if you’re physically capable of standing. Otherwise, chair dancing in whatever way you need is totally a thing too. Go for it!

There are plenty of subtle nuances to fandom. There are plenty of unwritten social rules and slippery slopes, I suppose. Sometimes, one can get so distracted by the minutia of what to say, how to say it, what to ask, what NOT to ask, that they forget to have fun. That’s the bottom line though. HAVE FUN. Smile. Enjoy the moment. I can promise that the 120 minutes that the band is on stage (give or take a few either way) will fly by in the blink of an eye. For those precious two hours, live in just that little bit. Experience the music with an open heart and mind, and let it take you away from the troubles of real life. Allow your heart to swell full of gratitude for being there to enjoy every single note. You won’t regret it.

See you at the shows!

-R


To Believe in Your Advice

Can you believe that there are Duran Duran shows happening next week? They are playing in Miami and in Kaboo next week. I have gotten pretty used to not have Duran happenings that I almost don’t know how to wrap my head around the idea. That said, I’m super excited for those who are going to shows this week! I cannot wait to hear all about them. In my realization of impending Duranlive, I remembered that someone commented on a blog post asking about advice for general admission shows. Good question. While I’m definitely not the expert by any means or even a fan of GA shows, I have survived one or two in my lifetime.

Duran shows that are GA are tough, way harder than seeing other bands. The reason for this is that I want to be close. Even when I say that I don’t, I do. I would like to believe that other fans feel similarly but maybe they don’t. Therefore, my advice will center around that premise. If it doesn’t apply to you, then you can probably ignore at least some of what I have to say. The other important thing I have to share before I start my official list of advice to the Duranie heading into a GA show is that the advice is random and probably only applies to the shows in the U.S. My understanding from some of my European friends is that GA shows in other parts of the world aren’t quite so…competitive as they are here in the States.

Have a Plan

I know that having a plan sounds easy but it is harder than it looks. What do I mean about having a plan? First, I would start with research about the venue. Do they allow people to line up? What time do they allow it? Are there means of getting early entry if DuranDuranMusic did not offer an early entry VIP package or you didn’t buy one? Sometimes, Rhonda and I have done well buying some sort of special deal through the venue itself. Of course, sometimes, we have bought those with little benefit. For example, both the Oakland show and the San Francisco show in the summer of 2017 had special add-ons. These cost about $50-75 and offered a special entrance, bathroom, bar and snacks. For Oakland, this allowed us to get in early. For San Francisco, it backfired and we ended up getting in late. Research matters as does seeking out others who have attended shows at that venue.

The next part of the plan consists of figuring out where you hope to end up inside the venue and sticking to it. When you don’t have a plan, it usually goes something like this. You arrive at the venue whenever, probably arriving later than you wanted. Then, when the doors arrive, you glance at the crowd filtering in and decide to go left or right or stay at the center. As you head towards one direction or another, you might change your mind and switch gears, wasting more time in the hopes that you get just a little bit closer. Often, this results in ending up further back in the long run. So my advice here? Again, after looking at the venue map, have a decision made ahead of time about which side of the stage to go towards and stick to it. Stay laser focused as you enter.

Be Happy Where You End Up

All of that advice above said, I would also make sure that you are happy where you end up. Nothing ruins a show faster than spending the time being disappointed about your spot. In 2008, we saw a show at Foxwoods in Connecticut. Yes, our seats were way off to the side and it bothered us to no end. We literally spent the entire time just being mad and finding fault with everything. Even if some of that was justified, we shouldn’t have been like that. That show might have been awesome but I have no means of telling. My memories of that night are not good. Shows are supposed to be fun. We killed our own joy that night. That said, remember that show I referenced earlier in San Francisco that we bought add-on tickets for in the hopes that it would help our location but it did the opposite. We could have been mad that we wasted money or that the plan backfired. Instead, we promised ourselves to enjoy just being there and we did. We had a great time. Attitude matters.

Make Friends Not Enemies

This one might be obvious but do try to make friends with the people near you. First of all, it makes for a more enjoyable experience. It can add to your excitement and ease your discomfort knowing that others are in the exact same boat that you are. Plus, they can then help to defend the space when others try to budge their way closer to the stage as frequently happens. If you are a united front, the person or group will end up heading in a different direction. Likewise, they would hold your spot if you MUST leave for whatever reason. More about that in a minute. Anyway, this far beats alienating or even angering those near you. I have literally been with people who have found the littlest thing to be annoyed about and yelled at people standing near us. The result? We had to move before things got ugly. This meant a much worse spot and a bad attitude going into the show. That said, this doesn’t mean just tolerate anything. People can and will push your limits. Make sure the reason warrants getting all worked up about before you do. Some things matter (like people pushing you out of your space) while others do not (like when people bump into you on accident). I promise that you can tell the difference.

Little Things Add Up

Last but not least, the little things can and do make a different. Plan wisely when it comes to shoes. You will be standing for a LONG time. Be prepared. Cute is not more important than comfortable. Plan your beverage intake. You definitely do not want to be going to the bathroom once you have staked your spot. People are not always kind in terms of leaving and returning and you definitely don’t want to miss a note of the show. Last but certainly not least, I highly recommend NOT having a hangover. I thought I might die the entire Oakland show of 2017 because I had one of the worst hangovers in my life. Don’t be like me on that front. Lesson learned, big time.

All of that said, I hope those of you going to any/all of the upcoming GA shows have a simply amazing time! I hope that you share your experiences with us, too!

-A

Give Me a Sign

Sometimes, it takes me a little bit before I realize something. I generally like to make many observations before I start to make make some inferences, some conclusions. In this case, I have been thinking about the VIP package for these upcoming shows without really thinking about what is included. It took me a few days of just looking at the bag before I started to really think about what I could learn from it, which I know sounds weird. Stay with me, though.

First of all, while I noticed that the bag was white, red and black, I didn’t really think about why that might be significant. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, see picture below.

What’s the big deal with the color scheme? Well, when I bought tickets to shows coming up in February, I assumed that these shows would be shows connected to the Paper Gods tour. After all, I tend to think that any show is connected to the most recent album until new music comes out. Obviously, there are exceptions to this rule. Shows in 2003 weren’t connected with Pop Trash but with the reunion. That said, shows in 2009 still feel like they are a part of the Red Carpet Massacre era.

So, I assumed that these February dates would be like the shows in 2017 or 2016 in that they would be Paper Gods focused including the set list. Now, I am not so sure about that. First of all, there were discussions on the most recent Katy Kafe about songs that the band is “dusting off” to play at these songs. If they were keeping things exactly as is, I doubt be practicing new (old) material. Then, there is the color scheme. Paper Gods was all about light blue, pink, light purple. It was not black, white and red. Could this be a sign that these shows won’t be really be Paper Gods focused in the same way? Obviously, I don’t have an answer but I like there is a mystery, an unknown. It makes me more excited about the shows. Will I be disappointed if it is still Paper Gods tour like? No. What about if it feels new? I would be good with that, too. I’m not picky. It just makes me wonder where these shows fit in the Duran tour timeline.

While I ponder that, I examined the bag some more. As I stated in the blog post about this package, the bag has the song titles in order on the bag. These titles seemed to be in order by album. Is that really true? The answer from what I can tell is sort of. The first album is listed in this way: Girls on Film, Planet Earth, Anyone Out There, To the Shore, Careless Memories, Night Boat, Sound of Thunder, Friends of Mine and Tel Aviv. No Is There Something I Should Know. No b-sides are listed. The Rio album seems normal with no b-sides listed. Then, it moves right into Seven and the Ragged Tiger. Still there is no Is There Something I Should Know. Interesting. No Wild Boys. No A View to a Kill. Uh. Notorious through Pop Trash all seem normal and in order without any sort of b-side or bonus track listed.

What about the most recent albums? Astronaut does not list any bonus track like Virus. Red Carpet Massacre does not include Cry Baby Cry. What about All You Need Is Now? This one has the 14 tracks from All You Need Is Now to Before the Rain. Paper Gods only has the 12 main songs listed. No bonus tracks there either. I’m not sure what if anything that means. No matter, I still find it interesting. They clearly decided to include only songs that appeared on albums, rather than the one offs. Bonus tracks and b-sides were not listed either. I wonder how much space those songs would have taken if they did.

While I think it is super cool that they listed the songs on the bag, I have to wonder if this isn’t a step into that 40th anniversary celebration. After all, it could be a way to acknowledge the songs found on the studio albums. What do the rest of you think? Should they have included those songs that are missing or is it good to focus on songs on albums only? All in all, these little signs make me wonder what is going to happen from here. I like to see these little shifts. I give me the security knowing that they are still working, still trying to think of new ways to send out the Duran brand.

-A

January 2019 Katy Kafe with John Taylor

Lately, timing has been on my side. The Vegas weekend comes at a perfect time in that it is right after the primary for the campaign I’m working on. This will give me a great break before I have to push it hard for the general election in April. Now, on a smaller scale, this Katy Kafe comes at a good time as I was thinking about what to write about for a blog today. On that note, let me explain that I won’t be giving a full transcript here. Far from it. No, I’ll share the highlights and my thoughts about them. If you want to listen for yourself to see Mr. John Taylor had to say, then I recommend heading over to DuranDuranMusic and get a membership for yourself.

The conversation started with a brief discussion about New Year’s Even. JT was in London, apparently, and was able to get out, go dancing, etc. but it wasn’t like when he was young. The fun just isn’t the same. I completely relate to that.

The format to this kafe is simple in that fans send in questions on social media. Obviously, Katy did not ask all of them but give quite a few. The first question was about letters and whether or not he has any special ones and the last one he has written. He got a letter from the Obamas for his 50th birthday, which he thinks is pretty cool. (So do I!) All of the band members have a letter from Prince William and Prince Henry for their participation in the concert for Diana. John also saved letters from his daughter, which is sweet. The last ones he has written might be to his kids or just those letters of recommendation. (This reminds me that I have a letter of recommendation to write myself.)

The next question focused on a song that he hasn’t played in a long time but wants to. According to John, they have “dusted off” a couple for the shows in February. One that he has been practicing has not been played since the Arena tour. This, of course, has me thinking. I have some ideas but I won’t spoil anyone with my speculation! Personally, I would love hearing a new (old) song or two. I will definitely be on my toes in Vegas now!

Speaking of playing new material, one question asked about how often John plays at home. Here’s is where I learned something new. John has been taking piano lessons and learning how to read music. Not only do I think it is cool but I like the idea that he wants to keep learning. I can relate as I have been learning a lot about how to run an effective local campaign. Obviously, now, though, he has to get back to playing the bass to get ready for the February shows, which really are coming up quickly now!

How does John keep creative projects separate? He thinks that the various projects can provide inspiration for other projects and “create creative confidence.” My mom as a fiber artist definitely functions like this in that she always has a number of projects going. That said, he did admit that he often takes on more than he can chew and leaves projects undone. Again, I can relate. Rhonda and I have had a lot of projects that we have started that haven’t seen the finish line. Someday.

Of course, people wanted to know how the new music is going? John said that when they got into the studio before Christmas, everyone was ready, which made it good. He mentioned how they were working with a new producer and some new musicians who they had never worked with before. They plan to return to the studio at the end of February. Those new musicians made me wonder, I’ll admit. Who? Why? Hmm…

Someone asked about an artistic forum that John has not tried would like to. His response? Contemporary dance. This created quite an image for Katy and for me as I thought about his dancing during Danceophobia during the Paper Gods tour. He then clarified to say that he would like to create the music for contemporary dance. That said, maybe he would pick up painting once he retired to the British countryside. He wouldn’t be the first to do such a thing.

Bothered that people judge success based on charts? They benefited in the 1980s from charts. Now it is more about one’s sense of self and one’s own standards. Hard and painful when not on the charts but after a few cycles, you get over that. Now it is about numbers on social media, etc.

Here was an interesting question. What 3 words describe you as a young man and what 3 words describe you now? For when he was young, he said, “shy, happy, gangly(???).” (Anyone hear that last word clearly?) As for now, he said interesting, grateful, happy.

Along the same lines, what are three things we don’t know about you? Katy answered for him by saying that she didn’t know that he was so tall, so smart, and had such a big heart. John talked about how he is clothes horse and tries to be trendy, likes to collect books and misses his parents every day. Both of those answers made my heart swell a little bit.

The last question that interested me is whether or not the band can and does realize the influence they have had on their fans? John’s response indicated that they don’t want to pat themselves on the back too much or allow themselves to get big heads but he does admit that he has been touched by particular stories. He also loves how the band is a connector in that they brought people who wouldn’t be friends otherwise who now go to shows together and visit each other. Hmm…that sounds familiar. Very familiar. Yep, that lines hits close to home.

On that note, I thoroughly enjoyed this particular kafe. I give a lot of props to the questions people sent in as they were all awesome. I can never think of anything when offered something like that so good for all of you! I also appreciated that John suggested people send in their questions again if they didn’t get them asked now. Good for him. On that note, I’m going to go knock on doors in negative degree temperatures. Wish me luck!

-A

I’ve Been Fighting All the Way

In a month, I’ll be in Las Vegas.

I can’t decide if I’m ready as-is, or if I should immediately resort to a month-long fasting exercise. It is a joke to me now, but in the past…I may have been at least half-serious. It’s weird, because I don’t mind admitting that my prep for previous tours included being semi-obsessed with making sure I looked my best. I worried about how I looked to other people. I would shop for new outfits, get my hair done well in advance, go have a pedicure, and of course – I would make certain I was at fighting weight. (or dancing weight, as the case may be)

I’m really not sure what “my best” means these days. Honestly, “alive” seems like a pretty good goal to me. My friend Lori and I were having drinks (training) and dinner last night (can I just say how wonderful it is to actually LIVE near a good friend?!?) and as I sat there, thinking about the upcoming weekend, I realized that for the very first time that I can remember, I am not worried about what I look like.

I mean sure, I need to lose a few pounds. I ALWAYS need to lose a few pounds. I’m not perfect, and I’m not a size 2, either. My weight is a struggle. The number on the scale is in direct correlation with how much stress I’m under at the time, and what my blood pressure is like. I have never been thin, though. I’m just average to “I’ve got a little extra padding because I fall down a lot!”, so this struggle isn’t new. The weird thing is, for the first time in forever, I don’t mind what I see when I look in the mirror. I’m satisfied. Happy, even. For me…that’s bizarre. Good, but bizarre.

There have been moments where I’ve wondered if I’m even that excited to go see Duran Duran, because I haven’t been overly obsessed with what I’m going to wear or what I’m going to pack. But then, I’ll hear a Duran-song or I’ll think about seeing them walk on stage and I can feel a little bit of that familiar giddiness. Yep, excitement is still in there. I just know I’m going to roll on into Vegas, and I’m going to have a good time with my friends. I guess my goal is to be happy with what I see in the mirror, rather than worry about what anyone else is going to see when I walk into a room.

Insecurity is a strange thing. Admitting that I have been insecure about myself more often than not leaves me pretty vulnerable, I suppose. I know it would be fairly easy for people to dismiss me because of that imperfection. Insecurity isn’t attractive, but I’m betting that more of us suffer from it than we individually might believe.

In the past, I worried about how posting that sort of thing might make me look to readers. The funny (well, not so funny) thing is that once you admit that you were well on the way to being suicidal last year – you kind of don’t give a shit about what people say or think anymore. Once you’ve gotten through that particular alley of darkness, you’re so thankful to see the sun again that you don’t want to waste a single second on people who don’t get it. Yeah, I’ve been insecure. My validation came from other people, not from myself, or from within. Oh well!

It can’t possibly be age that has forced my change in outlook and attitude. That would be crazy! I think though that the past year, feeling so incredibly low about everything, and then coming out of that, has given me a different prospective. Things I thought were important before really might not be, after all. I’m learning to say “Oh well” a lot. Truth is, I never want to feel like I did last year ever again. No matter what.

I think back to something that a dear friend of mine told me while we were traveling in 2012. She reminded me to never let anyone take my bliss away. I think about that statement nearly every single day. She probably doesn’t even remember saying the words to me, but I do. I’ve carried them all this time, and they’ve proven very useful lately.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have a long way to go, I suppose. It is easy to fall back into old habits. I am sure I’ll still swoon if a band member even sort of appears to look my way. There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll smile at the band and welcome smiles in return. I mean, let’s not get ridiculous here.

-R