Dear Duran Duran,
I had a lot of fun on this last little road trip of mine. Three shows is far more than I’ve had since August of 2012, and it was great seeing everyone on stage, right in front of me. I’m still smiling at the memories and cannot wait for more!
This time, Amanda and I, along with our friend Heather, drove ourselves from Hollywood to Berkeley and back to Rancho Mirage. While it was merely three shows, it felt like five due to the amount of driving and mileage covered. When I got home, I was ready to never see my car again. Alas, I live in Southern California and divorcing my car at this point is impossible.
My problem is this: you are killing me. I love you, but you’re killing me. Rest assured that while I am well-aware I’m probably the “loudest voice” due to this blog (which I’m told reaches a much larger audience than I think), I know with 100% certainty I am not the only fan feeling this way these days. When you come to the states on tour (and I am specifically referring to the states because it is where I live), your tours are designed in such a way where it is nearly impossible for those of us who wish to travel to see more than one show in a single trip to do so without attempting to kill ourselves in the process.
I don’t know if…or why… your promoters are unable or unwilling to see that you have a core group of people who actually do like to see you more than once on a tour, or maybe we’re such a small group that everyone thinks we don’t matter…but we’re still there, supporting! I personally know of a great number of fans who have simply just given up and stopped traveling to see you. Maybe they don’t even bother seeing you unless you come right to their town. Maybe they don’t even bother then. Attrition happens when your audience is in their… gasp…40’s. I know you still like to call us “kids”. I appreciate that, especially as I’m staring my 45th birthday in the face, and about to write another check for my 18-year old daughter’s room and board at university. Not feeling kid-like this morning, really…but thanks!
The issue at hand is simply that when you come on tour, we want to pack in as many shows as we possibly can. For me personally, it’s not worth it financially (don’t get me wrong – you’re worth it, it’s just the whole “I have to pay for college, and for my family to eat” thing!) for me to fly all the way across the United States to only see you once or twice, never mind the time spent flying. In the last few trips Amanda and I have done, we’ve logged over 1,000 miles driving each time. (I think we drove 1600 miles in 2012 to go to 4 shows in the Southeast, and when you were here just recently in California we did about 1200 miles. I’m tired just thinking about it.) I don’t think anyone can say to Amanda and I with a straight face that we’re unwilling to do hard work for our fun.
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but the US isn’t particularly well-designed when it comes to their public transportation. While we have trains, they’re not particularly effective, and don’t even start with me about our buses. While one might take a train from London to Edinburgh and/or Glasgow to see a show in the UK and it’d take a full day…if I tried to do something similar here in the states, it’d take me 3 days to go that same distance by train, although admittedly some parts of the US are better about than others, but overall? Trains suck here. So we’re stuck either driving or flying. Flying is atrociously expensive unless you’re lucky, fly into cheap places, and plan well in advance. Driving is still far cheaper, but incredibly taxing.
Here’s the basic “tour” for Amanda and Rhonda: Fly into starting city/airport. Get rental car. Drive all day, get into a city in time to rush to the hotel, throw on concert attire and grab food on the way to the venue or the pre-show fan party we’ve got planned. Have a great time during and after the show, collapse for a few hours rest, and repeat again and again. Fly home, and in about 2 days, end up sick because once again we’ve burnt the candle at both ends.
So what to do? Miss shows? Skip shows so that we’re not exhausted?? Stop traveling altogether and just be happy when we can catch one close to home? (Admit it, you’d miss me silently mouthing, “No, no, no!” and ducking during “White Lines”; or smirking, rolling my eyes, and shaking my head, before singing “Hungry Like the Wolf” with you, right?)
I still fall back to the same suggestion I had back in 2012 after I came home from the last tour. Why can’t you do more than one show in a city before moving on? Rather than have to travel (surely it has GOT to be tiring for Nick to be up before noon in order to be on DuranDuranOne) from place to place and hitting tons of smaller cities – why not pick destination cities in the US and perform at least a few shows at a time before moving on? People could fly, drive, take a train, etc to come into the city, and those who want to stay on in order to attend all of the shows in that destination, or visit with Duranies, go to a few pre-show parties, or flat-out take a vacation in the process would be able to do so. It might even encourage MORE fans to travel, and even if a fan couldn’t get to said-city for the first show, they might if there were more than one. As a positive by-product, it’d allow for a lot more parties and get-togethers to happen. Who doesn’t want that?!?
I know at least a few of the arguments against residencies: they don’t allow for fans from all over to come unless they’re willing to travel, ticket sales may falter, it’s difficult to find theatre space willing to rent for consecutive nights, there’s a challenge in covering the entire US when you boil down a tour to only a few cities…etc. Let me try to address some of these issues. Granted, I’m just a very outspoken fan who likely needs a new hobby at this point, but at least I can try to articulate from my point of view.
In theory, I suppose when a band only pick a few cities to play it seems to make it difficult for fans who aren’t able to travel. However, I don’t see where it is any different from when a tour is announced and states like Tennessee or Nebraska are not included. People still have to travel. Is it more or less enticing to travel for one show, or three in the same city? Admittedly, ticket sales may be more of a challenge – I say that because I really don’t know. Although, I have to wonder if it really is any different to play three or four shows in one major city than playing three or four shows in smaller cities where fewer people may be willing to travel or pay to see a show. It isn’t as though Duran Duran doesn’t have an audience. Heck, this BLOG proves otherwise, even when you’re not actively touring or “in the news!” And yes, the US is huge in area and mileage/time needed to travel from place to place. I always laugh when people from other parts of the world complain about the amount of shows the US has booked on a tour. This is a big country. In order for me to get in my car and drive from Dana Point to the Atlantic Ocean, it would take me about four days. Five if I’m being realistic about needing to stop for food, gas, etc. People here in this country, for all of the reasons I just listed above, cannot really get to more than a few shows in a single trip. That’s exactly the point.
Maybe I just need to buy a Daily Duranie motor home.
I’m not necessarily saying any of you in Duran Duran should plan a nine-date residency in Palm Springs; but I don’t think the idea of doing three or four shows in Las Vegas before moving on to Chicago for three or four dates, and then on to Boston or Toronto for four more, is really a horrible idea. It would give the band more down time to relax, less traveling overall, and it would likely present more enticement for fans less able and/or willing to travel for single shows reason to do so. And Daily Duranie would definitely make the trip(s)…because SOMEONE has to keep the fans busy before and after the shows, right?!?
(If one of you would just let my husband know…that’d be great!)
Truth: I have never planned a tour for a band, nor do I wish to begin now. I only know what it is like to BE a fan, and in particular, what it is like to be a Duran Duran fan. I can only offer suggestions that seem reasonable at the time. (granted, I am also the fan who has suggested, multiple times now, that you drop Hungry Like the Wolf from your setlist AND to make Dom Brown a permanent member. Apparently unreasonable suggestions. Who knew?!?) Yes, I had to get that dig in about Dom. It’s been a while, and somebody has to be on his side…. <wink>
Meanwhile, I wait for the ever-exciting 2016 tour announcement. Might I suggest (again, another suggestion…will I ever stop?!!) announcing this over the week of Thanksgiving here in the US. I’m going to be on vacation for that entire week, and likely sans cell coverage!! I’ve missed getting the sort of voice mails from Amanda that go a little something like this:
“Rhonda? You are NEVER going to guess what that band (I am censoring this for you, Duran Duran…only for you…) has done now. Tour dates. Don’t worry, I will do what must be done! Just know that we’re going to shows, good luck telling Walt!!”
I’ve yammered on enough. I hope you get lots of rest during these few weeks off (right? you ARE taking time off, right?!?), and while I’m at it, remember that Amanda and I have been very good fans. Lately. 🙂