Prospective is an amazing, wondrous thing. Sometimes, a little time and distance shines just the right kind of light on things. Today, I drove my oldest – Heather – to the airport. She flew out to see my sister for about a week. I remember the last time Heather flew anywhere alone. It was also to go see my sister, and it was the first time she’d ever gone anywhere alone. I was a nervous wreck that day. Heather has changed a lot in the past several years. She’s dangerously close to turning 21. “It’s twenty days away, Mom…but who is counting?” She is a junior in college, lives pretty much on her own, and is anxious to discover where she’s going after she graduates. When I think back on that first trip on her own now, I realize that she really was young then, but she still managed. I can remember her excitement about being with my sister, away from home, and feeling just a little more grown up when she got home. This time, she’s looking for the place she’s going to live after college. She’s wondering what is going to come next. She’s excited, but in a very different way this time. She knows what Chicago is like (Although I cannot wait to hear about how freaking cold my California kid thinks it is when she gets there!), and her entire perspective might change a bit.
As I drove home from the airport, thinking about all of that, I did something I haven’t done in probably eight or nine years. I put in the CD from the very first time the reunited Duran Duran played at the Pacific Amphitheater in Costa Mesa. The year was of course 2003, and I was in the audience. It was not only the first time they played the Pacific Amphitheater, it was also the first time I ever saw all five original members.
The first thought that went through my head as I listened was that I wish I could bottle up the enthusiasm of the crowd from that night. The roar of fans up on their feet, cheering their hearts out for this band that most, if not everyone in the audience that night, grew up listening to, was like a tidal wave of sound. There was no way not to get caught up in it, and I did as I listened and relived that night.
So much has changed for me since that night. If memory serves, I was in the 16th row. I can remember that (oddly) because I stood there before the show began, watching all of the people in front of me as they would rush up to other fans, hugging, laughing, and yes, even some were crying and cheering as they bounced in the revelry. There was so much excitement and pure joy in the air, and yet I didn’t know a single soul in the amphitheater besides my husband. I wanted to know how they all knew one another, and most of all, I wanted in. I wanted to be a part of whatever group that was. Even though I had already found duranduran.com by then, I wasn’t a vocal member of the message board community. No one knew me, and I hadn’t quite found my place yet.
I thought about how excited I was to see Andy on stage that night. I haven’t allowed myself to even really think about his absence in the years since. I listened to his guitar as the sound washed over me in the car. All I can really say is that there was something certainly very special about the fab five. It was like this shining, perfect, moment that wasn’t ever really meant to last. I’d forgotten how differently he plays, the solo in White Lines coming to mind, but even Hungry Like the Wolf has a different feel in parts. It isn’t necessarily better, just different, and I’d forgotten.
Then there were the songs that we don’t hear much anymore. Friends of Mine, Nightboat, New Religion, What Happens Tomorrow, Virus… I know the band likes the backbone of their set list the way it is, but to hear some of those songs again just made me sit back and really listen. The way the crowd responded to every song blew me away, and yet I was a part of that audience.
In a lot of ways, I wish it could all be like it was then. I screamed and cheered no matter what they played because at the time, everything I heard was brand new, as though I’d never heard it live before. I can remember feeling out of breath after every single song because I danced like crazy. I jumped, I screamed, I nearly felt faint, and when the concert was over, I felt completely spent. I have seen Duran Duran about fifty times since that fateful show in 2003. Sometimes, even I want to slap myself when I think about that. But, the one thing that hasn’t changed is my love for this band, and even the community that surrounds it.
I am so grateful, and moreover, my heart feels gratitude that I’ve experienced 95% of it as an adult. Sure, I was a petulant ten or eleven year old when I discovered the band. My walls were painted in a beautiful coat of Duran Duran posters and pinups, and I bled Seven and the Ragged Tiger just like most of the rest of you reading. But, it wasn’t until adulthood that I really began traveling, seeing the band, meeting friends, and of course—starting Daily Duranie. I wouldn’t want it any other way. Sometimes though, I do have moments where I wish I could go back to the beginning, forgetting what I’ve seen and what I know. Instead, draping myself with the innocent infatuation I once felt for them, and allowing the music to fully wash over and consume me. I want to feel that same wild abandon I once had, not a care in the world beyond that very note or measure. Listening to this Encore CD in the car reminded me of both how wonderful, and how lonely that time was for me. I still wouldn’t want to go back.