Tag Archives: fan community

Good seats, white flags and the Daily Duranie Holiday Office Party

Sometimes, I can be so naive it ends up being a little embarrassing.  Yesterday morning, I participated in the pre-sale for The Cosmopolitan in Vegas. I knew going in that the show was probably going in high demand, but I felt that with the DDM VIP membership, I’d have half a chance at good seats.

Let me define “good seats” for you, because I suspect my definition might be different from yours. Basically, I want to be closer to the front, not necessarily front row probably within the first ten rows, and in the middle. I’ve sat on both sides before, and while they’re not terrible, I like the middle best. Chances are, this has something to do with Amanda’s favorite being John and mine being Dom. Middle is what suits us, as the compromise. Before each pre-sale, we call one another and decide on how far over we’re going to be wiling to go, and how far back we’re willing to sit.

This time, since purchasing VIP meant that I’d be giving up food for the next few weeks (joking), we felt that spending $400 a ticket on something like 8th row was too much. That doesn’t mean that one of you should feel terrible for doing so, its just OUR limit. Yours can be different and that’s fine. No judgment.

Our trouble began when we found out the password was “Simon”. I joke, but Amanda and I agreed the pre-sale would either go really well, or be a disaster, and if it was the latter, Simon cursed us.

Dammit!!

From the get-go, neither of us were getting the VIP packages to show up once the sale began. Then once they did show up, we quickly tried clicking on seats. We’d select the tickets only to be told they couldn’t process the transaction. Then we’d get bounced out of the pre-sale and would have to re-enter the password, only to see that the seats we’d just try to buy were still available. We did this for five or ten minutes, panicking the entire time. I decide to tweet Duran Duran and tell them that I think the system is broken.

This is where my naivety came in. First, I was dumb enough to believe that anyone at DDHQ or DDM actually cared. Yeah, I know I wrote all about how they care yesterday. That was before pre-sales and as I said yesterday – this part IS business. The truth of the matter is, it’s not their system. It’s Ticketmaster’s system. DDHQ couldn’t fix it even if they knew what was wrong. I know that.  I just thought they should know that no one seemed to be getting anything. Secondly, never once during all of this did I consider that perhaps it’s just bad luck on my end. I wasn’t meant to get tickets today. Some people get them, others don’t. This happens for every single resale.  I just thought something was really wrong, like a server issue. What was probably really “wrong” was that other people, whether bots, scalpers or real people with quicker computers or phones or whatever, were probably grabbing the tickets from me. I was stupid in thinking that once I selected the tickets, they were in my basket. Nope.

This happened over and over again for over a half-hour. Never mind that it continued to require me to type Simon’s name over and over and over again, which was also really stupid. I suppose those are all measures to stop bots and scalpers, but I doubt it.

Then suddenly, I had third row seats. I was able to get through to the next screen to begin the actual payment process, and then Ticketmaster decided I needed to log in. I was amused at first because I’d already logged in and even in the corner of the screen it said “Hi Rhonda”. Yep, that’s me, I thought. It’s STILL me, motherfucker!! 

(I curse like a sailor during pre-sales and today I was pretty damn tame until that moment. My mother would not be proud.)

So, I typed in my password.

Nope, Ticketmaster didn’t recognize that combination. OK, try it again. Type slower, Rhonda.

Nope, still doesn’t get it. I take a deep, cleansing breath. Ok, asshole hamster working behind the scenes….I am the same freaking person I was an hour ago when you let me log on. GIVE ME MY TICKETS!  Why do I even have to log in? Can’t I just be a guest??!

(Yes, the song “Be Our Guest” came into my head at that moment.  Get your head in the game, Rhonda, I thought firmly, trying to redirect myself from the ear worm. You have no time for Disney movies, you’re buying Duran Duran tickets!!) 

Amanda saves me at this point from throwing my laptop. She suggests I use her password. Surely that will work, I thought.  I type very, very, carefully.

Nope. I try mine again. Denied again. It now says I’m locked out of my account. Bye-bye tickets. My stomach begins to do flip-flops and I can feel myself suddenly get very tired and a cold, clammy feeling washes over me. I am worried that if I keep trying Amanda’s, she’ll be locked out as well, so I stop. I tell her to keep trying, and I set about requesting a new password from Ticketmaster. Oddly, they sent it to me right away, even though I’d been locked out. I reset my password, time ticking right by. I logged back on. Everything seemed normal, except there were no VIP package seats available whatsoever.

From then on, I pulled nothing that was VIP.  Keep in mind, we are now about 40 minutes into the pre-sale. The realization that I’m not going to be getting VIP seats to this gig begins to dawn. I tell Amanda I’m done, that I just won’t go, this is a sign from the universe, and that I’m too tired to go on.

I sometimes have a flair for the dramatic.

While all of this was happening, the other two people in our four person extravaganza struck gold. Literally, because they pulled two good seats in the third-row for themselves. Amanda and I were happy for them, but we were feeling pretty dejected at the same time. I mean, it sucks when things don’t go right. That’s not just me being a poor sport, it’s reality. It’s a bummer when you can’t get what you want. Ticketmaster and I are no longer friends, and I’m really not sure we ever were.

One of our friends sends a text, “Do you want us to keep looking for you?” I’m halfway tempted to say no, that I’m staying the hell home and that I hated Duran Duran, which is untrue on even the worst of days.  I didn’t really hate them. I hate the process. Trust the process,  my ass. (Sorry John.) I’m sick of this pre-sale nonsense. But I said none of that. Instead I said “Sure.” I figured they wouldn’t find anything or they’re just being kind, or that like us – they’d see tickets, select them, and be told they couldn’t complete the transaction at that time.

Meanwhile, Amanda and I continued to go through the motions of selecting, being denied, refreshing the “best available tickets”, entering the magic word (I have never typed Simon’s name so many times in a single day. Ever!), selecting different but still good seats, and being continuously denied. It was awful, and as Amanda cheerfully pointed out, “The very definition of insanity.”

I did not laugh or share her cheer. Instead, I groaned.

Our friends texted back saying they’d found a pair of tickets but they were way off to one side, and then another pair to the other side at the very edge of the stage. Nope. While we wanted to be at the show, neither of us felt comfortable paying $400 for tickets that were going to be staring at speakers or the wings of the stage. Picky? Probably so, but again – they’re our standards, they don’t have to be yours. I was just about to say goodbye to Amanda and head out to a piano lesson when I got another text about good seats in the sixth row, just to the right of middle by a few chairs. They were good, just back a pinch more than we’d agreed initially, but things change over the course of a pre-sale!

“Take them”, Amanda said. I could hear the white flag being raised in her voice. We were both pretty spent.

We’re going. We have good seats. We’re not complaining about our seats at all. The process though, kicked our asses.  While I’d heard about bots and scalpers buying up seats en mass before, I haven’t ever had this much of a problem getting VIP tickets in the past. It was a genuine mess for us this time.

Later on, someone pointed out to me that it was just bad luck, not operational issues.  They felt I shouldn’t have tweeted the band about it because it made me seem whiny. This person continued to say “It was your turn, and about time for you to have bad luck.”  The insinuation was made that Amanda get to do more than anyone else in this fan community and that they’re sick of seeing it. First of all, we don’t go to everything. We do what we can do. You do what you can do. But to go around wishing for one of us or the other to have bad luck is just mean.  I know that life isn’t always easy or peachy keen for either Amanda or me, but perception is everything. Point taken.

Sometimes pre-sales are really hard, and other times Duran Duran and/or the venue doesn’t use Ticketmaster as the agency and it all goes smoothly. We don’t expect to have good seats every single time. Overall though, Amanda and I aren’t going to be salty (my new favorite word, courtesy of my son) about this. We’re going to Vegas. We’re going to hang out over the holidays, exchange our gifts in person and drink at our own freaking Daily Duranie holiday office party, and everyone is going to be invited. What could be better than that?!

-R

 

 

I’m Not Thinking About the Future

I really cannot believe that for Amanda and I, this tour is quickly coming to an end. We waited so long for the time to come, and now those moments are drawing to a close. We do still have one final show to attend in Chula Vista tomorrow, and it has been a fantastic time so far. We’ve had great luck on this tour. Yesterday, Amanda and I took a drive up to Hollywood to see a friend of ours. (Yes Robyn, I count you as a friend now too!) We had lunch, wandered around Amoeba Records for a while, and then met up with a couple of other friends for coffee.

These other friends we met up with were from San Diego and Argentina.  (Shout out to Shelly, her daughter Rachel, Faby and Gerardo!) As we walked to Starbucks in search of a caffeinated afternoon-pick-me-up, I thought about luck.

I’m not one of those people who wins many contests. I don’t typically have the best fortune when it comes to running into band members the way some of you do. In fact, I could be given solid information about where they are at any given time and STILL not find them, which is kind of funny! (if it’s not meant to happen, it’s not happening – right?) I have several friends and acquaintances that just seem to have their life together. I’m sure they’ve worked very hard to land their dream jobs—please don’t read this as though I’m saying otherwise—but I haven’t quite “found” my dream job yet, I guess. I’m still sort of floundering and trying to figure it out. Later in life than most, but I’ve also spent twenty years at home with my kids. I am definitely not one of those people who has just had everything fall into place yet. I keep trying. I would probably say that I’m not necessarily lucky. Hard worker? Yes. Good at buying pre-sale tickets? Probably. (unless Ticketmaster is involved!)  But otherwise? Not quite sure about that.

On the other hand though, I have hit the jackpot and then some when it comes to my friends. I started thinking about all of the people I have met while being active in the fan community for Duran Duran. I know people from all over the world at this point. I have a very small circle of friends that I can count on to bring me up when I’m feeling down, talk me away from the proverbial edge as necessary, and within that small group, a couple of very close friends that push me to keep going when I most need it. Those same two are also not afraid to call me out when it is deserved, and remind me that life doesn’t suck, no matter how hard it seems at times. I don’t think they know how much they matter to me.

My days are pretty mixed up right now, but a couple of nights ago Amanda and I were recording a video blog to “review” (so to speak, anyway) the Las Vegas show. I think we rambled onto the topic of how sad we were going to be when we came to our last show. It was important for us to convey how we’ll feel when it ends, because let’s face it—we’ve ALL heard rumors over the past few years about how this might be the last album, etc.  I think that concern hangs over me at times like this.

First of all, going to see Duran Duran is my break. It is like planning a giant “girls weekend”.  That isn’t to say we couldn’t plan one without them, but there are girls weekends, and then there are girls weekends with Duran Duran.  I think most of you understand the difference. The band adds another dimension, and I don’t want to see that end.

Secondly, there’s the music. I thrive on live music. I love seeing bands play and being consumed by the sound and energy on the stage. I like being up close and seeing the band’s reaction. I love being farther back and hearing the subtle nuances I miss when I’m up front.  I can’t imagine never having that again with Duran Duran. Can you?

Then, there are the meet-ups that Amanda and I plan. Strangely, I haven’t always enjoyed those meet-ups, believe it or not! They push me so far out of my comfort zone of hiding in a corner, I can’t even tell you. When we host parties like that, I have to mingle and be social. For me, there’s a fair amount of anxiety associated with that. I always have that few minutes as we’re sitting there, all set-up and waiting for people to arrive where I wonder if anyone will show.

Thankfully, you people are typically gracious and don’t leave me wondering for long! People begin to wander up and say hello, and I meet lots of new people. I begin to relax. In Las Vegas this past week, we had a huge turnout. I saw people I hadn’t seen in at least five or six years, and there were moments that I really had to swallow a lump in my throat because I was so thrilled to see people. It made my heart so happy, and for those of you who weren’t aware—I really needed some of that happiness.  For me, this pre-show party wasn’t just a meet-up, it was like a family reunion.  I walked away that night having new appreciation for these parties.

When I think that after tomorrow night, I won’t be planning pre-show meet-ups for a while, it makes me sad.  Every time we talk about one party we’ve hosted, someone shoots us a message asking if we’re coming to their city to do another. Believe me when I say that I really wish we could.  The trouble is, these meet-ups aren’t a job for us, and so the cost in organizing, traveling and attending is completely on Amanda and I. So we do what we can.  The idea that we’ve done a few and now they’re over really does hit hard. It’s not just going to the shows that matters—it is rallying the troops, organizing events for fans, and really strengthening the community that matters.  I meant it when I said that our fan community is like a big, dysfunctional family. So our parties and events really are like reunions. I hope we have the opportunity to host more of them before future shows.

How long will it be before I see some of these people again? Now, of course I know that Amanda and I could plan parties without the band touring. In fact, we really are doing a Durandemonium convention in 2017 (Mark your calendars for August 10th – which is a Thursday, through August 13th – a Sunday!!!)  Even so, it’s not the same as a tour. It’s the whole “group therapy” thing—the concerts—that are missing. Sure, we could probably pay the band to play in the same way that people hire them to do private shows…. (How much are y’all willing to pay in ticket prices, because I’m pretty sure that band isn’t cheap! I highly doubt the word “affordable” would characterize a ticket to a convention where they were going to appear, in other words.)

When I stand in the audience tomorrow night and begin to cheer as they come on stage, I’m going to try my best to push thoughts of the future out of my mind. I am going to focus on the hearts beating all around me, and staying in the present for the show. Every single second of the show needs to stay with me until the next opportunity I have to do this all over again. But, during New Moon on Monday, I won’t be surprised if a few tears threaten to escape. I don’t know what it is about that song for me on this tour, but just hearing it reminds me of how much this band and their fans mean to me. I am so lucky.

-R