Tag Archives: Milwaukee

If We Can Stay Awake

I have been sitting on my couch for awhile now trying to get some idea, any idea about what to write about. This is not common for me. Usually over the course of the week, I come up with many ideas, but not this one. I blame my lack of sleep. The sleep deprivation I have been experiencing has been forming over weeks. It isn’t that I didn’t get enough sleep last night (although I didn’t). I haven’t gotten enough sleep in days, even weeks. Then, the days have been packed with events and long lists of things to do. This results in not great sleep when I can get it as I am over-tired and stressed.

I am actually a really big fan of sleep. Most people, most adults, I know are. Yet, I have fond memories of times when I have gotten anything but. Strangely enough, many of those experiences surround touring. I wonder why. Here are some of my favorite highlights or lowlights or most sleep deprived moments or however you want to call them.

Is That Sunrise I’m Hearing?

My first real Duran Duran tour happened during this time of year in 2005 as part of the Astronaut Tour. I was extremely fortunate in that the tour swung through the Midwest at the exact same time as my spring break. This meant I was able to see five shows over the course of the week, including Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul, Moline and Detroit. It was definitely one of the best spring breaks ever, if the best.

In many respects the first weekend of that tour was the most fun. That weekend included the Chicago and Milwaukee shows. Like many others, Rhonda flew in for the weekend and it felt like a party from the very beginning as Duranies filled the hotel bar until the wee hours of the morning. Even after it closed, Duranies packed hotel rooms to chat, to laugh, to ponder everything and anything Duran. I believe that the first night of the tour, which was the night before the show, we got to sleep about 4 hours of sleep. Turns out that was a good amount.

The next night featured the Chicago show and an even later night. Again, the hotel bar was hopping as fans and the opening band enjoyed drinks until late. By the time our heads hit the pillow, it was very late or very early, depending on how you look at it, bringing our sleep total to about seven hours for the entire weekend. Then, Saturday night hit, proving that all things Duran are worth it or so we thought.

On Saturday, we drove up to Milwaukee for the show then did the obvious by driving back to Chicago in hopes of seeing the band after the show at their hotel. (Of course, who wouldn’t do that?) As the hours ticked by, we sat in the hotel bar, chatting, waiting, uncertain about what to do. At which point, I knew that I would need caffeine if I would be able to get us back to our hotel, resulting in a visit at an all night diner where Rhonda and I started laughing hysterically and couldn’t stop. If I had seen us, I would have thought we lost it, for real. By the time we got back to the northern suburbs, the sun was rising and there wasn’t really enough time to sleep before friends needed to be dropped off at airports. This means that we literally got a hotel room that we never slept in. All it did was store our stuff. Yes, we are geniuses.

By that Sunday afternoon, Rhonda and I found ourselves killing time by walking around a mall, waiting for her to be dropped off for her flight. We only had about 7 hours of sleep in three nights and had been up for well over 24 hours. At this point, we swear we started to hear “Sunrise” playing in the mall. Was it? We don’t know. Maybe? Maybe not? After all, it could have been an auditory hallucination. After I dropped Rhonda off, I began making phone calls as I ventured north to Madison. I was that worried that I would fall asleep at the wheel. Despite my exhaustion, I loved every minute of the weekend.

We Might As Well Stay Up

In 2011, we had one of our most favorite tours, which was doing a few shows in the UK in November/December. Initially, we were just going to do the shows in Brighton, Bournemouth and Birmingham. Then, we noticed great seats for the show in Glasgow for sale online. It would mean traveling up to Scotland and arranging a flight back to London but that show seemed to be calling us with the amazing seats available. On top of that, my friend was living in Scotland and could offer us a place to stay. We jumped at the opportunity.

That show in Glasgow was amazing. It was well worth the additional travel cost and money on top of the ticket price. Honestly, it remains one of my favorite shows of all time even if we didn’t stay too long after the show as we had to get back to my friend’s place in Edinburgh through the light snow that evening. Still, by the time we arrived back, there were only hours until we would have to turn around and get our ride to the airport. Right then and there, we decided to just stay up. After all, we didn’t want to miss our flight back to London, which would mess up the right of our travel plans or so we told ourselves. In reality, the show left us with such a concert high that we spent the few hours we had searching online for any videos of that show or any of the other shows we saw.

Touring Is Tiring

I have so many pictures of Rhonda and myself at the beginning of a tour looking refreshed and healthy. I have an equal number of photos of us looking beyond exhausted and that we had partied hard. I distinctly remember a sign I saw at O’Hare one time coming back from a tour that said, “I’m ragged. I’m raw. I’m a rock star.” I think it was an advertisement for shoes or something but that phrase sure felt fitting. Touring has always meant little to no sleep. While I do love sleep, the fun that we have had makes the lack of sleep totally worth it. I’m sure the heck hoping that I feel the same lack of regret come April 2nd, Election Day. Then, like any post-tour, I’ll recover and get ready for the next time. That said, anyone know how to bank sleep? Anyone? Anyone?

-A

Time Will Change the Picture

This has been a fascinating week and one filled with a few surprises that I’m still shaking my head over. One of those included the ticket sale surrounding the Killers show in Milwaukee as part of Summerfest on July 5th. Needless to say, it didn’t go as planned.

Early in the week I received an email from the Killers fan club about this show in Milwaukee. It stated that I would have presale access on Wednesday. That is pretty much all the email said. There was no information about what kind of seats would be available, what the costs would be or anything. Huh? Instead of trying to figure it all out, I announced my desire to go to the show on Facebook and found multiple friends wanting to go. So, now, I decided to look at the link on this presale email. All it said was when the presale would be and there would be a four ticket limit. Great. I needed to buy 5. Now what? I thought my problem was going to be solved when my friend, Jeff, offered to buy a couple for me but that was short-lived. Turns out that he didn’t receive that email even though he also is a member of their fan club. What the heck? Did I receive it just because I live in Wisconsin? I don’t know. I think that would be dumb, if so. If I only got access to Duran shows when they came nearby, I would never see them. They haven’t been to Wisconsin since 2005. Even Chicago has been showless since 2016. Okay. I figured I would check out the presale and go from there.

Wednesday morning comes and I have my class covered to buy tickets. Cool. I hide out in the staff lounge as I wait for the 10 am hour. After the usual agonizing minutes before a presale, the buy tickets button appeared. What tickets were offered? The only ones were general admission pit. Confusion hit as the map showed seats. Were there only GA? I did get a price on those but that was it. No additional information was given. Do I buy these GA tickets? After pondering our options, I decided to throw them back and wait and see what is offered in the general sale. If there are seats, I want them. After all, I am old and hate waiting in GA especially in the summer. I still cannot really understand the idea that the fan club only offered that. Yes, maybe, that would be the best place to be the closest but still. Should the fans have the most choices or, at least, more information.

Soon enough, Friday rolled around and I was ready to try again. This time, I did not need class coverage as the public sale started at noon, during my lunch hour. I did not need to use the fan club presale but went directly to Ticketmaster. I still didn’t have a ton of info on types of tickets and prices but I decided not to sweat it. As I logged in and went to the show’s page, I saw something new. The screen said that I should click on a button and join a queue. It stated that if I didn’t, when the tickets go on sale, I would be put in the back of the online line. Fascinating. I wondered if I should have logged in sooner to get a better place in line. It also made me think that this might be an interesting idea so that fans won’t be jumping over each other. I think we have all experienced getting tickets in our cart that we don’t want and throw them back. Meanwhile someone looking at the same time might have wanted those but couldn’t see them because they were in someone’s cart. At noon, the ticketmaster screen changed to say that I had 773 people in front of me. Was that long? Would it take a long time to get to the front? I had no idea. In reality, I got to the front about two minutes after 12. When my time came, the map with seats popped up and I was able to click on the seats I wanted without a problem. Did I get the best seats? No, they weren’t front row but they are halfway up one of the front sections. I was pleased.

So, what is the point of me sharing this story? This is a Duran fan blog. I like to compare other band’s fan club and presales to Duran’s. What did I find with this one? I thought the communication was absolutely awful. Duranies would have been screaming and attempting to get answers from Katy. I don’t know how fans of the Killers felt but I found it super frustrating to not know the set up of the show and how much tickets would be. Then, the fan club should offer a heck of a lot more than just one section of tickets. That’s dumb. Fans should have choices. This made me feel so much more positive towards DuranDuranMusic and how DDM does it. Sometimes, it is good to remember that even if our imperfect presale system, it could be way worse.

My other thought had to do with Ticketmaster. I found it hard to sit there and just stare at the screen while I waiting for my turn to buy tickets but it only lasted a couple of minutes. When I got to buy the tickets, I didn’t have a ton of “some other fan beat you to these tickets” pop up, resulting in having to select different and worse ones. I am okay with the queue system if it makes the process smoother and less stressful. The last few times we bought Duran tickets on Ticketmaster, those presales were rough. I didn’t experience any of that frustration today. Could this be a sign that Ticketmaster is making changes for the better? Perhaps. The only thing I wish I knew is when I should have gotten into line, so to speak. Could I have gotten much closer if I had? Maybe.

All in all, it was a weird process. It was so strange that I had better luck during the regular sale vs. the presale. Likewise, I should be more frustrated with Ticketmaster rather than a fan club. Bizarre. I’m glad, though, that I got seats for myself and my friends. It gives me something to look forward to during the summer.

-A

Run For Cover

On Tuesday, I greeted my new students by leading them through a variety of activities all around the school building.  Then, if that was not enough, I drove 45 minutes to pick my niece before driving another hour to Milwaukee to see the Killers perform along with the Violent Femmes.  Then, I had to drive over an hour to get home before getting about two hours of sleep to actually teach the new students the next day.  To say that I’m tired now would be an understatement.  The first week of school is always rough.  I’m out of practice as I forgot how much I’m on my feet and how much I have to talk in class.  And I definitely added to my exhaustion by going to this show.  That said, I don’t regret it.

I have to admit that it was a hoot to go to the show with my niece.  Before this, there is little opportunity to go to show with her (or her sister).  She grew up in a completely different region of the country.  So I felt like I could not let this opportunity pass me by despite the crappy timing.  When I asked my niece if she wanted to join me, she enthusiastically answered with a yes.  I knew that she was a fan of the Killers even if her fan status might not be as serious as my fan status with them.  As for the Violent Femmes, I doubt she had any clue about them.  No matter.  She is someone (unlike her aunt) who goes in with a positive attitude and works hard to always enjoy herself.  The show just confirmed this as she sang, danced and clapped throughout both bands.  It was fun to see as she reminded me just to let go and take in each and every moment.  My favorite moment with her was at the very end, when both bands played a song that represented Milwaukee.  What did they choose?  You might imagine…Needless to say, my niece did not have a clue what the song was!

The show was great!  I had seen both bands before but this was a brand new venue that holds 17,000 seats.  Needless to say, I was thrilled that we could get actual seats as I might have died in general admission.  Violent Femmes impressed my niece to no end.  I think she appreciated the variety of what they played.  They performed many/most of their classics but also busted out a polka and a bluegrass song.  She laughed a lot as she texted the rest of the family to declare that they were “awesome”!

The Killers, as always, put on a tremendous show.  That said, I could not help but to compare the show and my experiences to what I’m more used to–Duran shows.  I noticed I was doing this right away, from the very first song.  They started with a bang by playing Mr. Brightside.  I found this fascinating.  Some might argue that this is their biggest, most well-known hit.  If that is so, is that a good strategy?  I started to think about Duran’s opening song.  I have seen a few different ones.  Typically, it is a track on the latest album like Paper Gods or Before the Rain.  I have seen them play a hit to start the show like Wild Boys.  But I don’t think I would say Wild Boys is their biggest hit.  After thinking about this, I paid attention to the rest of the set list, which actually turned out to be pretty routine from there.

Then, there were a few really explicit moments during the show that screamed Duran to me as they, too, used confetti and asked the crowd to use their cell phone lights as you can see in this video:

Now, I suspect that there are lots of bands/artists who use these concert extras.  Nonetheless, when they were used, I immediately thought of Duran and all of my various concert memories flooded my mind.  That said, on one hand,  I welcomed this show in its ease.  It didn’t take long to plan and didn’t need a lot of special travel arrangements.  There was no drama at all (other than the one scary moment on the way home in which we were passed on the road by a high speed chase).  I didn’t ponder what I was going to wear much and didn’t plan on partying hard.  That said, there was a part of me that found myself almost aching with missing Duran and everything that goes along with a Duran show.

As I continued to ponder that emotion for the rest of the week, I think about the song, Run for Cover, from the most recent Killers’ album.  The concept of running for cover, or hiding from something, for whatever reason feels fitting.  Attending this show felt a little bit like running away from the reality that summer was ending and more.  Unfortunately, as memories of other concerts washed over me at the show and as sleep deprivation became real, I acknowledge the fact that I cannot really run or seek out cover.  Reality is reality.

-A