Tag Archives: New Orleans

Sometimes I’m caught in a landslide: Memories of Sears Centre 2006

I remember going to the Sears Center in 2006. It was the grand opening for the arena, and Duran Duran was playing. I arrived at Chicago’s Midway airport in the middle of a rainstorm. Traffic was horrendous. It took Amanda and I, along with my sister and another friend, what seemed like forever to make the trip from the airport to the Marriott nearby the arena that would serve as our hotel room for the night.

We were late getting to the hotel and even later to get ready. We had to grab dinner pretty quickly. If I remember right – we were rushing our poor waitress at the hotel’s restaurant to “please hurry, we have tickets to Duran Duran!” In our haste to get from the car into the venue, Amanda and I both left our cameras behind. At the time, we thought this was a travesty.

The show was outstanding. Amanda and I danced like crazy from our what – 9th row? – seats. The arena was beautiful, and the band was on fire. Just days prior, like perhaps two or less, the band had put out a statement announcing that Andy would no longer be working with the band. It was a tough time for all Duranies, regardless of where one sat on the issue. Questions swirled throughout the community, “Who would be the guitar player?”, “Could the band still go on?”, “Whose fault was it that Andy quit?”, “What would happen next?” The band seemed to answer many of them that night. It was a strong show, and this was not a band that was going to just lie down and die.

Amanda and I were enthusiastic, even through sadness as the Fab Five came to a resounding halt. Again. While our cameras were useless to us in our car, my memories of this show are so clear. It remains one of the best shows I’ve seen. Likely, this is because I didn’t view a single second of the show from a viewfinder or phone screen.

Along with my sister and another friend, Amanda and I truly plotted like crazy for this trip to happen. Originally we were just going to go to the Voodoo Festival in New Orleans, and had the entire trip planned.  My husband had even given me his blessing to go! Somewhere along the way, Duran Duran announced this show at the Sears Centre. Sure, I could have skipped the show and gone straight to New Orleans, but that is pretty much the same thing as telling an alcoholic they should skip the vodka and just drink the mixer.  (My apologies to the teetotalers and members of AA out there…but you get my point, don’t you?)

Emails flew fast and furious between the four of us in the weeks leading up to this date in Chicago. Tickets were secured for the Sears Centre even though rearranging my travel plans without more pain to my wallet seemed impossible. I begged, borrowed, and pleaded with my husband to just let the trip be my birthday gift (a regular tactic of mine). Finally, between the genius of my sister and Amanda, plans came together. As a result, there we were, sitting in traffic on the I-90, screaming at cars to let us pass because we were on our way to see Duran Duran. Good times.

The next day proved to be crazier than the day before in Chicago traffic, but that’s pretty much how traveling to see this crazy band goes. I only regret the shows I haven’t gone to, not the ones I spent following this insanity.

…And you all wonder why I continue to bring up vodka on this blog. Gee, I don’t know!?!

Good memories of the Sears Centre.

-R

Today in Duran History – Viper Room, Voodoo and even UCLA…

On today’s date in Duran history….there has been a few exciting things to happen.

The thing is, we have a spreadsheet that we use to create this blog each day. I won’t go into a ton of detail (because it’s boring and none of you care), but we’ve got a ton of different things to share, so each day of each year we try to share a different “thing”.  For example, next year on October 30, I’ll be sharing something different than I will this year.  In any case, for this year I’m supposed to be following the tidbits for each date in column “C”.  Well, if you know me, you realize I don’t like following all the rules. So I’m not today.

On October 29 of 1995, Neurotic Outsiders played the Viper Room. Now that’s exciting because…well, it’s John Taylor. Enough said, right?

Except that, also on October 29, but in the year 2006, Duran Duran played the Voodoo Festival. The memory of this particular festival lies close to my heart because my friends – I survived Voodoo. I stood in the heat all day. I moshed (mostly against my will) along with thousands as My Chemical Romance took the stage. I sweated while praying that “the human hamster ball” would come nowhere near me while The Flaming Lips were onstage…and then, I was pushed, shoved, nearly tackled and CERTAINLY defiled by a very tall man’s arm pit as Duran Duran took the stage that night. What’s more, I can laugh about it now. But I’m still not doing another festival. Well, at least not sober. Probably.

ALSO on October 29, but this time in the year 2009, John Taylor spoke on a panel at UCLA for the 40th anniversary celebration of the internet. The topic was how the internet has changed music, or fandom…or all of it…and this, my friends, has everything to do with this blog, our research and manuscript in many ways, and even the fact that John Taylor joined Twitter and social media… until he apparently left Twitter (and social media) for the most part, because some people just do not understand boundaries or little things like common decency. Regardless, I strongly urge you to give his portion of the panel a listen. John is a fantastic orator, and it wasn’t long after this talk that he suddenly appeared on Twitter for the first time.

In fact, I found his speech on YouTube…check it out:

So, October 29th has historically been a pretty interesting day for Duran Duran…even if this year seems to be a bit quiet.  It’s the calm before the storm….

-R

 

Time is a River

I’m coming out of hiding today to make mention of a very special “anniversary” of sorts.  For those who have known me since the hallowed days of DDF – you might already be aware.  If not, allow me to age everyone properly.

On this date, TEN very short years ago, a little convention began in New Orleans called 78-04: Friends of Mine Duran Duran Fan Convention.  It began on what was a Friday night and went straight through to Sunday, and for me personally it was a completely life-changing experience.

I hear a lot of you right now: Who really says that?!? I mean, it was really just a big party, wasn’t it? Who checks out of their life for a few days to go have fun, only to come back saying it completely changed the whole course of their life?  Believe me, I see the irony there, and I would normally agree with the naysayers out there. Except of course, I was there, and through much soul-searching, I see how the event really did change me.

Maybe it wasn’t so much of a change as it woke up my “inner-Rhonda”. I’ve written about this so many times here on the blog now that I worry it’s lost it’s appeal.  All I really know is that I really do believe that there are moments in our lives where we come upon forks in the road, and the direction we choose makes all the difference. This convention, and choosing to not only attend but to help organize it, really did change my direction. I will always hold that weekend, along with the months of planning prior, very dear to my heart.  So much has changed since that weekend in 2004, and yet I can’t believe it’s been ten years since I met Jessica, Mac, Amanda, Mags, Lisa, Krissie, Carla…and so many others in person.

I spent time yesterday and last night thinking about the convention and specific little things that happened, hoping to come up with a list. Maybe those who were there that weekend will have others to share…but here are some of mine:

*Having Jessica meet me at our hotel room that night. From the very second I met her, I knew I’d done the right thing when I got involved planning the convention and flying to New Orleans to attend.

*Sharing a hotel room with Lisa, Mags, Jessica and Carla.  We all fit and had a great time! This was also, I believe, the first, last and only time that I attended a Duranie event without sharing a room with Amanda (she cannot say the same!)

* Seeing Jessica’s red hair and watching it fade throughout the weekend. I don’t know why that sticks with me so much, but I remember thinking that I wanted to be the type of person that would die my hair vibrant red. (I eventually did not that long ago…and my red streaks faded to magenta right away too. LOL)

*Laughing at Lisa and a few others suck helium and say “Good evening and welcome to our show!” as we decorated for the dance party on Saturday night.  Some might roll their eyes and say “because that’s never been done before”…but the thing is, for me, I’d never seen anyone do it before that night.

* Listening to Mac tell us how Bourbon Street roped her (and a friend) in and tied them up.  I think Mac became my hero that weekend.

* Displaying all of my Duranie pins and t-shirts with pride that weekend. It was the first time in I don’t know how long that I felt comfortable wearing a Duran t-shirt without people giving me strange looks, and if you know me – you know how self-conscious I can be.

*Listening to a copy of Astronaut before it was released *gasp* and declaring that the band “had ruined”  What Happens Tomorrow (compared to what I’d already heard them do live).  That’s right, even back then I was filled with nasty little opinions that I couldn’t keep to myself!

*Standing up and giving a speech in front of the crowd that night. Even though I had been president of my local MOMS club and involved in PTA for my kids school – I was nervous to be standing up there, but it was the very first time I can ever remember feeling like I really did fit in.

* Watching all of the men (both Duranies and Duranie husbands) grab chairs and sit down right directly in front of the screening area to watch The Chauffeur when the video played at the dance party.

*Buying drinks with Amanda at the dance party. I can’t remember if I was drinking gin and tonic or vodka and tonic that night (both are favorites)…but we very clearly started a tradition for ourselves.

*Commenting on Amanda wearing these boots with (what I felt were) high heels all over Bourbon Street. I don’t wear heels – ever – due to horrible neuromas on the bottom of my feet, so I marveled at how she could walk in those things. I was wearing flip flops, which are still my shoe of choice!

* Singing Rio on stage at what was then Howl at the Moon. (I’d say “Thank goodness there’s no video of that”….alas…it’s out there somewhere.)

*Saying good-bye to everyone on Sunday morning. I had such a great weekend, and I secretly worried about whether I would really see any of them again. How do you bond so quickly with people you’ve met in real life only once?  That Duranie connection runs very, very deep.

Thinking about that weekend makes me want to do it all over again. I swore I was done with New Orleans after Voodoo…but I don’t know….

Happy memories, everyone. I continue to thank my lucky stars that I met you all. Despite, time, distance and changes – my love and friendship runs very, very deep.

-R

Today in Duran History – New Orleans

On today’s date in 1989, Duran Duran played at Saenger Theater in New Orleans.  Were you there??

I remember New Orleans…I’ve been there twice now, and both times were because of Duran Duran.  The first time was for a fan convention in 2004 (can you believe that in September of this year it will have been TEN YEARS since Friends of Mine in New Orleans?!?), and the second time was for the VooDoo Festival in 2006….or as I like to call it “The Day I Discovered What It Is Really Like to Have Your Face Smooshed Into a Hairy Man’s SWEATY Armpit…All For The Love Of A Band.”  😀  Good times.

*shudders*

-R