Tag Archives: New Years Eve

To Hear the Drum: New Year’s Eve Show Review

Happy New Year 2017!  We all made it!  Last night, I rang in the New Year at the MGM National Harbor with some friends and Duran Duran.  Overall, the night was a ton of fun even though I wished for some things to be different.

Pre-Show:

The evening started with a quick Uber ride from my hotel in Alexandria to Oxon Hill, Maryland.  While the resort/casino was busy, it was not overwhelming and easy to get dropped off at.  I worried a bit as my little group entered–how strict will the dress code be?  Will they accept our tickets to waive the fee?  The answers.  The dress code was not enforced as I saw many people with jeans and sneakers.  Perhaps, some of the clubs were more picky but the MGM as a whole, no.  Getting in was easy by simply giving your name.

After entering, we walked around to get a lay of the land a bit and to find coat check.  Again, it was easy to drop off.  From there, we headed over to the Lobby Bar, which is located upstairs, but near the theater.  We wanted to get our drink on and see friends before the show.  Many Duranies came, increasing the excitement for the show!      The only downside was that it took forever to get drinks.  Here are a couple of pictures:

Time flew and before long, we ventured over to the theater for the show!

The Venue:

As many of you know, this venue is new, only opening earlier in December.  I hoped to be impressed as I usually like a lot of smaller (in this case 3000 seat) venues.  Unfortunately, the design was poor.  After entering through a metal detector, there was little direction about where to go from there.  We walked past a bar and a merch booth, which included all of the same stuff as the summer shows, only to see a sign for sections 103-105.  Huh?  Where do we go in for the floor?  Luckily, kind staff directed us inside and showed our seats.  After sitting down in the middle front section, I had a chance to look around.  Shockingly, the sections of seats stretched far beyond the stage on the left and the right.  This means that if you had seats in the left section or the right section, you might be looking at a wall (and a screen) when facing forward.  A few of my friends found themselves in this position.  These photos below show better than I can explain:

The real kicker about these seats?  They were sold as VIP tickets.  I know that I would not have been happy to spend a lot of money for tickets with this poor angle.

The Show:

Let’s start with the biggest highlight of the show and the one that everyone was worried, anxious, excited about…the return of Nick Rhodes.  I snapped this picture early on in the evening just to remind myself that I was not dreaming and that he, indeed, was there.  It was SO good to have him back!

The setlist remained the same, which I was expecting.  The lights and the visuals remained the same and as always a strong addition to the show.

The band entered the stage with high energy, ready to bring it.  Yet, the venue appeared to be about half full when the lights went down. Did people forget about the starting time?  Were they expecting an opening band?  Soon enough, more people trickled in but there were still empty pockets, at least where I was sitting in the center, front section.  Then, I took note that a number of the people near me were sitting down.  Some even had their phones out, scrolling through their photos.  Wait.  What…the what is going on?  Don’t they know that they are at a Duran show?  I was confused and dismayed.  Maybe it was that they didn’t know Paper Gods.  No, for many, they remained in their seats through Wild Boys, Hungry Like the Wolf and the rest.  Ugh.  I felt my energy get zapped.  I cannot imagine what it would be like to be the band and see empty seats and people sitting.  I turned around to look at the rest of the venue and spotted a number of fans up off their seats dancing and singing.  I wished that those fans were in my section, closer to the stage.

My other big observation during the early part of the show is that the venue security was odd.  Many fans rushed into the aisles when Paper Gods began.  Security clearly asked them to move to their seats.  Many, who had come from those side sections I mentioned earlier, just moved into the center section, up front with no problem, taking up some of those earlier mentioned empty seats. Ugh again.  Why is that okay?  Why couldn’t my friend and I move up to some of those empty seats?  What about those fans loving the show in the back?

All that said, Duran put on a fine show.  I would not say they had the most energy I have ever seen (perhaps due to what appeared to be a slightly lame crowd) but there were some highlights.  Simon chatted up the crowd a bunch, which I always enjoy.  Two moments stick out. First, Simon talked about how awful 2016 was to many and asked the crowd if people were ready for 2017.  Then he said something along the line of, “Why in the fuck do you think 2017 will be any better?”  I nodded, laughed and thought that is the truth.  Before Notorious, he mentioned seeing twerking on TV that day.  I immediately hid my face, hoping that he wasn’t planning on twerking himself on stage.  I don’t know that I ever need to see that!  On the other hand, my friend and seat mate was ready to go!  Oh my!

New Year’s Moment:

Right before the clock flipped to midnight, Simon declared that the band was leaving the stage and that Carson Daly’s countdown in Times Square was to be shown on the big screen.  What…the what?!?  I came to have Simon count down.  I didn’t want to watch Carson.  I could have done that at home.  Now, I suspect that was the plan that the venue had as the band did not stay off the stage for long.  We watched literally 48 seconds of a countdown and then Duran returned about a minute after that.  Confetti was released and balloons dropped which was fun!  In fact, there were so many balloons that you couldn’t even move without sitting on one, stepping on one.  Later, I heard that there was champagne at the bar there but I have no idea if it was free or not.  I would have loved if the venue brought us all a glass because I know that I wasn’t going to move from the show, not even for a drink!

Post Show:

Many of us returned to the Lobby Bar after the show (despite the slow service) in order to keep the party going.  Most people I talked with had a great time!  Some were looking forward to tonight’s show and others were saddened that they were leaving today instead.

I, for one, am looking forward to tonight’s show.  Now, I have a lay of the land for the resort.  I will be wearing more comfortable jeans and shoes.  I also suspect that there will be more Duranies in attendance tonight vs. people who just got tickets for something to do on New Year’s or because of some special status with MGM.  Duran Duran should bring it tonight because I’ll be ready!

-A

The Lights Turn On: New Year’s Eve!

Rumor has it that it is a show day!  A Duran Duran show day!  Woohoo!  Yes, that’s right.  Duran Duran is playing tonight at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland.  They are playing a New Year’s Eve show, in fact, with the show starting at 10:30.  Therefore, fans in attendance will actually ring in 2017 with Duran Duran.  This significant event pulled a lot of fans like myself to the Washington DC area.  Has Duran Duran ever played a New Year’s Eve show?  I don’t think so.  They have done TV appearances for New Year’s (MTV, Carson Daly, etc.) but I don’t think they have played a whole show on this date.  (That said, someone correct me if I’m wrong!)

Show Details:

As this show has loomed closer, my social media focused on Duran started hopping.  A few days ago, an article, which you can read here,  was shared by many fans planning to attend tonight’s and/or tomorrow’s show.  The two big pieces that most focused on were the cost to get in and the dress code.  According to the article and the email that ticket holders received, the casino is charging $75 on New Year’s Eve, in order to enter.  These tickets must be purchased in advance through (my favorite) Ticketmaster.  Good news is that ticket holders to the Duran show just need to show their tickets to enter WITHOUT paying this $75 charge.  This is a good move for the casino since our tickets weren’t cheap!  I, for one, will be interested to see what the crowd in the casino will be like with this additional cost.

The other big piece of news that attendees is focusing on, which is the dress code for the weekend.  According to the article,

“MGM is also instilling a dress code for New Year’s weekend. Visitors are asked to wear “upscale or semi-formal dress, suitable for the occasion.”

MGM also points out that “appropriate attire will be required throughout the weekend, Friday through Sunday. No athletic gear, T-shirts, shorts, torn or cutoff clothing, offensive prints on clothing, baggy clothing … athletic shoes, flip-flops, sneakers, chains, ball caps.”

What exactly does that mean, people wonder?  I question it myself.  My assumption is that you can’t look like a bum.  You have to look like you wanted to look nice.  For tonight’s show, I’m wearing dress pants.  After that, I’m planning on wearing nice jeans to the New Year’s Day show.  I’m sure it will be fine.  If not…well, then, I will deal.  Unhappily.

Nick News:

If anyone was on social media on the 29th, the big topic of discussion was the Cancun show, specifically the lack of Nick.  As far as I know, there was no announcement saying that he was not going to be there nor was there an announcement saying that he was.  Yet, many/most people expected him to be there because he had just played with the band in London not that long ago.  If he was able to perform then, surely, he would be able to perform now, right?  Once people realized that he wasn’t there, speculation grew.  Why?  What is going on?  People wanted to know.  From what I could tell, it wasn’t out of a desire to be nosey or to violate Nick’s privacy.  No, it was more about wanting to know what to expect from Duran Duran.  Could people expect Nick to be at upcoming shows?  If not, shouldn’t fans know that before buying tickets?

It didn’t take long before DDHQ responded with the following tweet:

Obviously, this is what all Duranies wanted to hear.  We all want Nick there.  It doesn’t feel like the same band without him.  While I was relieved to see that tweet, part of me will still worry until I see Nick on stage for myself.  I’m a little paranoid.

Drinks!

If anyone is planning on going to the show tonight or tomorrow night, come join me at the Lobby Bar (that’s the actual name of a bar in the casino) before the show.  I am planning to be there a couple of hours before show time.  After all, I want time to see people, have good conversation, and maybe have a drink or two!

-A

Give Me Strength: Giving Appreciation

Yesterday was Thanksgiving.  I spent the day with my parents where we ate a full vegetarian meal, watched Star Trek Beyond and played some games.  It provided me necessary down time and the comfort of being with those who provide unconditional love and support.  Thanksgiving has never been my favorite holiday but I do appreciate having the time to stop and appreciate what one has in life.  This year, this feels more important than usual.

So, what am I grateful for?  I’ll start with the obvious.  I’m thankful for my family.  I have always felt very fortunate to have parents, in particular, who support me in so many ways.  Last year, at this time, my mom was finishing treatment for cancer and this year, she has been cancer free.  My father, who has a chronic illness, has been able to manage it better.  I’m thankful, then, that they are as healthy as can be and still able to be there for me.

This year, I also learned to really appreciate my job.  I often complain about the daily grind of education and teaching.  Don’t get me wrong.  Teaching is exhausting and requires far more work than a full time job.  I wish I could change that time commitment on top of all of the district, state and national demands and criticisms.  That said, my colleagues and my students have renewed my spirit in ways that they may never understand.  Now, I feel like we really are a big, weird dysfunctional family trying to make it through each day, each week, this school year and beyond together.

Of course, I am very grateful for my friendship with Rhonda.  While we may not live close to each other or are able to speak everyday, I know that she is supportive of me.  She may not always understand all of my choices or me of hers, yet, we still support each other.  At the end of the day, that foundation matters a lot.  It can overcome whatever challenges pop up–whether those are busy schedules, differing viewpoints or something else entirely.  Without this friendship, so much of what I have done in the name of fandom would have never taken place and I would have had a LOT less fun over the years.

This leads me ot appreciate Duran Duran and my fandom.  During this summer, Rhonda and I were able to attend a number of shows.  While I felt like I appreciated them then, now I really do.  I distinctly remember a moment at one of the shows this summer when I realized very clearly that there is nothing that brings me joy like being at a Duran Duran concert.  It is where I am the happiest.  Duran represents fun and good times.

The majority of my life is such that I’m serious a lot.  I work more than I should.  I focus my energy on being politically active.  No, those tasks don’t bring me joy in the traditional sense but what they do bring is immense satisfaction.  They bring a real purpose to my life.  I feel fulfilled when students really learn something and when they become politically active themselves.  The high that results from fighting in some sort campaign cannot be easily explained.  I cannot walk away from that aspect of myself.  Yet, Duran, fandom and fun provides the necessary infusion of energy and joy that keeps me going.  I need both in my life.

I then look forward to the two trips I have coming up to Washington D.C.  At the end of the year, I’ll venture there to see Duran Duran play a couple of shows and I will get the burst of energy and good times that I need.  Then, I’ll return to the city a couple weeks later to march in the Women’s March on Washington.  I am grateful to all that will make both happen from my colleagues, to my friends, to my parents, to Duran Duran and to other activists.  I appreciate them all.

-A

Some Days Are Strange to Number

Some days, some things just make me laugh.  Sometimes, the laughter happens right away.  Other times, there needs to be some space between the event and the giggles.  Tuesday morning was one of those days…

I arrived at work/school early on Tuesday.  I had much to do, including copying four handouts to start a brand new unit for my US History kiddos.  As I mindlessly stood by the copier at 7 am, I thought through my game plan.  I had to find a colleague to cover me at 9 am so that I could buy tickets to the National Harbor Duran shows.  Once my class was covered, I could seek a quiet classroom to refresh my DDM and/or Ticketmaster page frequently as I anxiously waited for tickets to go on sale.  Then, I would quickly type in the password and seek the tickets of my choice.  Of course, the perfect tickets would pop up instantly, almost placing themselves into the shopping cart without me even clicking a button.  The process would be nothing but smooth sailing.  I could then return to my classroom, having been gone for less than 10 minutes.  Yeah…those copier fantasies can be intense and terribly inaccurate.

Still, the plan seemed on track when I found my colleague and friend across the hall.  I begged her to cover my first hour class and even told her to give treats to my students if they were good since I had brownies and cupcakes with me.  She readily agreed.  Perfect.  Nothing could go wrong, I figured.  I had coverage.  I had a plan.  I had the seating chart printed.  I logged into my computer and the necessary sites.  I was all set.  

At five to nine, my colleague stepped across the hall to take over as I sought her quiet classroom to begin my incessant refreshing.  As I started to refresh the Ticketmaster page, I noticed that sometimes I would get a countdown clock and other times I did not.  Cue self-talk as I reminded myself that it would be fine and that I had done a million presales before.  There was no need for my heart to be beating that fast.  None, whatsoever.  Finally, the countdown reached zero, the page indicated that it was loading and loading and loading and loading.  What the hell?!  Do I need to refresh the page, I wondered.  Finally, after what felt like hours, I refreshed, revealing the ticket sale page.  I put my request in.  Denied.  Grumble.  Grumble.  Okay, I thought.  No big deal.  Stay calm.  Refresh again.  Up pops crappy seats all the way to the side and far back.  No thank you.  Refresh again.  Same result.  

“Are they kidding me?” I said out loud to an empty classroom.  Could the tickets already be sold out, I asked myself?!  Nooooooo….refresh again for the sixth time.  Then, Ticketmaster asked me to click on pictures with mountains.  I did that and when the page appeared it stated in big, red ugly letters that they could not fulfill my request.  I felt the blood pressure rising.  I didn’t understand.  What was going on?!  Deep breaths began.  More waiting.  Then, the dreaded bell rang indicating that I could pursue this no longer as 2nd hour awaited.  Damnit, I muttered as I crossed back into my classroom and my role as teacher.

As sweat popped up on my forehead, I frantically searched for my team teacher.  Where was she?  Was she coming to class?  Could she start the class so I could keep…attempting to get tickets?!  Finally, she appeared in the door frame.  Relief.  I begged her to start the class while I explained the situation.  She nodded while directing me to her room, to try on her computer.  That might work, I thought as I turned around to leave.  Unfortunately, ten minutes on a different computer  proved to be no more successful.  Swearing under my breath, I marched back into my classroom, knowing that I could not stay on Ticketmaster all dang day.  Teaching demanded my presence.

As I walked in, I noticed that I had another laptop to try Ticketmaster on.  I logged in while my colleague finished going over the political vocabulary.  She wandered over to my desk to ask how my pursuit was going.  I quickly explained the situation to her before jumping up to lead the students through some notes.  As I waited for the kids to jot down ideas about the political parties, I glanced back to see my colleague refreshing the page as I had done.  Involuntarily, I let out both a partial smile and a partial sob at the same time, thinking about how lucky I was for colleagues like that.  Thankfully, my misery ended when I received word that the friend I am going with acquired tickets for us.  I desperately wanted to collapse in my desk chair, exhausted, but I still had a room full of freshmen to teach!  Someday, this band really might kill me, I thought as I resumed the political science lesson I was presenting.

By now, you all have realized that unlike my counterpart, I will be attending the shows outside of DC around New Year’s.  Will I miss Rhonda’s presence?  That is a given.  It feels weird to go to any show or any Duran function without her.  This is even more significantly weird and sad is because it involves traveling and staying in hotels.  Yet, the shows made too much sense for me NOT to go.

As someone who is single, with few single friends near me, holidays like New Year’s Eve create a lot of personal anxiety.  Immediately after Christmas, I begin to wonder, each year, what I should do. Should I make plans, should I try to go somewhere, do I not try to make plans, do I stay at home.  In many cases, I can find a friend or two to hang out with but not always and usually last minute.  The holiday always acts as a unwelcome reminder that I’m single and don’t have a family.  It can be very lonely to be single during the holidays.  Yes, of course, I could always spend time with my parents, who are nearby me, but that usually doesn’t feel great despite how much I love my parents.  Thus, I’m thrilled that I not only will I not have that anxiety but that I have amazing plans.  I never thought I would see Duran on New Year’s.  Talk about a party!

The other reason that I am thrilled about going is that I love DC.  As I’m sure many of you reading this know, I’m a very political person and January marks the end of Obama presidency and the beginning of the next one.  As someone who worked for the Obama campaign and who has met the President and the First Lady, there is something special and affirming about going to DC during this transition.  It is like two really significant aspects of myself are coming together.

Now, some may argue that I am crazy for spending this money to go and maybe I am (although tickets weren’t any more expensive than some of the summer shows I went to).  Yet, this is an extra I can afford.  For me, it is worth it as I can think of nothing else that makes me happier than being at a Duran show.

-A

 

New Years at MGM National Harbor?

I got word of the official announcement that Duran Duran will be playing on New Years Eve AND New Years Day this year in National Harbor – a new development just outside of Washington DC. The venue (The Theater at MGM National Harbor) is 3,000 seats – so it is intimate, and the casino (MGM National Harbor) will provide just the right atmosphere for late night festivities in order to welcome 2017. It sounds like just the plan for Duranies on the east coast, or anyone willing to make the trip.

As you are reading this on Tuesday morning, the pre-sale for the show dates are likely already taking place. You can find ticket prices and details here.

No, the tickets are not cheap. These shows are taking place on New Years Eve and New Years Day, which are both holidays, and events typically sell at a premium. I can’t blame them even if I can’t join them! The hotel (MGM National Harbor) is also very expensive – stays for that period of time are ghastly prohibitive to many Duranies unless you are willing to share a room with twelve or more of your closest buddies, but I hear there are other hotels in the area, too.  Good luck!

I’ve seen many a complaint, as always, ranging from the price of the shows (with Ultimate VIP – a guaranteed front row seat – the tickets could easily reach $600, but cheaper tickets are available), to the fact that yes, these shows are once again in the US.  I am empathetic to those outside of the US, because it is true – they have spent a good portion of time here lately.  I know it is a difficult truth, but the fact is: the band makes money here. Duran Duran is not a charity, and they don’t do this out of the goodness of their hearts. They sell tickets here. The music industry is here.  It is what it is. I do wonder if the band is really going to be doing shows in Europe or anywhere else net year, but at the moment…I’m more curious about something else entirely…

Is Nick going to be appearing with the band?

In the past, this would not have even been a question. In fact, I feel a little silly for even wondering because, well…this summer was just a fluke, right? Of course he’s coming back. Right?

However, after missing the entire leg of shows this summer, the question still hangs in my head. I didn’t have to wait long to see if anyone would ask. When the subject came up yesterday on Twitter, Katy responded that she did not have the answer to that question at this time.

Wait, what?

You mean, there really IS a question hanging in the air about this?!  I guess for me, I’m sitting here wondering how Duran Duran can plan shows without even knowing if their keyboard player is going to be there. But then I remember that MNDR played the entire tour, and did a fantastic job. Even so, wasn’t that really just a one-off thing, or is this “something” really more of a permanent deal?  Or maybe, it’s that Katy answered honestly. She didn’t want to say yes or no because it wasn’t something that had been discussed yet. I can see that. I mean, you can’t really commit to something you don’t know. Perhaps by the time this is published (I’m writing ahead!), all will be known and this will be a non-issue.

I guess the one thing I know for sure is that at some point, Duran Duran should choose to come clean on this and say whatever it is that needs said, even if that’s to say that of course Nick is going to be performing.  Having the question hanging in the air is worse than having the words out there in black and white. Fans have the right to know who is going to be playing keyboards before they shell out a handful of money to see another gig.

Amanda and I have openly chosen not to press the issue with Nick because we accepted that he wanted whatever he needed to do kept private. We get that. I get that.  To be clear, I am not requesting that the band give any more details besides whether or not he is planning to appear.  This isn’t about privacy, or Nick’s health…or needing to know every last bit of minutia.  However, if he isn’t going to tour with the band, I think it’s time to just say so.  I believe this is owed to their fans and the people who have stuck by them through several guitarists, drummers, and even bass players over the years. I think the fans have more than proven their staying power, and dammit – we’re pretty supportive when given the opportunity.

I’d like to be given that chance.

-R

 

Happy New Year’s Eve!

This is just a short blog today, as I am getting prepared to head out with my family to celebrate New Year’s Eve. We party pretty heavily here, with a dinner out and then home for an extended session of Rock Band if we can convince the kids to play…HA!

I wanted to take a moment to wish our readers a very happy and peaceful New Year. I am hoping that 2016 brings everyone a sense of calm, happiness, health, love, great music, and enduring friendship.

One of the more romanticized parts of New Year’s Eve is not knowing what the future will hold, yet looking ahead and hoping for the best. Like anyone, I also think about the future with a sense of hope, something that I suppose has grown to be more difficult to do recently with the crazy world we live in.

I hope to see many of you at the upcoming US shows next year. They seem to be a long way off as I write, but I know that the time will fly by as it usually does, and before long I will be compiling notes from the shows and sharing news here. As always, there is an open, standing invitation for guest bloggers, whether you would like to write a show review or your thoughts on any part of fandom or Duran Duran fandom. Please check out our page on guest blogging for more info – and if you’d like to cover a show or two for us and be a Daily Duranie Special Correspondent please let us know!  🙂

I’m off until Monday, so have a wonderful New Year!!

-R