If there was ever a day where I should wake up already knowing what in the heck I’m going to write about, it should be today…and I do.
Forty years ago today, there was this band who played their first show at the Rum Runner that included the full line-up whom most of us have come to know as the Fab Five: Simon, John, Roger, Nick & Andy.
I’ve been waiting patiently all year to write that very sentence. I thought I’d be doing so many things this summer to celebrate, such as in the UK, for one. Definitely thought I’d be seeing shows, or at the very least, hanging out with Amanda. I mean, how often does one get a chance to celebrate the 40th anniversary of a favorite band??
Simon said as much in a interview included in the UK based-magazine, Classic Pop, which circulated the internet yesterday. “I think 40 years is quite a landmark for a band, you are going some if you an make it 10 years now.”
Life has dealt a very different hand, for the entire planet. There will be no concerts, no in-person celebrating, or gathering. I see no reason why we can’t at least spread some joy online. This is one milestone that at least deserves smiles. As I sit here trying not to think about how and when I might travel overseas again, I’m grateful I still have this band to keep my spirits up.
I wish I could say that I was one of the souls in that audience at the Rum Runner on the 16th of July, 1980. When I first heard Duran Duran on the radio, I felt like molten gold was flowing through my veins. I wonder if I would have felt like that if I’d been in the crowd that first night? Then again, I’m not wishing for more years on this already-pushing-fifty body of mine. I wasn’t even quite ten when the band played at the Rum Runner!
Articles such as the one posted yesterday, give me a little bit of excitement and joy for what lies ahead. While I’m curious about the sound, as always (aren’t we all?)—Simon describes it as “naked, raw, the grass is slightly sharp and twinkly rather than smooth”, my interest is very much in the lyrics. “It’s modern and very honest, the lyrics are quite something. I won’t be doing a lot of talking about the lyrics because they really speak for themselves.”
He knows exactly what to say in order to get the attention of THIS fan, that is for sure. Momentarily, I even forget we’re in the middle of a pandemic and actually allow myself to think about the time – that glorious, stupendous evening – when this band is finally allowed to play a show again. When *we* are allowed to be together again. Can you imagine? Planet Roaring immediately comes to mind.
Who could have foretold that the band’s 40th anniversary would fall during a pandemic? In some ways, it is the type of irony that could only happen to Duran Duran. This band is truly like the Phoenix, and I have little doubt they’ll rise above the ashes post-Covid. In others, I just shake my head.
This post is supposed to be happy, although I find it to be a bit on the bittersweet side, at least for me. So, I’ll end it on a better, more nostalgic and personal sort of note.
Happy anniversary, Duran Duran. I feel as though I’ve been with you since nearly the beginning – at least since your music made it here to a little radio station named KROQ in Los Angeles. Since the moment I first heard the opening chords to Planet Earth, I feel as though you’ve always been in the background of my life in some way or another. Oddly, I never saw this ending with me writing about you, or about being your fan every day…but you know, who can really predict crazy things like this?
I have a lot to be thankful for. Your music not only got me through school, but also through a lot of my life. I can pinpoint songs and albums that coincide with precise lifetime milestones of mine, and I count myself very lucky to say that I really did have you to grow up with, and…grow older with. Not many people can say that about their favorite band, that is for certain.
Not only has your music been my soundtrack, but it has also been the force that has brought me to some of my closest friends, and favorite people, on the planet.
I hope to never forget the memories I have of going to my very first convention in New Orleans: the devil horns, the vibrant hue of Jessica’s red hair when she first opened the door to our shared hotel room that weekend, the utter joy I felt sitting at the table with new friends over dinner, and the sheer peace I finally felt knowing that I really did belong. Thankfully, the video of Amanda and I, along with many others, singing to Rio and Hungry Like the Wolf at Howl at the Moon has never surfaced….
I met my best friend that night, too. No one really understands Amanda and I, our friendship, or how we’ve remained friends this long. I just know I don’t question it. We are forever linked as a direct result of this band, and that is something I can’t ever express enough thanks for. Luck, indeed.
As I sit back and think on the nearly 17 years I’ve known Amanda, it isn’t where we’ve traveled, or what or whom we’ve seen, that my mind drifts off to first. I think about those lengthy car trips where we talked for hours, or the way that she and I pretty much know how one another will respond to one thing or another. I would have never ran into Amanda if it hadn’t been for Duran Duran. It is crazy, and if I could hug those guys for anything – it would be that.
The one constant I’ve had in my life over the past (nearly) 40 years has been this band. They’ve been with me through middle school bullying, high school boyfriends, college breakups, marriage, moving, childbirth (x 3…can’t forget that last one in 2008!), the death of a parent, high school and college graduations for my kids, a major move to the country, a global pandemic (really?? I mean… come ON!!), many milestone birthdays, and nearly losing my husband to a stroke. Duran Duran lives on, and so do I.
It’s early for a cocktail, and I’m not with Amanda to do this correctly anyway – but I’ll hold up my coffee mug in a toast to all: band, DDHQ, and everyone else on the band’s team (that includes pretty much everyone reading, I think). Congratulations. Don’t be afraid to mark this milestone, because you’ve outlived a lot of other bands, and critics that said you wouldn’t make it. You did, with style, grace, and fortitude, beyond measure. Happy 40th Anniversary.