I am moving super slowly today as I knew that I would. Yesterday, I went to Summerfest in Milwaukee with some friends. Summerfest, for those unfamiliar, is the “largest music festival” with a bunch of different stages and bands over an almost two week period. While it showcases a number of smaller, local bands, it also brings in headliners. Last night, that big act was the Killers.
If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you know that we adore the Killers. In fact, I would say that they are my second favorite band. What this means to me is that I will go see them whenever I can. I’m not sure that I would travel much to see them like I do Duran but I will buy any album and buy concert tickets when I can. Of course, throughout the night, I found myself thinking about Duran Duran and the importance of live shows.
I have not been to Summerfest in a really long time. I forgot exactly what it is like. While I had an amazing time, there are elements that I could have done without. For one thing, the festival does an absolutely awful job at signs so you have no idea if you are heading in the right direction to get to the right parking lot or not. Maybe if you go every year or lived nearby it wouldn’t be an issue but that is not me. The food choices also leave something to be desired as is the expensively priced and often poorly tasting. The same is true when it comes to drinks. Then, of course, it is all outside. I’m not a big fan of the outdoors. There is always a chance for sunburn or bug bites. Yeah, no thank you. Last night, though, the biggest issue was the heat. It wasn’t even that hot (low 80s) but the humidity meant that we were sweating…a LOT. Again, I’m not a big fan. But I was willing to put up with it as were a lot of other people. Why?
In between dancing and singing along to each and every song, I looked around at the audience. In some cases, I wondered what people were thinking. For example, the guy directly in front of me stood for the entire show but never moved at all. He did not even move his leg to the music. There was no waving. I’m not even sure that there was a lot of clapping from him. While I demonstrated the opposite behavior, we were both there for the same thing. We both wanted to see the Killers live in concert. Of course, there were also fans that got into it more than I did. (Hard to imagine, I know.) For instance, there was a guy at the end of the show, during Mr. Brightside, that got so into it that he took off his shirt to twirl it over his head. I also think about the fans in the front who reached out to touch Brandon Flowers, the lead singer, every time he came close.
So, what motivated all of us to be there? Yes, part of it for me was going and hanging out with some friends but why suffer through less than ideal food and gross summer humidity? I think the answer to that is simple. Absolutely nothing takes the place of a live show. I remember an interview with John Taylor years ago when he was asked about illegal downloading. His response focused on how those downloads do not replace the live show. He is right. Many record labels have figured this out, too. Touring matters. Live shows matter. I could buy all the albums by the Killers and listen to them over and over and over again. Yet, there is nothing better than hearing those songs live.
Every time I go to a concert I cannot help but to think of that frequently stated quote in John Taylor’s autobiography, “the music never sounded better.” This is very true during a concert. In fact, the music is so good that I often find myself connecting to songs differently or more deeply than I would have just listening to the album at home. The most significant example of this is Planet Earth. While I loved that song since the very first time I heard it, it was not my favorite until I heard and saw it performed live.
Knowing all this makes me think about the fact that Duran Duran has been so limited in terms of number of shows and locations. If you live in Vegas, for example, you have been very lucky. Heck, if you are like me, in that I have been able to sneak away to go, you are very lucky. I’m well-aware that lots of other fans are waiting to see Duran play live. The vast majority of Duranies have been anxiously hoping to see their favorite band in concert, knowing that there is nothing better, nothing more magical than seeing a band perform. This is why I have to hope that DDHQ really considers making some plans to get the band to parts of the world that has been significantly lacking in shows.
On that note, I’m off to take a nap.