Tag Archives: Touring

Twelve Years In the Role of Diehard Fan, Already?

The other day, Amanda mentioned that it had been twelve years since the convention I met her at in New Orleans. I read her blog that day, but I kept going back to the line about it being twelve years.

Where in the hell does the time go?

By my memory, I have been a Duran Duran fan since 1981. I didn’t really get involved in the fan community, until I was an adult. It was 2001 when I stumbled upon duranduran.com, and then later, duranduranfans.com (now defunct).  Planning the convention was my first foray into fandom. I’d never done anything like that before, and I still chuckle when I think about how my family reacted towards the idea of my flying across the country to have a convention with people I’d never met before.

I got so involved, so fast. I have a little trouble remembering what I did to occupy my day before being a Duran Duran fan took such a huge role in my life. I do remember though that I was bored. I’m pretty sure my days went from being monopolized by kids, playdates and laundry to all of that plus stolen moments in the afternoon on our upstairs computer, reading and laughing over message board posts…and that was just the beginning.

I have this motto of sorts that I have dutifully recited to my children over the years. No one gets out of childhood unscathed.  At this point, I am semi-concerned it will end up on my headstone, but I soldier on. We all have histories and moments from our childhoods that shaped us. In my case, I’m a people-pleaser. I seek approval. I am a rule-follower, and that also means fitting myself into the supposed role that people around me (i.e. my family) have marked as “Rhonda.”  Let me be clear: Duran Duran fan was nowhere to be found in that description. Blogger? Nah. Convention planner? No way.

So to read that I’ve been at this full-force fandom thing for twelve years really hit home, particularly since I’m sitting here entering the first full week of my new job. I won’t lie, in a lot of ways I feel as though I’m sliding back down the hill I’ve been trying so hard to climb. Rather than continue to fight the good fight, get a manuscript or four sold, plan some conventions and make this into something – I’m sliding back into the role of “good mom and wife”, because it’s easier.

And easy it is. It is MUCH easier to stop thinking about going to shows. It is simple to just get a job and spend my extra time earning some money to help pay college expenses rather than write and rewrite a manuscript. It is much easier to stop talking about Duran Duran (although he certainly brings them up on his own) in front of my husband. It is easy to tell him I’d rather travel with him than see my friends.  And he wants to hear all of those things, no doubt.

But will I really be happier?

Here’s the thing: I’ve spent my entire life doing what was expected of me.  There are many, many times I can point out where I did what my parents expected rather than what I might have really wanted purely because I needed their approval. I had to have it, no matter what. Even as an adult, I have often done what was expected rather than take the more arduous route purely because it was easier. I took the easy ways instead of fighting because I didn’t want people mad at me, and I can see and feel myself doing that now.  It is frustrating, and I think a lot of people reading will probably be able to relate, whether you’re a mom, single, childless, female or male.

I suppose that for me, the trick is whether I’m willing to find the sweet spot where I can do the things I want to do and still be a responsible adult, wife, and mom. Even just trying to find that balance is going to cause strife because no matter what I do, someone is always mad unless I do what everyone else wants. I just don’t know if I can fall back into that role and feel satisfied…and I don’t even know if I want to try.

Funny thing, Dom retweeted this picture from @Barneydrums this morning. It’s pretty appropriate, except I think my version would have “buy concert tickets” as the other option.

Sound familiar?
Sound familiar?

So, that’s a quick glimpse into what has been occupying my thoughts lately.  I’m about to run off to work now, so I will shut all of that of which honestly is a bit of a relief. Sometimes it’s easier to put one foot in front of the other and just go.

-R

Vodka Friday Episode 6: Seizing the Moment

Hey everyone,

It is that time again! After Prince’s death yesterday, we found ourselves pondering regret. Do we have any? Are we happy with where we are and what we’re doing?  We talked about the subject a lot and agreed it was fodder for Vodka Friday at the very least. We encourage everyone – All You Need is Now – and take the opportunity to get out there to see shows and experience the band however you can now, while they’re still around.

So, with that in mind, cheers!!!  (Please excuse Rhonda’s ridiculous attempt to place Davy Jones as a member of The Beatles…she is clearly insane.)

-A & R

Work Sucks…I’m Going on Tour!

Today, for my teacher meeting, I was asked to bring in a favorite t-shirt.  I have many, many t-shirts to choose from.  The t-shirts I considered included some Punk Masters t-shirts as well as some Duran Duran ones.  Yet, the t-shirt I decided to go with is a t-shirt that my friends and I got made in 2006, which says, “Work Sucks!  I’m going on tour!”  Part of me wondered if this t-shirt was the right choice or not.  After all, it seems pretty in your face.  It seems very anti-work, right?  Plus, is it so good to have my fandom out there so much?!  Is this my sad attempt at reaching a balance between teaching and what I do in relationship to fandom?

I have a love/hate relationship with work.  I am sure that many people feel that way about their job.  I love the actual teaching part of my job, including writing, creating and delivering lessons to teenagers so that they understand some historical event, era, concept, etc..  Generally, I have great relationships with my students.  This week, I was reminded again of the fun that I can have with my students.  Let me give an example.  On Tuesday, I wanted to celebrate the anniversary/birthday of Planet Earth.  So, I played the video at the beginning of each class period.  Most of my students didn’t know what to make of the song or the video.  I did have a few kids who declared that they liked Duran Duran.  Although, in fairness, some might have said that just to earn some extra brownie points from their teacher.  Still, other students took this as an opportunity to give me a hard time about my musical taste.  No matter the students’ reactions, I had fun introducing my favorite band to them.  It gave me a chance to talk a little musical history and fandom.

On the other hand, I am sitting in meetings all day today, which is not what I want to be doing.  I have grading that I’ll be working on over the weekend.  In fact, I work so much on nights and weekends that I get pretty excited when I get a day “off”.  If that wasn’t enough, I spend a lot of time trying to do tasks that are required of me by my school, district or state that doesn’t do much to help me or my students directly.  I don’t really hide some of my frustration over these “requirements” and extra work.  Let me honest here, too.  Part of the problem is that these extra tasks often interfere with other things that I want to be doing.  I want to be writing and researching about fandom.  I want to be organizing and holding fan events.  Therefore, is my bringing this anti-work t-shirt too much?  Too negative?  Perhaps.  Yet, it is honestly how I feel a lot of the time.  I would rather be on tour.

I also wonder if this type of t-shirt show too much of my fandom?  Should I hide my fandom at work?  Some obviously would argue that I should hide it and that it has no place in a professional setting.  Yet, it absolutely doesn’t interfere with my duties.  My social media interactions should prove this as I’m rarely able to be online at all during the day and only during my lunch and planning periods. Yes, my students know that I like Duran Duran.  I don’t think it is wrong for my students to see me as a person with likes, passions, interests.  I hope it encourages them to share their interests, their fandoms.  Plus, one thing that I want all of them to understand is that there is nothing wrong with being in a fandom.  There is too much stigma already with fandom.  If I keep my fandom closeted, so to speak, I would think that I’m sending the message that fandom should be hidden, secret, something to be ashamed of.  Do I worry that my supervisors would think less of me?  I don’t for two reasons.  First, I am good at my job.  My fandom doesn’t impact that.  Second, I don’t want to hide who I am for anyone or anything.

At the end of the day, the real question isn’t whether or not to hide my fandom.  The real question is how to keep the elements of my job that I like while allowing me the time to focus on other interests like my work surrounding fandom.  Any suggestions?!?  Anyone offer me a deal so that I could go part-time with my teaching?!  Can I get paid for going on tour?

-A

The Ultimate Duran Duran Tour Mix

There are about 50 million things that I should be doing right now.  I’m leaving in 9 days.  NINE.  As in less than 10.  As in you don’t need all fingers to count.  The tour binder has been started.  (For those not in the know…the tour binder is a literal binder that has dividers for all information we need on tour, including flight info, hotel confirmations, tickets, etc.  I have been using the same exact one for 10 years now.  I don’t tour without it.  The reason is simple.  More planning now means less thinking later!)  I still need to finish the binder.  I have to figure out what I’m bringing and, perhaps, more importantly, what I’m wearing.  I have a to do list a mile long to get ready to leave work behind for a few days.  So, what am I doing?  I’m thinking about making a playlist, the Ultimate Duran Duran Tour Mix.  The focus of this playlist would be simple.  What Duran Duran or Duran related songs really remind me of touring?  I just figure that we will be on the road for about 1000 miles so a playlist would be welcomed!  Plus, I can listen to it before I go to help me keep my eyes on the prize.  Here is the list of songs I have so far and why:

Last Night in the City:

Seriously, this is how I feel while touring.  I’m not thinking about the future.  I’m only thinking of that night.  To say that I’m in the moment would be an understatement.  And, yes, I love every moment and every night like that!

Planet Roaring:

If you haven’t gotten a hold of the deluxe edition of the album, I highly recommend it.  This is one of the gems on there.  There are so many lines that are tour related:  “They come to hear the drum”, “This is the sound of celebration”, “The things we do to be together”…I could go on and on.  Touring is all of that.

Pressure Off:

Again, isn’t this what touring is all about?  Getting rid of the pressure?  I love the mentions of faces in the crowd, too.

Sunrise:

Of course, there are plenty of tour references in other Duran songs, from previous albums.  This is an obvious one, right?  “The music’s between us” and “reaching up for the sunrise” because you have been up all night.  Indeed, that sounds like a good tour to me!

All You Need Is Now:

Ah…”stay with the music.  Let it play a little longer.”  This song always feels like a message from the band to the fans and I will always love it because of that.

Astronaut:

“Something alien happening.”  For sure.  I think this song captures the concert high that you get!  “There is nothing gonna ace this.”  That is how I feel about touring, for sure!  Perhaps, that is why I keep doing it!

Late Bar:

“There’s an all night party in room 7609.”  Yep.  That captures it well as there have been many all night parties in various hotel rooms over the years and more to come, I hope!

Secret Oktober:

Like the previous b-side, this song has one of the best lines:  “All night parties, cocktail bars.”  Perfect line.  Of course, it is also a fabulous song beyond that!

Hey Day by John Taylor:

Sticking to the fabulous lines that describing touring, one of my favorites is from this song.  “We lived in hotels.  We lived on cocktails.”  Truth.

Red Carpet Massacre:

This one might not seem so obvious, but…again, there are lines that really fit like “You spend your life in preparation for this day.”  Then, sometimes, touring and having the possibility to be near the band in some capacity  brings out the best in fans and sometimes the worst is brought out.

There’s 10.  That’s a good number of tracks to start with.  What songs remind you of touring?  What did I leave out?  I could also use another favor.  Help me to put this in proper order.  What should the track listing be?  Anxious to hear your ideas!

-A 

P.S. I hope everyone at Red Rocks in Denver has a simply amazing time tonight!  I can’t wait to hear all about it!!!  Again, if you want to send us a guest blog about the show, we would LOVE to have it!

We Can’t Stop Believing

It has been a banner morning thus far!  I’ve been on Twitter and Facebook, contributed to a “delightful” conversation on gun control, and defended Duran Duran’s right to make music that challenges our comfort zone(s).

Yesterday, I wrote about how this album is a struggle for me. I’m trying to bond with it, and I’m still trying to figure it all out. There’s the music, which in a lot of cases, I really like even though I can’t necessarily hear the magic 5-piece band I fell in love with.  Then there’s the lyrics, which admittedly I hadn’t paid as much attention quite yet.

For me, Duran Duran is about both. The music that stays with me and touches my heart most are the songs that just hit me like a ton of bricks both musically and lyrically. I need both, and typically Duran delivers in one way or another. Take Last Night in the City, since the band released that song today (you can hear it below)

Last Night in the City (Stereogum)

Since I have nothing else to do at all (lies, all lies)…I took some time and wrote out the lyrics. I am not going to swear that these are 100% perfect, but it’s what I heard.

Last Night in the City

I’m not gonna sleep tonight, til the morning fills the sky
No ones getting left behind, this our time, this our time

We gotta live this night. Yeah, living like it’s our last night
Cuz nobody cares, if there’s no tomorrow

I’m not thinking ‘bout the future (the future) it’s somewhere out there
We’re all busy being human (human) we remember
Hearts beating all around me (together) now, they surrounding me
This is how we get connected, running out the shadows into light

We gonna live this night, yeah, living like it’s our last night
Cuz nobody cares, if there’s no tomorrow
We gotta love this night, yeah, loving like it’s our last night
Stars up in the air, yeah, it’s our last night in the city

I’ve been traveling all around now, big world, with my brothers
Always moving to a new town, no time to put the roots down
We can’t stop believing (can’t stop) no we believe in you.
Cuz when you’re standing in the spotlight, the only thing that matters is tonight

We gotta live this night. Yeah, living like it’s our last night
Cuz nobody cares, if there’s no tomorrow
We gotta love this night, yeah, loving like it’s our last night
Stars up in the air, yeah, it’s our last night in the city

I’m not gonna sleep tonight, til the morning fills the sky
No ones getting left behind, this our time, this our time

We gotta live this night. Yeah, living like it’s our last night
Cuz nobody cares, if there’s no tomorrow
We gotta love this night, yeah, loving like it’s our last night
Stars up in the air, oh yeah, it’s our last night in the city

Yeah, last night in the city

Yeah, last night in the city

I am not going to tell fibs here – when I first heard this song, I wasn’t really sure about it. To my ears, the song leans way to the electronic side of life that I try to avoid like the plague. That said, Kiesza’s voice is amazing and I kind of think she forces Simon to rise up to the challenge…which is fabulous. Even so, I still wasn’t sold on the song. I definitely wasn’t bonding with it. Last Night in the City was just another song that could have been by any band. I don’t know what made me try it, but I forced myself to sit down and listen to the lyrics. I don’t just mean hear the song, but I mean listen, which is when I discovered that this song has special meaning for Amanda and I.

Ever heard the phrase “burning the candle at both ends”?

When I leave this house and meet Amanda for a Duran Duran road trip, we really do burn that candle. We have a great time, we stay up all night (we like to reach up for the sunrise!) and no, we really don’t care if there is a tomorrow…and nobody gets left behind! I can see myself in these lyrics, and that my friends, immediately pushed this song from being just another tune to something that I will sing (and likely quote) with abandon whenever possible.

So, getting back to my struggle with this new album…I’ve taken part in more than a few conversations over the years where I’ve lamented that in some ways, I wish the band would just be who they are instead of trying to be on the charts. The trouble, at least what I see from where I sit, is that the band has never really been that type of group. Every single album they’ve ever made has consisted of taking a little from where they’ve been, and applying it to new territory they’ve yet to visit. Sometimes the end result is amazing, and other times, yeah maybe it falls short. But are we really going to fault them for trying? Some call it an identity crisis of sorts, and others say they’re just challenging their comfort zones.  Personally, I think they’re challenging mine.

-R

 

 

Even More Than I Did Before

What is the purpose of a concert?  Why do performers play concerts and go on tour?  Is it simply to sell albums?  To create fans?  How many people go to concerts to see a band or an artist that they are not fans of?  I suspect that most people don’t.  Perhaps, a few might go see a band they aren’t fans of if the band is playing at a bar or club that a person just happens to be at.  That said, I doubt there are many people are willing to pay $30, $50, $100 or more for someone they aren’t fans of.  So, if most people go to concerts to see bands or artists they already like, what is the point?  The audience gets to hear songs performed live, which is almost always a better way to hear music.  Is that enough?  For me, I like to go to concerts because I do like to hear music in its pure form but I also like to see whether or not my interest in a given artist grows, stays the same or lessens.

This leads me to last Sunday.  I drove to the nearby city of Milwaukee to see Brandon Flowers perform.  The Killers is one of my favorite bands and, in fact, my like for that band increased each and every time I have seen them in concert.  Yet, I wasn’t sure what I would think of Brandon solo.  I have his albums, but the first one didn’t grab me at all for a long time whereas the second one caught more of my attention.  Would seeing him live make me appreciate his solo work better?  In this case, it absolutely did despite the physical discomfort I had from being hot (the venue did not have air conditioning!) and having no space from the general admission set-up.  From the very first song, Brandon was 110% the entire time.  Right away, Brandon was all smiles as he sang his heart out.  It was clear that he was loving each and every minute and hoping to connect with his audience.  He used all of the space on the stage to move around and to try to make eye contact with his fans.  The fans were encouraged to join in frequently by singing parts of songs for and with him.  I really appreciated the introductions to various songs.  Sometimes, he told stories of how he came up with songs and other times asked the crowd questions.  Of course, one thing that really enhanced the show was the rest of the band there supporting him.  He had a horn player, a sax player, two backing vocalists, a drummer and multiple guitarists.  Each and every one of them worked their asses off while still allowing Brandon the spotlight.  So, did the show make me a bigger fan of Brandon’s music?  Very much so!

After the show, my friend and I decided to see if we could see Brandon come out the stage door.  Not only did I think it would be cool to see Brandon (Duh!) but as a student of fandom, I always like to observe fans in action!  How would the fans be with Brandon?  How would Brandon be with the fans?  Overall, from what I witnessed, it was the calmest, coolest unofficial meet and greet I have ever witnessed.

After the show, about 30-40 people stood or sat near the stage door of the Rave in Milwaukee waiting to catch a glimpse of Brandon, to get a precious autograph or a coveted photograph.  Everyone seemed really calm and chill.  Finally, after about a half hour, there was movement by the stage door and by the tour bus.  Everyone, who had been waiting, got up and moved towards the bus.  No one rushed to the area.  No one ran or screamed.  Brandon opted to stand in-between  the bus and the wall of the walkway up to the venue.  While some might question this move, as he seemed to be stuck in a small place, it also meant that the fans waiting for an interaction had to form a line of sorts.  He could not easily be surrounded this way.  Smart.  At that moment, one of the guys with Brandon explained how this was going to work.  He said that everyone would get their turn but that as soon as one was finished, s/he should exit behind the bus to keep the line moving.  Directions like this always help, in my opinion. Fans then know what will happen and also knew that everyone was going to get a chance.  There was NO need to push, shove or get in the front.  It was not like when a celebrity shows up and only does two or three autographs or two or three pictures.  When the “meet and greet” is so limited, then fans will fight for their chance, their opportunity.  It creates more of a frenzied atmosphere.  Competition grows between the fans standing there to such a high level that bad, mean, selfish behavior shows up.  Anyway, I was so glad that we all knew the score while we waited for our turn.  In fairness, another thing that helped is that the fans who had waited were so calm.  Brandon and his people knew that they could get the directions out and would be heard and followed.  Thus, the fans were well-behaved and the directions were clear ensuring that the good behavior would remain the entire time.  I believe that both fans and artist should be applauded for this!

How was my interaction with Brandon?  Fabulous!  The guy in front of me took a long time.  He tried to talk to Brandon first for a few minutes before asking for an autograph.  Then, it was clear that Brandon thought he was done after the autograph as he started to look at me.  Then, the guy passed his phone to me asking if I would take a picture for him.  I did but I also commented that Brandon was demonstrating the patience of a saint.  (For the record, in those kind of situations, I will never ask for a photo AND an autograph.  I would only ask for one.  I want to be respectful of the celebrity’s time and also be respectful of the other fans.)  Finally, the guy in front of me moved on and Brandon reached his hand out to shake my hand.  Well then!  That move was unexpected but not unappreciated as he has a very nice handshake.  My friend was ready with my cell phone to take the picture so I tried to quickly get in position for the photo.  Brandon put his arm around me and I him in return.  The picture turned out pretty well, I think!

Brandon and Amanda

The entire night from the show to the meet and greet was fabulous!  More than that, it did make me a bigger fan of Brandon and his music.  Did the concert do what it was supposed to do?  I absolutely think so.  He has a show in Chicago on September 11th.  Now, I really, really want to go!!  Anyone want to join me?

-A

Duran Duran Ticket Presale Frenzy!

Got Duran Duran tickets?  Happy Presale Monday?!?

As the title suggests, it was a frenzy of activity this morning as a multitude of messages were exchanged between friends prior to the presale.

Duran Duran Ticket Presale – words that create both joy and panic (alternately) in the hearts and minds of every Duranie who has been around for a while.  Fans are overjoyed to finally have tour dates, and downright panicky when it comes to buying them.  Things go wrong, systems crash, and Duranies are not very forgiving as a rule, so ticket systems MUST work properly.

This time, Crowdsurge handled presales and VIP packages for DDM members, and aside from a brief moment which I will describe later in more amusing detail, all went well. Checking around the Duran community, it would appear that most were pleased with the experience, particularly in the ability to actually know what seats they were buying (although the same can be said for past experiences with Artist Arena).  I will say that later on, I went into DDM to see what I might find available for tickets, and the system seemed very smooth.  The only constructive criticism I might give would be that it would help so much more to have maps available for ALL shows (the Cal Coast Credit Union venue at SDSU comes to mind), and that Artist Arena had a great interactive map system that I think would be the perfect end cap to presale experiences with Crowdsurge.

The comments I’ve seen about the VIP presales thus far have been that the platinum packages run out VERY quickly.  I can’t say I’m entirely surprised – it isn’t as though there are thousands available, and there really are not many Duranies out there that can turn down a guaranteed front row seat. I know that as late as an hour into presales for shows that had presales today I was able to pull up at least single VIP tickets (mostly Bronze)…so my advice is simple: act fast if you want the most expensive VIP packages.  The other comment I’ve seen is that once the tickets are in your cart, people aren’t seeing that at the bottom of the screen there is a “radio” button for “remove and search again”.  Remain calm, take a deep breath and look carefully. Another interesting point is that once you have tickets in your cart, you have up to ten minutes to finish your transaction or else the tickets are released back into the pool.  This is key. Read on:

In my experience, Duran Duran ticket presales work kind of like this: everyone hits refresh until finally, blessedly – the tickets go live. Then you rush to get tickets into your cart. You search for the show, click “buy VIP”, then you see what’s available. What?!? No Platinum?! There’s cursing, grumbling, hitting “refresh”… and the next thing I know I’m reading how there are no tickets available at all and it’s only been two minutes into the presale. It’s hideous when it happens to you. Best thing you can do is slow down, take a deep cleansing breath, and wait. In eight minutes, (10 minutes after presales start for that particular show) tickets will be released from carts, and then you can try again.  Keep trying. You never know. Don’t give up.

So, wanna read something amusing? Let me go ahead and replay the scenario from this morning’s presale activities.  I had just gotten home from a quick run to Target and Amanda tweets that she’s trying to call me to clarify a couple of things before presale panic sets in. We quickly discuss things and I decide I’m gonna stay on the phone with her during the process…because you know…we’re a team:

Amanda: We’re two minutes out from start time and I’m hitting refresh now.

Rhonda: (hears Amanda saying ‘refresh, refresh, refresh’) I’m feeling nauseous now.

Amanda: (I know she says something here about how she’s nauseated too, but I can’t remember the exact words) Oh God, I’m in.

(complete silence)

Amanda: OH MY GOD. FRONT ROW, SEATS 7 & 8!!!!!

Rhonda: SCREAMS (clicks to twitter and begins typing) “FRONT ROW BABY”….

Amanda: Oh no. No!!!

Rhonda: (silently hits “delete tweet” and says nothing about it at all to Amanda) What?

Amanda: I can’t get the drop down to work. It only shows expiration dates up to _____ and I need it to get to October!!!

Rhonda: (silent…because well, I was thinking!! At the time I had gone through each of the credit cards I have, noting that all of the expiration dates were in the Fall months which apparently wouldn’t work.

Amanda: Walk me through this, Rhonda. What do I do?

Rhonda: (in my head at the time I was thinking that we’d lost our chance at front row, that she’d have to throw them back and start over. That’s what I probably would have done most of the time, except that this was FRONT EFFING ROW… which is why Amanda handles presales and I book hotels.)  I asked her about using other cards, but that idea was nixed. I commented that I didn’t know the system at Crowdsurge so I felt like my hands were tied.

Amanda: Wait. I can use paypal. It’s not ideal but….(I hear furious clicking on her end and I start to breathe again) DAMN IT…my Paypal password isn’t working!!!

Rhonda: (at this point, I’m starting to believe that this is our worst presale nightmare coming home to roost.) What? Your password doesn’t work? (I begin to start considering what small child I can sacrifice in order to please the ticket Gods…)

Amanda: Oh wait. It worked!  I’m in and we are confirmed for Agua Caliente.

Rhonda: (I don’t immediately answer because my brain is trying to process what she just said).  Ok. You mean that I can go ahead and tweet that we’re in front row?!? (begins typing) “FRONT ROW BABY!!!”

It was only later that I realized that this will be my very first seated front row show…and that I can’t get kicked out this time because the seat is actually mine!  🙂

Interestingly enough, I don’t know how many fans caught it because we missed it the first time, but when you put tickets into your cart for purchase, there is an offer to preorder a “Deluxe Fan edition” of Paper Gods, which will be delivered on or before September 18, 2015 for those of us here in the US. I actually went back to Crowdsurge and went through the ticket buying process so that I could buy myself a copy. (I discarded the tickets; however, because I’d actually like to stay married for a while longer.) It is on sale for $18.99 and then they tack on a couple bucks extra for shipping. Not sure what it includes, but….what the hell.  I’m already pretty sure I’ll end up with three or four copies of this album by the time it’s all said and done, which is exactly why no one has to worry about doing promo directed at fans, am I right?? Double-edged sword, really.

So, I’m going to go and attempt to recover from Duran Duran Ticket presales today…and also try to absorb all of the information that has come out today about the band, the album, etc.  In a single week we went from a small trickle in the DD info stream to a bloody flood.  This, I can work with, folks!  Expect to see blogs each day covering some aspect of the band’s upcoming album, Paper Gods!

-R

 

She’s Everything Head First

I have 13 days left.  I have 13 days left of this school year.  It will mean that I have finished 17 years of teaching.  Ouch.  That makes me feel old.  Seriously old.  Like every year at this time, I feel like I’m barely holding on as I count down each and every hour, day, week.  It isn’t that I hate my job even if this countdown makes me sound like that.  There are many things I like about teaching but there is one thing I can’t stand.  The time and stress it creates.  I wish that I could adequately describe my day-to-day existence to convey the exhaustion I feel at the end of the day, week, month and year.  I will say it this way.  Imagine 10-12 hour days that are filled with non-stop activities, actions, decisions then the rest of the time is often spending grading, thinking about, planning, etc. even when away from the job.  To say that it is intense would be an understatement.  Now, I won’t lie.  There is a part of me, probably a bigger part of me than I care to admit, that really likes the intensity, the all-consuming part of the job.  In fact, I’m sure that I might give more of myself than many to allow the intensity.  This personality quirk is probably why I also liked campaigning or even organizing and running Durandemonium, the convention we held in 2013.  As much as I like this part of the job, I also hate it.  I hate not having the time or energy to find out the latest in Duranland.  I’m sure that there are many who question how big of a fan I am since I don’t talk much about them (personally, individually) on social media.  I’m rarely the one who hears rumors or makes greater connections with other Duranies, between Rhonda and myself.  It isn’t that I don’t care.  It is just that it is hard for me to give more than what I do on the job.  Of course, now that summer is coming, I will have more opportunity and chance to participate, which I’m greatly looking forward to.

As I pondered all of this, I started thinking about the band.  (This, of course, is how I know that I really am still a big fan.  I find myself thinking of them all the time and connecting things back to them.)  I started thinking about their job and their long history.  First, I thought about how their lives must be.  I imagine promoting an album, either through TV appearances, interviews, etc. or touring to be much like the school year is for me, in terms of intensity.  I suspect that promoting an album is all-consuming.  There probably isn’t much time for them to think of anything else.  I wonder if they are like me, in that, there is a part of them that likes the intensity, likes the all-consuming nature of promotion.  Yet, I also wonder if they are also like me and my job, in that it can get very tiring.  Then, I wonder if the times when the band is not in the studio, or touring or promoting like my summers.  Do they use those times to do other projects not related to their jobs or do they use those times to make them better for when they are doing Duran Duran projects again?

Then, I wonder if they, at times, when they wish they had chosen a career with real balance.  I know that I do.  I know that my career has impacted and impacts so much of my life.  It is hard to think of myself without thinking of the title:  teacher.  Is that the same with the band members?  Do they struggle to think of themselves without thinking also of their title:  rock star?  Sometimes, I think about giving it up.  Heck, many times, I do.  The last five years haven’t been easy, career wise, which just adds to the stress of the job.  Yet, here’s the thing.  I’m good at what I do.  I don’t really know why, but I believe that I am.  Is it the self-sacrificing nature I have that I learned from my parents? I’m sure that’s part of it.  Is it my ability to have empathy that allows me to work with kids and their families?  Sure.  I don’t think I’m a dummy, either, so that helps.  Is it the fact that there is a part of me that likes the intensity, that chooses the intensity, that flourishes with the intensity?  I’m sure.  Do the band members have thoughts like this, too?  Do they realize that they are good at what they do?  Would it be hard for them to imagine really walking away because they are good at it and because it is not only what they do but WHO they are?  The fan in me hopes so.

I have been watching my students a lot this past week.  I have a number of kids who just come to hang out at lunch or after school.  There are kids who come in to chat or to ask advice.  I won’t lie.  There have even been a few who have told me that I have to change what I’m teaching next year because they just can’t have another history teacher.  They don’t want another history teacher.  They want me.  I’m it, for them.  These statements, these kids fill my heart, for sure.  They will always be a BIG reason why it would be hard to give it up.  I know that I have created positive relationships with many kids and I’m hopeful that many more have learned something and have learned to like or love history.  I wonder if Duran Duran looks at their fans in a similar way.  Would we fans make it hard for them to ever walk away, too?  I have to hope so, from a purely selfish point of view.

For now, I’ll push until the end of the school year.  Then, maybe, I’ll have the time and the energy to watch as Duran shifts into a more intense period of their careers.  I’ll pass the intensity baton to them.

-A

Ten years post Astronaut

Time really just flies by as though we’re standing still, doesn’t it?

Last month while on break, the tenth anniversary of shows I attended in Chicago and Milwaukee for the Astronaut tour passed. I really don’t know where that time went, yet a lot of things has happened in the years since. I made a group of friends, many of those same friends have wandered away, I had another baby, my dad passed away, I finished my gemology degree, this blog was created, a manuscript was written…and those are just a few things I can come up with off the top of my head. Time flew by, and I wasn’t really just standing still.

I didn’t really think much about that anniversary until this past week when Amanda and I got together and went to LA for the Lynch gig. There was one point, probably as we were standing together outside waiting to get up to the rooftop bar that I realized I was with a completely different group of people than in 2005, with the very notable exception of Amanda. My entire circle of friends has evolved and changed for the most part, but the very thing that brought me to this large community of people, Duran Duran,  is still the same. I still go to shows. I still consider myself a fan. I’m still very thankful that I have had the opportunities to meet wonderful people through the band. I still get angry with Duran Duran, and I still forgive. Mostly. (Still completely pissed about the way they treat Dom though, and I won’t even lie about that.)

If I could sum up some of the past three years as we’ve waited in between the last tour and this point, I would do it in this way: We’ve all heard the rumors. “This is the last album“…. “The band never wants to tour again“…”The band is only doing festivals this time“….I could go on and on. Talk about depressing. Wow. Let me be clear in case one of the band members actually reads this blog… when someone (like me) hears their idols say that they aren’t interested in touring and doing shows, it sounds very much like they are saying that they’re not interested in seeing their fans, they aren’t interested in sharing their work and success with their fans, and that they don’t CARE about their fans. For fans, who by the way have likely helped fund that fabulous lifestyle that band members may be currently enjoying, that really sucks. And by the way, we’re not just fans. We’re PEOPLE WHO FREAKING CARE. (I hate the way the word fans somehow equates somebody to being less-than-human, but that’s another topic for another blog that I fully intend to write in the coming days) So Duran Duran? We care!

Yet, from the folks I spoke to last week, some of which are affiliated with or work directly for Warner Bros, along with others who are in the industry and all have actually heard the whole single, tell me that this isn’t a band that is ready to quit any time soon. I hear that they have a fantastic deal from Warner, and I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ve got in store for the next several years. If the band isn’t ready to quit, neither should we. Forgiving some of the off-hand, aforementioned, “We’re not interested in touring” comments is easier when you feel the excitement in the air.

While yes, the topic is somewhat nostalgic when you sit back and think about ten years passing – that’s really not what brought me to write this post. We’ve all changed in the past ten years, haven’t we? I don’t really want to sit back and wax poetic on the errors of my ways, or the band’s ways for the past ten years. I think what I’m trying to do now is look ahead with great anticipation. Just about ten days ago we got our first real glimpse, a snippet if you will, into the first single off of #DD14. (if they don’t name the album #DD14 I sense that I may have major difficulty adjusting to typing the name at this point…) I know plenty out there are saying that they couldn’t really hear it to decide, and even others are saying they didn’t like it. Well, I loved it. I didn’t have too much trouble hearing the little we got, and it excited me. Sure, it could have used a little (LOT) more guitar. Yes, it could have been longer…but I can see the potential. I’m excited. It has been one hell of a long time since I have been able to really type those words and mean them here on the blog. So I’m going to focus on those words going forward.

Ten years post Astronaut. For me, that was the tour that really got me started. I had seen various shows prior, but never had I gotten myself involved with a fan community. I’d never toured with other fans, much less written a blog, organized a convention or traveled to see a band. I never realized that being a fan could be so fun. It’s a roller coaster at times, filled equally with uphill climbs and races downhill, but I wouldn’t trade any of those moments. I am EXCITED for what is yet to come.

-R

Duranies’ Touring Behavior

After a very busy fall and early winter with a new job and a massive project, I am, finally, finding myself in a spot in which I can catch my breath, tie up loose ends and move on to new projects.  (Let that be a warning—that’s right.  Amanda has time.  This is always dangerous.)  One of those loose ends is a long promised blog in which I summarize what I learned about Duranies and their touring behavior/history.  For a long time, I asked questions about specific tours, traveling, age, etc. all in hopes of understanding our fandom a bit more.  Overall, I am not sure that I learned something shocking or even something that surprised me.  More often than not, the responses I got confirmed patterns I believed to be true from years of observing, discussing, thinking about our fandom.  Here are the patterns I found to be true based on the various polls I conducted.  Please note.  These are the patterns I saw.  That does not mean that every fan fits into the patterns.  These patterns are the generalities I found.  I am also well aware that the people who responded are most likely pretty intense Duranies.  They are not casual fans.  Their fandom is probably a big part of their lives.  Plus, I’m no expert when it comes to polls/polling.

Traveling

Overall, Duranies seem willing and able to travel to see the band perform live.  When asked, 36% of the responders said that they have traveled outside of their country to see the band.  Then, an addition 60% have traveled outside of their own city/town to see the band.  Only 3% of the people who responded said that they stick close to home.

Number of Shows

The overwhelming response to this question was that most Duranies are willing and able to see more than one show per tour.  69% of those who answered the poll said that they see 2 or more shows per tour.  What was interesting to me was that most people see 2-3 shows per tour but there is still a good percentage who will see up to 7-10 shows per tour.

Specific Tours

Over the course of months, I asked people to share how many shows of various tours people attended in hopes of really understanding which tours were most popular with the fans.  Participation in these questions decreased over time.  Is that because people were sick of answering them?  Is that because no one attended those tours?  Is it because the fan base has changed so dramatically since those early tours?  All of the above?  Maybe.  Probably.  Nonetheless, this is what I found.

*No one who attended one of the band’s very early shows, the Hazel O’Connor shows, the first UK Tour, the Faster Than Light Tour, the First European Tour, or the first North American Tour.  At least, no one who is still around today, according to the poll.

*The earliest tour that any current fan attended was the First German Tour in 1981.

*The first tour that had over 10 current fans attend was, indeed, the Sing Blue Silver tour.  That did not surprise me as this was the height of Duran Duran’s popularity.

*With current fans, it seems that the Strange Behaviour Tour was more popular, though, as over 20 fans said that they attended at least one show on that tour and one person said s/he went to over 10!

*Big Live Thing Tour seemed to keep the same number of fans in attendance or close to the same number as the Strange Behaviour Tour, based on my informal polls.  That said, for the second run of shows supporting Big Thing, the numbers seemed to decrease.

*The number of fans who went to see shows during the tours for the Wedding Album did not significantly change in comparison to the Big Thing tours, which surprised me.  After all, Duran had hits and radio play during this era.

*Likewise, there wasn’t a big change in the number of fans who attended the Let It Flow tour, which was in support of Medazzaland. The same is true for the Pop Trash Tour.  Fascinating.

*Interestingly enough, there was a noticeable decrease in the number of fans who attended the Up Close and Personal Tour of 2001.

*The reunion tour of 2003-2004 saw a significant increase in fans who attended not only the tour itself but many shows in that tour.  A lot more fans saw 2 or 3 shows than in previous tours.

*The increase continued through the Astronaut era as the majority of fans who voted saw more than one show.  Clearly, people were excited by having the Fab Five back.

*The Red Carpet Massacre Tour continued to have a large number of fans who attended.  The majority, though, only attended one show during the tour.  There were less people willing to go to multiple shows for that tour.

*The All You Need Is Now Tour saw the number of fans jump back up to Astronaut numbers in the majority of fans who participated saw 2 or more shows.

*Overall, it seems that attendance for Duran Duran tours was consistent between Sing Blue Silver (1984) and the Pop Trash Tour (2000-2001).  There was a drop for Up Close and Personal (2001) until a jump for the Reunion and Astronaut Tours.  Red Carpet Massacre saw a slight decline but there was a bounce back for All You Need Is Now, from all that I saw from my informal polls and imprecise stats.

Firsts:

Based on the poll, most fans first saw Duran Duran play live when they were teenagers or close to it.  The vast majority saw the band when they were between the ages of 11 to 22.  The first tour was usually either Sing Blue Silver or Strange Behaviour.  Generally, if a fan didn’t see them in 1984 or 1987, then s/he saw them for Big Thing, the Wedding Album, or post reunion show.

How well do you fit into these patterns?  Anything surprise you?

-A