Tag Archives: Touring

Long days are coming up and staying out and playing

It is Lyric Friday…no wait, that isn’t right. It is Lyric Sunday! What was my result when I hit shuffle? Taste the Summer. I call that irony considering that we have now entered the winter holiday season. Christmas is a month away. Despite that, I took a gander at the lyrics and picked out a line that suited me. That line is: “Long days are coming up and staying out and playing”.

Now, of course, that line refers to summer when the days get longer and people often have more time to stay out and up. As a kid, it definitely meant playing outside with neighborhood friends longer as there was no school to attend and no homework to complete. Yet, that won’t fit for right now. So, how can I use that line? I know! I have a little trip planned in about a month that will equal long days in that I won’t sleep much. We definitely will be staying out and playing! Ah, yes, Rhonda and I will be traveling to the city of Las Vegas to see a certain little band play a show on December 30th at the Cosmopolitan. I suspect that for us those three nights there will definitely include some playing.

Yes, this is what touring means to me. It definitely includes late nights. Over the course of our touring “career” Rhonda and I have logged some very late nights. On our first tour together, in March 2005, we managed to be up for 38 before separating to go home. Sunrise marked that weekend, I think. On that Sunday of our marathon tour, we ended up at the mall as Rhonda had a couple of hours to kill before her flight. As we walked around, we swore we heard Sunrise playing. Was it? Maybe. Could it have been an auditory hallucination brought up due to being sleep deprived? Possible. It may us laugh then and it makes us laugh now. I remember driving home that night and making phone calls to anyone who would talk to me to keep me awake on the drive. It was brutal but worth it. The lack of sleep thing hasn’t changed much. Although, I don’t think we have been awake all night since 2011 after the Glasgow show. We stayed up simply because we were afraid that we felll asleep we would miss our early morning fight. Plus, we were giddy from the show. Will we reach up for the sunrise this upcoming trip? No clue. If we were going to, Vegas is always a good location as they are open all night long.

So what about the playing part? Will that happen? As a kid, summer playing meant riding my bike around the neighborhood, hanging out at the park or swinging on my homemade swing in the backyard. Somehow, as an adult, it has come to mean something different. For Rhonda and I (and our friends), it often means finding some place to hang out. Ideally, this place serves vodka tonics and plays some music. On really great nights, that music including Duran and their peers. Our last tour, in Oakland and San Francisco, included some nights at the Cat Club where they featured Duran after the show. Rhonda and I danced that night until we couldn’t dance anymore. Such fun!

What does Vegas have in store for us? Well, I will tell you one thing. There will be a Daily Duranie Meet-up! The details are still getting completely finalized but I can tell you all this. It will be taking place on December 29th, the night before the Duran show. It will definitely focus on my adult version of playing! So, mark your calendars and make plans to join us! Then, watch this space for details, an event page and more. I know that Rhonda and I are looking forward to celebrating with all of you then!!!

-A

I’m Thankful…

Yesterday, Rhonda wrote a heartfelt blog about what she is grateful for during this Thanksgiving holiday so I figured that today might be my turn. Like Rhonda, I’m very thankful for my family. I’m lucky in that I have amazing parents. That fortune is increased by the fact that they live near me so I am able to not only enjoy them as people but benefit from all the little things they do to help me out. As they get older and need more and more of my assistance, I want to always remember that they deserve my love and care even when my patience is thin and I have more on my plate that it seems like I can handle. This year, my nearby family grew when my oldest niece arrived in Wisconsin to attend college here. To say that I am overjoyed by having her close by is an understatement. Like with my parents, sometimes, this has means that she needs me for some purpose, but I would gladly sacrifice my time in order to have her close. After all, she and her sister have spent their formative years in North Carolina far away from me. I missed many of the big moments and countless small ones over the years. Now, though, I get to be a part of seeing her finally come into her own and reach adulthood. She has become an amazing person who is getting smarter, more confident and stronger with each passing day. This Thanksgiving, in fact, I got to spend it with her and a couple of her fiends, which was fun.

On top of my personal family, I have to acknowledge my work family. It isn’t easy being in education these days. Heck, it wasn’t easy being a teacher 15 years ago but the last 7 or so have been especially difficult for reasons that I won’t go into on this blog. Let’s just say that we are being asked to do a lot more with less and have very little holding us up in terms of outside supports. The job requires more of my time, energy, and emotions and the kids are getting tougher too (through no fault on their own). Throughout it all, my colleagues have been there for me. When things were getting really bleak, I had colleagues checking in, giving me stuffed animals to represent strength, offering to help and more. Truly, when I think about what keeps me going in teaching, a lot of it has to do with them. Of course, the other factor is the kids. While I struggle to reach them all, there are a number of students I have gotten to know pretty well over the years. Being a part of their struggles and their successes also keep me moving forward. I’m truly the lucky one to be their teacher.

Yes, work does take up a lot of my life. Just last week, I calculated that I worked 58.5 hours, which didn’t even seem so bad to me until I realized that it was more than 18 hours OVER what it should have been. It was like I worked an extra 2 days. No wonder I’m super tired all the time! While I wish my job wasn’t so time-consuming and stressful, there is a part of me that is proud of the work that I do. I believe that I’m a decent teacher. My kids, generally, learn from me and, more importantly, become more passionate citizens of the world. That is all I can ask for. If that wasn’t enough, I’m still involved and working, politically. I have to keep fighting to make the world a better place, both in and out of my classroom. I’m grateful to those people who work along side with me, telling me that I’m not alone and to keep going.

Beyond all the fabulous people at my jobs, what really helps to keep me going is my fandom. First, this blog helps on a daily basis. I love that it forces me to stop and think about something other than work or politics. Every morning I do the question of the day. It makes me sit down and take 10-15 minutes in the morning to clear my head, which probably saves my sanity and my students first hour. Then, on the weekends, when it is my turn to blog, I can take longer to think about all things Duran. During many weekends, it is my break, my time away from grading or household chores. While it is something on my “to-do” list, it isn’t really a chore. I look forward to it and I often find myself thinking about what I’m going to write about or how I’m going to write about this topic or that. There is always a corner of my brain thinking about Duran, fandom and this blog. This also means that I allow myself to check in with Duranland during the week so that I can comment in future blogs. I might not always have time to respond or make comments but know that I’m always watching (as much as I can) and thinking about what I see, read and hear related to this fandom. Again, this probably keeps me sane. (No comments, Rhonda!)

Beyond the time spent during the week on my Duran fandom and blogging, there are the times I go on tour. I truly cannot think of anything that makes me more happy. Touring is the one time that I can (and do!) push everything else to the side. When I’m on tour, I’m not thinking about anything on my to-do list. I’m not worrying about my parents or about kids at school. No, I can take a break and just HAVE FUN. People will always ask me, “Why are you going to another show? Don’t they just play the same songs?” The answer to that is yes. They typically play the same songs. While the setlist matters somewhat, it isn’t the big reason. No, it is about that fun that I have. Of course, I wouldn’t have fun without the people with me. In 2005, I discovered the best touring partner around. Sometimes, when I think about it, I cannot believe that Rhonda and I really tour so well together. We trust each other when it comes to money, buying tickets, reserving rooms, etc. We approach traveling in similar ways and have the same general philosophy when it comes to partying, staying up late, etc. More importantly than all of that, is that we enjoy spending time together. We know that when we are together we will laugh and laugh and laugh. Truly, I get more laughter in during a touring weekend than I do all month long. I swear! I will always be grateful to have her in my life—not just for fun touring but also because we share this blog, planning meet-ups and conventions and writing. I couldn’t ask for a better fandom partner. Rhonda and I have also been extremely lucky with the friends we have made. In a little over a month, we will descend onto the city of Las Vegas with our friends, Suzie and Lori. Much like touring with Rhonda, they are easy people to tour with who are also a lot of fun. Let’s just say that we all appreciate our vodka! I couldn’t be more thrilled to have another opportunity to hang out with them this year. So lucky to have found them.

Of course, none of this would be possible with the band that started it all. From the first time I heard their music until now, Duran Duran gives me such joy. When I hear their music, I’m reminded of good times, great experiences, and the most fun I have ever had from the little moments of my youth to the silly times of today. I recall the joy of getting a new album, putting up a new poster or tuning into MTV to catch a new video with my childhood best friend. Now, when I think of my fandom, I think of the lovable teasing about fashion choices or giving cheers in a hotel bar. I am reminded of leaving notes encouraging the playing of Planet Earth while watching closely the stage location for every JoSi or DoJo moment. Overall, I am grateful that this band entered my world and refuses to leave even after three plus decades.

-A

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