Tag Archives: Touring

With Broken Glass For Us To Hold

I’m so sorry that today’s post is so late. I had good intentions to get it done before a meeting I had but that led to a massive headache. Although, to be fair, the headache did not have one specific cause but many. It isn’t like today is any worse than any other day but life has all built up to be a lot. To be too much. Let me explain. First, there is a lot about my job that is headache-worthy, including a schedule for next year that is terrible, more work on my plate, a significant pay cut and the loss of job security. On top of that, no one knows how school will be implemented. I wish that I felt like I had choices, job wise, but I have few, if any. Then, I have spent the week with my parents, taking my mom to and from medical appointments. Thankfully, she is well but it has been exhausting to always be the care giver. If all that was not enough, the fall election is less than 140 days and the pressure is already beginning. Now, I could take all of that but, in addition, I have had a lot of people contacting me about what to do about work, or the political climate, or their own lives, etc. and so forth. Generally speaking, I like being the person that people can rely on, the person people turn to, the person who provides advice. Right now, though, I’m left feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. I feel like I cannot help any of that as I cannot even help myself. All I want to do is turn away from the world and escape.

I’m even thinking about this escape in my sleep. Last night, I had a dream about the method I have been using to run away from life for the last 15 years or so. That’s right. I dreamt that I was at a Duran Duran concert. Unfortunately, I don’t remember all of the details but I know it as a Duran show as I talked about how many times I had seen them before. In the dream, I went to two different shows as I had a different seat for both of them. I didn’t even mind that my seat for the second show was terrible or that I couldn’t even see the stage really at all. I was just so thrilled to be there. Anyway, I have always known that concerts provide me a break from the everyday hassle of life. They allowed me to get away from my house, my city, my state, and sometimes my country all the while letting my responsibilities to be pushed to the side at least for awhile. I didn’t have to think about my to do list, or how my parents, my students, my campaign was going. No, on tour, it was all about fun and laughing. It was about music and dancing and joy.

I always knew and appreciated the magic of touring. Now, though, I recognize that it was deeper than that. It renewed my spirit and my strength in a deeper way than I even knew. After a tour, I could do more. I could continue to work hard, to give 110%, to fight the good fight. These days, I could use a lot of that as I even more to do, even more to worry about. But, that is not an option. There are no concerts or tours on my horizon. While I am lucky to have friends to chat with via text, email or zoom, none of that is the same as the all-consuming fun experience of being on tour. All of this leaves me sad and feeling less strong, less able to take on the world.

As I finish up the blog, I recognize that I am not alone in feeling overwhelmed, sad, and missing what life used to be like. I know that I’m not. I also can acknowledge that I have it better than many people. I know that. I’m lucky to have good health, a family and friends who care about me, a job, etc. Likewise, I can be hopeful that tomorrow will be better. Until then, I will hide myself away from the world, wishing I could be a concert with fellow fans, screaming, dancing and singing the night away.



We’ve Travelled So Far

By the time you are reading this, I’ll be at work trying to get through the day. More than that, I also have to make sure that I’m ready to be gone on Monday. This is no easy feat when I have to teach 5 classes and attend a lunch meeting. I also have to get out at the door as soon as the last bell rings. Every single time that I do this I wonder if I should. Part of that feeling is the feeling that all women have when they put aside their responsibilities. Society has taught us to put ourselves last. I know that. Logically. It is harder, emotionally. The other part of that feeling is this is too much of a hassle. After all, on top of the work to be gone a day, it requires hours of traveling first to the airport and then to Vegas itself.

These feelings are not new for me. They happen each and every time. That said, there is a part of me that is also sad that I wasn’t able to go to the show last night or that I can’t get into Vegas until late. I don’t know that anyone likes missing anything but I recognize that it kicks up illogical anxiety. It isn’t even missing the band (although I don’t like that either) but it is the fear that my friends will leave me behind. Dumb, right?

All of this leaves me a bundle of nerves. Yet, I know exactly how it is going to go. By two or three songs into the show, I will say the following to myself, “There is no place I would rather be,” as I feel a wave of bliss surge through me. Then, when I return home, the dominant emotions will include joy in having gone with a bit of sadness in knowing that it is over. Perhaps, this is why my emotions feel heightened right now. After this weekend, there is nothing on my calendar to look forward to. In fact, I will have pretty much the entire school year ahead of me. It will feel like a long stretch.

I’m sure that all of these thoughts will accompany me as I head towards the airport. I will work to remind myself of the fun I will have, which is very much a true statement. I remember reading a John Taylor quote once in a magazine that went something like this, “Did you ever have so much fun that you didn’t know if you would get over it? It was like that.” Here’s the thing. The first time I went on tour in the spring of 2005, that is exactly how it was like for me. It was so much fun that I never got over it. This led to more shows, more tours. Those tours were equally as fun so I continue to go. That pushes me past all of those other less-than-pleasant feelings of anxiety and guilt.

I fully expect that this weekend to remind me once again that touring is so fun that I’m still not over it.


Somebody’s shaking my tree, maybe that somebody is me

This blog post is super late. What is worse is that I didn’t even get to do a post yesterday at all. For those not keeping track (and why would you??!?), this past week was the official start to my school year. It means days upon days upon days of meetings and “professional development”. This year was particularly rough as I have taken on some extra committee work. (Here’s where I start shaking. Tree or otherwise.) While I’m proud of the work that was completed, it left *my* classroom to the end of the list. This translated into going into work all day yesterday (when I was not required) and most my day so far today. (Still shaking. It is Saturday after all.) The good news is that my curriculum is in a good shape for the first couple of weeks. The bad news is that there are other tasks needing my attention. As usual. I am ignoring that to do list now. Sorta.

What I would like to do right now is to curl up on the couch and take a nap. Then, I want to turn on something mindless on TV and do nothing but…alas. There is the to do list. Thankfully or not, the list has lots else on it than things related to my ridiculous profession. Apparently, laundry requires my attention as does the grocery shopping. I feel like there is more on there than what is common for a weekend. Ah…yes. I have plans. On Friday, after I teach the children, the next generation, the soon-to-inherit our mess of a planet, I will board a bus taking me to Chicago to fly on a little plane to toasty Las Vegas. Why am I going to this hassle? Apparently, there is some band playing there. I guess for two nights: Saturday and Sunday. I hear they don’t suck. Some people actually like them.

In all seriousness, I am kinda shocked that this little mini-fall tour of Duran’s is almost upon us. I remember on Mother’s Day when these shows were announced. Normally, with that kind of Duranie alert, I’m overjoyed and super excited. This time, it was a struggle. It was the damn tree again, which is known as my profession, my career, my job that seemed to not want me to go. But I fought the urge just to sit in the tree and watch the shows go by. Instead, I figured, what the hay. I told myself that being gone a day won’t be too bad in the beginning of the year. Honestly, I think that it will be fine. I’m not that worried. Besides, as my mother pointed out, I deserve some fun. I have worked more than I needed to, after all.

I am looking forward to the trip. The other day Rhonda and I had a productive phone conference related to our latest project. As we talked, one thing became glaringly obvious to both of us. We are on the same page. Believe it or not, we haven’t always when it comes to going on tour. We were on the same page for our first tour in 2005. Likewise, when we traveled to the UK for the second time in a year to get our shows, we definitely were on the same wavelength. Yet, I can think of other tours when we just weren’t totally aligned. The first one of those that comes to mind is the east coast tour we did in 2008. Rhonda wasn’t feeling the band as much then for a variety of reasons but I was. Then, I think of the shows in the summer of 2012. I was distracted after a significant political loss. The same could be said for me in February. My body was fighting serious exhaustion and we hadn’t been communicating much or well.

Now, though, we are on the same page. We are seeing the shows in the same way. I would go so far as to say that we are approaching the weekend similarly, too. This means that we want to enjoy the heck out of the shows, most importantly. Outside of the shows, we are pretty content to just chill. We are looking forward to talking, thinking about our project, getting away from it all. Of course, we would love to see other people and have a good time in a party setting, too, but that isn’t what is going to determine this mini-tour’s awesomeness. It’s simple. Did we have fun at the shows? Was the band amazing? Did we have a good time whether it was just us or with one hundred people or more? That’s it. Nothing more is needed. Good shows. Good people. Good conversation. Lots of laughs (and vodka!). I couldn’t ask for anything better.


No Time For Worry: Tour Road Trips

Do you ever look at your Facebook memories? When you can look back at everything you posted on that date? I have to admit that I like to check out what was going on with me but I don’t always click the memories button. Today, though, I did. One memory that popped out was one that happened in 2012, seven years ago. Yeah, on this date in 2012, I landed in New Orleans, ready to begin a little tour of the Southeast. This particular tour took us to Biloxi, Mississippi, Atlanta, Georgia, Durham, North Carolina and Portsmouth, Virginia. It marked the end of the All You Need Is Now era as it was years until we saw Duran Duran play live again. Looking back, now, I want to acknowledge some of the joys in road tripping a tour and some of the fun we had!

The last time we did a road trip as part of a tour was in the summer of 2016, which in some ways feels like last year and in other ways feels like a million years ago. There are some aspects of road tripping that is tiring and other parts that I miss. Before the tour in 2012 even started, it wasn’t super easy to plan for. Where to fly in and out? Would it be the same airport? What about renting a car? Speaking of, driving from show to show can be exhausting. It means never being in one place for very long. Each day results in packing, checking out of hotels, driving, checking into new hotels. You never get settled and rest is not easy to come by. You always have to think about what time you have to go, how much time you need to drive to your next stop, etc. On this particular tour, we also held meet-ups for each show. While they were super fun, it also meant that we had to stick to our plans.

All that said, there are parts of the road trip tour that I miss. For the last few years, touring has meant flying somewhere (Usually Vegas. Usually to see a show at the Cosmopolitan.) then staying there. Again, there are lots of benefits to this. It gives more time to hang out and less time traveling in between shows but driving to shows with other Duranies can be fun. Rhonda and I have had some entertaining conversations and revelations while driving/riding. For example, we have definitely come up with a bunch of fun set lists while traveling. I remember this particular tour in 2012 when we started listening to Duran from the first album to the most recent. Driving a long distance provided this opportunity to listen in chronological order, which was cool and fed our excitement.

The other part about a road trip required tour is that you get to see multiple places and go to different venues. I like checking out different concert locations. On this tour, we saw a general admission show in a casino (thankfully indoors), outside amphitheaters and an indoor performing arts center. I like that we had different seats and experiences at each show. Audiences also changed which gave a unique vibe at each place, changing the concerts themselves.

I think the other part of a road trip tour that I really appreciate is the time to really talk. It isn’t that you cannot spend hours on end chatting away when you are at one place for a long weekend. You definitely can but there are more chances for distraction. When you are in a car, your focus is what is happening in the car. As I have gotten older, I have found myself really appreciating conversation. It is one thing, in fact, that I love when Rhonda and I are working on a project. We check in with each other consistently and can have better discussions than simply in an email, text or social media. That tour gave us lots of chances to chat about this, that and everything under the sun. On this tour in 2012, we road tripped with others and that setting helped us to get to know them better, too.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love any kind of tour but there is a part of me that wishes that I wasn’t just flying into Vegas and hanging out in our hotel but was traveling to different places. Maybe next time!


You Can Find It: Touring Lessons

About three years at this time, Rhonda and I attended what we assumed would be the final show (for us) of the Paper Gods era. Little did we know that there would be more in our future. Anyway, in looking back to that tour and all of the other shows we have been lucky enough to attend, I think I might have finally figured some things out about how my “ideal” touring situation. Here are some of the biggest lessons I have learned.

Two (or More!) Shows Are Better Than One

This lesson is one that we learned really, really early in our touring lives. For example, the first show that we attended together was in Chicago 2005 and that was supposed to be it. Luckily, the band announced another show in Milwaukee. How could we not add that to our plans? From that moment on, we knew that we always wanted more than one show at a time. It just somehow seems more efficient, especially if traveling. On top of that, it allows more time to have fun, to get to know people, etc.

The Ideal Location

In the beginning of our touring days, I probably would have said that the best places for concerts are the party capitals like Vegas, New Orleans, Chicago, Atlantic City, etc. While I have loved shows in those places, I think I have enjoyed shows in smaller ones. For example, the shows that we have seen at Agua Caliente in California were amazing. I will always love the show I saw in Glasgow. Sometimes, it isn’t about all those heightened expectations of the city but about being able to make the experience meaningful all of your own.

Venues Matter

This one might be obvious but venues matter. I have seen the band play at many different kinds of venues from big outdoor amphitheaters to smaller theaters. I am not a fan of outdoors. It is almost always too dang hot. I’m also not for places like House of Blues as they are general admission. No, my favorites are the smaller theaters with assigned seating. I also prefer those that have seats close to the stage rather than some bulky barrier. While we are at it, I like those places that don’t use Ticketmaster for selling tickets.

Attitudes Are Key

Shows can be made or broken by one’s attitude. There have been times that we have gone into shows with bad attitudes for a variety of reasons. Guess what happens then? Yep, the show sucks (well as much as Duran can which isn’t very much…but still). At times that we enter the seats with smiles on our faces, the shows rock. That said, at this point, we know what might trigger us. For example, we know that having crappy seats might set us off. So, we do what we can with seats ahead of time (sometimes buying more than one set of tickets!) but, if not, we know that our attitudes can help or hurt.

Appreciating the Audience

We have been going to shows for a long time. The people who used to go to shows all the time back in the Astronaut days or even during Red Carpet Massacre are not necessarily the people who are there now. Yet, it doesn’t seem to matter who the core die-hards are. They are generally in the front and super enthusiastic. They always help me get in the mood more as they are more likely to pick up on the little moments that can make a show. That said, I also have found myself enjoying those people who don’t go to many Duran shows. They are almost hungry for each and every detail or fact that can be given to them. Like the hardcore fans, they can increase my energy, too. I can see and feel the full spectrum of fandom. The lesson, then, is to appreciate those around you.

Shows Are Not All the Same

Sometimes, I try to convince myself that all Duran shows are the same. The setlists are often exact or pretty dang close to it. The outfits are usually the same for the whole duration of the tour as are the visuals on the screens and more. Yet, experience has taught me that they can be very different even with the same elements. I look back to those summer Paper Gods shows in 2016 and they give me a much different feel when I think of them. For example, the show at the California Mid-State Fair makes me laugh when I think of it while the show in Toronto gets lost in my mind.

Teasing the band is fun!

Now, I know that a heading like that probably makes some of you nervous while others might be totally irritated that I would ever suggest a thing. Let me explain. Am I the only one who sort of feels like fandom is like a family? How many people tease members of your own family? Right now, I’m in Philadelphia and I guarantee you that there have been many, many statements made by me about my sister and vice versa. It is how we show love. If you have been reading this blog long, you probably know that we have done things like given John Taylor a hard time on here about his short pants or Simon’s lime green shoes during the Paper Gods Tour. We only do this because we love.

I’m sure that if I thought about it longer, I could come up with a ton more lessons. Heck, Rhonda is probably swearing about how I missed a number of big ideas. What lessons have you learned over the years when it comes to going to Duran shows?


Hold Onto Your Time

Do you ever wonder what it is like to be Duran Duran after a long album cycle? What to they think and feel after having written and recorded an album, completed promotion in multiple places and followed all that up with a long world tour? Do they feel exhausted after years worth of work? Could they feel proud of what they accomplished? Do they look back to see how many shows they did or how many interviewed they completed? I know that their typical attitude is to not look back, to live in the moment. While I appreciate that, I also wonder if they don’t take stock in the work they just finished.

Why am I thinking about this now? It isn’t like the band just finished a tour or album or something. What brought this on is that I feel like I just got done with an album cycle. This past Wednesday, I turned in my grades, packed up my classroom and officially checked out. On Thursday, I did have a meeting about some summer work I will be doing but I did have some time to decompress. Last night marked the final act of the 2018-2019 school year as I watched the class of 2019 get their diplomas.

Unlike Duran Duran, probably, I want to take time to reflect, to look back, to take some stock in this year. Then, like the band (probably), I want to take time to do nothing. So, first things first, what should I acknowledge about the year? As I mentioned with the band, I would imagine them having a general feeling after a long album cycle. Is that emotion a positive one? Negative? Mixed feelings? Maybe it depended on the album. I, too, have a general feeling. For now, I would have to say that it is one of complete exhaustion but that does not tell the whole story. Why the exhaustion? To put it simply, I left it all out on the table. I gave everything I did 100% of my effort. I didn’t hold anything back. For instance, on top of teaching five classes of high school students, I also campaigned for the majority of the year. This means that I worked 60-80 hours a week for about 30 out of the 38 weeks. Those campaigns were successful. The first one resulted in state wide wins on top of getting 90% of eligible voters in the suburb I organized out to vote and 3% more voters for my candidates. The second one was just as sweet as my candidate had so much going against her as her opponent had more name recognition, more money and more media support. Yet, in both, I proved that organizing on the ground really works.

Teaching wasn’t really easy either. This year, I had big classes. In fact, one class was so big that I had to add desks into my already crowded classroom. On top of that, the group of kids assigned to me struggled, not because of me or my colleagues but because many of them had needs that went beyond the classroom. My school also had a hard year as there was a sexual assault that occurred at school, causing trauma for staff and students alike. As a result, I got involved with some planning to help deal with the immediate affects as well as how to prevent future ones. On top of that, I have found myself on a couple of other committees. One was to fix some systems to help kids be more successful and the other is to fight for better treatment for teachers and school staff. Like the campaigns, I am proud of all of the hard work and believe that the school will be a better place for kids and staff alike next year and beyond.

If all of that work wasn’t enough, I also had scares with my parents. My mom went first when she hit her head due to a fall on the ice. Thankfully, she was fine. Then, more significantly, my dad had to have emergency, life-saving surgery in March. He bounced back better and faster than anyone expected, thankfully. As my parents age, my worry and role in their day-to-day existence increases. Like my work, I cannot complain. As my parents would say, it beats the alternative. I would much rather have them need me than not be around at all.

All in all, this year was an extremely challenging and relentless one. I stayed in the fight the whole way and pushed through it all, successfully. Now, I’m looking forward to having some time to recover. In fact, I have this post scheduled as I have promised myself a do-nothing day. I wrote this blog ahead of time in order to do this. You may have also noticed that I didn’t post a question of the day either. I figured that one day wouldn’t hurt. I’ll slowly start to work on developing a summer schedule next week. For now, though, I’ll take my day and relax with a sense of accomplishment and a smile on my face.


How to Tour “Right”

Last weekend, one of our friends on Twitter mentioned that he had a countdown going for the Duran shows in September. As I responded, I realized something. I used to do countdowns for tours all the time. I had calendars filled with numbers slowly counting down to when I would leave for shows. Why did I stop doing that? This made me think about all the various touring traditions we have had over the years. We had a ton and for the longest time I couldn’t imagine *not* having or doing them. What were those traditions? Should we bring them back? I wonder how much they added to our experience. Did they make touring more fun? So, here are some of the things we do or used to do in no particular order.

No Sleeping or Eating

When Rhonda and I first started touring together, it was pretty common for us to not get much sleep at all and meals were well…optional. On our first tour, we were up for something like 38 hours in a row and didn’t eat for a full 24 hours. What the heck were we thinking?! Honesty, I think we were too busy having fun to take the time to sleep or eat. Should we bring this back? We still don’t get a ton of sleep on tour and I don’t know that we really want to go back to no sleep. I also like food. So, good idea but…with limits! We are getting old here, people!


Again, from the earliest tours, we often found ourselves eating at nearby IHOPs (pancake restaurant for those not in the know). Eventually, we even started to make note of where the IHOPs were in order to be able to stop there. I’m good with having this one or not. I guess I would put it like this. If it works to go or is convenient, then, I’m all for it. I don’t know that I need to go out of my way for it.

“The Menu”

Let me explain this one. On our first tour, we were waiting to be seated at a restaurant when I saw a take home menu. I grabbed it. At first, I just wanted something to look at but then I decided that it would be fun to write down various quotes from the weekend on it to document our fun. We had such fun with it that we kept doing it for years to come. I’m not sure when it stopped but I have realized that I miss it. So, I would like to bring this back!

Tequila Shots

So, for a couple of years it was tradition for us to start our evenings with tequila shots. Here’s the deal. This is one tradition that we don’t need to bring back. While I look back at those nights with fondness, I simply cannot do tequila shots anymore. In fact, I won’t do tequila at all. Now, whenever I have any tequila, it brings on a massive migraine. No more tequila for me, thank you very much.


This is another tradition that we have kept up, sort of. We definitely film vlogs while on tour. The reason for this is simple. It is far easier to film a video blog on tour. Plus, it is a heck of a lot more fun. That said, we used to do videos all the time just for us. I miss those videos and would love to bring those back.

Leaving Our Mark

There is a bar in Durham, North Carolina that had chalkboards in the bathroom stalls. It may or may not have had some pro-Duran Duran messages in it in the summer of 2012. Likewise, there is a wall near Abbey Road Studios in London where a lot of people have signed their names or left messages. There might be something about the Daily Duranie on there now, too. I’m not going to lie. There might have been other places that we have left our mark. I like this one, too. Let’s bring this one back.


I’m not quite sure when and where this one started. Maybe it was Biloxi in 2012 as we sat all day hoping for a great spot in that general admission show. What am I talking about? Simple. We would create our own setlist. At times, it is just the songs we would love, love to hear live. Other times, the focus might be some sort of theme. I enjoyed the heck out of making all of those. It seems to me that we began to back off when people assumed that it was our frustration over the lack of changes in the setlist but I never looked at it like that. It was more about how to give the band a hard time (with love!) even if they never saw it or didn’t get our insides jokes. Should we bring this one back?!

Tour by the Numbers

I feel like there was always a little element of this tradition in my tours. I can tell you that I drove 1984 miles in the spring of 2005 when I attended 5 shows on the Astronaut Tour. I could look up the number of hours we spent on various forms of transportation for the UK tour we did in 2011. Now, I don’t know that anyone outside of Rhonda and I would be interested our touring numbers but I like documenting my life. I think it is the historian in me!

Meetups and Wristbands

At times, we have been pretty busy with planning meetups with fellow fans before a show. Many times, we have also passed out Daily Duranie wristbands. These would be a relatively easy to bring back. Would people be interested in that for Vegas? Maybe before one of the shows?

We Tease Because We Love

We have a strange sense of humor. I admit it. Rhonda and I get great joy over laughing with (at) the band. I love finding something to tease one or more band members about something or other. It isn’t like they don’t give us a hard time back. Anyone been in the front when Simon spits water during White Lines? If so, then you know what I’m talking about. If you have been following this blog for awhile, then you might have seen something about pants or shoes. Let me be clear, though. We only tease because we love.

So, what touring traditions do you have? I am looking forward not only to see a couple of shows in September but also to restart some of these!


I’ll Hold on to the MemorY

This is not my typical blog. I wish that my writing partner had this one to write as she is so much better at this sort of thing than I am. I’m much more comfortable with facts, analysis, and statistics not because I’m unfeeling but because that is far safer. On top of that, my friend and her loved ones deserve the highest quality of blogs. That said, I’ll do my best for her and her loved ones.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, our friend, Alana, lost her fierce battle against cancer at the end of the week. The outpouring of love and grief on social media for her shows just a fraction of how much she meant to the people who knew her. I suspect that everyone who ever met Alana loved her and wanted to be around her. She was one of those special people who was just genuinely warm, friendly, and supportive. People were drawn her because her presence made everyone feel comfortable and safe. Even someone like me who cautiously watches people before opening up to them immediately knew that Alana could be trusted. It was obvious that she was just such a good egg.

I don’t remember exactly when we talked for the first time or actually met in person. I don’t think it was long after that first time that Alana’s presence in my world and in Duranland was felt. I know that it must have been fairly quickly after we started this blog. There were many times in the first few years that Rhonda and I weren’t always so sure about what we were doing here. I’m not even sure we really had a plan and so we often seemed to be wandering aimlessly, uncertain about ourselves. Yet, when we were really questioning continuing there was Alana offering her support and her encouragement. Even years later, after she had been diagnosed, she still supported us either through comments or through donations. She was so good as dropping in with some inspirational statement at just the right time that I began to wonder if she wasn’t psychic in some way. She just knew when she was needed.

Duranland needed her, too. This fandom of ours is not always easy. There is an inherent competition that continues to burst on to the scene despite any and all attempts at stopping it. Too often fans seek more of everything, including more knowledge, more insider information, more contacts with the band members, more photos, more VIP tickets, etc. Alana was the antithesis to that. Don’t get me wrong. She loved Duran Duran and loved being at shows and with other fans but she never tried to one up someone else. She was someone that we should all try to be more like, myself included. I think back to a general admission show in Biloxi, Mississippi in the summer of 2012. When Rhonda and I decided to go to this show, we decided to go all in. This meant getting up at the crack of dawn to wait in line, all day, in hopes of getting up close. Somehow when we got into the venue, Rhonda and I did, indeed, make it to the front, holding on to the front rail for dear life. Who was right behind us in more than one way? Alana. I remember turning around and seeing the huge smile on her face. Yes, she was thrilled to have a good spot to see the show for herself but she was just as excited for us, for having our first front row experience.

After that summer, with encouragement from people like her and others, Rhonda and I jumped in to plan a convention that we held in Chicago in October 2013. Again, Alana was there the whole time keeping our spirits up when things were tough with the planning and at the convention itself to help us celebrate. The night before most attendees arrived, a group of us went out to Neo, a club that I loved, for their 80s night. We danced and danced in between getting drinks and trying to explain to people there how all of us from such different places would be together in Chicago. As Planet Earth played, I remember this feeling of pure joy spread over me. I was at home, doing what I loved with my people, people who understood and accepted me. That feeling is not one that I have a lot but I knew then and I know it now that Alana had a lot to do with that.

Like many that Alana touched in some way, saying goodbye is tough. I wish I had more time, more fun, more Duran experiences with her but feel so lucky that I got to call her my friend.


IT’s Too Much

I have to share a funny story. Yesterday, at work, I ran into the staff bathroom as the last hour bell rang, hoping to get in and out of there quickly as I had a meeting to get to with my principal. As I unlocked the door to the room, I discovered one of our English teachers in there. This teacher was someone I worked with last year as we shared some of the same students. If I had to give one word to describe this woman, I might say chatty. I knew right then and there that I would not get to my meeting on time.

As I passed her, she told me how glad she was to see me and asked how I was. I responded as quickly as I could, hoping that would be as far as the conversation would go. Before I could tell her that I had a meeting, she asked me about my summer plans. I sighed a little and gave a short answer, thinking to myself that we still have a whole month of school. I don’t want to think about that now as it would make the end of the year feel even longer. Of course, the conversation continued from there in a direction that I should have expected. “Duran Duran plans?” How do respond to that as quickly as possible. I responded lamely with, “Nope. Not this year.” As I walked out, I wondered what she really thinks about how things work with Duran Duran.

Later in the day, as I drove home, it dawned on me why I was so perplexed by how to answer. I honestly think she was asking me about Duran Duran like I might ask my friend, Laurie, about going to Florida during the winter or how I might ask the kids if they planned to go to any of the water parks at the Dells. She asked me about Duran in a way that made them sound like a location, some place to visit, rather than a group of people. Maybe it is not that extreme. Does she think they are just in a set location that I can always go see them like if they had a residency somewhere or that they are always on tour?

Now, in fairness, this colleague of mine knows next to nothing about fandom, especially musical fandom. She clearly didn’t mean any harm and I didn’t take it as some sort of insult. Obviously, she knows that I like Duran Duran and spend a lot of time doing something connected to the band. I don’t think she knows exactly what. She might know that I see the band play concerts but I don’t know that she really knows what that means. Is she aware that I often have to travel to see them? No clue. Does she any idea that the band doesn’t play concerts each and every day or even each and every summer?

This, of course, led me down another rabbit hole. What if Duran Duran did play concerts all the time? What if I could just go see them play anytime I wanted? My initial reaction was one of simple glee. How cool would that be? Rhonda mentioned getting to the century mark as far as shows go. This type of format would certainly make that easier or more possible. Sounds like heaven, doesn’t it? I have said it before and I’ll say it again. There is no place I would rather be than at a Duran show. I would be a lot happier with this, wouldn’t I?

As soon as I think all that, the more rational side of me kicks in. Would that really be the ideal? I don’t know any Duranie who wouldn’t like more shows. That said, would it be ideal to be able to go to a show at any time? I’m not so sure and not because I lost my mind. I would worry that being able to shows at any time would actually make the shows less special. Would I cease caring? Would it be so ordinary that it would be no different than stopping for a cup of coffee? It would be boring. Mundane. Then, if that were the case, would I stop dancing at the shows? Stop singing? Would I opt to sit in my chair and fall asleep from boredom?

How would playing so many shows affect the band? Would they grow to hate it? Would they start just going through the motions? I would suspect that they would–not because they are not amazing but because no one can sustain the level of intensity that they bring to shows. The more I think about this ideal world of Duran shows all the time, the less excited I am about that. That said, I wouldn’t complain for a few more shows. That wouldn’t hurt anyone, would it?


Happy Anniversary to Me

In April 1984, the Reflex was released as a single. As many of you know, this song became a number one hit for Duran Duran. For me, this anniversary marks my anniversary of a Duranie. Many of you know my story. As a kid, I listened to a lot of Top 40 in my Chicago suburb and became addicted to MTV as soon as it hit our cable package. My best friend and I liked Duran Duran as soon as we heard them as we often listened and watched together. Yet, there was nothing serious about our feelings for Duran until the Reflex. That song changed it all for me. My like for the band became a love as I found myself not only addicted to the song but to the band itself. My fandom, of course, exploded from there. I couldn’t stop listening to them and bought as much merchandise as I could find and afford. Soon enough, my best friend and I spent most of our time talking Duran. We bought magazines that we shared whatever info we learned and then drooled over whatever pin-ups were included. The rest as they say is history.

For my Duranie anniversary, I thought I might share the top 5 reasons that I am and will always be forever grateful that Duran Duran and this fandom came into my life.

Stay With The Music

This might seem pretty dang obvious but Duran Duran really has provided the soundtrack to my life in a couple of different ways. First, they have been the music I have turned to from early childhood all the way until present day. This means that the band’s music was there as I grew up, as I formed my identity, grew into adulthood and beyond. Second, their music has often spoke to me, on an emotional level that other artists haven’t. When I think of trying times, certain Duran songs come to mind. As I remember really fun times, different songs pop up. I’m thankful for each and every one of those songs that allowed me to be in the moment, to push through something tough, or to feel more intensely.

Laughing ‘Til You’re Crying

I have learned a lot from Duran Duran. They have been great teachers. A lot of what I think and appreciate came directly or indirectly from Duran. Let me give some examples. First, the band always represented an optimism that I have embraced. In some cases, that optimism takes the form of fun like the idea that they would be the band to dance to when the bomb is dropped. In other cases, it is recognizing that life is hard but that you have to have hope with songs like What Happens Tomorrow. No matter how much I get beaten down, I remain optimistic. Second, the band appreciates art in all forms, including music, visual arts, graphic arts, photography, fashion and more. I have grown up appreciating art as well. (Probably helps that my mom is also an artist.) I also love that the art that they like or produce isn’t always obvious or straightforward. Often, it requires thinking deeply, which I love. Third, the band has a wicked sense of humor that can be seen in videos like Rio. I love how much they laugh when they are around each other. I definitely learned to appreciate the same thing.

Change the Skyline

My natural instinct is stay home, be comfortable. go about my day-to-day routines without any changes or drama. I probably could be a hermit if I let myself. Yet, I know that this won’t and doesn’t bring me happiness. Needless to say, I need to be pushed out of my comfort zone from time-to-time. Duran Duran has done that very thing. Most obviously, I definitely would not have traveled as much as I did/do without going to see the band. I am not a big traveler and really hate flying but I do it to go on tour. To me, the reward is worth the stress of travel. Plus, after every trip, I always feel glad having done so. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I feel stronger, more confident. Beyond that, I started planning Duranie events with my partner-in-crime in order to try to bring the fan community together. I can organize all day, every day but leading events isn’t something that gets me all excited. Again, though, afterwards, I feel pretty badass and find it becoming more and more second nature to me.

Live It Like It’s Our Last Night

If you read through this blog, you will see so many posts that describe amazingly fun times Rhonda and I have had through this blog’s existence and beyond. Truly, when I think of times that I have had the most fun in my life, I immediately think of Duran Duran, events related to the band and their shows. Touring is literally my favorite place in the world to be, especially those two hours that the band is on stage. I have been extremely fortunate to have been to as many shows that I have and really hope that there is a lot more in my future.

To You, My Friend

Last, but certainly not least, Duran Duran has brought me many friendships. As a kid, the band brought me and my best friend closer. As an adult, they played a significant part in connecting me to so many people, including some of my favorite people. In some cases, they are people I am extremely close to like Rhonda who I met at a fan convention in 2004 to people I just met in February whom I look forward to getting to know more.

Duran Duran has made my world significantly brighter, better and more fun. For all of that, I’ll be forever grateful.