Tag Archives: Touring

So Easy to Disturb with a Thought, with a Whisper

Each year as we grow closer to October, there are a few events I can’t help but think back on.  I don’t know what it is about Autumn.  The days remind me of Duran Duran, touring, friends, and even conventions.

Take New Orleans and the Friends of Mine convention in 2004, for example. My life felt wild and free. I  grabbed on to the tiger’s tail, and was trying to hold on for dear life! I loved the new experiences and how I felt at the time. The memories make me smile.

Beignets and coffee in what felt like the middle of the night, learning to literally reach up for the sunrise, after spending hours in all sorts of late bars with friends of mine. I was getting a crash course in the regular activities of being a Duranie, and I loved every minute. The trip included a lot of self-discovery for me. When I think back, I recognize how much I’d missed out on prior. Going to that convention was about more than just making friends or Duran Duran. I was making up for lost time, and finding myself.  I’m thankful I took the risk and went.

I also think about a certain road trip with Amanda.  Our friend Heather had flown in from Canada, and  I’m pretty sure we nearly killed her along the way. Amanda and I were raring to go and spent most of our “free” time driving and discussing the band.  Poor Heather, on other hand, caught a cold straightaway.  She spent most of our driving time up and down the center of California bundled up in my backseat trying to sleep over our cackling. We went to see the band at the Hollywood Bowl, drove up to their show in Berkeley and then back down to Rancho Mirage in a matter of three days. It was a lot of driving in a very short period of time, which gave this writer a lot of time to obsess and over think.

It is a bit difficult not to wonder what will come next, and when. I have no business even thinking about Duran Duran shows or new albums right now.  Cleaning, packing or doing whatever it is that we housewives should be doing should probably be at the top of my to-do list, not yearning for concerts and tours.  I just can’t help but long for the times when we got together for the sake of celebrating the music.

Part of the allure of touring for me, so to speak, is its simplicity. Instead of my schedule being centered around what child need me to be where and when, it is about what city I need to be in, and how many hours it will take to get there. My time on tour is spent laughing and talking with friends, not worrying about dance classes, homework, or piano lessons. Even now that my son has moved out and his room stands mostly empty, the daily struggles get me down. I don’t like feeling chained to the calendar without having my own plans or things to look forward to. Sometimes I just need a break.

I said as much to my husband at some point over the weekend. He is out-of-town right now, and will be doing quite a bit more traveling for work over the next several weeks. I’m tied to the house, keeping it clean for showings (no it still hasn’t sold), taking our youngest to and from her classes, managing our zoo (the dog and cats of course), and of course homeschooling. Home is beginning to feel more and more like prison. Sure, that circumstance is temporary, but it feels like forever.  My husband gave no response to my comments this weekend, but I feel as though I’ve slipped right back into the role I occupied before I went to that first convention.

I don’t think it’s any coincidence that I’m feeling like this now. Today is the first day in about three years that I’ve genuinely been at home alone. Normally there is always somebody here, or I’d be at work too. Today I dropped the child off at school and came home to a very quiet house, just as I used to do before I started working again. Life has come full circle again, I guess.

I know that it is only a matter of time before my family moves north, and hopefully the touring/appearance/album schedule will pick back up for Duran Duran. They keep saying they’re going back into the studio….right?

-R

Got any plans for Summer of 2020?

I woke up worrying about the blog today. I don’t even know why. I think this might be a sign or symptom of the amount of stress I’m carrying around these days. Moving is hard. I keep telling my husband that it would be far more motivating if I knew where we were going, like maybe if we’d already bought a house or actually knew what city we were going to end up in. Right now, all I’ve got is a short list of houses I really like in a very wide area going from Camarillo to the south (of Santa Barbara) alllllll the way up to Atascadero and South Paso Robles to the north. (yes, those places are far from Santa Barbara. It’s a long story. Just go with it for now.) Meanwhile, there’s still this  “Boston” possibility hanging in the air. Walt is going out there in a couple of weeks, and at the moment it’s possible that I’ll go along with him. That could change though because the timing is, of course, really bad with family graduations, birthdays, and moves home from college. I find myself asking (very loudly) when am I ever going to find the time to go house hunting anywhere. Thank goodness for Zillow.

No one really answers back. That’s probably best given that most of the time I’m alone while asking.

My last day at work is next Thursday. It’s the little one’s last week at school for summer. I still don’t know where she’ll go to school after what I think might be the shortest summer of my life…and then this morning I woke up worrying about the blog.

The blog is fine. It really is. I’ve felt as though I’ve neglected it a bit lately, right along with my writing. I don’t know when I’m going to find time to actually write this summer. It’s a small price to pay, I suppose, but writing keeps me sane. Blogging will at least continue, book writing may not for a bit. I am worrying for no reason about things I can’t even deal with right now.

I had big Daily Duranie plans for the summer, including a convention that I’m going to have to push out until I’m moved (I can’t plan a convention when I don’t even know where I’m going to be traveling from to get there. Bad timing – so once I know when and where I’m going, I can figure out the rest. I’m disappointed, but I just can’t do it all), and a visit with Amanda. I need to hang out with my best friend. I miss her. One way or another that has to happen. Then there’s a girls trip with Amanda and our other two friends. We need a getaway. I’m still trying to figure out how I can squeeze that in, because we are way overdue for a catch-up. I’m hoping the answers will reveal themselves soon. I don’t do very well without some basic plan, and I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants now since December. I hate it.

Amanda and I did chat on the phone last week. That might not seem like a big deal to you, but I think I can count on one hand the amount of times we’ve done so since January. Times have indeed been tough. I welcomed her phone call though, and it was good to hear her voice. She gave me a little shred of hope that life WILL return to some sort of normalcy, because she asked me one question that snapped me back into my typical, Duranie-self.

“Got any plans for summer of 2020?”

Wow. I can’t even plan for next month, right now.  It is a very strange feeling, after living in the same place for twenty years, to know that in 2020, I have no idea where I’ll be living. Where will I be when Amanda and I are planning and plotting? Forget all of that, where is my family going to spend Christmas this year? It is SO weird to know it’s probably not going to be in this house. (For that matter, we just got rid of our 9-ft tall artificial Christmas tree, so….) So no, Amanda, I don’t have plans for 2020. I’m sure I’m about to make some, though!

She went on to tell me about the Katy Kafe with John Taylor and how he gave a full laundry list of ideas they had for celebrating their 40th and so on. I hadn’t even had time to listen to the Kafe at that point last week, so I welcomed her explanation of how it all went down. John talked about having some sort of show in Birmingham, and that was as far as she got before I stopped her. “We are going!”

Sure, John might have lofty ideas. Chances are, nothing he wants to do will actually come to full fruition. That isn’t really the point though, at least not for me. I need something. I need something to give me some motivation to get through what I think has to be one of the most stressful life events: moving.

The weekend before last, Walt and I took every single box down out of our attic. Turns out that he wasn’t lying when he said I was a packrat. Somehow, I’d saved nearly every single thing my kids touched as babies (and what’s weird is that I know I’ve given away a ton of stuff to charity over the years!). I went through box after box, blinking back tears on occasion. It was awful. I’m beginning to come to the realization that not only are we moving, but we’re closing a chapter on the childhoods of my two oldest kids. I am not a fan.  I’m overly emotional at times, downright sentimental at others, and suffering from hot flashes at the same time. God, I love middle age.

So for me, even the possibility of going to London, Birmingham or pretty much anywhere during the summer of 2020 is incentive for me to get my act together, get this house moved and my family settled. I have two years to make it all happen. I want to see friends, I want to go back to places I enjoy. I want to actually live. Right now, I feel like I’m just closing up shop to move on. I’m looking forward to getting past it.

Yes, I know how quickly other fans want to pee in my bowl of cornflakes (I hate cold cereal anyway), but you know – it’s OK to let fans just have some hope. Why not? Is it really hurting anyone?  The same goes with the band recording a new album – does it really hurt anyone to have hope that they’ll record again? I mean, as a fan, why wouldn’t you want to believe that they’re not completely finished?  It’s the one thing I’ve never really understood about people. Hope is a powerful motivator, and you know – I need it. So I’m tucking it into my pocket, and grabbing another box to fill.

-R

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