Tag Archives: UC Berkeley

Were you at the Greek Theatre at UC Berkeley in 2015?

On this date in 2015, Duran Duran played the Greek Theatre on the campus of UC Berkeley. I drove to this show with Amanda and our friend Heather. We left right after the concert ended at the Hollywood Bowl the night before, and stopped at a hotel (I use that term rather loosely here) along the way.

I don’t remember much about the trip that night.  I remember a few  texts and emails that Amanda read to me, while I focused on driving safely. My eyes got so tired that they hurt, which I hadn’t expected. I figured I’d ride the adrenaline high from the show, but it didn’t last long. I vaguely remember something about a giant bug in the bathtub of the aforementioned “hotel” that night. I let Heather and Amanda fight that one as I let myself fall into a deep sleep!

The next day, we got ourselves up and out the door so that we could get to our next hotel, and then finish the drive to Berkeley. We got there super early, and walked down to have dinner with friends before the concert. Months earlier during the pre-sale, we’d pulled front row seats. Our joy lasted for about five minutes, until someone mentioned that they would absolutely hate having front row seats at this venue. The person explained that the stage is very tall, and it would be difficult to see.

At the time, Amanda and I were quickly coming down off the high from winning the pre-sale “jackpot”. In one breath we were yelling, “Front row!  Finally!!” and in the next, “Wait, what??” Both of us tried to ignore the possibility that perhaps even when we “won”, we’d lost. I mean, who complains about front row?!? We decided that we were not going to be those people!  Even so, the little niggling worry in my head would not subside. As I climbed the steps to the venue, I just hoped it would work out.

Yes, the stage was very tall. I’d also say that the sides of the venue were fairly steep. The height of the stage was probably necessary for the shape of the venue. Front row wasn’t terrible though. There was plenty of room between our seats and the stage, and I had no trouble seeing the band that night, nor did they have trouble seeing us! I definitely didn’t hate having front row in Berkeley!

The most puzzling part of the evening came after the band had taken their final bows and had left the stage. We were making our way out of the venue and had stopped to say hello to a friend. A small skirmish involving two fans and one of the set lists that had been taped to the stage floor caught our attention. Two women were about to come to blows over an unsigned, untouched-by-any-band-member setlist. I watched, completely incredulous that someone was likely to get a black-eye purely because they didn’t want to give up a piece of paper.

Since then, I’ve noticed that one of the techs usually walks around with a stack of set lists after the show.  They throw them out to whomever wants one. I’ve also experienced the joy of someone choosing to crawl right over the top of Amanda and I while we were up against the stage. They climbed right up as though we were a step-ladder, taking no care to not hurt us in the process. All for a piece of paper. Those memories are pretty indicative of the fandom, in many ways.

After the show, we met friends for a quick drink (I had water!) before getting back on the road to our hotel for the night. The following day we had a massive drive ahead of us as we headed from Berkeley to the final stop for that road trip: Agua Caliente.

-R

Tour Reflections of Agua Caliente

A year ago today I was driving Amanda to the airport to catch her flight back to reality.  We had just spent a week (give or take) together seeing shows at the Hollywood Bowl, The Greek theater at UC Berkeley, and Agua Caliente.

For me, the Agua Caliente show was the show to beat. I’ll never have another experience like that one. It was front-row-elbows-on-a-monitor madness. The show was in a smaller theater than either Berkeley or Hollywood Bowl. It was intimate, the band appeared alone without Chic on the bill, and I loved it. Don’t get me wrong, the shows with Chic have been fantastic, but I enjoyed seeing Duran Duran on their own, too.

Front row in such a small theater give me a completely different perspective than I’d ever had before. I was able to see each band member up close, and really revel in their expressions in a way I hadn’t previously.  I could feel the music and I knew as I walked away from the venue that I would never have a show quite like that again.

The thing is, on some level I can probably say that about every single show I’ve ever seen.  They’re all different.  I’ve had a unique perspective each time – even if I’ve sat in nearly identical seats each night! Truthfully, my head did wander into the “How am I ever going to top this one?” area after Agua Caliente.  I was concerned that—if that show was the top for me—that every other show I’d ever go to would leave me wanting for more.

Funny how things don’t work that way. I’m honest when I say that I didn’t think too much about that when the band took the stage at Ravinia this summer.  I didn’t really think about being front row when Simon sauntered to the front of the stage with a mouth full of water in Paso Robles.  Each show was unique and exciting all on their own. Sure, some are just better than others I suppose, in the same way that some soccer games are more exciting than others, and I do have my favorite moments—but I didn’t need to worry that I’d never have another show that would measure up. They all did!

Looking back now, which I realize is some sort of Cardinal Sin for the band, but for us is part of the luxury we hold as fans, every single show I’ve gone to (yes, even that fateful fan show in NYC) has had memorable moments. I value every single one. I’m not sure if that comes with age, experience, or just the fact that I’m especially thankful for what I’ve done these days, but more and more often I find myself smiling when I think about all I’ve seen and done.

I’ve met some really nice people, including some that I highly doubt I’d have had the opportunity to meet otherwise.  There are still dull spots of course—life is not utopia. Yeah, it still bothers me when the sum of my existence is “Duranie” and that somehow that single word puts me (and others like me) in a column characterized by words like “crazy”, “obsessed”, and “groupie”.

I just had someone tell me yesterday that he needed to unfriend me on Facebook simply because I am a Duranie and his girlfriend doesn’t like it. I understood the implication, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t sting. I respect this person, I’m married and I honor the boundaries of my male friends, regardless of who they are. But how can one really argue with a stereotype?  I’m not sure we can if no one wants to listen. At the end of the day, I have to hope that those who value my friendship (as I do theirs) would see the difference.

It is hard to imagine it has already been a year since those shows. In other ways though, at least for me—it feels like a distant, fond memory. This year, I don’t see that the change has been in Daily Duranie, but perhaps in me. I see things a little differently, and I take a little more time to just enjoy the good things without worry of what comes next.  Not a bad way to reflect on some of the best times I’ve had in my life, actually.

-R