I remember that there is a scene in Sing Blue Silver where John, I think, talks about how that 1984 was never an assured tour. I always thought that was a strange quote. As a kid watching that documentary, I thought he was making a really silly statement as the band was the biggest, most popular band in the world. What did he think was going to happen on that tour? What did he think was going to get in the way? I still don’t have answers to those questions about that tour but I certainly do if I apply that statement to this tour and, frankly, to any tour in the future.
When these tour dates were announced, Duran’s future seemed questionable. Many people wondered either openly or to themselves about if these dates were actually going to happen. I saw people consider various shows and decide not to even try because they felt so uncertain about whether or not they would actually happen. After all, this tour was following a spring and summer in which Simon lost a significant portion to his range, which resulted in tour cancellations. I could not blame anyone for being cautious. Then, the shows started and they seemed…well…less than normal in the beginning. The sets were short and there was information about the band cutting songs in the moment. For me, and others I’m sure, this raised many alarm bells. Would Duran be able to perform these dates? If they did, would they be as good as what people have come to expect from them? I remember feeling very anxious while I waited for my show. In some ways, this feeling of anticipation reminded me of years ago when I was SO excited to tour. Yet, it was different as this time fear was present as well as excitement. Anxiety was the word of the day. I didn’t want to voice my concerns because I didn’t want others to feel what I had been feeling and I thought that if I said them out loud they would become more real, more possible. Luckily, they were able to make it to my show and perform. They were able to perform all of the shows they have scheduled. Beyond that, it seemed that they got stronger as the tour went on and became more normal.
What was interesting to me was watching those fans who were still fixated on things like ticket sales and album sales. I couldn’t relate. I get wanting the band to be successful. I want that, too. Yet, it seemed to me that they were focusing on less immediate concerns. None of those external elements of success would be important if they couldn’t perform and if they couldn’t get back on track. Thus, while I didn’t feel like last week’s Chicago show was the best ever, I still thought it a victory. They were able to play for two hours in a way that we have all come to expect of them. To me, that was enough. Will someday I begin to demand more? I’m sure. I think there is a lesson here, though, and one that I don’t want to forget. The album’s name was a reminder to all of us to appreciate the now and I thought I was doing that in December when the iTunes version came out and I thought I was doing that in April when I saw them in the Midwest but I wasn’t. I don’t think I really started to do that until I realized and realized deep in my gut that Duran will end someday. That someday might be years or decades away but it could be tomorrow. I didn’t really get how important the now was until I almost lost something precious to me, to all of us.
For many people, yesterday marked the end of a chapter in Duran’s history and in their history as a fan. For Rhonda and I, it marks the end of the US part and the break before the UK tour. Did I ever think that I would be going to the UK to see them perform? Not really. I went in May because my friends wanted to go. I figured that it was a good time to do it. Now, I’m going back because I might not have the chance ever again. I don’t want to regret something despite the financial cost, despite the time away from work, despite the time away from other aspects of life and more. I now know what it means to embrace the now. I’m sure that there will be people reading this blog and thinking that we have it so easy. We don’t. We are sacrificing to make this happen. Frankly, we had to sacrifice to make Chicago happen. Shows and tours don’t fall into our laps. The band doesn’t play in our backyards (they are welcome to, though!) so we have gone out of our way for this tour that just finished and for the tour that will be coming up. This way I know I won’t have any regrets when the end does come.