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.