Why Do Tours Matter?

Tours matter.  I’m sure you are thinking that I have lost my mind a bit with that opening sentence.  Doesn’t everyone know that tours matter?  After all, it is a means of any musical artist to advertise their music (albums) as well to earn money to make new music.  I’m sure it also provides feedback to them as well.  They learn which songs really touch their fans and which ones aren’t as popular.  I’m sure that they are energized by the love and support that is shown to them, assuming they receive a decent and excited crowd.  But, why do tours matter to FANS?  Typically, for Duran Duran fans, we don’t need to be sold on their music.  Many (most?) of us have heard all of Duran Duran’s officially released material and many own copies or multiple copies of all of it.  Some fans have even heard music that hasn’t been released.  While many of us are happy to help the cause in terms of making money to be able to make more music, I doubt that is why tours matter to us. 

I started thinking about this during my long afternoon at work.  Today seemed relatively calm compared to yesterday when I received many messages and phone calls regarding Simon’s statement on the radio about the band doing 14 shows in the UK during the month of May.  Yesterday, I did not get nearly enough work done so I should have been using today’s calmness (the calm before the storm???) to catch up on work.  Instead, I pondered why so many of us are anxious to see the tour dates that are supposedly being announced on dd.com next week.  Why do we get all excited for this announcement?  Why were so many of us refreshing dd.com’s website earlier in the week to see the instant that Duran’s participation in the Coachella Festival was announced?  I suppose the fast answer to the question is that it depends on the fan.

Some fans might be solely focused on the musical element of a tour.  Perhaps, some fans haven’t seen them play live before and are hoping that this is their chance.  Again, the question could be asked of why seeing them perform live is a big deal if people have heard and own the music.  The answer here could be as simple as the fact that music performed live is pure and could be felt more by one’s soul.  It certainly can sound better than any cd, vinyl record or mp3.  A Duran Duran concert is more than just music but a performance.  Not only do you get to hear them sing and play instruments but you get to witness them interact with each other (yes, I’m thinking about JoSi here!) and with the audience.  The music and songs become personalized through the introductions, through the performance and even through visuals that might be included.  Thus, for some people, touring means seeing a damn good band play live in concert.  Other people might be thinking about other elements of touring as well.

For some fans (including the authors of this blog), touring is much bigger than the shows.  First, for us, it often means that we get to travel.  Sometimes, these travels are within driving distance but it is common for them to require an airplane to get there.  (Please note:  We are very aware of how LUCKY we are to be to be able to do this!)  This provides an escape for the daily grind of work and family.  It is a vacation of sorts as many responsibilities are left at home, including cleaning the house, preparing for meals, etc.  Personally, I know that I appreciate the fact that touring away from home has given me a chance to visit many places that I wouldn’t have before.  I appreciate being able to see other places and while I can definitely do that without shows, going on tour pushes me to go right then!  Second, and perhaps, most importantly, touring gives us a chance to get together and be with other Duranies.  Rhonda and I don’t live close and while we have visited each other in between tours, somehow it is always better with Duran shows involved.  Beyond getting to spend time with each other, we get to see other Duranie friends we have made and make new ones.  There is truly something special when Duranies are able to get together and share our excitement over the band together.  It enhances our fandom, I believe.  It makes our love for the band stronger and certainly makes it way more FUN! 

Beyond the reasons listed above, I’m sure that, for some fans, it is also an opportunity to get close to the band.  Perhaps, some people look forward to shows because it gives them a chance to win a meet and greet where they will be able to tell the band members about how much they have meant to them.  They, then, might be able to get a picture or autograph.  Maybe fans are looking to see the band outside of the venue or at their hotel for the same purpose.  Perhaps, it the chance to fulfill a dream of meeting the band.  For some people, they might hope for more than an autograph or picture.  They might desire a conversation or more as their dream might be more than brief contact.

It is definitely possible to be excited for the tour for a combination of those reasons.  For me, it is the ultimate part of being a Duranie.  While it is wonderful to hear new music and I always appreciate the work that goes into making new songs, there is nothing like a tour.  It is the chance to sing along with my favorite band as they sing my favorite songs surrounded by friends who understand my love for the band in places far away from home.  It gives me a vacation with the most fun possible!  Why do tours matter to you?

-A

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