About three years at this time, Rhonda and I attended what we assumed would be the final show (for us) of the Paper Gods era. Little did we know that there would be more in our future. Anyway, in looking back to that tour and all of the other shows we have been lucky enough to attend, I think I might have finally figured some things out about how my “ideal” touring situation. Here are some of the biggest lessons I have learned.
Two (or More!) Shows Are Better Than One
This lesson is one that we learned really, really early in our touring lives. For example, the first show that we attended together was in Chicago 2005 and that was supposed to be it. Luckily, the band announced another show in Milwaukee. How could we not add that to our plans? From that moment on, we knew that we always wanted more than one show at a time. It just somehow seems more efficient, especially if traveling. On top of that, it allows more time to have fun, to get to know people, etc.
The Ideal Location
In the beginning of our touring days, I probably would have said that the best places for concerts are the party capitals like Vegas, New Orleans, Chicago, Atlantic City, etc. While I have loved shows in those places, I think I have enjoyed shows in smaller ones. For example, the shows that we have seen at Agua Caliente in California were amazing. I will always love the show I saw in Glasgow. Sometimes, it isn’t about all those heightened expectations of the city but about being able to make the experience meaningful all of your own.
This one might be obvious but venues matter. I have seen the band play at many different kinds of venues from big outdoor amphitheaters to smaller theaters. I am not a fan of outdoors. It is almost always too dang hot. I’m also not for places like House of Blues as they are general admission. No, my favorites are the smaller theaters with assigned seating. I also prefer those that have seats close to the stage rather than some bulky barrier. While we are at it, I like those places that don’t use Ticketmaster for selling tickets.
Attitudes Are Key
Shows can be made or broken by one’s attitude. There have been times that we have gone into shows with bad attitudes for a variety of reasons. Guess what happens then? Yep, the show sucks (well as much as Duran can which isn’t very much…but still). At times that we enter the seats with smiles on our faces, the shows rock. That said, at this point, we know what might trigger us. For example, we know that having crappy seats might set us off. So, we do what we can with seats ahead of time (sometimes buying more than one set of tickets!) but, if not, we know that our attitudes can help or hurt.
Appreciating the Audience
We have been going to shows for a long time. The people who used to go to shows all the time back in the Astronaut days or even during Red Carpet Massacre are not necessarily the people who are there now. Yet, it doesn’t seem to matter who the core die-hards are. They are generally in the front and super enthusiastic. They always help me get in the mood more as they are more likely to pick up on the little moments that can make a show. That said, I also have found myself enjoying those people who don’t go to many Duran shows. They are almost hungry for each and every detail or fact that can be given to them. Like the hardcore fans, they can increase my energy, too. I can see and feel the full spectrum of fandom. The lesson, then, is to appreciate those around you.
Shows Are Not All the Same
Sometimes, I try to convince myself that all Duran shows are the same. The setlists are often exact or pretty dang close to it. The outfits are usually the same for the whole duration of the tour as are the visuals on the screens and more. Yet, experience has taught me that they can be very different even with the same elements. I look back to those summer Paper Gods shows in 2016 and they give me a much different feel when I think of them. For example, the show at the California Mid-State Fair makes me laugh when I think of it while the show in Toronto gets lost in my mind.
Teasing the band is fun!
Now, I know that a heading like that probably makes some of you nervous while others might be totally irritated that I would ever suggest a thing. Let me explain. Am I the only one who sort of feels like fandom is like a family? How many people tease members of your own family? Right now, I’m in Philadelphia and I guarantee you that there have been many, many statements made by me about my sister and vice versa. It is how we show love. If you have been reading this blog long, you probably know that we have done things like given John Taylor a hard time on here about his short pants or Simon’s lime green shoes during the Paper Gods Tour. We only do this because we love.
I’m sure that if I thought about it longer, I could come up with a ton more lessons. Heck, Rhonda is probably swearing about how I missed a number of big ideas. What lessons have you learned over the years when it comes to going to Duran shows?