We have a standing invite to any and all Duranies who wish to write about their experience at show(s) to be a guest blogger. There are no hard-as-nails requirements, we just want fans to be able to tell their story, and we host the space in order to make it happen. We will help with editing, all you’ve got to do is share your words. We’re happy to publish your work, and share those experiences and tales with the rest of the Duran community – anytime!! This way, those of us who aren’t able to be at each and every show are able to share in at least some of your joy. If you’re reading and are interested, contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM us on social media. -R
By Debbie Craggs
As it was first announced that there were to be 2 intimate shows in the UK, my mind raced with questions:
WHEN: Can I juggle work commitments?
COVID: Working in the NHS throughout the pandemic, would it be “safe” and what requirements are in place?
COST: Ticket + transport + hotel = ??? as a single Mum on a nurses pay.
Luckily, Tuesday/Wednesday is the best weekday mix for me with a day off on a Wednesday, and being owed a few hours, I could finish early on Tuesday and make it to Birmingham in time for the gig. This also meant I could stay overnight, and not have to be constantly checking times to make sure I didn’t miss the last train. Not to mention that reliability isn’t renowned on the trains in the UK, and travelling alone adds to concerns.
Then of course, there was the “battle” of getting a ticket. I missed out on the fan community presale, and a second chance came through the album presale. Well, once again this didn’t look like it was going to be a success. Begrudgingly, I had resigned myself to living vicariously through the stories of others. Then, while sitting in the hairdressers at 9:30 in the morning, I made one last feeble attempt at getting a ticket during a presale. One became available! I clicked “buy now”, and the excitement started! I hadn’t realised how much I needed something positive to look forward to.
So here I am as I type, heading out to Birmingham for a real “me” time event with a night away. Tonight, I am not Mum to Charlotte, Natalie, Louisa. I’m not a Public Health Nurse. Tonight, I am Debbie – Duran Duran fan since 1981. The following are my notes after the fact.
Venue: I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve been to the O2 Academy in Birmingham before with my youngest, but not the Institute. Those who have seen pictures will know that it is a converted church with a main floor, and two balconies. Seated and standing sections are available, along with an arch that still has angels on each side, framing the stage.
Play List: This didn’t disappoint! The band included a mixture of new and old, including a brand new, never heard before song called “Tonight United”. I’ll need to listen again before I can comment on this one, and I will be interested to hear what others thought. Both “Anniversary” and “Invisible” were well received, but it was obvious not everyone knew them.
Atmosphere: The band were obviously loving being back on stage even with a later than advertised start time. The locals in the audience were definitely restless and impatient. It was very warm – as in – think of being in a sauna, and I’m sure I’ve lost weight as result! At times, the number of phones recording was distracting. The venue is tiny, and with all of those phone screens, it was sometimes hard to see. Simon seemed to be out of breath at times, but thrived off the crowd. There were less moments of Dom and John getting together on stage and I’m not sure if that was because of lack of space. There were also points when the sound seemed to be a bit off, especially when Anna joined Simon at front of stage.
All that being said, it was so good to hear live music. As Simon said last night, you don’t realise how much you miss something until it’s not there. He didn’t realise how much he missed the fans. The interaction between the band on stage was as good as ever.
It was so lovely to chat to other fans and enjoy a small “intimate” gig rather than a larger venue, and to hear live music.
Bring on the next one.