I remember when I used to search for song lyrics to title my blogs. It was fun for a while, but somewhere along the line, I grew tired of having to search through songs. I knew every last line, had used many of them multiple times, and couldn’t seem to make the lyrics I had yet to use match whatever emotion seemed to be emitting from my words. That’s when I started titling blogs with whatever words came to mind. At that same time, right around 2020, I started wondering if I was tired of being a fan.
Missing friends of mine
There’s really no way to describe the last few years. I certainly can’t sum them up in just a few words, but I can say they were distinctly without Duran shows. I am pretty sure that had everything to do with how I felt about being a fan. After all, there aren’t many places in the world you can exude “I am a Duranie”. The concerts are a safe place for that, and I missed them. Terribly.
I also missed my friends. Jason (Mr. Velvet Rebel himself) and I became very close. He is the closest thing to a brother I’ve ever had. While “technically” I’m older (let’s just ignore that), I like to say he’s my big brother because in stature – he is just that! My Duranie touring buddies had gotten together once, but I hadn’t been in the same room with them together since 2019. There’s also this guitar player that I consider a friend, and I missed him as well. There was a time when I wasn’t entirely sure I’d ever get to see them all again. This past weekend changed all of that.
Only in dreams
For those who haven’t quite caught up with the Duraniverse, Las Vegas hosted the band at the Encore Theatre this past weekend. I’ll let you in on a little secret of mine: I didn’t think I was really going to go.
I had friends buy my tickets when they went on presale. I didn’t think either seat was awesome (I was wrong about that), and really – I don’t think I ever got excited about the trip. Don’t get me wrong, I tried to amp myself up. Occasionally, I would feel myself start to fuel the fire of anticipation. I’d see Dom wearing a pink suit and find myself grinning. I’d read a great review from the Hyde Park show and think “They sound like they’re on fire this time.” You’d think I would have packed weeks ago, planning each outfit with care.
I didn’t. Instead, I almost got talked out of coming at least twice. Then, I talked myself out of the concerts. In fact, one morning I was on my phone, ready to text Jason and tell him I wasn’t going to make it after all, when he beat me to the punch. A text came through from him, saying that he wanted to do another Duranie party at the Hard Rock.
I’m the first one to admit that I was dubious about the whole thing. First of all, I gave up being social for Lent. (Okay, that’s not even true..) Seriously, I gave up the idea of being the fan community activity person when I walked away from Daily Duranie. I never wanted to do another convention, ever again. I’ll leave that to, well, someone else. I just wanted to be an anonymous concert goer. Well, maybe not completely anonymous. I do have 167 followers of this blog, you know.
In any case, I wrote back saying “Sure. You totally should!” I could have and should have emphasized the “You”, but I didn’t. Then he texted me something else about how he wanted to ask Dom to appear.
Okay, that got my full attention. I believe I sent back some sort of laughing emoji. I mean why on earth would Dom Brown, of all people, WANT to hang out with people like me? Willingly, no less!! He’d have to be nuts! I know I said all of that (and probably a lot more) to Jason, including that I dared him to even ask. I figured that was as far as the convo would go between us with regard to that.
A few weeks later (some people just don’t check their mail), Jason heard from Dom. I know this because within the first 30 seconds of opening his email, Jason was texting me saying that he’d answered and that I needed to go find a chair and sit down. He wasn’t wrong. Not sure if anyone knows this out there, but I excite and stress out easily. My blood pressure – it’s a little nutty thanks to my dad’s genes, and I’m not supposed to allow it to spike. (Hysterical. As if I know how to stop it. If I did, I wouldn’t need medicine, now would I?) Anyhow, I sat. Turns out that Dom is certifiable, and wants to hang out with us. He’s open to anything. Including being a DJ.
I told Jason that did it, I would go to Vegas. That’s right, you’re reading it directly from me – it wasn’t the band that convinced me to go to Vegas. It wasn’t even seeing my friends so much as it was seeing Dom play DJ with Jason. Two of my favorite people sharing the stage. Working together…doing their thing. Okay, I’ll go. I want to support them, cheer them on, and also be thrilled for my brother!
It’s a one-way flow
This all was easier said than done. These days, as my oldest kids are finally on their own, my youngest is at the tail end of needing me to drive her everywhere, I also have my mom to worry about. She lives about ten minutes from me, and I’m over at her house most days. I do everything from grocery shopping to her laundry and cleaning, and then I come home and do the same here. Leaving for any length of time is questionable, but for that weekend? Impossible unless my husband agreed to step in, which he did.
I had a tumultuous Board of Directors meeting for the non-profit I run last Tuesday night, and found myself throwing clothes into my suitcase. I had no idea what I was wearing and I didn’t even care. Last Wednesday arrived and it was time to go. There was a part of me that wondered if the plane would crash on the way – I was so convinced I wouldn’t be able to go. (I think in terms of worst case scenario, don’t I?!) Naturally, I made it to Vegas just fine, was picked up by my friend Suzie, joined by my friend Shelly later in the evening, and our other friend Lori arrived the next day. I was able to spend time by the pool, chatted with the girls, had lunch with Jason and his wife, and yes, I even saw Dom. It felt like a miracle and went by entirely too fast.
I know why you all read this blog, and it isn’t because you’re attached to me emotionally. I might be okay to some of you, but let’s just call a spade a spade. You want to know about the band. Duran Duran. Those guys. I saw them twice last week. Once on Thursday in the 6th row on Dom’s side, and once on Saturday up in the mezzanine. They did not disappoint.
Heading for tomorrow
On Thursday, I really didn’t know where our tickets were. Someone else had purchased them, and I didn’t pay much attention to where she said they were. I just knew I’d managed to get a ticket in the venue, and that I didn’t care where it was. I was over my little crush on Dom. After all, I have been flirting with the guy for seventeen (that’s 17) years now. I argued with someone this weekend about the number, then counted and nearly choked. It was fun while it lasted, but I’m a “serious” blogger now, I can’t possibly just flirt with him forever, can I??
HA. No comment.
As Shelly led the way down to our seats, I grew more and more shocked. We were way closer than I thought! In fact, my seat was pretty much eye level with where he’d be standing. I’m sure he’ll be very surprised to see me there, or he’ll avoid eye contact altogether. I don’t even know why I thought that, but whatever. The lights went down, the band walked to the stage, and I remembered exactly what it was like to be a Duranie.
Isn’t it odd how that happens? Covid kept many of us apart for a couple of years. In a lot of ways, I’d forgotten why it is that I do all of this – the blogging, the planning and going to shows, tearing apart lines of lyric, watching interviews, listening to music and so on. Go to a show and within thirty seconds, it all comes back. The lights come up just enough so that the band can see us, and immediately I get a grin from the guitarist. Yes, I know he was looking my way, and yes, I know I was lucky to be that close to see it. No doubt about it.
Throughout the show, my heart swelled. I couldn’t help it, really. We came through a pandemic. They are still here. *I* am still here. I felt so lucky. I still feel so very lucky. The energy roared from the stage, and we climbed and climbed, almost as though we had been shot through space with a sling. As the ending notes of Careless Memories echoed, we began a slow descent back to the ground. The flow of the show was among the best I’ve experienced from them. I liked the way the band members moved around the stage, too. John spent tons of time on our side with Dom, and vice-versa. The choreography of the show felt far more organic and natural than it did with Paper Gods. It didn’t “feel” like one production of thousands, it felt like its own entity.
Shout out to Dom for his backup vocals work on Tonight United. I felt like he needed encouragement that night so I sang right along with him. The song has a good heart, great intentions, but it isn’t my favorite. I’d much prefer something with him playing guitar as the world intended. I get it – better to have him onstage than off, though.
Hit the high note of my feeling
For my first show back, it was fantastic. I came out of the Encore Theatre with my ears buzzing (no, really), and my heart full. What more could I have asked for??
The next night was the reason I’d come to Vegas to begin with, Into the Future Past at the Hard Rock. I’ll tell you, I was nervous about this whole thing. I didn’t know how it was going to go, and while I absolutely positively do not have even the tiniest bit of a crush on Dom….I was still nervous to go out on that floor and dance. We arrived, I ate the tiniest bit of food imaginable, had a gin and tonic, watched Jason DJ, and then nearly melted into the floor when Dom took to the DJ table.
I did dance. In fact, I danced for most of his set. It went by so fast! He picked really fun music for dancing – much of it music that is among my favorites like AC/DC and Van Halen (I am a rock girl at heart), and now I’m wishing it would have gone on longer. After his set he was kind enough to sell his CDs, sign them and even take photos with fans. I stood in line even though I have bought everything the guy has for sale, and some things twice! The time in front of him always goes by so fast, but I just wanted to say hello and tell him how happy I was to see him again. In the process, I forgot to ask him a question that I’ve been wanting to know the answer to since he released In My Bones on CD. Turns out that Bandcamp had the answer to my question, and now I know the full lyrics to Mercury Ascending, which just happens to be my favorite song on that album. Can we turn back the clock to Friday night again?
We come together
That brings me to Saturday. Mezzanine seats are great for sound, bad for band interaction. It would be unkind of me not to admit that I’ve had a good many concerts in the front or near front, and that it was someone else’s turn for the good seats. All I’m saying is that I take full advantage of being close to the stage. I like watching the band, catching their eye, and even singing along with them. At the same time, I found the band to be even more energetic on Saturday than they were on Thursday! The set was just a little different – no Tonight United, but we got Anniversary – and I still loved every minute of it.
When I was texting my oldest daughter about the weekend, she asked me how it felt to back in the audience. The question told me that she really does understand where I’m coming from with this band. I read some of the notes the band had written in their tour book, each of them covering a decade in the “life” of the band. Simon covered the last decade, and in his last paragraph he says something about how the fans have made Duran Duran possible, and that they are our band. Being back in the audience, particularly when I was in the 6th row, felt like finally coming home again – but oddly – it didn’t feel like any time had passed. It was as though the show could have taken place last year, or even two years ago (without Covid), but at the same time, it felt like I had arrived back at home.
I don’t know any other bands that make me feel that way. I’m so glad this one is mine.