Let me preface this blog by saying the following: I made a conscious decision after Simon hurt his voice and they announced the North American tour dates that I would not watch any of the youtube footage that would invariably end up online. I would gladly listen to other people's accounts of their experiences and admire their photos but did not want to actually hear or watch any of the show if I could at all help it. I managed to avoid videos and my own curiosity. I wanted my first Duran Duran live experience to be my own, not someone else's.
I had thought; prior to my first Duran experience; that I knew exactly what I was getting myself into. I had thought; like so many others before me; that I would go to Toronto and have the honour of seeing my favourite musician(s) (singular or plural); performing for the first time. But, if I'm being honest with myself and with you...it was far more than that for me.
Back in 1982, the first time I ever heard the dulcet tones of Duran Duran I think I subconsciously put them up on a pedestal and have tried since then (in vain) to find another musical act; who in my mind; I could compare them to. One that left me as fulfilled, awakened, electrified, and thrilled me as much as Duran has both then and now. But none have yet to surpass them.
In my 29 years of being a fan of Duran Duran as a whole, as well as it's compartmentalized counterparts, I never thought the Duran concert experience would effect and touch me the way that it has.
A band called Neon Trees opened for Duran on this leg of the tour. Their music; much like Duran's is catchy and honestly the lead singer has a great voice, he's very dynamic and really knows what works. The drummer is phenomenal and they have a great sound.
In between Neon Trees and Duran taking to the stage, we had the privilege of finally getting to meet two of the lovely ladies myself and my friend Rachel tweet and facebook with. Kristina (@kristinapod) and Christine (@barbarella_5) are truly just as lovely and vivacious in person as they are online. Truly both gorgeous ladies inside and out and it was great to meet them both!
Our seats were 2nd row from the front and we were pretty much dead centre. It was incredible to be close...very close to the stage. We could see every smile, wink, nod, and gesture that they gave to one another onstage. It was a little surreal to be able to actually read their lips during conversations they would have amongst themselves. I almost felt as if I were eavesdropping at times.
When the lights went down, there was this massive roar that started at the back of the arena and rushed forth from behind me. I can only liken it to a massive wave rushing headlong towards the shore at breakneck speed and then crashing against the rocks and exploding upward.
Instrumental music met my ears (one of the vignette interludes from All you Need is Now - "Return to Now") and at that very moment my 29 years of waiting, and anticipation of seeing this band, these icons, my idols rushed up at me and I was overwhelmed.
I watched Nick Rhodes and Roger Taylor take their positions, I saw the silhouette of John Taylor walk onto the stage. This man who I have not only had a crush on but have moreover idolized as a musician since I was 13 take his rightful position and then the shadowy silhouette of Simon Le Bon appeared at the back of the stage.
My breath caught, I remember (sort of) chuckling in an odd off sort of way a little bit, and then the brimming of tears under my eyelids. I had chuckled; I think in retrospect; because in a flash of an instant my whole journey of getting to the moment in which I found myself seemed amusing to me. Perhaps I had a momentary psychotic break, a moment of complete lunacy...I'm not sure.
I know I said something; repeatedly; but now as I sit here trying to recall what it was I'm not sure. I don't know if I said "Oh?!" or "Oh my?!" those are the only things that are coming to mind. I just know I said it (whatever "it" was) over and over again. I have a vague recollection of Rachel rubbing my back asking if I was alright. I think perhaps she thought I was going to pass out. But truthfully in that moment I probably could have done just about anything. I was more than "alright". But I think all I mustered was a "fine".
I recovered and pulled myself together by the time Simon finished the first line of the song. I screamed, yelled, cheered, whistled, smiled, sang, danced, laughed...hell I even phoned a friend!!!! The whole party experience was thoroughly enjoyed. Truth be told I think the guys had fun right along with us. Or at least I'd like to think so anyway. It was Simon's birthday after all and he had just that little bit of an extra bit of spring in his step and cheekiness. It wasn't just them hosting a party for us...it was also us hosting and having a party for Simon. And it was obvious he was having a ball.
Just before the encores began we had the pleasure and honour of singing "Happy Birthday" to him while they wheeled out a large birthday cake onto the stage. Honestly, at one point I thought John was going to shove Simon's face in the cake. I don't know if the thought crossed his mind or not (I can't imagine that it didn't!). But before anyone could do anything, Simon pressed his own face into the cake, at which point John literally fell to his knees in hysterical laughter. To be honest I'm not sure which I found more amusing, Simon being his typical perpetual Peter Pan self or John's reaction to the situation.
There really is no way to explain a Duran show except to say it's more than a show. It truly is an experience. They have a way of making you feel like you're a part of the Duran family, part of their family. They make you feel to home, more than "just fans", they make you feel like they're grateful you came and that you're appreciated. I've never experienced that with anyone else I've ever seen in concert before. It was truly as much an honour for us fans as it was for them.
As predicted it all went past far too quickly, and now what remains are memories I will hold onto until I can add to them. It was far more than a concert, it truly was an experience. I feel like I had a tumble down the rabbit hole; and had a true moment of clarity; where everything shifted a little more into focus and you "get it". Perhaps that analogy sounds a little melodramatic but honestly, truthfully I can't think of another way to put it. I get it. I found my direction and path in the middle of a Duran Duran concert. I know the path I'm meant to be on, and it's up to me to follow it.
Someone asked me after the show "Do you get it now? The wait? The reason why it took 29 years?" My answer (to you...and you know who you are) is: More than you can possibly imagine. Thank you.