Friday, April 22, 2011

Duran Duran

Andy, Simon, Nick, John, Roger
I had the most amazing experience this month. When I was 13 years old, just on the cusp of turning 14, my father loaded me and three of my dearest friends in the world into our family Buick and drove us from Urbana, Illionis to the Rosemont Horizon in Chicago to see The First Band I Loved: Duran Duran. Holly Herman, Erika Laberteaux, and Shannon Archey were in on that collective experience. (Funny the things that never leave you.)

We played their albums over and over on the way to the show (an hour and a half one way), then fought through crowds of screaming pubescent girls to sit through a terrible opening act and a brilliant concert by The First Band I Loved.

Being that band, they were sort of like my first kiss. Something that you hold all other experiences up to in measurement. They maintain the standard of what makes a good show. I had every album, every 12 inch and 45 they produced, posters covering every single part of wall space in my bedroom (and that was considerable) including the ceiling. I owned band clothing, a fedora, magazines, and pictures. I followed them religiously in teen magazines and interviews. I watched MTV on a continuum hoping, praying at the television altar in our living room that one of their videos would come on. I waited for world premieres until all hours of the night and made scrapbooks. I was obsessed in the wonderful, powerful way that only a 13-yr-old girl can be obsessed.

John on bass, Roger on drums, Simon on lead vocal
My father was career military, so we moved every 18 months or so. I can't recall most of my elementary school friends at all and have no collective experience of being in the same schools with the same classmates my whole life. I constantly re-invented myself with each move. Molding, remaking to fit the new "in" and in order to make friends as quickly as possible so that I wouldn't be alone. (One of the reasons I was always such a great and proficient liar pre-salvation.)

My first crush--John Taylor
Holly is the one friend I never lost touch with in all of these years. The only one. We wrote letters, called, sent packages. She even flew from Hawaii one summer and visited me in Alabama. We are still friends to this day. So, when I saw that Duran Duran was going on a small, intimate tour of the US to support their new album (All You Need is Now, which is brilliant, by the by), I immediately set things in motion to go see D2 with Holly. (This is quite possibly my version of a mid-life crisis.)

John, Roger, Simon, and Nick on keyboards
Last Tuesday I flew to Denver and stayed with my girlfriend and her son, Alex, who were too much fun. We ate good food, talked for hours, drove into the mountains, and generally had a great time. But the completely surreal highlight of the trip was standing the small Ogden Theater and watching The Boys take the stage. Smoke, lights, small stage, perfect view, standing directly behind a girl who had been at the exact same show we had been at in Chicago 28 years ago (and had on the T-Shirt to prove it), holding Holly's hand as the band took the stage. Nick first, Roger, John, Simon (and that new guy who took Andy's place whatever his name is), it was absolutely like seeing an old flame again. Bizarre and strange and wonderful all at the same moment. It took my breath away. Then as the first sounds of Planet Earth came through the speakers I was back in that moment so clearly. What a gift to be able to hold a memory like that so close in one's hand! I was thirteen again with the entire future sprawled out in front of me as so much unexplored territory. Never yet kissed or hurt or broken or failed, but completely in love nonetheless.

The show was great; the Boys were On; the music was tight; the experience lacked nothing. And holding on to Holly's hand while the band played is one of my most precious memories, because we are connected by our experiences. By our friendship. By 28 years of continuous knowing. And Duran Duran is definitely the soundtrack to that entire portion of my life. I am so amazingly blessed by the people I have loved and been loved by that it defies explanation. I've failed more people than I can possibly count, owe apologies, and will continue to fall short, but I've loved madly, deeply, passionately, and I'm all the better for it. I hope that the soundtrack of your life is as rich as mine has been.