Duran Duran at the House of Blues, 4/23/11

I started writing this the week after the show (a month ago!) and then I got sidetracked. I suspect packing up my entire apartment had something to do with it. Anyway, better late than never, here it is.

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I have to admit, when they announced the concert was going to be at the House of Blues, I was disappointed. General Admission shows usually leave me annoyed and feeling old. They tend to bring out bad behavior in certain people, and the hours of standing around are a lot more tiring when you’re in your 40s than when you’re 18. But if I love a band enough, I’ll still do it. And I certainly love Duran Duran enough for that.

I went with my friends Amy, Rachel and Clare, and we paid the extra $$ for early-entry tickets, so we’d have a shot at being somewhere in the front. We ended up in the front row, right at the feet of Mr. John Taylor. You can’t ask for better than that. (Well you could ask for better, but it would probably result in restraining orders.) They let us into the theater around 7:30-ish I think, but the band did not appear until after 9:30. We’d been in line since 5:00, so that’s already a lot of standing around, but once the show starts you forget all about that and it’s just plain awesome.

They’ve been on the road for a little over a month, doing small shows, festivals & lots of media promoting the new album (All You Need Is Now) to generally rave reviews (The Coachella crowd completely fell in love with them) so they seemed very energized and in fine form. With 30 years of songs to choose from, it’s always interesting to see what they will play. Naturally they’ll want to spotlight some of the new songs, but they also need to pull out a few of the obvious hits for more casual fans. Personally, I could live without hearing “Hungry Like the Wolf” in concert ever again, but they’re going to play it, so I might as well enjoy it. And I was overjoyed to hear two songs from their very first album (“Careless Memories” and “Friends of Mine”) live for the first time! They’re both really high-energy songs and the crowd loved it. Though I have to admit from my front-row vantage point it would be hard to know the reaction in the back of the room.

I’ve never been in the very front row at a show like this before. It’s quite an experience when the musicians are playing directly to you, and even making occasional eye contact with you. Which on the face of it seems so fangirly and stupid but fill in the blank with your favorite musician and I defy you to not be thrilled by it.

A woman down at the end of the front row had a stuffed frog and a card that she wanted to give to Roger (his birthday was 3 days after the show). She got it up onstage and John made sure that Roger got it at the end of the show and the look on Roger’s face was like, “Oh . . . a frog. Of course.” (Back in the 80s he had the nickname of “Froggie.” Where this came from varies depending on who’s telling the story.) But he accepted it graciously and then gave her his drumsticks.

After the show I ran into an old friend who I hadn’t seen in many years (and who I’d parted on less-than-good terms with). But thanks to the miracle of Facebook we’d had a chance to reconcile and I knew that she was coming to the show. We chatted for a few minutes before she had to make the long drive back home. Then Amy, Rachel, Clare and I tiredly trudged our way to the nearest non-expensive restaurant (which happened to be Subway) for a drink & a snack before heading our separate ways.

All in all, it was a surprisingly good GA experience. People weren’t too pushy-shovey around us, and I didn’t have the much-feared claustrophobic panic attack I’d been dreading. And I remembered to be thankful that I was healthy enough to go. Two years ago there’s no way I would’ve been able to stand that long. Life is good.

Here are some of my photos:

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the boots! we were close enough, he could’ve kicked me in the face if he wanted to.

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blurry but cool.

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I couldn’t get too many good pictures of Nick, Simon was always getting in the way, or he was hidden behind the laptop.

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Musicgasm!

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I didn’t get a lot of great pictures of Simon either, he didn’t look our way too often.

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Oh yeah.

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Flying fingers of fury!

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Yes, I have an unhealthy obsession with John’s boots.

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Love this pic of Dom!

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Reaching up for the Sunrise, or something.

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Loving the prayer scarf he’s been wearing.

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Taking a picture of Amy taking a picture. (also note the strapless bra someone flung onto the stage.)

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This was the most I saw of Roger all night, until the end of the show.

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One of my favorites. I sent it to John’s wife (Gela Nash-Taylor of Juicy Couture) on Twitter and she said, “That’s an amazing shot!”, and she asked me what kind of camera I use. I use the camera of love. (Kodak Z812, actually.)

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More photos at Flickr.

Duran Duran at the House of Blues, 4/23/11