I wasn’t a fan of Duran Duran back in the ’80s. That’s because I was a contrary teenager (is there any other kind?) who wanted to be different, and they were far too popular for my tastes.
In reality, I always enjoyed their music. So, as an adult who’s all grown up and no longer gives a shit what anyone else thinks, I was happy when I found out they’d be playing the Quebec City Summer Festival a few years back. I was going to the festival specifically to see Rammstein perform, but would be there for the better part of a week, which meant the opportunity to see a tonne of bands. Duran Duran got added to the ‘definitely going to see’ list.
One of the things I was most looking forward to was hearing some music I could sing along with. I love to sing. I suck at it. But I love it. I also don’t do very much of it anymore.
There are a couple of reasons why. I listen to a lot of heavy metal these days, which I don’t find particularly sing-alongable, especially the stuff that’s in languages I don’t speak. On top of that, I don’t generally learn songs by osmosis. It requires really listening, many times over, preferably with the lyrics sheet in front of me. That’s something I was willing to put my time into as a kid, but now … not so much.
Duran Duran was so ubiquitous for so long, though, that I still remember the vast majority of their lyrics. I expected to have a few beers to get a good buzz on, sit on the hill at the back of the Plains of Abraham, and belt out a few tunes. It was going to be a night of feel good memories.
What I did not expect was to have one of the most profound musical experiences of my life.
In 1993, Duran Duran released The Wedding Album. This was not too long after my husband and I started dating. He was a huge Duran Duran fan, so I tend to associate this album with our relationship. When we divorced about ten years later, I found myself on my own for the first time in my life. I’d gone from living with my parents to living with my husband, so I didn’t really know how to handle being alone.
As I always do, I turned to music to help me through. Certain songs gained extra significance for me at that time. The main one was Ordinary World. I couldn’t tell you how many times I listened to that song after my ex and I split, but it was a lot. Like, a lot. Multiple times a day for weeks levels of a lot.
So there I was at the festival, sit-dancing on the hill, drinking beer and singing along for all I was worth. Every time another song started, I’d get that thrill of recognition, and I’d grin like an idiot and join my voice with those of the rest of the crowd.
Then the opening riff for Ordinary World played, and I burst into tears. And I don’t mean I got a little weepy, either. This was full-on ugly crying.
It’s not that the song brought back bad memories. It’s that for a short, intense time in my life, it was one of the few things that brought me comfort. And now here I was, hearing it with the cathartic intimacy only a live show can provide. So I felt all the feels. I didn’t see them coming. But I felt them all.
Every. Single. One.