the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Duran Duran at MSG

When we arrived at Madison Square Garden, we discovered that we were sitting behind a mother and her ten year old daughter.   I found this odd.   Sure, I was only fourteen years old when I saw KISS in concert, but I didn’t go with MY PARENT.  I even remember concert-going as a rather risky experience. I recall a fist-fight in the bathroom, and I can still smell the fragrant scent of marijuana in my hair.

Who brings a ten year old girl to a rock concert?

The opening act was a band called Neon Trees.   The ten year old girl was jumping up and down, as if on a trampoline at a church fair.  And then the lead singer, Tyler Glenn, began to sing their hit song, Animal.  Suddenly, she stood silently, mesmerized, mouthing the lyrics.  This was her Elvis, The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen moment.

After the opening act, the mother of the girl offered us their seats.

“You mean you’re leaving?” I asked.

“We just came to hear that one song. My daughter is obsessed with Tyler Glenn.”

“That’s great,” I said, not wanting to admit that I hadn’t even heard of Neon Trees or Tyler Glenn until I walked into the Garden a half hour earlier.

After they left, we talked about how Manhattan parents spoil their kids, willing to pay $200 in tickets so their daughters can hear their favorite song, live in concert.

But hey, what the hell. I bet that little girl will remember this moment for a long long time. Perhaps she will even come back to the Garden in 25 years as a grown woman for the Neon Trees reunion, eager to relive her first concert experience.  There were plenty of women in their late thirties and early forties at this concert, reliving times past, wearing tight jeans and dancing in the aisles, their arms in the air, their asses gyrating, as if drawing imaginary figure eights.  It was pretty sexy.

Duran Duran was fantastic in concert. And I’m not saying that because I got free tickets through #duransocial and promised that I would write this post. The popular UK band was not my favorite band of the 1980’s. They were pop pretty boys. But now that frontman Simon Le Bon, John and Stephen Taylor, and Nick Rhodes are all middle-aged men, their old MTV-driven songs having gained in maturity.  I like them more now than then.

At Tuesday’s concert, they rocked Madison Square Gardnen, and I surprised by how good they sounded, especially Le Bon’s voice.  Duran Duran played a few tracks from their new album, “All You Need is Now,” but was generous in bathing their fans in the warm glow of nostaliga.  They played all their hits that you probably have heard many times in karaoke bars around the world — songs such as Notorious, Hungry Like the Wolf, and The Reflex.

They also played my personal favorite.

What is it about music that creates such a personal connection in the listener? Is it that our heart beat and our blood flows, and this mimics the rhythm and melody? Does music grasp at our memories, holding it down from forgetfulness, like clothes-pinned laundry on a backyard clothesline?

One changing sign of the times was the Twitter hashtag #DD (Duran Duran) displayed on the side of the stage, and the ENCOURAGEMENT of our texting and taking photos during the show.  At one point, John Taylor, who himself is a big user of  Twitter, grabbed the mike and announced that because of us “Duran Duran was trending on Twitter in New York.”

Everything now is social media.  I miss the smell of the marijuana.


  1. amy holiday

    well, that’s nostalgia, isn’t it?

  2. Juli

    Love your descriptions. You made me feel like I was there.

  3. Hannah Joy

    Yup, it seems nothing is real until it has been social mediaed. Have our brains relocated to our navels?

  4. Chrisy

    I didn’t recognize Neon Trees, but when I clicked on the link to “Animal”, I knew the song. It’s on my son’s iPod. Your favorite DD song is one of mine. And I believe music anchors our memories — with something heavier and more permanent than clothespins. I would have missed the smell of weed, too.

  5. daxenvi

    Before, I got crazy with the song “A view to a kill” I always play it over and over again until my mom would scream that she was fed up with that song. I just love Duran Duran.

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