Cherry Lipstick gets ready for the official release of As The Lights Go Down on double vinyl for Record Store Day 2019 with our look back at someone who was actually there... and she's got the notebooks to prove it.
March 11 1984: One month and a day until Duran Duran play their first night of a series of shows at Oakland Arena, 84 miles away from my home in San Juan Bautista. Tickets have just gone on sale, but I do not even try to get one. Why not?
1. I have no idea how one goes about getting a ticket.
2. I probably have no money to pay for said ticket.
3. I only barely have my driver’s license and am overwhelmed by the thought of driving all the way to Oakland. (This was before 101 existed between Morgan Hill and San Jose- I probably hadn’t yet ever driven Monterey Highway, aka “Blood Alley”.)
4. Most importantly, I was the oh-so-important fifth cheerleader in the local community college performance of “Grease.”
I was heartbroken when I realized the events overlapped, even if it did mean I didn’t have to solve for issues 1-3. I had all three Duran Duran albums and played them incessantly. A DD song was almost always my “song of the day” with some attempt at an artistic doodle. My two older brothers had taken me to see Supertramp at the Oakland Arena in late 1980 and it was incredible. I wanted to go back to see my band there.
Unfortunately rehearsals were already well under way. I knew my role wasn’t particularly important, but my family had been involved in plays at Gavilan for about a decade by then and I knew one did not simply take the night off. I had already done many shows there, despite not yet being a college student. I even had the lead a few years back in “Wicked Enchantment’ but I was still intimidated by Marilyn, the director. Calling her by her first name seemed far too forward and no one called her Ms. Abad, so I settled for “excuse me”. No way I could tell her I was going to drop out so I could go to see Duran Duran.
Then the surprise - Peggy, my brother’s girlfriend, bought me a ticket! OOOOOOOOO! Mind blown. I had a ticket. To Duran Duran. I had a ticket, I had a ride. All the issues were taken care of! Except that one, small minor detail of the “Grease” Performance. It’s is something, isn’t it, the ability one will find when one needs to. Obviously this was no lifting the car to save a life, but somehow I summoned up the courage to approach Marilyn. “Uh, excuse me… “ Maybe she knew how important this was to me. Maybe it was that it was the Thursday show and not a weekend performance. Maybe it was because she was barely aware that I was even onstage. Whatever the reason, I was given permission. Hallelujah! I was going to Duran Duran. I was going to Duran Duran. Duran Duran. It’s been over thirty years and I still don’t know if it’s sunk in.
April 12 1984. I know I got there earlyish and stood in line much of the day. I remember all the girls screaming every time a vehicle drove by. Even then I felt vaguely annoyingly superior, realizing the futility of screaming at a car driving by, as if they would stop or and say hello, or even recognize one of us later to pull up on stage a la Courtney Cox in the yet-to-be-released Dancing In The Dark video. The line for the t-shirts was long. I still have mine. I don’t remember why I choose the one I did. Was it the only option in my size? Did Carroll and Peggy pick it out? Did I feel I needed the album cover version?
After that.. I don’t know. I really don’t remember much. I think my seats were decent, but not great. Off house left, JT side, up? Should I confess that I have never watched Sing Blue Silver? Probably not. I’ve seen it only in bits and clips until last August after marking much of Duran Duran Appreciation Day on a street corner in Seattle. I was surprised, watching the concert clips, how much did seem familiar. For a few moments I was transported back to that evening in April in Oakland, feeling that pit of excitement in my stomach, smelling the hairspray and sweat. I know I stood and danced and sang along. I know I left wanting to see them again and again and again. Yes. That did happen. Worth it. Always. Everytime.
Images from Baranduin's 1984 journal!
Photo from Las Vegas 2019, by Baranduin, during the playing of Seventh Stranger
More writing from Baranduin at Cherry Lipstick:
A favourite live song
Why I am a genius photographer
And even more from Baranduin on Twitter