Preview: Apollo 11 Celebration Concert with Duran Duran

By on Tuesday, 9th July 2019 at 2:00 pm
 

Header photo of the Rocket Garden from the Kennedy Space Center; NB: TGTF returns for a short time this month for a preview of an upcoming unique event that has personal meaning to me.

Next Tuesday is a major anniversary for American space history and indeed, humanity itself. On July 16, 1969, the Apollo 11 spacecraft launched into outer space from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and the world collectively held its breath.

In the Sixties, the Space Race was a real, wholly palpable, politically-driven contest between America and the then-U.S.S.R. to see whose spaceflight program would reign supreme. Following the Apollo 11 moon landing, the contest was over. The legacy of the Apollo 11 mission went far beyond its literal success. Sending a man to the moon had been seen as an impossibility. Once achieved, it has stood as an example of human ingenuity and an inspiration to all to that amazing things are possible if you never give up.

In 1981, a New Romantic band from Birmingham, England, released their debut single. Like the success of the Apollo 11 mission 12 years earlier that provided direct inspiration, ‘Planet Earth’ by Duran Duran was something special and like nothing that had come before it. Early music from the group was a blend of disaffected synthesizer notes and programmed beats, funky bass lines and drum beats reminscent of disco, and crashing guitar. The poetic lyrics of Simon LeBon brought everything together.

Duran Duran have reached legendary rock band status through their longevity – 40 years in the business and count ‘em, 14 studio albums and a 15th on the way – and yet their fascination with space has never really gone away. They even named their 2004 reunion album ‘Astronaut’. So who better that them to perform a late night (la la la ‘Late Bar’) show to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s launch? To call this is a once in a lifetime event is an understatement. Part of the proceeds of show ticket sales will benefit STEAM education programs of the non-profit Aldrin Family Foundation, supporting children’s education in science.

Duran Duran and NASA have a unique connection in my heart. My father was a physicist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center for most of his working life. As a college graduation present, he agreed to take me to Tokyo to see the ‘Pop Trash’ Duran Duran line-up perform there. What an experience to hear ‘Anyone Out There’, ‘Mars Meets Venus’, and ‘Last Day on Earth’ live and in another country! It was the first time I had been abroad to see a rock show. I haven’t stopped traveling for gigs since.

My late father’s colleagues told me that he had reached somewhat ‘rock star’ status himself there once it was learned he’d taken his daughter to see Duran Duran in a foreign country. After we returned from our trip, he excitedly forwarded me this internal memo reporting that Duran Duran’s ‘Hold Back the Rain’ was used as an encouraging wake-up call to the astronauts on space shuttle Atlantis returning home. I think it’s safe to say there must be more than a few NASA staff who are Duran Duran fans! Although I cannot attend, I hope some of these hard-working people get to attend this unique show under the stars. I know my father will be there. If you’re lucky enough to live close by or to travel for this event, you can attend, too!

Tickets to this special late-night Duran Duran show at the Rocket Garden of the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida, cost US$300.00. Get your tickets from the Kennedy Space Center’s official Web site here; note that the ticket price includes parking but does not include daytime admission to the center.

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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