Brothers and Sisters We Can Take It

Lyric Saturday has brought an interesting lyric to respond to.  Actually, I picked the song last night when I was sitting in my local Barnes and Noble, offering free gift wrapping along with my school’s Gender Equity, a student club that I advise.  I asked one of the students to take a look at the lyrics and pick something that grabbed her.  Her choice:  “Brothers and sisters we can take it.”  Hmmm…

The first thought that popped in my mind when I read the lyrics was work.  Perhaps, that was the first thought because I felt like I was still at work since I was surrounded by teenagers.  Still, the lyrics could definitely represent teaching.  At work, I’m surrounded by staff members who work hard everyday and take whatever is thrown at us, whether that is criticism by the public or parents or new state mandates or kids demonstrating less than respectful behavior.  We take it all.  Plus, the “brothers and sisters” part reminds me of our teaching union as union members refer to each other as brothers and sisters.  That said, the lyric could also relate to politics.

Politics is not for the weak.  Political candidates must know that they will face extreme criticism, negative attacks and more.  Likewise, political campaigns, as representing and working for a candidate, have to deal with the same negativity.  Heck, at this point in time in the U.S., I don’t think that people have to be part of a political campaign to feel attacked on the political front.  As much as it sucks, I think that a lot of us have to have that attitude that we can take it and will keep standing and fighting.  What helps many to project that strength is due to the unity they feel with others and knowing that they are not alone in the fight.

Yet, beyond all that, the lyric could definitely also relate to Duran Duran and their fans.  How so?  Well, from what I have heard the song has to do with trying to get an album/single to make the charts. If that is, indeed, the case Duran Duran and everyone on their team has to be prepared to take whatever is thrown at them, including those bad reviews and criticism from so-called music journalists and critics.  Certainly, Duran Duran has had a ton of criticism throughout their career.  How many reviews have I personally read calling the band names or dismissing their music or making fun of this, that or the other?  I’m afraid the answer to that is more than I can count.

Beyond the band, the fans have certainly faced our own judgment for being Duran Duran fans.  As a kid, I remember spending hours defending the band.  I have vivid memories of explaining to kids at school how cool they were because of their videos, the fact that they wrote and recorded their own music and more.  Strangely enough, as an adult, I have had similar conversations with friends and family members who want to dismiss the band due to the use of keyboards or the fact that they wore make-up or whatever.  Then, of course, some of this disapproval carries over to how I express my fandom now.

For many people, it is bad enough to be a fan of Duran Duran, but to blog about being a fan?  Wow.  That often equals true insanity, especially when people find that out that Rhonda and I blog each and every day.  It is almost funny to watch people’s minds get blown when they realize that I also travel to go see shows.  Too many people cannot wrap their heads around the level of dedication that I have to this little fandom of ours.  Again, though, like with teaching or being politically active, I believe that having other fans on the same side as me fortifies me to be able to take whatever negativity is thrown my way.  Perhaps, Duran Duran experiences the same thing with having an army of fans behind them.

-A

Year End Kafe with Simon

My Lyric Day Friday has been postponed!  Why?  Someone was a trouble maker.  Who?  Of course, it is Simon as his year end Katy Kafe has been released!  I’m kidding…at least about blaming him.  I’m glad that the year end kafes have started.  I look forward to all the Kafes, including the year end ones and I’m thrilled that I get to blog about one, at least.  As always, this little blog post simply captures some of the Kafe, but it is in no way, shape or form a complete review.  If you want to hear it all, go to DuranDuranMusic and listen for yourself.  If you are not a member, go and get yourself a membership.  Treat yourself.

Holiday Prep:

Simon discussed the upcoming holidays a little bit, including his three Christmas trees, how they are decorated and what drinks put him in the holiday frame-of-mind.  He mentioned two drinks, in particular:  mulled wine (basically heated wine with spices) and sloe gin.  After Simon described how to create mulled wine, Katy declared that he would win at Survivor.  There was no immediate agreement, but Simon did explain how to remove red wine strains from white carpet and how to get water in the desert.  Well then…

2017 In Review:

For the rest of the Kafe, Simon provided answers to his 2017 highlights, favorites, etc.

Event:  The big event for Simon?  He mentioned Duran playing Lollalapooza in Buenos Aires along with Middle East politics, the engagement of Prince Harry, and Donald Trump.  In reality, though, the big event was the passing of his mother, which made 2017 really tough.

Movie:  He liked the new Blade Runner (visually impressive) but wished he had seen Dunkirk.  On the other hand, he saw Nocturnal Animals but wished he hadn’t since it was so depressing (but good).  Personally, I haven’t seen any of them, but should probably see Dunkirk since I teach about that not-so-little war.

Book:  The book Simon mentioned was The Essex Serpent.  He even mentioned doing a Simon’s Reader on it.  I had not heard of it so I looked it up.  Here’s the description on Amazon.com about it from the New York Times:  “A novel of almost insolent ambition–lush and fantastical, a wild Eden behind a garden gate…it’s part ghost story and part natural history lesson, part romance and part feminist parable. I found it so transporting that 48 hours after completing it, I was still resentful to be back home.”  It sounds fascinating.

TV Show:  His favorite from this year was Peaky Blinders, which apparently takes place in Birmingham.  Beyond that, he did enjoy Game of Thrones.  Katy and Simon mentioned the use of Duran in the second season of Stranger Things, too.

Music:  As far as music goes, Simon mentioned Leon Bridges (good) and Depeche Mode (okay).  There was some discussion about genres, including hip hop, pop, and folk.

Personal Highlight:  In this section, Simon focused mostly on Duran, discussing how much he loved the tour, including Hawaii, Japan and South America.  In fact he said, “All the really good things in my life have been on tour.”  He also stated that he might have good news next year, which really makes me wonder!

Next Year:  Simon is looking forward to starting on the next project and the beginning of the anniversary.  I think it goes without saying that he is not the only one!

Overall, Simon’s year end Katy Kafe was entertaining as heck.  I didn’t learn a ton of new Duran news, but I laughed a lot and found myself smiling throughout.

-A

Chicago Theatre in 2007, were you there?

On this date in 2007, Duran Duran performed at the Chicago Theatre. This was one date included in their Red Carpet Massacre tour, and I’m pretty sure my partner-in-crime was there!

The Chicago Theatre is a gorgeous venue in the heart of downtown Chicago. I have my own memories of seeing the band there for the All You Need is Now tour, a few years later.

Thanks to setlist.fm – here’s what they played!

The Valley

Red Carpet Massacre

Nite Runner

Notorious

Planet Earth

Falling Down

Skin Divers

Tempted

Rio

Ordinary World

The Reflex

A View to a Kill

Sunrise

The Wild Boys

 

So, were you there?

-R

Atlantic City – 2008: Prides gone out the window

On this date in 2008, I was in Atlantic City, New Jersey. It was my very first (and only) time there. In fact, I’d never really spent a lot of time in New Jersey, even though my father was born and raised there in a tiny town called Franklin. I’d been in New Jersey just once prior, for only a couple of hours – long enough to drive by the home where my dad was born, as well as the gravesite of my grandparents. For me, going to Atlantic City was exciting. I don’t even think I’d ever looked at photos from there, so I had no expectations. I kept picturing in my head the glitz, over-the-top glam, tripping the light fantastic of Las Vegas, with an ocean in the background.

Without being rude to those who love Atlantic City, it was very different from the picture I had in my head.

First of all, to be fair, we got to the hotel just hours before the show, and it was daylight. I suppose that yes, there were lights, but it was nothing like Las Vegas. I can’t really describe what was so different, maybe it’s just a little more down to earth? Seedy, even? I’m not really sure. In full disclosure, once you depart from the actual “Strip” in Vegas, there is plenty of seediness to be found. Turn down the wrong street, and you are liable to see plenty of after-effects from a little too much “sin” in the city! For that matter, look a little too closely at the Strip itself, and you’ll see plenty more than you may have bargained for. But somehow, that day in Atlantic City was bright enough to where I didn’t have to look to hard to find the grit. It was December, unseasonably warm (I am not kidding about that – it was warmer on that day in New Jersey than it was in many parts of Southern California!), and yet the crowds had gone away for the winter. I can remember eating lunch somewhere with Amanda and the restaurant was eerily quiet.

Even though we were short on time, I was excited about being there. We had a weekend membership and reservations to eat in the restaurant up in the Foundation Room – which was a splurge at the time. And of course, the reason for our visit? To see Duran Duran.

2008 was one of the toughest years of my life. Not only was I pregnant for part of the year (it was the roughest of my three, naturally), I gave birth three weeks early, which set off a string of events and mishaps that I still take medication to circumvent even today, and my dad died two weeks after my youngest was born. I suppose we could say the year was bittersweet, because I want to be fair to my youngest, but when I think back – I mostly remember the year as being horrific. My little one was the brightest spot. (and continues to be that way even though she drives me crazy sometimes!) So the trip I took to see shows in the east that year was welcome, even though I wasn’t a huge fan of the album they were touring.  That’s probably putting it lightly.  I remember that tour as the one where I was the most cynical, and very unfair to the band. I’d also had one hell of a horrible year.

When I share that I stood off to the side for the show at the House of Blues in Atlantic City, and that during the show I actually left the crowd to sit on a couch area in the back of the venue because I felt sick, and that I barely remember anything about being there other than John Taylor correcting me on the clapping rhythm for Red Carpet Massacre, I suppose that says something about me at the time. My head just wasn’t in the game. Or the show.  I don’t even remember much about the after party, other than Roger Taylor DJing while I danced on the small dance floor up in the Foundation Room. I didn’t even know until much later that the rest of the band was there as well, sitting behind some sort of roped off area. Where was Dom, you ask? (just pretend you’re asking!) I honestly don’t know. I don’t even have a clear memory of noticing him onstage at the House of Blues. THAT was how out of it I was at the time, and I think the entire year was like that for me. I think back on how much of a zombie I must have been, and its a miracle that my friends still speak to me.

I was only in Atlantic City for less than 24 hours, because we left early the next morning to make our way to Montclair for the final show on the tour.  I hope to make it back someday, maybe in the summer, so I can see the full-effect.

Oddly, that road trip in 2008 is also the time when Amanda and I decided to embark on the book writing process. I don’t know what that says…but it says something.

Whenever these days come around on my calendar, I think back on 2008. I am a lot different of a person now than I was then. I hate equating that year with so much unhappiness, but it is difficult because the grief was so overwhelming. I was so harsh, angry and judgmental as a fan, and even as a person – I don’t think I realized how much the grief affected me. Yet, I bonded much more closely with my youngest. It was the one thing keeping me afloat, I think.

As I sit here I’m also thinking that it was the first holiday season without my dad, too…and yes, I know that Simon is going through similar this year. I think about that a lot because I know that pain all too well. It is the club nobody wants to join, and I wouldn’t want it for anyone else. In some ways, I think it’s great that Simon is getting out there for shows during this season, because he probably needs to feel that love and affection we have for him. I get that and believe me, when I was really feeling that pain, I wished I’d reached out for more help. Hindsight is 20/20, I suppose.  In other ways,  I just feel for him, period. There’s absolutely no hiding from the reality and finality. I wish there were.

I always wondered if I was weird, that having so much grief was unusual, probably because when my dad’s parents (my grandparents) died, I don’t remember my dad saying much. I mean, he was sad at first, but after the funerals, he just stopped talking about them. He’d mention them occasionally, but I don’t remember him being sad. Maybe more with my grandma than my grandfather, but I was so young then (I was about nine).  I assumed that once you’re grown, you just come to expect that your parens will die someday and that’s OK. As my friends have also had parents pass on, including Simon, seeing how he reacted to his grief, along with my friends, made me see that it’s OK. I’m not so different to miss him, and I still do. Even nine years on.

As you can read, I can’t really separate the tour of 2008 from what was going on in my own life. I think that’s probably normal for most of us. The tours and things are sort of like the points of interest along the way in our lives. This blog post turned out to be something a lot different from the “short post” I had planned to write, so thanks for sticking with it until the end!

Were you at the Atlantic City show in 2008? Let me know!

-R

Play the F*cking Bass, John!

Play The Fcking Bass, John…Play The Fcking Bass, John…Play The F*cking Bass, John….

I think most everyone has heard that familiar chant as Simon goes through the intros to the band during Girls on Film, but where did it first start?  Have we always done it?

Strangely, I really thought this was something that had been around forever, or at least for as long as I can remember.  It has become so iconic that I don’t think I ever considered when it might have started. I just assumed it had always been a part of the show. Turns out that no, we haven’t always been chanting that at John. On this date in 2003, Duran Duran played the Enmore Theatre in Sydney, Australia…and THIS was the first time the audience ever exuberantly cheered those words.  Thank you, Australia.

So the next time you’re at a show and Simon starts in with “Play The Fcking Bass, John…Play The Fcking Bass, John…Play The F*cking Bass, John….” cheer along and just think, some of the best traditions we have as fans got started fairly recently. Fourteen years and counting.

You never know when or where the next tradition may begin!

-R

Miami and that set list: Maybe it’s time to stop worrying about it?

True confession: I didn’t hear the show from Miami on Saturday night. I was thrilled it was being streamed, but what I forgot in my excitement was that I had somewhere else I had to be – my daughter’s dance show. I probably could have snuck in the first portion of it before we needed to leave, but there just wasn’t time for me to sit, so I missed out. It happens.  I would have loved to hear Lori Majewski and Richard Blade’s pre-show happenings, but it was not to be. I know they did great, though!

I did, however, check in periodically to see what anyone was saying on Twitter. There were a few fans in the audience that sent us pictures and told us it blew their minds – that’s always good to read! Honestly, from the size of the place I would have lost my mind to be included in that audience. I would have needed oxygen, for sure!

One of the things I saw most was that the set list was pretty much the same as shows toward the very end of the Paper Gods tour. Maybe I’m just in a groove, but I’m surprised anyone expected it to change, really. These are just one-off shows here and there, and the idea of the band getting together to hammer out an entirely new set list (with new songs, not just switching the order up) seems lofty at this point. I know what many will say, because I’ve said the words myself, “Other bands do it.”  Yes, they do. But those bands aren’t THIS band.

I tweeted about this yesterday. I’m tired of complaining about the set list, so I’m just not going to anymore. I’m not chiding anyone else for having opinions about it, though – we’re all different. For me, it just got to a point where I needed to make a choice: either keep going to the shows for the pure joy of being there regardless of how many times I’ve heard their hits, or stop going, and shut up. Not everyone is going to agree with my point of view here, and that’s fine. I have seen some people say that they’re not going to any more shows until they switch up the set. I get that. There’s no “wrong” answer.  I know I’m a lot happier these days, and for me that’s all that matters.  I didn’t want any of this to stop being fun, ever.  I get a lot of joy out of seeing Duran Duran. I feel like I have made good friends, and I can’t really think of people I’d rather spend time with for at least part of my New Year celebration. To me, it’s a win the whole way around.

Just a reminder – we are having a meet up the night before the show (12/29) at Hard Rock Live at the Hard Rock Cafe on the Strip!  If you can make it, please join us! Also, if you are interested in being on the guest list for comped tickets to see the comedy show that will take place at Hard Rock Live at 8pm before our Late Bar party starts – let us know at dailyduranie@gmail.com and we’ll add you!

 

-R