Seven and the Ragged Tiger Goes Platinum! Do You Remember?

On this date in 1984, Seven and the Ragged Tiger went platinum.

First of all, do you remember when Duran Duran albums used to go platinum?  Better yet – do you remember when ANY of your favorite artists had platinum records? This of course, is not a statement about the band—it’s about the music industry in general.  In other words, it isn’t the quality of the albums that has gone down, it is sales in general. Very few artists have albums that go platinum these days. I’ll take ten minutes in the Billboard Top Ten any day and be happy.

So, I’m going to think back to a happier time in 1984, when I still listened to radio, and Duran Duran was the biggest band in the world. Of course, that is slightly offset by the fact that on this date in 1984, I was a frizzy haired, awkward thirteen year old. I was in eighth grade, I believe (if my math is correct!), and I made a pilgrimage to my local record store nearly every week with my friend Marsha so that we could each buy magazines. She was so cool that she actually subscribed to Billboard, but I had to buy it off the rack when I had extra money. If I remember right, Billboard magazine was pretty expensive, so a lot of times I’d just thumb threw her copy and settle for magazines like Teen Beat or Bop! 

I do remember the week Seven and the Ragged Tiger went platinum though, because we were in her mom’s van, and Marsha thrust her Billboard under my nose, telling me to read about Duran Duran’s platinum record.

It is funny how, in hindsight, I can remember how blasé I was about the entire thing. It didn’t occur to me that platinum records were so hard to get. After all, back then Duran Duran made it look easy.  For instance, Seven and the Ragged Tiger went double platinum. I don’t think I gave a thought that they might ever stop getting platinum records, either. (and for the record, after Seven and the Ragged Tiger – there were only two more (US) platinum records for the band: Notorious, and Duran Duran (The Wedding Album). Talk about taking the band’s career for granted!

In 1984, Duran Duran was everywhere. I couldn’t go to the grocery store or the record store without seeing them on the covers of magazines, or having huge posters of them greeting me. It wasn’t just a treat to hear them on the radio—they were in near constant rotation.  The Sing Blue Silver tour was in high gear, and in just under a month it hit the Los Angeles Forum. (not that I attended, and yes, that fact still stings) Duranmania was in full swing, and I was caught up in the wave, like nearly everyone else. I never gave a single thought to it all ending. I don’t know if I thought it would go on forever, or if I was just so caught up in the moments of adolescence that it never occurred to me that I’d grow up.

Oddly though, I don’t crave the idea of being thirteen again.  Sure, writing the blog gives me a chance to be nostalgic from time to time, but I’d never go back. Would you?

Do you remember Seven and the Ragged Tiger going platinum in 1984?

-R

Testing the Concert Rubric

As a teacher, I know that I can write the best lesson plan on paper.  I can include some great, engaging activities with a solid assessment to measure learning.  Rubrics can look good on paper but fall far short when they are actually used and applied against actual assignments.  Therefore, today’s blog focuses on actually using the Duran Duran concert rubric that was created yesterday.  If you need to know what I’m talking about, read yesterday’s blog post here.

The purpose of the rubric is to determine how great a Duran show was.  Theoretically, it should help pick out the subtle or sometimes, not-so-subtle differences between shows.  Theoretically.  Let’s use it to compare the two most recent shows in the Washington DC area over New Year’s.  I wrote reviews of those shows, which you can read about here and here.  In my opinion, the New Year’s Day was a better show than the New Year’s Eve show.  If I use the rubric, will it match my initial assessment?

New Year’s Eve Show:

Seat Location–I would give that a 4.  We were in the 6th row, center with a clear view of the stage.

Crowd–If you read those reviews, you know how unhappy the crowd made me that night.  There were far too many empty seats and a ton of people sitting in that front center section to give it anything above a 2.

Sound–Generally, the band performed decently but it wasn’t the best sound I ever heard as far as venue acoustics goes.  There were some missed lyrics and they were clearly off in the beginning during Paper Gods.  I would give it a 2.5.

Company–I was definitely with a totally awesome person and loved seeing old friends and meeting new ones.  That said, Rhonda was absent.  I would give that category a 4.

Location–I love Washington DC in terms of ease of getting around and having plenty to do outside of going to the concert.  Yet, I don’t really think of it as a big party city.  Again, I would give that a 4.

Venue–I wrote a lot about the various criticism I had with the MGM National Harbor in general and the theater within.  I won’t get into all of that again here.  I give it a 2.

Setlist–The setlist was basically the same as it has been.  We did not get Sunrise/New Moon on Monday, though.  This equals a 2.5

Interactions–There were some interactions between the band and the audience.  Definitely.  Let’s just say that if I ever hear Simon mentioned twerking again, it will be too soon.  Decent interactions on stage as well.  I would give it a 4.

Energy Level–As I mentioned in my initial review, the band’s energy level seemed down.  I’m not sure if that was due to the sad state of the crowd or what.  I would give it a 2.

Any Extras–Nothing exciting to report on that front.  That said, Nick was back!

Total–27

New Year’s Day Show:

Obviously, there will be some scores that are the same since this show happened as the same venue as the previous show.

Seating Location–Our seats were slightly better for this show.  I would give it a 4.5.

Crowd–As I stated in the original review, the crowd was much better for this show.  I saw far less empty seats and everyone in my area was up and dancing.  I would give it a 4.

Sound–Acoustics from the venue were the same but band seemed right on for this show.  Probably worth a 3.5.

Company–Same as previous show.  Still a 4.

Location–Still a 4.

Venue–I would actually give it a 2.5.  The venue didn’t improve but at least I didn’t have to see the band leave the stage for the Carson Daly countdown like I did on New Year’s Eve.

Setlist–This slightly improved by having Sunrise/New Moon back in the set.  I give it a 3.

Interactions–Interactions between band and audience was still solid as was the interactions on stage.  I score it a 4.

Energy Level–The band had a lot more energy for this show!  John Taylor bounced around a lot, for example!  It was a definite 4.

No extras to report.

Total–33.5

Based on the these shows, the rubric seems to work.  It clearly shows that one show was better than the other.  Have any of you tried the rubric?  Did it work for you?

-A

Question of the Day: Sunday, January 15, 2017

Album Rankings So Far:

  1. Rio
  2. 1st Album/Self-Titled
  3. Seven and the Ragged Tiger
  4. All You Need Is Now
  5. The Wedding Album
  6. Paper Gods
  7. Notorious
  8. Astronaut
  9. Big Thing
  10. Red Carpet Massacre
  11. Liberty
  12. Medazzaland

Which album is your 13TH FAVORITE?

Duran Duran Concert Rubric

Last weekend, I wrote a little blog, which you can read here, but devising a method to determine the quality of Duran Duran concerts.  As a teacher, I create and use rubrics or charts to determine the quality of students’ performances on a task all the time.  I would apply this same skill to Duran Duran concerts to figure out how awesome each one was.  I considered various elements of the concert experience, including sound, people I was with, venue, seating location, band’s energy level, etc.  Beyond that, I would also add points for experiences that go beyond the concert itself.  This list includes meeting band members, getting a drumstick and more.  It would also consider removing points for missing band members.

Today, I created such a rubric.  Typically, I hope to fit a rubric on one side of one piece of paper in order to staple it easily to an assignment.  For this rubric, I could not fit in on one page.  I squeezed it onto two pages.  While I consider this rubric a draft, it feels pretty solid to me.  That said, I welcome feedback.

Before I post the rubric, I want to preface it with what I’m about to say in order to minimize the criticism I expect to receive.  I suspect that many fans reading this blog post or looking at the rubric will say this, “Duran Duran concerts are ALL AWESOME!  They are all perfect and cannot be judged like this!”  While I recognize Duran Duran’s greatness as evidenced by maintaining this daily blog for over six years, I acknowledge that some shows are greater than others.  Everyone can have an off day or an off performance.  Goodness knows that I do.  Some days I’m the best teacher ever.  Others I kinda suck.  It happens.  We are human.  They are human.

Besides, this is just for FUN!  I repeat this is just for FUN!  It is not intended to be taken super seriously.  I’m not criticizing Duran Duran or their performances.  If I thought they sucked, I would stop going.  I feel just the opposite.  In fact, there is no place I would rather be and cannot wait for my upcoming shows in March.  Without further ado, I give you the Duran Duran Concert Rubric!

 

Obviously, there is a lot of writing on this rubric and the conversation to JPEG made the writing tiny.  Therefore, I recommend printing the rubric for use.

What do you think?  Did I miss something?  What needs to be explained better?  Clearer?

-A

Question of the Day: Saturday, January 14, 2017

Album Rankings So Far:

  1. Rio
  2. 1st Album/Self-Titled
  3. Seven and the Ragged Tiger
  4. All You Need Is Now
  5. The Wedding Album
  6. Paper Gods
  7. Notorious
  8. Astronaut
  9. Big Thing
  10. Red Carpet Massacre
  11. Liberty

Which album is your 12TH FAVORITE album?

All Looks So Familiar

Happy Friday everyone!  I know that I have promised you all a rubric, or means of evaluating Duran Duran concerts and I plan on doing that, but I cannot produce that tonight.  As usual, this week kicked my ass and I haven’t had time to finish the rubric yet.  I expect to get it done sometime this weekend.  I wish I had finished, though, as I am sitting here struggling with what to write about.  That’s weird for me.  I normally have ideas upon ideas.  I blame being tired and feeling old.  I’m so old, in fact, that my niece turned 18 yesterday.  18!  How did that happen?!

I think back to January 12, 1999, and how very different my life is now compared to then.  In 1999, after having substitute taught, I anxiously hoped for a full time teaching job.  Funny enough, the day after my niece was born, I received an offer for a semester long teaching position.  I did not hesitate to take it and did not look back.  While I have had moments (sometimes many moments) questioning this career decision, in reality, I have identified as a teacher since then.  Teaching is a huge part of who I am.  In 1999, I was so focused on teaching that I didn’t even think about fandom at all.  In fact, I had no idea what Duran Duran was even doing!  I know, I know.  For shame!

Part of me looks back and is very sorry that I missed out on so much Duran history.  I could have seen shows on the Pop Trash tour.  I could have seen John Taylor solo shows (which I actually regret more!  I am a bad Duranie!).  Another part of me definitely does not believe that I made the wrong decision.  I needed to focus on getting a job, getting settled, really learning how to be a teacher.  While education classes are great, one does not know how to teach until one actually does it.  I learned that quickly in my first semester teaching.  I had to be intensely focused on the job to get decent at it.  It would take years before I felt that I was a competent or good teacher.  Yes, sometimes, one must be laser focused.

This brings me back to Duran Duran.  I suspect that the band was pretty dang focused on writing and making music during the first months of its existence.  I bet they ate, slept, and breathed Duran Duran for years after the band formed and after each member joined.  If they didn’t, I suspect that they wouldn’t have been as successful as they were.  They wouldn’t be as good.  Just look at how many albums and videos (and quality ones at that!) they created in such a short time span.  They were extremely prolific in the early 1980s.  I think it is pretty normal for people to emphasize their career when it is beginning.  The band did.  I did.

As time went by, teaching became second nature to me.  I began to develop skills to think on my feet in a different way than I could as a first year, second year or third year teacher, for example.  Day-to-day tasks got easier.  I got faster as creating curriculum and knew how to deal with students and parents better.  I learned.  I learned a lot.  I bet the same is true for Duran Duran.  Things that probably once took a lot of time and effort to do now potentially comes easily. For example, I wonder how they felt when they had the first interviews.  If you have seen the first known interview, which I have included below, they look awkward, uncertain, nervous.

Compare that interview to the one Simon did this week on an Italian TV show:

http://www.video.mediaset.it/video/music/clip/la-canzone-della-vita_680332.html

Even with the translation over him, you can tell how at ease he seems.  Likewise, John Taylor also seems relaxed in this interview from this week:

As I became an experienced teacher and got more comfortable with my skills, I found myself with more free time and the chance to do other activities, including this blog!  I didn’t need to focus on my career 24/7.  I could and did broaden my interests and activities.  The same seems to be true for the band.  They do not live and breathe Duran like they once did.  As a fan part of me wishes that they would.  They could produce more music or make more videos.  Yet, I do believe that they should be able to have time away from their careers just like I deserve vacations or any of you do.

Funny enough, even during their time away, they are not that far away from their career.  John did an interview for For Bass Players Only.  Simon was performing for that Italian show, which you can see here.  I sort of feel the same way about teaching.  While I love getting away from the job and being able to explore something new, I know that the teacher in me is never that far away.

-A

Question of the Day: Friday, January 13, 2017

Album Rankings So Far:

  1. Rio
  2. Ist Album/Self-Titled
  3. Seven and the Ragged Tiger
  4. All You Need Is Now
  5. The Wedding Album
  6. Paper Gods
  7. Notorious
  8. Astronaut
  9. Big Thing
  10. Red Carpet Massacre

Which album is your 11TH FAVORITE?

Question of the Day: Thursday, January 12, 2017

Album Rankings So Far:

  1. Rio
  2. 1st Album/Self-Titled
  3. Seven and the Ragged Tiger
  4. All You Need Is Now
  5. The Wedding Album
  6. Paper Gods
  7. Notorious
  8. Astronaut
  9. Big Thing

Which album is your 10TH FAVORITE album?

Radio City Music Hall 1994 – Do You Remember?

On this date in 1994, Duran Duran played the first of four shows at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City as part of the Dilate Your Mind tour that began in Japan in December of the previous year.

Interestingly enough, the band had already had dates set to play Radio City Music Hall in October of 1993 during the No Ordinary tour but Simon lost his voice, and several of those shows, including these at Radio City Music Hall, had been postponed.  These shows/tours took place in support of their self-titled album that we fans fondly refer to as The Wedding Album.

After an online search, I found the setlist for this very show, which is always cool to look at 23 years later.

Too Much Information

A View to a Kill

Hungry Like the Wolf

Ordinary World

Skin Trade

White Lines

First Impression

Planet Earth

Come Undone

Love Voodoo

Girls on Film

Notorious

The Reflex

Rio

Save a Prayer

Wild Boys

So, were you there for any of these shows?  Do you remember?

-R

Question of the Day: Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Album Rankings So Far:

  1. Rio
  2. 1st Album/Self-Titled
  3. Seven and the Ragged Tiger
  4. All You Need Is Now
  5. The Wedding Album
  6. Paper Gods
  7. Notorious
  8. Astronaut

Which album is your  9TH FAVORITE album?

An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!