Anaheim House Of Blues in 2001 – were you there?

Today marks a kind of special day for me in Duran history. I almost forgot it…but thanks to the spreadsheet that Amanda has painstakingly amassed, I was properly reminded.

On this date in 2001, Duran Duran played at the Anaheim House of Blues. Just a normal date, on a normal day, right? Yes, except that at  this show, my fandom was reawakened.

In 2001, I was a young mom of two very little kids. My son Gavin was barely two, and Heather was four. At the time, Duran Duran was about the furthest thing from my mind. My days were spent doing laundry, trying to make sure my kids didn’t kill one another (you think I’m joking, but I assure you I am not).

At the time, Walt and I had annual passes to Disneyland and California Adventure, and we spent many a weekend taking the kids to the parks. On one of those weekends, we were strolling through Downtown Disney, and Walt happened to notice that the marquee for the House of Blues announced an upcoming show for Duran Duran. He asked if I wanted to go and I laughed. That’s right, I laughed. I hadn’t really listened to Duran Duran in years. I still had all of their albums, and fond memories, but I was in the throes of Mommyhood. I didn’t love Medazzaland, and admittedly, I hadn’t even bought Pop Trash.  Walt looked at me pretty insistently, saying I needed a night out (which meant getting a sitter, and that seemed like so much work!), so I told him to go ahead and get them. I really wasn’t excited, but I figured I might as well go.

Yes, telling this story makes me laugh…and kind of embarrasses me at the same time. It was like I was a completely different person back then!

I really was.

The night of the show arrived, and we got to Downtown Disney early enough to grab dinner. That’s right, I didn’t insist on getting there at 5am to grab a good spot. We walked by the line of people waiting to get in — it wasn’t very long — and Walt asked if I wanted to go wait. I said “No way, I want to eat dinner! I don’t need to be up front!!”

Insanity, I tell you.

We got dinner, went in about twenty minutes before the show started, and I decided I didn’t want to stand on the floor. I ended up being by the stairs in the back. Plenty close enough for me, because I wasn’t a huge fan. I’d given that up years before, right? Before long the show started and Simon, Nick and Warren took the stage.  I remember thinking to myself how, after all these years, I was finally in what I could consider to be the same room with Simon and Nick. Not the same arena, but the same breathing space. I was only a matter of feet from them. Yeah, Warren was there too, but I convinced myself that if I just ignored that part of the stage, it wouldn’t matter. (Sorry Warren fans. I was reliving the Fab Five as a Fab Twosome) John and Roger’s absence were noted, and I wondered wistfully what it would have been like with them there, but I didn’t dwell on those thoughts. I just lived and breathed the music that night.

I don’t remember much after that. I screamed, nearly cried and lost my mind.  Something happened during that show. Something deep, meaningful and visceral.  I remembered who I was before children, before getting married, before becoming whatever I was right then. I was reintroduced to the girl I once knew, and I really liked her.

That show was pivotal for me in so many ways. I can’t really talk about some of the things I’ve felt since then, or how that single show really woke me back up. I’m just thankful and filled with gratitude that I went. My life went from being pretty grey to complete Technicolor after that night. My husband didn’t realize what he’d done by insisting that I go with him to that show until it was far too late. I would imagine if he could, he’d go back and change that plan, in a lot of ways. On the other hand, that show saved me. I can’t even explain how or why—even for me, some things are just too private to blog about—but that show saved me.

I have a long, long way to go. But, I’ve reclaimed much along the way. I suppose in some way, I’m trusting the process (and what a process it is!). I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I am lucky. Yeah, I tease and joke about the band, and they drive me crazy at times—but I’m lucky I have this fandom.

I don’t know how many people think they grow out of something like this fandom, only to be reintroduced much later and jump back in with both feet. I did, and I’m not leaving. The Anaheim House of Blues on March 28, 2001 was a special night, I hope to never forget it.

-R

Question of the Day: Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Yesterday’s winner (by one vote):  Lonely in Your Nightmare

Which song do you like better:  (Come Up and See Me) Make Me Smile or Michael You’ve Got a Lot to Answer For?

Don’t fake it when it comes to making money

One comment I’ve heard over and over about the band is that they probably laugh all the way to the bank. Yeah, some of us feel as though the shows are of good value at $300-400 (and sometimes more) for those great VIP seats, but I see plenty of comments otherwise, too.  Even I’ve had my “OK seriously guys, how much more cash do you need??” moments.

It’s hard. I love Duran Duran. YOU love Duran Duran. We want shows. We want to have great seats. We also need to eat, pay bills, send children to college, drive cars, and so on. While I know that there are plenty of other acts out there wanting $400 just to get in the door to the venue, much less sit near the front, I also know that it’s painful to buy more than a show at a time to see Duran Duran unless I don’t care where I sit.

Let me be clear: I CARE.  I care too much, as my husband might say.

It’s easy to throw an “off the cuff” comment out on Twitter or Facebook about how we’re paying for their retirement, or that we’ve paid for their kids’ boarding school. Naturally, most of those comments are made in jest. For instance, I realize it takes more than my dollars to buy a Picasso or an Aston Martin.  I often wondered what kind of mansions they all must own or the lives they must lead when they’re not on stage. Even as an adult, I didn’t start really considering their costs to actually operate until around the All You Need is Now tour.

It can’t be cheap.  Think about all of the people they’ve had work with the band. Those people don’t work for free. Timbaland, Mark Ronson, even Nile….all of them are in or have been in demand over the years. Collaborations, even with Janelle Monae or Lindsey Lohan, couldn’t have been for free. All of that studio time, the mixing, the engineering, mastering, etc… it all costs.

Then there’s the touring. Ah yes, the touring. When I was in England, I was surprised by how austere the touring was there compared to here. Many times, the band could (and did) travel from their home to where ever they were going to be. Here in the states, they use a private jet. That isn’t cheap at all even if the band gets a good deal. Here, they stay in pretty nice hotels, even if they put the crew up somewhere less expensive. Speaking of the crew – they pay all of those people, right? Everyone from the guy who has to take care of all that cabling (my worst freaking nightmare!) to the techs and beyond gets paid. Lighting, sound, audio/visual, and everyone in between get a pay check.  There’s also Dom, Anna, Erin and Simon W. to consider…. I’m fairly certain none of them donate their appearances for free!

Those things I’ve mentioned are merely a drop in the bucket. The minutia of touring, right down to the copying and printing that needs to be done, all takes money. Every last paper clip, button to be sewn, guitar string and costume, all takes money.

So, when I see that last year’s Paper Gods tour (2016 in case you’re unsure) grossed 16.1 million here in the states .I’m surprised, for a few reasons, actually.

First of all, according to Pollstar, who compiled a list of last year’s 200 top grossing tours (Duran Duran ranks at 74), the average ticket price to a DD show was $68. I don’t know about the rest of you, but my average ticket price was “slightly higher”…like about $300 a show, give or take.  As I said earlier on Twitter, the average ticket price for someone who doesn’t know much more than Rio and Hungry Like the Wolf was probably $68. For a die-hard fan? $300 if you want near the front.  I alternatively laugh and then cry…

Secondly, the band played 44 shows in 40 cities. That’s a lot. They grossed (that means before their costs), on average about $400,000 a show.  Not as much as I might have thought, really. (The band should not see this as an invitation to raise prices!) When you consider that figure is before anything else is paid – it becomes clear that no, this band isn’t really laughing all the way to the bank after all.

While I still feel fleeced from time to time – in a kind of a “Hey, congratulations Big Fan – you love us so much that you’re going to pay way more than others on average to sit near us” sort of way, it’s kind of the way things go. Demand. Demand, demand, demand. We want them, we’re going to pay for them. Welcome to Economics 101.  I can’t blame them for making a living, particularly when I do the math myself and realize they’re not making as much off of these shows as we might think. 16.2 million before paying all of the bills for things we know, and then the stuff we don’t even realize might not leave a lot….and I am sure they had to share some of that with Chic, too!! Sure, they’re making money. It’s their job in the same way that wrangling children and making copies is mine. I just happen to enjoy the fruits of labor an awful lot!

-R

 

Question of the Day: Monday, March 27, 2017

Yesterday’s winner:  I Take the Dice

Which song do you like better:  Is There Something I Should Know or Lonely in Your Nightmare?

Ultimate Box Set Result: Part 3

Fans have been voting for a few weeks on the album tracks they think should be considered in an Ultimate Duran Duran Box Set.  The first part consisted of the first three albums (1st album/Self-titled, Rio and Seven and the Ragged Tiger).  The next one included Notorious, Big Thing and Liberty.  This one focused on the albums before the reunion, including The Wedding Album, Thank You, Medazzaland and Pop Trash.

After asking questions of fellow fans for years about Duran’s music, I feel like I have a good grasp on what the fans like and don’t like when it comes to Duran’s music.  Generally, fans ignore the albums of Thank You, Medazzaland and Pop Trash, with some exceptions, of course.  Therefore, I didn’t have a clue as to which songs would be chosen from these four albums.  I thought that most of the songs might be from The Wedding Album, considering that it is more of a favorite than the rest.  Nonetheless, the results showed otherwise and provided me much fascination.

Top Songs from The Wedding Album, Thank You, Medazzaland and Pop Trash:

  1. Love Voodoo
  2. None of the Above
  3. Big Bang Generation
  4. Pop Trash Movie
  5. Playing with Uranium
  6. Breath After Breath
  7. Sin of the City
  8. Watching the Detectives
  9. Mars Meets Venus

Analysis:

The first thing you might notice is that there are 9 songs as opposed to 7.  There were ties.  I am actually surprised that this hasn’t happened before.  Anyway, you also might notice that all 4 albums are represented in that list.  What caught my attention, though, was that song off of Thank You that was chosen was Watching the Detectives.  It wasn’t White Lines that they regularly play live or Perfect Day that Lou Reed claimed the band did a better job on the song than he did.  The other thing I noticed is that a lot of these songs had more of a mid-tempo rather than being  ballads or songs to rock out, too.

If you look at the complete results, you notice that almost all songs were chosen, at least once, with two exceptions.  Both Fragment and Kiss Goodbye were left voteless.  This is probably because they are short, little instrumentals.  That said, there were a number of songs that were only chosen once, including Shotgun, 911 Is a Joke, Success, and Silva Halo.

Status of Box Set:

So far, the fans have chosen the 7 singles that we recommend including on a box set.  Those are:

  1. Planet Earth
  2. Save a Prayer
  3. Ordinary World
  4. Girls on Film
  5. Pressure Off
  6. Rio
  7. New Moon on Monday

The album tracks that are in the running to be chosen are:

  • Friends of Mine
  • New Religion
  • The Chauffeur
  • The Seventh Stranger
  • Hold Back the Rain
  • Lonely in Your Nightmare
  • Anyone Out There
  • My Antarctica
  • American Science
  • A Matter of Feeling
  • Hold Me
  • The Edge of America
  • Palomino
  • Vertigo
  • Love Voodoo
  • None of the Above
  • Big Bang Generation
  • Pop Trash Movie
  • Playing with Uranium
  • Breath After Breath
  • Sin of the City
  • Watching the Detectives
  • Mars Meets Venus

This week, we finish picking the possible album tracks by asking people to pick 7 album tracks off of the four albums post reunion.  We would love, love, love for you to participate, if you haven’t yet.  Simply go here and vote for 7 songs that you think should be considered for a box set.  Next week, then, we will take the final vote on album tracks before we move on the rest of the box set (b-sides/demos, live tracks, side/solo project songs).

-A

Question of the Day: Sunday, March 26, 2017

Yesterday’s winner:  I Don’t Want Your Love

Which song do you like better:  I Take the Dice or I Wanna Take You Higher?

Question of the Day: Saturday, March 25, 2017

Yesterday’s winner:  Friends of Mine

Which song do you like better:  Hold Me or I Don’t Want Your Love?

Lost Souls Diamonds and Gold

One of my favorite scenes in Duran’s Sing Blue Silver documentary is when John Taylor is woken up to do an interview.  During that interview, he comments about how the tour (he is referring to the 1984 one) was “never an assured tour”.  I always took this to mean that the band didn’t really know how the tour was going to go.  Would the fans show up?  How would they react?  No matter how many times I see that scene, I find myself shaking my head.  How could they not know?  Of course, the fans would show up and love it!  Duh!

Yet, this past weekend, that quote floated through my brain quite often.  After all, I, too, felt that way before this past little mini-tour of ours at Agua Caliente.  I didn’t know how it was going to go, which was weird and felt very odd.  In the days leading up to going, I found myself struggling to get excited in the same way that I normally do.  Yes, I looked forward to it but it wasn’t the usual jumping out of my skin in excitement.  Was I losing my Duranie touch?  Looking back, I think it had more to do with me.

Life hasn’t felt very friendly lately.  I lost a lot of motivation for many things and to be honest, my friendship with Rhonda felt strained.  I couldn’t pinpoint anything specific but we were distant from each other due to lack of time, lack of effort, and lack of understanding.  I knew this going into the tour.  In fact, I told some people that I fully expected this to be my last one  This wouldn’t be because I wouldn’t have fun or because my love for Duran would end.  I just thought that maybe it had run its course or it would seem like too much effort.

As the weekend began, I told myself to have no expectations other than having fun.  The weekend didn’t have to be perfect (whatever that even means) to be great, I figured.  If you read or watched our blogs last weekend and beyond, you are well aware that the weekend definitely exceeded my expectations.  The shows were so much fun.  While, yes, I grumbled and complained about the lack of Planet Earth, I didn’t let that tick me off (too much).  I figured that it gave me permission to give them a hard time back, right???  I sang.  I danced.  I screamed.  It was glorious.  Yes, I wished that we had at least 18 songs and, yes, I wish that Sunrise or Careless Memories or Planet Earth was on the setlist.  Instead of complaining or wishing for something else, I appreciated the heck out of Only in Dreams and Is There Something I Should Know?.

Then, there was everything surrounding the shows.  I loved having drinks with friends, seeing people I only see at Duran functions and being reminded that everyone connected to Duran makes a community, a family of sorts.  I got to know people better and I got to meet people for the first time.  And, yes, I was reminded of why Rhonda and I tour so well together as we were the last ones standing on both nights.  Perhaps, there is also a lot less vodka in the resort after we had been there (along with our fellow vodka drinking friends!).

Of course, Rhonda and I had a chance to talk as well, which was much appreciated and needed.  I feel confident that the conversation reminded us both to be supportive of each other even if we don’t always understand the other’s choices.  Since then, things have felt very normal, which is so nice.  So much has not felt normal for me for a long time.  I have been focusing on fighting to keep the normal as I feared that many changes, significant and negative ones, would be coming down the pike.  While I don’t regret that and embrace that part of myself that must fight back, I must also remember what is part of my normal, what I am working to keep.  My normal means that Duran Duran and fandom plays a significant part.  It includes touring when and where I can.  Having fun is necessary to keep going during the less than fun times.

The weekend, the mini-tour, reminded me that I can wear more than one hat at a time.  In fact, it is required.  I remembered how much fun touring is and why my friendship with Rhonda matters as much as it does.  It gave me motivation to keep working on a dream, in one way, shape or form.  I don’t know that I can say that the weekend was perfect or the best tour, but it really was damn good.  Even better, it didn’t even end before I started to plan for the next one.  That is the ideal way to be, isn’t it?  Lost souls diamonds and gold, indeed.

-A

Question of the Day: Friday, March 24, 2017

Yesterday’s winner:  (I’m Looking for) Cracks in the Pavement

Which song do you like better:  Do You Believe in Shame or Friends of Mine?

San Francisco, here we come!

This week has FLOWN by.  I don’t know where Monday and Tuesday really went, but it’s already Thursday.  I said goodbye to friends on Saturday night and Sunday, came home and by Tuesday afternoon had tickets for summer.

The planning happened in the blink of an eye, particularly since I hemmed and hawed about going most of the drive home from Palm Springs. I said I wouldn’t do more shows this year. Somehow, all of that flew out the window somewhere between Riverside and Rancho Santa Margarita, where I live. (Yes, I live in a town with an alcoholic drink in the name. I KNOW.)

We agreed that due to my current working situation – buying tickets is impossible. Working at a school is great until you need to be online to buy something. The wi-fi is sketchy, and many websites are blocked, which makes the presale process difficult. I absolutely adore the kids I work with, until I want to eat lunch or get a phone call. That’s when every child in the school wants to come and visit Miss Rhonda in the office for a band-aid or needs a hug. So Amanda stepped up to take the hit for both of us.

Now, I have to tell you that I didn’t even look at my watch that morning until probably 10:25 or so – well after tickets went on sale. I wondered how Amanda had fared, because normally she texts me. I figured that she knew I wouldn’t be able to answer her and would call later, but something told me I should just check. So I texted her:

Did you survive or did Ticketmaster finally do you in?!?

I was in the middle of recess, which I describe as managing chaos. I simply have to keep my eyes on 120 students. Sounds easy, right? Sometimes it is. Most days, it is not.  So, it wasn’t until about fifteen minutes later that I checked my phone and saw that Amanda had replied.

I am fighting Ticketmaster.

Oh nooooooooo

She explains that she had trouble with Live Nation – the site (while on her laptop) thought she was a bot. I’m sorry I’m not sharing all of those texts, but they are sprinkled with vulgarity and threats of all kinds (although we didn’t say much about the band, so that’s a plus!!). So then she tried on her phone, and amazingly enough, that worked. But Ticketmaster was another story for a variety of reasons I don’t even want to get into. She tried the online customer service chat, then she tried calling – I can’t even tell that story the way Amanda does, but basically it took her thirteen minutes to even get to a real person, and when she finally did get through, it sounded (to me) as though the person couldn’t hear her and HUNG UP. 

As I read her texts, I couldn’t help but take turns laughing, (I am pretty sure Amanda wasn’t laughing but damn!) and then being infuriated right along with her. I have to say – the entire episode sounded like something I’d watch on a sitcom! It was so bad I couldn’t believe it. Every form of imaginable technology seemed to fail her that day.

But we have tickets. They’re GA, and waiting all day is going to suck, but we have tickets, and we’re going to make it a party.

I’m excited. I haven’t been to a concert in San Francisco before, and I hear the Fox Theater in Oakland is gorgeous. We’re looking at places to stay, and I’m THRILLED this is only four months from now….and those four months are going to be jam-packed: I have college visits, my wedding anniversary, my youngest and Amanda share a birthday, Mothers Day, my sister’s birthday, Gavin’s graduation, Fathers Day, Gavin’s birthday, Fourth of July, and then I leave with Amanda, so time will absolutely fly.

Thank goodness!

I hope the band doesn’t forget how to play Careless Memories by then. I saw they added it to their set list tonight in Houston….

Hope to see many of you in the GA line this summer!

-R

 

 

An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!