It’s a Lonely Burning Question

Our little corner of the world is certainly small, isn’t it? The longer I am a participant in the fan community for Duran Duran, the more I realize just how tiny it really is.

Unlike most other bands I go to see in concert, with Duran Duran I tend to be more involved. (Shocking, right?) I subscribe to their fan club (DuranDuranMusic), and I tend to buy VIP tickets to most shows because I’m greedy and I want the best seats. I can’t lie about that. The thing is, there are quite a few of you out there – many of you reading, actually – that are right there with me!

I am I myself alone

I don’t make it my business to introduce myself to the “who’s-who” in the fan community. I’m not buddies with each and every person who seems to be attached to the band in one sense or another. I’m not somebody who will go bouncing up to someone I’d call a “well-known fan” just because I recognize them and want to make nice. That’s not me. I hate approaching people as it is, unless I’m comfortable and actually know them.

There’s no way I’m going to just insert myself into someone’s evening just because I happen to know they’re friends with a roadie, married to someone in management, or is actually on “the team”. I would be a horrible politician, and it is very obvious that I’m not the greatest at making connections. All one has to do is look at my LinkedIn to know that I fail horribly at networking. I always assume I’m putting someone out, or that I’d be bothering them. I guess I’ve mostly stayed to myself, as much as one can when they write a familiar blog, I guess??

The thing is, and I’m going to be brutally open about this – the “It” list of fans, you know the ones – they tend to be at most of the shows, they always seem to know where and when to be, and how to get places that normal, everyday fans don’t – aren’t really on our reader list. At least, not that *I* know of. They’re not usually people who will even admit to reading this, or any fan blog for that matter. I suppose we might be a bit too pedestrian, maybe too wide-eyed, and probably far too “Fan” like. With a capital F. I get it.

Got to show now, got to move on

In a lot of ways, I’m more of a watcher than a participant. I remember a number of years back when I was in Chicago for a show. A group of us met up afterward and walked to a local bar. When we got there, the place was packed, to the point where we were turned away at the door because it had reached capacity. We stood outside for a bit, trying to decide where to go next. As I glanced towards the windows of the bar, I saw somebody inside. She was waving at me and kind of laughing. I could guess what she was laughing about. There I was, along with a small group of others, proverbially on the outside looking in. She was IN, along with several members of the band, I might add, and we were most definitely OUT. Weakly, I waved back and tried not to feel like a complete loser. Story of my life.

At every single show I attend, I’ll see quite a few of the same people. Over and over again. I silently marvel at how they’re able to be everywhere. It isn’t jealousy as much as it’s curiosity. I know how tough it is for me to be at the several shows I can attend each tour, and I can promise that from here on out – it will be far less than it was during Paper Gods. (Or so my husband assures) How do they manage?!? Even more so, I’ll watch other fans flock to these people, befriend them, and situate themselves near them. I don’t even know their names or who they are beyond their faces, and yet the fan-community-at-large are already Facebook friends with them, at the very least! On one hand, I’m surprised I don’t know everyone’s name by now, I guess. On the other, I am not one of those super outgoing and bubbly people.

Puts my faith in none of the above

The kicker for me, is when I’m online and happen to be reading a Facebook post or reading through a Twitter thread. As I go through it, I realize that most all of my friends are actually connected, to some of those people I mentioned above. They’re not just “social media” connected, but obviously know them. Or maybe I’m surprised by people who have not really been active in the fan community for very long (not that they haven’t been fans – that’s different), but are very connected to the “A list” of fans and people in the Duran Duran circle. Perhaps I’m shocked when I realize that the reason why so-and-so IS at all of the shows is because she’s married to somebody who works for the band. It could be a million other scenarios, because for as long as I’ve been in the fan community, or have been actively blogging – I know very little about the people within.

I know how people behave as a group. The trends and patterns of behavior are easy for me to recognize. I can, and have helped put together some really fun meet-ups and parties over the years. But do I really KNOW people?

Probably not so much. It is strange how one can blog for eight years and yet really still be on the outside looking in, isn’t it?

-R

Land of the free…until we disagree

Happy Wednesday! (it IS Wednesday, right??)

Let me just open this post by sharing that I did not sleep well last night. My eyes are still tired (and blurry), I woke up about an hour later than normal, and I’m finding that I am struggling to form reasonably understandable sentences. I’m also way late…. Good luck reading! 😀

Can’t wipe the wind blown smile off my face

From time to time, something will crop up that gets the community into a heated debate over political stances. Whether that was a shirt that John wore somewhere, or a political event that John attended (hmm…John seems to be the only example here that I can think of….), it gets fans in an uproar.

One thing I’ve noticed is that if a fan happens to agree with whatever is being said or supported, typically there’s no problem. It only seems to be an issue when you sit on the opposing side. Granted, I’m generalizing here, and I know it. (I did not stop to actually count opinions being presented verses the number of fans reading or actively participating. Shame on me!) That said, I don’t think anyone would disagree that it tends to create a discussion when one or more of them choose to be open with their political opinions.

Land of the free

Then there are the times when the band has released new music and a faction of fans don’t care for the new direction, collaboration, theme, etc. Basically, I mean every single time something new has been released. I mean, let’s be open and honest about that, right?

Imagine having both happen simultaneously. Can you envision the drama? A nightmare scenario indeed, yet, this is the very issue that fans of The Killers have been handling for the past couple of days. I’ve witnessed entire Facebook groups coming apart at the seams purely due to a single song and video. It has been both heartbreaking and eye opening on any number of levels.

The song (and video, directed by Spike Lee) is titled “Land of the Free”. It is a song directed squarely at the United States and was written by Brandon Flowers in response to the issues happening in our country as of late. My job here isn’t to embrace or lambast the song, it is purely to present the topic. For those who haven’t heard the song or seen the video, here it is:

Land of the Free by The Killers on YouTube

Walk the edge of America

The Killers are hardly the first band to present a politically charged song or video, they are just among the more recent to do so. I myself am a fan of The Killers, and to the best of my recollection this is easily the most political song they’ve done. Even Duran Duran has written a political song or two – but they’ve done it with far more finesse and subtlety (I’m thinking “Edge of America” – both the song and the video that was released late last year, or even “Paper Gods” – which they themselves said was politically motivated, albeit far less obvious). Even so, I’ve seen grumblings about how the band should stick to what they do best.

Having watched the video and listened to “Land of the Free” a number of times now, it isn’t hard to imagine why or how an entire fan community could be split. There’s no guesswork with the lyrics. They are strong and they are hurled directly in the faces of all Americans. They are a tough pill to swallow regardless of where you sit. It is not a pretty picture of America that is painted.

Concrete beach to scrape my hand

As one of their fans aptly put it, “Art is meant to provoke. It is meant to be controversial, and it is meant to be discussed and debated.” This is true. Their music and video is indeed art, and if it sparks discussion, that should be OK. We find common ground and understanding through communication, not by sweeping the topic under the carpet.

It is difficult to watch a fan community crumble over a single song. Comments range from dislike due to the song not sounding like it belongs in The Killers catalog to the topic of the song itself. On the opposite side there is joy and pride for bringing up a very difficult yet timely and necessary topic. Not many see that while this one song is rightfully controversial – it is only one song, and not the determining factor for where the band will head from here. It is easy to get so caught up in the details that you forget that The Killers are still a band. They’ll make more music.

I have to wonder what we would do as a community if a similar song was released. I believe the demographics for Duran Duran are a bit *ahem* older. But are we wiser? Do we realize that their opinions have just as much “right” as ours? Would we agree with the sentiment? Would we be able to get past the details enough to find common ground?

I’m just not sure.

-R

A Look Back at Girl Panic and Singles in 2011

I came by invitation

Remember the days when we’d hear of new singles? The internet – or at least our little Duran Duran corner of it – would be ablaze with excitement? Those days are hopefully coming just around the corner again, my friends.

I believe it was mentioned that the band would reconvene in the studio in the spring. (hopefully they do a better job of “hiding” this time than they did in December!)

That timeframe gave them a few weeks to themselves this month. Then they’ll have time to prepare and do the shows in February. Then perhaps they’ll be inspired once they settle back into life at home. I am still betting that we’ll hear new music in 2020, despite what DDHQ may have tweeted. Good music cannot be rushed. I can’t imagine that the band was in the studio long enough during November to release an album in eight or nine months. It’s possible, just not probable! I’ll wait patiently…and I won’t even go visit them at the yet-to-be-found studio if it helps! <wink>

General Chelsea mayhem

On this date in 2011, it was announced that “Girl Panic” would be the next single from All You Need is Now. I can remember taking part in a spirited debate on social media regarding that very announcement. Were singles even necessary? What purpose did a single serve in 2011, anyway? Why choose “Girl Panic”? These were all viable questions that came up back then, and they still make a good case today.

I am not sure that “Girl Panic” really got any sort of radio-time. There were two times that I know “All You Need is Now” was played before it dropped off of the radar for the LA area radio stations, but “Girl Panic”? I don’t know that I ever heard it, which is sad, really. There didn’t seem to be any sort of market or proper channel for Duran Duran, and that holds true even today.

I know I’m going nowhere

At least in Los Angeles, unless you’re U2, or The Rolling Stones, or maybe even Madonna…it is tough to find a station willing to play your new music. There are stations to play your music from the 80s and even the 90s, but new music? It’s really tough to say, and honestly the answer seems to change each week as Arbitron ratings are released. In this moment, there are two “Alternative” stations in Los Angeles, and both of them lean “male” friendly. (read: they’re not playing a lot of bands like Duran Duran, instead leaning towards Nirvana, Green Day, RHCP and even bands like The Killers, Foo Fighters and Linkin Park) While the characterization is 100% offensive to me personally, it also explains a lot about Duran Duran’s marketing as of late.

Anyone with a decent memory (I’m hoping that covers most of us), should recall during the promotion for Paper Gods, that the band relied heavily upon the use of how much their audience had changed to include males during their interviews. If we weren’t hearing about the guys in the audience, we were hearing about how YOUNG their audiences are now.

That was not mentioned by chance, my friends.

Clever words I never said

It is unfortunate, but even in 2015, it was better to have young males in your audience than hoards of women wiling to spend big dollars to be there. Don’t believe me? Excellent! Go and do some simple research on radio markets. See what and whom the stations in large metropolitan areas are catering to, and how. It took me all of five minutes to read up on the Los Angeles area.

I think this goes without saying, but just in case – I want to make it clear that I’m not really blaming Duran Duran here. It is the system, and I can’t help but understand what DDHQ (management) was trying to do. It IS a bit funny when you think about just how contrived it all really was. And is.

A crush panic

In 2011, Duran Duran tried to market a song about women being willing to fall all over themselves for them, to men. The video for the song was shot in a fancy hotel with supermodels acting as the band, while the band themselves were filmed in secondary-type shots as butlers, photographers, chauffeurs, and baggage carriers with women (who were all models of course) “in a panic” over them, complete with over-the-top parties, 1980’s-volumes of alcohol, and other sorts of debauchery. I can still remember reading comments regarding the disappointment of the video by fans – who in fact were still primarily female.

Don’t get me wrong, here. I actually liked the video, and felt it was very well done. The symbolism was hysterical, and I loved the cheekiness. I felt that the story of the video was smart, and perhaps people didn’t pick up on the subtle points they were trying to make. In hindsight though, it is also terribly easy to see what, or whom, they were trying to appeal to…without turning off anyone else in the process.

…and the title of the song was “Girl Panic”. Is that a dream for most men, then? Gee.

You just let it happen

Ultimately though, I still need to understand what the point of releasing a single really is, today. While I recognize the same can be said about albums in general (on platforms like iTunes – where individual songs can be purchased, what good is an album?), I think at least the purpose of an album can be to group songs together under a common umbrella or theme. The same doesn’t exactly hold true for a single.

It all makes me wonder what the future has in store. What about you?

-R


I’ve Been Now Sauntering

Hey, do you remember that time in 1984 when New Moon on Monday reached #10 on the US charts?? Believe it or not, that happened on today’s date, just a mere 35 years ago.

It takes me nowhere

Well, that should start your Monday off on the right footing of nostalgia along with the ever-familiar feeling of “How in the hell can that have been 35 years ago? I’m barely 30.” Yep!

I feel you, readers. Me and my back totally get you this morning. Oh boy, do I. My Advil bottle is within reach today. (For my out-of-US peeps – it’s ibuprofen. Think Paracetamol.)

I need a reason

I see people beginning to fantasize about set lists. Usually the band asks a question about songs off of a specific album, as they did this morning. Today they asked about favorite songs off of Big Thing, and tweeters responded. I saw more than a couple musing about whether or not they might be thinking about including something from the album on the list.

Some veteran fans and/or concert goers may scoff, saying that the set list isn’t going to change. Still others chastise, suggesting that everyone should be thankful that they’re playing at all.

It is actually possible to be thrilled and thankful that the band is playing a show somewhere you can attend, and still have hopes over what one may hear and see while in the audience. Nobody is slighting anyone else simply because they’re hoping to hear New Moon on Monday, or Planet Roaring, or whatever else happens to be on someone’s wish list.

Call it treason

For the most part, I don’t worry about the set list these days. I go to a lot of shows – as many as I’m able budget-wise, and willing to travel to attend. I had to get used to the idea that the set list doesn’t change that much.

However, it is also 100% true that at one time, I’d openly complain and lament over the song choices. I guess I learned that for me, in the grand scheme of things, it just doesn’t matter that much. I thoroughly enjoy the concerts regardless of what they play. By the same token, I also accept that for other people, it matters more. I have friends who only go to a few shows each tour because in their opinion, it isn’t worth it to go to more than that. They don’t need to see the same stage, same costuming, same set more than a few times. I totally respect that.

However thrilled I am to see the band, I will still occasionally ponder what songs might be switched out for other. The February shows are between albums, and even if I weren’t going, I’d still be curious. Isn’t it part of the fun?

Too many things, too much to know

On the safe side, I don’t think anyone should expect more than maybe a couple of songs to be different between the shows during the Paper Gods tour and now. The band tends to favor their hits, and there are plenty of them. I think they like to cater to the portion of the audience that comes to an occasional show every once in a while, than those of us who are diehard attendees. I can’t really blame them for that.

Duran Duran wants people up and dancing, not bored because they’ve never heard “You Kill Me with Silence”, or “Skin Divers”. That leaves precious little time for songs that the vast majority of the audience doesn’t know that well. I think that is the main reason why we only hear a new song or two thrown in over the course of a tour, like it or not.

Songs like “Hold Back the Rain”, “Friends of Mine”, “Careless Memories”, and even “New Religion” are fan-favorites. Maybe they’d include them in the right spots. Yet, they’re not so obscure that people would sit down, sucking the energy right out of the venue. There’s nothing worse than losing that type of momentum during a show, and it is difficult to get back on track when it happens. So I think they stick with these types of songs when they want to throw in something. Many, if not most fans, know the words and are so exuberant when they begin playing them that their vitality makes up for those who might not be as familiar.

Sometimes, they break out something from a newer album that they haven’t given a ton of playing time. Out of seemingly nowhere, they played “Only in Dreams” a few times during the Paper Gods tour, for example. So maybe they play their standards (read: hits), a couple of fan-favorites, and then one newer one or so. That’s three, maybe four songs out of the 16-18 songs they’ve been doing. I’ll let you all debate whether that’s enough or not, and see my own way out.

It’s us who make the noise

Amanda and I absolutely love to screw with the band by tweeting out our own hastily thrown together set list (sometimes even on paper napkins written with a marker!). We cackle and laugh the entire time as we tweet it out, full-well knowing there’s nary a song on the list that has a chance of being included. In turn, we also know that we’d have a far better chance of actually being accurate by just guessing a song or two. Even so, what fun is there in that?!?

I don’t know if I have a dream set-list these days as much as there are songs that I’d love to hear them play again. I’d really like to hear “Land” or Palomino” from Big Thing, but I know they’re not really songs that people can dance to, so I don’t expect them. “Red Carpet Massacre”, “All You Need is Now”, or “Planet Roaring” fit the bill for a live show far better, but who knows what they’ll choose. Hearing and seeing them play a song live that I haven’t for a while will be exciting. I’m not sure if it really matters to me what they play – I’ll be happy to see them throw in something new, no matter what it is.

-R

Duran Duran History: Hammersmith Palais Show 2005

On this date in 2005, Duran Duran played at Hammersmith Palais in London. Ah, 2005 brings back lots of great memories. This, of course, was a few months after Astronaut was released and right before the big Astronaut Tour was to begin. If I had to describe the fandom at that point, I might use the word “electric.” I remember how I felt then as I was all abuzz with excitement every minute of every day.

January 2005 was not only a few months after Astronaut was released but also a few months after I attended the Duran Duran Fan Convention in New Orleans. I felt like I was walking on a cloud each and every day. I never thought I would hear another album from the Fab Five and I certainly did not think that I would meet so many fellow fans like I did in New Orleans in the previous fall. My evenings were spent online at various message boards, especially the much loved DuranDuranFans.com. Everyone (or so it seemed) loved Astronaut and I don’t remember hearing anyone criticize the album. Excitement was also in the air regarding the upcoming tour. While many fans had seen shows in 2004 either in the UK or as part of the few shows the band played at the end of year connected to Christmas or radio shows, people were itching to see the band perform these new songs and to put on a proper tour. Therefore, this particular show felt like the opening as the band was going to play there before heading over to Japan to officially start the tour. (Unfortunately, the Japan shows had to be canceled due to Roger’s broken foot, I believe.)

I remember wishing desperately that I could be at this show. Part of it, I’m sure, was my desire to see which songs from the new album they would play. I also figured that it would provide a sense of what the tour would be like. After the show, I searched for the setlist as well as pictures and clips. Curious as to what they played? According to setlist.fm, here was the setlist that night:

  1. Finest Hour
  2. Hungry Like the Wolf
  3. Hold Back the Rain
  4. Want You More!
  5. Union of the Snake
  6. What Happens Tomorrow
  7. Chains
  8. Astronaut
  9. Ordinary World
  10. Save a Prayer
  11. Bedroom Toys
  12. Notorious (incl. We Are Family snippet)
  13. The Reflex
  14. Nice
  15. (Reach Up for the) Sunrise
  16. The Wild Boys
  17. Girls on Film (Encore)
  18. Rio (Encore)

So, what do you think of that setlist? They played a LOT of songs off of Astronaut. I would say that they played more new songs at this show than any other show I can think of outside of those Broadway shows for Red Carpet Massacre. I can imagine that the band wanted to use this show as practice and to see how the new songs are received. Still…it seems like a ton of new songs.

As I continued to ponder this show, I went to YouTube to see if there were any clips of this show. While I didn’t find video clips, I did find an audio copy of the show. Listen to the show here:

On that note, I’ve got some tunes to listen to while I work on grading revised essays.

-A

‘Tis the Season

Yes, I suppose that is a strange title to use since it is almost mid-January but it feels appropriate to me. Why is that? There are a couple of big reasons for this. First, Rhonda and I finally exchanged Christmas gifts. Second, those Vegas shows are right around the corner, which means not only will we get to see some shows but also have an opportunity for some of our more common antics…

Over the course of my friendship with Rhonda, we have come up with some pretty good gifts for each other. Unsurprisingly many of our gifts to each other relate or connect to Duran Duran or being Duranies. This year was no different. Rhonda got me a really amazing necklace that looks like a cool pendant while at the same time says the names of the band members over and over again. I look forward to wearing it as I assume that I’ll be wearing it a lot on tour! The one item that I got Rhonda that I think fits the best with what will be coming up is a little 8 ounce flask that I gave her. It is even personalized in that it is the property of the Daily Duranie. Ha!

As Rhonda and I chatted (or skyped as the case may be), it became clear that the time to give that band a hard time is coming. In fact, the first show in Vegas is 6 weeks from today. 6 weeks to give those five guys a hard time. We cannot wait. What do we mean by that? Well, the best explanation might be to review some of our finer moments of the Paper Gods Tour (and more).

Our Setlists

Suggested set list for Hollywood Bowl

Now, we have said that we will not criticize the band over the songs that they decide to play. We will be okay if the setlist is exactly the same as the last show we saw. There will not complaints or long diatribes about why setlist changes matter. Nope. We promise to be good. For the most part. Even though we won’t complain, we still might offer some suggestions in the form of a setlist. I’m certain that the band will appreciate having us come up with songs and order for them. You’re welcome, Duran Duran.

Pants

Truth be told, there were a lot of sentences written, video blogs recorded and more that focused in on the band’s outfits. I, especially, was drawn to talking about John’s pants. Now, some might say that he made it darn easy to tease him since they were so noticeably short. Then, of course, when the picture above appeared, it provided us a little challenge to find our own pants. This is what we came up with. Good times, indeed.

Enthusiasm

Chula Vista

Once upon a time, Rhonda and I sang our hearts out in between our screams and comments welcoming people to the band. We were so into the show that people in front of us turned around to comment about how enthusiastic we were. I certainly look forward to being so in the moment that I appreciate every look, every silly dance move, every ridiculous facial expression and more. We will certainly let them know what we love and what we find hilarious. Oh yes, we plan to bring it and we expect the band to bring it right back in whatever fashion that they choose.

Can’t hit me, Simon!!!

Yes, this might be a risky move since we are center for both shows but we are willing to face that music. Someday, we just might bust out an umbrella or raincoat at just the right moment say…during White Lines. No one will be able to say that we did not provide a warning.

On that note, I cannot wait to see what will come next. Will there be more lime green shoes? I cannot even imagine but I am looking forward to it all!

-A