The Daily Duranie Review – All You Need Is Now (Deluxe Version) Packaging

Continuing in our weekly review series, today A & R will be reviewing the packaging for the new album.  For most bands, perhaps that seems like an odd thing to review, but as fans of Duran Duran know, the band takes as much pride in how their end product is packaged as they do the content contained within.  We will be reviewing the Best Buy Deluxe Edition packaging for the U.S.

Rhonda’s notes:

It’s a relief to finally have something physical to actually hold!!  I’d been waiting months to be able to pour over the artwork, hoping that the photos would somehow become clearer to me than what I’d seen online.  Sadly, that isn’t really to be the case here, as you’ll read below.

First of all, I do like the striking contrast of the pink and charcoal front.  The print is done in an almost metallic like finish, which is very different from what other artists use these days, since all of that ‘extra’ adds to the final cost of the album!  The photo(s) on the front consist of a bed on one side (the “pink”) side, and on the charcoal side – what I think might be a chandelier.  Maybe.  Then of course there’s the infamous black “burn mark” with a giant pink D in the middle, along with the band’s name at the top, and the name of the album scrawled across the front.  An interesting point is that there appears to be some sort of an animal print (Leopard maybe?) rug thing on the floor by the bed.   I was really hoping that once I was able to see the artwork in person that it would somehow become clearer to me – and that just isn’t the case.  I still can’t tell exactly what I’m looking at – although perhaps that’s the point.  The only thing that is clear is what we’re examining at the time?

Clunie Reid is the artist that the band chose to work with to create the album artwork.  I’m fairly familiar with her body of works, but what strikes me most about the artwork is that Clunie worked from pictures that Nick Rhodes took – and then used her own artistry to manipulate the photos into the story she wished to tell.  My problem with the artwork is simply that it’s incredibly obvious.  Think of Duran Duran for a moment.  Tell me what images come to mind when you think of them (aside from each member of the band!).  Women, beds, body images, sex…oh and I suppose some yachts might be nice on the side! (that would be over the top obvious for this album, no?)  This album’s artwork has all of that…and perhaps even a leopard print rug.  Duran Duran is smarter than that, and quite honestly, so is Clunie Reid.    That aside though, the images aren’t necessarily beautiful.  I look at the bed coverings – they seem to be those really cheap satiny finish bedspreads that I remember my mom having back in the 70’s.  There’s a big black spot on the album cover that I still can’t quite figure out.  The images in the art booklet that is included inside the album are very grainy…distorted and have more of that metallic finish.  The artwork doesn’t detract from the packaging…but it doesn’t add that extra layer of interest that I believe Duran Duran have always excelled at including.  The artwork isn’t smart, it doesn’t make you think…and that is very disappointing for this fan.

The booklet, as I mentioned above, comes with the deluxe version of the album.  It’s printed in a reasonably good weight of art paper, probably so that the metallic effect that Clunie worked with would show itself off well.  It appears that the images in the book are variations of the same exposure.  The first pages are of a woman in what I think might be a jacuzzi or bath – she’s got a diamond pendant held up to her mouth.  The second pages (intermixed with lyrics) are of a topless woman with water being sprinkled over her.  There is great beauty in the female body – I’m pretty sure the band understands that rather well!   There’s just a certain amount of boredom (for me) that goes along with that. I’m no prude whatsoever, but it’s just so OVERDONE and EXPECTED.  I’m not surprised it’s there – I probably would have been more shocked had it not been, but it would just be nice to have it actually mean something for a change.  It’s Duran Duran though, and I do suppose there’s a certain frivolity that goes along with that.  As I said, it was expected!

One thing the booklet does not include are pictures of the band.  Conspicuously absent from the artwork are any photos of the band.  I know many fans don’t care, still others care very much.  My personal opinion is that it would have been nice to have had at least one.  I know it’s difficult to believe, but there are actual people out in the world that haven’t seen the band since the 1980’s.  I’m guessing those people, should they be compelled to pick up this album, would like to see what the band looks like these days.  Well, they won’t see that here.  They’d better get themselves to iTunes or Youtube and watch some videos!

I paid special attention to the liner notes on the back page of the booklet, as well as the credit page.  The list of thank you’s seems to be getting longer and longer!!  One thing that I really found distasteful was the very last few lines of credits.  The name of the band and it’s current members are in bold…and then a line is skipped and then Dom Brown is listed as guitar.  I think it’s fine to have bolded the band – but I think that they could have found a better place to credit Dom with guitar.  Perhaps he could have been included on the credits page (not in bold), and that way it wouldn’t have looked like such an afterthought on the back page of the book.  Yes, it’s nit-picky.  I agree.  I just think it looks kind of lame to put him there, to be honest.  I know the intention was probably to include his name prominently, but because of the fact the band is bolded, and Dom is not a 5th member of the band they couldn’t do that for him but felt he was worth more than just a mention on the credit page.   It just looks tacky in the end.

Ultimately for me the packaging on this album is generally ho-hum.  It doesn’t add, it doesn’t really detract…but it’s not the work of beauty that the album so richly deserves.  When I think back to what this album really stands for, and what adversity the band has come from in order to get to this point, I just feel they missed the yacht on this one.

Amanda’s notes:
Many of my comments will be similar to Rhonda’s and others not so much.  Like Rhonda, I was completely thrilled with being able to hold an actual album in my hands.  While I am okay with downloading much of my music, for some bands, for some artists, I must get a hardcopy.  Those artists are like Duran in that I have a large collection of their music AND they take their time to produce a quality product.  I can remember even being excited to hold Red Carpet Massacre in my hands on the day it was released.  I also remember being generally pleased with the packaging even if I wasn’t thrilled with the actual cover.  Therefore, I figured that AYNIN would, at least, be as good of quality. 

I purchased my copy at the local Best Buy (see Rhonda’s post on March 22nd for all of the details of her experience!).  As soon as I unwrapped it, I noticed there was a sleeve covering the actual album.  At the time, I thought that seemed strange to have an additional sleeve like that because it is cumbersome to take off and on, especially since it goes on from the top or bottom as opposed to the side.  On closer inspection, I realized that this additional sleeve was added to show the additional songs available on the exclusive Best Buy edition.  That made perfect sense to me until I realized the back cover of the actual album doesn’t match like the outside sleeve does.  On top of that, the booklet does not match either.  The booklet contains the lyrics to 13 of the songs with lyrics.  It does not contain the lyrics to ALL of the songs on the Best Buy edition.  Okay.  I can live with that.  Networker Nation’s lyrics are in the booklet with the track number being 15.  Uh.  On the Best Buy edition, it is number 17.  Why put song numbers at all if the booklets were to be used for all editions?  Why not just have song titles?  The way that they have it seems lazy.  If they wanted to keep both song titles and track numbers, then why not have a special booklet for this exclusive edition?  Then, it could have included all song lyrics.  This seems very un-Duran Duran like.  Where was the attention to detail here?

Now, as for the front cover itself, my opinion about it didn’t change much from when it was unveiled online months ago.  I appreciate the glossy quality of the pink D and think that it is a nice touch to have the “All You Need Is Now” part raised.  That seemed to be the Duran that I know and love.  Very detail focused.  That said, the artwork still seemed generally okay with me.  I was hoping that it would fit more with the music, but it didn’t.  The left side still seems dark and the right side or pink side seems brighter.  Yet, on the album, the songs don’t go in the same order.  Some of the darker songs are toward the end of the album.  Maybe that is the whole point.  Maybe the cover really doesn’t have anything to do with anything and that the joke is on those of us who are looking for a pattern, a reason, something.  As for the back cover, I liked that it was all in pink and still had a big D on it, which goes in the opposite direction.  Yet, it didn’t have the same glossy finish.  It isn’t bad but it isn’t anything special either.

The inside part of the packaging had more Nick photos with Clunie Reid’s art.  Like Rhonda, I, too, don’t really need to see another woman.  Duran has done it to death.  I do appreciate that the artwork carried over to the actual CD and DVD even with a D featured on them.  I do appreciate that they got a theme and stuck with it.  I wish that the CD and DVD were easier to get out and in.  I worry that I will end up putting fingerprints all over them!  Perhaps, they would have been better off putting it in different kind of case?  I don’t know.  Obviously, it doesn’t matter for the booklet at all, though.

Speaking of the booklet, I had a very similar reaction to Rhonda.  In fact, on that day, while she was still in her quest to find a Best Buy with a copy, I had texted her to complain that there are NO pictures of the band.  While I love art and I do (my mom is an artist), I also love seeing pictures of the band.  I keep seeing these great photoshoots but where are the photos?  When and where will I see them?  It is like they are trying to tease me/us!  Now, I do appreciate that they included the lyrics (unlike RCM—what does that say about what they think about these lyrics vs. those lyrics of the last album?!  Hmm….)  I also appreciated that they included the date of the writing/recording as well as who was a writer on the song.  🙂

My general impression is like Rhonda’s.  The packaging isn’t bad but it isn’t really what I’m used to.  Of course, they have a chance to redeem themselves a bit when they come out with the vinyl packaging.  I was much more impressed with the packaging for RCM’s vinyl than I was for the regular or deluxe version of it.  Perhaps, the same thing will happen with this album. 

Bringing out the Best

Many times over the past few months I’ve commented on the drama that goes on within the community, particularly on message boards – but also on Twitter and Facebook to some extent.  I think the drama is probably normal for the most part – none of us gets along with every person we meet along our journey in life, but perhaps it’s more visible or pronounced online.  It would seem that it’s less likely to notice someone holding their tongue (or fingers!) in order to keep the peace – and much more likely to see the big blowups that take place between members of the community.  Then it becomes something akin to an accident scene on the freeway (highway, etc.) where people begin to drive by slowly, and still others stop to take in the view; knowing that they should probably move on but they can’t resist watching, even if it’s in horror.  The next thing you know, an entire message board is well aware of the argument taking place between two or more members, and you might even see others jumping in, either in defense of friends or for the sheer sport of being there.

I don’t know how other people feel – but I hate it.  I don’t really enjoy fighting with people.  I don’t like the sick feeling I get in the pit of my stomach, and I especially don’t like knowing that someone is angry with me.  I wasn’t always this way though, at one time I know that I started my fair share of arguments on a message board, and I tried very hard to hold my own.  If I felt strongly about something, I would argue it, attempting not to get personal, but sometimes it happened.  At some point in the last few years though, I either realized it’s not worth it, or I just got tired of that icky, somewhat nauseated feeling I would get after I realized that once again, someone was angry with me.  I try very hard to watch what I type, and I apologize right away – even if I feel that my words were valid – because I’d just rather keep the peace.  Do I like everyone I’ve “met” online?  No, but that doesn’t give me the right to just unleash it whenever I read one word I don’t like.  All of that doesn’t stop me from getting the sick, uneasy feeling when I read horrible things being said about my friends or people I know.

Today I read a sentence that really resonated with me:  This band brings out the worst in people.  I have to say that unfortunately, I’ve seen some pretty ridiculous behavior over the years.  Much of it has been in the presence of the band, or on their message boards as a result of something the band has announced, or even as the result of a contest, VIP ticket sale or even a GA show where there was a fight to get to the front of the stage.  It’s true, Duranies tend to completely forget who they are, where they come from, or who they want to be perceived to be when it comes to the band.  With that in mind, I have to wonder, is it really the band that brings out the worst in fans; or is it just that some fans really don’t know how to behave?

 I have a lot of friends in the community, many of whom I have seen in the most exciting of circumstances where members of the band have been right in front of us – and yet there was no pushing, shoving or screaming going on.  The very first time I did a VIP show was in Chicago, 2005.  One of the people in our group won the meet and greet lottery for that show.  She had to choose just one of us to go backstage with her and meet the band.  It was very exciting for her, and she made her choice.  To the best of my knowledge, none of us EVER commented poorly about her choice, complained that we weren’t chosen, or did anything but get very excited for their good fortune.   I’ve seen far less competitive situations start huge arguments on message boards – and people don’t seem to have trouble unleashing the beast within.

My point here isn’t really to get preachy – I hate arguing, others don’t mind it, and it’s up to me to know when to walk away, which I’ve done when necessary.  What about you?  Do you really believe it’s the band that brings out the worst in us?  Discuss!

Reality Strikes Back

Every once in a while I get so engrossed in my own happenings, whether it’s those here in my house, or those in my Duran world, that I really kind of forget that I live in a REAL community with real people.  I’m sure that I’m not the only one guilty of that from time to time.  In my case, I tend to be a bit of a hermit I suppose.  I used to help out at the kids’ elementary school when they were little – so I was friendly with several PTA moms and other people at the school, but now that they’ve grown older I don’t find that I’m at the school nearly as often, and I really don’t run into a lot of moms around town.  My oldest attends a school that is 20 miles away from our house, and since I have a little one here at home, I can’t get involved there as much as I’d like. (maybe next year??)  Like I said, I guess I’m a bit of a hermit.  

As I mentioned, one of the hazards with being a hermit is that I don’t keep up with what is going on in the lives of the PTA members (otherwise known as “gossip”), but I also don’t see a lot of the people I’ve met and befriended along the way.  Several years back, I was a Co-Leader for my daughter’s Brownie troop.  Those of you who know me well probably realize how out of character such a position was for me…and it was.  I loved helping out with my daughters troop, and the girls were fun, but I’m not “THAT” mom.  I’m not the kind of mom that bakes, cleans, sews, cooks, gets the kids where ever they need to be…on time…neat….and in the case of my girls: with their hair neatly braided or coiled in whatever the latest and cutest hairstyle might be.  Oh no.  I’m the mom who is rushing around, yelling at the kids to get in the car, teasing them endlessly about being late and being left on the curb to fend for themselves, and I definitely don’t look like I’ve got it all together.  Regardless, I was a Brownie leader with two other moms (who made THEIR jobs look far easier than I ever did!).   These other two moms were my Godsend in many ways, as I could not have been troop leader without them.  I felt that we became friends, and I trusted them completely.  We ran the troop for 3 years, and then I realized I needed to move on or else I’d go completely insane.  As a result, we parted ways, and as typically happens, we drifted apart.  Occasionally I’d run into either one of them and we’d promise to get together for coffee, but it never happened, and I don’t blame anyone but myself – I should have called but I did not.

As you all know, my time is divided these days between being a wife and mom to writing – both this blog and the book that Amanda and I have been working on.  I’ve also been planning for our UK trip and reveling in the fact that the band is touring.  Admittedly my days are consumed with Duran Duran, at least my mornings have been, and I’ve completely forgotten about the outside world to some extent.  I keep saying that it’s a great time to be a Duranie, with the sales on the album doing so well so far, and seeing that the band is indeed having another moment in the sun.

Fast forward to yesterday, when I received a phone call from the godmother to my children who also lives in our community and teaches at the kids’ school.  She wanted to let me know some news that she’d received regarding one of the co-leaders children.  Unfortunately, this young girl – who incidentally is the same age as my son (around 12, give or take a month or two) – was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.  They are doing what seems to be pretty aggressive treatment, and while it’s very early in treatment (she is in the midst of her second week), she’s doing well so far.  This family is wonderful – the father is a pastor at a very large church in our area and as such they have a great amount of support, which of course I’m thankful that they have.  However, I would imagine that they’d gladly redirect all of that support elsewhere just to have a healthy child.   Naturally, I could not have been more shocked, or shaken for that matter.  This mom and I ran a Brownie troop together.  At one point, she and her family lived down the street from me and I saw this little girl grow from a beautiful baby to a toddler, to a gorgeous 6th grader with everything to live for.  It’s unreal to me that she’s fighting a brain tumor right now as I’m typing up a fan blog for Duran Duran.

For me, it was probably a very much needed wake up call back to reality.  It’s so easy to live in  this Duran Duran fantasy world at times, communicating with people online, but completely overlooking the people in my regular, normal life.  I do have real friends in my real life that I tend to ignore at times just because the band is active and because these friends here just don’t get my fandom.  The two moms I was a co-leader with (including Jessie’s mom) were among the VERY few that knew/know about my Duran Duran obsession in my home community.  In fact, I was a co-leader at the time the band reunited and we were planning our convention.  They chuckled at me as I excitedly told them about the convention, and probably downright laughed, but with love – not malice, when I told them I was going to Chicago to see the shows in 2005.  Even so, I doubt they could really understand where I was coming from or why the band was so important to me.  I think that’s part of the reason I retreat so carefully from forming close friendships here at home.  There are just some things I’m not comfortable sharing about myself – my “obsession” with Duran Duran being one of them.  I know I’m not the only one.

Interestingly enough, I have never seen a 12 year old young lady quite like Jessica.  I can use her name because she has her own website and blog to keep everyone (strangers, family, and friends alike) updated on her treatment and progress.  People have “liked” her facebook page that have never even MET Jessica, and there is good reason for that – read on.  They are also asking everyone, everywhere, for their good thoughts and prayers.  Yes, this family has an immense amount of faith (much more than I), but I don’t think good faith has to mean of a religious form.  I believe in the power of positive thinking, and even if you don’t believe in God, that doesn’t mean you don’t pass on good thoughts for someone else, which is why I’m reaching out to anyone and everyone who reads this blog.  Take a look at her website (it’s linked below), and if you feel comfortable “like” it.   As soon as I heard about Jessica, or Jessie as we call her – I felt an intense need to do something.  There’s very little that I can really do, to be honest – her family is being taken care of in many ways – but the one thing I *can* do is reach out to my own community of people and ask that you keep this young girl in your good thoughts.  She’s only 12, and she deserves to grow up.

Jessie amazes me because she has more grace in her twelve year old body and heart than I’ll ever have. She is taking this situation and reaching out to people through her journey, both by her blog and by fundraising so that this doesn’t happen to other kids.  She has a slogan that I absolutely love and will learn to live by: Never Ever Give Up (NEGU), and if that weren’t enough, she’s come up with another idea that I think she’s going to use for fundraising called JoyJars. (her middle name is Joy.  She was very well named. :D)  I really can’t wait to see how her idea evolves from here.  I believe somewhere on her website (Her dad puts the content up on the website.  As she puts it, she has the heart and thoughts and her dad types.  :D)  she says that these projects keep her mind on something other than the pain.  To have such grace and energy…I can’t help but aspire to learn to be more like her.

I realize this blog doesn’t have a lot to do with Duran Duran per se, but it has everything to do with our real lives and how we fit it all in.  Sometimes I’m a master at juggling everything.  Sometimes I fail miserably.  Right now I suppose I’m examining the situation, learning from my mistakes, picking the things that are most important back up and trying again, because that’s really all we can do.


If you are interested in reading about Jessica – her website is

AYNIN Beating Forecasts?

I don’t think there’s been a day since AYNIN has been released that I haven’t read at least one thread on a message board…or one post on facebook…where someone has been thoroughly ticked off because they couldn’t find the album at their local music store (Best Buy, FYE, etc.), or they’re mad because they’ve received the dreaded backorder email from their favorite online retailer.

Initially I had to remind myself what year this was (although in my own experience, I can’t ever remember not being able to find or buy one of their newly released albums back in the 80’s)…and then I started really wondering if they just hadn’t pressed enough copies of the CD.

This all comes down to a brutal business-y word – “Forecasting”.  I remember back “in the day” when I’d go to a record store and the shelves would always be full.  Each shelf space would be labeled with a band or artists name and there would be several copies of each album (within a reasonable limit) that band or artist had made.  Nowadays, the first challenge is finding the CD section of a store – there definitely aren’t many stores that have them – and the second challenge is finding a shelf space that is actually labeled for Duran Duran. (or anyone other than Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Kanye West, Rihanna….or the other drivel that is played ad nauseam on radio today.)  When you do find that space, nine times out of ten the only CD you’ll find in there – and there will probably only be one copy – is “Greatest”.   Why is that?  Forecasting!  Rather than spend the good money on filling the shelves with options, retailers ( and by retailers I’m specifically addressing big box type retailers.  Your mom and pop store, should one actually still exist where you live, could be much different, and I applaud them.  So should you!) crunch numbers and look at past sales figures to decide what they should stock on any given day for any given band or artist.  That’s why you’ll see 50 copies of Taylor Swift’s new album “Speak Now”.   As I was told last week by my new BFF’s at Best Buy, “Duran Duran just doesn’t ever sell.”  With literally two racks of CD space (and I might add that this shelf space in my local store is very sparsely stocked!) – they have to stock what will actually move.

Since my foray into Best Buy last week, I’ve done some minor investigating and calling around to other Best Buy stores in my area.  In Orange County where I live – most stores that I called were only sent 2 copies of All You Need Is Now.  There were a few that were sent up to 5, but the majority were sent a whopping two copies.  Several of those stores did not even shelf those copies, meaning they kept them in the back of the store and you had to ask for them when you went in.  (I find this particularly disgusting given the fact that I would bet my yet to be received signed copy of AYNIN that they had more than enough space to stock them on the display rack…)  However, in most cases, the copies they were sent have already been sold.  **I would just like to add here that I didn’t have a bit of trouble getting this information.  I simply called the store during the morning hours when the store was least likely to be busy, told them what I wanted the info for – this blog – and they told me right away and in EVERY case they were very friendly about it.**

One thing I do not know is the actual forecasted numbers that Best Buy crunched to decide on how many copies of AYNIN to order.  Keeping in mind that this is an exclusive Best Buy version – I would imagine they erred on the side of caution, because there’s no sending these back to the label to be sold elsewhere later on.  However, Best Buy does admit they’re selling out. (or at least each store admitted to me that they sold out of what they had.  I haven’t spoken to corporate, nor do I plan to do so.)  

The good news here is obvious – people are buying the CD.  I know that the news for online ordering is similar, and I hear that other stores besides Best Buy are having similar problems with keeping the CD in stock.   I realize that again, we’re talking about stores being sold out when they only have a copy or two to sell versus a store being sold out when they originally had 50 copies; however, I’d much rather see that then go into a store and see the same 40 copies on the shelf week after week.

I wonder though if this shortage hasn’t helped to create a little demand?  This weekend I started hearing advertisements for AYNIN on one of the radio stations (98.7).  If I recall, it talks about the CD being in the stores now – and it mentions Best Buy specifically.  Let’s say you hear that commercial then go into the store to be told that it’s on backorder or sold out of stock, especially as you’re looking around realizing that there are 50 copies of Rihanna’s CD still on the shelf….makes you kind of think AYNIN must be pretty good.  Not a bad problem to have, I’d say.

Yes, Duran Duran is having a little bit of a moment in the sun here.  It’s been cold and somewhat dreary for quite a while now, so the sun is very welcome to stick around!  Whether or not this sun continues to heat the place up a bit is yet to be seen, but I’ll grab my sunglasses and a lounge chair just in case!

Don’t Spill My Secret…

It is touring season in Duranland.  This means, of course, that there are discussions about which shows people are going to, about presale frustration, about setlists, about merchandise, and more.  It also means that somewhere, on some message board, on some social networking site, there is a thread, a question, a discussion topic on meeting the band.  This thread or topic usually begins with a person/poster asking, seemingly innocently, about how people have met the band.  The question is a common one.  Perhaps, the person really wants to know other people’s meet and greet stories.  Maybe, they want to know if VIPing is worth the money.  Yet, it is also possible that the person wants to know how other fans get their information about where the band is staying.  Maybe they want to see who seems to know more than the average fan.  What is always fascinating to me is how people react to the question.

It seems to me that there are common responses to this question.  The first kind of response is to ignore it.  The second kind is to mock, at least in a subtle way.  The third kind is to give an answer but an incomplete one.  I suppose it is possible for the response to be completely frank and open but I doubt that I have ever seen it in Duranland.  Why?  Why the different responses?  Before I dive into my theories about the different responses, let me point out something that may or may not be known.  Fans can and do find the band.  I have seen and heard enough to know that.  It also seems to me that some fans are more likely to do this than others.  Yes, some fans, like me, have met them through legitimate means (in my case-a cd signing) but others seem to find them outside of official meet and greets.  Yet, even that fact does not ever seem to make the discussion threads.  It seems to me that a lot of people hold back this information.  Why?  Why respond in the way that people do?

It seems to me that the most common responses to the “how do people meet the band” threads are either ignoring the thread entirely or to give what seems like partial answers.  For example, you never see someone post, “I know that they always stay at this brand of hotel when they visit such and such a country and they usually show up there about blank time after the show and I recommend you approach this band member in such and such a way…”  Nope.  I don’t see that.  I see people talking about cd signing or finding them outside of the venue right after a show.  Now, those are legitimate ways of meeting them.  Absolutely.  I agree.  Yet, I think that people have met them at hotels or at clubs or somewhere else that I can’t even guess.  So, why don’t people share openly?  My theory has to do with the idea that people don’t want to share.  They might be willing to share with their friends but to share with random posters on a message board or on a social networking site is out of the question.  I suspect that most fans, especially in Durandom, don’t want to share the band with others.  I can understand that.  We all want our time with the guys.  We all want our moments with them and we don’t want others to take that time away from us.  Plus, I think there is always a concern that if too many people show up, that the band will just leave and I wouldn’t even blame them for that.  They deserve their space and their privacy.  Part of my concern is always about whether or not people would be respectful of the band and respectful of their space.  Yet, we never say any of this on those threads. 

Some people don’t respond to the question about where/how to find the band but instead secretly or not-so-secretly mock the person who asked the question.  Why?  I don’t have an answer to that.  Maybe they just like having their secret means of finding out where the band is and would never even consider sharing.  Perhaps, they don’t think that these fans are worthy of having knowledge like this.  Maybe it is a way that they can feel superior.  I don’t know.  I just know that I don’t like that.  I can understand not wanting to share.  I get it.  It might not be a great personality trait but it is one that I think most of us can understand and relate to, to some extent.  But making fun seems just mean-spirited.  Heck, I will admit that I don’t even know if they are intentionally mocking.  It just feels that way to me. 

I wonder if the people who ask the question are aware that no matter the answers there is not full disclosure.  Where the band is seems to be information known by some within the fan community.  It seems to always be treated as a precious secret that should not be shared.  No matter the reason this information is treated in that way, it must create different levels of fans.  Is that a good thing???


Life Moves Pretty Fast

This is an exciting time in Duranland.  A new album was released last week and we have TV performances and concerts to look forward to.  In fact, there isn’t a day that there isn’t something Duran related going on, in one way or another.  There may not be a concert or TV performance everyday but it seems that we get some piece of news or something.  Today, John and Simon were posting pictures of New York City where they traveled to and people are posting clips from their performance in Miami yesterday.  In the fan community, there are contests taking place and all that goes along with that.  Some of us are spending time getting ready for upcoming shows and concerts and others are on the ready for any show announcement that might work for them. It is kind of funny.  In Duranland, we have a term for how every project in Duran’s world seems to take longer than they should, which we lovingly or not-so-lovingly call “Durantime”.  What do we call times like this, though? What would the opposite of Durantime be?

I wish that I had a cool term to coin to describe times like this when the band is so busy and that there is so much going on with them, but I don’t.  I’m not very good with slogans.  (Anyone have a good idea?)  The point of this blog entry isn’t to name this time but to actually take some moments to appreciate it.  Where was the band a year ago?  I guess they were working on the new album.  Maybe they were getting ready to play a private gig or two, but most of us couldn’t appreciate either one of those things.  Yes, I realize that they need this “downtime” in order to make new music and to pay for these projects.  Nonetheless, I know that I appreciate times like this more as a fan.  Who doesn’t?  I know that I didn’t get a chance to see them live in 2010 but now have a number of chances to do so.  (I’m obviously feeling BEYOND lucky, too!)  I also realize that times like this don’t come around all that often so I better take a moment or two to appreciate it. 

I have a number of friends who follow different bands (shocking that all of my friends aren’t Duranies, isn’t it?).  These friends like bands who are smaller in scoop as they have had some success in their careers but nothing like Duran’s level of success.  On one hand, I’m jealous of them.  Their bands tend to tour much more frequently as this really is their main source of income.  (Yes, I realize that Duran makes a ton of money on touring but they aren’t living tour to tour the way a small band does.  Heck, Duran charters a private plane when they can on tour.)  Typically, their tours include smaller cities in the States, which allows fans to see a bunch of shows without traveling that far.  We don’t have that chance with Duran.  We have to be willing and able to travel to see, sometimes, even one show.  On the other hand, though, we get to watch Duran on the Tonight Show and on Ellen.  We get to read countless reviews. Duran gets a ton more press because of how big they truly have been over the course of their career. 

Today, I find myself just appreciating the time I’m living in, in terms of being a Duranie.  Is it a perfect time for all Duranies? No, personally, it isn’t, but as a FAN, it is pretty good right now.  I love the latest album as does most of the other fans.  There is not the division that existed during RCM times.  I get very excited by every TV performance and every piece of news from their concerts. I am SO looking forward to my shows.  However, I also want to be aware that these fabulous times won’t be around forever so I shouldn’t rush to see the next event take place but take the time to savor every event and every day. 


Duran Duran Unstaged – The Daily Duranie (By Internet) Review!

I was not the lucky half of the Daily Duranie for Duran Duran Unstaged as I could not attend the show in person.  (During normal tour season, I would have considered it but must be at work to go to the UK later!)  Despite not attending in person, I was excited for the show!  I knew that this was going to be a unique one in that I would be able to see the concert as it took place and experience some extra visual effects courtesy of David Lynch.  On top of that, Rhonda kept in touch throughout the day and I was able to watch with a local Duranie friend.  It was all good in my world!

As 9pm, my time, rolled around, I was glad that I had turned the computer on when I did as I had to install some new flash update or something.  After I did that, I was able to sit back and wait for my friend as strange Duran interviews played on the screen.  These interviews were not typical ones as they answered questions that aren’t usually asked.  For example, each band member was asked what moment in their lives they would like to go back to in order to experience it again.  Simon said something about the night they wrote their first song together (Sound of Thunder).  Roger discussed how he wanted to experience the first time he heard Planet Earth on the radio.  John’s comments were about the first time the band landed in the States.  I can’t remember what Nick said because it was strange!  (Anyone remember???)  These interviews increased my excitement, especially since I thought they all looked so fabulous!

Once the show started, my friend, Deb, and I were both a little shocked by what we were seeing on the screen.  We kept switching cameras in order to find the camera that would show the clearest coverage of the band.  (I should note that there were 3 camera choices.  One was the Lynch version.  Another was a fishbowl camera of the crowd and the third was a fun cam, which also seemed to be mostly crowd.)  After switching a number of times, we ultimately landed back on the Lynch camera.  Then, we had to sit back and wait to get used to the visuals.  To be fair, I don’t think I really understood how the visuals were going to work.  I assumed that we would be able to see the band clearly and in color.  I thought there might be interesting backgrounds, which is a common experience at Duran shows.  I also thought there might be some flashes of different images but this was almost like there were layers of screens, figuratively.  The first screen showed the band.  Then, the second, turned the color image to black and white.  The last layer had some other images or images on top.  In some ways, it reminded me of the screens the band used during Dirty Great Monster for their Red Carpet Massacre Broadway run in 2007 where there were layers of screens lowered in front of the band in order to superimpose color patterns and to hide the band some.  I thought that was absolutely wonderful so I had hopes that I would think the same thing here. 

I didn’t.  While I did get used to the visuals and seeing little of the band and what I did was in black and white, it still didn’t feel right to me.  Yes, it was cool.  Yes, many of the images were well thought and fabulous, but it wasn’t what I expect from a Duran show. The Broadway thing worked for me because it was fitting for the song AND because it was only for one song.  In general, when I am at or watching a Duran show, I want to see them perform.  I want to see the interactions between the band members.  I want the little looks from Nick and John in the silent way they seem to assess the show.  I missed any of the musical battles with John and Dom.  A show doesn’t feel like a show unless I can see Simon’s silly dance moves.  Yes, when I’m at a show, I like the backgrounds they have, but only when they enhance their performance.  If they were to overpower their performance, then they no longer serve their purpose, in my opinion.  At some point I realized that I was no longer watching a Duran show but something different.  I began to think of it more as an opportunity to listen to a show live while watching what could have been videos.  Then, I was able to relax more and take in both the music and the visuals.

From my perspective, musically, they were on!  I believe this to be true because I felt like singing along and I had a bit of the post show “high” that I normally do after a good show.  (For the record here, like Rhonda, I have and will criticize the band if they do not perform well.)  The setlist was pretty solid with only a few exceptions.  I was not wild about the part of the set that went from Hungry to Safe to Leave a Light On to Ordinary World.  I can also openly admit that I’m sick of HLTW and OW and I wasn’t really looking forward to Safe.  Despite this part of the set, I was impressed that they played a number of new tracks and felt that the end was awesome, except for Come Undone (another song I’m sick of).  Speaking of impressed, there were a number of songs where I felt that they really hit a home run.  The first song that really got me excited was Friends of Mine.  I have only seen that song performed once and would love, love, love that one to be a given on this tour.  I feel the same about Careless Memories.  As far as the new songs go, I was completely impressed with Leave a Light On.  It isn’t my favorite on the album but it sounded beautiful.  I loved hearing Leopard.  I’m not sure that I would say that Leopard was solid, though.  It seemed to me that it took a little while for Simon to be comfortable with it, which I hope gets better because it is my favorite part of the song.  I felt the same about Blame the Machines.  He just didn’t seem sure of himself.  I also think that Anna struggled with the new material.  I wasn’t sure what to make of the spoken word part of BTM or the female part of Safe.  That said, I hope to hear all of these new tracks in person myself.  It will be interesting to see which tracks they continue to play live and which ones they don’t.  They could always bring out other news ones, too, like Before the Rain and Too Bad You’re So Beautiful (hint, hint!).

Some of the new songs also suffered from the worst of the visuals, in my opinion.  Leopard started out with this cool, dark fog moving across Simon and Kelis’s faces.  That made sense to me and could have even begun to enhance the music.  Then, out of nowhere, there were these heads.  They appeared to be Mayan like heads that moved up and down.  Huh?  I don’t understand and they definitely distracted me (and made me laugh!).  Of course, the Mayan like heads weren’t the only weird images.  Can someone please explain the Barbies with red thongs and eight balls on their breasts that had Ds instead of number 8 on them?  What about the hot dogs and mice during Come Undone?  Those images did nothing but make me laugh and they complete took my focus away from the music, which is exactly what they should not have done, in my opinion.  Other images just seemed obvious and silly like the Earth during Planet Earth or the sun during Sunrise.  Now, I did think that some of the images were cool.  I liked seeing the close ups of both the bass and guitar in the beginning of Being Followed.  It reminded of the song, Careless Memories, during the 1984 concert production As the Lights Go Down.  (Maybe I was expecting something more like that??)  Some other pieces made me think.  I didn’t understand the use of the fork, for example, during Friends of Mine, but I appreciate that it made me think.

Perhaps, I was supposed to be thinking throughout the show and was just trying to enjoy it.  Maybe that is what I was doing wrong.  Nonetheless, I was still disappointed by not being able to really see the band.  I could have been okay with the visuals if they enhanced the mood of the song but too many of them seemed random and silly.  I’m sure that there are many fans out there that absolutely loved what they saw.  I get that.  I think that for me, when it comes to Duran, I want more pure music out of their live performances.  Thus, my expectations were for something completely different than what I got.  Now, that I know this, maybe I could watch it again and see it in a totally different light…


Duran Duran Unstaged – The Daily Duranie (In Person) Review!

When I thought about writing this review this morning, I had to make a decision whether I was going to write it solely on my experience being there in person; or make an effort to see the youtube version of the show so that I could gain the full 360 degree perspective.  While I am hoping to see the show in it’s entirety through youtube at some point, this review is written purely from what I saw at the show, both beforehand and during the performance – I left the show promptly after it ended, rather than sticking around to try and see friends and chat, which I will explain later.  I’m sorry to those I missed!

My date for the evening was my husband Walt – whom I am deeply indebted to at this point. (as if I weren’t before this show….) You’ll see why in a minute!   We arrived, no thanks to my GPS system in my car, at about 2:15pm.  There was already quite a line that had about 75 people ahead of us, but no matter – I’m not one for wanting to be in the front row anyway.  I like being back a bit so that I can really see the whole stage without craning my neck. (although I had to do that last night anyway)  Anyway, we got in line just as it started to sprinkle.  Thankfully though, there were awnings over parts of the building, and we simply stood under one and watched it first sprinkle, then rain.  I am getting over a cold, and in a fit of stupidity on my part, I did not bring a jacket with me (but managed to remember an umbrella!).  I started to shiver, but I was insistent that I would be fine.  Cold is fine.  Wet and cold, very bad.    So, off my dear husband went – I didn’t know where he was going, but he gave me his jacket and said he’d be back.  A while later he came back complete with a zip up hoodie, scarf and gloves for me.  Thank goodness for the Mayan being in the garment district of LA!!  I really think that is what kept me from having pneumonia this morning, so thank you dear.  During this time someone from the venue came out and explained the rules, told us what time the doors would open, how “paperless” ticketing works, etc.  We had been told doors would open at 5:30, but alas – 6:00 came and went before the line even began to move.  Then suddenly, just as the line really started moving someone came running back and said that if you were in the fan club you had to go to the will call booth and get your tickets, then go to the BACK of the line again.  Oh no way was I having that!  I ran and got the tickets as Walt stayed in line, then I got back in line with him in time to get to the front.  At this point, there was scuffle not in our line – but what I thought was the VIP entrance (it was).  Apparently a couple of fans got their tickets and then wanted to jump the line because like us, they’d waited all day (and in full disclosure they had been quite a bit ahead of us – but because she had to go get their tickets they’d lost their place).  The security people screamed, and I mean SCREAMED very crudely at them – using language that wasn’t really necessary, basically telling to F off.  I don’t know what happened but I did see them in the venue prior to the show so I have to think it all ended fine (although I don’t know where they ended up standing in proximity to the stage).  

I have to say that this “organization” was anything but.  In their usual sense of decorum, there was absolutely NO organization.  How hard would it have been to have one of the security people go down the line telling everyone that if you bought tickets through DDM fan club that you’d need to get them at the Will Call tent before the line started moving?  Better yet – how difficult would it have been to actually keep the event as “paperless”, especially since DDM had made sure to tell us all that was the way the event was going to be ran to begin with??  Once again, the fault here lies directly with the hamsters that run DDM – it’s not necessary for that type of disorganization to take place, and ultimately it makes the band look ridiculous to the very people (fans) that quite frankly – pay their damn salary.  It took me no more than 30 seconds to retrieve my tickets, and I had no problem with having to pick up my tickets – it’s that first we’re told it’s ticketless, then suddenly, without warning, we need a ticket to enter.  That just seems like a shoddy and poor way to run a business.  I don’t know – call me crazy but if I were running DDM, I would want to be respected.  Respect is earned.

With that nonsense behind us, we entered the Mayan.  The venue was gorgeous.  It looks nothing like the art deco architecture outside would indicate (and truth be told – I came to this club at some point during college, about 20 years ago – give or take, and it looked NOTHING like it does on the inside now!).  The interior design is all done in a Mayan theme, obviously.  Lots of fake rock, stone design work – almost like Indiana Jones in the Temple of Doom, so to speak.  As we entered the showroom, people were running, and I mean RUNNING, for the stage.  (how old are we again??)  I refused to do that, mainly because I didn’t see the point.  The front row was completely taken – and I like being back a bit from the stage anyway just so that I can see everything.  I also am a bit claustrophobic, and I don’t like being pressed at the stage.  We calmly walked over to an area between Simon and Dom (although as the evening wore on we were closer to Simon that I would have preferred.), and I think we were about 5 “rows” back.  I was in front of Walt to begin with, but people were pushing from behind so much that I felt very uncomfortable, so I moved back behind Walt – giving myself a little room in front of him.  I really wish I could have stood in front of him because he’s taller than I am so I had to peek around him constantly – but directly in front of him there was a woman with a Hello Kitty backpack that seemed to be using it as a weapon – so I was better off staying right where I was.  😀

I excused myself to find the Ladies Room, as almost immediately upon finding our spots I was getting tweets that the Mayan had a whopping 4 stalls – TOTAL – for women to use, and that concerned me!  I went up to find the bathroom, which was on the second level along with another bar and stairs up to the balcony (that was roped off for VIP).   The bathrooms weren’t horrible, just old and not spacious.  When I do a review – you get the whole deal!!

Back to the floor, the crowd had grown a bit, but it seemed that once you were about 10 rows out from the stage, the crowd thinned, and many had found a great standing place right by the railing (there was a floor section, then some stairs up to a pretty large secondary floor by the main bar).  It wasn’t long before David Lynch came out to tell us what to expect.  Basically for us, it would be a concert like any other.  He made sure to tell us that we would be able to view the ENTIRE show online for the next month or so, starting today.  I was excited by that because that way I could see what my friends were seeing at home.  Not too long after that, the lights went down and the show began.

To be honest, the beginning of the show is a blur.  It always is for me – I think it’s because I’m just too darn excited to process much at the time!  They opened with All You Need Is Now though, and that was fantastic.  I have to say that for me, the only way to describe seeing the band again was like finding water in the desert after like 3 days; just as you think you’re dying real water is found, and you are having trouble slowing yourself down – you want to drink the entire aquifer, but obviously you can’t take it all in and you know that if you don’t slow down you’re going to be sick.  That’s how the entire show felt to me, so as you’re reading this review – keep that in mind.

I can’t possibly describe every single song, so I will stick to the highlights.  The band sounded very strong overall.  It’s funny to me because as I was there watching I couldn’t help but feel like this was one of the best shows I’d seen from the band, performance wise.  They all looked very into it – lots of energy, lots of power, and Simon’s voice was top notch.  When I got home last night, and this morning though, the reviews I’ve seen from other fans weren’t that great.  A lot of people commented on the “many missteps” of the band – and yet I was there.  I didn’t see missteps.  A few things here or there yes – but in my opinion, those things kind of make the show!  Did I notice that Nick kind of slipped up on Girls on Film with the camera noise at the beginning?  Yes.  I also saw him sharing grins with the rest of the band, and I reveled in the fact that yes, Nick Rhodes actually made an error onstage and LIVED.    That kind of thing doesn’t hurt them, it makes them human.  If I wanted to see errorless – I’d go watch a robot, or better yet, I’d see Nick hit the “start” button and stand there (which he did LITTLE of last night!).

I was less than excited by the prospect of Gerard Way coming out and shining Simon’s shoes, much less singing with the band – but I have to give the boy props – he didn’t do a bad job.  I felt that he tried to overtake Simon’s singing a little bit and upstage him, but rest assured, nobody upstages Simon.  😉  Naturally seeing Mark Ronson play guitar with the Dom and the rest of the band thrilled me to pieces.  Mark is so unassuming up there.  He didn’t even look out at the audience and he barely held any kind of a gaze with the band.  I kind of think he was completely weirded out by the idea of playing with his idols – and that just endears him to me even more because he’s still “just a fan” in his own way.  I was very much less-than-impressed with Beth Ditto from Gossip; but I have to be fair, it wasn’t her singing that I wasn’t impressed with, it was the overall performance of Notorious.  I think she was far more than just a little nervous (she alluded to it several times before and after the song – you could see just how star struck she was to be onstage with Duran Duran and I can’t really blame her there), so I ended up just feeling a little sorry for her because I know I would have been very much the same. (my dream is to play the sax part for Rio with them!)   I was surprised to hear that they were playing Safe without Ana Matronic.  In my opinion, Ana is who makes the song.  The way she delivers her lines *makes* the song funky – and while I don’t feel the song is amongst the strongest on the album, I was hoping that live, the raw sound would make up for what I feel it loses in the recorded version.  Well, they played the song with Anna Ross doing Ana’s part, and I must say – she just doesn’t BRING it.  She sounds like a back-up singer, not like someone who has a vital part of the song.  Don’t get me wrong, I like Anna well enough, but she just doesn’t have the chops or the onstage persona to do this one any sort of justice.  I watched Anna throughout the evening, and this is one of the first times where I felt like she just phoned her performance in.  She was great with doing the high parts on All You Need Is Now, but other than that – she had to compete with the other female voices on stage, and I think that wore on her to a degree.  Even my husband commented on her seemingly lack of interest in the show, and that’s a shame.  I hope that changes as she grows more comfortable with the new material and her own place on stage.  I was more than amused with some of Simon’s new dance moves…going dead like a robot at the end of Blame the Machines…his swagger (for lack of a better descriptive term) during Leopard…and at more than one point I was concerned he was about to have a seizure, but that’s Simon.  Those moments make each show unique.

There were many “best parts” of this show for me, but one of them was seeing The Man Who Stole a Leopard played live with Kelis.  I really didn’t get her costume much – I figured she dressed like that because that’s who she is – only later did I understand the gold chains that went from her ears to her nose ring to be whiskers!  Regardless, I thought her performance was absolutely stunning and sent shivers down my spine.  I felt it was every bit as good as the album itself, if not better because it had that unrefined edge to it that made the song that much more sexy, with just the right amount of wrong – as I like to say!   I told my husband after it was over that I needed a cigarette.  He wasn’t amused for some reason.  😀  Another fantastic highlight, one that as a Duranie sent me as close to “the edge” as anything – was the performance of Friends Of Mine.  First of all, I love that they turned up Dom’s guitar.  Secondly, many are saying that his guitar playing wasn’t up to snuff and that he was coming in early and chopping up the music.  I was there, directly in front of him, and I didn’t hear any of that.  I thought it sounded great, but I am really hoping to get video of that song at some point because I’m more than willing to admit that I was so into the song and the band as a whole, that perhaps I missed it.  Regardless, for me it was the best they’d played that song in a long time and I’m glad they dusted it off for the show.  Another fantastic moment was Sunrise.  We Duranies know our parts, and know them well.  There were very few who didn’t reach up for the sunrise as if on cue during that song – I dare say that even my daughter’s dance team couldn’t have timed the moves better.  It’s rare when I feel like the fan base is completely in sync (whether it’s figuratively or otherwise), but during that song – we really were one.  Sunrise is a song that has become somewhat of an anthem for the band and the fans.  It’s good to see them play it, it feels good to live it, and it’s almost somewhat of a surprise that a song written so “late” in their career has become that much of an icon to all of us.  Makes me wonder if All You Need Is Now will become another one of those anthemic moments.  Even this morning, I still feel as though this show was one of the best I’d seen.

As the show continued, I took moments to look around the audience, especially during the newer songs.  It quickly became clear to me that not many actually KNEW the new material, which really surprised me. I hope that as the tour goes on, this will change so that there’s a little more energy during songs like Blame the Machines and Being Followed.  Girl Panic! was received extremely well by the audience though, so I expect to see that continued in the setlist for a long, long time.

After the show, I immediately turned to my husband and said “Let’s get out of here.”  I had a great time, but my body was completely spent.  It was hurting for me to take deep breaths, and I knew I’d be in for it this morning.  I wish I’d gotten the opportunity to stand around and see people I haven’t seen in 3 and 4 years now, but I have to believe good times are still ahead for both the fans and this fantastic band!! – R

The Daily Duranie Review – All You Need Is Now DVD (included in US Deluxe versions)

Originally today we were going to review the CD packaging for the deluxe version – it’s the first time that we’ve been able to hold the final product in our hands and actually get a good view of the artwork and the overall package, so we were anxiously anticipating our review session.  Leave it to my husband to change my plans…he thought he was being sneaky this morning and stole my CD case off of the counter, assuming that the CD was inside and he could listen to it on the way to work this morning.  Well, he only had the DVD, and that my friends, is what he gets for trying to steal my new prized possession!   In any case, we have switched gears and will give the DVD a review today.

I know that for many of you, there hasn’t been the opportunity to view the DVD as of yet.  For reasons I don’t quite understand, the DVD wasn’t included in the UK deluxe versions.  Instead, they were given an extra CD of remixes.  I, on the other hand, have not heard the remixes – so if you’ve got them, drop Daily Duranie a line and let us know what you think of them!  Our intention here isn’t to be the big spoiler, we just want to share our thoughts of what was included on the DVD.


Rhonda’s notes:

Interestingly enough, I immediately noticed that most of the footage on the DVD was things I’d already seen. The making of AYNIN for instance, was completely of things that had already been shown on, facebook, and probably even DDM.  That disappointed me somewhat because I would have thought there would more new footage.  Unfortunately because of the fact my darling husband has my CD package – I’m unable to recall ALL of the sections that were included. (mainly I can’t think of their titles.  Hopefully Amanda can help me out with that.  *note to self: smack Walt later*)  There was a very short section that was behind the scenes on the video (again, we’ve seen it) and a section on working with Mark Ronson that was really interesting (short – but how much more in depth can they get about Mark wanting to make the album they should have made after Rio??)….the reality for me was that none of that really mattered.  I mean, they were really nice tidbits, but the real “meat” of the DVD was the very last section, or item on the menu: Album commentary!  The band sat down and discussed what went into the making of each song.  I’d heard much of what went into the song All You Need Is Now, but I hadn’t heard much about the rest of them – the DVD did not disappoint.  The band really shared some of the more behind the scenes process that goes into the making of each song, which was very interesting.  I really hadn’t given much thought to the songwriting process over the years.  What struck me the most was just how creative Simon has to be with his lyric writing.  Ideas would strike him from the most ordinary things – I suppose that’s just how the mind of a writer works.  I’m not a poet (obviously), and I think calling myself a writer is really a stretch, so hearing this about Simon was really fascinating.  I guess that for me, I was just very interested in the process.  I’ve been a fan for 30 years now, and I’m ashamed to say that I really didn’t understand much of what goes on when they go in to write an album.  I’m one of those people who sits back in frustration when I hear of things they’ve “shelved” or given up on, as though I think they should be able to finish everything they start.  After watching the album commentary, I have to say I’ve changed my thinking quite a bit.  I also have a huge increase in appreciation for the songs on this album that I might have cast aside a day or so earlier.  From learning just how focused Mark Ronson was about making this follow up album that when they were working on Girl Panic!  he wanted Roger to play the same drum rhythm as Rio (as well as bass, synths, etc.) to Simon and Mark taking a field trip to the Tate Modern to get ideas for lyrics on Other Peoples Lives.   I can’t go on about the commentary enough.  I found myself saying how genius the writing of the album really was – over and over again – while watching!  The album commentary alone is something that I think every serious fan should watch and would absolutely enjoy; and I really hope the band does more of this in the future.   -R

Amanda’s notes:

To fill in for her partner’s lack of an actual DVD, the sections of the DVD are as follows:  The Making of All You Need Is Now, All You Need Is…Mark Ronson, The Art of Clunie Reid, On Set at the Photoshoot, All You Need Is Now-Official Video, Behind the Scenes-the Video Shoot, Track by Track-The Band Describe the Creative Process. 

My reaction to the DVD was very similar to Rhonda’s on the surface, in terms of what new footage it offered.  I was able to pop in the DVD for a few minutes at work during lunch just to see what was on it and was initially very disappointed that there didn’t seem to have much new on it.  For example, the making of All You Need Is Now was originally put online as the EPK.  We have all seen the official video for AYNIN, too.  When I got passed that reaction, I noticed that we have already commented on many of these elements.  Rhonda commented on the EPK on December 20, 2010, and can be found here:  Poptastic.  We have also commented on Mark Ronson, which can be seen here:  Thanking Ronson.  The art work created much discussion within the fandom and couldn’t be ignored.  We talked about it here:  So About that Artwork.  We definitely reviewed the video here:  AYNIN-The Daily Duranie Review.  We also reviewed all of the iTunes original nine songs as well during the month of December.  In fact, we covered everything so well that I was really hoping that the videoshoot and photoshoot behind the scenes stuff would make the DVD worthwhile.  Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.  They are both terribly short.  Really short.  Of course, after watching the photoshoot footage, I was really left wondering where those pictures actually are because they looked fabulous!  At this moment, I put all of my hope into the part on Mark Ronson, Clunie Reid and the track by track commentary.

The Mark Ronson segment wasn’t much of a surprise really.  I know the story about how big of a fan he is and how he wanted to help them make new Duran “classics”.  I love that idea and very much feel that they were able to achieve that.  Most of the segment featured the different members of the band talking about why Mark is such a great guy and the “perfect producer” for Duran Duran.  Despite knowing all of this, I was able to pick out a couple of very interesting lines.  The first line that caught my attention is when Nick commented about how Mark was able to pick a gem from what is being played.  I would think that would be particularly important because of how Duran writes their material.  I would like to think that a good producer would need to be able to hear something really worthwhile in the middle of what might seem like a nonsense type jam.  Soon after Nick’s statement, Mark commented that he wondered where these songs were for the last 20 years?  I have to agree.  How come other producers couldn’t get Duran to make an album like this?!  Roger sheds a little light on that, perhaps.  He commented about how the band was so busy trying to “find new ground and be contemporary” that they forgot themselves.  Maybe the other producers just let them do that and Mark didn’t?  Thus, I appreciated this segment because it shed some light on why Mark Ronson was able to help Duran do what they did with this album.

The Clunie Reid piece was interesting to me as the artist gave some insight as to how her artwork is made.  As soon as she emphasized using the camera flash to make an effect, I understood completely why Nick was drawn to her, as a photographer himself.  I also thought it was interesting that while Nick provided the pictures to use, which she mentioned were a lot of girls at parties (go figure!), she was able to come up with something on her own.  She didn’t rely on them to direct the project but had freedom to do her own thing.  I respect the band for allowing her to have artistic freedom like that.

Speaking of respect, like Rhonda, my respect for the songwriting process increased after watching the track by track commentary.  I found it fascinating to hear the different stages the songs went through on their journey of becoming a finished product.  I have already found myself listening to certain songs differently after hearing what the band was thinking when they wrote them.  One of the thing that I thought was really cool about the album commentary was seeing all of the footage from the studio.  Clearly, the footage was recorded at different times as both Simon and Mark’s looks changed throughout.  It made me really want to be a part of their creative process.  Perhaps, that is one of the reasons I enjoy writing this blog and our book.  They have inspired us to do more than just be fans but to harness that energy into something productive.  I know that I really felt that way after seeing all of the little post it notes with titles and words on them.  I thought that was a pretty cool way of keeping inspiration as well as focus alive. 

All in all, I thought the DVD offered a serious glimpse into what making this whole project was like.  Duran Duran, as we all know, is more than just music.  They pride themselves on being a complete package and this DVD shows that.  Yes, the bulk of it was about the music, but there were segments on the video, photos and artwork.  The DVD definitely enhanced my appreciation of a project that I already love.

Release Day Much?

Happy March 22nd everyone – or as I like to call it “Thank goodness the countdown is freaking OVER!”  I’m going to quickly apologize for what you’re about to read, because I am sick.  Not sick “in the head”, but truly sick.  You know that “man-flu” that Simon and John had last week?  Well, I have something similar, but of course in ways that only my own gender can manage – it’s a bitch!  You’d think I would be in bed today, but alas – I’m female.  We carry on.  Besides, I had two children to get off to school and a Deluxe Best Buy exclusive CD to go purchase for this very blog today.   I’m sick, just a bit grouchy….and quite honestly…shivering as I type.  Is this dedication or stupidity??   Don’t answer.  I don’t wanna know.

Our plan was simple.  Get the CD and review the packaging today.  I started panicking a little yesterday because the pre-order didn’t get here – normally when I pre-order from Amazon, I get the CD the day before it comes out.  I love that about Amazon.  Well, this time I didn’t order from Amazon.  I ordered from a company that is sending me a signed copy of the deluxe version (we all know who that is, but because I’m not happy with said company at the moment – I’m not advertising for them.), and although they claim to have sent it – it’s not in my mailbox as of yet.  So, my backup plan was to go to Best Buy and pick up another deluxe copy because it has songs on it that my other copy won’t have.  Whose brilliant idea was that, anyway?  Show yourself and prepare to be flogged!    I called Best Buy last night, knowing a contact at a local store that would set one aside and hook me up.  Well, that contact told me that his store, as well as the other local store I frequent – sent their copies back.  Their stores have very limited shelf space, and in his words “Duran Duran just doesn’t sell.”  I was surprised mainly because this is a Best Buy exclusive.  You’d think that the store would at least carry a couple of copies, if for no other reason than to say they tried!  This morning I got up, promptly noted that I was A. Feverish  B. Probably dying or at the very least dizzy from an inner ear issue, oh and C. Realized that it was release day and I had nothing to look at, listen to, hold or even use as a coaster if it sucked.  (I’m kidding about that last part.  For THIS album, anyway.)   I got up, prayed a shower would warm me up and make me feel human…and got on with my morning.

At this point, I checked Facebook, cursed at the hundreds of others that had their CD (Because for today at least, this is the way I am.  I’m weak, annoyed, and damn it – everyone should love me.)  and posted my Best Buy debacle.  I then got several text messages and a phone call from Amanda letting me know that her Best Buy must be in the Duran Duran PRIDELANDS because there are 18 freaking copies at her store.  Of course there are.  She’s kind enough to pick me up one, (which is fair play because I have her signed one coming to my house – then I’ll be forwarding it on to her) but both of us agree that I really should make the 25 minute drive to Best Buy, preferably one that I didn’t check stock with last night, and see if they’ve got anything.  So off I go.

I get to Best Buy, wait outside for 5 minutes because they open at 10am (keep in mind that time is ticking away here – my youngest is in preschool for the morning.  I have approximately 2 and a half hours of “me” – HA don’t I wish!!! – time before I go pick her up.), and promptly at 10, go in with the half dozen other crazy people that needed to be there when the store opens.  I briefly considered that perhaps I wasn’t the only Duran Duran fan wanting their newly minted copy of All You Need Is Now, then I realized that my cold drugs were kicking in so obviously I wasn’t thinking clearly.   I went into the store, and on the way back to the CD section I was asked three separate times if I needed help.  Looking back, I don’t know why I didn’t say yes – but I didn’t.  I figured it would be fairly easy to find a new release, especially of a band as auspicious as Duran Duran.  Of course I’d find it!  Amanda said there were like 18 copies at her store!  This is Orange County California – there should be at least that many!  Well, first I looked in the regular CD section.  They not only had nothing, they didn’t even have a nice little divider card with their name on it.  That’s when I started getting nervous.  Then I went to the New Release “showy” racks at the front of the department.  Let’s see – they had The Strokes, Kanye West, Taylor Swift (that damn album isn’t even NEW anymore!!!), and a whole bunch of others that I don’t care about.  No Duran Duran.  So then I start looking for someone to ask.  There isn’t a blue shirt to be found.  Where in the hell did they all go?!?  That’s when I started thinking it was a conspiracy.  Obviously.   So, I finally get pissed off and go up to Customer Service.  The woman behind the counter says “Oh yeah, I’ve seen it.  I remember looking at it and saying ‘Wow – I didn’t even know they were still together!'”  I take a deep breath, mainly so I don’t unleash on the poor girl.  She must sense my annoyance because she immediately goes on a hunt for it, stopping at three tables and then saying “Oh, you know what, it must still be in the back!”   She goes to the back, comes out and tells me they don’t have it.  I say “Yeah, see that’s fine except your little website says you do, so I wonder where it is?”  I even tell her all about how it’s a Best Buy exclusive,and that it’s got two songs on it that you can’t get anywhere else, and that I need to write a blog about it…TODAY.  Then she starts apologizing.  She finds two other guys to help her and at this point there are 3 blue shirts crawling around on the floor looking through every single shelving rack that was out, on the hunt for Duran Duran (I swear I could say a quote from Barbarella here….but I will refrain.)  Finally and triumphantly she shouts with glee “I found them!!”, and there in her hands are not one, but two copies of the album.  She then told me that they only got the Best Buy exclusive version, not the regular album – but the deluxe, and that I am going to be buying one of the two copies they will ever get in stock, because their store won’t re-order.  “Duran Duran just doesn’t sell.”, she tells me.

At this point, I’m leaning up against a shelf, trying to steady myself because I can tell my fever is back up and running again.  I go and buy the copy, being congratulated by the clerk for making them find the album, and I run out of the store – ready to listen to all of the songs to my hearts content.  FINALLY.

I’ve listened to most of the album at this point, and I’m looking over the packaging with a fine tooth comb.  Later as I am gripping a box of kleenex, my blankie (yes, I have a blankie – it’s an afghan that my grandma crocheted for me when I was about 4 and went into the hospital to have my tonsils out) and a pillow – I will watch the DVD.  Tomorrow, I will comment.

Until then, have fun finding the CD.  I do have plenty to say about this release and the various “exclusive deluxe copies that you can’t buy anywhere else!”, but I’ve decided that until I can think clearly – I’ll wait to comment.  I’m at least that kind….sometimes.