Before we begin our review and reactions from the Facebook Premiere of A Diamond in the Mind yesterday, the blog has hit a milestone that we’d like to share and celebrate with all of you. As of yesterday, our blog hit 100,000 page views!! That’s amazing, and we have all of you to thank! It was back during the beginnings of our blog in January of 2011, when we heard from someone who came to be one of our most inspirational readers and kept us going when we weren’t sure anyone besides ourselves and a handful of close friends were reading. That person simply encouraged us to keep writing and sharing our story, and we have. We have you to thank, Enitupsar for keeping our spirits up and all of your wonderful support. We really can’t put into words how much we thank you! Not sure if you still read, but if so – we hope the blog continues to both entertain and enlighten. (at least we try!)
So yesterday was the big Facebook/Qello Premiere! Did you catch it? Daily Duranie (both of us) saw the premiere as we chatted via phone. Both of us also had our iPads out so that we could tweet & chat. It was technologically very overwhelming, and we don’t mind saying that after the show, we were exhausted, and it wasn’t even our own production! Overall, the technology behind the premiere worked, but not without various bugs and issues. Success in viewing the broadcast depended upon what a viewer was attempting to watch it on (PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, SmartPhone, etc.) and what type of browser they were utilizing. To begin with, many people were frustrated with a blank screen and continued to refresh until finally a video appeared…a sigh of relief was heard worldwide! Some others had trouble chatting, it was extremely slow depending upon what you were viewing the broadcast from. Many people, including Daily Duranie, noticed that the broadcast was not nearly as clear as we would have expected. At times the resolution would improve, but then in others it was extremely pixelated. The technical reasons (warning: this is being translated rather poorly from “engineer-speak”) behind that include that the information rate coming to your modem might be slow, and also that unlike YouTube, who has servers in every major regional area of the US, Qello likely does not; therefore broadcasting from one central location – bit rate gets lost, and pixelation happens! Still one other problem was that the commentary for the first portion of the show was unheard by many. It wasn’t until after 25 minutes into the broadcast that people started figuring out how to get the commentary to work. Even in the case of Rhonda, once she figured out what to click or unclick for the commentary – it wasn’t until she refreshed the page several times that the commentary finally began to work. Fans are still confused (including us) whether this commentary was truly exclusive for this premiere only or if it is to be included on the DVD. Obviously we would hope it was included somewhere because there was so much information – the show itself, chatting with fans across the world and the commentary on top of it all – one would truly need to view it all more than once to really grasp everything that was happening.
Where to begin with the commentary? It took some adjustment in getting used to the fact that while you’re watching the show, all of the sudden the music would lower in volume and you’d suddenly hear Nick, John, Roger or Simon. The information given was enlightening, in particular during the few moments when they’d speak about the show itself rather than the history of each song. It’s not that we didn’t want to hear the history of the songs of course, but it was more pertinent to the DVD when the commentary was about the Manchester show. For example, Amanda really liked hearing Nick talk about the heads above the stage and how difficult it was to program them to be in complete sync with the sound. Both Amanda and Rhonda were reminded of how fabulous Leopard is live when they were discussing the decision to have everyone clap in unison during the beginning of that song. (It really is one of the most special parts of the show when you turn around and see that every single person in the venue is clapping together – this song deserves to be PUT BACK IN THE SETLIST!) Rhonda loved hearing John talk about the ending moment of Rio and that feeling of exhilaration we all feel, that the show can’t possibly end. It was those moments that made the commentary so special and we really wish we could hear it all again.
The show itself of course, was amazing. It reminded both of us of all the UK shows over again and how special each one truly was. We are both anxious to watch the DVD again simply because with so much going on, there were assuredly many subtle moments that were missed due to so much additional stimuli. We need to watch the DVD again in the somewhat peace of our homes. We need to watch with no one around so that when we squee over John and Dom playing Hungry Like the Wolf right in front of the camera no one threatens to send us to the funny farm or divorce us…well, Rhonda. (*ahem*)
Immediately following the show was the question and answer session. Fans submitted questions to Qello that would be answered by the band. Part of the issue here was that there were no clear expectations set for fans by either the band or Qello. None of us really knew how this portion of the broadcast would be handled. We didn’t know how long the band would be “chatting”, we were unaware of whether this would be via phone, internet, video, etc, nor did we know how many FAN questions would truly be addressed. As such, there were many, possibly unrealistic, expectations on the part of the fans, including Daily Duranie. Basically, several still photos of the band came on the screen in a sort of slideshow type presentation while very poor audio quality voice-over was running in the background. One had to have their speakers turned all the way up, and even then it was difficult to hear the band – the only way we can really describe this is to have you picture a conference call or even a radio interview heard online. The sound was that poor. So, any thoughts of actually chatting with the band or connecting with them were instantly put to rest. There was an interviewer who asked questions of the band that were handed off to her by another employee of Qello – so there was really no communication between the band and fans as was likely expected by many. During this question and answer session, it appeared that very few fan questions were actually asked – the band spent twenty minutes on phone with the Qello interviewer, and of that time, we believe that there were about 5 questions that were addressed as being “Fan” questions. Of course, there could have been more than that asked – but only 5 were given a fan name and location (of the fan). Many fans were disappointed that so few fan questions were addressed. Naturally, the explanation was given that there were thousands of questions submitted and so only a few could be asked, but that begs the question as to why the interviewer simply didn’t just stick to fan questions. I suppose we’ll never fully know that answer. For the most part, it would seem that diehard fans (and we have to assume that it was mainly diehard fans that tuned in) really didn’t learn anything new from the Q&A, although it was still entertaining. Once again we have to say – if expectations are set in advance and information is given openly, perhaps just maybe, less people would be disappointed. Maybe.
The fan reaction to the entire broadcast varied wildly. Many fans enjoyed the show, as did we, but the Q&A did ultimately seem to fall very flat and ended the “party” on a down note, unfortunately. Plenty of fans commented very publicly that the Q&A felt much more like a recorded broadcast than a live show. We would have to agree, even though we are well aware and convinced that it was in fact – live! (Note to band: there’s no need to post photographic evidence because those conspiracy theories are going to run wild no matter what. You’re dealing with a very cynic and stubborn bunch!) Our point is simply that due to the band needing to call in and not interact directly with fans, it just felt like we were listening to a radio interview. Not that it wasn’t interesting or that it wasn’t live – it was, but it didn’t have that same excitement as even tweeting with John or Simon when they are on Twitter. It just wasn’t the same. Perhaps for future shows like this, it would be easier for all involved to really do something using Twitter. Nick took to Wendy Laister’s Facebook page (via Wendy of course!) after the show, responding to comments that fans didn’t believe the call was live – and in doing so he also answered a few questions from fans on her page. Just taking the short amount of time to speak directly with fans made all of the difference. Sometimes it’s not all the flashy technology, it’s taking that little bit of time. Five minutes of direct response on social media vs. twenty minutes of a third party interview…it’s worth considering at the very least. One might not need to spend six hours tweeting with fans during an all-day/evening tweetfest party such as Andy Taylor has done in the past, but we have to say the thought counts. There were many fans, however; that chose not to watch the broadcast at all, citing that they were getting the DVD and that they were insulted by the idea of having to pay money to see it online. We can’t even count how many times we have read those very words online in the past week or so. While yes it’s true that one needed to pay in order to see show, the amount of money was so nominal that it would seem other issues must really be involved and we have to ask why, and what can really be done to make a broadcast like this more attractive for fans in the future? Our fear is that there were so many small negatives, but negatives all the same commented about all over social media that there’s no way to get people interested enough to tune in next time…and yet for many yesterday (including Daily Duranie), we would easily do this again.
Both of us loved the show and we thoroughly enjoyed being able to chat with friends from all over the planet while watching. There was a sort of party atmosphere that took place, and while yes – we were definitely overstimulated after it was over, we would do it again in a heartbeat. None of the negatives, even the Q&A, were enough to make us not want to pay for another premiere. Just how often is one able to put aside their daily lives for an afternoon and get together with fellow fans and friends from all over the world and celebrate the band we all love? That’s what yesterday was truly about. Sure, we could really spend a lot of time and energy complaining about our high expectations, and we are sure that many Duranies will do just that – but at some point we have to realize that it was all FUN. The small stuff is really just that, the small stuff. We’ve learned over the past couple of years from writing the blog that Duranies are nearly impossible to please, and we are the most impatient bunch of people on the planet. We recognize that fact in both ourselves and in all of you (mostly). Yes, we could and probably do spend more than enough time complaining and probably not nearly enough time just enjoying the band…so we’re taking our time right now to thank them. We had a great time yesterday. We live about 2500 miles apart, and so seeing the premiere together would have been impossible without a plane ticket involved, and let’s be honest here – we try to save those plane tickets to come and see you, the band, perform. Yesterday was the closest we could come to seeing the show together, and we had an excellent time. We hope the band does it again and that more fans will join in on the fun and leave the negativity at the door because at the end of all of this, the memories we will have will be of laughing and celebrating our fandom with all of you – not of whether the Q&A session was live, how many of our fan questions were answered, or how sharp the resolution really was.
-A & R