Category Archives: 2011 All You Need Is Now UK Tour

But I’ll Hold On to the Memory…

I have been enjoying my brief holiday without work, class or other responsibilities (except this one!).  This time spent sitting and relaxing has allowed me a chance to think.  The other day I was reminded by a friend about how insane my life was just a year ago.  The reference this friend was making was a political one, but this led me to think about my life in a broader way.  What else was I doing a year ago besides being political activity?  Well, I’m sure that many of you remember that Rhonda and I were getting ready to go back to the UK in our second attempt to see Duran play in their home country.  A year ago, we were sweating over this idea of a labor strike blocking our travel arrangements.  Thanksgiving break wasn’t relaxing or enjoyable.  Instead, it was insane and stressful.  I could be looking back and thanking my lucky stars that I don’t have to deal with anything like that this year, but I’m not.  Why not?  It is simple.  That trip was too fabulous not to look back with anything but fondness.  On top of the memories surrounding that trip, I was reminded of a different kind of memory with our day in Duran history fact.  Today’s day featured a fact about the live album, Arena.  As soon as I typed that fact, I thought back to when I got that album.  It seems that some days, some times just lend themselves to memories.  Today is one of those days.

The memories that today brings up for me bring nothing but joy.  Both memories of the UK trip and the Arena album are positive ones for me.  While today’s day in Duran history fact surrounded the album peaking in the US in 1984, I did not contribute to that peaking because I didn’t get it until that Christmas.  I know that there are pictures out there of me listening to the album on the family record player on that Christmas day.  In fact, I also got a walkman that year so I decided to plug the headphones in so that I could listen more closely.  While these memories are fun on their own, I can look back to that particular Christmas and remember the overall holiday with fondness.  It was a Christmas sandwiched in between two not-so-fun years.  The previous year was a tough one for my household as my dad was in between jobs.  My parents did an amazing job still, ensuring that we still received gifts and didn’t feel the pressure that they were dealing with as much but we all knew it was there still.  By the time Christmas rolled around in 1985, my father had found a job and the family had moved 90 miles away.  Of course, these 90 miles away felt galaxies away as I missed my home and the best friend I had left behind.  Duran’s story, in some ways, mirrored by own as 1985 saw a serious transition for the band as they moved to their side projects.  Thus, Christmas 1984 represented the end of an era.  When I think back to myself on that Christmas day in 1984, listening to Arena on headphones, I see only innocence and joy.  Amanda then had no way of knowing exactly what was going to happen in 1985 and beyond.  Part of me definitely misses that innocence and the safety I felt then.

Last year, at this time, I definitely was longing for innocence and safety.  While I was longing for that, politically, I found myself wishing for that with my world of touring as well.  2011 saw all of us lose a little bit of our innocence when Simon lost his voice and the band had to cancel many shows.  Then, I think Rhonda and I were hoping to repair some of the damage done by going back to the UK a second time for shows.  We needed our Duran world to get right, much like my family needed to get right after my dad lost his job.  Then, we ran into another roadblock with the concerns over the labor strike and how that was going to impact our ability to even get to the shows.  As we now know, the labor strike did not cause us any problems.  In fact, in some way, it might have helped us at the airport.  We then went on to experience one of the best tours of our lives.  This tour was so amazing with the shows, with the other fans that it not only assured us that we had made the right decision to go back but it renewed our Duranie spirits.  Our Duran world was definitely made right on that tour. 

How do these memories connect other than they both relate to Duran?  I think the connection here is they both represent times when I, personally, needed things to be okay.  I needed my world to be right again.  As a kid, I couldn’t control much and Duran was used to bring me joy.  The Arena album did that in 1984.  It also marked the end to a much larger era, both for the band and for myself, personally.  Arena was the bookend for the first part of Duran’s career.  This part saw the band as the Fab Five reach massive commercial success and become the biggest band in the world.  The era that ended for me was living in the Chicago suburbs and having a connection to pop culture that my new town 90 miles away would not have.  As a grown up, I, too, discovered that I could not control everything and certainly couldn’t control political decisions in my state.  I also couldn’t control the vocal cord health of Simon LeBon.  The November 2011 tour was to assure me that, at least, one big thing in my life was going to be okay.  My Duran fandom would continue.  Luckily for me, that tour did allow my fandom to continue as all things Duran were right again. 

It seems to me that, sometimes, memories can remind us about good times, bad times and life lessons learned.  I think I feel extremely fortunate that Duran has been there for so many of my memories and all that comes with them.  In these examples, Duran has provided joy even when the rest of my world isn’t so joyful.  Perhaps, this is why I will choose to hold on to all of these memories.

-A

Way Better!

Today, I finish discussing the documentary featured on a Diamond in the Mind.  On previous Sundays, I talked about the highlights of 2011, Simon’s loss of voice, and the current band, including Dom’s place in it.  After those topics, the band talks about the Girl Panic video and summarize the year. 

In talking about the Girl Panic video, John mentions about how having the idea of the video was one thing but implementing it was another.  After all, they had to coordinate schedules among the band, the models, the director, the crew, etc.  I know how hard it is just to coordinate a few schedules for a weekend get together with friends.  I cannot imagine how tough this must have been.  Then, of course, Nick mentions how they edited the video to use in the show.  I will say this much.  As soon as the very first clip of the video appears on screen, a lot of people in the audience knows Girl Panic will be played.  I wonder what percentage of the audience has never seen it.  Are those people simply wowed?  Are they confused while watching the video?  Do they get it?  I am not criticizing anyone’s intelligence.  I just think it would be hard to really absorb all that is in that video by simply seeing it live in concert.  Plus, I can’t imagine that those people would just be watching the video and not Duran.  I know that whenever I’m at a show, I don’t completely see everything that is happening on stage and when there is a video to watch, I see even less as I’m torn between watching the video clip or the action on stage.  This, of course, leads to ask an important question here.  Why didn’t they include the video on this DVD?  Are they planning to release it in a separate DVD?  I suppose they could since there is a long version, a shorter version and, now, a version for the live show.  Perhaps, then, there could be extras like the making of the Girl Panic video.  I would be all for that!  Otherwise, if they aren’t planning on sharing it ever, I think they are short-changing the fans as many of us are collectors and would like to have a good copy to air on one’s TV set.  They are also short-changing themselves as that it is another possible source of income.

While on the topic of short-changing themselves and the fans, I don’t understand why they didn’t include the new anime version of Careless Memories that aired in many shows in the UK.  Rhonda and I saw this new clip for the first time in Birmingham.  They didn’t show it in the previous shows and I remember thinking how torn I was between watching the new anime or watching the band.  The one thing that we found particularly strange was that no one talked about this.  The band didn’t say anything.  I never heard anything from other fans either.  Was I dreaming this new anime clip?  Did Rhonda dream it?  Was it jet lag?  Here is a copy of the old one featured during 2004-2005.

This new one had a similar theme but there were some differences, from what I remember.  For example, some of the characters had afros and platform shoes with good 70s fashions.  Also, I distinctly remember that Nick had to call the “International Fan Club”.  So, again, I question if the band decided to update this very cool clip, why keep it a secret?  Why not share it?  This DVD would have been the perfect place since it was shown in the UK during that tour.

The tour was summarized by Simon at the end of the documentary by saying that the shows were better than ever and that audience responded with “gusto”.  I couldn’t agree more.  While I enjoyed the shows this summer, many of them did not compare with the shows we saw in Brighton and Glasgow, in particular.  Then, John summarized the year by saying that while the year didn’t go as planned, it went WAY better.  I can understand this idea.  I felt that way at the end of the year, too.  In the middle of the year, I was very worried when Simon couldn’t sing and when Duran’s future was very much in question.  I was still trying to recover from massive disappointment from traveling all the way to the UK for shows that didn’t happen.  Yet, just like John said, the year ended up well.  In fact, I would go so far to say that our second trip to the UK was not like how the first one was planned but it went WAY better.  In fact, overall, I thought that 2011 was a great year for Duran and their fans.  What do you think?

-A

The Current Band

Today, I’m continuing the discussion about the documentary included on A Diamond in the Mind.  Last week, the focus was on Simon’s vocal loss.  On the documentary, this leads right into a discussion on the current band, including the seven people on stage (the four band members, Saxy Simon, Anna and Dom), and how the sound is.  This, of course, leads me to think about the current live band and Dom’s role within it. 

On the documentary, Roger stated how the band was really a “tight unit” and John mentioned how this particular lineup has been playing together for 6 years now.  For John, this produces conditioning and a lot of fun.  As I listened to this, I was shocked that this group has been playing together for 6 years already!  It seems like just yesterday when Dom was filling in for Andy when he had to be gone due to his father’s death or his own illness.  It also seems like yesterday when Duran’s live saxophone player was fan favorite of Andy Hamilton.  This, of course, makes me realize that how quickly times flies!!  Of course, it also makes me think about if this is the best lineup, especially when it comes to that essential role of guitar. 

Roger discussed Dom at some length.  He pointed out that it was “tough” for Dom to come in and fill Andy’s shoes.  Yet, again, according to Roger, he came in “egoless” and just focused on his playing.  In Roger’s opinion, this focus rubbed off on the rest of the band.  Dom also spoke about great it has been for him, especially the last few months.  Obviously, I had quite a reaction to hearing this.  First, I thought about what I think about their live performance.  I have been seeing the band as often as I can since 2005.  While it is hard to objectively discuss the shows that I have been to since events surrounding the shows might affect my opinion, I have generally enjoyed every tour I have attended.  When I first saw Dom in the spring of 2005 when Andy was gone dealing with family issues, I didn’t notice him.  He didn’t take anything from the performances but I didn’t notice much to add to it either.  The summer of 2005 were the last shows I saw with Andy.  While I loved those shows, I noticed that there seemed to be a great divide between Andy and John.  There was no interaction and John and Andy seemed to stay just on their respective sides.  Then, 2006 saw the first shows after Andy, officially, left.  At this time, I did notice Dom and even welcomed him to the band (in my heart) after a fabulous performance in Chicago.  From then now, I have seen Dom step up and begin to own more and more of the show and become an equal participant on stage.  I, for one, love the DoJo (as I lovingly refer to it) or the interaction between Dom and John.  Clearly, the two love to play together and feed off of each other during shows. 

Another part of Roger’s statement about Dom is how he is “egoless”.  Now, obviously, I don’t know Dom, personally, so I cannot speak to the truth of this statement on a personal level.  As a player in Duran Duran, I think that the statement seems accurate.  As I stated earlier, the first times I saw Dom when he was just a fill in and I didn’t notice him.  I didn’t find myself saying that the guitar player was so awesome but I also didn’t say that the guitar player really sucked.  He faded into the background, then, and I appreciated that.  While I am glad that the sound was decent with him, I also found his performance respectful.  He didn’t try to step right into Andy’s shoes.  Instead, he understood the job and did just that, nothing more and nothing less.  Then, after Andy left, he started to inject himself more and more into the live performance.  This to me also felt right.  He couldn’t hide in the shadows forever.  I liked what he contributed then.  Now, of course, he has also been a writing partner for All You Need is Now.  Thus, to me, Dom has done what has been asked of him.  He held back when it was appropriate and stepped up as appropriate.  To me, it feels like he isn’t worried about himself as much as he worries about doing the job he was hired to do well.  I couldn’t ask for more, which is part of the reason I am definitely a fan and respect him.

When I watched the documentary and saw the discussion regarding the live show and Dom’s participation, I couldn’t help but to notice that the only people interviewed on this documentary were Simon, John, Nick, Roger and Dom.  Hmm…this, of course, kicks my overactive brain into gear.  How come they didn’t include Anna?  What about Saxy Simon?  Are their roles really that much smaller?  Could it be something else?  Could the band and their people be preparing the fans?  Could they be thinking about including Dom into the band as a permanent member?  Honestly, and this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who reads this blog, but I would support this.  We all know that Rhonda would support this.  Personally, Dom has paid his dues and proved himself to be a valuable contributor.  Now, of course, I know that there is a lot to this decision, including contracts, legal aspects, etc.  One factor has to be fan reaction and I, for one, is a fan who would welcome this. 

-A

What All You Need is Now Really Means

Today’s blog features a continuation of the documentary included on A Diamond in the Mind.  Last week, I discussed the band’s chosen highlights for 2011.  This post will focus on the second topic in the documentary, when Simon lost his voice/top part of his vocal range. 

When I watched the documentary, I was particularly keen to see this part as I knew that the loss of vocal range for Simon was a big problem in 2011.  As someone who was personally affected by this loss and the show cancellations that followed, I knew that it might create quite an emotional reaction for me.  Although, I thought it might be possible that enough time had passed that any emotional scar had been healed.  Plus, I had seen shows after this problem, which probably helped as well.  In case you weren’t reading the blog in May of 2011, I should probably tell you that Rhonda and I along with a couple of others traveled to the UK then to see four shows (Birmingham, Nottingham, Liverpool and London).  Unfortunately, on the way to the airport, we learned that the first 3 shows were canceled due to Simon’s problem with his voice.  We, obviously, opted to continue with the trip as we had plane tickets and other reservations already made.  Plus, we believed that we had a shot to see a show in London but that was not meant to be as Duran was forced to cancel the entire UK tour and the summer shows in Europe.  It was definitely a dark, scary time for all of us as no one knew, for sure, if Simon would heal or if it was the end of the band. 

In the documentary, Simon describes what happened when he lost the high range of his voice.  Then, each member took time to discuss the significance of this event on both the band and the current project, AYNIN.  A number of comments from the band members stood out to me.  First, Nick mentioned how they were initially in denial and hoped that they would only have to cancel a few shows.  I wasn’t surprised by that statement.  While in the UK, Rhonda and I managed to find ourselves outside their rehearsal studios.  That day, which is featured on the documentary, was the day that they came to the studios to see if Simon would be able to perform.  Clearly, he was not and they were forced to cancel the whole UK tour.  While outside, we did see the band enter and exit the studios.  Some band members seemed to be in fairly good moods when entering, including Nick.  He had a slight smile to his face as he walked by and waved to the fans.  When he left, though, he had a completely different facial expression.  He looked devastated as did John.  Simon, on the other hand, came to talk to the group of us outside before he went in.  He knew that it didn’t look good and he told us so.  He was already devastated. 

Other comments from the documentary that caught my attention were the ones in which various band members discussed how they didn’t know if it was the end of the band or not.  Roger referenced that time as “looking into a blackhole”.  John pointed out that they couldn’t help but to wonder if it was the end.  This, of course, brought me right back to that time.  What did I think?  What did the rest of the fan community think?  Did we think like the band did?  Personally, I have to admit that I did think it was the end, especially since no one really seemed to know what really went wrong and how to fix it.  I was definitely concerned that the damage was permanent.  I even had the nerve to question what the end of the band would be like in this blog even though I never came out to say that I thought it was the end.  I suppose that part of me was trying to cushion the blow that I thought would certainly come.  I wanted to be as prepared as possible.  How did people react to my questioning?  Not good.  Not good at all.  I was criticized for being dramatic or for being negative.  It felt to me like a lot of fans were just like the band with that hard to overwhelm denial.  I didn’t blame anyone for feeling that way.  After all, Nick had the same thing.  I did, too, until I saw Simon that day.  I saw his fear, his worry.  Then, I knew it was bad.  Yet, the band wasn’t expressing this fear in public.  Instead, they were expressing confidence that Simon would be back and that shows would be rescheduled soon.  I get that attitude now.  Maybe I should have gotten it more then.  Oh well. 

Thankfully, Simon did recover.  In the documentary, the band expressed almost gratitude for this experience.  John, for example, discussed how they handled it gave them strength and brought them closer.  Roger talked about how it made the tour have more meaning.  Dom mentioned how Simon is actually better and stronger now.  I definitely can relate to all of those things.  First of all, I think Rhonda and I became closer from having experienced this together and I think that when we went back for the rescheduled shows, they did mean more to us.  We probably had a WAY better experience because of it, too.  As for Simon, I agree that he is sounding better than ever and a song like Before the Rain really showcases it and allows him to start the shows in a helpful way.  Thus, I think Simon’s loss of his voice was positive, in the long run.  The band appreciated things more when they were able to return.  Perhaps, as John stated, they really did learn was “all you need is now” means.  I know that I learned a very valuable lesson then, which is to live in the moment and do not put off what you can do now.  The documentary was a good reminder of this lesson and one that I needed in order to keep focused on the now.

-A

Let It Shine–2011 Highlights

Last Sunday, I talked about the documentary featured on Duran’s latest DVD release, A Diamond in the Mind.  I questioned why it wasn’t talked about more and then I introduced the main topics of the documentary.  Before I dive into the first of those big topics, I want to explain what I learned after last Sunday’s blog.  The reason that many people aren’t talking about this documentary is because they don’t have it.  Apparently, the iTunes version, for example, did not include extras.  Thus, the only people who have access to it are people who bought actual copies (DVD or Blu-ray).  There was also some confusion between this and the commentary.  Let me do my best to clarify.  The commentary is not included on the actual copy of ADITM.  The commentary was played on the day that ADITM premiered through the Qello application on facebook.  Later, it was made available to download on Eagle Rock.  This was/is the only means I know of obtaining it.  The commentary is much like a movie commentary in which voices talk about the show over the original visuals.  The documentary, on the other hand, is available only on actual copies and features interviews with the band as well as other footage, including behind the scenes shots. 

The first main topic of the documentary is the 2011 highlights, according to the band.  Nick introduced this topic by talking about how the year was so exciting and renewed their music and live show.  Simon then listed many of their highlights, including the release of All You Need Is Now and their participation in some American festivals like South by Southwest and Coachella.  Nick and John later discuss the Unstaged show with David Lynch.  After watching, I wondered if I agreed with their assessments and what my own highlights were.  Let’s take each of those 3 highlights, one at a time. 

The first highlight that the band mentions is the release of All You Need is Now.  I would think that anytime the band releases an album that must be THE highlight of that year since they haven’t released that many albums.  It isn’t like they release an album a year or more than one album a year.  Writing, recording, mixing, and putting out an album must be an incredible amount of work.  I really can’t wrap my head around how much work it must be.  I know how hard it is to write a book.  Maybe I could compare book writing to album making.  Like recording an album, you can’t just sit down and publish a book.  You have to take time to outline the book/chapter, then you have to write it which often takes a great deal of time as serious revisions can happen.  You start thinking the chapter might be one way only to have it go in a completely different direction.  I am sure the same thing happens to songs.  Then, you still have to edit, perfect, add, change, fix everything that is written.  Even after that, there are more details to add.  In our case, for example, we add quotes to separate sections of a chapter.  Perhaps, this is like all of those little sounds, pieces that get added to Duran songs.  Once all of that is done, there is still all the packaging that needs to be figured and what is going to be included, etc.  My point is simple.  Releasing an album is a ton of work and a super big deal.  Of course, the other important detail to this highlight is that the album is FABULOUS.  Frankly, this album should always be a Duran highlight and not just for 2011.  It is a career highlight, in my opinion.  It is filled with quality music that feels like essential Duran.  If anything, I was surprised that they didn’t talk more about the album on this.  Although, maybe they felt like they shouldn’t because the iTunes version was available at the end of 2010. 

The next highlight was American festivals.  They mentioned South by Southwest briefly before spending more time talking about Coachella and the scene there with the sunset that really created a special moment for the band.  I wasn’t surprised that they talked about this one as I know John talks about it in his book.  (Hope that wasn’t too spoilerish!)  I also know that it was a huge crowd and that this festival is a big deal in comparison to many other ones.  It was one of those shows that aired online at the same time they played so that the rest of us, who weren’t there and wouldn’t step foot on a festival’s grounds even if paid, could watch it.  I enjoyed the show.  I did and I thought that the band sounded really tight that night.  Thus, I completely understand why it was a highlight for the band BUT I don’t know that it was a highlight for a lot of us, fans.  Obviously, fans, like me, would have a different set of criteria.  Festivals aren’t for fans.  Yes, some fans attended, including some friends of ours, but they typically don’t get to play a full set and include ONLY greatest hits and a few new ones.  Yes, I realize that appearances in festivals could broaden the fanbase.  I get all that.  Yet, when I think highlights, I think it has to either be something that had a HUGE impact on a large number of fans or majority of fans or really do or say something about the band’s success.  This event didn’t do it.  Frankly, they should have mentioned those rehearsal shows in the UK in the late summer of 2011 in which Simon practiced his voice for the first time since he had vocal problems and in which the band played lots of obscure songs in small venues filled with all fans.  I wasn’t there at any of those shows but I do know that they meant everything to all of us.  It was proof that Simon was going to be okay and that the band would continue.  That meant everything. 

The last big highlight that was mentioned was the Unstaged performance/production with David Lynch.  For this, the band played a live show in Los Angeles while the David Lynch production was streamed online with numerous effects and images shown on top of shots of the band performing.  Again, I wasn’t surprised that the band mentioned this one.  After all, many (most?  all?) of them are fans of David Lynch’s.  It also got a lot of attention.  I think there is something to be said for doing something different or showing something different.  I applaud it for that.  Yet, I know that when I watched it, I found myself either wondering what the heck was now on the screen or why I couldn’t just see the band perform.  In my opinion, it was too much style and not enough substance.  All of those images almost took away from the quality of the band’s performance.  As a Duranie, I don’t mind some additions to a live performance but this felt like it wasn’t a live performance and I was sad by that.  My full review of this could be read here.  As I said there, it was cool, to some extent, but I missed just seeing the band.

If I had to say what the band’s highlights of 2011 were, I think I would have to say the album’s release, the return of Simon with those rehearsal gigs and the UK tour at the end of the year.  I’m not surprised that my highlights for the band didn’t match theirs.  After all, we have different priorities.  My highlights have to impact a lot of us or all of us.  For them, they thought about their personal highlights or thought about those big events that are easy to pick out.  I get that.  I can understand that.  My highlight choices are personal, too.  Did those events I mentioned help the band’s career, though, at the same time?  I actually think they do.  It is a big deal to release an album and an album with super quality.  It is huge to be able to perform again after the fear we all had that Simon would never be able to sing again.  It is so cool to be able to play shows like they played in the UK at the end of the year.  It was the proof that they really are back and are 100%! 

What about the rest of you?  Do you agree with their highlights?  What are your highlights for 2011?

-A

I Must Have Flowers in my Brain

I have been a part of Duranland, of the Duran Duran fan community for a long time.  I have seen and heard a lot of discussions about a variety of topics.  Sometimes, topics come back over and over again.  For example, discussions surrounding setlists and single choices seem to pop up over and over again, especially during touring time and during new albums.  Despite my experiences and observations, I still find myself surprised, at times, by what comes up in discussion and what does not.  Rhonda and I comment to each other frequently about which blog posts result in a lot of discussion and which do not.  Sometimes, we know a topic might get a lot of attention.  Typically, posts surrounding things like DDM, the official fan club, or presales get a lot of comments and discussion.  Yet, some topics result in crickets chirping.  Those topics are easy to see if you look through the history of this blog.  Many of those posts have very few comments or no comments.  Of course, there are topics that we have yet to tackle and many of those haven’t been talked about by the fan community either.  One of the topics I am surprised hasn’t had any discussion in the documentary part of A Diamond in the Mind.  I can’t imagine that people haven’t watched it.  Yes, there must be some fans who haven’t but there has to be a lot of fans who have.  So, why isn’t there discussion about it?

The documentary part of the DVD is not very long, a mere eleven plus minutes.  Yet, it is jammed packed with discussion topics.  The documentary title is Duran Duran 2011.  It goes through the previous year, including highlights, Simon losing his voice, the live band, the Girl Panic video and a summary.  Of course, there are more specific topics that can be pulled out.  For example, when they discussed the live band, they talked about Dom and Dom spoke.  The only people who spoke in the documentary where Simon, Nick, Roger, John and Dom.  So, certainly, there could be a discussion surrounding Dom’s role, his place in the band, etc.  Another topic that could be discussed would be the highlights given.  The band talked about Coachella, Unstaged with David Lynch, and American festivals.  We could discuss if we agree with those highlights, why the band might think those were the highlights, etc.  Of course, there was a great bit of attention given to Simon’s vocal problems in the summer of 2011.  Again, I have to ask.  Are those not worthy topics?  Are we tired of talking about Simon’s vocal difficulties?  Do we not want to look back to 2011?  Is our fan community focused more on the present and the future?  That could be.  After all, the band, themselves, seem to focus on the present and the future much more.  Yet, as a historian, I see the value of looking at the past and analyzing it.  After all, hindsight can make a big difference in how we see something.  Then, of course, there is the discussion of Dom and his role in the band.  I know how passionate people are about Duran’s guitarist no matter which guitarist one is loyal to.  That said, isn’t it worth a discussion? 

As someone who likes dive into everything Duran, I propose that we tackle the topics that I presented, the topics that Duran included in the documentary.  I wish go through topic by topic in the coming weeks.  I am hoping that everyone has a chance to rewatch the documentary or watch it for the first time before I dive into these items of discussion.  It is also very likely that I have missed a topic.  Thus, I welcome suggestions for topics.  While this blog is mine and Rhonda’s, it is also a place for all fans.  Maybe, you not only have a topic from the documentary to discuss but you want to lead the discussion.  I would welcome that.  After all, a lot of people are probably sick to death of what Rhonda and I.  Next week, I will start the documentary discussion on 2011 highlights.  As part of this discussion, I plan on not only talking about the band’s highlights but my personal highlights related to Duran as there were many.  I will ask you to do the same. 

-A

Find Yourself in the Moment: My favorite concert experience. Glasgow, December 2011

Right now as I type this, I am listening to A Diamond in the Mind, the live CD.  Funny how listening to this brings me right back to the UK shows I went to in late November and early December of 2011.  I can remember standing there listening intently to Simon sing Before the Rain, and then practically rejoicing in the moment when the lights come up about 2/3 of the way through the song.  Every time I saw it – and I saw it 4 times during that trip, I could feel the excitement reverberating right off my body.  It was amazing.

Amanda and I decided that each of us, and hopefully at least one of you readers out there, would share our most favorite concert experience, whether that’s a song, a full show, whatever.  I don’t think I realized just how difficult it would be for me to decide upon my favorite show when I agreed to do this.  The fact is, I have favorite moments from many, many shows.  I think I’m lucky that way.  Some moments are because I felt that electric moment of connectivity between a band member and myself.  Other moments are from pure joy at seeing all five original members onstage again.  Still more moments are from watching “the new guy” blend in absolutely beautifully and seamlessly with the band.  Other moments happen because the band collectively plucked me up from my life and took me on a wild ride during the course of a 2 hour show….and then there was the night that did anything and everything a concert should.

For me, that show was Glasgow in 2011.  It was the final night, the final stop on our “train tour” of the UK.  By this point in the week that Amanda and I were traveling, I was pretty much completely spent.  To be honest, I had been very sick the night before and was still not feeling that great, but I was determined to make this show happen.  So much so, that when I was told by our hosts that the weather had called for snow and that we might not be able to actually get to Glasgow (we’d stayed in Edinburgh), I think I might have actually pitched a bit of a fit.  We left early in the day to get to Glasgow before it began to snow, and I slept in the car along the way.  I wish I hadn’t because I didn’t see any part of the ride from Edinburgh to Glasgow, but as I said – I was still feeling fairly ill.  The one thing I remember distinctly from the venue, aside from meeting some wonderful Duran friends we’d only conversed online with prior, was that I couldn’t get warm.  I was freezing.  I don’t know if the Scots just don’t like heat, or if was just that I wasn’t used to the weather, but the place felt like it was 30 or 40 degrees inside.  Our seats for this show were to be our best yet – second row center.  It was fitting that this was to be our last show – my motto is “last time, best time”, and so I figured we were ending it correctly. Funny thing: we added Glasgow relatively last minute.  We hadn’t bought tickets originally when they’d gone on sale.  We’d agreed to only do three shows (if you read Daily Duranie you know that we’d originally gone to the UK back in May of 2011 when Simon had vocal problems and had to postpone the tour), and somewhere along the way – we’d seen that there were a couple of second row Glasgow tickets that came up.  My feeling was that if we could swing it – we needed to go, and we did. After agreeing it was time to get to our seats, we made our way into the arena, which seemed even colder than the rest of the venue!  I shivered my way up to the second row, which seemed extremely close, and giggled with Amanda as we made our way to our seats.  I couldn’t believe how amazing they were!  It seemed like forever as we waited for the band to finally take the stage, and I had to keep my huge down parka on the entire time, it was that cold for me!  (Yes, I am a wimp. I’m from Southern California and it makes HUGE news when we wake up to frost on the ground.  No, I’m not kidding.  Ask John Taylor.)

When they finally did take the stage, the front row ran for the rail.  This doesn’t really happen in the states – where there is typically about 6 inches between the chairs and the rail guarding you (audience) from them! (band…and vice-versa in a lot of cases!)  I was really happy with where our seats were, and so I stupidly took about 20 extra seconds to decide to run for the front.  We got up there, but not quite to the rail – we were in the second row, but even so – that was AMAZINGLY close. Imagine feeling self-conscious because you are right in the faces of the band.  Yeah, that’s me, worrying that I look like a nutter being up that close!  (Note to self: Rhonda, you write a daily blog about being a fan….you’re already at nutter status kiddo.)  That feeling didn’t last for too long though, as the music has this way of enveloping you and taking you somewhere completely different where nothing else really matters…and that’s how I spent the majority of the concert, and this my friends is the absolute closest I think I’ve ever been to that ever-treasured front row.

Another thing I have to mention here is that as you all know, we’re from the US.  I am from California (Orange County) and Amanda is from Wisconsin. Even though we were both truly thousands of miles from home, we knew nearly everyone around us in this crowd.  How in the hell does that happen?!? I can go to a Duran Duran show at home – like in Costa Mesa for instance, and pretty much know no one around me.  I might see a few people I recognize, but that’s about it.  Yet I travel to the UK and it’s like going to a show with old friends. I don’t think anyone would have been able to explain to me just how special of an experience it is to travel outside of your country, meet people you’ve only spoken to online and then be able to call these people lifelong friends thereafter – and yet that’s exactly what I’ve experienced this year.  I can’t imagine never seeing these wonderful people again, so my future “tours” will be including them for as long as possible.  Yes, Duran Duran really has brought people together, and I will never, EVER regret going back to the UK after that first trip last May.  As John said, there was a reason beyond the trouble with Simon’s voice that it didn’t happen the first time and going back only made it better.  He is 100% correct.

So while my “spot” had everything to do with why this show is among my favorites, it was the music and the experience that pushes it over the edge for me. There were several times during the show that I completely forgot just how big the arena really was until a song would end and there would be a deafening cheer.  One of the reasons I love The Man Who Stole a Leopard live is because the band insists that we clap – and as you are clapping, you need to look around – it is remarkable to see everyone standing up and clapping together. It’s a special moment in the setlist and I still say they’ve made a mistake by removing it from the setlist.  It was only in that moment as I looked around and saw everyone clapping that I realized I was in this huge arena and not in a much smaller venue.

Then of course there’s the interaction.  Who does not want to be close to the band??  (OK, you men and a few of you women out there who are only in it for the music might be saying “ME” at this point.  I get it and I bow my head in reverence to your fandom.)  Me?  I like being close!  Call me crazy but when you’ve got band members coming over in your general direction and they bend down to play right in your face and lock eyes with you – if that doesn’t get your blood pumping NOTHING WILL.  You might even be dead, and that would be most unfortunate!  I had several moments like that during their show, and I still say that certain guitar players breathed new life into a song or two for me.  We’ll just leave it at that for now.

I’m not usually one to be brought to tears at shows. I know fans who have cried, and while I suppose I can understand their sentiment at certain songs – that’s just not me. In Glasgow though, my heart was so full by the end of the show.  I was partially sad because I knew it was my last show (and I think that at the time I didn’t even know if they’d be coming back to the US again), I was exhilarated by my excitement, I was joyous because the show was really that good, and when it ended – it was so bittersweet.  Yes, they left me wanting more.  Again. It’s difficult not to feel that letdown, yet I was determined not to let it ruin my night.  When I waved to the band that final time – in fact I’m pretty sure at least one or two of them knew it was my last show before going home so I caught their eye and said good-bye, to which they grinned and said as much in return, I felt completely spent.  I’d given all of my energy to them at that show, and I felt as though they’d lived up to their end of the bargain as well.  I think I said to Amanda “that’s how I should feel after EVERY show”.

We walked out of the arena and out of the venue, thinking we’d hang out with our friends at the hotel bar nearby before heading back to Edinburgh.  After making our way to the hotel, I dared to peek out the window and saw huge snowflakes coming down.  This was a problem because we had to drive back to Edinburgh on the highway, and apparently they aren’t used to snow in Glasgow or Edinburgh – so the highways shut down when it snows.  We couldn’t be stuck in Glasgow because we had a flight out early the next morning.  So, we said hasty good-byes and started out for our trip home.  We made it back to Edinburgh without a single problem although it was well after midnight before we got home – we had to be up at about 5am to leave for the airport, and our host headed to her bed while Amanda and I packed up.  It was during this time that we agreed that we would not sleep before leaving in a few hours. (I plead insanity due to Duran Duran!)  Instead we stayed up, endlessly searching for youtube videos from the show (admittedly I was on the hunt for a video of Hungry Like the Wolf because I wanted to see a specific moment in the show that Amanda had noticed from Dom that I hadn’t), I left Facebook posts for our friends, chatted with US friends (I loved the time difference!!), tweeted about our evening and trip, and even left messages for a couple of special band members, thanking them for what was truly the trip of our lives.  I think it’s probably important to note here – for those conspiracy theorists amongst us – that Amanda and I never got any closer to the band than being in the crowd while they were onstage.  We didn’t get backstage for after parties, we didn’t ever see them at a hotel or whatnot.  They just did an outstanding job during their shows.  Sure, the winks, grins and nods didn’t hurt either…and we wanted to thank them.

By the time the taxi arrived to take us to the airport, I had greatly regretted my decision not to sleep.  I knew I had an incredibly long day of travel ahead of me, but I had to hope that somehow this would help me readjust to California time.  I also had to hope that I wouldn’t run into ANYONE in the airports because I truly looked like I had just come off of a three day bender. It wasn’t pretty.  We got to our gate in Edinburgh and fell into our seats (by the way I was STILL freezing!), and tried to make sense of the week we’d had.

Impossible.

I can’t imagine that any concert I ever attend again will come close to those moments in Glasgow. (but I’m certainly willing to keep trying!)  I think that’s why all of us continue to go to shows though – we’re looking for that “high”.  Luckily for me, they seem to keep getting better and better.

-R

Renewed Duranie Spirit!

Today marks the end of the UK tour for Duran Duran.  I’m sure that many of our friends will be feeling what Rhonda and I have been feeling–a bit of post-show emotions!  While the end of a tour typically brings a low, post-show depression of sorts, this tour has brought something else, something more positive to me.  It has worked to renew my Duranie spirit!!!

I have a Duranie scrapbook that I have been keeping since I started touring with vigor back in 2005.  I wanted some place to capture everything that touring is as I didn’t and don’t want to forget a moment!  This scrapbook contains setlists, receipts from purchasing tickets, seating charts, the tickets itself and more.  One of the best parts of the scrapbook is my tour write-up.  During this write-up of sorts, I go into detail about the tour from start to finish.  I describe traveling, what happened, how the shows were, etc.  It is like a journal or diary of sorts.  When I’m really good with it, I will add pictures to show what I am talking about.  Since I have returned from the UK, I have been working on this one.  As you can imagine this one is much longer than a tour with one or two shows since a lot more went into traveling overseas.  When I reread these, how I felt about the tour becomes very obvious.  For example, in the spring of 2005, I was begging and pleadingly for more.  I couldn’t get enough!  Everything was positive and exciting then for me.  Then, I reread the one I wrote in May after going to the UK and not getting any shows.  That one was filled with forced determination.  Looking back, I can tell that I was trying really hard to be and stay positive.  This one, in contrast, is very different.  I feel like everything is back to being positive again!

Obviously, I know a lot more in 2011 than I did in 2005.  I know WAY more about touring, traveling as well as how the fan community seems to work.  I know that not everything is perfect and there are a lot of people who don’t like and who won’t like us or what we have to say.  Heck, we have been dealing with that this past week on Twitter.  Yet, this isn’t bothering me because I have too much good stuff surrounding me!  This tour of the UK, for me, gave me so many positive things.  First, it was an accomplishment!  It was a dream fulfilled!  That in and of itself should be and would be good enough!  Truly, that is what Rhonda and I wanted to begin with!  Fortunately, though, we got WAY more than that.  We saw so many wonderful friends whom we met last May.  On top of that, we made more friends!  Now, I can’t imagine life without them.  This has reminded me that there are SO many wonderful people in Duranland.  Sometimes, it is so easy to forget that, when all you see are negative people.  It was so nice to be able to relax and have fun with other fans!  Lastly, and most importantly, I fell in love with the band again.

Like many of you, I have been a fan of this band for decades.  I cannot remember a time when I haven’t been a fan.  They are a part of me, at this point.  Thus, I can’t imagine having something happen that would result in me walking away or not caring.  Heck, I have a blog about being a fan of theirs!  I’m committed!  That said, like Rhonda, I wasn’t sure that I would ever be able to capture the spirit of excitement that I once had, as evidenced by my 2005 write-ups.  I enjoyed myself at the Chicago show, but it wasn’t the same.  Maybe I was worried about something going wrong or that something negative was right around the corner.  Maybe the band was in a different spot then, too.  Then, I saw those 4 shows in the UK.  Some of those shows were the best I have ever seen!!!  That show in Glasgow, for example, continues to invade my thoughts!  I was reminded in a very serious, very intense way about what is so great about this band, their music and their live performance.  I became a fan all over again!!!

Maybe the lesson here is that fandom goes in cycles like this.  You feel all excited and everything is good then too much negative happens and you forget about the wonder and the fun.  Then, if you are lucky, you are given the chance to start all over again in a way.  Maybe I’m the only one who has ever felt this way.  Maybe the band feels this way and that they have been able to keep going because the cycle continues or because they have been lucky enough to have their spirits renewed over and over again.  Whatever the cause, I’m grateful!  Now, I’m already dying for more shows!!!  My Duranieness is back and ready to go!!

-A

Boys on Film

Duran Duran played in Manchester tonight.  While that is exciting, what is more exciting is that the concert was filmed.  Duran’s facebook and twitter have made numerous references to this fact in the status updates and tweets.  John has mentioned this as well on his twitter.  I have seen other fans talk about this filled with such enthusiasm over the idea.  Initially, I was right there with everyone else!  I mean what kind of Duranie wouldn’t like them to film a live show?!  We all would, right?  I definitely would love a permanent, edited version of a show on this tour as it has been a special one for the Daily Duranie.  Heck, I would love a live DVD of at least one show per tour, even if the tour wasn’t all that exciting.  I would buy a copy of each one even if I didn’t attend any shows during that tour.  That said, I find myself wondering if this excitement will be short-lived or not.

Duran Duran has recorded many, many moments throughout their long careers in some way, shape or form.  Nick, for example, takes photographs during shows and has for many, many years.  I can’t remember the last time that he didn’t take pictures.  Yet, we haven’t seen all of those or even a tiny fraction of them, I’m sure.  Heck, we haven’t seen any audience pictures from the UK tour AT ALL (yet)!  I, for one, would love to see all of them.  I want to see every single picture that Nick has taken.  I’m sure that he has many photos of fans and many photos of the band.  I would love them all, I think!  Beyond the photograph is all of the footage that Duran has taken before on film!  I’m still waiting for Drama Americana about the ’05 US Tour.  I bet I’m not the only one who wants to still see it!  Yes, yes, I know that they recorded and released Live from London.  That quality DVD is from shows in 2004, which is a long time ago now!  I’m willing to bet that they have other shows recorded between Live from London and tonight’s show in Manchester.  So, where did those other shows go?  Don’t they realize that they could be making tons of money by releasing live shows on DVD?  Heck, people would pay money to hear live shows on CD or mp3.  I guess my point here is that I hope that this recording will actually be made available to the public.  I would buy it and I bet others will, too!

My desire to buy such a product comes partly from my insane desire to have everything Duran related but the other part comes from my wish to have a show on this tour captured.  I want something to refer back to when I describe what these UK shows were like.  I want one so that I don’t forget what they were like!  Shows on DVD can take you back in time, at least for a couple of hours, and remind you of what a great experience you had!  Of course, I’m making a huge assumption here.  I assume that this show was similar to all of the rest.  I would hope that they would be capturing simply one of many shows with the same flavor and not something completely new.  It should represent the tour, which includes all of the elements found in the UK Tour ’11.  I want to see Simon have a fan start the Reflex or to hear John talk about tweeting to introduce tweeting #Duranlive during Tiger Tiger.  I want the authentic experience.  Live from London seemed to do that (I didn’t go to any shows in the UK then so I’m assuming….if I’m wrong, let me know).  I’m not sure I could say the same for As the Lights Go Down.  Did all of those other theatrical elements happen?  Probably not, I suspect.  While my ten year-old self appreciated that and even my grown-up self can appreciate the artistic quality, I would still want something accurate, something true to the shows.  They don’t need to add anything.  The show is good enough!  Trust me, it was!  Then, of course, there is Arena.  Like many other Duranies, I own it.  I still don’t understand the point of making it sounds not-very-live.  What purpose was served by that? 

I hope that the filming went well today and that they are able to make a quality DVD out of it, one that the public may purchase.  I hope it is representation both of the time but also stays true to what it is, a live show.  Live shows are filled with glitches and other problems.  I want those, too.  I want it all.  While I want to be excited by Duran being “Boys on Film” today, I don’t want to get my hopes up too much in case it is never made public or in case it doesn’t show the fabulousness of these shows. 

-A

Merchandise

I admit it.  I’m a collector.  I like to buy any and all things Duran.  I’m a sucker for new t-shirts, posters, calendars and more.  After all of these years, I have quite a bit of stuff.  For example, I have enough t-shirts that I could wear a different one per day for almost a month.  (Before you ask, I do actually wear the t-shirts.  Some, obviously, more than others.)  I also have quite a number of bags, including ones given to VIP participants in 2005, 2007, 2011 and their fan club.  I use those as well.  Again, though, I use some more than others.  Anyway, I’m sure that the band appreciates people like me as I will buy and buy and buy stuff advertising the band.  I am also one to buy a shirt or two to represent the shows that I have been at.  Thus, one of the many reasons I was excited to go to the UK to tour was to get new and exciting merchandise.  Unfortunately, I was disappointed and came home empty-handed.

On the UK tour, it seemed that much of the merch was the same as the US fall and, even, the US spring tour.  Yes, there is now a couple of new Girl Panic shirts and some more bags to purchase.  There is also a hoody that features the logo from the first album.  Rhonda was very tempted to buy that one but hoodies are expensive and take up a lot of room in the suitcase!  Oh, I guess I’m forgetting the new Save a Prayer t-shirts which shows the single cover.  The rest, though, was exactly the same.  Thus, none of the new stuff tempted me to buy.  I was so hoping that the t-shirts, at least one of them, would have the UK tour dates listed.  Heck, I would have been thrilled if it just said UK Tour on the back.  Is that too much to ask?  Apparently, it is!  The bags seemed nice but I have a ton!  They have to be something different, something special to get me to buy.  This, of course, leads me to wonder why there isn’t more creativity with the merchandise. 

Rhonda and I, in our “we have a billion hours to kill” moments, came up with a list of possible merchandise ideas.  Some of these ideas are better than others.  Nonetheless, we were able to brainstorm the following list in just a short time, which shows that it is not challenging to expand the options of items to purchase.  Here is our list:  One Duran Christmas ornament per year that is dated (could come with a stand, too), shot glasses!, license plate frames (maybe with rhinestones!),  earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, shoelaces, scarves, throw blankets, snuggies with the guy of your choice!, travel mugs, martini or margarita glasses, wine charms, pens or pencils, shower curtains, toothbrush, travel kits, bathrobes, pajama bottoms, iPad and iPhone covers, and water bottles.  What do you think of these ideas?

Many of the ideas that we came up with are ones that we would actually like!  My favorite items include the Christmas ornaments, shotglasses, necklaces, shoelaces, blankets, travel kits, iPad and iPhone covers and pajamas.  I like the idea of having the merch reflect the Duranie lifestyle, which in my head does include travel, being connected online and partying.  I would think the hard part of the merchandise would be designing logos.  Once that is done, I bet that they could use the same logo(s) on different items.  I would be okay with that.  I would still have something I want/need that represents my favorite band.  It would be a win-win situation.

Of course, this leads me to wonder why they aren’t more creative with the items they sell.  Why do you think that is?  Not enough time to focus on it?  Not enough people to work on it?  Are they going for the cheapest, most common items?  By the way, in case Duran or their people are reading this, Rhonda and I would be happy to work on this for you.  You can contact us by email at dailyduranie@gmail.com.  Thanks!  In all seriousness, readers, what kind of merchandise would you like?  Do you have other ideas that can be added to our list?

-A