Category Archives: 2011 All You Need is Now US tour

Daily Duranie Review-Chicago Theater, Chicago, Illinois-October 21, 2011

I have to apologize for how late today’s blog is.  Today was the day in which both Rhonda and myself traveled back home to reality after a VERY brief little mini-tour in Chicago.  Before I get to the actual review of the show, let me enlighten you readers on a fact about the Daily Duranie.  We should never be allowed to attend shows together as we had about 90 minutes of sleep last night and consumed quite a bit of vodka.  I have also had the good fortune (not) of losing my voice.  I can’t blame Rhonda on that one but I can blame a certain band that we all know and love. 

This review wasn’t going to be standard.  We had every intention of actually doing a little video clip of the two of us giving the review.  We filmed it at 5:45 in the morning.  Let’s just say…it wasn’t fit for public consumption.  I have no doubt that we looked beyond exhausted and probably didn’t make a whole lot of sense.  Thus, we decided to return to the good, old-fashioned words method of reviewing a show.  I will be summarizing and combining our thoughts.  For the most part, we saw the show in a similar light.  That said, if part of the review belongs to one of us, only, I will make that clear.  Also, do remember that this was my first show since April and the first one since the UK trip.  For Rhonda, it was the first show since Valley Center earlier this month.  Our perspectives differ, which may or may not impact our review.

Setlist:
This was the exact same setlist as the previous two nights.  How boring for them and for those fans who went to more than one of these shows!  Of course, it could mean that they really feel like this setlist and that they thinks it works for them.  We won’t lie.  We were terribly disappointed that they didn’t play Secret Oktober.  Many, many fans were requesting it on twitter, which could be openly seen on the twitter scroll in the background before the show.  Some fans even brought signs and banners.  Yet, they ignored those requests.  Why?  I am sure that they could say that it didn’t receive that great of a response when it was played but it didn’t feel that way to us when we saw people’s reactions.  As this point, they aren’t really listening and responding to the fans, which is upsetting.  You would think that they would listen to their audience.  After all, we are the ones in the crowd watching the show.  You would think we would know what would work.  Besides, Secret Oktober would have gone in place of Tiger Tiger, a b-side over an obscure album track.  It is not like casual fans would really know either one of those so it would be harmless to switch it up.  In fact, it would make serious fans happy and it would open up those casual listener to not-common Duran, which can’t hurt.  Rhonda pointed out that as Duran moves further on, the audience will become more and more just serious fans.  You would think that they would want to make us happy since we will be there until the end.  It would also provide energy to the audience as serious fans would get really excited!!  There were songs that went over well, including Planet Earth due to its position in the setlist, Notorious except for the extended part of that as Rhonda felt like it went over better in Valley Center, and Wild Boys with Relax in the middle of it.  Relax falls into the song, seamlessly, as people really know it so people jump in right away!  Speaking of extending songs, Rhonda isn’t a fan.  She would prefer to fill those minutes with another song, which is a good point!  We wonder why Duran chooses to do this.  Is it to make a song more interesting to them?  Do they think it will make it more interesting for us?  Will the critics and reviewers respect them more if they do this?  As far as the new songs go, in our opinion, Safe and Blame the Machines isn’t catching any one’s attention.  We aren’t sure why people don’t seem to enjoy BTM, but people who are unfamiliar with it don’t seem to.  It is like they don’t get it.  As far as Safe goes, we both feel strongly that the female vocal makes a huge difference.  Unfortunately, Anna’s voice is very different than how the song was recorded.  We thought that All You Need Is Now went over pretty well and Leave a Light On was okay.  Perhaps, the band would be better served by dropping either BTM or Safe for different new tracks like Too Bad You’re So Beautiful, for example.  We both liked Leopard.  Rhonda really liked the video at the end of the newscaster telling the story to be a good way to present that part of the song.  I liked how John had the audience clapping right away with the song.  It was a good way to bring in audience members who haven’t heard the song before.  Plus, he was singing the lyrics to himself, which I always like. 

Stage Setup:
Rhonda is not fond of the faces at the top of the stage.  I, on the other hand, didn’t look at them at all.  I couldn’t see them from where I was.  Rhonda feels that the angle of the faces make a big difference as some angles are not flattering.  We wonder why these faces were even necessary.  The band is on stage and there are lights and video footage or images on screens behind the band.  Isn’t that enough to focus on?  I really like a lot of the video footage they chose to play fit the songs.  For example, the military images fit well with Before the Rain with the military sounding drums.  We both appreciated that Anna wasn’t as noticeable for this show as she had been in the spring as back-up singers and musicians should be just that—back-ups.  We don’t get the reason they need an extra percussionist.  Is she just to get more men to come to the shows?!   

Band Performance:
John and Dom seemed to interact quite a bit!  They certainly seemed to enjoy playing together.  I noticed how John would be obviously pleased when Dom did something well and vice versa.  Rhonda also feels like the band is laughing more than they did in Valley Center.  Perhaps, they are more relaxed now after their past six months or so of serious stress.  Simon was good with lyrics, setlists and even vocally.  He did make one little mistake in Girl Panic but nothing major.  Yet, the one thing he did that got people to react was when he made a comment about the Iraq War ending before All You Need Is Now.  He described former President George W. Bush and former Prime Minister Tony Blair as “war criminals”.  The crowd openly booed him.  Both Rhonda and I didn’t understand why Simon felt it necessary to say anything like this at all as any political statement runs the risk of alienating one’s audience.  We also couldn’t figure out the reason people booed.  Did they boo because they didn’t want to hear anything about politics at all since they were there to have fun?  Did they boo because they don’t agree that Bush and Blair were war criminals?  If you were there and you did boo or felt like booing, can you drop us a line and let us know which reason caused you to react in such a way? 

Overall:
The show was good.  It was great that it was a solid two hours long.  Rhonda felt like this show was an improvement over Valley Center and that this show felt like a FULL show.  We did see that Simon tweeted that the band agreed that this was the best show of the tour and possibly one of the best of their careers.  While we both thought the show was a solid performance, we didn’t think it was one of their best and here’s why.  We thought that the audience did not produce the tremendous energy needed for one of the best shows.  At times, the crowd was into it.  Obviously, there were some audience members who were into it the whole time but there were many who weren’t.  I was sitting in the PIT (4th row) and there were people even in that section who were sitting down and when I glanced around I noticed that in other sections as well.  (By the way, who does that?!  Why would you sit at a Duran show?  Okay, maybe, there is some physical limitation, then you should be dancing in your seat as much as possible, in my opinion, especially when they took good seats from others.)  Now, is the lack of audience energy because the band didn’t perform as well as could be?  Not necessarily as they cannot control who comes to their shows and their level of dedication and fandom.  However, perhaps, mixing up the setlist as suggested above might have helped.  A couple of changes in songs could have made a HUGE difference.  It is also possible that Simon thought it was such a great show because the Daily Duranie was there!!!  LOL!  That said, we are absolutely thrilled with the show and cannot wait to go to the UK for 4 more shows!!!

-A

Show Day!!

Duran Duran’s twitter tweeted that about an hour ago. It seemed fitting to me. This is what I live for as a Duranie, days like this. I’m in a city I love with my partner-in-crime. We get to enjoy some of the city before we meet up with more friends and fellow Duranies before the show at Hoyt’s Tavern at Hotel 71, which looks really nice, by the way. Come join us! Then, it is show time! I’m sure that the energy and excitement from all that will keep us going until the wee hours of the morning!

I have been counting down the days until this show as I have been feeling more excited for this show more so than I had for shows for a very long time. Why is that, I ask myself. I think there are many reasons for this. First, it is my first show since the failed attempt at seeing the band in their home country. I’ll be honest here. When I was over in the UK and saw Simon in front of me and a group of fans, telling us that they weren’t going to be able to the show at London’s O2 the next night, I was devastated. I honestly believed that Simon might not be able to sing again. Obviously and luckily for all of us, that isn’t the case as it appears that the band is doing well and Simon is much stronger as evidenced by the increasing number of songs in the setlist. Therefore, this show means a lot to me. As a Duranie and someone who loves touring, loves meeting other fans and loves hearing the band play live, I can’t imagine not having this as part of my life. Now, that it appears I really will get to hear the band play live again, I find myself appreciating the whole thing a lot more. Nothing gets you to appreciate something like having lost it or almost losing it. The second reason has to do with the people. This will be the first show that Rhonda and I have been together for since 2009! That’s insane! Beyond that, I’m seriously looking forward to going to the show with my cousin-in-law and seeing many good Duranie friends. I’m thrilled that it is a seated show and on a weekend so people are able to get together and really have a good time! Lastly, I’m think I am really looking forward to the show for personal reasons. It has been a tough year for me for a variety of reasons. This show has provided me with something to look forward to, which was very much needed. It has also been a sign that life is turning back to being positive. Now, beyond this, I have the UK trip to look forward to, a trip to visit my sister and wonderful nieces for Christams!

On that note, I have to get up and moving. We have food to eat (which doesn’t always happen for us on tour), fun Chicago places to visit and then a show to get ready for!!!! Tomorrow, we hope to do a blog of a different sort, but I promise you will also get a review of the show. If we are lucky, it might be a review from both of us!

-A

Up, Up in the Air!!

By the time you read this, I’ll be on my plane bound for ORD – Chicago’s O’Hare airport.  I believe I’m due to land at 2:20pm, and I’m going to hit the ground running.  I am going to grab a cab, head to my sister’s apartment…no idea where that is in the city, thankfully she sent me a set of directions for whatever “lucky” cab driver gets me in their cab….and then we’re going to go grab a bite to eat and perhaps a celebratory drink to start my weekend.  I’m celebrating the fact that I actually made it, because if you read yesterday’s blog, you must understand how ridiculous my schedule can be at times.  I’m on holiday at the moment though, so we’re not going to discuss that!!

Since I’m writing this the day before I leave, I have no idea how my flight will be – but I’m guessing it will be uneventful as always.  I have window seats both ways. (typically I fly aisle because I’m claustrophobic, but I learned on my trip out from the UK that I kind of like having a window seat!  I can get in there and hole myself up for the flight – read to my hearts content and not be bothered!)  I downloaded some new music (Naked and Famous if you must know – I don’t know why I like them, but I do.  Kind of reminds me of some stuff I used to listen to back when I was in high school I suppose), and I’ve got 5 books waiting for me to tackle – and yes, I really will read them all by the time I get home.  Amongst my other talents, I’m a speed reader, and no, I’m not kidding.  Too bad I can’t WRITE books as quickly as I read them!

I can tell you that I didn’t sleep well last night (and just so we’re all on the same page – I’m literally writing this blog at 9:40 am the day before I even leave…but I know myself.  I never sleep the night before I travel.), and that I already have butterflies in my stomach.  I’d love to say that they’re from excitement of seeing the band, but truthfully, they’re from nerves.  I quietly freak out until I get through security. *sigh*  There’s something about making sure I’ve followed the rules, and the anticipation of being felt up by a complete stranger that makes my stomach feel like it’s on a roller coaster.  Ugh.  Here’s a thought:  if the whole band thing doesn’t work out for Duran Duran, I’m pretty sure they could get jobs as TSA agents.  I’d bet my husband’s salary that they’d have a LINE of women waiting to allow them to do a pat-down.   Just sayin’.

Amanda has our whole trip – all 48 hours or so of it – completely planned out.  I scanned it, but honestly, I let her tell me where we’re going and when we’ve gotta leave.  After being the one to plan everything out at home, I’m happy to sit back and be told what to do for a change.  We don’t have any huge plans other than to meet up with some other fans on Friday before the show (remember everyone – Hoyt’s Tavern at Hotel71.  5pm sharp and come prepared to have fun!!) and of course go to the show (reminder to self: BRING YOUR TICKET!), but other than that, we have some side trips planned to some places we enjoy.  It should be a very fun, but very brief trip.  I wonder if I’ll actually have time to sleep….

In any case, Amanda and I do have a surprise or two planned for the blog.  I’m crossing my fingers to make sure it works out, but rest assured, it should be funny no less.  You’ll be hearing from Amanda and I over the weekend, and of course we’ll tweet when we can as well!  Please feel free to say any chants, beg the gods, do any rituals you can in hopes that Secret Oktober, Shadows on Your Side or even Is There Something I Should Know is included in the setlist on Friday night!!!

Happy weekends everyone and I’ll be blogging on Monday!

-R 

It’s about that time

It’s a drizzly and cool day here in California.  As I type, it’s very foggy where I am, and the ground is wet from the amount of moisture in the air.  I’m actually surprised the TV stations aren’t going on and on about it because this practically constitutes a “Storm Watch” in Southern California.  It’s the type of morning when I wish I was still in bed sleeping.  I have to admit that the weather kind of matches my mood today.

There’s always a point just before I leave to go on a trip where I say to myself (or out loud!) “Why did I plan this?”  That time for this trip is this morning.  Actually, it really hit last Friday, but I ignored it then.  My son is having a very difficult time in school this year.  His grades are dismal, and I’m trying very hard to help him – it’s actually forcing me to relearn 7th grade math, which is joyous.  I have never loved math.  He has a band concert tonight that I somehow have to get everyone picked up from school, fed and ready to go by 6pm so that he can be dropped off.  (never going to happen.  I don’t even get home from picking up the oldest until about 6 these days!)  My oldest is on crutches at the moment – I know I’ve mentioned it here before but she’s a commercial dancer at an arts high school, and unfortunately she fell while bike riding a few weeks back, so there’s been zero dancing lately.  Unbeknownst to us prior, she has Osgood-Schlatter’s disease, which is not a big deal – but it’s a bone issue that is extremely common during childhood and it tends to cause pain, which she had when she was younger – we thought it was growing pains.  Ha.  It’s something she will (and has begun) to grow out of, but when she fell, she apparently aggravated the problem, and there’s a possibility that she also has a small fracture in that same area that they can’t seem to pick up on x-ray because of the angle.  She should have been off the crutches as of Monday, but naturally things are taking longer to heal that we would all prefer.  As a result, she’s going to see our sports medicine doctor every day for treatment.  My husband is in the middle of his annual sales meetings and I haven’t seen him for any real length of time since Monday. I’m not even sure if he realizes I’m actually leaving tomorrow and that he actually has to be “in charge” around here.  I hope he remembers to pick the kids up!!  I typed out a schedule for him yesterday, but I don’t think he’s even seen it.   Lastly, I’m sick again (as is everyone in the house).  It’s just a cold, but to put it in terms everyone will understand, I’m already hoarse in the morning and I haven’t even been to a show yet!  Can’t WAIT to see what I’ll be like come Saturday morning.  It’s all of these things that stress me out, and then I think to myself that it would have been so much easier to just stay home.  Of course it would have been, but then I would be missing out…

I think it’s a terrible tug-of-war sometimes to be a parent/wife/whatever and wanting to go and do things for yourself once in a while.  I have a particularly hard time with it at times, and yet I know that in the end, it’s good for me to go.  My mom had some pretty harsh words for me last week when we saw my son’s progress report from school – she reminded me that my first (and as far as she’s concerned, only) priority was to my children, and that I can’t count on my husband to step up when I don’t feel like it – it’s my job.  Her feeling is that I spend far too much time on this blog and on things “Duran” related and not enough with my kids.  I’m not sure I completely agree, although her point was well-taken.  I write the blog in the morning while most of the kids are at school.  I try to keep my writing to about a half hour, but sometimes it does take longer.  After that, yes – I can waste my time by being on line, and I’m sure I’ve done that – but I also spend a lot of time doing all of the things any other mom does around the house, and then my entire afternoons are spent picking kids up, bringing them home, getting them motivated to start homework, and then I fight traffic to and from the school my oldest attends – because she spends a full day at school, then has two hours of “conservatory”, which are her art-based classes.  In her case, it’s dance.  I get home here by 6pm, make dinner, eat, clean up from dinner, then I have to get my little one into the bath, get her to bed, then sit down and go over my son’s homework.  Last night I spent an hour just on his math homework so that I could make sure it was correct.  It was, and now I remember how to multiply, divide & reduce algebraic fractions again.  I was finished with my work by 10pm, in just enough time to download a few books for my trip tomorrow, and a couple of albums as well.  My light was off by 10:45 and I was up again this morning by 6:30.  What does my husband do around here?  Good question.   He didn’t even get home from his sales meeting until 11 last night, and while that’s not normal, I think it’s fair to say that while he does have responsibility to the family, he also has responsibilities outside of the home, and during the week at the very least – those take precedence.  For example, when I commented on my worries about getting everyone where they needed to be today (and yesterday for that matter), his response was “I’m sure you’ll figure it out.”  Gee, thanks honey.

At first when my mom started in on me, I agreed with her and felt guilty (I still feel a little guilty), but the more I think about it, the more I’m not sure what more I can really do.  I’m sure that every mom out there knows how I feel when I say that I love my family, but that isn’t enough.  Sometimes, I actually need to take care of me and take time to cherish some of the things in life that I enjoy(ed) on my own, before I became a mom.  It’s a tough balance.

And just think, in a month – I’ll be doing this all over again!  Just thinking about it already makes my blood pressure rise….eek!!!!

-R

Secret Oktober…Is There Something I Should Know…or bust!

So last night in Philly the audience was treated to not Secret Oktober, but Is There Something I Should Know.  They also played Tiger Tiger…which means the setlist is now up to a respectable 20 songs. (Not that 18 wasn’t respectable in it’s own right!)  This, my friends, is indeed progress!

I have to admit that now I’m curious as to what will really get played on Friday night, as well as what will really get played in the UK.  It would seem that the band has plenty to choose from!  As much as I’d love to hear Secret Oktober, I also must admit that Is There Something I Should Know is my #1 favorite Duran song of all-time.  This is the one song that I could hear over and over again at concerts and never get tired.

I also love the video.  I have no idea what any of it really means, but I don’t even care.  I would sit and watch that video for hours. I can remember running home from school – I think I was probably in 8th grade at the time.  The last bell would ring, I’d run to my locker, get my clarinet and books out, slam the door and make a run for the crosswalk.  I lived about a block and some away from my middle school, and I’d run (ok, really I would walk “quickly” because as most of my friends know, I wouldn’t ever run unless I were being chased….but run sounds better here!) home, my clarinet case hitting the side of my knee as I walked.  I swear I’ve got permanent bruises from that case!  I’d get in the door, throw my things down on my bed, and then go get the VHS cassette and pop it in the player.  I love seeing Simon walking along with a fork in his hand (Why?  Did he just come from the lunch truck and happen to still have the fork with him??), watching Roger mumble his “Please, please tell me now” line at the end…and of course laughing as they sing “you’re ’bout as easy as a nuclear war” line.  I mean, this is great stuff!!  I’d rewind that part over and over.  So yes, if they play this Friday, I’d love every minute.  The fact is, they’ve got such a great catalog and so many fantastic songs – it’s a great problem to have and they’ll never please us all.  Isn’t that why we keep going to shows??

So, I have no idea what they’ll really play that night.  I still say they can ditch Hungry Like the Wolf, but you know – no one listens to me anyway.  All I really know is that I love this band and I can’t wait to see them again.  This time, I’m going to be on John’s side. (for the first time since the second leg of the Red Carpet Massacre tour)  It’ll be like watching an entirely different show with an entirely different band!

I’m off to get this house in order – it’s amazing what can be done to destroy the place in 48 hours (about the amount of time I’ll be gone) – so I must do what I can to get it together beforehand!

-R

Setlist Shocker!

I’m one of those fans.  I am like the sports fans who are glued to the scoreboard or one of those TV or movie fans who go online to read spoilers, or details about what is about to happen.  I pay attention to each and every setlist of Duran Duran’s that gets posted or announced.  In my case, I do it with more and more obsession as my concert gets closer.  I want an idea about what might get played and I don’t want to hope for songs that there is no chance for.  I like having a general idea about what I could expect.  As you all know, my show in Chicago is one week away.  Thus, my setlist watching has increased.  As I’m sure many of you will know, last night in St. Augustine, Florida, there was a bit of a setlist shocker as the boys played a song that they have not played here in the States at all during this fall tour.  Before I get into that and begin my personal begging, let’s examine the general setlists so far.

Theoretically, the band has played 9 different setlists.  However, the differences in those setlists have been very small.  Sometimes, the difference is where one song is located.  Lately, since Grand Prairie, Texas, there has been a consistent setlist except for last night and the festival in Mobile, Alabama.  Even last night, despite the shocker of one song, it really wasn’t all that different.  So, what are they playing?  Again, because I like to analysis their choices, I have grouped the songs into the following categories:  A.  Songs they have played at every show.  B.  Songs that they played at every show except one.  C.  Songs they have played a lot.  D.  Songs that they have played but rarely, very rarely.

**SPOILER ALERT:  IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO KNOW SETLISTS, STOP READING NOW!**

The songs that they have played every time are All You Need is Now, Hungry like the Wolf, A View to a Kill, Blame the Machines, Come Undone, Notorious, Leave a Light on, The Reflex, Ordinary World, Planet Earth, Sunrise and Wild Boys.  Thus, if you still have a show coming up, expect to hear these songs.  I would be shocked if they dropped any of them from the current setlist.  Since this blog is the place where I get to voice my opinion, I will briefly comment to say that they really could have dropped HLTW, AVTAK, and CU.  I wouldn’t have been upset if they also left off Reflex and OW.  I will survive, though.

As for category B, those songs they have almost played every time except for one show are Before the Rain and Safe.  Those two songs were left off the setlist for the festival in Mobile.  I thought those were interesting choices to leave off.  While I understand that starting with a number like Before the Rain might not work as well for a festival, I also think it is good for Simon to really warm up his voice this way.  Instead, though, they started with Planet Earth.  I wasn’t terribly surprised that they left off Safe for that festival.  In many ways, I’m surprised that song is such a standard on this fall US tour as they played it during the spring and most fans weren’t/aren’t into it as much as many others off the new album.  Again, though, if you are going to a show before the end of October, I would expect to hear these until your show is a festival or something like it.

The next category is songs that were played most of the shows and that list includes Tiger Tiger, Leopard, Girl Panic, Rio and Careless Memories.  Personally, I would love to hear all of these and suspect that I’m not the only one.  Of course, in my analysis, I asked the question of why weren’t they playing these all the time.  Were other songs played in their place?  In the case of Tiger Tiger, it wasn’t played at the festival and it wasn’t played last night.  I’ll get into that more in a bit.  Leopard, also, wasn’t played at the festival and it wasn’t played in Saratoga, Vegas or Valley Center.  First of all, those shows along with the others in the beginning had less songs.  Portland and Saratoga, for example, only had 17 songs but Grand Prairie, Texas, had 19 songs.  Perhaps, Simon’s voice is such that he is now able to handle one more song.  Getting back to Leopard, maybe, the band felt those places wouldn’t appreciate the song as it didn’t seem to be replaced by any song but dropped with shorter setlists.  Girl Panic seem to be in a similar situation in that it was dropped in shorter setlists of Portland and Saratoga.  Rio has been played as the last song in all but two shows:  Everett, Washington, and St. Augustine, Florida.  When Rio hasn’t been played, Girls on Film has.  Thus, I would expect to hear Rio but don’t be surprised if it ends up being GOF at the end!  Lastly, Careless Memories was added in Saratoga when they did not play Leopard.  Again, perhaps, they thought they needed a different type of song that night.  Since then, it has stayed.  Thus, it looks likely to hear that one. 

This leaves the last category, songs that have been played but extremely rarely.  I have already discussed Girls on Film.  The two other songs in this category are Other People’s Lives and…wait….for…it…Secret Oktober.  Other People’s Lives was on the setlist twice in Everett and in St. Augustine.  For the St. Augustine show, it is listed right next to Leopard, which might indicate that both songs were shortened and blended into each other in a way.  I must check youtube to see!  I wonder why this one did not last.  Was it not received well at the first show?  Did the band feel like it needed more practice with it?  Was something messed up with the visual accompanying it so they had to take it out?  I don’t have a clue.  It will be interesting to see if it comes back more or not.  As of right now, I would not expect it but be excited if it appears at your show! 

As for Secret Oktober, the news of this song playing broke pretty quickly throughout the fan community.  There was much shouting!  For the fans who have no other shows, they were upset that they didn’t get this song!  For the fans who have shows coming up, like the Daily Duranie, begging has begun in the hopes of hearing it!  Before my pleading begins, I did want to take a moment to acknowledge that it was played in place of Tiger Tiger.  I have to admit that this doesn’t thrill me.  I love Tiger Tiger and was SO looking forward to hearing it.  I’m not sure why they couldn’t leave in Tiger Tiger and take out…I don’t know, AVTAK, perhaps!  That said, here is where my begging begins!

Dear any member of Duran Duran, their management, or anyone else connected to them in any way shape or form is reading this, I’m begging, pleading, hoping, longing to hear Secret Oktober and will be at the show at the Chicago Theatre next Friday!  Hearing this song live would mean a lot to both of us here at the Daily Duranie!  We have been very loyal and dedicated fans for decades.  We have traveled through the US and to the UK to see your concerts.  In fact, we traveled in May to the UK to see four shows that did not happen but will be returning to your home country to see shows later this year.  This song is a special one as it brings us back to the beginning of our fandom, to that glorious decade that treated us all well.  This is a song that we love and hope that our desire to hear it live happens as opposed to what happened to us with another one of our favorite songs, Late Bar, which we have yet to hear as well.  In the case of Late Bar, we thought we had our chance to hear that favorite of ours in 2009 as it was played at a show a few shows before ours but never played again.  We were heartbroken then and hope that we will not express the same disappointment now.  This is your moment to please not just us but many of your dedicated fans who will be at that show.  I’m sure that many of your fans would be grateful forever, which would just reinforce their fandom and their continued desire to support you and your career by buying many, many concert tickets in the future.  I thank you in advance.  Love, the Daily Duranie.

-A

Are we ready yet?!?

The answer is no.  No we are not.  I think the reality hit me just yesterday that I’m traveling next week.  I get on a plane bound for Chicago next Thursday morning.  I’m really looking forward to seeing my second home, my friend Amanda, my sister, and of course Duran Duran at the Chicago Theatre Friday night.  It’s one Chicago “staple” that I’ve yet to see, so that should be fun.  I finally did get a decent ticket to the show, and get this, I’m on John’s side.  That almost never happens for me, so it’ll be good to see the show from a different angle for a change!  My trip is a bit of a whirlwind as I land Thursday afternoon and take off again on Saturday afternoon – I have to be home in time to celebrate my husband’s birthday the following day.  We have a couple of days that are jam packed with plans, so I’m sure to come home exhausted from the trip.

After I return home, I have a matter of weeks before my second (and final!) trip to the UK for this year.  I’m still in a general state of disbelief that I’m making the trip out there again.  It’s funny because typically when Amanda and I make plans, I immediately book my plane ticket, the hotels…and then it’s wait wait wait. This time, we kept putting off making firm plans.  We did buy other concert tickets to replace the shows we could not attend due to timing, but other than that, we left well enough alone.  I think both of us kept waiting to affirm to ourselves that Simon was going to be able to do the tour, and to be honest I kept waiting for something to go wrong.  I think I still am to some extent.  Yesterday, Amanda found out that her leave from work was approved, which made us both relieved and happy to be making plans, so I booked my plane travel, and in addition we agreed to squeeze in one last show in Glasgow.  We have the time, thanks to Amanda’s leave, and since we’re going to be over there – we both feel as though we should go for broke (quite literally, I might add) and do it all.  It’s going to be a crazy trip and I think we will truly be spending more time in transit on a train than we will in any one locale during our visit to the UK, but we will be able to say we absolutely toured the heck out of that region!  I’ve never been to Scotland, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what it is like.

Just as a reminder – I live in Southern California.  We *might* get frost at my house once or twice a year.  I think I might have a ragged pair of knitted gloves in one of my drawers, but certainly nothing that can withstand real cold.  I did live outside of Chicago for a couple of years, but I suspect that the damp cold I’m about to face in the UK are going to be a shock to the old system for me!  This should be amusing for just about everyone else but me.  If you live there and see someone who appears to be a human popsicle – it’s probably going to be me.  Bring coffee….or maybe even Roger and/or Dom…I’m not really that picky!  (see, the fangirl comes out sometimes without ANY warning!)

With that, I think I need to get out and find myself some warm clothing!

-R
 

Getting Excited!!!

I received my tickets for the Chicago show today!  Yay!  I always feel better once I actually have the tickets in hand even though I know that I have them on paper!  On top of that, Rhonda purchased a concert ticket for the show as well!  The preshow meetup is planned and relatively set.  I have been in contact with Hoyt’s restaurant in Hotel 71 and they are trying to do everything they can do to not only accommodate our group but to make sure that we have great service!  Nice!  Thus, it seems like things are all set for the Chicago show! 

While I have been excited for the Chicago show for awhile since, of course, the UK trip disappointment, part of me had been holding back.  I think it is probably pretty natural since I flew all the way over to the UK and did not see any shows.  At that time, I honestly didn’t know what the future was going to hold for Duran and Simon, in particular.  I started to feel a little better with the positive reports from the rehearsal shows.  This relief continued to improve after each of the US shows.  This feeling, however, was mixed with a little envy at the people who got to see shows.  Part of that feeling happens with every tour and every show, at least for me and probably others.  This time was a little different.  Part of that feeling, lately, had to do with worry and anxiety.  I honestly worried that at any point I would hear that Simon couldn’t do it, that he couldn’t finish the tour.  I thought, for sure, the tour would end before it got to my show.  I won’t lie that part of me still worries about that but it is decreasing with every show. 

Now, I’m less than 2 weeks away from my first show since April and starting to feel real excitement, the kind of excitement I used to feel.  I’m feeling the excitement that had to do with seeing friends, meeting new Duranies and seeing my favorite band live in concert.  For the last few months, the excitement had to more to do with hope at best and avoiding disappointment at worst.  While waiting for the real excitement to grow, the plans have actually been made.  In the past, when we make plans, we are expressing how much we are looking forward to the show, the tour.  Lately, though, plans have gotten made because they had to be made not because we really want to make them.  I’m starting to feel the itch of making plans for FUN.  This is good, of course, because soon Rhonda and I have to really start planning for the UK tour!  In the past, making plans has been part of what I have looked forward to.  I want that to be the case now, too. 

Now that the Chicago show is moving closer and my real excitement is growing, I have started to really believe that everything is okay and that my life as a Duranie is as it should be!  Thus, I’m truly starting to look forward to Chicago and to the UK tour!!!

-A 

Daily Duranie Show Review – Harrah’s Rincon Valley Center 10/1/11

I know some of you out there have been waiting for my review of Saturday night’s show at Harrah’s Rincon near Valley Center, California. Well, wait no longer!

I’ll be honest, I really wasn’t sure what to expect, and so I tried my very best to go into this show with no expectations.  Not an easy feat for any fan.  I kept telling myself that the show would be a success as long as they actually played, and the rest would take care of itself.

To begin with, the venue is odd.  It’s an open air temporary stage that the hotel/resort/casino erects each summer – and since this is Southern California, it’s still very much summer-like weather here. (At least until tomorrow, when we are to expect our first bit of rain – but even then, it won’t last long and we should be back to 70 and 80 degree F weather by the weekend, I am sure.)  Valley Center is inland San Diego county, very much high desert type weather and topography, and the hotel/casino is on an Indian Reservation.  This particular resort is the farthest inland in this area, which means that after taking one of the main freeways (major highways) to get here, one must travel on much smaller twisty-turny back roads for anywhere from 20 to about 45 minutes to get to the resort.  Basically, one really has to want to get to this place to go there – you’re not gonna just stumble upon it while out for a drive and say “Hey, lets go see Duran Duran tonight!”  Hardly.  I can’t speak for every casino outside of Vegas, but I can say that at least in the instance of many of the casino/hotels in this area (there are a few), they attract the over 60 crowd many times over the under 40 crowd.  Whereas Vegas has the allure of world-class clubs, famous chefs with restaurants to match and that certain slickness that goes along with expensive nights on the town, these places have very little of that atmosphere.  The closest thing to a dance club that Harrah’s has is the Oasis Lounge, which is indoors; or the poolside cabana club, which is outdoors.  Both had bands playing that night prior to the concert, although neither could entice many away from their slot machine of choice.  One comes to these resorts to gamble, not to party their cares away.  It’s a very different vibe from the glitterati that many of the Vegas hotels and casinos have these days.  Once you crack the fragile shell of “Yes, this is a casino and should contain the prospects for an all-night party”, you realize this is very different egg.  This is not Vegas, this is not Duran’s typical crowd, and yet we’re hoping for a typical show.  What’s typical, anyway?

While Valley Center is really not that far in distance from my house in South Orange County (if you’re gonna come visit, call first!), those snake-like back roads made the trip feel as though it took days.  By the time we got to the resort, I was starving and according to my husband – “raging like a mad woman”.  (Perhaps next time my husband will acquiesce to my request that we stop at In-N-Out along the way….just saying.)  I don’t see how different that is from normal, but I digress.  Once parked, which seemed to take a monumental effort in patience and skill, we went on the hunt to find Will Call, get our tickets, then find dinner.  Needless to say, by the time we did eat, I suspect my husband was ready to drive home without me.  I believe at one point the words “Go ahead, I’ll just catch a ride home with Dom and Roger!” may have escaped my lips.  Good thing my husband doesn’t typically listen!   After rushing through a quick dinner (we ate at Pink’s there in the casino, which in my opinion is not nearly as good as the original Pink’s in Hollywood. Not even close.), we had to walk very quickly through the casino and out to the Open Sky Theater, only to be told that while there is a VIP entrance, it’s only for casino members.  (Annoying, but not really a big deal in the end)  So we walked through the regular entrance and got to our seats during Neon Trees’ first song.

I need to say here that Neon Trees only played a 30 minute set, and for as popular as they are – there was NO one standing.  They received the same sort of lackluster greeting as any other opening band I’ve ever seen, which is funny considering that by all accounts and purposes on today’s charts – they are bigger than Duran Duran. (to everyone else BUT Duran Duran fans, of course)  I just don’t believe that the Duran Duran audience is all that helpful to the group in general, regardless of how much a few fans that I know love them.   That said, the Saturday night crowd in attendance that night was unusual in many respects.  Generally speaking, Neon Trees had all of the power of a good performance that would have gotten any other crowd on their feet, but when the lead singer looks out into the audience and ridicules them for sitting – it’s all going downhill from there.  He had lost control of the audience at that point, and up until (and even through most of) their final song “Animal”, I just don’t think he ever gained their attention.  There were the remote few that stood up along the railing, but out of an audience of 4200 in attendance, the 20 or so people who stood up were the remote few, and were never acknowledged.  I think the lead singer has a lot to learn when it comes to taking command of the stage and keeping his ego in check, especially under those types of difficult circumstances – so perhaps this tour will be a good learning experience for the group as a whole.  I doubt they gained many more fans the night I saw them, that is for sure.

Duran Duran took the stage at about 20 minutes after 9 by my watch, and they opened with Before the Rain.  I must say that I don’t know how well that song really went over.  I think that for the band – it’s a great opener because rather than open by gangbusters and blow Simon’s voice straight out of the gate, the set builds to a crescendo.  The trouble is, that particular song is not well known to the average Duran concert goer that was shocked to see that they’re still playing these days and says “Hey honey, let’s get tickets!”.  This brings up one major difference I can note in their overall performance this tour, they’ve learned how to correctly build a setlist…even if it’s built with the wrong damn songs in some cases.  (yes, that’s my personal critique of their song choices!) There’s a warm up, a build, a peak, then a cool down, and repeat.  The setlist is built to accommodate resting periods for Simon. (and really, for all of them in some respects)  In any case, the song was done very, very well and yes – Simon sounded strong.  I have to say that on a personal note, I would stop and listen carefully every time I knew there would be a chance of strain in his voice – particularly when I knew he had struggled in the past – and all in all, I heard none of that, not even in obvious places such as A View to a Kill (the end) or even in Come Undone (again, at the end).  Truthfully, I was surprised and yes, I’m a cynic I suppose.

There were many, many highlights to this show, and not all of them were due to outstanding performance!  For instance, Simon incorrectly introduced Girl Panic at one point, only to have Nick emphatically shake his head “No”.  Then John took the pleasure in kindly busting his chops properly over the microphone for all to hear.  “This happens every night in one way or another, doesn’t it Simon?  You’ve got this thing called a SET LIST right there….” To which Simon replies that he doesn’t really NEED a set list, but that he sees that some set list nazi had one printed up for him and so he supposes he’d better look at it. Simon retaliated again later during the song when he ad-libbed his own lyrics; saying something to the effect that he knows the RIGHT setlist and that he’ll sing it his way a million times every night.  Anyone who knows the words to Girl Panic could tell right away that Simon was making up his own lines and there was quite a bit of laughter from the audience.  Either that, or it was just me laughing away on my own.  At another point Simon was backing up and John was immediately behind him on the riser, smiling away at Simon because it was obvious that Simon had no idea John was right behind him…and then there was a brief moment that I thought Dom was going to end up in a heap off of the stage because Simon coaxed Dom out onto a giant speaker with him, but then kind of bumped him unintentionally.  The look on Dom’s face was priceless and I suspect our guitarist has a fear of heights because he got off said speaker and back onto the safety of the stage rather promptly after that.  He did venture back out there later in the show, but only for a second before getting back into safe territory, back away from the edge.  Can’t say I blame him, either!  It was good to see humor brought into the show, and it’s in those moments where you can see that the band not only works well together, they genuinely still like one another.

If you’re a fan of Simon’s dancing (it reminds me of watching my dad try and dance to my “crazy” music – as he called it – when I was a kid!), fear not – he doesn’t disappoint!  His dramatic facial expressions and dance moves are as wonderful as always, and the show would not be the same without them.  I still cringe when he gets going during Notorious.  Someday he’s going to pull something and need help getting off the stage – I can see it coming.

With regard to the setlist, it is a fine retrospective of their entire career as a whole.  There are definitely moments that are more tired than others though, and it would be unfair not to comment.  If the band wants to do themselves and their audience a favor, they need to give A View to a Kill a long rest.  The band seems to trudge along during that song, and they seem as bored playing it as I do listening to it at this point. (bet you all thought I was going to say Hungry Like the Wolf, didn’t you?!? HA!)  I know they have other songs…even other “hits”…that would do well in that space.  Notorious is not far off from being in the same boat, although Simon’s enthusiastic dancing seems to help that along.  Oddly.   The Reflex is getting some more mileage these days, and I dare say it’s also in danger of being overdone as well.  It’s probably time to find a new way to start that song other than with the call/response ‘Ta Na Na Na’s’ between the band and the audience.  Even John’s coercions of “Do it like it’s still 1983” didn’t work all that well on this night.  Conversely, Planet Earth…and my personal “favorite”…Hungry Like the Wolf were honestly high points of the show, much to my chagrin on the latter.  They’ve changed the way they start HLTW (I’ve got to believe, narcissistically so, that they did this for Roger fans like…oh, I don’t know…ME!) so that Roger begins the song with drums.  For a brief second I thought they were playing something else, then of course the melody started and I was pissed that they’d tricked me.  I have to admit though that the band seems to have a renewed sense of energy in this song, and as such I found myself singing along, damn it.  The new songs off of AYNIN were received rather well for the most part, the only lukewarm reception was probably during Before the Rain, and I really have to believe that has as much to do with it being the beginning of the show, the emotion behind the song itself, and the fact that I stood there almost in a state of shock for about 3/4 of the song.  I’m hoping I can actually listen to it in Chicago and get something out of it.  (this was not the fault of the band, just the experiences I’ve had getting to this point)

There were a few “misses” throughout the show…not really entire songs, but things I noticed that just don’t seem to make sense.  Chastity, their new percussionist is a fine example.  I don’t really understand her purpose and what she adds to the show.  It may be that there has always been a percussionist off to the side, but for some reason she’s really out in the view of the audience…and was there also during the spring US shows as well.  During those shows, her brown hair was long, kept down, and she looked far more like a serious classical musician than she did someone who belonged on a rock and roll stage.  Well, now she’s dyed her hair bright red in places, lightened up in others and she wears it off to the side in a ponytail.  She sings along with Anna in backup as well.  Admittedly, I don’t get it.  Anna is now opposite her on Dom’s side of the stage and does her best to remain off to the side, which I do feel is much better than having her out front, although I still appreciate her presence – Simon needs her range, that much I am sure of.  There are giant face “molds” hung at the top of the stage, and those are used for projecting images throughout the show.  Keep watch on them because at various points each member of the band has their face projected up there and they are ALL singing.  Yes, even Roger and it’s a sight to behold.  I will say that for those who are closer to the front as we were that night – their noses look HUGE and it’s not at all a good look for them.  😀  They also have 3 video screens behind them that play images of them as well.  It’s not a boring backdrop, so for that I’ll give them an ‘A’ for effort.  Their wardrobe is also a gigantic MISS, in my opinion.  It’s not at all cohesive, which doesn’t matter to me – but it’s worth noting.  Nick wore the same leopard print jacket he’s worn at other shows on the tour so far (if only they’d play the song….), Dom had on a collared polo shirt that had red glitter paint lining the collar with some black pants, I couldn’t tell you what Roger was wearing since he’s behind the drums, John had on black pants, a t-shirt with the word “delete” on it and a black leather jacket, and then Simon…Simon wore a black tuxedo-ish type shirt with a burgundy tuxedo cut blazer over it.  The blazer was that sort of shiny material that has a black undertone with a burgundy glittery shine to it when the light passes over it.  (Again, my “keen” sense of fashion is inhibiting me from telling you the name of the material.  I haven’t the slightest clue.)  The blazer isn’t something I would have chosen, but it gets “even better”.  During the first rest that Simon has, during Tiger Tiger, he goes backstage and changes.  On that night, he changed into this blue, very shiny “snakeskin” shirt.  I just don’t even know what to say except that I can’t imagine that material breathes well.  Oh, and he’s got on some really crackin’ athletic shoes, too.  They are black with bright blue soles, and I’ll say this much – I’ll bet his feet don’t hurt at the end of the show!  Then for the finale, he changes outfits yet again, this time changing into some sort of a t-shirt that obviously didn’t offend my eyes too much because I don’t remember what it looked like.   My point here is that I cannot possibly be the only fan out there that misses the days when they’d come on stage in their nice black suits.  Yep, I miss those days.  Sure, I might come to the show in jeans….but I want them in their suits.

Another couple of misses it had were the obvious “dance mix” extensions at the end of Planet Earth and Notorious.  There just seemed to be no point other than to put some minutes onto the length of the show to make sure they played for at least an hour and a half. (They were on stage at 9:20 and exited the final time by no later than 10:50, and I think I’m being generous by a few minutes on that one.)  One thing I did absolutely adore though was the morphing of Wild Boys into Relax.  That kicked ass and the band does it brilliantly.  I am not into the band doing  covers for the most part, but I would love to have them do this whole song live.  It rocked.  One final critique that Simon almost had something thrown at him from the 3rd row for doing:  he comes to the front of the stage at one point and says “You know it’s October….(and at this point I’m thinking “Oh my god, they’re gonna play Secret Oktober!!”) and as such there are probably people in some parts of the United States already celebrating Christmas!  (hopes immediately dashed…*sigh*)  We’re gonna play our Christmas song now (what?!!)…well actually we don’t have a Christmas song (I can seriously see Nick out of the corner of my eye looking at Simon as though he’d grown 3 heads, then suddenly relief fills his face at this point), but this song as the word ‘snow’ in it.”   It’s Come Undone of course.  And then I had to stop myself from throwing my phone at him.  I’d have beaned him with it, too, and then I would have been carted away by Dave the bodyguard.  So, I decided to keep my phone.   Good times!!

Overall, it was a great show.  Was it a standout show for me?  Yes and no.  Yes, I’ll always remember the show because I was in 3rd row with my husband, and it was the first show I’ve seen since the UK debacle.  Was the band on fire?  Well, if John says so then yes – but I’ve seen them get the fans riled up FAR better than they did that night.  I suppose this could be blamed on the crowd as much as it could be the band – I’m not really sure.  I know they tried and I didn’t ever feel like they were just trying phone the performance in, so to speak.  They were working it for us and expected that in return, which I’m not sure they really received til the end when Simon stood up with his arms spread out wide soaking in the moment.  After the year he’s been through, he deserved every bit of that applause.   I’ll say this much:  put Friends of Mine back into the setlist and ditch A View to a Kill, because that’s what the show needs.  It needs that kind of energy at that point, and I promise I’ll keep singing Hungry Like the Wolf.  For now.  😉

-R

PS – I am going to edit this within the next few days to add photos – my husband took off with his photo card today so I can’t do it now, but I’ll announce when I’ve added them.  Walt was the official Daily Duranie photographer that night and he got some great shots!

Lacking Meets and Greets, Shows and More…

Somedays, when writing this blog, I can step back and be completely objective, an observer of fandom.  Other days, I feel such a part of the fandom that I struggle with my words.  Most days, I fall somewhere in between as I am aware that we are both observers of our fandom and part of it.  Today, I am struggling with the balance. 

As many of you are aware, my partner-in-crime is on her way to the Valley Center show.  I couldn’t be happier for her!  Where am I?  I’m laying on my couch hoping to feel better as it appears that I caught some sort of stomach bug.  Ick.  Obviously, I would love to switch places with her–not that she would with me, though!  Anyway, while I’m happy for her and for everyone else who is going to this show or has been to one of the previous shows, I can’t help but to want to be there myself.  I think this is the natural aspect of being in a fandom, right?  We all want to do every show.  Yet, of course, for a variety of reasons, we can’t or most of us can’t.  While we know that, logically, we still can be envious.  Now, I will admit that I have been rather lucky in terms of the number of shows I have seen in comparison to many people.  However, I know of people who have been to many more.  Does that bother me?  No, on most days, it doesn’t.  I understand that I can’t do it all.  I have responsibilities in terms of work and I have financial restrictions that limit my fandom activities.  That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t bother me, sometimes.  It does.  It is also clear that this bothers other fans, too.  Do you know how many comments we get from other fans from different parts of the world who are bothered by the lack of touring near them?  We get a lot of them!  What about those fans who can’t ever get to a show even if the band is touring in their country?  They, too, get upset about it. 

Another element of this that comes up during touring seasons is meet and greets.  Rhonda discussed VIP packages the other day and many, many people talked about the lack of meet and greets on this US leg of the tour.  A lot of people think that the band should do meet and greets with the money VIP tickets cost.  I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about this.  Now, before I go further, let me be perfectly clear.  We have never had an official meet and greet with the band.  Both of us have “met” them at cd signings but nothing like an official meet and greet.  Yes, we have been fans a long time.  Yes, we have VIPed some.  Do I think that the band should do meet and greets with all of the VIPs?  I’m not sure.  From everything I have heard, they don’t last long and most fans get moved along pretty quickly.  If this is how it is done for a few winners, how long would they last if ALL VIPs got one?  I suspect that they would be VERY short.  I wouldn’t want that.  I have already had that with the cd signing.  Then, there is always a part of me that has a hard time with the money connection.  VIP tickets cost a lot of money.  Should it be just the fans who can afford VIP who get to meet the band?  Then, what about those people who always have VIP?  Should they get to meet the band 10 times a tour?  5 times a tour?  Is that fair?  I don’t know.  Maybe it is since they would be paying for that privilege. 

Then, what about those people who win contests to meet the band?  On one hand, money is no longer the determining factor, which is good, in my opinion.  They requires good luck, however.  I have seen many friends of mine winning things like radio contests to meet the band.  That’s cool.  The only show I’m going to is in Chicago, a city more than 2 hours away from me.  If there is a radio contest, I wouldn’t know because I don’t get Chicago radio.  Thus, in this situation, geography and not money blocks my chances.  I have also seen or heard about people who aren’t really fans playing these type of contests and winning.  That is upsetting, too, as it means that Duranies don’t get a chance to win.  Don’t get me wrong here–I’m thrilled for anyone who wins a meet and greet and excited for people who get to shows I can’t do.  Yet, I’m acknowledging that even those of us who get it, logically, can still feel a little envious, can be upset and that this is normal.  It is normal to wish you were the one at the show.  It is normal to wish you were the one at the meet and greet. 

It seems to me that there is a wide spectrum of what Duran fans can and have done in terms of shows and meeting the band.  There are some fans who have seen one show and there are other fans who have seen well into double digits of shows.  Some fans have never met or seen the guys at all and others have done it a bunch of times.  I’m willing to bet that those fans who have been to a few or no shows feel a little hurt, a little upset watching and hearing about fans who do more.  The same is true for meet and greets.  Do the fans who have been to a ton of shows and/or have met the band a bunch of times feel this way, too?  I think they might.  Again, I think the thing about fandom is that people want everything they can get or else they wouldn’t be fans! 

This post is really just to acknowledge that I believe these feelings exist.  I’m not judging those feelings.  I’m not saying that people should try to change their feelings.  I think, too often, people are encouraged, openly or not, to keeping those feelings to themselves.  I’m sure that someone is going to write and tell me that these feelings are selfish and that they never feel this way.  To those people, I’m happy for you, but it doesn’t change my mind that I think the feelings do exist for a lot of people in the fandom.  Now, tomorrow, I will be better, both physically (I hope) and emotionally and can get back to counting down the days until I’m the lucky one at the Chicago show.

-A