Category Archives: Commentary

September 9 Durant Oklahoma Show Review

I just want to say a very quick but heartfelt thank you to everyone and anyone who has taken the time to write a blog about their concert experience while the band has toured so far. Obviously, Amanda and I can’t be everywhere, but we really want to be able to bring the touring experience to everyone. So, we truly thank everyone who has helped out with that by writing up their own tour experience. We can’t thank you enough – because YOU are what makes Daily Duranie special. 

With that in mind, we have a post straight from Durant, Oklahoma this past weekend to share!  Thanks to Kim-Loan McDuffie!!  -R

Also, if you are viewing this on a cell/mobile phone or tablet, it is quite possible that you are seeing some photos sideways.  While WordPress is responsive, it is unfortunately not always THAT responsive for mobile – and since I am not really a webmaster or a website builder, I can’t fix it.  Sorry!!  -R

By Kim-Loan McDuffie

The last two shows for Duran Duran in North America were in Durant, Oklahoma.  (Ironic, right?  DURANt)  Dallas is but just over an hour away from here, so we bought tickets to the Sept. 7 show, but it was changed to Sept. 9 after we bought tickets, so that worked out better since it fell on a Friday night instead of a school night!  Grown up girls sleepover time!!!

The town of Durant is a quaint little country town with a large casino/resort/entertainment complex.     We checked in early that Friday for a day of relaxing, fun and dinner before the 8:00 show (no opening act).  This particular weekend was gold for any fan that wanted a run-in with the band or crew members since they all stayed on premises for the entire weekend.  The resort was big yet small enough for multiple run-ins with everyone since we all had the same set of elevators if you stayed in the grand towers or suites.  There were Duran Duran folks poolside, outside, inside, and at the restaurants.  The last blog I did for Daily Duranie was about our meet and greet with JT, so this time I will give more details about the actual concert, but I do have to say that this weekend was just as exciting as our last experience, if not more spectacular.

I had purchased 12 tickets total (going out with a bang!!).  I gifted a pair to a fellow volunteer Wish Granter for the Make A Wish foundation, he’s been such an amazing person and friend who has never seen a DD show.  I also invited 7 friends for a sleepover and saved a last pair of tickets on the floor to do a random act of kindness.

Before the show started, I walked upstairs toward the back of the venue and found an older couple who sat way in the back and asked them if I could upgrade their seats.  They were shocked and so excited, and high fives were exchanged, then  8:10 hit and we got seated for the show.  The remaining 8 tickets in my hands were 1st and 2nd row seats scattered into the middle and JT side of the stage, and this way smaller venue made the close seats feel even closer!  The American Airlines Center in Dallas holds well over 20,000 while Choctaw in Durant holds a mere 3,000.  It made a huge difference, this concert was so intimate but still felt big!

The last show in April had Nick Rhodes at the keyboards, and this show has MNDR.  I didn’t notice a huge difference, but I did miss Nick’s presence and energy.  The sound was still great but there was just a little musical magic that only Nick brings.  The rest of the members brought their A game, everyone was all smiles and great energy.

Loan Durant Simon 1

On the subject of energy, Simon was very much perfection this night!  In April he had some throat and coughing problems, but this night, he was on point.  Simon was just happy and fun!  His banter was silly, he started the evening with a joke about if we all had ordered Papa Johns pizza for dinner, since there were Papa Johns flyers and advertisements all over the resort.  That made us all laugh and his smiles and happy energy took us through the entire show.

Loan Durant Simon 2Simon’s voice was as gorgeous as ever, as was John’s bass slapping, Roger’s amazing drumming and Dom, Simon W. and MNDR’s musical support.  I was seated front row right below Dom’s spot.  We were only separated from the stage, just two feet away, by a metal barricade. My hands easily touched the stage.  We were able to see all their expressions, movements and steps.  This close to the performers, I could feel their personal energy and passion for their craft.  There was a point when Simon and John were together on a singing part and I don’t know if someone did something silly or a little mistake was made, but we could see the genuine laughter between the two friends.  That gave us the warm, touchy feelies.

Loan Durant Simon 4

 

Loan Durant Simon 3

 

Loan Durant WATC Simon

Simon also gave us all the same giggles and overwhelming school girl crush feeling when he introduced Come Undone with his usual naughty banter.  Only Simon can say Viagra and Cialis in his British accent and make us all crazy. He whispered an additional naughty remark that had the women in the crowds swooning, and the men laughing.  We were in the direction of Simon’s smiling and glances at one point during his singing that brought us back to our teenage crush feelings.  Tonight, everyone felt like Simon was serenading them directly.  That’s something that a true front-man with so much onstage charisma can only do.

Loan Durant JTJohnTaylor (I still have such a bad habit of always saying his first and last name, he’s not John or Mr. Taylor, it always comes out as JohnTaylor, even when I speak with him, I’m such a dork!) was the bass god that he’s earned the title to.  When Simon did his usual introduction of JT, the crowd followed in Simon’s chant of “Play that f-ing bass, John!” so loud, so cheerful and with so much joy and energy!  He was more smiley, happy and was as JohnTaylor-y as can be.  When JohnTaylor smiles, it always feels like it’s aimed at you, because he has the best smile!  I spoke with some male friends after the show and they were even saying they have man-crushes on JT after seeing him at this show.  Now that is what you call stage presence if the straight men fall in love with you too.

Loan Durant Dom JT

 

Loan Simon slant

Let’s not forget about our man behind the drum kit.  From my spot, I could see Roger plenty, his seat positioning was many times right in our direction.  I’m not shy, so I waved a couple of times and was reciprocated with a wink and smiles.  His beats were hot, and energy was sweet and great.

The last song brought feelings of sadness and happiness.  We were so happy to have been in this moment and feeling, yet sad it was over.  I did spend most of my time singing, dancing, swooning and taking in all the sights and sounds. They looked happy, refreshed, and all so gorgeous and they sounded great…. I was so thankful to have spent my time watching and listening, knowing it would be the last concert for a while.  I’m also glad they added The Reflex to the set list, it was so good!  I only wish that had sung The Chauffeur like they did in some other cities, it’s my very favorite song and hearing it live is at the top of my list of wishes.

Loan Durant encore

The Wild Boys thanked the crowd for a spectacular tour and great night, bowed and said goodnight…. I waved goodnight to the stage and was also able to grab Roger’s hand as he shook some hands on the way out.  The lights came on and it was an aftermath of a ton of confetti and deflated giant beach balls all around to sadly remind us it was over.

Loan Durant confetti

Loan Durant Rio

This show was better for me because I made the choice to pay more attention and take in the concert experience knowing it would be the last show for a while.  The fact that the room and stage was much smaller and we were that much closer to the performers made this night just over the top.  It was worth the cost of the tickets, even if there wasn’t an opening act.  Everyone on stage was incredible and gave this performance their all.  John Taylor had told us earlier that day that he really loves performing, loves the feeling of bringing the music and excitement to his fans.  He said hopes to do this over and over again and for as long as possible, as this is truly his happy place.  I believe that, and he proved it this night on stage.
Loan Durant front rowMy biggest regret?  Well, my biggest and only regret was that I wasn’t smart enough to plan ahead to buy tickets and rooms for both show nights.  I bet the last show must have been incredible if the next to the last show was so amazing.  Regardless, I am still so thankful for the two shows I have seen this year, both experiences were enough to make teenage me so jealous.  2016 has been some Duran Duran dreams come true.

 

 

 

 

 

All photos courtesy of Kim-Loan McDuffie

 

loan thumbnailLoan (pronounced “lawn”) McDuffie, has loved Duran Duran since seeing her first video on MTV!  Like most people her age, she tries to keep up with the new music but always goes back to 80’s music and anything from Duran Duran.  Simon Le Bon was her first crush, but this year after my first concert and meeting them, it’s fair to say she has crushes on them all!  She is a mother, wife, business owner, and volunteer/children’s advocate and fundraiser residing in the Dallas suburbs.

A Drop of Blood on Evil Beach

So, the Duranie fallout from Mike Bell’s unfavorable review of the Calgary show continues this morning. I can’t remember the last time Daily Duranie had so much discussion on its Facebook page, actually.  Dissenting comments populated our page and spread like wildfire.

Coyly, one commenter asked, “Is he not allowed an opinion?” She continued by saying she didn’t know if she would agree with his review until she went to see the show.

Fair enough.  Her loaded question made me think.  Mike Bell, and others like him are critics. In order to be a critic, opinions are necessary.  I mean, you can’t very well review something if you don’t have an opinion, can you?  But is that the point here?  I’m not so sure on my end.

There have been numerous times when Amanda and I have given an unfavorable review. Fans are not afraid to call us out when they do not agree.  We’ve had it pointed out to us occasionally that we’ve been too harsh with regard to one topic or another. Carefully, we  cite reasons, give examples and with varying levels of success—we attempt to be fair when we write blogs that are less than favorable. It isn’t easy, and we don’t expect everyone to agree. Our job is to start the conversation and let it go from there.

Those details that Amanda and I try very hard to incorporate here, such as examples, reasons, and yes, fairness, were missing yesterday. It wasn’t so much that the reviewer didn’t like the show, it was that I hardly saw critique of the show.  His article displayed his predetermined utter dislike for the band with a few dismal sentences about the show thrown in for good measure. Had he taken the time to prove why he felt that HLTW wasn’t quite up to par, or how he felt that the band was inanimate, perhaps the review might have gone over differently.

That’s just it though, these critics don’t have to prove anything. They can just write their drivel, and for the most part—it goes unnoticed and unchallenged until a blog like Daily Duranie comes along. I make no apologies for starting the conversation.

-R

 

Perfect Parody or Stereotypical Review?

Life makes me laugh sometimes. Yesterday I had commented that this tour had given me very little to write about.

Today is a new day!  This morning I had Mike Bell’s review from the Calgary Herald waiting in my inbox.  Without noticing the byline, I assumed it would be another glowing, beautiful review of a well-staged production.  I clicked on the link, preparing to scan the article and move on.

“Someone recently asked about the enduring appeal of Duran Duran, why they still mattered or if they, in fact, actually still did.

Musically, that’s an easy question to answer: No. No they don’t.”

One line—the one above, mind you—and I realized I would need to read far more carefully.  After reading the entire article, I had to go back and re-read, hoping to wade through the insults to find the meat of the review.

Here’s a particularly good zinger:

“Duran Duran opened the show with the flaccid title track from the new album, taking the stage to those trappings of earlier days, when it seemed cool to have thunder, fog machines and images of trees and birds, for some reason, displayed behind them.

It wasn’t cool. It was sad. Laughable. Almost perfect parody in an arena that they no longer belong in.”

Ouch. So he didn’t much care for “Paper Gods” as the opener then.  OK.  I think that song is a particularly tough sell for people who haven’t followed the band over the years, and in my opinion, I do find it a bit weak as an opener compared to “Before The Rain” (but there were plenty who hated that one too).  But then, I follow the band. Guilty as charged.

I did chuckle openly over his comments about “Hungry Like the Wolf.”  Simon is no closer to Will Ferrell than I am to say, Kiesza or anyone who has ever shared the stage with Duran Duran…but that whole “Is anybody hungry?” thing has got to go.  I think though, even Simon knows it’s corny, and plays it up for all it’s worth.  So good on him.

He goes on to compare their “Space Oddity” to a turd (his words, not mine), calls the set “muddled karaoke”, and characterizes the work from the latest album as “landlocked, cruise-ship fodder.”

WOW.

Then there’s the lights and visuals (oh no, not even the production team was spared…my thoughts and prayers to all of you who might be reading….and yes, that’s sarcasm you’re reading.)

“a crappy light and video display, barren stage, almost inanimate band members, but, confetti! — was mom and dad jeans come to life.”

I can handle most anything, but leave my jeans out of this, Mr. Bell.

And then he does the unthinkable and dares to use the name Spandau Ballet, in the same review as Duran Duran. (cue dramatic music)

“It was like that Spandau Ballet episode of Modern Family, where everyone wanted so desperately for a dude playing music from the past in their living room to be something special, something to remember, something that would be a new event, but it wasn’t.”

I don’t even remember that episode of Modern Family, by the way.  Now I’m gonna have to search it out. Thanks.

He goes on from there, calling the show desperate and hollow. Oh, and a sham.

He also reviews Chic, which from what I’m grasping—he seemed to like, and felt that the audience didn’t deserve them. Perhaps that’s possible.  But let’s just get back to Duran Duran, shall we?

Here’s the thing: it isn’t always the best plan to review shows that you have already decided in advance that you’re going to hate. I’ve never quite understood that methodology, and while sure—sometimes you get assigned things as a writer that you don’t want to cover. I get it. But do yourself and your career a favor and do them well. Mr. Bell can’t honestly tell me that he prepared to go in and write an unbiased review that night any more than I can sit here and say that I’m not a Duranie.

I suppose there are different ways to get traffic on a website. One way is to write a glowing review of a show. That band might then tweet it to their followers and they click on the link to read.  Another is to write what I would consider to be one of the most scathing, brutal, and unrelenting reviews I’ve read about the band’s live show since perhaps the reunion tour. (Even then reviewers found SOMETHING to like about the show. Conversely, Mr. Bell here seems to only enjoyed the moments when the band was NOT onstage, but I digress.) People like me will read those reviews with great interest, and then discuss them on their blog.

Point taken.

After reading, I immediately posted the review on our Facebook page and encouraged fans to read and discuss.  One of the comments (and there were many) was that this seems to be an ongoing issue with male critics.  The commenter went on to guess that maybe Mike had lost his first girlfriend to the band and harbors continued ill will. It is a comment I’ve seen whenever a man has given a poor review to the band, actually.

I thought about the reviews I’d read from female writers lately.  There too lies a theme. The review is often from the point of view that the writer loved the band back in the 80s, complete with posters on their wall, a John Taylor haircut, bleached bangs, pleas for marriage…etc etc.  I welcome a positive reviews, but I often wonder why it is necessary for so many female writers to admit their bias as the framework for their article. Why not go to the show and review it purely on its merit? Why make it about nostalgia and having that moment they dreamt of as teens?  Not every female reviewer does this, but enough do that I take notice in the same way I see that plenty of male critics seem to have anger issues with the band simply because girls liked them in the 80s.

As someone who has run into the sexism that goes along with being a female fan of any band, much less Duran Duran (and for crying out loud stop comparing them to New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys!)- particularly when it has come to the writing Amanda and I have done—I can see we still live in a time where assumptions and stereotypes still rule, across the board.  I can’t possibly like the band without the crux of it being about wanting to get backstage with them, and men don’t like the band because of jealousy.

I can’t very well say what Mr. Bell’s truth might be, but I can say that overall—it is far easier to accept the stereotypes (and we all do: male and female alike) than acknowledge the truth.

-R

 

 

 

Power to Change the Point of View: Album Reviews

Our friend Manuela from Milan is back with a guest blog shortly reviewing the studio albums since Andy left the band for the second time. See how your thoughts match up with hers!  -R 

by Manuela Salvade

On September 26, it will mark ten years without Andy on guitars (or with Dom on guitars, depending on your point of view… Lol!).

(ed. note: Dom had played previously with Duran Duran, but Manuela means as a permanent member of the touring band instead of just as a stand-in for Andy)

While all the hard die fans are celebrating the lasting of this current line-up, I won’t share my feelings about it.  Instead, I’m will review their studio albums released during this period. Overall, I really love the albums, they’re awesome and I don’t find there is the same sort of “re-invention” we had with the Notorious” days.  That said, I love the wisdom they’ve acquired along the way. These three albums are part of a truly awesome legacy.

RED CARPET MASSACRE

At first I just found the music funny, dance-y and groove-y. I rated it as one of the best pop “experiments” done with producers who really don’t share much with their DNA, think of Alex Sadkin, or Ian Little in 1983. Few years since its release, they had a tour—with that memorable electro-set, no less—now my thoughts are that it wasn’t an album to underrate. RCM actually was a seed for the following albums! The real “geniuses” weren’t the Timbaland’s team, but just the 4 guys who today could capitalize the RCM moment. The guitars are awesome and not many noticed, because they were too busy ranting on the Andy/the 4 guys affair.

ALL YOU NEED IS NOW

Another awesome page of DD’s history. It features pop gems. There was chemistry with us fan—who can forget the interactions on the social platforms and during the concerts??—there was chemistry with Dom, whose guitars sounds fab. So, the main factors of “chemistry” and “peace-of-mind” made that period one of their best ones.

PAPER GODS

I love the accuracy in the arrangements, I love the wisdom in the lyrics, and I love the groove. It all brings me back to 1993 as I find in the same accuracy in the arrangements on the second self-titled album. This is the first “fruit” of Red Carpet Massacre. The tracks are strongly dance oriented, similarly to RCM. Under the surface, I did assume the boys wanted to use the Red Carpet Massacre days to fruition, as they didn’t seem to enjoy it much at the time.

These three albums are the real (awesome) legacy to me.  The controversy on the Andy’s affair, the words sometimes spoken by the guys I found hard to acknowledge as the “down” moments that disappointed me. I won’t cry any tears for those things I have seen or heard and didn’t like. These three albums are what will survive. Words can pass by, music doesn’t. Both Negative and positive events took place in these past few years, but the music was the energy above all.

Manuela picManuela is a long time Duran fan and of pop rock music from the 70s right thru today. She is a public employee at the Milan Town Hall, for a Bureau that provides with a service of help, advice, moderation and support, but no PR, to all organizers of small and big events in her town: EXPO 2015, she is behind the scenes of Fashion Weeks, of MTV and other live concerts, big sport events like Champions League, NBA. She is also a loyal, kind and loving friend and partner.

All You Need is Then: DD in Las Vegas

Just a reminder that we graciously accept reviews from DD shows, as well as blogs on any topic that has to do with Duran Duran. Today Jason Lent shares a different perspective on the recent Las Vegas show. If you’re interested in submitting a blog, please check out our “Guest Blog” page for information. 

For the next two weeks I will be on vacation with family (I’m doing nearly the polar opposite of “touring” by going camping with family in Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons), so I have a few guest blogs to take my place. Enjoy!!  -R

By Jason Lent

My nostalgia drenched July wrapped up with Duran Duran at the Mandalay Events Center in Las Vegas. Seven nights earlier, I stood in a parking lot downtown while Howard Jones and OMD performed on what felt like the surface of the sun. After Duran Duran, Howard Jones and Thompson Twins were pivotal touchstones in my formative years of music while OMD were always on the edges of my life soundtrack. All three provided different reminders of why I love the synth pop sounds of the 1980s.  I still find myself expecting more from Duran Duran overall because they were “my” band as an impressionable 11-year-old. As I walked to my car that night in a mad dash to escape a parking garage built by Satan himself, I realized that no matter what the band does now, all I ever needed from them was already given to me back then.

Touring in support of Paper Gods, I went into last night’s show having already seen the earliest incarnation of this tour in 2015 at the Hollywood Bowl and the Life Is Beautiful Festival in Las Vegas. Selfishly hoping for some radical updates to the set list (this was, after all, the second Vegas show in under a year), I knew that such dreams were foolish. At this point, the band has firmly entrenched itself into the legacy circuit where delivering the most appeal to the largest amount of people is job number one. With that as the goal, this current tour might be as effective as any they’ve undertaken in the last twenty years.  That night in Las Vegas, the cheers of the arena were literally deafening and I awoke the following morning with a ringing in my ears that I’d have expected if I stood in front of the PA at a Five Finger Death Punch concert (on a side note, very cool that Chris Kael from Death Punch was at the Duran show last night!).

From the viewpoint of a casual fan, there is no denying the overall power of the current show. After the artsy run through of the new album’s title track, the hits come fast and furious. Wild Boys, Hungry Like The Wolf, and A View To A Kill lifted the crowd to their feet and had them screaming along. The band appeared to be thrilled by the reception and Simon LeBon stepped into the role of the saucy frontman, a role he was born to play. Come Undone, the finest single of their second career peak, sounded and looked brilliant, providing one of the many highlights.

For the more ardent Duranie, the disappointment with the current show resides in the lack of hope that each show provides. Maybe this always existed with Duran Duran but age and technology now infringe on the innocent hope we carried to shows as teenagers. There is no mystery to which songs might be played and the stage banter feels a little too comfortable as a result. The show is the show and the band delivers it night after night at a very high level. However, most of us know exactly when LeBon is about to ask the audience if anybody is hungry. This lack of spontaneity and a refusal to push themselves outside their comfort zone takes a little sparkle off the modern Duran Duran.

For those of us who lived and died with each album (and Liberty sometimes felt like it wanted to kill me), the current tour does offer a few moments of ecstasy such as a killer performance of I Don’t Want Your Love from Big Thing and a reworked take on Girls On Film that feels funky and fresh. Both of these choices do nothing to hamper the casual fan’s appreciation of the show while giving us more fanatical sorts the hope for more twists and turns in the future. The clock is forever ticking when a band sticks around for over three decades but Duran Duran has some gas left in the tank and the next tour could be truly special if they are willing to take a few more chances.

First and foremost in my mind would be to bring 25-30 songs on the tour and arrange each set list slightly differently from town to town. In doing so, the band would have to stay on their toes musically from night-to-night. Why does that matter? It brings out the best in musicians. What if Notorious and Pressure Off weren’t always side by side for example. The songs are too similar sitting next to each other. If Notorious dropped down into the encore, it’s not like Nile Rodgers isn’t going to come back on stage. From what I’ve seen, he’ll take any chance to get in front of the audience especially if he gets to remind us of all the #1 hits he worked on. God bless the man, but we know you’re a legend. Stop telling us each night.

If the band brought 30 songs on the road, those extra tracks could open up a whole new world to long time fans. It starts with the new material. Last Night In the City should be dropped. It’s a boring EDM track that feels like the band trying to appeal to the very people who aren’t buying concert tickets regardless. Sunset Garage, a far better track, with a video montage of the band over the years could be a show highlight. The fatal flaw with Paper Gods was the decision to put the most Duran sounding songs into the “bonus tracks” of different versions of the release. Ask a hundred Duran fans and we would choose Planet Roaring over Danceophobia almost 100% of the time.

In addition to a better mix of the new tracks, the band’s depth gets grossly overlooked in the current tour which can be fixed fairly easily. All You Need Is Now from 2010 was one of their best studio albums since Rio and not a single song makes the current tour. This is more ludicrous than the decision to cover Public Enemy’s 911 Is A Joke. The album that brought them back into arenas gets no attention while the band continues to play Reach Up For the Sunrise, a modest hit but hardly essential listening. To make matters worse, the band taunts us with a chorus from New Moon On Monday in the middle of Sunrise. Here’s an idea, just play Monday, one of the beloved singles from the band’s biggest period.

As a kid, collecting Duran Duran 12” records felt like my life mission. On the flip side of the Careless Memories 12” was a track called Fame. At that age, I didn’t know who David Bowie was and this was my first time hearing an artist whose career and life would greatly influence everything I love in music. If the band had added Fame to the set list for this tour, not only would it have paid tribute to our collective hero, it would have taken us all back to the early stages of fandom when we were full of hope and wonder. I chalk up the medley of Planet Earth and Space Oddity as a near miss but still a lot of fun last night.

So where do we go from here? Next year is the 35th anniversary of Rio and the trend of bands revisiting complete works shows no signs of dissipating. Rather than head back into the studio, I hope Duran Duran embraces their legacy fully and undertakes a summer tour to celebrate a landmark album in all our lives. Open each night with a handful of other hits, take an intermission with a short film of the band in the studio and on video sets over the years, play Rio in its entirety and finish the night with an encore of even more hits. The ticket sales would be monumental and those of us who stayed with them all along would be rewarded with rarely heard songs like Hold Back the Rain.

I look forward to new albums and new tours while continuing to want more of the past each show. Last night was an amazing experience and despite my many words above, I left with a huge smile on my face. The music critic in me will always explore every corner of my Duran Duran fandom but my passion never diminishes. The recent resurgence in interest for their work vindicates many of us who grew up being teased for loving five good-looking lads from England. Take away their youthful smiles, the expensive videos, and all the radio hits and you still have truly gifted musicians with a natural-born entertainer on the mic. Duran Duran forever.

 

Jason Lent Guest Blogger thumbnailJason Lent discovered Duran Duran on MTV in 1983 and a lifelong musical love affair was born. In 2010, he left a job in Hawaii to tour with Cowboy Junkies as a music writer and his work has appeared in various online music outlets. He currently resides in Las Vegas managing a music venue while trying to learn John Taylor’s bass line from Rio.

 

Show Commentary: BB&T Pavilion, Camden NJ

We were fortunate to get a couple of different reviews for the DD show at BB&T Pavilion in Camden NJ – this one coming to us from Cindy Koller.  Thanks so much for sharing, Cindy!! We welcome any and all reviews of DD shows, so if you feel inclined to write – let us know! -R

By Cindy Koller

The dawning of July 21st brought a lot of excitement. I had just returned the night before from a brutal 10 hour drive north from Myrtle Beach. I was ready to have some fun, and I knew the Duran Duran concert would fit the bill nicely, so to speak.

I am a fan of 33 years and this would be my twelfth show over a 29 year span. Duran has never disappointed me and always puts on a great show, so I knew it would be a fantastic night. I gathered two of my Duranie friends and made the 90 minute drive to Camden: a city with “a tricky reputation” as Simon would say later that night.

An additional fun fact was that by a pure happenstance, an old Duranie friend I had not seen since high school was going to be joining us for the show, instead of my son. She has attended many shows over the years, from The Dead to Dave Matthews to John Mayer. She is a regular attendee of the Philadelphia Folk Festival. Yet, she had never seen Duran live. She would bring a whole new realm to my experience that night.

I was actually excited to see CHIC a little more than Duran, as I have liked them since 1979 and had never seen them live. Their music is part of the foundation of my musical taste that would eventually lead me to Duran. I love Nile Rodgers and just could not wait to see him perform with his band.

We arrived at the BB&T Pavilion, and after getting our refreshments, we entered the venue. It is an open air amphitheater, with 7,000 seats under the roof and a large lawn area beyond. I had purchased tickets 5 rows from the stage, on John’s side. I was beyond thrilled! As we walked to our seats, TOKiMONSTA was just finishing her live DJ set. She soon took her bows and my small group chatted while we waited for CHIC.

Chic takes the stage!
Chic takes the stage! Photo courtesy of Cindy Koller

The venue was still half empty as CHIC was announced, but they were nonplussed. And the set they performed was sheer perfection! Nile and his band were tight and obviously loved performing as they put on one hell of a show. Both female singers were great, but the one named Kimberly gave all of us chills! Her voice was so warm and full of soul. Fantastic! They played a few of their hits and launched into a set of hits that Nile had helped pen, like Diana Ross’ I’m Coming Out, Philly’s Sister Sledge’s We Are Family, Daft Punk’s Get Lucky and the highlight, Bowie’s Let’s Dance. CHIC was absolutely phenomenal! I can see why John Taylor says they raise the bar for Duran’s performances.

Another small intermission while CHIC’s gear was broken down was another chance to just enjoy my friends and the atmosphere. CHIC had definitely gotten us in the mood to groove, so by the time the smoke started to emanate around the stage, we were ready to party!

photo courtesy of Cindy Koller
photo courtesy of Cindy Koller

With the first thunder crack, I actually looked behind me, to the lawn area behind, wondering if the bad weather that had been threatened had arrived. But with the next crack and the light flash, I knew it was Duran’s opening. The lights went down and soon I could see some silhouetted figures moving across the stage, one headed right towards us. I watched as John slipped his bass on to his shoulders and I felt the surge of electric excitement as they were about to launch into their set. Paper Gods filled the venue followed by the screams of the crowd. The stage lights came up and we were off!

What Are the Chances. Photo courtesy of Cindy Koller
What Are the Chances. Photo courtesy of Cindy Koller

Now, I will admit I have been one of those fans complaining about the lack of change in the set list. It really hasn’t changed much since the AYNIN tour, but I have to say, it just works. The others with me were thrilled with the song choices, and probably would have been disappointed if “Rio”, “Come Undone”, or “Hungry Like the Wolf” had not been played. I always grouse before the show, but once I’m there, the setlist is golden!

So, needless to say, song after song, I danced my behind off, enjoying the performance masters that are Duran Duran. Nick was still absent, but TOKiMONSTA filled his spot for the first time and she did quite well! Every moment was to be savored and I did my best to do so. It was a warm and humid night, but that did not stop us from singing and dancing along.

Encore time and “Save a Prayer” was dedicated to those who have experienced the craziness in our world today, lost loved ones to the craziness or just feel the world is a frightening place. Terrorism touches us all now and cell phones were held high in solidarity.

photo courtesy of Cindy Koller
photo courtesy of Cindy Koller

Simon bantered with the crowd about Camden, since it is in New Jersey, but is also directly across the Delaware river from Philadelphia. Were we a Philly crowd, or a New Jersey crowd? I still think Philly won the scream vote. He danced and turned and frolicked about the stage, seeming to defy his 57 years. And yes, he caught his tambourine!! (I watched him clock himself with it in 2008 and always hold my breath whenever he throws it.)

Roger was the solid man we all know him to be, his drumming precise and on beat. Dom was his phenomenal self, playing his parts perfectly. Anna and Erin, two fantastic singers in their own rights, were great and loved to get the crowd involved. Simon Willescroft sauntered about the front of the stage for his sax solos. Am I leaving someone out?

JT and Simon Willescroft. Photo courtesy of Cindy Koller
JT and Simon Willescroft. Photo courtesy of Cindy Koller

Oh! John Taylor! Of course I could not forget him! Since we were seated directly in front of his bass speakers (!), every note went right through us. Literally. When he went to his bass synth for Last Night in the City, the others in my party were shocked! Why yes, John now has a synth in his arsenal. He smiled and danced and seemed to be having a fantastic time. The only curiosity was why did he leave his leather jacket on all night? He wore it through the whole set until they reemerged for the encore. The man had to be sweltering! And he had the last words of the night, as he mentioned all of the Philly venues Duran had played in over the years, thanked Philly for “the long fucking journey with Duran” and promised to see us again soon. At least he got city/state the loyalties right!

All in all, it was a fantastic show that was over much too fast.

I asked my high school Duranie friend to give me her impression, as it was her first Duran show. Here are her thoughts (with permission):

“Having the opportunity to finally see Duran Duran live and in person was amazing! Seeing those boys come running out on stage and performing Wild Boys, brought up nostalgic memories of loving this band to the point of obsession. They were fun and energetic, seeming to never slow down! This was a high energy show, with no low points to speak of. I see many concerts, and this show was the most fun I’ve had. Every song delivered the appropriate goose bump effects.”

Funny, even though it was my 12th show, Duran still brings out the goose bumps in me too.

CindyKollerBio
Cindy (white t-shirt), along with friends for the DD show in Camden NJ.

Cindy Koller is a mom of two (raised to be Duranies, of course), that has been a Duran Duran fan since July of 1983. (33 years!) She lives with her husband and teenage kids in Western Chester County, Pennsylvania, about 75 minutes outside of Philadelphia. She is a letter carrier in Kennett Square, PA who is lucky enough to have a TAYLOR Street on her delivery route!

Touring is not a sprint, it is a marathon!

So here it is, our final video blog of the 2016 Paper Gods tour.  If we had to sum up the tour in a single sentence (or title), we’d say that touring is not a sprint, it is a marathon!  We tried to cover and condense all of our thoughts into a single video. At just over a half-hour, we’re recommending food and beverage before viewing. You’re welcome.

We have so many feelings and thoughts about this tour, it was hard to know where to begin.  As the exhaustion becomes readily apparent, the emotion also flows easily through our words. We love this band, and to quote Lori Majewski – we love them so much it hurts.

While neither of us are emotionally ready for this to end, we know that it must. So, I will drive Amanda to the airport today, and then spend a couple of weeks camping with my family (I have a few guest blogs to share with you in my absence). I hope that those of you who still have shows left will thoroughly enjoy them. I know that I did.

Life is so weird. I really believed that this trip would be my last for Duran Duran. I also think that’s where I went wrong in my thinking. After all, the trips aren’t just about the band. They’re about seeing many of you along the way. I spent a lot of time on this tour laughing, talking and just being thankful that my life crossed paths with so many of you in the process. For me, touring is my happy place. It is not only my escape, but it is my bliss, and I don’t know why I would want to ever stop doing that unless I had no other choice.

So, I’m off to drop Amanda at the airport and resume regular life. I’m amazed at just how quickly things pile up around here when I’m not around to do chores, so I’ll be doing much of that along with packing up so that we can get out of here early Saturday morning. I’ll be taking a lot of you along with me though, in my memories of what has got to be the best July I’ve ever experienced. Love to you all.

-R

 

California MidState Fair Show Review

Leg 2 for Daily Duranie has begun!!

We are in Paso Robles, California…and we just got back to our hotel room from the California MidState Fair.  Duran Duran played to a packed crowd of 16,000 very friendly fans, and we had a TOTAL BLAST.

I kid you not, despite a set list that has not changed in I-don’t-even-know-when, we had a fantastic time. We laughed (I practically cried I laughed so hard), we sang along, we smiled until our cheeks hurt, and we can’t wait to do it all again.

But first, there might be a video.

Yes my friends, it is another video blog, lovingly recorded and prepared by Amanda and I.  At over 23 minutes, it is not short, but we had a lot to say, and I’m fairly certain we didn’t cover everything we were supposed to cover. (It is late, I am tired, and quite possibly a little drunk. Good times!!)

So, we’re off to bed in search of sweet dreams before we head out at the crack of dawn in order to get to Vegas as early as possible.  We have things to do, people!!!

Cheers!

-A & R

Paper Gods in Camden New Jersey!

By Eileen Teti
After all of the years of seeing Duran Duran, I finally got a VIP package for the Camden New Jersey show! I had hoped for the front row with the back stage tour, but that sold out, so I was happy to get the 2nd row with the cocktail hour and a nice package in the mail.
The day arrived Thursday, and I left work early to get into the parking lot a head of time. Some folks were there tailgating and one fan was playing “Paper Gods”, so I shut my car off as that is what I had on.
 The VIP cocktail hour was great. I met a fan, who like me, had a seat alone, and was it was also her first time doing all of this. I also saw a friend I have not seen in over 20 years, which was great!The food was actually good, with a vegetarian choice of a main dish. We also had a private restroom which came in handy later between Chic and Duran Duran!
 I missed MNDR, my cousin saw her ( I did miss her not sitting with me as usual, she and her hubby were a bit further back) and said she did a good job DJ’ing dance music.
(ed note: we’re a little confused as to whether Tokimonsta or MNDR DJ’ed  and/or played keyboards at this particular show.  There have been a few pictures that seem to show Tokimonsta at the keyboards.)
Now, on to the show. I got to my seat as Chic was being announced. I was super excited to see there was no front row seat in front of my second row seat, and I was closer to the center than I thought; I wound up right in front of Dom when Duran came on.
 I have to say, Nile R. and Chic blew me away!!  I was surprised how many songs he wrote for various artists, and since he produced, “Let’s Dance” by Bowie, they played that as well!  I was super excited when he smiled at me as I was one of the few folks there in my row! He really has a great smile. He mentioned his battle with cancer, and they did “Get Lucky” ; starting off slow, then getting into it! He dedicated it to folks who struggled with cancer as well. They had folks on stage from the audience for their last number “Good Times” and it was neat seeing children and seniors alike up there.
 So next up, was of course Duran Duran. A security guard asked where I was siting when I crept up to the gate as close to the stage as you can get, and I was pleasantly surprised when he said since there was no front row seat in front of mine, I could stay there!
Eileen3Most folks know the set list I am sure by now, so no surprise they opened with Paper Gods, which was fabulous! By “Hungry Like the Wolf” I had my chance to show Simon my sign, “Simon, you still got it!” This was the first time I made a sign and felt like a teenager. He strutted by, looked at it, and smiled at me. Well, I could end this review right here! Somewhere in cyberspace there is a photo of me with it—a photographer took a few of me, but I have no idea who he was with.
The energy of the band was incredible. Being in front of Dom was a treat, he smiles at you the whole time. Like most folks, I was sad Nick could not be there, but MNDR did a fine job, and did not do Nick’s bit on “The Reflex” but had us do that.
Eileen2When Nile Rodgers took the stage, there was a tender moment with Simon as Simon said how they truly love him and they had a hug on stage. It was great seeing him play on stage with the band, and it was cool when he was next to Dom as the ladies near myself and I got another smile from him during “Pressure Off”.
I loved the “New Moon On Monday” thrown in with “Reach up for the Sunrise”. I can’t remember when I heard them play that last, so it was a treat.
 The David Bowie tribute actually made me cry and seeing the beautiful photo of him on the screen was wonderful. Simon also threw a “Little Red Corvette” line  at the end of “Save a Prayer” for Prince. That was also incredible, he talked about the horrible things going on in the world, telling us all to be optimists and have hope.  Saying that if not, “the world will go to shit”. Right on, Simon!
 Being a Philly girl, I loved the exchange Simon had us do with the Jersey folks, he would yell “New Jersey” , then “Philly “, then agreed we were all beautiful people. He then reminded folks that Philly was were Duran played “View to a Kill” live first at Live Aid. John also went on about Philly toward the end of the concert. Yay, Philly!!
Eileen4Anna and Erin were great on vocals. The mike for Simon W.’s sax went in and out during Rio, so I felt bad for him there! This was when the beach balls came out; I did not see them at first; weird thing about being in front; after seeing video of the show, I realized that I did not see a lot of the light show type things as well. I got a shriveled up beach ball to take home to my kids thanks to a security guard. I also loved the confetti for “Pressure Off”. I had read a review of a show where they did not do this; maybe due to the venue? I am so glad they did it here, it was magical.
It really seemed like the band enjoyed themselves on stage. Simon really talked a lot to the crowd and joked around. I saw fans young and old—old as in older than me, so I was impressed, ha ha!!  I love their new album, and so glad they are touring.
Eileen5
 One thing I missed—they played nothing from the previous album, including the title track, “All You Need is Now”. I am assuming they really could not fit it in. I am not upset they are not shaking up the set list much as it was solid. Seeing them so many times, you usually hear something different every tour.
Oh, and lastly, for Rhonda and Amanda, JT did NOT have those track pants on, whew!
Eileen1
Eileen is a big fan of Duran Duran and Daily Duranie is so pleased that she agreed to share her review with us!!

If You Can’t Destroy It, Might As Well Enjoy It

Bottom of Pants
These bright pants and the bloggers who wore them didn’t turn the head of a single soul tonight (likely because they didn’t leave their hotel room!!) Guess who!!

Amanda and I decided to do two things for this blog today: talk about the tour, and go shopping.

Fashionpants
GAME ON!!!

As you can probably tell, we have taken our fashion cues directly from the masters.  We figured that if we emulated them in the 80s with our white Capezio jazz shoes, fedoras and bleached bangs…why not go the full Monty with the delightfully colored lounge wear, also known as business attire.  For them.

Granted, our choices are not exactly the same, but they never quite were in the 80’s.  In fact, we highly encourage everyone to go out and find their own brightly colored lounge wear and send us your photos, whether to our gmail, our Facebook page, or even Twitter. We will gladly retweet them! (and if you only want to send your bottom half photo that’s fine too).

We want to take a second to apologize for the grainy, poor quality and bad lighting of the video. We’re working under “less than optimal” conditions!  If you don’t quite get the references here on the blog or even in the video, you should probably go back and read the last few days of the blog.  If you don’t think this is funny, well…we can’t help you. We’re too tired to even try!  We know we look particularly haggard in the video, and after driving from Canada to Tinley Park, Illinois all in one day—we’re too tired to even care!

Ten days and counting until we get back together for the second half… (we’re going to use the time to properly cleanse the system for more!)

Thanks to everyone who was a part of this half of our tour. We really appreciate the support and kindness of everyone, whether you’re our friends, met us for the first time on this tour, or didn’t even know our names. Cheers!!

 

We’re off to get some sleep!

-A & R