Category Archives: Diamond in the Mind

Diamond in the Mind, Revisited!

Attention vinyl addicts!!!  Today Duran Duran announced that they will be releasing their first live album on vinyl in more than a decade. This is a limited edition, double album with a diamond-dust, screen printed gatefold sleeve.  The original press release can be found on duranduran.com, but I want to include Nick’s comments regarding the actual diamond-dust found on the cover.

Since the title is ‘A Diamond in the Mind’, when it came time for the packaging design, it occurred to me that we should use some real diamond dust on our cover artwork. I really wasn’t sure I would get away with my request, but working with the incomparable Vinyl Factory to produce this special edition, they rose to the challenge, called their local diamond dealer and voila! We have that extra little sparkle that certainly brightened my day, when I first saw the artwork proofs.”

There will be 2000 copies available, ready for pre-order from The Vinyl Factory. (link goes to order page)

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Track listing:

Vinyl Track Listing 
Before The Rain
Planet Earth
View To A Kill
All You Need Is Now
Come Undone
Blame The Machines
Reflex
Girl Panic
Is There Something I Should Know
Ordinary World
Notorious
Hungry Like The Wolf
Sunrise
Wild Boys
Rio

-R

 

 

From Live from London to A Diamond in the Mind!

Yesterday, Rhonda broke some big news about Durandemonium 2013, the fan convention we have been working on.  Saturday’s activities were outlined, which includes a panel with authors in the Duran universe, various Duran games, the dinner banquet, and partying all night long at Late Bar.  Yet, the piece that we are particularly excited about is the one time screening of A Diamond in the Mind on the big screen at a movie theater in Chicago!  Clearly, we aren’t the only ones excited by this as I have seen many tweets from people about what they are looking forward to with this.  For some people, it is seeing their favorite band member on the big screen!  For others, it is about seeing their favorite song played with the surround sound of a movie theater!  For me, it brings me back to one of my favorite moments of 2005, the Live from London screening.

In November of 2005, the band released the DVD of Live from London, a DVD of one of their live performances from Wembly in London in 2004.  This DVD came out after the band had released Astronaut and had completed a number of legs of a world tour, including two in the States.  Many of us were still on cloud nine from having the Fab Five reunite, from having them make a new album and from having them play live.  Personally, I attended a number of shows both in the spring and summer of that year.  Yet, my thirst for the band wasn’t quenched by all of those shows.  I wanted more.  I couldn’t get enough, in fact.  Thus, when they announced that the release of this DVD would be accompanied by 10 screenings all across the States, I knew that I had to go.  I was lucky enough to be within driving distance to go to the Chicago one.  This screening would be on a Tuesday night and I even planned a day off the following day.  The screening took place at a kind of crazy time for me.  First, the week before saw my favorite baseball team, the Chicago White Sox, and first fandom win the World Series for the first time since 1917!  During the series, I was up late for many nights in a row watching the games.  Then, from Thursday to Sunday, I co-hosted a long weekend gathering of Duranies here in Madison.  You can imagine how much sleep I got!  This resulted in me being sick as a dog with a bad cold and fever by Monday.  Yet, I was determined to go to the screening.  I also figured that it would be low key.  I could just sit back and relax.  Well, it wasn’t that passive…

The theater was full and excitement was high!  Many of us had gotten together before the screening for a pre-screening dinner, which allowed us to have a drink and to feed off of each others’ energy.  Yet, as I found my seat at the screening, I still assumed that it would be a relaxed, calm setting.  In fact, I think I said as much to the people I was with.  I said something like, “I hope people remember that the band isn’t actually here.  No reason to get all excited, right?”  I believe that they agreed with me before we began to discuss which song we were most looking forward to.  Yet, as the lights dimmed and the opening credits began to flash on the screen, I began to feel the twinge of real excitement.  I dismissed the little butterflies inside as I, logically, pointed out to myself that the band wasn’t there so I should calm down.  There was no reason to have the same reaction I get before a show.  No reason.  None.  Yet, I sensed that I wasn’t the only one who was experienced some subtle or not-so-subtle bursts of adrenaline.  The room began to buzz with excitement.  Again, I tried to rationalize the situation, especially since I couldn’t breathe out of my nose at the time.  I kept telling myself to chill.  After all, what kind of geek would I be if I reacted so openly with excitement to JUST a DVD?!

As Sunrise finished and Hungry like the Wolf, the second song, began, the sounds coming from the audience showed me that, obviously, I wasn’t the only one struggling with maintaining control.  I could hear some people beginning to sing while others were letting out little, muffled screams after a particularly attractive shot of their favorite member.  By the third song, Is There Something I Should Know, it was like the dam broke and the tidal wave of excitement was unmistakeable.  It was like everyone was given permission to let loose as every word and every song was sung by the audience after that!  Screams were no longer muffled as *squees* were loud and proud!   Duranie-ness was all encompassing and soon enough, the room felt like an island away from the real world where every fan could express their love towards the band, OPENLY and with no shame.  Soon enough, members of the crowd began to act out the band’s actions as well as just singing and screaming.  I, personally, remember the whole row I was sitting in doing Simon’s motions during New Religion.  We all knew them and could show this, proudly!  These motions didn’t just stick with the band.  At times, the crowd began to mimic the audience at that Wembly show as well as the audiences during the 2005 tour.  Here’s a clip I found on youtube taken at the screening in LA that showed how the audience not only sang along to Save to Prayer but also held their cell phones up to “make the stars come out” like they would do at an actual show.

Clearly, it didn’t take long to realize that this movie theater experience was going to be the opposite of a normal movie theater outing.  I wouldn’t be passive and I wouldn’t want to be.  I wanted to be a fan!  I wanted to express myself just like I would at a concert!  Everyone wanted the same thing.  I fully expect A Diamond in the Mind during the convention to be the exact same way.  We will all get a chance to just be Duranies with other Duranies, excited to sing along, excited to clap during Leopard or Rio, excited to follow Simon’s goofy dance moves at the end of Notorious, excited to reach up for the Sunrise and lots more!  As I look back to the screening in 2005, I was so glad that I forced my sick self to go as I forgot about my stuffy nose and head.  I am also glad that I went as this memory, this experience just makes me even more excited about the screening we have planned at the convention!!!!

-A

***This screening of A Diamond in the Mind is INCLUDED in the ticket for Durandemonium2013, the Duran Duran Fan Convention in Chicago over the weekend of October 18th-October 20th.  If you are interested in attending, you can purchase tickets at the Durandemonium website:  http://durandemonium2013.webs.com/

Lose your head, lose control…

Fans are funny. By that I mean me. And you.

We want the band. We want tours…we want gigs/shows/concerts…whatever it is that you call them…we want to see them in front of our faces as we feel the bass in the floor and the sound waves reverberate off of our bodies as we excitedly scream for more. Having a convention is all fine and good, but I know you guys…you want the band. I have even seen people post things on Facebook (and Twitter) about the convention, saying that “It might be fun, but I’d rather save my pennies for the tour.” While part of me winces a bit, thinking that there really should be more to this than simply collecting photographs and drumsticks…I can’t help but get it. I’m a fan too! The band is the reason we all came together in the first place, even if it’s not the only reason all of us stick around. If I were to announce that the band was coming (They’re not.), I’ll bet we’d sell out tickets fast.

So the question becomes, how to have a great time with the band without them really being there? For people similar to me, it’s really enough to have a couple great nights out with “the girls”. For others, it’s going to take more than that, and we acknowledge the challenge.  As I’ve said – I see the talk on Facebook and Twitter. I know that many of you think that the convention is just one night, and that we have nothing else planned to keep you busy. I challenge YOU to read on and then tell me what you think.

At some point during the last tour – and I may or may not have been enjoying a vodka tonic at the time, I turned to Amanda and said “We should rent out a theater and do a screening of Diamond in the Mind ourselves.” (Sometimes, I say really dumb things.) She looked at me as though I were crazy (that’s pretty much how she normally looks and responds to me…especially when we’re touring or road tripping together.), and then said, “Well you know, the band did it for Live with London. Why couldn’t we?” Exactly.

There are about 2,000 reasons why we couldn’t do it….but we figured it out and got it done.  After some research, phone calls, nail biting and tears (Mine. Funny how I never started crying until I started planning this convention. Hmm.), I am REALLY excited to announce that on Saturday morning (10:30 am, so set your alarm clocks early for breakfast!!) of the convention, we are taking a little “field trip” from the hotel to the Showplace Icon Theaters in Chicago for a special, private “one-time-only” screening of Diamond in the Mind. We will see the DVD the way it was meant to be seen, on a very large screen. This my friends, will be a good time.

I don’t know how many of you went to the various screenings of Live from London in the theaters across the country (I don’t know if these were done elsewhere in the world, so I am speaking mainly to those fans in the US), but this was once again, something I missed. I am really looking forward to this screening – and I won’t lie, the idea of having all five of them larger than life in front of me isn’t a bad thing to consider for the next several months.

Additionally at that screening – we are going to use the theater for an Duranie turned author panel Q&A. The details of this panel are still being worked out – we know who is speaking, but we are still working on the mechanics, but this will be your chance to hear presentations from a few Duranies who have taken the inspiration the band has given them and turned it into something amazing. And they say that fandom and obsession is a waste of time…. we’ll see about that.

Once the screening and author panel is over in the early afternoon, the rest of the afternoon has several options available to you. To begin with, we are working on putting together a list of suggested places for lunch (on your own with the new friends you have already made), and after lunch, you can take the opportunity to explore the city, or you can head back to the Hotel Amalfi for a few Duran themed games we’ve got planned, such as our own versions of Taboo, trivia and even a sort of photographic scavenger hunt thing we call Duranie Road Rules. There will be prizes, fun and debauchery to be had by all…and the best (and probably most important part?)  All of these activities, including the movie theater screening of Diamond in the Mind, are INCLUDED in the price of your convention ticket. 

Don’t forget that on Saturday evening, there is the managers reception at the hotel that begins at 5:30, and our banquet at Harry Caray’s and our club night at Late Bar Chicago immediately follows.

I’ve said this a few times this week, but if you leave on Sunday afternoon and you’re not exhausted, feeling the DD love from a ton of new friends, excited for a new album and tour…and quite possibly hung over, it will not be our fault. This just simply is not a one-night affair. It’s a full weekend, because we are STILL working on things for Sunday to bring the convention to a close. We hope that this pushes those of you who might still be “on the fence” to buy your tickets and treat yourselves to a fantastic weekend with friends. I continue to say this, but I promise you won’t leave disappointed unless you are the type of person who does not like having a great time.

Please check out the Durandemonium 2013 website for information, and Registration on Eventbrite for convention tickets.  We can’t wait to see you in October!

-R

Way Better!

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

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

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

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

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

-A

The Current Band

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

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

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

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

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

-A

What All You Need is Now Really Means

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

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

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

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

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

-A

Let It Shine–2011 Highlights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-A

I Must Have Flowers in my Brain

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

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

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

-A

Done it again!

Once again, Duran Duran has read my mind.

Or our blogs.

Or they’ve just read some posts from a lot of people.

No matter (and it’s probably better not to overanalyze), the fact is what was once apparently long-lost has been found, and is available for more than a single listen. Remember that Qello premiere of Diamond in the Mind? Remember the commentary that many of us couldn’t figure out how to get working properly?? Remember how it was tough to multitask enough to watch the video, listen to the commentary, squee in delight (Yes, squee.  Not squeal – as only pigs squeal. We squee. Its in the Duranie dictionary.  Look it up.) AND chat back and forth with friends online? Well my friends, we can do it all again. And again and again.  Endless pleasure.  

Yesterday I saw a couple posts that the audio commentary was now available from Eagle Rock, and sometime between then and say…now…I see that John Taylor graciously explained the situation for us. I will gladly post that link, as well as the link to Eagle Rock for anyone and everyone to rush and order.

John’s comments (short!) 

Order from Eagle Rock

As far as I can tell, the commentary is available via digital format, meaning you can download and watch it on your computer. (and excuse my lack of technogeek, but I think you can also watch it on your iPad and various other devices…listen, I’m lucky I can get my iPad to even PLAY music sometimes so forgive me for not being completely in the loop with what is what.)

I know a few people out there are probably already crying and screaming…I already bought the DVD or Blu-Ray and why oh why couldn’t it have just been put on there to begin with…now they’ve got to spend another $4.99 (at least) to hear it and that’s just not fair…so on and so forth.  I hear you.  The band probably hears you too.  I am just guessing here, but I get the feeling that the commentary probably wasn’t something that was done at the same time as the DVD or Blu-Ray.  They might not have ever intended to do one, but at the last minute they put something together for the premiere, and as is typical, we Duranies (as outspoken as some of us tend to be…*cough, cough*) might have mentioned several thousand times that we really wish that we could hear the commentary again….because some of us have a bit of OCD going on as well as ADD and couldn’t grasp it all the first time.  Then the band came to the rescue with this delightful offering, because that’s what they do.

At least, that’s MY story and I’m sticking to it.  As for the money? I hate to say it – but it’s a penny less than five dollars.  Less than many if not most of the albums I buy these days (yes, I BUY my music!), and dangerously close to being less than I pay for a gallon of premium gasoline where I live.  I think it’s worth it.  Besides, the band is talking.  I can buy this thing, download it to my computer, sync it up with my iPad and listen to Simon, John, Roger & Nick talk to me for at least half of my trip from here to Biloxi on Friday morning.  That’s worth WAY more than five dollars, thankyouverymuch.  Sold!!  I’m going to be brutally honest: I don’t think I would have bought the download before, but now that I have the option of getting the commentary with the audio and the video, I’m in and I can’t wait to have two hours to myself in order to watch it and listen in relative peace, and yes – I think everyone out there should do the same.  Daily Duranie (Ok, at least one half) gives this a big thumbs up!

So, I leave in about a half hour to get my hair done – I’m sure everyone needs to know that out there…and I would bet my red streaks that hairstylists all over this country have had many a Duranie visit their shop this week.  I’ve been going around my house humming the tune “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”, and not just because my kids are about to go back to school.  Oh no.  It’s because not only did I get to see the band in December of last year, but I am about to see them again in 2012 for what might be the last time in a while.

Big, heavy sigh.

I know they’ve got to be tired.  I know they’ve got to be nearing complete sickness of the fans. (We get it.  Believe me, we get it.)  I just hope they know how happy we are to see them again. I’ve been doing a bit of a self-retrospective on this album lately and what it has come to mean to me personally as well as to the fan base in general.  The one thing I can say is that it isn’t easy for me to put it all into words.  I feel as though this album is nearly the polar opposite of Red Carpet Massacre in so many ways.  John was right when he said during an interview for People.com that there’s a connectivity between the band and the fans that wasn’t there before even 2 or 3 years ago.  (Maybe more like 4 years ago now – times flies.)  I feel that connectivity, and I know I’m not the only one.  There’s something to be said for putting yourselves out there and allowing there to be a sort of relationship beyond the music. I have to give the band credit, props or what-have-you for that, because it isn’t an easy thing. Social media can be invasive and even uncomfortable.  Even as Daily Duranie, I have had people – lovely, lovely people – find my personal page on Facebook, and then try to figure out who my children are from photos and then contact them. (specifically my oldest because quite frankly the other two aren’t allowed on Facebook.)  My husband has had people contact him, and you know what?  It’s weird.  I’m no celebrity, I’m just a fan.  I can’t imagine what its like for any of them…but I get it.  It takes a lot to put yourself out there in this sort of manner, and while it comes semi-easily for me (I’m outspoken and willing.  Why?  I have no idea – I guess I just see this as a role that needed to be filled, and I love bringing people together?? It’s the one “job” I’ve found that I completely adore. Sometimes it’s like herding cats or children….but I love it all the same.), I have to believe that for the band this isn’t really a second nature thing.  When they play on stage or go into the studio, I believe they go into every show wanting to leave all of it out there – and their best shows/albums occur when that happens.  After that, I would imagine the rest they’d like to keep for themselves.  Trouble is, we fans want it all.  (Damn we’re demanding aren’t we?)  I think it’s been a learning curve for each of them to decide just how much they want to give, and a learning curve for fans as to how much to expect.

Give and take.  The story of our lives, really.

I can’t wait to get on that plane and see them in Biloxi, Atlanta, Durham and Portsmouth.  I really hope that they can see just how welcome they really are in our lives…and how much we all will miss them when they’re back in the studio recording or on hiatus.  It doesn’t matter what the setlist contains (Mediterranea please. I beg. I plead. I’ll even be good during Hungry Like the Wolf and sing along!!), I’m just looking forward to rocking out with my band and creating some fantastic memories to serve me during their absence.

-R

A Diamond in the Mind Facebook Premiere – The Daily Duranie Review

Happy Monday!

Before we begin our review and reactions from the Facebook Premiere of A Diamond in the Mind yesterday, the blog has hit a milestone that we’d like to share and celebrate with all of you. As of yesterday, our blog hit 100,000 page views!!  That’s amazing, and we have all of you to thank! It was back during the beginnings of our blog in January of 2011, when we heard from someone who came to be one of our most inspirational readers and kept us going when we weren’t sure anyone besides ourselves and a handful of close friends were reading. That person simply encouraged us to keep writing and sharing our story, and we have. We have you to thank, Enitupsar for keeping our spirits up and all of your wonderful support.  We really can’t put into words how much we thank you!  Not sure if you still read, but if so – we hope the blog continues to both entertain and enlighten. (at least we try!)

So yesterday was the big Facebook/Qello Premiere! Did you catch it? Daily Duranie (both of us) saw the premiere as we chatted via phone. Both of us also had our iPads out so that we could tweet & chat. It was technologically very overwhelming, and we don’t mind saying that after the show, we were exhausted, and it wasn’t even our own production! Overall, the technology behind the premiere worked, but not without various bugs and issues. Success in viewing the broadcast depended upon what a viewer was attempting to watch it on (PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, SmartPhone, etc.) and what type of browser they were utilizing. To begin with, many people were frustrated with a blank screen and continued to refresh until finally a video appeared…a sigh of relief was heard worldwide! Some others had trouble chatting, it was extremely slow depending upon what you were viewing the broadcast from. Many people, including Daily Duranie, noticed that the broadcast was not nearly as clear as we would have expected. At times the resolution would improve, but then in others it was extremely pixelated. The technical reasons (warning: this is being translated rather poorly from “engineer-speak”) behind that include that the information rate coming to your modem might be slow, and also that unlike YouTube, who has servers in every major regional area of the US, Qello likely does not; therefore broadcasting from one central location – bit rate gets lost, and pixelation happens!   Still one other problem was that the commentary for the first portion of the show was unheard by many.  It wasn’t until after 25 minutes into the broadcast that people started figuring out how to get the commentary to work.  Even in the case of Rhonda, once she figured out what to click or unclick for the commentary – it wasn’t until she refreshed the page several times that the commentary finally began to work. Fans are still confused (including us) whether this commentary was truly exclusive for this premiere only or if it is to be included on the DVD. Obviously we would hope it was included somewhere because there was so much information – the show itself, chatting with fans across the world and the commentary on top of it all – one would truly need to view it all more than once to really grasp everything that was happening.

Where to begin with the commentary? It took some adjustment in getting used to the fact that while you’re watching the show, all of the sudden the music would lower in volume and you’d suddenly hear Nick, John, Roger or Simon. The information given was enlightening, in particular during the few moments when they’d speak about the show itself rather than the history of each song. It’s not that we didn’t want to hear the history of the songs of course, but it was more pertinent to the DVD when the commentary was about the Manchester show.  For example, Amanda really liked hearing Nick talk about the heads above the stage and how difficult it was to program them to be in complete sync with the sound. Both Amanda and Rhonda were reminded of how fabulous Leopard is live when they were discussing the decision to have everyone clap in unison during the beginning of that song. (It really is one of the most special parts of the show when you turn around and see that every single person in the venue is clapping together – this song deserves to be PUT BACK IN THE SETLIST!)  Rhonda loved hearing John talk about the ending moment of Rio and that feeling of exhilaration we all feel, that the show can’t possibly end. It was those moments that made the commentary so special and we really wish we could hear it all again.

The show itself of course, was amazing. It reminded both of us of all the UK shows over again and how special each one truly was. We are both anxious to watch the DVD again simply because with so much going on, there were assuredly many subtle moments that were missed due to so much additional stimuli. We need to watch the DVD again in the somewhat peace of our homes.  We need to watch with no one around so that when we squee over John and Dom playing Hungry Like the Wolf right in front of the camera no one threatens to send us to the funny farm or divorce us…well, Rhonda. (*ahem*)

Immediately following the show was the question and answer session. Fans submitted questions to Qello that would be answered by the band. Part of the issue here was that there were no clear expectations set for fans by either the band or Qello. None of us really knew how this portion of the broadcast would be handled. We didn’t know how long the band would be “chatting”, we were unaware of whether this would be via phone, internet, video, etc, nor did we know how many FAN questions would truly be addressed. As such, there were many, possibly unrealistic, expectations on the part of the fans, including Daily Duranie. Basically, several still photos of the band came on the screen in a sort of slideshow type presentation while very poor audio quality voice-over was running in the background.  One had to have their speakers turned all the way up, and even then it was difficult to hear the band – the only way we can really describe this is to have you picture a conference call or even a radio interview heard online. The sound was that poor. So, any thoughts of actually chatting with the band or connecting with them were instantly put to rest. There was an interviewer who asked questions of the band that were handed off to her by another employee of Qello – so there was really no communication between the band and fans as was likely expected by many. During this question and answer session, it appeared that very few fan questions were actually asked – the band spent twenty minutes on phone with the Qello interviewer, and of that time, we believe that there were about 5 questions that were addressed as being “Fan” questions. Of course, there could have been more than that asked – but only 5 were given a fan name and location (of the fan). Many fans were disappointed that so few fan questions were addressed. Naturally, the explanation was given that there were thousands of questions submitted and so only a few could be asked, but that begs the question as to why the interviewer simply didn’t just stick to fan questions. I suppose we’ll never fully know that answer. For the most part, it would seem that diehard fans (and we have to assume that it was mainly diehard fans that tuned in) really didn’t learn anything new from the Q&A, although it was still entertaining. Once again we have to say – if expectations are set in advance and information is given openly, perhaps just maybe, less people would be disappointed. Maybe.

The fan reaction to the entire broadcast varied wildly. Many fans enjoyed the show, as did we, but the Q&A did ultimately seem to fall very flat and ended the “party” on a down note, unfortunately. Plenty of fans commented very publicly that the Q&A felt much more like a recorded broadcast than a live show. We would have to agree, even though we are well aware and convinced that it was in fact – live!  (Note to band: there’s no need to post photographic evidence because those conspiracy theories are going to run wild no matter what. You’re dealing with a very cynic and stubborn bunch!) Our point is simply that due to the band needing to call in and not interact directly with fans, it just felt like we were listening to a radio interview. Not that it wasn’t interesting or that it wasn’t live – it was, but it didn’t have that same excitement as even tweeting with John or Simon when they are on Twitter. It just wasn’t the same. Perhaps for future shows like this, it would be easier for all involved to really do something using Twitter. Nick took to Wendy Laister’s Facebook page (via Wendy of course!) after the show, responding to comments that fans didn’t believe the call was live – and in doing so he also answered a few questions from fans on her page. Just taking the short amount of time to speak directly with fans made all of the difference. Sometimes it’s not all the flashy technology, it’s taking that little bit of time. Five minutes of direct response on social media vs. twenty minutes of a third party interview…it’s worth considering at the very least. One might not need to spend six hours tweeting with fans during an all-day/evening tweetfest party such as Andy Taylor has done in the past, but we have to say the thought counts. There were many fans, however; that chose not to watch the broadcast at all, citing that they were getting the DVD and that they were insulted by the idea of having to pay money to see it online. We can’t even count how many times we have read those very words online in the past week or so. While yes it’s true that one needed to pay in order to see show, the amount of money was so nominal that it would seem other issues must really be involved and we have to ask why, and what can really be done to make a broadcast like this more attractive for fans in the future? Our fear is that there were so many small negatives, but negatives all the same commented about all over social media that there’s no way to get people interested enough to tune in next time…and yet for many yesterday (including Daily Duranie), we would easily do this again.

Both of us loved the show and we thoroughly enjoyed being able to chat with friends from all over the planet while watching. There was a sort of party atmosphere that took place, and while yes – we were definitely overstimulated after it was over, we would do it again in a heartbeat. None of the negatives, even the Q&A, were enough to make us not want to pay for another premiere. Just how often is one able to put aside their daily lives for an afternoon and get together with fellow fans and friends from all over the world and celebrate the band we all love? That’s what yesterday was truly about. Sure, we could really spend a lot of time and energy complaining about our high expectations, and we are sure that many Duranies will do just that – but at some point we have to realize that it was all FUN. The small stuff is really just that, the small stuff. We’ve learned over the past couple of years from writing the blog that Duranies are nearly impossible to please, and we are the most impatient bunch of people on the planet. We recognize that fact in both ourselves and in all of you (mostly).  Yes, we could and probably do spend more than enough time complaining and probably not nearly enough time just enjoying the band…so we’re taking our time right now to thank them.  We had a great time yesterday. We live about 2500 miles apart, and so seeing the premiere together would have been impossible without a plane ticket involved, and let’s be honest here – we try to save those plane tickets to come and see you, the band, perform. Yesterday was the closest we could come to seeing the show together, and we had an excellent time.  We hope the band does it again and that more fans will join in on the fun and leave the negativity at the door because at the end of all of this, the memories we will have will be of laughing and celebrating our fandom with all of you – not of whether the Q&A session was live, how many of our fan questions were answered, or how sharp the resolution really was.

-A & R