Category Archives: Diamond in the Mind

Going to Sit This One Out…Really?!

I’m in a mood.  Perhaps, it is because I desperately need a vacation.  Maybe, it is because this weekend is super busy for me and I don’t have much time to get things done.  Nonetheless, my mood did not improve as I ventured around Duran message boards.  It seems that there are a fair number of posters who are either not planning on buying the live dvd and/or are not planning to go to any shows, if Duran comes back to their part of the States.  What was the reasoning?  It isn’t lack of money, which would make sense to me.  It is because of the setlists that these people felt are “tired” and/or “boring”.  I’ll be the first to admit that I complain about hearing songs like Come Undone for 151st time but I can’t imagine not going to a show or not buying a dvd because of it.  To me, there is way more to a show than a setlist!  It also seems to me that people did not learn a valuable lesson last year and from other fans.

Let’s start with the premise.  Is the current setlist “tired” or “boring”?  In order to decide that, we need to analyze a current one.  Just today the band played in Singapore and here was the setlist:  Before the Rain, Planet Earth, A View to a Kill, All You Need is Now, Reflex, Come Undone, Safe, Notorious, Girl Panic, Leopard, Is There Something I Should Know, White Lines, Ordinary World, Hungry like the Wolf, Sunrise, Wild Boys, Girls on Film and Rio.  How many of those songs are standards?  I would say 11 are standards in that they play them at pretty much most of the shows.  These songs include their biggest hits from the Reflex to A View to a Kill to Rio to Girls on Film.  Then, they are playing a bunch of songs off of the new album.  This makes sense to me.  After all, isn’t the live show to advertise their current work?  I think so.  The argument could be made that they could mix those up some or choose different one.  Anyway, as of now, there are 5 new tracks on there.  That totals 16.  After that, there are a couple of songs that they seem to play for a tour and then remove, which included Is There Something I Should Know and White Lines.  That’s really it.  This setlist would equal about 2 hours.  The time playing seems fair to me.  So, the question then comes in, do they have to play so many hits?  That is debatable.  On one hand, they aren’t playing to crowds who are hardcore Duranies who own every album and who are dying to hear obscure album tracks.  They just aren’t.  So, if they don’t play any of the hits, they run the risk of alienating most of the crowd.  Could they exchange one or two hits for something a bit more unusual?  Sure.  I would like that.  Many others would to.  That said, while many of us would like something different instead of whatever track or tracks you are most sick of, there is a reason that they put setlists together like that.  I get it and accept it.  Besides to me, there is way more to a show than just the setlist.

As I explained in an earlier blog, which can be read here, there are many other factors that determine a great show for me.  Some of these other elements include the crowd, the people I’m with, and where I’m sitting.  The other most important factor that these fans seem to forget is the band.  Do they think the setlist is tired?  Are they sick of it?  More to the point, if they are sick of it, does it show?  Do they lack energy?  Do they seem not to care?  If the band comes out on stage and has a tremendous amount of energy, to me, I feed off of them.  My energy increases even with songs I’m sick of.  Goodness knows, Rhonda and I actually enjoyed Hungry in the UK and we are way sick of that one!  Do these fans really trust Duran Duran so little?  Do they really think that they can’t perform well enough, no matter if the setlist is old or not?  To me, that doesn’t seem very fan-like. 

The other part about this kind of attitude that doesn’t sit well with me is the lesson I have learned over the past year.  Last year, in May, Simon lost a third of his vocal range.  Many, many shows were canceled.  Shows I had tickets to were canceled.  I honestly didn’t know if he would ever be able to sick again.  To tell the truth, I really didn’t think he would be able to sing again.  On top of that, I truly get now that there are many, many fans who desperately want to see Duran Duran perform live, but haven’t been able to or can’t for whatever reason.  For those people, they don’t care what the setlist is.  They don’t care if some of us are sick of Hungry like the Wolf because they have never seen it performed once.  They might love to see it.  Of course, I see this attitude within the fandom on other topics besides the setlists.  I see people get annoyed at the venue choice.  I see people who can and are able to travel reasonably refuse to do it for some reason or another.  People just seem to want everything their way.  While I can understand having some demands, I don’t understand people who think that they should be able to decide everything when it comes to their fandom.  I mean…really…wouldn’t we all like Duran Duran to come place at our houses and play the setlist we give them.  I know I would, but I also understand that this will never happen.  

I guess my point is this.  Why not enjoy what you have as a fan?  Why try to be that picky about something as small as the setlist or whatever?  If you are able to get to a show, go and enjoy it.  Other people would love to be in that situation.  After all, you never know when it is going to end. 

-A


Reliving last May, good news & Uberlife!

I have two topics for your reading pleasure today!  I hope everyone is doing well, and that Dubai is beautiful for everyone who has made their way by now.

Yesterday we were treated to some tasty news bytes from Duran Duran HQ as they posted a solid update on the Diamond in the Mind DVD, due to be released in early summer (of 2012!).

I saw the update just as I was typing up the blog, and while part of me wanted to comment, another part of me just couldn’t find the words.  I must give props to begin with – I’m happy to see the band (and the people doing the hard work for them!) updating as beautifully as they did on Facebook yesterday.  It was great to see where they are in the process, and I know I speak for all fans when I say that it’s great to read solid news like that when they have it to share.  Recently Daily Duranie had a bit of discussion about where fans get their news, and while it was clear that all of us have differing opinions on the subject, the important thing is that news is being shared.  I think that has to be difficult to be working behind the scenes for Duran Duran because just as you and I are learning how to utilize social media, learning of all the new ways that people can connect, contact, and engage – so is the band and their people.  While a few years ago it may have seem prudent to just throw the information up on their website, the fact is there are many more people on Facebook or Twitter now, and the information can be dispersed far more quickly.  That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t ever be posted on the website, of course not.  It just means that they are having to learn what way works best for the fan community as a whole, and yes, sometimes things don’t work as smoothly as we’d like.  Sometimes this BLOG doesn’t work as smoothly as we’d like.  It’s a learning process for all, and as much as I want to bust chops when needed, I can also appreciate that the job is difficult.    (And no…we’re not being paid by the band.  Just wanted to make that clear.  Again.)

While those words came remarkably easy, the next ones are not.  I saw that the band is going to do a documentary on 2011.  Not an easy year for any of us, really.  Naturally we all know (and lately I’ve learned even more) about Simon’s vocal problems back in May of last year.  We lived it, didn’t we?  I think it’s fascinating, if not just a little scary for me, to hear that they are going to even include some of the rehearsal footage from that time.  I know we’ve talked about this before on the blog – but Amanda and I were there.  We were standing outside (I might mention here that I was shivering the entire time, both from cold AND a good case of nervous anxiety) the rehearsal studio while the band went in to rehearse to see if they could even do the show at the O2.  By that day Amanda and I had already missed out on seeing 3 out of the 4 shows we’d originally planned.  While I was excited and nervous to even be in the presence of the band (albeit somewhat remotely as I was outside of the fence surrounding the studio and the band was inside), I felt so sick to my stomach that day.  There was just an overall gloom in the air even though the UK girls who were kind enough to share sidewalk space with us that day tried to stay as cheerful as possible.  It wasn’t long before the band came back out, a few stopping to talk from inside their cars – John being one of them, and by far the most poignant.  It was just a very, very tough day, and the idea of reliving it – well, I’m glad it’s being included on the DVD for those who weren’t there and didn’t quite believe what they were seeing and hearing online.  I still say that I really didn’t believe Simon would ever come back from that.  Thank goodness he did.

The next tidbit I’ve got is more along the lines of Direct to Fan.  Anyone ever heard of Uberlife?  It’s a new app that a lot of bands are trying out.  There are plenty of places for “hanging out” online, but this app takes a band from the online world to the real world.  Granted, I really can’t see how this would work for Duran Duran since I think they’re pretty much scared to death of their fans (we can talk about why this is the case if y’all want….but I think we all have a good idea why!)….but it IS something that could work beautifully for the fan community at large.   Here’s a couple articles on the subject along with the website:

Uberlife

Uberlife to launch at SXSW

It’s an app…and I’m kind of thinking that this is something Daily Duranie could really use…watch this space!!

-R

Sneak Peek of Diamond in the Mind!!!

We interrupt this edition of scandal, ridicule, news, gossip and debate to bring you special breaking Duranie news…

Diamond in the Mind footage

Go on, click on it.  You know you wanna.  I’ll wait.

For those of you out there who can’t possibly wait until “early summer 2012” for the DVD, I know you’re going to watch it again.  And again…or is that just me?  So what if a lot of it is in German and it’s interlaced with interview.  How exactly is listening to John and Nick speak on a Monday morning a bad thing???

I can’t blame you.  Don’t even begin to think I might have sat here stone-faced as I watched it…a few times.  Are you kidding?  Seeing them on stage?  Those lights?  That snakeskin patterned shirt of Simon’s?  Yep.  Brings back all the memories of seeing them in the UK last December, with none of the jet lag.  The bonus?  My bank account hasn’t taken a hit yet this morning either!

Oh, and there’s that guitar player too….gotta love Dom.  Not bad for a Monday morning.

So while you’re all watching…I’m gonna go watch too.  Again, this time with a coffee mug in hand.

(we’ll be back in the morning with more of those hard-hitting questions and debate worthy topics….but even Daily Duranie needs to take a fangirl break now and then!)

-R

The Daily Duranie Review – Diamond in the Mind & Return to Now

Today Daily Duranie is reviewing the two instrumental interludes on the album, Diamond in the Mind and Return to Now.  Since the band (as a whole) does not really play on either song, we’re not going to do the review in our regular format, but just as a general commentary.

Rhonda’s Notes:

I have to admit that when I first heard that Duran Duran was working with Owen Pallet (Arcade Fire) on some of the songs, I was intrigued.  I really don’t know much about Arcade Fire, but I have heard several of their songs and while they are a completely different genre of music than what I typically enjoy, it’s very difficult not to feel blown away by their music.  My own musical background comes from classical training, and I played in an orchestra for several years, so I know what depth and warmth strings can bring to a piece of music.  I couldn’t wait to hear what Owen would do for Duran Duran.

To begin with, I was somewhat disappointed (but not surprised) that both of the pieces are rather short.  I have to remind myself that Duran’s fans aren’t interested in hearing a classical piece of music on a Duran album, and they had to create a space for the music that wouldn’t overpower the rest of the album, but would blend in nicely.   Diamond in the Mind is the first such piece on the album, and musically, it’s beautifully done.  In some ways the song is reminiscent of what was done with A View To a Kill (Fatal Kiss), where the strings bring a very lush environment.   My only real complaint with the song is that the vocals completely overpower the moment.  I just feel that they should have left Simon’s vocals completely off of the track and kept the piece purely instrumental as a true interlude.  His vocals add nothing to the emotion of the moment, and are pretty distracting from the beauty of the strings.   Harsh criticism for the vocalist I suppose, but it has nothing to do with Simon’s voice.  It’s just that when you listen to the song, the mood that is created when the music begins is completely broken when Simon’s vocals begin.  It would have provided a much better continuum to leave it as an instrumental.

I know many fans have complained about these pieces of music, not completely understanding their place on the album, and saying that they should have been left off completely since the band doesn’t really play on them.  I can understand that sentiment to some degree because it’s true – the band doesn’t really lend itself to either piece, except that the original song was written by the band.  These arrangements are simply that: arrangements.  I would also agree that had both pieces been left off the album completely, I don’t think the fans would have necessarily missed them.  Neither one creates a mood or theme that is continued (as though the album would have been separated into “acts”).  They just seem to be short breaks, and on a 14, 15 or 17 track album – they might be welcomed.  However, those little breaks do give the listener a chance to absorb what they’ve heard, and I kind of feel that these two instrumentals take the album to a completely different level in general.  They give the album a little bit more texture, there’s another layer of sound to enjoy, and in some ways – they almost make the album as a whole a little bit more “grown up” or adult like in a playful way.  I can’t argue that the album wouldn’t have been complete without them; but on the same token, I can argue that the songs make the album a little more “whole” and rounded out.

My favorite out of the two instrumentals is Return to Now.  The musical composition soars and it’s just long enough to create a bit of a mood – and I’ll admit that my favorite part of this song is that there are no vocals.  No distractions, just pure beauty.  Owen Pallet did a gorgeous job with this particular arrangement, and it’s enough to make me wish the band had him arrange the entire song (All You Need is Now) and have it on another single or a remix album.

Rhonda’s ratings:  
Diamond in the Mind

Return to Now

 Amanda’s Thoughts:

My thoughts, in many ways, echo Rhonda’s thoughts here.  Like her, I noticed that the songs were very short.  They seemed to be placed after more upbeat songs and before more serious, more somber music.  Diamond in the Mind is after Girl Panic! and before The Man Who Stole a Leopard and Return to Now is after Runway Runaway and before Before the Rain.  I really like the idea of having brief interludes to separate these songs.  It does force the listener to acknowledge that there will be a shift of music and allows for a smoother transition. I am also not opposed to music in a more classical form for an interlude.  Obviously, I wouldn’t want this type for the whole album, but, for this type of purpose, it makes sense.  Of course, it makes sense if the songs are right and fit.

I really like how Diamond in the Mind begins and I can definitely hear That Fatal Kiss reference of Rhonda’s.  It feels fairly upbeat with an underlying dark beauty that seems fitting to introduce Leopard and then Simon begins to sing.  Rhonda mentions that the vocals overpower the beauty of the song and I agree completely. I also think that the particular lyrics he chose to sing were deterimental to the quality.  Yes, I realize that this is an arrangement from All You Need is Now.  If the lyrics weren’t there and the song title was different, I’m not sure how many fans would know this fact.  Therefore, I understand why the choice was made to sing, “Stay with the music.  Let it play.  All you need is now.”  It captures the feel of AYNIN but that gets in my head and I have a hard time transitioning to Leopard.  All you need is now is to say goodbye to an obsession?  It jars me a bit, especially the last line of “all you need is now.”

The second instrumental interlude, Return to Now, is much more fitting, in my opinion.  The music and the mood that it creates completely complements Before the Rain.  The music is simply wonderful and transitions well to the next song.  Like Rhonda, I was glad that there were not any vocals in the song.  The music spoke for itself.  This one is a much better song because of it.

Overall, I like the idea of interludes as a means of calling attention to specific tracks and I absolutely agree that the tracks of Leopard and Before the Rain need to be showcased.  Return to Now does a better job both in showing its quality and in fitting its location on the album.

Amanda’s ratings:
Diamond in the Mind

Return to Now