Category Archives: Duran Duran

Taylor to Blue to Brown

I think it goes without saying that most of us here in the community might be a little down today. Naturally this is not the way many of us thought we’d be spending this week – worrying about Nick, sad over the cancellations of shows, or reading tweets from various band members about ending the tour and going home. It’s especially difficult to see such a monumental tour come to an end. Let it be known that I always experience a bit of a tour let down (for lack of a better description) when the show(s) I attend come to an end. I’m sad because it means leaving my friends again, going home, and feeling fairly out of the loop.  Sure, I keep tabs on what’s going on for the blog – but it’s not the same, and of course this time, there’s even more melancholy because this is not how any of us envisioned this ending. We’re all concerned for Nick, and once again we send him our very best wishes.

Oddly enough though, I really have come to miss the band during these long periods of nothingness between albums. It used to be that I’d go to the shows, come home, and get back to regular life. We never heard much out of the band until there was an album ready, and even then – before internet I’d only know they were coming out with something when it would get announced on the radio. These days though, it’s different. I was thinking today as I was getting ready that this will be the very first album where one or more of the band members is really “connected” to us via Facebook or Twitter. It was only just prior to the release of AYNIN that John decided to join Twitter…but this time, it’s there and available to him from the get-go. The same goes for the rest of them. I really hope they don’t forget we’re here waiting. (Figuratively, of course. I mean, as much as I’d love to spend my day chatting on Twitter…we’ve kind of got things to do!)

So until that next time we hear from them, Amanda and I have fun things planned and we hope you’ll stick with us. Besides, we’ve got John’s book, a UK convention and a few other exciting plans that I don’t dare talk about in the months ahead! Chin up, Duranies – the wait might be longer than we care to think about, but the celebration will continue!

And with that…

A fantastic conversation between John Taylor and Dom Brown has appeared on DD.com yesterday. You need to go read it right now before reading on in the blog. Find it here.

I really love that this “interview” is really more of a conversation, and I applaud that the questions are smart. I can’t speak for everyone, but its refreshing to see a conversation that has nothing to do with how many of the Taylors are brothers, or that the band is “back”. (Where’d they go?!?) It’s clear that John has great respect for Dom’s work, both within the scope of Duran Duran and outside of the group, and what should become clear for everyone else is that Dom Brown has musical reach well beyond his work in Duran Duran.

Prior to listening to Blue to Brown, I’d already purchased Dom’s other solo albums. (Touch the Flames & Between the Lines – both available from Dom’s website, as is Blue to Brown.) From those it was pretty easy to hear his influences, but I don’t think I realized how much he was influenced by the Blues. Like most college music students (?!?), I spent a couple of semesters taking Rock Music History. (Ok, so that might have been an elective that I took twice at two different colleges. I was interested!! Sue me!)  Both courses began with the Blues (Not much British Blues though, mostly American because our country tends to believe everything starts and finishes here.), and both times, I zoned out for a lot of the first three weeks of the class. After reading John’s conversation with Dom, I’m convinced that I need a refresher course, and I’ll bet I’m not the only Duranie needing one. I spent some time re-reading my music history textbooks last night, and I’m sitting down with some quality time on Spotify right now. The bottom line here is that our Dom does not come from the same background as the rest of the band, musically speaking. He comes from a very different musical background, and if you listen closely to his work on All You Need is Now – it’s there. Yes, I’ve just assigned homework on Daily Duranie. Do it!

In order to really understand what John and Dom are talking about when they talk about the Blues, you need to get a few basics, so I give you my “Blues Primer”. I’m sure that a lot of fans read the interview and said “12 Bar what??” All you really need to know is that it’s a basic, extremely common chord progression heard in blues music. When you hear it, you’ll recognize it immediately…I can almost promise!

This is a video of Robert Johnson’s Cross Road Blues. Robert Johnson is a very famous American Blues musician – I didn’t post this for the silly video, just for the song. This is pretty much a 12 bar progression, although his is a tiny bit different because he adds a few rests and beats in there…but it’s basically what is meant by 12 Bar Blues. If you listen to Dom’s album (and you should!!), there really isn’t much of this type of progression on there. From reading the interview I got the distinct impression than neither John nor Dom are big fans of this progression, probably because it’s very very very overused.

Another good example of 12 bar progression is in Howlin Wolf’s Little Red Rooster. You should be able to hear that same type of progression here – and it’s even more obvious, in my opinion. The pattern to the music and lyrics is what they call AAB (two lines that sound the same, one that is a little different). Hear it??

I’m guessing that for most Duran fans, this is not their cup of tea. I hear you…so above is another version of Little Red Rooster. There’s some discrepancy on YouTube as to how and when this was recorded, but from what I can tell it’s off of The London Howling Wolf Sessions (it says Yardbirds, but I think that’s incorrect). It’s a little faster and more like blues rock.

So this leads us to where I can really start hearing blues influence in Dom’s playing. Anyone ever notice that Dom will put a metal tube thing on his finger when he plays certain songs…like Girl Panic? That’s a slide, and while it’s true that a lot of guitarists use it, it comes directly from the Blues. It used to be that musicians would break the top off of a glass bottle and slide that on their finger to play (I wonder how many people were cut using that method!!), but of course now it’s the metal tube. I think that Elmore James’ (see the video below) style was copied by many a British Blues musician. Do yourself a favor and listen to this song, then go and listen to Girl Panic (a LIVE version). You might hear something a tiny bit familiar at the beginning of the song…

And just because I know you all won’t look for it on your own….

Listen to the just the first 10 seconds of the song and you’ll hear that slide. It’s not done in the same way that Elmore James plays, primarily because that’s not very Duran Duran – but the slide works beautifully at the beginning of this song, and you’ll get the idea.

So by now you’re either sick of hearing the Blues and are wondering how on earth a guy like Dom ends up playing guitar for a band like Duran Duran (the BAND was lucky!), or you’re intrigued to find out more. My little “primer” will leave off with Jimi Hendrix, because I happen to know a guy who kind of likes him…and if you listen to just about any song off of Dom’s solo albums (which I adore and are always in my car…I actually removed Duran Duran albums to put them in my CD player…no joke!) you’ll hear the Hendrix influence. You can’t miss it!

And because this is my blog and I love John Lennon…we’re doing this my way…

I loved reading that Dom’s mom actually took him out of school to go see The Stones at Wembley!  That’s the kind of thing that I would do in a heartbeat for my kids – music is important. Of course, I’m the mom who also took her kid out of school not once but twice to go stand in line to meet Duran Duran. Someday she’ll be famous on Broadway (she’s a musical theatre student) and she’ll tell that story along with many others that we won’t mention about her crazy mom. It’s true. My husband rolls his eyes a lot in response to my crazy antics with the kids – trying to raise them to love rock music as much as I do – while he’s crucifying Hungry Like the Wolf on his guitar…thinking that he’s entertaining me. Good times because you all know how much I love that song. Our house is loud and never dull.

I know most Duranies are children of the 80’s. I won’t lie, my first love is what we call here in the US 80’s Alternative, once played on stations like KROQ in Los Angeles. I also have another side to my musical identity that is firmly entrenched in hard rock. I love that Duran Duran has a guitarist that has an appreciation for groups like AC/DC. It’s about time! Maybe it’s just me, but I think they really need that hard edge juxtaposed to Nick’s synths to kind of provide balance, and for me personally, that sound really works. The hard edges work!!

And again, because this is my blog.. I give you AC/DC…the music I listen to when I’m not listening to Duran Duran or other alternative bands. The toughest part was deciding which video to put up…so I went with Thunderstruck, although in my humble opinion there isn’t a bad song in their entire catalog.

Hopefully, this helps to give our readers some insight into Dom’s musical psyche. I know he has a ton of supporters out there amongst us though, and we’re all hoping he sticks around.  With any luck, my little history lesson will inspire you to read the conversation, jot down some of the names he mentioned and go from there.  If you’re looking for more, you should definitely click on the link at the bottom of the interview for his Spotify playlist.  Some of these songs are actually on there….oddly enough!!  (Maybe Rhonda should have checked that list last night.  Just saying…)

Finally, I’m posting a video of my favorite solo song of Dom’s: Day Turned Black. His guitar solo is gorgeous and the lyrics are pure and true genius. If you haven’t bought his albums yet, what are you waiting for?!?

I’d also like to say a very heartfelt thank you to everyone who took the time to send me a note in the past few days about my dear friend Laurie’s passing, whether over Facebook, Twitter or even my personal email. Monday was an awful day for me, yet every time I got online there were more notes of kindness and compassion to read. I feel very lucky to be involved in a community that, when it comes down to it, loves one another so much. Sure, we can fight over the band like we’re starved lions at times – but when we need one another, people step up out of the woodwork. My next week is going to be very trying – her services are Monday and Tuesday of next week and I think part of me is still in denial. I went to text her yesterday and realized I couldn’t. Anyway, I just want to say thank you and I love you all.

-R

MORE Breaking News…Last Shows of Tour Canceled!

Sad news from Duran Duran today as they cancel the remaining dates of their nearly two year old tour.

Fans can go here to read the press release….and the band is currently on their way back to their homes to begin what can really only be characterized as recovery (my words of course) at this point!  I would imagine they are all exhausted, and rightfully so.

With any luck we will hear that Mr. Rhodes is on the mend soon, but until then – we wish them all (at least those few that are getting one) a wonderful break. We are sure that fans are very disappointed, but we’re also thankful that they’ve had such a magnificent tour.  We don’t know about anyone else, but we look forward to seeing what comes next from this band!

Until then, Daily Duranie will be back tomorrow with ONE post daily (this multi-posting is killing us!)…and we’ll keep you all updated on any/all news!

Cheers!
A&R 

Breaking News: Chicago Canceled

So sad to have to post the news, but unfortunately Duran Duran has canceled their appearance at Ravinia tomorrow, Wednesday August 29th due to the continuing health issues of Nick Rhodes.

The full copy of the press release can be read here.

Naturally, our thoughts are with Nick, because of course as sad as we are about the show being canceled, we want him healthy and happy.  I am sure that every single fan out there agrees.  Amanda had tickets to this show (What? A show without Rhonda?!? *gasp*), so this affects us here at Daily Duranie directly as well.

Many rumors continue to circulate about the future Ontario Canada shows, the last dates on this ginormous 2011-2012 All You Need is Now World Tour, but the guess of Daily Duranie is that packing is probably not necessary.  Of course, this is just a guess at this point, and I would be sure to keep tuned in for any statements from the band, but it’s time to just get real.  Nick is obviously very sick, and unless he makes a miraculous recovery within the next day or so, I would imagine the tour is finished.

This is no reason for the band to feel down.  They have had one of the best tours that I’ve known to date.  To continue the momentum that they have had for over 20 months now is incredible.  I really don’t know how they get up there and stir the crowd into a frenzy each night without falling over at some point.  They deserve our respect, not our anger at a few missed shows.

Take care Nick and get well soon!

-R

The Durham Show Revisited

Since Nick is unfortunately still ill and the band has had to cancel another show in Kettering Ohio tonight, I decided to write a “bonus blog” for the day.  We’ve all got some extra time, right?  Ok, maybe not…but this blog was written as an IOU “re-do”.

The Durham show… By special request I am going to attempt to review this show more fully.  I’ll be honest, blogging at 4:30 in the morning isn’t one of my strongpoints. When I tried to sit down and summarize the show, all I could really remember was being in front at the rail. Pathetic, and I know thats not what people need or want to read. I tried to think of other points, but my mind was completely blank. Normally when that happens I rest my head on my kitchen table (its as good of a desk as any!!), and somehow the coolness of the wood draws decent ideas out of my head, through my fingers and into the keyboard. That wasn’t happening on my hotel bed, so I gave up. Unacceptable, I know…lesson learned.

Prior to the show, Daily Duranie helped to sponsor a pre-show meetup at the West End Wine Bar, located just a few blocks from the DPAC. This meetup would not have been possible without the concerted efforts of Karen Booth and Kim Buchanan, so we want to be sure to send our heartfelt thanks to both of these incredible women. Amanda and I are particularly proud of this gathering, as approximately 100 Duranies descended upon the bar that night.  The bar was fabulous, accommodating us by playing the Diamond in the Mind DVD, Duran music over the stereo, and even a couple of fantastic (and yummy!) Duran themed cocktails on the menu that night. Everyone who took the time to attend seemed to have a great time meeting other fans and grabbing drinks and a bite to eat before the show. By the time we needed to leave for the DPAC, the Duranies were ready to continue the party with their favorite band.

The venue itself is gorgeous. Although completely modern, DPAC’s theater is built using acoustical guidelines that have been around for centuries, utilizing deep set balconies and a large open orchestra that allows sound waves to properly mix and mingle. While our particular seats were off to the side in front of the speakers (they actually handed ear plugs to Amanda and I as we were seated, something I’ve never had happen before.), I would say that there were very few, if any, bad seats in the house, although ours weren’t the best. Two seats farther to the center and we would have been fine…and yes, those ear plugs were probably necessary.

When Duran Duran took the stage, the applause was thunderous with certain potential for more. Definitely a crowd the band could work with, which surprised me a bit considering that this venue, as many others on this tour, sold many of their tickets to a venue subscriber base.  Potentially many people in the audience that night had no recent or prior experience with Duran Duran. As I mentioned, our seats weren’t great. Since they were so off to the side, I’d made up my mind to use the show as a vehicle for photography practice, and crowd watching. I was curious as to how the band would respond to the crowd and vice-versa.  About five songs into the set, my plans were abruptly changed for the better.

My friend was down at the rail and recognized Amanda and I sitting back a few rows. We waved back and forth, and unbeknownst to me at the time,the gentleman next to her asked if she thought we’d want to go to the front. There was plenty of room, even though the first few rows already had their place(s) at the stage. She waved us down there, and so we went!  The next thing I knew, I was directly in front of Dom Brown’s microphone.  Admittedly, that’s where the memories from the night start to grow fuzzy. Have I mentioned that I might just be a Dom girl?

I won’t bore anyone with the details of my white knuckling the rail for the first few minutes I stood there, or how I forced myself to dance and move even though my feet felt like lead. (Note to self: no more wearing heels to shows. Your feet hate them and you’re not a kid anymore. Deal with it.). This is where I run into a dilemma as Daily Duranie, because of COURSE I want to shout from the rooftops about how exhilarating it was to have Dom bend down and play the guitar in my face. Who wouldn’t? My problem is that as much as I think it’s important to share and acknowledge those feelings – we are in fact fans and yes, I felt like I was melting into a puddle on the floor that night – I also know of the side effects that happen in this fan community when such issues and comments are made. All I can say is that like many of you, I have waited thirty years to finally have front row. I recognize how incredibly lucky I am to have experienced it not once, but twice in one week. I know that at least one person will mention that I shouldn’t have been up there, and yes – you are probably right. I wouldn’t have gone if I hadn’t seen the man next to my friends gesturing for Amanda and I to take his spot, but ultimately I did decide to go. I don’t know how many of you would or would not have done the same – and in hindsight I’m not sure it matters. I will say though that I have zero regrets for doing so. I had the time of my life up there. I would like to believe that our readers could share in my excitement without ridicule, but I also know that might not be possible. It may not ever happen again for me, and so unlike Biloxi, I made the most of the experience. So much so that Amanda felt certain I was going to need oxygen during Sunrise (Go ahead and laugh…she did!!), but that is neither here nor there….and I managed not to have a stroke.

Of course those events likely had an effect on how I viewed the show from that point on. One thing I can say for certain is that there are some shows that build slowly from a reasonable beginning to a proper crescendo. There are other shows that start off as an explosion, never settling.  Some shows start off great and then fall apart. There are others that feel more like a roller coaster with plenty of hills and valleys. Then there are shows that just seem to stay flat…and those are the most difficult to get into. Thankfully, this show fits into the first category. It seemed to build slowly, gaining strength and power with each song.  Where I had previously felt that the show lagged and muddled through Union of the Snake – this time the tempo felt right. The crowd grew with intensity through The Reflex, Notorious, and even when new songs like Safe and Girl Panic were played, the audience didn’t start to die as in previous shows. I kept turning around (Yes, I really did peel my eyes away from Dom – it wasn’t easy but I did it!) to see the balconies reaction, and was pleased to see bodies bouncing and dancing as though they’d known these songs as long as they’d known Hungry Like the Wolf. This show even had a few very poignant moments. Just prior to Save A Prayer, Simon explained that the band dedicated the performance to “a dear sister in the Duran Duran family”, who had passed away earlier in the year. This was in reference to Sandy Ahrens. I know Sandy’s friends were in readily thankful for the dedication, and all I could do was think of her empty chair that night. I’m lucky to have my best friend by my side for nearly every show and I can’t even imagine what I’d do without her. We celebrated our 20th show that we’ve attended together the next night in Portsmouth – and I easily say that I am hoping for at least 20 more!!

Another special moment came during the introduction to Ordinary World. This is a song that I do wonder about from time to time. Many Duranies have mentioned via Facebook, Twitter or even on message boards over the years that they feel it is time to retire the song for a bit, and Simon seemed to sense this. He took a moment to explain just how special and important the song is for the band. He described how Duran Duran was hanging by the thinnest of threads at the time, and how the band could have easily disappeared into the depths of oblivion, but this song somehow magically saved them. I need to be honest, I hadn’t thought of it from the bands point of view before. Right then I made mental note never to complain about the song again. It has a renewed sense of youth to me now…and all because Simon took the time to explain.  He sang the song beautifully that night as always, but this time it had just a little more emotion. Other songs resonated as well. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Dom play White Lines better. (or closer…) Sure, that Wolf is still alive and well, and yeah I sang along. I still adore Wild Boys with Relax, and Sunrise has even more power now than It did during the Astronaut tour.  Opening the show with Before the Rain is easily among the smartest decisions the band has ever made, and I think Simon does an amazing job with it every single night.  He just never misses a single note and I think it’s fantastic the way the band allows him those first few moments “alone” with the audience. The “big” song of this particular night though had to be Girls on Film, and specifically the band intros within. On this night, each band member (including Dom, Anna and Simon Willescroft) did quite a solo when they were introduced. This is the shot each of them gets to show off their own talents – and they did so with gusto. In the past I’ve never loved the intros that much. They seemed to just waste time that could be spent playing another number, but not so in Durham.  They were spectacularly done, each one seeming to up the ante for the next.  By the time Simon was introduced by a member of the audience, the entire audience was ready to finish the night off with Rio. Out of the shows I saw (Biloxi, Atlanta, Durham and Portsmouth),  Rio rocked the hardest here and the band left the audience wanting more, just as they should!

I often blog about the concert “high”. There aren’t many shows that bring me to both tears of sadness AND joy, but this one achieved the mark. One might think that after seeing so many shows over the years – this was number 30 for me personally – and seeing the same basic setlist so many times during a tour, that the high would be gone. The truth is that while it might not come very often, when it does – it’s incredible. The high is so addictive that we continue to go to shows, hoping to feel it one more time.  Thanks to the band for the show of my life that night!!

Better, Bryony??

 -R

Gone away

I received some horrible news last night that has absolutely nothing to do with the band.  I need to make that clear because I wouldn’t want to frighten anyone, especially with the past couple of days we’ve had.

When I was in college and still cute (HA!), I was in a sorority.  A sorority is basically a club, for those of you who aren’t from the US and don’t understand.  It’s a club of (in this case) women who call one another sisters – and as I sit back and realize just how freaky this sounds – it’s like gaining a new extended family.  Some of those sisters you love, and others, well, just as in a family – you barely tolerate.  In fall of 1989 there were a group of five of us that joined the Rho Pledge Class of the Theta Phi Chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha at Cal State Fullerton.  There were 30 in the pledge class if I remember right, but 5 of us sat together at a table and somehow, that forever melded us as a group.  Laurie, Janell, Sheri, Michelle and I were inseparable to a degree, and in many ways we were each misfits within the house.  I counted on them to get me through those college years, and I have no doubt that they in turn counted on me.

At some point during my junior year (Michelle, being two years older had already graduated),  there was an argument.  Actually there were several, and as a result – I was the odd man out.  Deservedly.  The details don’t matter (nor can I remember many of them), but the point is that I graduated and moved on without these girls.  I didn’t try to keep in touch, and for many years I harbored deep resentment…and I’m stubborn on top of it all. Then last year at some point, Laurie found me on Facebook.  I can’t tell you the type of joy that went through me.  I was very nervous about finding the rest of them – I thought for sure they’d reject me, and as a result I think I really tried my best to protect myself.  I can be a real hardass at times and as Amanda will tell you all – I’m no picnic. 😀    Since then, the five of us – they used to call us the Rho Pledge Class Clique – which is the biggest joke ever, have gotten together a few times and I love these girls more than ever.  We have the type of friendship that goes beyond a sorority and spans a lifetime.

Late last night, I got a phone call – which never happens of course.  It was my friend Michelle telling me that Laurie’s mom posted a note up on her page that she’d died.  Immediately I said that it couldn’t be possible, and it couldn’t.  I had just texted back and forth with Laurie last week while I was in the GA line for Biloxi.  She was a huge Rick Springfield fan in the way I am about Duran Duran. (if that’s possible…as she always said “Well Rhonda, you DO write a blog.  That pretty much makes you even more messed up than I am”, and we’d laugh. Gotta keep it in perspective, and Laurie was always good for that.)  She was always shocked that I’d never made it to front row, and so when I finally did last week – I shared that info with her first.  She was so excited for me.  She encouraged me to ask for Dom’s pick and then said we’d celebrate when I got home.  We had a lot to celebrate because our other friend Janell had just had a baby the day before we left, and we were all excited.  Laurie had been coming back from one of her roadtrips somewhere and clipped a car, which sent her out of control.  And now my friend is gone forever.  It just can’t be.

I know this has nothing really to do with Duran Duran, but in a way – it really does for me.  I have a small confession to make here.  I’ve never really identified well with Ordinary World – that’s why it was so important to me when Simon explained the significance of the song to the band last week.  I’ve had people die before of course, but the point of the song never resonated.  Until this morning.  I really don’t know how Sheri, Michelle, Janell and I will be the same again without Laurie interjecting her horrible rude humor or her great hugs.  Laurie was willing to accept me with all of my faults and shortcomings.  She wholeheartedly accepted an apology from me that was fifteen years late in coming, and I remember her hugging me after our first get together again since college and saying “You are not going to escape or go away again, Rhonda.  We won’t let you.  I won’t let you.”  I feel like such a horrible friend this morning, I can’t even tell you.  So my point is that I finally get it.  Hard to believe, right?

There have been many times over this past year where Amanda and I have looked at one another or emailed and said that we have to just GO – or do whatever it is we’re thinking of doing because we never know when it’ll be the last time.  Granted, 99% of the time it’s been in reference to this band.  We did the UK again, we just finished driving 1300 miles, we got up at a ridiculous hour to be in the GA line by 7am to get front row, and rather than just sitting back and letting life happen, we decided to make the good things happen for a change.  Of course, one can’t control everything.  Nick’s illness, Simon’s voice…those are things we can’t actually control no matter how much we’d like, and they serve as good reminders that yes, someday this will end, and it will hurt, and it will happen when we least expect it, because that’s just what happens.  Nothing could have prepared me for that phone call last night.  Nothing.  My pain is completely palatable, and yet I also feel numb and sort of paralyzed.  I was telling my husband that when my dad passed away, I had already prepared myself.  I knew it was coming and I suppose to some degree I’d already really grieved.  This?  Not so much.  It is the worst pain I’ve ever felt.  I’ve cried so much today (and as you all know I don’t do tears) that my head hurts. It’s barely 8:30 am my time.

Yeah, I know the band is a pain sometimes.  I know the FANS are a pain sometimes .  But we love one another.  I wouldn’t want any single member of the band, or the band as a whole – to ever think otherwise.  Sure I give them a really hard time, and I know I’ve been especially hard on Simon.  I still love them and in a really strange way, they’re family.  We’re a big dysfunctional family.  Aren’t we lucky??  So, if you’re ticked off about the shows being canceled or you’re still mad about Red Carpet Massacre, or you think the guys are just a bunch of elitists that don’t care about their fans – I implore you to try again.  Don’t do what I did and wait fifteen years only to have such a limited time.  Part of me is VERY angry that Laurie was ripped away from us, and another part of me is so incredibly thankful that I had a whole year with her.  I just wish that I would have told her one more time how much I love her.  I won’t ever regret the time I spent with her…just the time I didn’t.

From L-R: Michelle, Sheri, Me, Janell, Laurie

-R

Keep the Faith!

It’s with great concern and sadness that I need to announce that the Pittsburgh show for tonight has also been canceled.  I hate having to share that information, and as I type my concern for Nick continues to grow.  Yes, I know there are thousands of disappointed ticket holders, fans, friends and loved ones out there, but at this moment, my concern is with Nick’s health – as should everyone’s.  It’s been a long tour.  Too long?  Probably not as much too long as too much.  Not enough days in between shows, not enough time to travel, rest up and feel human. (or at least 100% alien as might be the case with Nick – yes my humor remains intact!)  Not enough breaks to catch ones breath.

It wasn’t that long ago when I questioned just how rough their schedule really was.  Fans were telling me how tired they were mid-May, and I felt, that this is their job.  Albums don’t sell these days.  Tours make money. This is just part of the deal and of course they know that.  I still do feel that way, but I also feel that pushing 5 shows a week isn’t easy, especially over the course of 20 months.  It’s not the getting up on stage and playing that hurts, it’s the traveling AND pushing five shows a week that will do the damage.  I can’t tell you how many times Amanda and I have said that we wish the band would just stay put in cities for a day or two before pushing on – mainly out of our own selfishness because we’re sick of driving – but it’s true.  None of us are young anymore.  My mom keeps telling me that I’m burning the candle at both ends when I tour.  (Maybe so, but it’s damn fun!)

I’d like to address the rumor-mill at this point.  STOP.  I have heard some of the lamest, most ridiculous, heartless and cruel things in the past 12 hours – and I am nearly positive none of us really have the right, the information or the knowledge to be saying anything beyond what we’ve been told thus far.  I don’t need or want to read that your second cousin is friends with Nick’s second cousin who has an uncle that works in the janitorial department of the hotel in Atlantic City and he overheard another worker say to a bum on the street that Nick was helicoptered out of the hotel.  I don’t care that you work in a hospital that once did blood work for a Nicholas Bates and he has a drug problem AND a heart condition.  The bottom line is that A) it’s none of our business and B) We don’t know a single thing for certain.  Let me just say, even Daily Duranie gets bad information.  Yesterday evening just before the news was announced I got an “anonymous” text saying that the show was canceled.  So I jumped online to see what was going on.  In my personal FB mail I got messaged that the show was canceled, but that people were furious because none of the band ever left NYC, and it was left up until 45 minutes before showtime to call off the gig.  I was curious about that information, but honestly – I know nothing of the inner workings.  I mentioned this to a few people to get their reaction (in private), but about an hour later – I see that Dom Brown AND Simon were at the hotel in Atlantic City.  So much for the band never leaving NYC, right?  So who really knows for sure?  Not me.  Not you.  All we can do is have faith in the fact that the band would never allow Nick to get up on stage only to hurt himself, and in the end he will be fine.  Anything else is not helpful.

Seems silly that I have to give a pep talk – but in this case I feel that I must.  We have had an incredible album and tour.  Our community is more united now than ever.  We have seen the band extend themselves back to the fan community, and we’ve held out our hands in return.  We stick together, through good times and bad.  That is a lot to be thankful for.  Now isn’t the time to spread rumor and speculate publicly – it’s the time to provide support, care and concern.  Daily Duranie has no more or less of an “inside track” to information than anyone else, but we feel confident that if more information becomes available, we will gladly pass it on to everyone else.  Until then, let’s take a moment to truly be thankful and appreciative of everything we DO have.  We have great albums, fantastic memories of times long since passed.  We have had the joy of seeing this band come back from the brink of disaster more than once, and I have to say – this band has outlived a good many if not most of its brethren.  I have to believe they are good for more, and so should you.

Things we can do?  Keep up the good spirits.  Be positive. Be supportive.  Many of us have put Nick’s photo as our cover photo on Facebook, avatars elsewhere.  Let’s unite instead of dividing based on who thinks they know what.  It’s tiresome, and quite honestly – we’re all way too old for that these days.  Keep the people traveling to the shows in our hearts and minds, and understand that for these people, it’s a tightrope between being sad for Nick and heartbroken for themselves…and that is totally understandable.

Until tomorrow.  Keep the faith, Duranies!!

-R

We Travel as We Unravel…

I had a whole blog idea ready to go for today when I got the news that Duran had to cancel tonight’s Atlantic City show. According to the press release, the band had to cancel after Nick’s visit to a doctor today. Apparently, the doctor stated that he was suffering from symptoms of exhaustion and that he should not perform. After the announcement, John was on twitter expressing his very obvious disappointment and concern for the fans who were there in AC, ready to rock out to Duran. Obviously, I feel totally and utterly gutted for those fans who planned to see the show tonight. We definitely know how it feels after traveling to the UK last year, only to not see our shows. As I type this, I am watching fans tweet both their disappointment but also their desire to make lemonade out of lemons and still have a good time.

Yesterday, I posted a blog which included all of the points Rhonda and I compiled about this last leg of the tour. Many people felt like we (mostly me as I wrote it up) was too negative, too critical and that I didn’t acknowledge enough of what the band did right. Here’s the thing…as much as I/we might point out what I/we thought could be better about this leg of the tour, we still LOVE touring and still LOVE going to Duran shows. There is no place on earth I would rather be. Heck, this time around we drove 1300 miles, got about 25 hours of sleep in a week, spend a ton of money and I would do it all over again. Yes, there are elements of any specific tour that I might change, much like there are elements the band might change but the overall activity always delivers. Yes, we have seen shows that are less than steller BUT I would still prefer to be at that show than not. I have no regrets about going on tour EVER.

As I’m sitting here in my sister’s living room, about to return home tomorrow, from my tour and visit with family, I find myself thinking about my experiences touring, Rhonda’s experiences touring, the fans who are in Atlantic City, the band, and everyone associated with the band. Here’s what I know, which relates to the title of the blog…touring is intense. It is intense, physically, mentally and emotionally. I still feel wiped from my four shows because of this intensity. I think everyone who tours feels this. Obviously, on a night like tonight, the fans in AC are facing emotional intensity and the band is also facing that as well as the physical intensity. The fans there have to process the emotions and I’m willing to bet that most of them will experience anger, frustration, concern, disappointment and depression. The band is probably experiencing the same, too.

The touring intensity definitely gives the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. There is nothing that beats a tremendous show. I know how we felt after Durham this past week or felt in Glasgow last December. We felt like we were living on a cloud and that we were slightly invincible, slightly powerful. It is like we were the luckiest people on the planet to experience what we had experienced. That feeling is one that I have yet to find anywhere else in the world. Of course, because it has the ability to make us fans feel like no other, it can also cause damage when it doesn’t go as it should. It is heartbreaking. Yeah, I’m sure that there will be people who think I’m being too over-the-top here, but I’m a FAN. I’m a fan who has been to a bunch of shows and hope to do more in my future. It means that much to me. I’m willing to bet that it means that much to Rhonda and other fans.

I’m sure that the next few days will be tough on the fans who had tickets to this show. They will wonder if and when the shows will be rescheduled. It will also be tough on people who have tickets to the remaining shows. Obviously, we all want Nick to get better–both for his sake and for the band to finish this tour as they planned. Yet, I think it will be a nerve-wracking time for all fans as we are once again reminded that Duran Duran could end tomorrow. I think about all of those fans who decided not to go to a show this time around and could have. Are they regretting that decision? As John said in the documentary part of the A Diamond in the Mind DVD, having Simon lose his voice really reminded them or taught them what All You Need is Now really means. Tonight, we are reminded again.

-A

If I Listen Close I Can Hear Them Singers

Since Rhonda and I officially ended our part of the tour together (Amanda is going to one more show in Chicago next week), we thought it would be good to really look at this leg of the All You Need is Now Tour as a whole and comment on what people did or would have experienced. Before we dive into the meat of the blog, we want to make sure that we are aware that the band nor their management can control everything related to a tour. In fact, after having planned meetups and other activities, we know how challenging it is to plan for events from far away.

Based on our observations and experiences, this tour was truly affected by the following elements: venues, the crowd, elements within the show itself, and the setlist(s). The venues, in general, were and are a big deal about how the show or tour is going to go. I’m sure the band has their favorite venues for whatever reasons and the fans also have their favorite venues for probably different reasons. While on the surface, the venues appeared to be a variety of styles (small theaters, outdoor amphitheaters, casinos, etc.), there was a common theme. Each venue that we went to and many others we know of on their tour, have seats/tickets reserved. These seats might be comp tickets for high rollers at a casino or subscribers/donors at an outdoor amphitheater or small theater. Thus, a certain percentage of those shows is not made up of hardcore fans or fans, at all. People then are deciding to go to a show because they got these tickets as part of a package or because the tickets were free as opposed to the fans who are just dying to see them live. This is a serious problem. While the seats might be filled, the crowd might or might not be be willing to get into the music. This frustrates the hardcore fans there and makes the band would harder. I can’t imagine what it must feel like for the band to look out into the audience and see 10% or 30% of the crowd sitting down. I know how it feels for us. On one hand, there is an immediate concern that the show will not be as good and there is frustration that non-fans often have better seats than the fans. That’s not okay. Now, I’m sure that some people could say that Duran should be able to get those non-fans involved. Frankly, they often do. They did in Durham but why should they have to work THAT hard, especially since they have been on the road forever. Why add that challenge? Plus, it affects the experience of the rest of us. Beyond this issue with the crowd, another challenge many of these venues provided was the heat. Why play outdoor venues in places like Georgia in August? Is someone trying to make the band suffer? I know that I was horribly hot at those shows and it must have been worse for the band. During the Portsmouth show, for example, Simon was just dripping with sweat. Why not make it more comfortable for the band? I don’t get it.

Beyond the crowd and outdoor/indoor element, some venues have other factors to deal with, which can affect the experience. For example, the stage in Portsmouth is so high above the crowd/ground. I’m sure that people further in the back liked that but those of us in the front (typically the hardcore fans) had no interaction with the band. They didn’t look down at all of us and I can’t blame them. How annoying! Other venues required that the band play shorter sets for whatever reason. What fan wants a shorter set? Then, venue organization makes a difference. Are they selling seats all the way on the right or the left? Are the sections so big that people get shoved in to such a degree that people can’t move, forget about dancing. Are the seats obstructed in some way? It wouldn’t be surprising that our favorite show this tour didn’t have any of those negative factors. Right??

Once the show starts, still other factors come into the picture. This leg has started with a 10-12 minute short film. The film is very obviously artistic in nature and features classical music. We are all for art. In fact, we go out of our way to go to art museums whenever we are in a new town. That said, the addition of this film is a bad one. First, it is too dang long. WAY too long. Most American crowds could handle two or three minutes. The band is asking for them to tolerate 10-12 minutes. Second, I’m willing to bet that most people out there don’t get it. They are there to see Duran, not some art piece. Typically, what happens is that the lights go down and the crowd stands in anticipation. People start clapping and screaming. By the end of the first song in the film, people are sitting back down. By the start of the third song, they are openly annoyed. We have heard, more than once, things like, “I didn’t pay to see this.” Why get the crowd excited to see the band only to not appear? Yes, I’m sure that they might be thinking that anticipation might be a good thing and it is within reason. Besides, this ends up feeling more like the band trying to give culture to the crowd. It is like they want those of us who eat cheeseburgers to appreciate broccoli. That isn’t going to happen by forcing the broccoli on people. Then, the first song doesn’t help improve the mood. Don’t get us wrong…we LOVE Before the Rain and feel like it is a fabulous opener. Yet, it doesn’t provide the energy that is needed to combat the frustration over the film. This again makes the band’s job much harder. Why do that? We don’t get it.

The beginning of the show was different for the first couple of legs as they showed video of people’s tweets using the #Duranlive hashtag. That has now been removed. Why? This kind of activity increased anticipation and focused people’s attention to Duran. It also allowed fans around the world to be able to participate. Why wouldn’t they want to bring fans together like that? One answer could be that the venues aren’t capable to doing that. Again, we would then advocate different venues that can accommodate this type of interaction. Beyond the use of twitter, the heads above the stage are now gone. We didn’t miss those as we didn’t like them to begin with. The videos are basically the same but flowers that light up as background are included. That’s fine but the flowers do nothing. They don’t hold anyone’s interest and doubt they actually make the lighting better. In fact, the lights were blinding, especially in front. That’s not cool either. Then, there is the costuming or clothes. Usually, Duran goes out of their way to have a coherence to their outfits. This time, there are some elements that seem to sort of go together…but overall the feeling isn’t there. Nick looks great, as usual. Roger and Dom are also dressed well. Simon clearly tries to do something with his clothes and then there is John. Oh, Mr. Taylor, what is with those pants? They might be comfortable but they are faded and not very flattering. Ugh.

Speaking of ugh, people always want to complain about the setlists. While we were pleased that they had a number of tracks from All You Need is Now, the rest of the setlist needs an overhaul. It isn’t even so much that they play the same songs every night but the fact that we know what ORDER they will be played. Here’s our simple solution: Let’s say that they are going to play 20 songs. Have 10 hits, have 5 songs off latest album and 5 obscure songs per show but have double that number prepared. The band would then be ready to play any of 20 hits, any 10 new album tracks and 10 obscure songs. Then, each night, the hits, album tracks and obscure songs vary and their location in the setlists change as well. When they don’t change things up, it bothers those of us who do travel. The band should make sure that this group of fans remain wanting to tour. Of course, we want them to consider where in the setlist some songs go. For example, in Portsmouth, Save a Prayer was played during the encore. That is a wrong move. The end should be upbeat and energizing. The end of that show was affected and they should want people to want more when they leave the stage for the night. We do give props to their playing of Leopard in Portsmouth and skipping Come Undone in Atlanta!!!

Of course, while there are lots of elements to the show or tour that we question, at best, or criticize, at worst, there are others that we cheer and applaud. First, we still LOVE Before the Rain as an opener. We like that it starts slowly and builds to an all-encompassing sound that sends chills down our spines. We love it, especially with following up with Planet Earth. It works well to get the audience into it. Of course, the crowd gets into the show the more the band moves around, the more they interact with the crowd by asking them to clap, sing, or reach up, and the more the band explains the significance of various songs. Now, we don’t necessarily want Simon to intro every track but a few during each night works well. For example, after an intro of Ordinary World and how it really saved the band, we have new appreciation for it. Another huge part of the show that everyone we know loves and works to get the crowd into it is the intros of the band. Now, these intros can’t be this is Anna, Simon, Dom, Roger, Nick, John and Simon–just the names. They have to be the ones within the middle of a song and has to allow each person to showcase himself/herself. After all, Duran is about the blending. The intros allow the audience to see what each person really brings to the table. Probably the only interaction that doesn’t work is the cell phone use in the beginning of Save a Prayer. While people love that song, they aren’t into holding up their phones. The merchandise was also an improvement. The styles were cooler as there was a band t-shirt in either gray or red/white/blue of the Union Jack and there were t-shirts of each band member (Simon, John, Nick and Roger). On top of having good styles, the material was a higher quality than we have seen in years. We also LOVED that the tour dates were listed on the back of the band t-shirts.

While this leg might have been different from the previous ones, it still showcased the greatness that is AYNIN. This leg, in fact, marks the end of this era. The band should still be VERY proud about the album and what they accomplished since it was released. There are many songs that should be included in their basic catalog forever. For example, while Ordinary World meant a lot to the band, that’s how many of us feel about the song, All You Need is Now. It remains a very meaningful song to the fans and always will. It really was a message from them to us. We did sway in the moon like we did when we were younger and plan on doing that for as long as we can.

-A and R

Some People Call It a One Night Stand..

Wow. Just wow. Just wow wow. Wow wow wow. I can’t say that enough. Rhonda and I should be sleeping as we have to get up early to drive from Biloxi, Mississippi (not Louisiana as Simon identified it) to Atlanta, Georgia, tomorrow morning unlike the band who started their day in Memphis only to perform in Biloxi before ending their day in Atlanta. Yet, for some crazy reason, we have needed time and some drinks in order to process today and tonight as we did it, kids. We really did. We not only got our front row but we got the exact spot we wanted to be. In many ways, I think I keep wanting to pinch myself so that I know that it wasn’t a dream. This mission was accomplished by sheer patience and a commitment to see it through. Rhonda and I had decided awhile ago that if we were going to do Biloxi with general admission that we were going to go for gold. We were going to go for our much coveted front row even if this meant standing outside in the heat and rain. Luckily for us, the general admission line was in a lovely climate controlled building. That said, we still had to sit on a hard wood floor for hours! HOURS! In fact, we arrived at the casino where the show was held at 7 in the morning. The show was to begin at 7 or 8 in the evening, a full 12 hours in the future. Luckily for us, we had the good fortune to meet some great people and we ended up joining forces in order to get up front. By early afternoon, it became clear that odds were in our favor that we would be up front. Rhonda and I didn’t verbalize much, at this point, as we knew that something wacky could happen. Yet, I’m sure we were both thinking that we really had to prepare ourselves for getting what we have wanted for so long. We didn’t prepare ourselves very well. Long story short. We were able to get our front row. Not only that, we were able to get the exact spot we wanted-basically center with a step (or a flick) to the right. It would provide good viewing of Roger and prime location for watching Dom and John. After watching a horribly loud, strange yet artsy film for who knows what reason, the band appeared on stage. Before the song Before the Rain ended, we both knew that we were SO not prepared for being in front. Following Before the Rain was my personal favorite, Planet Earth. I thought I had died and gone to heaven as John and Dom decided to grace us with their presence by coming to the very edge of the stage right in FRONT of us. I started quoting lyrics to Careless Memories in my head…you know the ones. They mention crying, dying, following people. Anyways, Rhonda and I were both overwhelmed and we were both self-conscious. Because of being so emotional, neither one of us could respond as we normally do. I’m sure that if the band was paying attention to the first row, that they must have wondered if we were into it. It was like we were both slightly frozen. We moved, we danced, we sang, we screamed but…it wasn’t like normal. Interestingly enough, the band seemed different, too. Clearly, they had to shorten their set a bit due to Hard Rock Casino wanting to use that space for a late night club (seriously…on the night we actually get front row, they don’t play a complete set. Are we cursed or something?!). The songs truly felt rushed and the intros were a two minute affair, if that. On top of that, it seemed like John no longer liked the right side of the stage as he stayed on the left side pretty consistently. Even when he did come over, he seemed to stay further back rather than move to the front of the stage. Maybe this isn’t that abnormal but we missed him. As a John fan, I missed him. I also realize that John Taylor gets VERY into the music. It sometimes seems to me that it doesn’t matter if there is an audience or not. If he gets into it, he is like in his own little world. Part of me really loves that about him. After all, I want him to be into the music. The other part of me would love for him to acknowledge fans, like me, who are out in the crowd. I know that I would love to just have one little moment (what fan doesn’t, right? We all do, especially with our favorite.). I was hoping then that at the end of the show, he might walk over to our part of the stage to shake hands or, better yet, hand me one of his picks. (Dreams are free!) Yet, he seemed to miss our area completely. On a more positive note, Dom gave Rhonda one of his picks. I was thrilled that she had a moment! I’m sure that she will treasure not only the moment but the pick for the rest of her life!!! Maybe, I should make a sign saying, “Give me a f***ing pick, John,” that I could later chant during his intro. Ha! As for the other band members, things seemed not right with Nick who always seem to have a frown on when we looked him. Not sure what was causing that. Did he think the sound wasn’t good? Did he think that the crowd wasn’t into it? Goodness knows that we didn’t seem like we were into it the way we would normally. We look forward to the Atlanta show as we hope it feels like a “normal” show for all of us. Our seats aren’t front row so I can promise you that the Daily Duranie will be a LOT less freaked out and overwhelmed and a lot more like the pair of fans that we are. Obviously, we are beyond thrilled that we got our front row. If it were to ever happen again, I bet our reactions would be very different. -A

I’m Exhausted Already!!!

It is day two of the Daily Duranie summer tour 2012 and I’m exhausted already! Yesterday, Rhonda and I flew to New Orleans and drove to Biloxi in preparation of tonight’s show. I didn’t get much sleep the night before last after being on the phone with Rhonda, changing plans slightly, and over thinking things as I attempted to get my precious zzzs. It didn’t help that I had a ridiculously early flight at 6 am. Luckily, my flights were on time and relatively smooth. Rhonda, likewise, was on time despite the fact that it stormed, stormed, stormed in New Orleans most of the afternoon. We were anxious to get there and get going! Unfortunately, everything was slow. It took awhile for her baggage to appear in baggage claim and it took over 40 minutes just to get the car we had rented! New Orleans traffic was also problematic as it seemed that everyone and their brothers were on the road along with an accident slowed us down! Once we got to Biloxi, it was a rush to get checked in, make ourselves look a little less like we had been traveling all day before heading over to the Hard Rock for our first of many meet ups.
The meet up was fun. There was a small group of us, but that made it good as we had a chance to really talk to everyone. Rhonda and I did our traditional shots and many drinks were consumed. After the dinner meet up, we did walk around a bit to scope out the scene and went to a club here. This was a very informative time as we learned that some of our information was wrong. The line for general admission is INSIDE! In fact, it starts where the box office right by the venue, which from what we saw last night and what we have heard is tiny. Obviously, Rhonda and I beyond relieved. We kept trying to prepare ourselves to tolerate the weather and outside conditions in order to get a good spot. Now, we don’t have to worry!!! Apparently, the line has, at times, gone outside but it definitely starts indoors. Now, we are ready for our long day in the GA line. The fun part is that we will get to talk to other fans. We like that. So, as I type this, it is 8 am, local time, and there is 11 of us in line. Not sure if this is a normal deal for Duran GA as this is the earliest I have ever been in line. According to one Hard Rock employee, 7 am is usually the earliest people line up. Rhonda and I are optimistically hopeful that everything runs smoothly for the rest of the day and the rest of the tour. You can be certain that we will report on how the show was and how we survived tomorrow. We might be typing on the road as we will be ending to Atlanta. Until then, wish us luck and that this is the best show ever!!! -A