I apologize for the lateness of the blog today. We woke up this morning with no cable – which for us means no TV, no phone and of course…no internet. Not a good way to begin a Wednesday and I should have recognized this as a sign to just call the day off and go to the beach. (It’s delightfully warm here in So CA – we’re in the 80’s at my house today!)
On top of that, I received news this morning from a friend of mine that her husband was in a mountain biking accident over the weekend – he apparently fell while on a trail and has a brain injury along with a concussion, skull fracture and is being kept in a medically induced coma to try and allow his brain to rest. She has two sons about the ages of my two oldest, and she is a small business owner besides, so it isn’t as though she has unlimited time off or a nest-egg to draw from in order to pay for his hospitalization. So many of her friends and I are trying to organize food for her kids over the next several weeks. She is a sorority sister to me, and I’m just shocked at how one seemingly minor fall can change an entire family’s life. So again, I apologize because I know I’ve missed the RSS feed cutoff – which means it won’t go out until far later today my time.
With that in mind – I am having difficulty thinking of something Duran related to write about today, and I’m sorry for that. My mind is just elsewhere, and to be honest – Duran Duran feels pretty damn trivial in comparison. The one thing I can say is that a month or so back, Dom wrote of a near-miss he had with a car while he was riding a bicycle. I’m sure he saw his life flash before his eyes that day, and all he was trying to do was ride home. Thank goodness nothing more serious than his temper (and rightfully so!) was affected. My friend’s husband was just on a trail, just going out for a ride on a Sunday afternoon. I don’t know the details (none of us really do since Brian has been in a coma since the accident), but it appears he hit something on the trail and was sent sailing over the handlebars of his bike. In an instant anything and everything can change.
So, before I bring anyone else down, I have a wonderfully written guest blog to share for today.
Hug your loved ones today.
By C.K. Shortell
Many of Daily Duranie’s blogs get me to thinking about my own status as a fan. I read about their road trips and think, gosh, I could never get on a plane and fly across the Atlantic just to see them play in England. But paying hundreds of dollars for a floor seat to their 2005 show at Madison Square Garden? Sure, no problem. I’m down with that. Did I mention I had to have the ticket overnighted?
Anyway, I don’t have very many regrets about the time or money I’ve spent on the band. Does my iTunes library really need over 1,000 DD songs? Yes it does–all of those bootleg live tracks and demos and remixes are 100% necessary. Well…almost all of them. There is one bootleg that I feel a twinge of regret over. It happened long ago…well, at least three albums and two lineup changes ago.
I was at work and happened to scan eBay for any bootlegs from the Up Close Tour (which at this point was over, and the reunion had been announced). This was in June 2001, when we didn’t have a firewall to prevent us from accessing eBay from the office, and when eBay was actually less strict about people selling concert bootlegs. (Or maybe it was just 2001 and nobody gave a s**t about Duran. I prefer the “less strict” theory.) I happened to find a CD of a show in Atlanta which marked the only time the band ever played Lady Xanax live. I think it’s a decent song, although there are probably four or five songs off Pop Trash I’d rank ahead of it—but that didn’t matter. I had to have it. It was an audience recording but that was okay—I had collected a few of those and some were excellent.
Keep in mind that the 2001 Up Close tour is unique. The band was not promoting a particular album (even though Pop Trash was about nine months old, they were only playing a few tracks off it.) This particular lineup–with Joe Travers on drums and the late Wes Wehmiller on bass, along with Simon, Warren, and Nick–was the most willing to mix up the set list. I actually saw them three nights in a row on this tour and they changed around 30-40% of the set each night. This is something that the reunited lineup, as well as the Dom Brown incarnation, has never truly done (and they should, especially now that they have a few more albums of material under their belt. I would love a 2000s version of the Up Close tour with a heavy emphasis on AYNIN, Astronaut, and yes, even some cuts off RCM, plus the requisite hits to fill the seats).
In addition to the constantly changing set list, the band had played some pretty obscure stuff. They had brought back Michael for a few shows; they would play the perfecto remix of Out of My Mind; even Late Bar showed up once or twice. The shows began with Silva Halo, which actually ended up being kind of a (surprisingly) cool way to start (that no doubt influenced them years later when they led off with Before the Rain!). You just never knew what you were going to get…so of course, when I saw Lady Xanax on the set list of that Atlanta show, I jumped at the chance to get it.
The bidding started at $20. I didn’t hesitate—I put in $30. About two minutes later, I refreshed my screen, only to find…that I had been outbid. WTF? And then I knew—it was on. Back and forth for the next hour the bids went (again, I’m at work…luckily I had an office at the time so nobody was looking over my shoulder watching the drama unfold.) With about five minutes to go, the price had escalated to $70. I heard some rumblings outside—a thunderstorm was brewing. I ignored the weather. What could possibly go wrong, anyway? Then the unthinkable happened: a power surge knocked out my computer. I sat there, stunned. Four minutes left and I was offline!
I ran out to my team and, seeing who was still online, I quickly figured out that one of our temps still had the internet up and running (and just what the heck was she doing online? She should have been working! But I digress). I kicked her out of her seat and, frantically logging on to eBay, I was able to access the bid again. The price was now $80 and I was not the highest bidder. Two minutes to go. I would not be stopped. I could hear it…I knew the band must have killed it. They always sound better live…this would be no exception. I hurriedly typed in $120. Part of me, somewhere, screamed inside—W….T…F…!!!! But I didn’t care. I was going to have that concert. It was Lady freaking Xanax! LIVE!
I won the bid. $100. Not including shipping.
Once the thrill wore off, the doubts crept in. I didn’t even like Lady Xanax that much—Pop Trash Movie was my ballad of choice off that album. Lady Xanax was okay…but was it really worth $100 (plus shipping)? For an audience recording? I pushed the doubts aside. Live Duran bootlegs were always worth it.
Today, in telling this story, I feel like the narrator in Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken: “I shall be telling this with a sigh/Somewhere ages and ages hence…” I got the CD a few days later. I listened to the entire concert—I wanted to hear Lady Xanax as they’d heard it that night. What a surprise for that audience…what delight! It was the ninth track in the show. There was a pause after “All She Wants Is.” Simon said, “Well, we’re going to play a slow one…this one is another new one…it’s Lady Xanax.”
Some of the crowd went nuts. Probably less than half; maybe fewer than that. And then it began…my excitement grew…and Simon didn’t even make it out of the first verse without screwing up the lyrics.
I sat there, stunned, as Simon mumbled something and then they launched into the chorus. I don’t even remember the rest of the song. I think the guitar was pretty cool but the second verse’s lyrics sounded off too. It’s just too painful to talk about.
Every few years, when I’m making a playlist, the thought will occur to me that I should include the live Lady Xanax that I have. In fact, before writing this, I decided to listen to it again. After all, I paid $100 for it (plus shipping). And every time, I just sit there, shake my head, and move on.
I’m smarter and wiser now…I’ve learned from my mistakes. $100 (plus shipping) for an audience recording? No way I’d make that purchase today. Nope, I’ve learned my lesson. Now, that’s not to say that, if anyone has a soundboard quality live recording of certain songs (Runway Runaway, anyone?) that I couldn’t be persuaded…no, no, no! Enough!
But, seriously, if you have Runway Runaway… I’d even pay for the shipping…
C.K. Shortell is a lifelong Duran Duran fan who lives in the northeast with his wife and two sons, both of whom love watching concert footage of the band. When he’s not struggling to explain to a three year old why the guitarist always looks different or just what exactly Nick is doing, C.K. is constantly reminding co-workers and friends that the band never broke up.