I needed to get some writing done, and as a way to block out the general background noise of my house (Ok, I was really blocking out my kids…but nobody needs to know that, right?) I decided to do something I haven’t done in several years. I played the entire Medazzaland album.
Medazzaland was released in October of 1997, and it’s the only Duran Duran album that I did not buy immediately upon it’s release. In my defense, I’d had my first baby earlier that year and suffered greatly with Post Partum Depression. A little something I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned: I didn’t even know that John Taylor had left Duran Duran until AFTER I’d bought Medazzaland. That’s just how out of touch with reality I was at the time. It was all I could do to get through each day, and during the time I had PPD I didn’t listen to a single Duran Duran song. Not one. That isn’t a period of time I like to talk about much, nor do I really remember much from the time, but it’s a part of how I’ve become the person I am now I suppose. I know it was several months into 1998 before I bought the album, and as I popped it into my car stereo, I couldn’t wait to get reacquainted with the band. I felt like I was getting back in touch with an old friend.
As soon as the opening “chords” of Medazzaland had begun, I knew something had gone curiously awry. This was definitely not the Duran Duran I’d last listened. I skipped ahead, touching on each of the songs. Aside from Big Bang Generation and possibly Electric Barbarella, there was nothing on that album that sounded remotely close to what I’d known. I remember looking at my husband through the veil of depression that was still clouding my vision and told him very ruefully that part of my life was apparently over just like the rest of who I once was, and ejected the CD. I put it back in the case and didn’t open it again for nearly 8 years.
It was only after the Astronaut tour ended and we started getting murmurs about Red Carpet Massacre that I dared to open the jewel case for the CD again. I’m far enough removed from the days of my depression to realize that my dislike for the CD came not only from the music itself, but from my own predicament at the time. Even so, the CD is very different from anything else Duran has done, and I don’t know that I ever really wrapped my head around all that was taking place for them at the time. When I sat down to write today, I was formatting a guest blog and there was mention of a few songs on Medazzaland, so I decided to give it a listen. Amazingly, I actually appreciated much of what I heard. Sure, the album is very different. Yes, it was written during a time when I think there was much personal tension for Nick and Simon, but there’s some genius there. I’m still not a Warren fan – but his influence is absolutely present on the album and I didn’t hate what I heard. There is something very organic (of all things) about the experimentation that took place, and the sense of peace I felt while listening to Michael You’ve Got a Lot to Answer For was remarkable. What felt really far removed from Duran Duran in 1998 when I first bought the album feels very much like a piece of their history in 2012.
Of course, all of this introspect with regard to Medazzaland leads me to wonder how I’ll feel about Red Carpet Massacre in another ten years or so. (It’s going to take me that long to work up the nerve to listen to that CD again, I’m sure.) I haven’t forgotten Nick’s statement that while the album wasn’t well-loved by their fan base, it has some staying power. Damn you Nick, we’ll see. We will see.
One comment that was infrequently made, but still very well read/heard amongst the calls for slaughter(ing the press), was that it’s not just the press who tends to keep Duran Duran in that memory box from 1984. Many fans believe that other fans are just as responsible for this characterization. My knee jerk reaction is of course to deny, but when I sit down and really consider the truth, perhaps fans including myself in that group are at least partially responsible. How can this be?!?
Let’s go back a bit before you all decide to call for my beheading. (Besides, as you read this – I am definitely sitting under an umbrella, reading a great book and enjoying the heat of the day while on a very peaceful vacation sans children. I don’t return home until later in the week, so calling for the guillotine is a bit premature. You’ve got time.) I’m sure most of you remember Duran from the mid-80’s. They were difficult to forget, am I right? Then Notorious came along, Big Thing, Liberty, Thank You….and none of these were blockbusters. We lost some Taylors, gained a Cuccurullo and a couple drummers…you know the drill. Then around about 2001 or so, we heard murmurs of a reunion of the “Fab Five”. How many of you did NOT immediately think back to the times of Planet Earth, Friends of Mine, Rio or even Hungry Like the Wolf (I won’t hold it against you)? My point of course is that at least initially as a gut reaction we tend to associate the original band members with a certain period of time. Then Astronaut was released, and while I can’t be sure of how many people absolutely hated the album – I know I heard more than a few comments that attempted to compare the music to what had come previously. On Rio. On the first album. That continued through the years after and including the release of Red Carpet Massacre. What comment did I hear (and make) most during that period of time? “It sounds nothing like the Duran Duran I know and love.” I stand by that statement, but I also recognize the idiocy behind feeling that way as well.
So that brings us to All You Need is Now, naturally. I distinctly recall panning the band (and Mark Ronson) for making comments about how that album was intended to be the follow up to Rio. (How dare I say such things after being so critical of Red Carpet Massacre? I know. My worry wasn’t that they were dating themselves, but rather that they’d never be able to live up to such a statement. I was wrong. You can read that blog here.) Of course now in retrospect I can see that it wasn’t necessarily about making the album sound like it was Rio’s child – it was the spirit with which it was recorded. Even so, if we continue to laud the band for attempting to spread their wings, evolve and grow their sound beyond what we knew the 80’s to be – how are we helping them to feel confident in their abilities to remain relevant? I’m not sure.
On one hand, I really do believe that All You Need is Now is fresh, relevant and living in the moment. The very theme of the album speaks to the concept and I feel the album is extremely solid, even if it didn’t perform well on the charts. Some say it flopped. While I hate using that word, I don’t know how the band feels about it. I really hope they don’t look at the album on those terms. I love this album on a personal level as much if not more than Rio – I just can’t look at it as a failure because for me, it’s anything but. On the other hand, I can’t be the only one to recognize that the chords from Leopard or the tom-toms from Girl Panic sound vaguely familiar. It’s not that I don’t welcome the music (Hardly!), but I think we have to be honest with ourselves as well. Duran Duran has never been the band to “play it safe”, and I’d hate for them to stop taking chances at this point in their career simply because the fan base (including myself) through a monster sized tantrum over Red Carpet Massacre. Was All You Need is Now purely an album to placate the fans? I really hope not. The album is worth so much more than that.
At least one fan out there mentioned that she felt the characterization of Duran Duran as an 80’s band was spot on. Her comments were that when she goes to the shows, they transport her back to her childhood, and she welcomes that. Duran Duran isn’t known for songs like Undergoing Treatment, Chains, Sunrise, Falling Down, Nite Runner or even All You Need is Now. They’re known for songs like Rio and Hungry Like the Wolf. She feels that the band tries much too hard (I would probably at times agree). While she still loves the band, her opinion is that they’re an 80’s band and should accept that rather than fight it. I’m not pointing out her difference in opinion as a way to flog her, but rather to prove that while many of us want to continue to insist on their relevance, many are happy to accept them for what they once meant. Neither way is wrong.
I fall back to the statements I meant last week. This album and this band has fostered a relationship between their fans and themselves that cannot be denied. We stand here in this moment, and we all want the music to last a little longer. For many, this band was iconic of the 80’s. For others, it was the quintessential band of the 90’s. Still plenty more see this band as the music of a lifetime…with more to come.
What follows is a completely fictional account of the recent, much talked about Duran Duran/DJ Aoki show. Like all fiction, there may be a kernel or two of truth somewhere. Case in point: there was, in fact, a ticketless pigeon waiting in line to see the band. Alas, she could not take the heat and
flew away well before doors opened.
There have been tons of comments made since the show: on twitter, the ‘See What Unfolds Live’ Facebook site…
This one is just for fun.
Act One – Whose Nutball Idea Was THIS?
DD Official Person: Hey Durans! (ooo, nice shoes, Simon!) We’ve been approached by Trident (yes, THAT Trident) to participate in a show with DJ Steve Aoki as a superduper-secret surprise guest! It’ll be great!
Random Band Member: Well, that’s sort of a different fanbase than ours, don’t you think? How will we be received? I wouldn’t want the crowd to leave as soon as we got onstage…I don’t look good wearing embarrassment…
DDOP: Don’t worry! We’ve been given eleventy-umpteen tickets. For FREE! We’ll give them out to your superfans!
RBM: Umm…I don’t know…I don’t think they’d really be hip to an Aoki-style rave, ya know? Our fans are older…Some of them are actually mature…Well, a couple are…
DDOP: Got that covered! Check it–we have a contest for VIP members to win free tickets to a secret Duran Duran show. We won’t actually TELL them what it is. They’ll eat it up!
RBM: Errrr…I’ve heard he throws cake on people and spews champagne outta his mouth…I wouldn’t be caught DEAD in an audience with that staring at me…
DDOP: Oh, lighten up! A little cake never hurt anyone! You LOVE cake! And I’ve got it all planned out–
We’ll announce the winners (everyone who enters), but we won’t exactly tell them what they’ve won! And we’ll require an official rsvp BEFORE we tell them the actual details! It’ll be a surprise–yeah, a surprise!–performance! We’ll give details ‘as soon as we know them’ (wink wink)…Let ’em think whatever they wanna think…a surprise can be ANYTHING.
RBM: But how will we plan our wardrobe if we don’t know what the show is? You know we have trouble planning what to–
DDOP: Stop! YOU’LL know what it is, but THEY won’t. Not until they’ve been sucked into the Duran fan vortex…and once the especially dumb ones have bought their plane tickets, they’re IN. There’ll be no turning back! (muahahaa!)
RBM: Hmm, I dunno…sounds sorta shady…
DDOP: Relax! You’ll have plausible deniability! No one will ever have to know this is how it went down! You DO want to broaden your fan base don’t you? You don’t wanna encounter a bunch of rave kids giving you blank, acid-trip stares when you walk onstage do you? You want DURANIES there–your superfans–screaming for you…You know, in case the youngsters don’t quite get it on their own.
RBM: I sure hope this goes off like you plan…if it gets screwed up, I’m gonna play dumb, got it?
DDOP: (that’ll be a real stretch.)
RBM: What was that?
DDOP: Nothing, nothing…Listen-it’ll be FINE. What could go wrong? It’s TRIDENT, for God sakes. The kings of gum! They’ll put on a class show. At least you’ll be ON the stage instead of BELOW it.
Act Two: Fast Forward to Show Day–Wheeee!
Duranies Who Queue: Man! It’s hot out here! Anybody got a portable air con?
DWQ: Nope! But at least we can sit down. (I’ve really got to pee! Is that car dealership open?) Only four more hours to go! Here–have a piece of cardboard–take a load off.
Watch out for that pigeon!!
DWQ: How long you been here? Since 9? Like, in the morning? Dayuuumm. And I thought I was die hard…Props.
DWQ: Anyone know who this Aoki fella is?
DWQ: I hear he’s a DJ…Couldn’t check for sure, though, cause my google was down all week.
DWQ: What’s a DJ? (Can you pass me my knitting? Thanks.)
DWQ: It’s newfangled. It’s a person who plays records on a turntable onstage. Should be nice! I like records.
DWQ: Me too, me too…but I LOOOVVE me some Duran Duran!
DWQ: (all together now) Wooohooooo!!!
***Hours pass (la la laaa)
DWQ: Hey! The door peeps are finally here! Let’s make sure they know we’re back here in the alley waiting patiently to get in!
DWQ: What? They’re gonna WHAT? Just let everybody go in however? Willy Nilly? But, but…We’ve been here ALL DAY! Waiting! Patiently! In the HEAT!
DWQ: I’ll poke ’em with my knitting needle if they don’t get their silly little act together! I swear! These venues never know what to do with us Duranies. Jaysis. Will you pass me some of that 90-degree water? Thanks, doll.
DWQ: Ok, ok…I think we’ve gotten THAT cleared up…We should be cool now…Just get through the door and RUN! (Sure hope I don’t break one of my 6-inch heels! I don’t look good in lopsided…)
DWQ: Here we are! In our inalienable front row spots! Whew! That was close, huh? Ahhh, front row, front row, I love you front row…Say whaaah? You want us to move back two feet to let Aoki’s fans be in the front? You’re joking, right? Where were THEY when we were sweatin’ large outside? What’s that? They’ll leave as soon as his set is done? You sure? Well, ok…We don’t really need to be in front to see a guy play records…
***Push em back, push em back, waaaaaay back!
DWQ: Wow, it’s sorta crowded in here, yeah? I need my required three feet of dance
space, so skooch. I am a diva. STOP. SWEATING. ON. ME!
***And a big-ass raft…with PEOPLE in it…floating on hands outstretched to their DJ Jesus…
DWQ: Aaagghhh! What have Duran Duran gotten us INTO? No one told us about THIS! What were they thinking? They HATE us! And isn’t that JT? Up there in the balcony? He’s laughing at us! See him? What a D*CK!
Random DD Fan Who Did Not Queue: Aaagghhh! What have Duran Duran gotten us INTO? No one told us about THIS! What were they thinking? They HATE us! And isn’t that JT? Up there in the balcony? He’s laughing at us! See him? What a D*CK!
DWQ: My goodness, these youngsters are STRONG! They’ve knocked quite a few people down with their juvenile rave antics! Where IS that blasted security guy? The one who made us move at the beginning? Is that him? Over there at the side having a beverage? Yooohooo? Could you (ugh) please come over here and (ouch) get this pesky child off my HEAD, please and thank you?? *waves old lady hanky*
DWQ: And I thought WE were bad! My stars, the youth of today…Wait! Is that NICK? Behind the screen? Yeah!! They’re coming onstage! GET THE F**K OUTTA MY WAAAAY, B**CHEZZZ!!!
Okay…Little serious moment now.
I find myself laughing a lot about this loony experience. No, none of it went down the way I’ve presented it (well, SOME of it did), but it gives me a chuckle nevertheless. In all honesty, I don’t know why Duran chose to pair up crowds with Aoki’s – to ‘See What Unfolded’ perhaps? Good idea? Bad Idea? It’s their little red wagon at the end of the day I suppose. I do think some things could’ve been handled better though (Umm,
guys? Serious up…next time you rely on someone else’s planning of an event–even if you are a mere guest–please check on the deets just a wee bit, a’yite? Security at a rave is sort of important.) And fully disclosing what we are ‘winning’ before people make unchangeable travel arrangements can only show that you respect us as fans and as people. I know, I know… It was our decision to do this. Yep, it was. Still, the feeling that
we were somehow purposely duped remains for some. Just sayin’.
This was an unforgettable Duran experience for sure, and truthfully, I had a complete BLAST until some guys started to go nucking futs and use themselves as human wrecking balls. Most of the people there were just other fans trying to have fun, dance, jump around, not a care in the world. I dig that. But having to expend the majority of my energy to simply remain upright is not my idea of a good time: impedes dancing–trust me on this. I’m SO not whining about being caught up in a sweaty mess of crazy, I’m talking about the actual seriously mean, violent guys who did their best to ruin the show for everyone: Duranie and Aokian alike. I’ve since heard stories of people getting choked, punched, kicked, stomped on…That is not ‘normal’ rave behavior (so sayeth the bonafide ravers on Facebook, anyway). It is not ‘kids having fun’. It is beyond what my exhaustive google-pre-researching of Aoki and of Terminal 5 led me to believe was in store. I’m just glad nothing worse broke out. Got reeaallll close at times though, cause bruthas and sistas, there was no security to be found ANYWHERE, and that is my gripe with this gig. Once Duran started playing, a guy looked at me with an incredulous, wild eyed look on his face and screamed at the top of his lungs that a fan had bitten him (Uh huh. BITTEN). What could I do? (Must’ve been that old, Duran-fan ‘mom’ look I werk.) He was screaming for security, and every camera guy in the pit just shrugged and walked away.
It was mos def enjoyable to see the band again–it really was (Love you guys! Mwah!).
Even if I WAS completely flattened against the barricade. ;D
Rock on Duran Duran! Looking forward to the next show like crazy!
Jonee has been a fan of Duran Duran ever since she saw John Taylor running down the streets of Sri Lanka bare chested in Hungry Like the Wolf when it came on Friday Night Videos (she was 12). She missed a great deal of touring since her first show in ’84 (life, college, grad school, family, yadda yadda), but has since come back into the Duranie fold just in time for this whirlwind All You Need Is Now tour. She loves the band and all the ridiculously cool friends she’s made through them. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, is the mom of two kids, 7 and 4, and is currently trying to convince her sweet husband that she needs to see Duran Duran just one more time…
1. Biloxi, Mississippi
We have a meetup planned for the night before the Biloxi show. While we realize that many people won’t be in town early, we also realize that on the day of the show many (most? all?) of the people will be worried about getting a good spot in line to get a decent spot at the show. Yes, it is all about the joy of general admission. Anyway, if you plan on being in Biloxi on Friday, August 17th or are considering it, check out the facebook page and RSVP! We would love to meet and hang out with you! Right now, it is set up for 8 pm at one of the bars inside the Hard Rock.
Here is the link: Biloxi Meetup
2. Atlanta, Georgia
We have yet to determine a place for this meetup. People have said suggestions and we are doing our own research. It appears that the venue, Chastain Park Amphitheatre, does not have a lot of restaurants or bars nearby, which isn’t helpful as I would prefer a place that is close so that people don’t have to worry about driving and parking. Alas, we are trying to find a space that isn’t too far away but can accommodate a large group, both in terms of food options and drink choices! If you have a suggestion, send it our way! We did set up a facebook page for this event, too.
Link to RSVP: Atlanta Meetup
3. Durham, North Carolina
This meetup has been set for awhile now. The details are on a picture on the right hand column of this blog. If you would like to attend and haven’t RSVPed yet, let us know and we will send you an invite on facebook.
4. Caravan between Durham, North Carolina, and Portsmouth, Virginia
Now, by this point, Rhonda and I will be sick of driving and riding in a car! Yet, since there are so many Duranies who appear to be going to both Durham and Portsmouth, we figured out a way to make it more fun! Let’s caravan! Obviously, we all can’t be in the same car but we can all form a parade of sorts to travel from one place to another. People on the road won’t know what is going on! It will be beautifully entertaining and will definitely make the drive of ours more bearable!
Again, here is the facebook page to RSVP: Caravan from Durham to Portsmouth
5. Portsmouth, Virginia
Like the rest of the shows we are going to, we thought it would be fun to do one last meetup together in Virginia. We are still working on a location and a time for it. Once we have the details, we will definitely share! On top of the caravan and meetup, we are also trying to get a group rate for a hotel there. If interested in that, there is a thread on the facebook invite page.
Here is the facebook page to RSVP: Portsmouth Meetup
6. Chicago, Illinois
While my partner-in-crime won’t be able to attend this show with me, I think it would still be good to have something beforehand. I won’t be able to stay overnight like I usually do as I have to work the next day (talk about cruel punishment!) but I would like to see people. Again, I have no firm details but will be working on it in the next couple of months.
Facebook page is here: Chicago Meetup
Now, does anyone else have a meetup that they are planning for shows other than these? If so, let us know. We would be happy to share information on those, too! After all, we think one of the best parts of being a Duranie is getting to meet and know other Duranies!
From what I have been reading about Wednesday’s event, there was a mosh pit on the floor, which included a lot of pushing and shoving. If that wasn’t bad enough, I heard things about cake being thrown and champagne being poured. Oh boy. In reading these stories, I saw a number of comments mentioning about how they were “too old” to deal with those kind of concert antics! I have to admit that I had the same thoughts! Heck, I felt like I was too old way back in 2006 at the Voodoo Festival where we had to deal with the crowd surfing, trying to keep our spot and more. I knew then I was too old to stand for literally hours in the exact same spot without food, water or bathroom breaks in order to be up front at a festival. This experience was so bad, for me, that I made a silent vow that I would and should seriously not go to any Duran event in which they were playing with someone else (unless that someone was Duran like). I realize that if everyone followed my rule then Duran wouldn’t have any supporters at various events. That is unfortunate, but I have to look out for my rapidly aging body! Am I the only one who has this rule or wants to avoid any scene with crowd surfing, mosh pits and flying food?!
Of course, the band has to deal with aging issues as well. Just the other day, I posted a picture of John on my personal facebook and got comments from non-Duranie friends about how he is “an old fart now”! Wow. Don’t think that is really necessary. Of course, many other friends responded with how good he looks, though, and he does. They all look good for their age. Of course, the media can be just as unkind as my friend. Just today, we were sent the link to an article in the Daily Mail about how Simon is way too old to wear what he wore on Wednesday. If you feel like reading this horrendous article, it is here. I am always irritated by this kind of thing. First, as I mentioned before, they still look damn good. We could only be so lucky. Second, that’s the only kind of insult you can give, media person? It is unintelligent and shows a true lack of effort to find a real criticism to make. Here’s a new flash: Duran Duran is a band. They make and play MUSIC. Why don’t you focus on that? No, that would require work and an IQ above 70.
As much as I acknowledge that I can’t and/or won’t do things like I did when I was younger, I am constantly motivated by the band. Just when I think I can’t tour like I use to. I remind myself that the band can still do it. Thus, I should be able to as well! Today was definitely a reminder about how I can and should approach our little tour in August. I can still do shows and hopefully survive a GA show, too! I can still travel through the 7 states that we will pass through. Yet, I need to do this with more moderation than I would have when I was younger. This won’t make the tour less fun, just more successful for us!
You’d have to be living under a rock not to have heard stories of green cake and champagne showers, rafting over audience members and mosh pits full of sweaty, cake lathered people at the Trident Gum gig last night at Terminal 5.
In my “expert” estimation, I would have to say the scene sounded as bad, and probably worse, as Voodoo was for me in 2006. That gig brought an end to my festival days. I just don’t need to be roughed up quite that badly in order to see my band of choice and get something out of the show. Call me crazy.
Many came out of the show saying nearly the same thing – that it was great to see the band, but that if they never saw a Steve Aoki DJ set again it would be too soon. Are boycotts on Trident gum next?? (Of course not, but it’s an amusing thought all the same.) Another widely held opinion was that the DJ set (90 minutes) was far too long, and Duran’s appearance was of course, far too short. (Naturally, we’d all say that even if they had played a full-set, wouldn’t we?) Lastly, many were shocked and disappointed that not a single mention was made of John’s birthday, nor were there band introductions made, but again – this was not a Duran gig, only a special appearance. We have an extra-special blog coming from someone who was actually at the show last night in the next day or two, so watch this space. I believe it will be worth the wait and the read.
So that brings us to the reason for the appearance. The newly minted remix of Hungry Like the Wolf. (Of all the songs on the planet…it had to be this one. Of course it did.) I have to say, I’ve given it several listens, and it’s nothing like I would have expected to come out of the original song, yet it’s exactly like what Steve Aoki is known. What I think fans need to recognize and respect before giving it a fair listen is that this really is not Duran Duran. I mean yes, they collaborated on the remix, but this isn’t about Hungry Like the Wolf ending up to sound like Hungry Like the Wolf dance remix. The remix is very techno and electronica and even a bit trance-like. If you’re not into that type of music, this is probably not going to please your ears much. Me? I like it, but I’ve got to ask where the guitar went. Did Dom melt in the New York City heat or something? Normally I wouldn’t have expected to hear guitar on a remix like this one, but in the interview I heard in promotion for this, much was made about the fact that the remix incorporated each member. I hear bass, but just as I believe in “More Cowbell!!” I believe in “More Dom!” Some have called the remix boring (um, how about trance-like??) and generic, and perhaps that is so, but it’s the type of music I can put on while I’m writing and it’s not distracting. Yes, I can actually write and get work done to this. I don’t know what that says about me other than it blocks out the sound that 3 kids can make in the morning running around this house in complete chaos.
If you haven’t given it a listen, here’s your chance. Hungry Like The Wolf: Steve Aoki vs Duran Duran — The New York Werewolf Mix.
Just as a point of reference, as much as I am sick to death of Hungry Like the Wolf – I’ll be buying this one. If nothing else, it’s good music to keep me working!!
I don’t think I need to tell anyone whose birthday it is today. I especially do not need to tell my partner-in-crime here on the blog, since she’s been a John girl since elementary school. Unlike the band, we do play favorites – and John is hers, which would mean to me that perhaps she would be better suited to write his birthday blog, but alas, you’ve got me instead.
I have “met” John Taylor exactly one time, and it was at the Virgin Megastore signing in Hollywood for the Astronaut album. My meeting went like this: Nick passed him the album, John (Not daring to even look up at the crowd pressing the table, and I am not passing judgement on him for this, because truth be told – I wouldn’t have looked up either for fear of passing out. Too many people, not enough space. Yes, I’m just a tad claustrophobic.) took the album, signed it, and as he passed it on to Simon, I found enough voice to say “It’s a beautiful album, John”, to which he looked up briefly and said “thank you”. Unfortunately, he didn’t know what person the voice came from and as such – he said thanks to the crowd of people swarming his tiny little spot on the table. The whole thing was so rushed anyway, but that’s what I’ve got for you on John as far as personal experience goes.
Of course, that’s with me right in front of him. On stage is another matter entirely. I don’t know John, but if I had to guess, when he’s on stage it’s when he feels the most alive, the most “normal”, and the most himself. It’s been years since I’ve actually sat or stood on John’s side of the stage, as Amanda will gladly tell you because much to her dismay – we always seem to end up on Dom’s side and she’s a John-girl, but in the few times I’ve sat in front of him, John always seems to make eye contact.
There was that time in Milwaukee back in 2005 when Amanda and I sang and danced to every single song the band played. (Wait, don’t we always do that?!?) Not only did John notice and insist we clap along with him, but people around us noticed as well. (So we were a little excited about the show…nothing wrong with some enthusiasm!) Then there was the time at the Sears Center in 2006 when we were in 9th row or something like that. I was singing my little heart out until Electric Barbarella came on. Admittedly, this is not my favorite Duran Duran tune of all time and I frowned a bit. Actually, I pulled a face and stopped moving for the briefest of moments…and during that time, John saw, and frowned right back at me. I thought to myself, “That can’t possibly mean he saw me. Impossible.” So I literally stuck my tongue out. (Yes, I’m a complete idiot. I dared to test the system. I know.) Well, he stuck his out as well. Awesome. (Oh, you BET I mean that with every bit of Southern California “attitude” possible.) I laughed, he laughed, and from there I realized I would end up in an early grave if this kind of mutual admiration continued…because I’d either die from embarrassment or have a heart attack.
In Atlantic City, I think this was late 2008, we saw them at the House of Blues. While Amanda and I would have preferred to be up closer to the stage, on this night it wasn’t really possible, and so we we back more than a few rows in the GA crowd. I know this is going to shock you all, but there wasn’t much on Red Carpet Massacre that I enjoyed, song-wise. The one song I do love though – is in fact Red Carpet Massacre. It holds many meanings, and at the time, was very fitting for how I felt about being a fan and the fan community in general. At the beginning of the song, John claps, and I clapped with him. Well, I don’t take instruction well, apparently, because I catch John looking in my general direction. He shakes his head – and yes, I’m deluded enough to believe he’s meaning that shake of the head for ME specifically, and shows me how to clap to the song correctly. Then when I corrected myself, he smiled and winked. (I was missing the double clap. I could blame it on the significant amount of drinking I’d already done that evening, but the fact is, I wasn’t paying attention. I’m pretty sure I was looking at Dom. ) Hey, we all have our favorites!
My final example(s) would be from both the fall shows I attended as well as our little UK tour. Once again, I’m sure I would shock you all when I say that I am ready to retire Hungry Like The Wolf permanently. As such, I wait with great anticipation each show to see if they’ll play it. Well, during the show in Valley Center, the song didn’t start off quite as I’d expected – it’s done a little differently than on previous tours, so it faked me out a bit. Of course, that was until I heard those familiar chords, in which case my heart sank once again and I probably made a face, and rolled my eyes. I know Dom saw this because he grinned. Well, John had already made his way over to Dom’s side of the stage and as they sing the “Doo doo doo…” part of the chorus, he looks directly at me and sings it, almost as though he was mocking me. Even my husband noticed, and laughed at me. Honestly. If I could have gotten up on that stage, I’d have spanked John AND Dom in that moment. In Glasgow, Amanda and I were second row, nearly dead center, and during that same song, we had both John and Dom singing right at us and playing right in front of us. I’m sure they were taunting us…because as I may have mentioned before, I’m deluded enough to believe that. (We ALL have our fantasies. I won’t ruin yours if you let me have mine!)
All fun and games aside, up until a few years ago – I really didn’t feel any sort of connection with John. I know the girls all loved him when we were young, and I know all the women love him now. Yes, it’s difficult not to notice how gorgeous he is, even today. I always felt he was just a little bit removed from all of us, and I never really felt like he cared. I hate to say that, especially because I am not meaning to be harsh, but out of everyone in the band – my opinion of John has changed the most over the years. It was only after he started blogging for dd.com and joined Twitter and Facebook that I really felt like I was getting a sense of who he really was beyond the stage. John seems to be thoughtful, kind…and he has a great sense of who he has sort of become over the years for the fans. He likes to tease even though he is as coy about it as any guy I’ve ever known, and I think that for the most part, he genuinely loves the fans and cares. I dare say that out of everyone in the band, he is the one who cares about his relationship with the fans the most. I value that so much. Without sounding like too much of a crazy person (Note to self: you write a blog. About a pop band. You’re an adult female. A mom. That ship has long since sailed, lady.), I waited a long time to see any glimmer of interest, concern, or anything that even remotely rivaled a connection coming from the band to the fan base. John was the first to sort of extend that olive branch, for lack of a better description. Sure, I know it’s done as a sort of professional courtesy or promotional effort in a lot of ways, and it’s done to try and make the end sale. I still value the effort.
As I said to him today on his Facebook page, he’s been in our lives in however large or small of a part for a very long time now. I can’t imagine what my world would be like without him in it. No, he doesn’t know me from Adam and I doubt that will change in the coming years, but he needs to know that he made a difference in the lives of a lot of people. He matters to a great many humans out there, and while I know fans can be a pain in the ass at times – we love him and wish him the very happiest of birthdays. And yes, he SHOULD be celebrating!
Ooh, in my revelry about John I almost forgot to mention that I’m going on vacation! I’m off for a reasonably quick adult getaway with my husband for a change, but never fear – Daily Duranie will still be posting as normal during my absence, and I’ll be back next Thursday. Take care, be good humans – and I’ll think of you all often as I am lounging under an umbrella by the pool in the desert heat (we’re going to Vegas) Mwah!
I have to be honest here, I didn’t think too much about the interview. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve gotten so used to the band being billed as a nostalgia act that I just don’t pay attention, or if it was because it was such a joy to see MOST of my favorites on TV for an interview that I just didn’t hear what the interviewer was saying. (I’ll just say it: it’s time to include Dom in the band. He’s been around a long time and he looks like he belongs there anyway at this point. I don’t care. Send me all the hate mail you’d like…call for my public flogging. I’m going on vacation in a few days anyway, so I’m throwing caution to the wind!) Where was I? Oh yes, the interview. It was only later in the day when I watched it again that I really took notice of just how intent she (Lara Spencer) was to stick to the past. I winced a bit when she asked them how it was to get back together after thirty years, and then I had to remind myself that this was not 2003. It wasn’t even 2005, or even 2007. It’s 2012. Their latest album has been out for over a year now. She even mentioned it herself when she commented that it hit #1 on iTunes. (I’m going to be even more honest here, I don’t care if it hit that on iTunes for 30 damn seconds, I’m glad the band holds on to that. All You Need is Now is SO worthy of that number one spot and I’ll never stop being proud of them for writing such a fantastic album.) I just don’t understand why the press is so apt to ignore the present when it comes to Duran Duran.
Do we still live in times of backlash when it comes to this band? Sure, they have worn and occasionally still wear make up. Name bands who don’t at this point in time. There’s not many. Yeah, they’re still good looking. (thank goodness!!) Yep, their fans are still primarily female, although there are more than a few really good men out there that love their music as much as I do. I’m lucky to count several of them as my friends, actually! Does that really all add up to discounting them to nostalgia? Here’s the real question: what about their music??? When does that actually count for something?
Sometimes, I stop and wonder if any of this bothers the band. I mean, it was one thing to be a pop idol back in the 80’s. I’ve read enough to know that the band never minded being idols to their fans, they wanted to be famous and they were willing to do whatever it took for that to happen. (Goal successfully reached!) I have to believe that at some point, they were hoping to be known for more than just making young girls scream. Sure, we fans have grown up and while we might all still scream for more when we see them live on stage, their music resonates. While we fans take them seriously (and still have fun all the while), it would seem at least to me that the press never has. Do you think that bothers them?
I suppose the band can either fight it or embrace it and continue to work towards whatever personal goals they have on their own. While I sit here writing and contemplating, I recognize that the press can be very much like a tidal wave, and sometimes it’s just better to let the wave do it’s thing and help you get places in the long run than fight mother nature.
While that method seems to work for the band, I know I’m not alone when I say that as a fan – it’s really tough to sit back and see the hard work of thirty years diminished to a few shining moments that happened decades ago. It’s difficult not to feel personally affronted, and yet if it doesn’t bother the band, perhaps we need to take our cue from them. They certainly didn’t write All You Need is Now (single) with absolutely nothing in mind. It really is all up to us to find ourselves in the moment. It’s never really been about what the press or critics have said about them, it’s been about you and I…and the band.