By “this”, I mean the jittery nerves, the white knuckle grip on the dining room table, the constant clicking on “refresh”, and if that weren’t enough….the hyperventilating that happens when sixth row seats land in the cart, all the while thinking that second or first would be better…and that’s just when Amanda does the presales and I’m merely observing the Twitter feed!
This morning I really think I had a near-death experience. There was one point as I was sitting vigil, hitting “refresh” every couple of seconds in the moments before Artist Arena began the presales for both Atlanta and Portsmouth this morning, that I truly felt faint. I could feel the cold, numbness start to seep down over my head and face, and that’s when I realized I had completely. lost. my. mind.
It’s a band. A silly POP band, no less. (Apologies to the band.) This is not brain surgery. I am not going to die if I don’t get good seats to the show. I will still live a very full and productive life if I don’t clap with John, see Simon’s fantastic dance moves or watch Nick take pictures while playing the keyboard at the same time. Somehow in the heat of the moment though, all sanity gets lost in the shuffle.
By 8:58am my time, I was convinced I was going to need an “air sick” bag next to my dining room chair. The pangs of hunger I’d had previously were all but gone, and I could feel the cold sweat begin to break out on my forehead. My stomach was continuing to do cartwheels, and as I continued to hit “refresh”, almost convinced that my connection was down, broken or being blocked by the Gods of Presale…suddenly tickets went live, and it was then that I thought I should have my cell phone (my mobile phone for those of you in the rest of world) next to me in case my blood pressure finally spiked enough to cause a heart attack, and I truly mean that.
Thankfully (For me. Perhaps not so much for the rest of you out there….), I have lived to see yet another presale should the band be so kind as to continue with another album and tour. At the very least, Amanda and I have tickets to our own final two shows on this tour. In Atlanta, our reign of terror on poor Dom will undoubtedly continue, as our seats are in the 6th row on his side of the pit. Once again, I apologize. In Portsmouth, Amanda and I were lucky enough to grab third row orchestra center. No, they’re not front row, but I’m counting my blessings that I’m alive to tell about them all the same. *Whew*
I still say I’m getting too old for this.
Thankfully, my husband is an electrical engineer and he prides himself on being able to fix just about anything. I, on the other hand, would much prefer to go out and replace the offending appliance – but with the amount of money spent on the aforementioned household issues, fixing the oven seems more appropriate at this juncture.
In the past, I’ve never really felt much guilt in planning a trip to go with friends to see Duran Duran. I mean of course I’ve worried for the kids and there have been times when I knew I was lucky to be going (thinking back to our UK trips and especially the show in Scotland), but I also felt confident that I deserved the break. This time, I’m not so sure.
I’ve seen the band a number of times since All You Need is Now was released. I’ve been to the UK twice, and I have had a lot of fun. I’ve met more fellow fans than I could have ever imagined possible, and while seeing the band has been outstanding, the experiences I’ve had with new friends is what has truly made being a fan worthwhile. I really don’t see how one more show, or even three more shows, will really cap this whole album off any better than it already has been done.
The band said something about this tour being the tour of hyperbole. I haven’t obviously seen every single show, but I definitely know what they mean. In the smattering of shows I’ve attended, each one seemed better than the last. Every night seemed outstanding, and while I am sure some folks would say the shows in Australia were best, and others would say that the shows in South America were more outstanding than ever…I think that all of the shows have truly been the best. I don’t really see how they could get better without my being on stage right next to them…and then again, what fun would that be? There’s something to be said for John looking down into the crowd and locking eyes with you, to be able to sing and clap along with Simon, or having Dom tower over you while playing certain guitar riffs. Seeing Nick give a grin that you know is meant just for you doesn’t hurt, and of course having Roger occasionally stand and smile makes the entire show. Or is that just me? Don’t get me started on Hungry Like the Wolf, either…
It’s not as though I don’t feel like I need a bit of a break, it’s that I know that it would be easier for everyone else if I just stayed home. There is always that nagging sense of guilt when I plan getaways for myself, and knowing that I’ve already had such wonderful trips out make me feel as though going away again is just selfish.
As I type, I’m already considering what my ticket options will be tomorrow for the presales. (Atlanta and Portsmouth Virginia) I know I’ve yet to figure out my airfare, and we’ve still got to look into a rental car. We have a meet up planned in Durham that sounds like it’s going to be amazing, and we’re hoping to do similar parties in Atlanta and Portsmouth as well.
I sure hope nothing else breaks around here.
Now, it seems to me that neither this party nor the fans’ reaction to this party is any different than any other time in Duranland. Both seem to be rather predictable. First, no matter where Duran is at, career wise, financially wise, they still manage to throw or be at quite the parties. I, obviously, wasn’t anywhere near this party or any other party that they have been a part of in their 30 years plus career. I just find it fascinating that they are still involved in such elaborate affairs. Perhaps, this says a lot about the band, but I suspect that it says a lot more about Nick. After all, he has always been the band member to be out and about at elegant affairs. He is the one who is most often spotted at art shows, at gallery or movie openings, at fashion events or some other but equal type of events. Thus, this type of event seems fitting, seems normal for Nick. I’m not judging it other than pointing out that this is common for Nick. I’m sure it is also more common for the rest of the band in comparison to boring people like me. Thus, no matter if the year is 1984 or 1994 or 2012, Nick is still being Nick. What is more interesting to me is that the official website and those who run the news articles felt it necessary to post about it. It isn’t really news about the band. It doesn’t get me excited for the upcoming shows this summer or make me think about the fact that they are going back in the studio in 2013. Why do it then? Do they want the general public to think that nothing as ever changed and that the band parties at glamorous events with other celebrities? Does it help their image somehow? I’m not asking Duran to change. I’m just wondering why the official website wants to post about this.
The fans are still being like themselves, too. Many, perhaps even most, of us have moved past just liking Duran for their looks, if we ever did. We are far more interested in talking about the music now than we might have been in 1983. Back then, conversations surrounded a variety of topics related to Duran and only a small percentage might have been about the music. Perhaps, a lot of fans spent time talking about the videos or some interview they saw or read about. I’m willing to bet that a lot of us talked about the latest photos to come out. Heck, I’m sure that a lot of bought one magazine over another based on the pictures included. I can tell you that I, personally, compared centerfolds, how many pages focused on Duran and more when deciding which magazine to purchase in the grocery store. After all, as a kid, I had a pretty fixed budget!!! Anyway, it is fascinating to me that this party of Nick’s is getting so much attention from fans now in 2012. Is it because we still get all giddy with the latest photos? Is it because it gives us proof that they are alive and doing well? Is it because we are so thristy for any Duran news at all? In all likelihood, it is a combination of all of the above. What does that say about our fandom? Has it changed? Has it evolved at all?
It seems to me that events like Nick’s birthday bash brings all involved in Duranland back to their roots. For the band, it means partying with fabulous, famous guests at fancy places. For fans, it means that we try to find the pictures from the events to get all excited about. Is this good for us, fans? Is it good for the band? Do these events not matter at all? I leave that for all of you to decide.
*Edited to add: I just watched a video on DDM that was a member only video with Roger talking about Nick’s birthday. He talked about how every guest needed to paint a picture or submit a photo. Why didn’t the official site talk about that? To me, that is very Nick Rhodes. No, instead, the official site focused on which celebrities were in attendance. If they really felt it necessary to talk about who was there, why not include the artwork they gave? Again, to me, that would have celebrated Nick’s birthday more.*
It seems to me that some people have jobs and/or lives that pretty much provide a constant stream of activity. At times, this constant stream might become a little more busy than normal or a little less busy than normal but it never or rarely reaches extremes. Then, there are those who have extremes. These people are either extremely busy or not busy at all. I think the band is in that category. They have times when they have tons of things to do, when they can’t find more than a few minutes to sleep and catch their breath. I’m sure that doing a lot of promotional work and/or touring would be like this. Then, of course, now-a-days they also have the chance to relax some. These stretches are or seem to be longer than what a usual vacation entails. I think my life is in between the constant stream and the extremes. During the school year, I’m consistently busy and then when I have added campaign work, that consistently busy extends to being insanely active. Of course, then, I do have summers, which aren’t completely off with classes, professional development, curriculum planning, etc. Nonetheless, summers are very different than the rest of the year. As I’m facing an extreme shift in activity level like the guys do after a tour or something equivalent, I wonder how they adjust. What advice would they give the rest of us? How do they find their new normal? What if their last project was horribly unsuccessful? How do they use their time off to regroup?
Let’s face it. Duran Duran, overall, has been a successful band but they have had projects, times that have not been as successful as they would have liked. In some cases, when they have regrouped, the results have been more than they hoped for. For example, the Liberty album wasn’t exactly what they had hoped for, both musically (not saying all the songs were bad but…) and commercially. Goodness, they didn’t even tour that album! How did they pick themselves up off the ground and give themselves the energy, the courage to try again? Why didn’t they decide to call it quits? Obviously, they were not only able to keep going but they were able to make an album (Wedding Album) that resulted in commercial success and converted a whole new generation of Duranies! Likewise, Red Carpet Massacre wasn’t the success that they thought it would be but they kept going and made the fabulous All You Need Is Now.
I don’t have the answer to this question about how they continue forward after facing a roadblock. Do any of you? I would honestly love to know their secret as I could use a little of that now myself. Maybe then, I would be able to comment on Duran news or move forward to find my new ordinary world.
While this first clip isn’t Nick on his own, it is interesting to note that despite being the youngest member of the band, he clearly wasn’t intimidated by being interviewed or by the interviewer. It seems obvious to me that Nick would be the member who is often interviewed, is the spokesperson and the general PR man. Nick is a natural!
For many people, the look that Nick is sporting in this video is a favorite! I like it myself! Here’s a little confession to make! I was Nick Rhodes for Halloween one year and, as a redhead, this look seemed to be the easiest to emulate. As I went door-to-door asking for candy, I was annoyed that no one knew who the heck I was! When I explained to people, they all kept commenting about how I was a girl, dressing as a boy who was wearing makeup like a girl!
While Nick has obviously shown his talent on Duran songs, he has made his mark producing other work, including Kajagoogoo in 1983. I was always amused that their song, Too Shy, went number one before any Duran song!
In my opinion, Nick’s talent and vision really took the spotlight when he was working on Arcadia. Interestingly enough, this look was only around during this era of 1985. I wonder if Arcadia would do another project, would Nick’s look change back to this?!
Breath After Breath is an underrated song from the Wedding Album, in my opinion. I absolutely adore this video and love the image of Nick typing on a typewriter!!!
While this era isn’t exactly my favorite, I still enjoy this clip. It shows Nick’s personality and sense of humor as well as his obsession with cameras and pictures!
Of course, Nick’s influence is felt in everything Duran does, but nothing shows this more than Girl Panic. He was directly involved in the lyrics and the video concept! On top of that, I absolutely adore his interview of “himself”!
On that note, I wish Mr. Rhodes a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I, for one, can’t wait to see what he will do next!!!
Since today is blessedly Thursday and it’s my last blog of the week, an early Happy Birthday is in order to Mr. Nicholas. I hear that 50 is “The Big One”, although the 8.0+ earthquake that is way overdue to hit Southern California is also given that delightful moniker. Coincidence?? I could say that age is but a number and countless other platitudes, but the honest truth is that when I think about what the age of 50 must look like, it is definitely not Nick Rhodes’ face that comes to mind. I have a very difficult time believing that any one of that band could possibly be 50 yet. It’s very similar to what comes to mind when my oldest comes to me and asks to borrow my shoes. I still see her as the precocious 3 year old in pigtails that wants to borrow a pair of my shoes and stumble around the house. Time goes by so fast, and while I know the band stays firmly in the present – I still think of them as the twenty-somethings I admired from afar, or at least the boys I admired on my bedroom walls.
I’ve always used the birthday blogs as a way to honor the birthday boy in question, write a bit of a love-note, and a way to weave my own personal experiences into the blog. The funny thing is, my personal experiences are somewhat at a low when it comes to Nick. What I can tell you though, is that I’ve never once heard a single fan ever have a bad experience meeting Nick. I know that he has caught the eyes of many a fan at a concert and smiled – and let me just gush and say that no band member has a smile like Nick. When he smiles (which in my opinion is not nearly enough!), his entire face lights up and you feel like the smile is truly meant just for you. Nick has a gift for words and making the tiniest of moments mean something special. He may not ever be the band member we find on Twitter or Facebook, but his genuine nature comes through loud and clear in his short video clips or notes on the band webpage. I have friends who have had the opportunity to meet Nick several times (Faby I am talking to you!), and I adore seeing those photos. There is a love that flows from Nick to the fans that is returned many million times over, and it really does come through with every photo I see.
I too, have believed that I caught Nick’s eye and a grin at a show or two when I was in the UK – and it’s those tiny little moments that make the shows come to mean more than just a concert. It’s remembering how shocked I was to hear the opening notes of Secret Oktober in Brighton, only to look up after squealing in delight with Amanda to see Nick with an ear-to-ear grin. It’s thinking about how I finally made it to the rail at the very end of the show to hear them play Rio at the same show, and have Nick stand and take photos right in front of us. It was that last show in Glasgow when I could swear he smiled right at me and waved as he left the stage. I’ve decided to claim those seconds as being mine, even though they were probably meant for dozens, if not hundreds of other people as well. We can all claim them, and chances are, none of us are wrong.
Nick Rhodes has been a part of my life for many years now. It’s a slightly dizzying thought when I count the years his music has been spinning on my record player, in my CD player…or just playing as an MP3 file on any one of several iProducts I’ve owned. He’s a welcome image in my head and heart and I wish him a very happy birthday…..even though I still can’t wrap my head around half of why he likes Second Life.
Happy Birthday Nick!!
Apparently though, there aren’t a lot of people who buy more tickets to more than one show, or at least one city, that have presales on the same day, because if there are – I certainly am not hearing the outcries of injustice. For what I think is either the second or third time now, Amanda and I are facing this issue next week. Presales for both the Atlanta and Portsmouth shows begin next Wednesday at 9am *my* time. (That would be noon for you east coasters out there) Sure, one of us could buy tickets to one show and one could do the other. Definitely and if we were both members, that would be fine. So, that’s one reason to stay a DDM member, and I accept that responsibility. I’m not really complaining about that because it was my choice to end my membership and I accept those consequences.
I do still have a point coming here though, so read on. What about the folks who are DDM members and want tickets to more than one show that have presales happening at the same time? For example, let’s pretend that Amanda is going to these shows alone. She wants to buy a ticket to both Atlanta and Portsmouth. She wants good seats, and to her, good seats mean near the front. I recognize “good” means different things to different people and that there are some amongst you that want the best sound possible. It’s not necessary for you to see up Simon LeBon’s nose in order to have a great show experience, and hey – that’s cool by me. In this case though, Amanda wants near or at the front – although I’m pretty sure it’s not up Simon’s nose she wants to see. (No offense to Simon of course) Due to the fact both shows go on sale at the same time, and to the best of our knowledge at this moment there is no way to put a seat in her shopping basket for one show, then go and get another seat for a different show and add that to her basket and then checkout – she’s got to do two separate transactions. That takes valuable time. This happened to us last year in fact and it made a ginormous difference in where our seats were located. The first show had great seats, the second show we ended up with seats about 30 rows back and I ended up selling them. That’s right, I sold them. The fact is, the system is stupid. Artist Arena isn’t a tiny business ran by yet another hamster in a dark basement in the worst part of Gotham. It’s a company that does ticketing for more than one band out there, yet the antiquated ticketing engine is enough to make me slam my head into the wall repeatedly, hoping for a good blackout as a source of relief from the madness.
To put it simply: if one is going to create a ticketing agency so that bands can offer tickets “directly” to their fans…one should probably invest in a proper shopping cart engine so that multiple shows can be purchased in one transaction. Furthermore, if such an engine is already truly in place, one should make certain that the fans they are taking money from are well-aware of how to properly utilize said shopping cart…or else space each and every presale apart so that this problem simply cannot happen. I daresay that Artist Arena is not only “open for business” during the hours of noon to 3pm EDT, so it is reasonable to assume that presales could be spaced out appropriately. Again, this comes down to simple, proper customer service. You’ve got several thousand fans willing and ready to plop down decent sums of money to see more than one show. Why not make sure those fans are properly taken care of? Service=Loyalty=Sales.
In fairness, since writing this blog I’ve learned that there is now an option in the Artist Arena shopping cart to “add more”. I don’t know if this option has always been there (I know that we never saw it when we were getting tickets, but that doesn’t we couldn’t have missed it while in our seconds of “presale anxiety”.), but that doesn’t stop us from wanting to set the record straight. Our blog isn’t about having an ax to grind, and the last thing I want to do is create more trouble in the world with my words. While I still feel that it would far easier for presales to be spaced out, having the ability to buy tickets for more than one show at a time is a step in the right direction.
I myself haven’t yet tried the “add more” function – but I’ve been told that it sometimes does not work correctly. I suppose that I’ll find out for myself next week! I hope this helps other gluttonous fans out there like myself that need tickets for more than one show at a time!
This does not mean paying for a VIP ticket, sitting in the first 5 rows and getting some merchandise that may or may not have the letters VIP stuck on it somewhere. Exclusivity mean paying a fair amount of money for a private show in your living room for you and twenty of your closest buddies (Daily Duranie should be on that short list, yes?), or perhaps paying for a special signed version of a CD or vinyl. Does this have appeal to fans?
I can hear some of you already, “If I had that kind of money, yes, I’d pay!” or perhaps a few of you are saying “They’d NEVER play in my living room.” I’d agree on both counts, but that’s not really my question or my point here. It’s my understanding that VIP tickets were first devised as a way to offer some exclusive experiences to those who, to be blunt, are willing and able to pay for such things. Obviously not every fan is in the same place financially, and while yes – this does tend to become a case of the haves or have nots, it’s interesting to see that so many musician blogs out there suggest such a thing on a regular basis.
The theory is based at least in part that while it takes a lot of hard work to earn millions of loyal fans, if a band is able to concentrate on a smaller but very loyal base (with some deep pockets, apparently), they can still be just as lucrative. For example: if a band had just 20 fans that were willing to pay $5,000 to have the band play in their living rooms – the argument is that they’d end up with more in the bank than a band with 90,000 casual fans who pay $1.00 to download a song. Not only would the band likely end up with more cash on hand, but they’d likely end up with more casual fans willing to spend a dollar to download a song just because they would be able to promote those very small intimate-setting shows. Before you send me mail, keep in mind that this is not MY theory or MY assertions and I don’t know if I agree or disagree at this point – I’m just explaining the idea.
I have little doubt that this sort of thing could work for bands just starting out. Amanda Palmer, a singer who is no-slouch to the social networking arena, had a Kickstarter campaign (fans agree to donate money to the singer in return for certain perks based on the amount donated – this concept is called crowdfunding) that earned her over $1 million before the campaign ended. Out of all that donated, over 35 people chose to donate $5,000 each. In exchange, Amanda will play private shows for each one of them in their living rooms. Normally tickets to her shows hit the $20.00 mark. So exclusivity seems to sell, at least for some.
I wonder though, would the same really work for Duran Duran? On the same token, would they want to even bother? In one sense, when I read about selling exclusivity as though it were a service I think of the words “Working Smart”, because rather than casting a very wide net, the effort is far more focused. In another sense, I don’t know that Duran Duran has enough fans that could afford the price tag that the band would want to put on that exclusivity, nor do I know if the band would ever wish to promote themselves in such a manner. On one hand, this IS the band that spent a good part of the 80’s promoting themselves as having everything that the rest of us might want: the jet set lifestyle, champagne, yachts, excess in any way possible, and for a good many people – they wanted that fantasy life. On the other, this is not 1985 and the band doesn’t necessarily have the same “untouchable” vibe that they once had. It’s not quite the same fantasy in the same sense. At one time the band offered very exclusive and pricey travel packages to a few of their shows. Only one show in Chicago offered a true party (for lack of a better term) with the band. Fans were sat at tables, and each band member came around to each table to sit and chat with fans. It was the meet and greet that any fan would have dreamed for, complete with a price tag that gave many fans nightmares. Did this experience of exclusivity work for the band? Hard to say, but it’s worth noting that they’ve not offered such a complete experience since.
I just don’t know…would you pay the price to have them play in your living room???
Ultimately, as much as I like plenty of the ideas that come out of the Direct-To-Fan marketing methodology, I have to question if it could be as applicable (and successful) with bands who have been around for so long. The playing field doesn’t seem to be the same, although some of the problems are shared by all.
Although, my living room could easily accommodate the band….