Category Archives: festivals

KAABOO Del Mar and You!

Today has been an interesting one in my neck of the woods. I’m sorry this is posting so late. What began as a homeschool day for me ended up being one where I had to call my husband for a rescue because I’d popped a tire on my car while attempting to pick my dog up from the groomer. Then a serious family issue came up….and here I am at 5:45 pm my time, attempting to whip up a blog in a single bound.

There’s an all night party

The line-up for KAABOO Del Mar (That’s a teeny bit north of San Diego) was announced today, which takes place September 13-15, 2019. Interestingly enough, a band you and I know and love is on the schedule. That’s right, Duran Duran is playing, and now we all get to decide if we’re headed to Del Mar in September!

One question I saw many times today, and even uttered to myself at one point was, “Why do they insist on playing festivals?”

There’s a hole in the wall next to you

As I said, I’ve asked myself this a few times. I think the answer(s) are simple: Money and exposure.

To begin with, a festival is “easy” because the band shows up with their gear. The festival organizers have already paid for the venue, the infrastructure, and the personnel on their end. The band (and I’m oversimplifying this every which way because this is a blog, not a dissertation) shows up and plays, and assumably they get paid (and I hope they get paid well) This is also a good reason for doing corporate gigs, as much as some fans despise the idea.

The bodies move like flies on a wall

On the other hand, festivals are kind of a “newish” thing in the Duran Duran arsenal of tricks. This is a band who likes to control their production, right down to the length of time they take the stage. I would imagine that festivals are pretty much the opposite. It has forced them to give up a little bit of that control in favor of learning how to play “on the fly”, with whatever circumstances are being thrown their way, if even just by the smallest bit.

As such, festivals are a new way for the band to reach people who might not normally attend their shows. It is probably a great way for the band to test unsafe waters. I mean, after all – I think fans are for the most part, a friendly crowd. If a song doesn’t play that well, perhaps we are more likely to forgive than a crowd of tens of thousands?? I would imagine the focus has to be 100%, and that takes honing the craft.

You want to run, but there’s no space at all

Festivals are likely a great way for the band to remain tuned-in and practiced. While I am sure there are fans saying “But why not just play in front of us?” I think the answer is simply that NOT playing in front of a friendly crowd is a great way to train. Sure, we can be hard on them. But we’re also very biased. A crowd that wouldn’t find themselves at a Duran Duran show is one that has to be won over, song by song.

I still hate festivals. This hasn’t changed since Voodoo or even Coachella, and it probably won’t change now. As alarming as it is to me – I’ve somehow gotten even OLDER since that time they played in the desert!! That doesn’t bode well for standing all-day sandwiched tightly within a potentially unruly, decades younger crowd, fueled by healthy (and unhealthy) doses of alcohol and other substances. I admire those than are not just willing, but ready to do it. I’ll wait until the kinder, gentler venues come along.

They’re madly searching for the door in your room

Now if I could only answer the more hotly debated topic of why the band continues to play more US shows. I tried answering this once, barely made it out alive, and have since chosen to leave it to the experts. It isn’t so much about finding a reason, as it is about finding one that many will accept. I’ll leave it for others to wrangle.

-R


Duran Duran at iHeart Music Festival

Raise your hands!  Who was up late last night anxiously waiting for our favorite band to appear on stage at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas as part of the iHeart Music Festival, which, thankfully, was streamed online?!  I was, along with my partner-in-crime, despite or, maybe, because of my better judgment.  I wasn’t feeling all that great and had been up since 4:30 in the morning.  Yet, I figured that it would be a chance to practice for tour and a fun way to spend a Friday night as we hung out online, chatting with other fans through it all!  Oh, yes, we certainly needed to vent, to whine, to complain, to laugh, to talk about many, many of the artists appearing before Duran Duran.  (Seriously, people, can someone please explain Lil Wayne and his appeal?!  I’m not removed from youth culture as I teach in an urban high school but I still don’t get it.  To say that he is a misogynist would be an understatement!)  After what seemed like decades, at times, Duran Duran finally appeared.  If you missed the performance, YouTube can provide:

Want to know what I thought about this performance?!  I assume you do because you are here and still reading!

The Crowd

I truly do feel like crowds/audiences matter.  I have seen shows in which the crowd give Duran Duran a boost as if the audience was sending energy directly to the band.  I have also seen shows in which the crowd lacks excitement, bringing Duran down or making it REALLY hard for them to keep up their enthusiasm.  Then, there are shows like this.  The Killers played right before Duran and I watched in shock at how much they had to really push to get the audience involved and excited for even some of their biggest, most well-known songs like Mr. Brightside.  The audience wasn’t having it.  Was the crowd there to just see Kanye or to see Lil Wayne?  Clearly, if the Killers weren’t their thing, it was going to be super tough for Duran.  People were obviously sitting.  Even when the camera scanned for someone excited, someone who might know the lyrics, it seemed to be a struggle to find any sort of fan or positive energy heading Duran’s way.  It was upsetting for me to watch as I could tell that they were giving it their all.  I wonder how many Duranies actually attended this festival.  I don’t really know anyone who did and I have to wonder if that would have made a difference.

Setlist

Duran kept to a hits based setlist, much like the Killers did, frankly.  Duran played Wild Boys, Hungry Like the Wolf, Pressure Off, Ordinary World and Rio.  I think it is pretty standard for bands/artists to play big hits when playing a festival.  After all, the crowd is not filled with just Duranies, but with people who might not know Duran or might not know them well.  Therefore, it is safe to play the hits as maybe some people will recognize them, remember how good they are, seek out albums, etc.  Yet, I don’t think that works as well for a festival like this one.  It seemed to me that most of the audience was young–far too young to know any of those hits, including the most recent, Ordinary World.  So, if they don’t know the hits anyway, would Duran have been better to showcase more of their new stuff?  After all, we know it has a very modern sound to it.  Could they have won the audience over somewhat with new songs?  Maybe.  I just know that by the time Pressure Off was played, most of the audience had stopped paying attention, which is really sad because it is very clear that Duran is loving that song and love playing it live.

Simon

By the end of the night, most of the discussion on Twitter began to focus on Simon and concern people have.  He seemed to really strain himself during Ordinary World and people commented about how that seemed to be the case during the Today Show mini-concert, too.  I have heard from other fans that they assume he isn’t feeling well as he was blowing his nose a lot during the show at Terminal 5 (Look for a guest blog on that show soon!).  I obviously don’t know if he is fighting some sort of bug or what, but I do know that I saw a lot of concerned fans last night who are only focused on Simon’s health and well-being.

Positives

So far my commentary has focused on some of the less than thrilling thoughts I have regarding last night’s performance but I don’t want to leave you all with the impression that nothing was good about last night.  On the contrary, there was plenty right with last night.  First, it was a heck of a lot of fun to virtually hang with other fans while watching and I was pleased to see so many fans join us despite the lateness of the hour.  Second, it is ALWAYS good to see a performance of Duran’s.  All it takes is one or two moments to remember why you love them so.  For example, seeing John, Simon and Dom in a row on stage rocking out to Wild Boys always gives me goosebumps.  Seeing the playful exchange between Anna and Simon during Pressure Off only increases my excitement in seeing that one live.  EVERY.  SINGLE.  MOMENT. of JoSi (John and Simon) or DoJo (Dom and John) reminds me.  Speaking of DoJo, was it my imagination or were there tons of DoJo moments?!  It felt like practically every song featured a moment or two!  As Rhonda and I were pointing out last night, those DoJo moments at the Bowl will be “sweet torture”.  We cannot wait!!!  Beyond all of that, the fangirl in me is forced to admit that they also looked pretty dang good last night!!  I might have squeed a time or two when the camera moved to that bass player guy.

Enough about what I thought!  What about the rest of you?  What did you think of their performance?  The crowd?  Anyone actually there in attendance?  If so, I would love to hear your perspective!  All I do know is that it is going to be a long 10 days before I leave for tour!

-A

Daily Duranie Special Report: F.O.L.D. Festival

We know it’s been a couple of weeks since the F.O.L.D festival, but we don’t think anyone is going to mind revisiting the show in anticipation of upcoming tour dates! Thanks to our special correspondents “on the scene”, we’re able to bring readers a taste of these amazing shows!  -R

 

By Michelle Duran (Daily Duranie Contributor)

I hate festivals. I hate shortened set lists, I hate being surrounded by fans of other bands who only know ‘Hungry Like a Wolf’ (grrr!!!), I hate sitting through sets of artists I don’t like, and I absolutely hate port-a-potties. This isn’t just my mantra but that of many other Duran Duran fans I know.  Add to it the horrific New York – Long Island summer commuter traffic and why would any of us want to go to the Martha Clara Vineyard in Riverhead, Long Island for the two day F.O.L.D. (Freak Out Let’s Dance) Festival?

For starters, this wasn’t just any music festival. Organized by Duran Duran’s self- proclaimed big brother, and musical genius extraordinaire, Nile Rodgers, he promised it would be something special and it most certainly was. This was THE ONE, Duranies, the one that made the lack of indoor plumbing and the possibility of traffic congestion all worthwhile.

My friends and I opted for general admission tickets for Day 2, the day the band was to play. Parking lots were to open at 4 pm and the venue at 5 pm with the show beginning at 6 pm. Due to the winery being in a residential area, there was an 11 pm curfew, meaning that the concert would be no more than five hours. I’ve endured twelve plus hour music festivals in the blazing summer sun before so five hours in the evening at a winery sounded pretty good. While we were enroute to the winery, a friend messaged us that the lots opened early. What followed was a series of sharp corners and possibly illegal U-turns when I drove past the entrance for the parking lots not once, but three times. Finally, we made it, parked our car and were ready to queue. There were about twenty people in front of us, including several Duranies. The line was sheltered by tall shrubs along the vineyard, so not only was it a beautiful place to wait but it was also shaded and relatively comfortable. The festival staff, dressed in black shirts and shorts, presided everywhere. All were polite and professional. The stage was only about fifty feet from the entrance and we arrived to hear the incomparable Chaka Khan warming up, which was amazing.  After she finished, we were treated to something even better- Duran Duran’s sound check.  Thanks to Twitter posts by the band, we confirmed what our ears already knew,  Janelle Monae and Nile were with them running through Pressure Off several times. In addition, we heard snippets of Notorious, and Wild Boys. Try as we might, we couldn’t see the stage from where we were standing. However, we heard a crowd cheering and found out that VIP ticketholders were allowed in front of the stage to watch the sound-check. In true Duran fashion, the sound-check ran late and they were still on stage when the gates were supposed to open at 5 pm. By this time the line snaked down quite a distance. The only complaints I heard were from a few older fans of some of the other acts. The rest of us know Durantime is always in effect and took it in stride.  At 5:15, some of the staff came through the queue to apologize and hand out free bottles of water to those waiting, which was a nice touch.

Gates finally opened a few minutes later and we were in. Thanks to a tip from a friendly photographer (heyjoe.nyc) we’d met at breakfast, we knew the right side of the stage was only for VIP.  My friends and I bee-lined for the left side of the stage and found spots directly in front of where John would be, with only the photo pit separating us from the stage. The crowd itself was a mix of older fans of Nile, Chaka Khan, and the other “old school” performers; Duranies; music loving locals from the area; and a few younger fans there for the EDM (Electronic Dance Music) acts. Due to the selection of performers, I think the crowd was older than the usual age at a music festival of this nature.

After a few minutes, the music started with international celebrity DJ, Greg Cerrone, who fit F.O.L.D. Festival between gigs in St. Barth’s and Saint Tropez. The crowd was fairly small at this point, fewer than one thousand, but his enthusiastic attitude never waned.  I have to admit, EDM is not my thing. I may think I’m still twenty five but EDM proves I’m not. The heavy electronic bass pounding through my body and trying to take control of my heart isn’t something I enjoy, especially when I’m right in front of the speakers. However, there were plenty of people in the crowd enjoying the show as a slew of DJ acts such as Slander, Lea Luna, and Ultra Naté all took turns on the main stage. Later, drag queen Ginger Minj, best known from RuPaul’s Drag Race, performed; interacting with the crowd in a set that was a mixture of standup comedy and singing.

Finally, the EDM portion of the evening ended and Old School arrived as Grandmaster Melle Mel accompanied by DJ Prince Paul took over.  For the next thirty minutes, we were all raising our hands in the air and waving them like we just didn’t care- Oh yeah!  Melle Mel reminded us all of where Hip Hop and Rap began, performing the Grandmaster Flash and Furious Five version of White Lines, The Message and then leading the audience in a medley of some of the best known Old School rap.  Once his set finished, the DJ table was removed and it was time to move to the next portion of the evening.

While the stage was readied for Nile Rodgers and Chic, a youth dance troupe from Oakland, California, Destiny Arts, entertained the crowd with a high energy hip hop performance. This non-profit group combats inner city violence through programs in dance and martial arts.  Nile personally introduced them. In fact, throughout the night, Nile had been on stage, cheering on the various performers and even taking pictures. F.O.L.D. Festival was definitely a well-recorded event.  In addition to a cadre of professional photographers and videographers, a drone hovered above the crowd and a 360 degree camera captured every moment from every angle. In addition to heyjoe.nyc, also check out Jennifer Sheppard’s blog here.

Shortly before 8 pm, Nile Rodgers and Chic, currently comprised of singers Folami, Kim Davis, and musicians Ralph Rolle on drums, Jerry Barnes on bass, Bill Holloman on sax, Don Harris on trumpet, and Russell Graham and Richard Hilton on keyboards, began their set. Like many fans of Duran Duran, I consider Nile to be an icon.  Aside from the actual members of Duran, there is no one else more responsible for their sound, first as an influence when they were teens in Birmingham listening to Chic, then later as a mentor, producer and co-writer on everything from The Reflex, Wild Boys, Notorious, Astronaut and right up to their new single, Pressure Off. Nile had injured his knee the previous night so he apologized for not being able to dance around the stage and for wearing a tee and jeans with his signature beret, instead of his customary suit. Regardless, getting to finally see Nile Rodgers playing his signature Stratocaster, the Hitmaker, live with Chic was incredible. Tight doesn’t even begin to describe them- their sound, their look, their moves are all well practiced and well executed.  Everyone is in black and white with the singers, Folami and Kim Davis in matching print jumpsuits that recall the glamour of disco fashions.  Launching into Dance, Dance, Dance, the band wowed the crowd as they played hit after hit, not only from Chic but other songs Nile has written such as Diana Ross’s I’m Coming Out and Upside Down and Daft Punk’s Get Lucky. Nile teased us you’re all about to go crazy as he began playing Let’s Dance, which he wrote for one of Duran Duran’s other major influences, David Bowie.

Nile next introduced Janelle Monae, referring to her as his little sister while praising her talent and hard work.  If you’re not familiar with Monae, watch a few videos of her live performances and you’ll understand why she has earned such high acclaim from Nile Rodgers.  Also dressed in black and white, the diminutive Monae, who will be thirty this year, could easily pass for someone half her age.  However, she’s a powerful, dynamic performer, singing and dancing with intensity and skill. Performing with Chic as her backing band, along with her own charismatic guitarist, Kellindo Parker, Janelle Monae gave her all as she ran through her 4 song set, which included Q.U.E.E.N, Electric Lady, a cover of  James Brown’s I Feel Good, complete with the requisite cape, and finished with Tightrope.

As with Janelle Monae, Chaka Khan used Chic as her backing band and supplemented with her own guitarist.  Dressed all in black, she looked ageless with her trademark hair and beautiful smile as she sang four songs: I Feel for You, Sweetest Thing, I’m Every Woman, and Ain’t Nobody.  Unfortunately, Melle Mel had to leave right after his set so he wasn’t there to perform his “Let me love you Chaka Khan” rap during I Feel for You. Duran fans were also well aware that this meant he wouldn’t be there for a possible guest appearance with Duran Duran during White Lines.

After Chaka Khan finished her set, the Destiny Arts dancers and a number of family and friends joined the band on stage. After a moving speech by Nile about his aggressive cancer diagnosis and ultimate recovery, Chic played a rousing finale of Good Times. Nile even rapped part of the Sugar Hill Gang’s Rappers’ Delight, which famously sampled Good Times, bringing it all full circle and again emphasizing Nile’s influence on artists across many genres of music.  Throughout the night, you could really sense the camaraderie not only between Nile Rodgers and the other performers but the crew and staff as well.  Everyone working the show seemed truly happy to be there.

Once Good Times finished, the stage cleared and the DJ table was brought back for Chuck D. from Public Enemy.  Chuck D was originally scheduled to perform on the first night but couldn’t make it due to scheduling conflicts.  He began his set by telling us we had “twenty nine minutes to Duran Duran.”   With Nile again staying on stage and lending his support, Chuck D, backed by another Public Enemy founding member, DJ Keith Shocklee, led the crowd through some of the rap group’s biggest hits including Fight the Power as well as songs from their just released album, Man Plans God Laughs.  Chuck D rapped almost non-stop during his set, only stopping to tell the crowd how many more minutes to Duran Duran or to express his respect and admiration for Nile. As promised, he finished his set in just under thirty minutes and it was time for Duran Duran to perform.

Nile once again introduced the band, recalling how they met back in the early 80’s, and their long association with each other. Simon called the introduction the best they’d ever had before launching into an energetic performance of Wild Boys. The band looked and sounded fantastic. Simon, looking slim in white jeans and a black and white leather jacket, launched right into A View to a Kill as Nile Rodgers stood on the side of the stage clearly enjoying the set as the crowd, now at an estimated twenty-five hundred, sang along.

The next song on the roster was Girl Panic, which cause a minor panic of its own because up until this point, we had expected nothing more than the same five song set as all the other performers had given, especially with the time constraint of an 11 pm curfew. Therefore, we expected the Nile songs- Wild Boys, AVTAK, Notorious, Pressure Off, and The Reflex.  Girl Panic was quickly followed by All You Need Is Now and then Come Undone. We were getting a full set. F.O.L.D. Festival was suddenly even a better decision.

Following the AYNIN selections, the band rolled out three fan favorites, Is There Something I Should Know and The Chauffeur and Ordinary World.  It’s been exactly three years since the AYNIN tour ended abruptly with Nick’s illness in August, 2012 so it was fantastic to once again hear these live. The crowd, which wasn’t as familiar with the newer songs, was also thrilled to be back in familiar territory.

After OW, Nile walked back onto center stage as Simon announced “There’s one reason-one really big reason why we’re standing in front of you guys tonight…. And his name is Nile Rodgers.” Simon went on to describe the band’s reaction when they first heard The Original Sin by INXS, which was also produced by Nile Rodgers. They sent The Reflex to Nile and we know the rest. Simon finished by telling Nile “I love you, you are my brother” and hugged him, while every Duranie in the house raced to capture this Kodak moment.  They then launched into the song Simon describes as the complete “intertwangling of Nile Rodgers and Duran Duran”:  Notorious.  Nile went right over to JT and fans were treated to Nile and John playing together as Simon led the crowd.

Simon reintroduced Janelle Monae, describing her as a firecracker, as she returned to the stage and it was time for the premiere of Pressure Off.  The chemistry between them was fantastic.  Janelle’s high energy invigorated everyone and even Nile’s injured knee couldn’t stop him from dancing along as they played.

After once again thanking Nile and Janelle, the band continued playing, pushing well past the curfew as they played set list staples Planet Earth, HLTW, and Sunrise.  Finally, they said good night but were soon back on stage for their signature closing song, Rio.  Hearing it is always bittersweet since we know this is really the end.  The band thanked the crowd and the first F.O.L.D. Festival was officially in the history books.   Interestingly, the song many most associate with the relationship between Nile and Duran Duran, The Reflex, wasn’t on the set list.   I thought this was an odd decision since the song has so much history.  Also, the band once again didn’t play GOF and there were no band intros.  They skipped the intro again the next night at Musikfest and I’m told it was also skipped at the Capitol Theater shows.   It’s hard to imagine that they won’t add the intros back in for the main Paper Gods tour when it begins unless they’re looking to purposefully change their show ending.

Overall it was fantastic to finally be back in my favorite place on Planet Earth, front row at a Duran Duran concert.  My expectations for F.O.L.D. Festival were more than exceeded.  Nile Rodgers has already committed to bringing the festival back to Riverhead next year as a three day long weekend event, promising to bring back many of the acts that performed this time and grow the festival so that it’s one of the premiere destination events like Coachella.   Only time will tell, but if anyone can do it, it’s Nile Rodgers.

Set list:

Wild Boys
A View To A Kill
Girl Panic
All You Need Is Now
Come Undone
Is There Something I Should Know?
The Chauffeur
Ordinary World
Notorious
Pressure Off
Planet Earth
Hungry Like The Wolf
Reach Up For The Sunrise


Encore:
Rio

FOLD Festival, Fine Print and Alerts

I am sure by now many/most/all of you are aware that Duran Duran announced another festival appearance for the summer of 2015.  They will be playing at the FOLD (FreakOutLet’sDance Festival in Riverhead, New York on August 4th and 5th.  According to DuranDuranMusic’s Tour page, Duran is playing on the 5th.  What is most significant about this festival is that it is Nile Rodger’s festival!  Thus, attendees will be lucky enough to not only see Duran Duran perform but also the legendary Nile/Chic!  If you are interested in details here are some links to check out:

Event Page on Facebook

Long Island News Article

Martha Clara Vineyard Events Page

This announcement caused quite a buzz in Duranland!  Many people were just super excited to see another show be added to the tiny list of shows Duran Duran has scheduled for this year.  Others focused on the fact that it is Nile’s festival and that there is a chance to see Nile perform with Duran or vice versa.  Many started seemed to be thinking about attending the festival, which is great!  Will  the Daily Duranie be there?  Only in spirit, sadly.  While this festival of ALL the festivals offers the most appeal to us, we still aren’t fans of festivals.  (Please see the 120,000 + posts about why.)  Nile definitely makes it tempting but…it isn’t enough.  If it was tied to something else, then, I would consider it.  That said, I’m super excited for those that go and I know that we would love, love, love a guest blog or two about others experiences!

Of course, the next question that everyone seems to ask is whether or not there will be more shows added.  I wish I knew.  Heck, I wish I had some insider info, but, alas, I just write a blog.  Therefore, like all of you, I am forced to read the fine print and ponder what has been written.  One thing I keep thinking of is this sentence from the email blast that went out on June 2nd:  “NOTE: MORE 2015 DATES ARE COMING!! Please keep an eye on your inbox over the next week or so as you will be the first to get the details!”  There has been one date announced since this email went out.  That date was, indeed, the FOLD Festival.  Therefore, I’m focusing on the word:  “DATES”.  Dates.  As in more than one.  I won’t give up hope of seeing a full Duran Duran set during 2015.  Not yet…anyway.  I also took note of the “next week or so” statement.  A week from the 2nd is the 9th.  That is coming up.  Of course, the “or so” parts means that it can be slightly before or after the 9th, right!?!  I’m nothing if not an optimist.  Perhaps, I’m being a naive optimist.  Time will tell.

This all leads me to an email exchange between yours truly and that other half of Daily Duranie.

R:  “Next week is going to be super busy, which worries me because if there is going to be something we have to jump on and decide quickly…I don’t even know if I’ll have time.  There is zero time for me to buy tickets, coordinate, etc and you’re still at school, so I’m a little nervous.  I may need to call in reinforcements to yell if it’s something we need to know and act upon.”

Clearly, she, too, thinks there might be more show announcements.  Again, a conclusion we reached after discussing and analyzing that one little sentence as part of an email blast.  Are we ridiculous?  Of course.  Then again, you all knew that since we do write a daily blog…

My response to her:

A:  “While I’m, indeed, still in school, it is finals week.  I have kids only until 2 on Monday, then I just have them for an hour and a half on Tuesday and Wednesday.  I’m not really teaching so I’m definitely available all day via text messages.”

I, obviously, tried to offer her reassurances that I’ll be around.  That said, anyone feel like being our reinforcements and sending messages if something gets announced?!  It would make us both feel better!!!  😀

-A

 

Duran Duran, Festivals, and The Fan

There’s no arguing it, Duran Duran is doing a lot of festivals this year. Fans are beginning to talk, and the chat is not always positive. This is likely not a surprise to DDHQ, as no matter what the band does there are always those that are unhappy, but festivals in particular seem to draw a loud dissension among the ranks. Let’s discuss!

Festivals Rock!

First of all, let’s talk about the positives. Despite cries from longtime, diehard Duran fans – there ARE positives to doing festivals, and not all diehard fans dislike festivals. Many fans LOVE them, so I applaud them even as I question their sanity. Playing festivals allows bands to reach a large cross-population of people. When you’re playing a festival that features sixty bands, for example – the reach is wide. The Killarney Music and Food Festival has everyone from The Proclaimers to Burt Bacharach across six stages. The cross-section of people available to hear the band’s music, most likely new music at that point, is exponentially larger than they could ever hope to gain by doing ten shows in ten different cities. Travel less, reach more possible fans. Sounds like a great way to showcase a new album! It is a numbers game, and in order for Duran Duran to even begin to hope to sell this new album, much less receive any kind of land/internet radio support, getting that music heard by as many NEW people (not diehard fans, mind you) is key.

What About The Diehards?

Let’s talk about that whole “diehard fan” thing for a second in terms of potential sales, and likely or probable sales. Potential sales are that which are possible. These sales haven’t been made yet, but they might under the right circumstances. The majority of people who attend a festival? Potential sales. The band has to sell them on their music, but it’s possible. Then there’s the other side – probable sales. These are sales that will likely happen. They’ve already been figured into the initial “bet” that the band or management is making upon agreeing to investing in this album to begin with. Guess which column diehard fans are in? (Sure, go ahead and mock me by say out loud that the band has to sell you on this new music – I’ll just remind many of you of the times fans have said on this very blog, “I don’t care how long I have to wait for this new album!!” or how many fans  have told me personally that “It doesn’t matter WHAT Simon LeBon sounds like – I love them no matter what!”) Yes, chances are, we’ll all buy the album even if we decide we don’t like it later. Why? We’re diehard fans. We’re already SOLD.  The trouble here is that while we might feel like there are a lot of us when it comes to getting front row tickets or getting face time in front of the band member of choice, when it comes to dollars and cents – there’s not that many of us. The band has to reach MUCH wider.  What is the most economical way to do that?  Festivals, and more than a few of them.  Hence, the Duran Duran Summer of Festivals 2015. If you like festivals and are able to hang out in various parts of Europe all summer, you’re lucky. If you’re like the rest of us, you’re not. Welcome! We have cookies!! (And vodka if you’re into that sort of thing!)

Festivals Suck!

Granted, there are downsides to festivals, and most of those, I don’t even really have to work that hard to name. The crowds, the distance (it is a long swim from the US to Ireland, The Netherlands or Spain), the fact that not many of us are really THAT young, and we would much rather be treated to “special” shows under unique circumstances than as cattle, the potential weather issues, standing all day, mosh pits, the lack of leaving your spot to find sustenance and/or restrooms, the crowds…being kicked in the face by crowd surfers (personal experience, sorry!)….and the fact that damn it, we’ve put our time in…can’t we have some regular shows in normal venues where we don’t feel like we have to fight a war before the band comes on stage?!?

Festivals = A Necessary Evil??

Here’s the thing: I’m not sure that these festivals are really FOR diehard fans. Granted, if you want to go, no one is going to want to stop you, although a lot of us might really wonder how desperate is desperate enough to go to a festival (well, maybe that’s just me, and believe me – I’m getting pretty desperate myself!), but I’m just wondering if the real purpose for these festivals is not so diehard fans who are already about 95% likely to buy the full-album in one form or another show up; but instead so that people who are a whole lot less likely to even consider buying a Duran Duran album get exposed to new music, and for a lot cheaper than the band schlepping across the planet a couple of times over the course of the next couple of years. Perhaps our time for real shows where the band concentrates on playing for real fans will come a little later, after the album has already been out, people have heard it, and will then invest in coming to see them in concert…or like many of us, try to do as many shows as possible without losing our jobs!!

So, We Wait

All of that said, rest assured as we each hear of additional festivals in far away places being announced, just a little more anticipation is trickled into the pool forming in the pits of our stomachs. Deep sighs commence as we read of the fun taking place elsewhere, knowing that for most of us, the chances of attending are practically zero. We hope for more plausible opportunities ahead, but are excited that at least somewhere in Europe, there are Duran Duran fans excitedly purchasing festival tickets. And there is always the hope that tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, and so on, we have the chance to be among the lucky few.

Until then, we wait. We’ve been waiting since 2012 for a real tour to be announced, surely we’ve gotten good at waiting by now, right??

(No…no we have not.)

-R

Bestival 2015 with Duran Duran!

Bestival-line-up

Just announced today, Duran Duran will be performing at Bestival 2015 on the Isle of Wight in the UK.  Performing alongside The Chemical Brothers, The Underworld and many others,  Bestival 2015 takes place September 10-13 2015. As seems to be typical, tickets go on sale – yep, you guessed it – today!  (I don’t think the short notice is fault of DDHQ but instead on the shoulders of Bestival 2015 organizers and promoters – meaning, it’s by design.)

Those who surmised that the band would likely play some scattered festival dates this summer in the EU/UK seem to be on the right track!  Daily Duranie guesses that by this point, if not by summer – new music from #DD14 should likely be featured in the set list! It is wonderful to see new shows being announced, with what I am sure will be plenty more announcements to come.

-R

Today in Duran History – Summer Sonic Festival

On today’s date in 2005, Duran Duran played the Summer Sonic Festival in Osaka, Japan. 

I found the set list, thanks to duranduran.com:

SUNRISE 
HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF 
PLANET EARTH 
SOUND OF THUNDER 
UNION OF THE SNAKE 
CHAINS 
THE REFLEX 
ORDINARY WORLD 
SAVE A PRAYER 
SAVE A PRAYER 
NOTORIOUS 
NICE 
CARELESS MEMORIES 
THE WILD BOYS 
RIO

 

Today in Duran History – Montreux Pop Festival

On this date in 1985, Duran Duran played at the Montreux Pop Festival in  Switzerland.  This festival was part of a larger jazz festival, which is probably the best known festival in Switzerland and a big one for all of Europe.

I found a performance of them doing Wild Boys, which you can see here:

I have to wonder how things were for this performance since we now know that life in Duran Duran wasn’t all that happy for them at that time.  What do you think of their performance?  Do you see any unhappiness?  Any tension?

-A

Let It Shine–2011 Highlights

Last Sunday, I talked about the documentary featured on Duran’s latest DVD release, A Diamond in the Mind.  I questioned why it wasn’t talked about more and then I introduced the main topics of the documentary.  Before I dive into the first of those big topics, I want to explain what I learned after last Sunday’s blog.  The reason that many people aren’t talking about this documentary is because they don’t have it.  Apparently, the iTunes version, for example, did not include extras.  Thus, the only people who have access to it are people who bought actual copies (DVD or Blu-ray).  There was also some confusion between this and the commentary.  Let me do my best to clarify.  The commentary is not included on the actual copy of ADITM.  The commentary was played on the day that ADITM premiered through the Qello application on facebook.  Later, it was made available to download on Eagle Rock.  This was/is the only means I know of obtaining it.  The commentary is much like a movie commentary in which voices talk about the show over the original visuals.  The documentary, on the other hand, is available only on actual copies and features interviews with the band as well as other footage, including behind the scenes shots. 

The first main topic of the documentary is the 2011 highlights, according to the band.  Nick introduced this topic by talking about how the year was so exciting and renewed their music and live show.  Simon then listed many of their highlights, including the release of All You Need Is Now and their participation in some American festivals like South by Southwest and Coachella.  Nick and John later discuss the Unstaged show with David Lynch.  After watching, I wondered if I agreed with their assessments and what my own highlights were.  Let’s take each of those 3 highlights, one at a time. 

The first highlight that the band mentions is the release of All You Need is Now.  I would think that anytime the band releases an album that must be THE highlight of that year since they haven’t released that many albums.  It isn’t like they release an album a year or more than one album a year.  Writing, recording, mixing, and putting out an album must be an incredible amount of work.  I really can’t wrap my head around how much work it must be.  I know how hard it is to write a book.  Maybe I could compare book writing to album making.  Like recording an album, you can’t just sit down and publish a book.  You have to take time to outline the book/chapter, then you have to write it which often takes a great deal of time as serious revisions can happen.  You start thinking the chapter might be one way only to have it go in a completely different direction.  I am sure the same thing happens to songs.  Then, you still have to edit, perfect, add, change, fix everything that is written.  Even after that, there are more details to add.  In our case, for example, we add quotes to separate sections of a chapter.  Perhaps, this is like all of those little sounds, pieces that get added to Duran songs.  Once all of that is done, there is still all the packaging that needs to be figured and what is going to be included, etc.  My point is simple.  Releasing an album is a ton of work and a super big deal.  Of course, the other important detail to this highlight is that the album is FABULOUS.  Frankly, this album should always be a Duran highlight and not just for 2011.  It is a career highlight, in my opinion.  It is filled with quality music that feels like essential Duran.  If anything, I was surprised that they didn’t talk more about the album on this.  Although, maybe they felt like they shouldn’t because the iTunes version was available at the end of 2010. 

The next highlight was American festivals.  They mentioned South by Southwest briefly before spending more time talking about Coachella and the scene there with the sunset that really created a special moment for the band.  I wasn’t surprised that they talked about this one as I know John talks about it in his book.  (Hope that wasn’t too spoilerish!)  I also know that it was a huge crowd and that this festival is a big deal in comparison to many other ones.  It was one of those shows that aired online at the same time they played so that the rest of us, who weren’t there and wouldn’t step foot on a festival’s grounds even if paid, could watch it.  I enjoyed the show.  I did and I thought that the band sounded really tight that night.  Thus, I completely understand why it was a highlight for the band BUT I don’t know that it was a highlight for a lot of us, fans.  Obviously, fans, like me, would have a different set of criteria.  Festivals aren’t for fans.  Yes, some fans attended, including some friends of ours, but they typically don’t get to play a full set and include ONLY greatest hits and a few new ones.  Yes, I realize that appearances in festivals could broaden the fanbase.  I get all that.  Yet, when I think highlights, I think it has to either be something that had a HUGE impact on a large number of fans or majority of fans or really do or say something about the band’s success.  This event didn’t do it.  Frankly, they should have mentioned those rehearsal shows in the UK in the late summer of 2011 in which Simon practiced his voice for the first time since he had vocal problems and in which the band played lots of obscure songs in small venues filled with all fans.  I wasn’t there at any of those shows but I do know that they meant everything to all of us.  It was proof that Simon was going to be okay and that the band would continue.  That meant everything. 

The last big highlight that was mentioned was the Unstaged performance/production with David Lynch.  For this, the band played a live show in Los Angeles while the David Lynch production was streamed online with numerous effects and images shown on top of shots of the band performing.  Again, I wasn’t surprised that the band mentioned this one.  After all, many (most?  all?) of them are fans of David Lynch’s.  It also got a lot of attention.  I think there is something to be said for doing something different or showing something different.  I applaud it for that.  Yet, I know that when I watched it, I found myself either wondering what the heck was now on the screen or why I couldn’t just see the band perform.  In my opinion, it was too much style and not enough substance.  All of those images almost took away from the quality of the band’s performance.  As a Duranie, I don’t mind some additions to a live performance but this felt like it wasn’t a live performance and I was sad by that.  My full review of this could be read here.  As I said there, it was cool, to some extent, but I missed just seeing the band.

If I had to say what the band’s highlights of 2011 were, I think I would have to say the album’s release, the return of Simon with those rehearsal gigs and the UK tour at the end of the year.  I’m not surprised that my highlights for the band didn’t match theirs.  After all, we have different priorities.  My highlights have to impact a lot of us or all of us.  For them, they thought about their personal highlights or thought about those big events that are easy to pick out.  I get that.  I can understand that.  My highlight choices are personal, too.  Did those events I mentioned help the band’s career, though, at the same time?  I actually think they do.  It is a big deal to release an album and an album with super quality.  It is huge to be able to perform again after the fear we all had that Simon would never be able to sing again.  It is so cool to be able to play shows like they played in the UK at the end of the year.  It was the proof that they really are back and are 100%! 

What about the rest of you?  Do you agree with their highlights?  What are your highlights for 2011?

-A

Is it just me??

Out of sheer boredom last night, I was online (my husband is in Japan for the week and my kids were either doing homework or sleeping!) and looked over all of the announced concert dates for the band.  I don’t really know what I was looking for – but I guess that after the dates being either leaked or announced like a drippy faucet, I had the sense that I’d lost track of what they were really doing.

As I looked over the dates, it seemed to me that they have the intention of doing quite a few festivals this tour.  Interestingly enough, as I use the word ‘tour’, I really don’t consider festival dates part of the tour, per se.  When I think of tour dates, I think of dates where you’re going to hear a full-set and Duran Duran would likely be the only band playing (along with an opener, perhaps).  The festival dates are sort of like bonuses….I guess.  I thought back to other tours, and either I didn’t pay very much attention (very possible!), or I’ve grown hypersensitive to festivals being announced because I refuse to attend, but it just seems as though they are trying to do more of them this year.

Naturally, the reasons for doing so are obvious – you get your music heard by an audience that might not do so otherwise, the venues are unique and large, and I would imagine that the overall ‘bang for the buck’ potential for the band is huge.  I am fairly sure that they don’t have to pay much of a venue fee – certainly not anywhere near what they would have to pay in order to play at a venue by themselves – so that’s gotta help them somewhere along the line as well.  I can’t really fault management for pushing them in this direction, for all of the reasons listed above, likely many more that I haven’t even thought of yet.

Of course, I’m also looking at this from the prospective of their everyday fan.  We’ve been told the band is going to do more dates, both in the US and worldwide at a later point in the year.  There are numerous rumors (which in my opinion are no more reliable than educated guesses at this point) as to when they’ll do a full tour here and elsewhere, so we do have some comfort in knowing that at least for now, this is what they are planning.  For many of us, festivals aren’t our idea of the best circumstances under which to see the band.  If you’ve been reading the blog with any kind of regularity – you may have noticed my mentioning a lack of love for festivals.  Maybe.  😉   I’m thrilled the band is going to have the opportunity to get their music and more specifically their new music from this current album heard by thousands of people that probably would ignore it otherwise, don’t get me wrong.  However, the more selfish part of me is saying “Hey, wait a second here – if they’re breaking up their tour with all of these festival dates – is it just a way to cost cut for themselves so that they’re still getting lots of playing time in front of audiences and we real fans end up with less REAL dates in the end unless we’re willing to do festivals?”  Then I slap myself back into submission and all is well again.  🙂   I don’t think I’m alone in my thoughts on this one.

I’m sure many will say that we need to wait until all of the dates are listed before throwing complaints – and I would agree.  I’m merely putting the subject out there for discussion.  Then again, maybe they aren’t really doing as many festivals as it would seem.  Regardless, even if it is to MY detriment as a festival-hating human being, it appears as though the band is doing what they need to be doing to get their music heard.  Over the years, plenty of us have cried out and complained about their lack of promotion, whether that’s the fault of their management or the label that they were with at the time.  Interestingly enough, I never felt that their promotion was so horrible.  They did what they had thought was right – plenty of print media, lots of radio promo where they were able to get in, the talk-show circuit, and even a signing or two. (truthfully though, that was for the fans, and I’m eternally grateful for that!)  I might suggest that perhaps, just maybe, they’ve revamped and reconsidered what it really takes to get music heard these days.  Maybe all of that media is fine and good – but what they really have to do is go to places and play to audiences that wouldn’t have given them the time of day otherwise.  A captive audience so to speak.  Sure, people could look at the lineup and say “Duran Duran?  No way am I staying to hear them.”, just in the same way that I would say that about just about any rap artist out there – and I get that even if I think those people are bonkers.  However, I’ve never looked at a festival lineup and decided not to go to over one single artist playing.  In fact, I’ve gone to a few festivals where there’s only been one artist in the entire lineup that was excited to see – and I’ve come away from them (in most cases) learning of another band that I really like.  That, my friends, is REAL promotion whether it’s what I know and love or not.

So, while I might not be overjoyed by the idea of Duran Duran doing so many festivals and not enough real concert dates as of yet (which I am sure will change), I look forward to hearing that they’ve taken the world by storm once again.  What fan wouldn’t want to see that?  Sure, it’s a long shot at this point – but they’ve got nothing to lose by doing so.  Who wouldn’t want them to gain new fans, and quite frankly – if they were to somehow gain footing into the demographic in which my oldest daughter resides – I’d laugh in a way that only a mom can.  😀

-R