By Bart Van Bemmel
Math is the most universal language in the world. It’s all around us. It binds all living things together. Even Duran Duran uses math….
On their recent Paper Gods Tour, Duran Duran went on record saying they use the mathematical formula of 3:1 for their set lists — for every three classics you get a new song. But what if who ever runs Duran’s numbers didn’t take in account that their past two albums All You Need is Now and Paper Gods were going to be so magical that they created NEW CLASSICS? Imagine that — a band that’s still around after almost forty years is still creating powerful and vibrant new music? This modern material just can’t be locked away forever with no holdovers on future tours. Not ONE song from All You Need is Now was held over on the Paper Gods Tour and I’m still not over it. Fine, I’ll hold a grudge! After all, it’s their fault they did this to me (and others). And this is pretty much what inspired this blog post. With a new album in the works and a prospective tour to follow, I’m here to show you why Duran’s set list “math” could be the way it is and why their common core needs to change.
Maybe I need to get all Stuart Smalley on Duran and give them my own daily affirmation: You’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and dog gone it — people like you. But I understand why you are the way you are. And I understand how you arrived at your 3:1 song ratio. Some “Duranies” aren’t very forgiving when it comes to your band. Often times they can be brutal — especially each time you to push yourselves, push boundaries, and be forwarding thinking with your music. God forbid if your new album doesn’t sound just like Seven and the Ragged Tiger part two there will be hell to pay. I often wonder if some in this fan base cripple your band with their own limitations. It’s as if other artists and bands out there are allowed to grow up, but not you — NOT DURAN. It’s as if some fans have fastened one of those retractable dog leash collars that they put on their kids in the mall around your neck. You will NOT wander off, Simon! Now add in the music media into the mix. Are they any different? When Bon Jovi re-invented themselves with the countrified sing-a-long, “Who Says You Can’t Come Home” and then soon after 2007’s Lost Highway album, it landed them their first ever release to debut on number one on Billboard. But if DURAN were to ever be so bold to be something different (by all means I’m not saying country music here) — we will stand there — arms crossed, until you play one of your greatest hits.
I get the whole Fab Five world domination effect you had, but we’re still here… and you’re still affecting us — 100 million albums sold later (ah — more numbers for you). And I’m NOT sorry to say, but it’s highly unlikely that most casual Duran fans have been shelling out the dollars to fly from all around the world just to see you on your latest mini run of back-to-back sold out shows in New Orleans, Vegas, and others, just to hear you play the Reflex. We aren’t the casual fans. We’re the die-hards. WE sold out those shows. And we love all that YOU are — especially your “new” stuff.
With that said, you have created NEW CLASSICS! NEW MASTERPIECES beyond the greatest hits! You have even said in an interview that the song What are the Chances from Paper Gods is the best ballad you’ve written since 1993’s Ordinary World. That’s a pretty bold statement. But, we’re here to tell you that we agree with you. But what now? Does this song fade away into Duran obscurity? We can’t let this happen.
So here’s my list of (4) NEW DURAN CLASSICS that should be considered and intermixed for future tours:
1. All You Need is Now (AYNIN)
2. The Man Who Stole a Leopard (AYNIN)
3. Pressure Off (Paper Gods)
4. What are the Chances? (Paper Gods)
Maybe factoring in “new” classics into the live-set ratio would create some kind of New Duran Math that could potentially throw this universe alone into some tailspin (see what I did there?). But if any band was going to invent a new formula for rock and roll, Duran Duran would be the band to do it.
I’m curious to see what you — the fans, think some of Duran’s new classics are in your comments!