Category Archives: history

Chicago Theatre in 2007, were you there?

On this date in 2007, Duran Duran performed at the Chicago Theatre. This was one date included in their Red Carpet Massacre tour, and I’m pretty sure my partner-in-crime was there!

The Chicago Theatre is a gorgeous venue in the heart of downtown Chicago. I have my own memories of seeing the band there for the All You Need is Now tour, a few years later.

Thanks to setlist.fm – here’s what they played!

The Valley

Red Carpet Massacre

Nite Runner

Notorious

Planet Earth

Falling Down

Skin Divers

Tempted

Rio

Ordinary World

The Reflex

A View to a Kill

Sunrise

The Wild Boys

 

So, were you there?

-R

Play the F*cking Bass, John!

Play The Fcking Bass, John…Play The Fcking Bass, John…Play The F*cking Bass, John….

I think most everyone has heard that familiar chant as Simon goes through the intros to the band during Girls on Film, but where did it first start?  Have we always done it?

Strangely, I really thought this was something that had been around forever, or at least for as long as I can remember.  It has become so iconic that I don’t think I ever considered when it might have started. I just assumed it had always been a part of the show. Turns out that no, we haven’t always been chanting that at John. On this date in 2003, Duran Duran played the Enmore Theatre in Sydney, Australia…and THIS was the first time the audience ever exuberantly cheered those words.  Thank you, Australia.

So the next time you’re at a show and Simon starts in with “Play The Fcking Bass, John…Play The Fcking Bass, John…Play The F*cking Bass, John….” cheer along and just think, some of the best traditions we have as fans got started fairly recently. Fourteen years and counting.

You never know when or where the next tradition may begin!

-R

Watch Out For Each Other

Thank goodness it is Friday!  I don’t know about the rest of you but it was a long week on my end.  I couldn’t be more thrilled that the weekend is just a few hours away.  On that note, what Duran related song did I find in my iPod shuffle?!  The first one actually was Faith In This Colour.  Unfortunately, this song won’t work for blogging purposes so I hit shuffle again.  This time I landed on Sunrise.  While my immediate reaction was to go with the line, “The music’s between us,” I opted instead to go for the line, “Watch out for each other.”  Obviously, this song represents the reunion and that line seemed encouraging when it came the band itself in 2004.  Now, though, the line feels a little different to me.  It feels deeper, more personal as it reminds me of friendship.

The line “watch out for each other” reminds me of friendship because, to me, an essential element of friendship is just that.  It means looking out for the other.  It means helping out the other when that person needs it, whether that help is in the form of money, an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on, or a bit of defense when the social media world is less than kind.  When I think of this line being applied to the members of Duran, I think it fits well.
Duran Duran has been through a lot throughout the band’s history.  They first had to deal with forming the band and creating the structure  that would follow their careers.  When I think about what I know about that early structure, it includes splitting the royalties equally, trying to find a musical balance and always presenting themselves as a united group.  Even when they split into the side projects of Power Station and Arcadia, I don’t ever remember hearing negatives towards one half or the other.  The only time during the 80s that I remember a tiny bit of criticism is after Andy left.  Even then, though, it seemed small and didn’t last very long.  The band members who remained, on the other hand, seemed even more united.
This united front remained throughout the rest of the 80s, 90s and 2000s.  I don’t remember ever hearing about in-fighting or negativity towards one member or another.  Even when Warren left and the others came back, I saw respect given for Warren and his work in the band.  The same really can be true after Andy left a second time.  John Taylor had the chance to be openly critical in his autobiography but he didn’t.  It seems to me that the “watch out for each other” mentality has been a part of Duran Duran throughout the band’s history, which I think is admirable.  While they may have had fights or bad blood among some of them, they almost always took the high road with each other, at least in the public sphere.
Maybe some of this is the combination between friendship and work.  I think that often creates a strong bond that is hard to break, privately, and impossible to break, publicly.  I feel that way with Rhonda.  We were friends before we started “working” together.  Make no mistake.  We have been working together.  There is nothing like the pressure of trying to pull off a convention together or to look at someone’s writing with critical eyes.  This blog has existed for a long time, too.  At times, we have gotten a lot of flack over this, that or the next thing.  The thing is that we will always defend each other even if that means taking some of the heat for the other.  We watch for each other.  To me, that is friendship and that is loyalty.
Beyond work related to the blog, our friendship is such that we would watch out for each other in other avenues of our lives, too.  I hate the fact that my job takes so much of my time and energy that I don’t get to check in with Rhonda as much as I would like.  Thankfully, I think she understands that it has nothing to do with her and just that I’m busy.  That said, I believe that  she knows that I would be there for her if she ever needed me.  I would drop everything, if needed.  I believe she would say the same for me.  To me, then, this lyric and even the song really does show friendship and our friendship, in particular.
-A

VH-1’s “The Set” in 2004

Yesterday, I wrote about 2011. Today, I’m going back even farther.

Does anyone remember “The Set” on VH1 in 2004?  It was sponsored by Bailey’s (I don’t know why I have zero trouble remembering that little bit of trivia….), and it was filmed in California, just outside of Los Angeles. I remember that DDM gave away tickets to fans so that they could go and be in the audience to watch it being taped. I also remember being so jealous because nearly every Duranie I knew who lived here or was willing to travel here got tickets.

Many DDM members had signed up to enter the contest, even though they didn’t have a way to get to Los Angeles. Those that did win were given two tickets. So, if you were smart, you teamed up with a friend and both entered, basically doubling the chances to win. Well, so many people had won that either couldn’t get here or already had a ticket because a friend had won, that Jim – the person in charge of DDM at the time – had to go down a list of people to contact in order to find people who could go. He contacted a friend of mine who already had tickets, and she even gave him my name as someone who didn’t already win. Even then, I still must have been so far down the list that I was never contacted. I can remember the disappointment, particularly once I heard about all of the people who signed up to win even though they knew there was no way they could go. Alas, that’s the way it goes!

Even so, I was able to watch the broadcast, and out of their appearances in 2004 for Astronaut, it remains one of my favorites. I found a clip or two of it on YouTube to share.  In some ways, it’s funny to watch it now, because so much has happened in the years since, but it’s a good reminder of where we’ve been, particularly when fans aren’t really sure of where we’re going next!

 

-R

A couple memories for November 22

Today, the day before Thanksgiving, finds me in the kitchen. Not my favorite place in the world by a long shot, but I am in there, chopping, mixing, cooking and cleaning. I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Well, that’s lovely. I’m at work. I would rather be at home in my own kitchen!”

Touché.

I am not at work today. So there’s that. A little gratitude here, right?

On this date in 2010, it was announced that Nick Egan would direct the video for “All You Need is Now”.  As I’m typing this, I’m considering just how familiar Nick Egan’s style might be to Duranies at this point. The black and white contrast, the band performing, even the lighting is all relative to Nick Egan’s direction. Personally, out of the videos Nick Egan directed for Duran Duran, my favorite happens to be this one, “All You Need is Now”. I like that there’s a bit of a storyline, and I am partial to the walk through Brompton Cemetery.

 

I would be neglectful if I didn’t also pay tribute to someone the music community lost on this date. Michael Hutchence, the lead singer of INXS, left us in 1997.  It is both difficult to believe twenty years has passed since the pain of that loss is ever-present for so many, and yet it feels like forever. I think it is fair to say that music has not been quite the same.

Since I’m supposed to be cooking, I’m gonna find a couple/few INXS videos to share. Die hard fans may groan, but they’re some of my favorite.

To those who, like me, will be doing the cooking thing on Thanksgiving, I salute you! To the rest of you, be kind to the cook!! 😀

-R

 

Do you remember Decade? Released on this date in 1989!

On this date in 1989, Decade was released. I remember that album, except I had it on cassette. I say “had” because that cassette tape met a very untimely (and sad) death on the 15 freeway in California, going towards Las Vegas.

When Decade was released, I wasn’t sure I really wanted it. In my opinion, I already had all of the songs, so why bother?  It was just a compilation of their greatest hits, right? At this point, I was a sophomore in college, and spending money on something like this was an “extra”. I decided to just buy the cassette, since CD’s were a lot more expensive at the time. I kept it in my car, and whenever I wanted to listen to Duran Duran, I’d play it. I remember preferring to only hear the front side, since the backside seemed to favor the period post-Roger and Andy. I couldn’t have that!

Fast forward to mid-November 1993. My then-boyfriend and I were headed to Vegas with his coworkers. We’d taken separate cars and were stuck in traffic on the I-15. His friends didn’t think to bring music, since radio would run out early into the trip. Walt decided it was a good idea to hand my precious cassette to them through the car windows. I protested. Loudly. He ignored me, and as he attempted to pass it, his friend John let it slip through his fingers. I turned around to watch it bounce on the pavement just as a semi-truck ran it over. It was a very long drive to Vegas, and no, there were no offers to replace the cassette.

That, in a nutshell, is why Walt is not allowed to touch my music.

I eventually did get Decade on vinyl, and it is an ongoing joke that I don’t find the least bit funny. My poor cassette.

So, never try to pass music in between cars. Although these days, who carries cassettes around?!?

-R

Duran Duran at Birmingham University, 1979

On this date in 1979, Duran Duran played at Birmingham University. It was the seventh public show they played (according to duran duran.com), and it was the second of two shows at the university in November.

It is hard for me to imagine what gigs must have been like back then. (and that’s not ONLY a comment on how long ago it was, after all, I was nine at the time! :D) All of the lighting, video, light-up risers and things we enjoy now were mostly nonexistent at the time. I highly doubt the crowds were quite the same, since this was before the days of Rio and Sing Blue Silver. Even so, while I can’t really regret not being there….I absolutely wonder what it must have been like!

Particularly today, as I log on to Twitter and am greeted with photos from JT in Red Square and group photos on a balcony in Moscow, I think about the long, arduous road to get to the present. I have to think, knowing how the band feels about nostalgia in general, I don’t think they’d change a single thing along the way.

Lately, when it comes to writing the blog, I’ve thought more about where the band has been as opposed to where they are going. I think that’s because for me, nostalgia IS part of the game. I’m a blogger, and my gift isn’t in seeing what is coming ahead, but rather, what we have in our rear view mirror. With #DD40 in our sights, it isn’t a bad time to think back over the course of Duran’s career. Maybe I’m a bit biased as a fan, but I think they’ve had an incredible run.

Even so, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wished I could have been at these Birmingham University gigs at the beginning of their career….and I’d give my eye teeth to know what they’re planning for their 40th anniversary! 😀

Off to listen to Katy Kafe – highlights tomorrow!

-R

 

Hammersmith Odeon – London, 1982. Anybody remember?

It is getting to that time where I desperately look at the dates in history for blog inspiration. On today’s date, there are several things the band has done, but one in particular sticks out.

On this date way, way back in 1982, Duran Duran played at the Hammersmith Odeon in London. There are MANY different clips on Youtube from the show, but the one I chose is unique purely because it isn’t a song we hear from them very often.

Hard to believe this show was thirty-five years ago today. Wow. I’m just going to sit with that thought for a while.  Do you remember this show?

-R

Happy Tenth Anniversary, Red Carpet Massacre!

I remember the first time I listened to a song from Red Carpet Massacre. It was Night Runner, and boy was I ever shocked. I think I was on the carpet, perched up on my knees in the very room I currently occupy. The evolution from den to nursery to office in ten years is a fairly good indicator of the changes my life has taken during that time, oddly enough.  On that day though, I sat up on my heels, listened to the opening notes, and then checked to make sure I was listening to the right band.

Night Runner was unlike anything I’d ever heard from Duran Duran before. Slow but deliberate, and wait, was that falsetto hovering about in the chorus?!? This was not the Duran Duran I thought I knew. Without even looking at the message boards to gauge how other fans felt, I took an immediate and visceral dislike to Night Runner. It was everything, including-but-not-limited-to-Justin-Timberlake, that I hated about music at the time. It was not one of my finest moments as a fan.  I cringed every single time I heard it.

Then Skin Divers came along. As I like to say, “they had me until the chorus”. It’s true. Musically, the song was brilliant. If only Timbaland had kept his “wicky-wicky” rapping out of it. Alas. I just did not know what this band was thinking, and with every interview or update where Nick or John would tell us the album was the greatest thing since sliced bread, my sense of dread grew into an ever-hardening pit in my stomach. What were they hearing that I just couldn’t?

When Red Carpet Massacre was released, I was almost relieved because the sense of impending doom was over. It took me time, but I did learn to enjoy “The Valley”, “Red Carpet Massacre”,  and even “Last Man Standing”, but I felt like I just couldn’t get on board with the album as a whole.  Thank goodness I wasn’t a blogger back then!

 

At the time, I was just so mad. Like a lot of fans I’ve spoken with in the years since, we felt like the band had completely ditched its original fan base in favor of a younger crowd.  I can remember seeing various people scoff at that comment, self-righteous and smug in their fired-off responses. The fact is – that’s kind of how fandom works. Some people really do take it all very personally, and while it can certainly be a double-edged sword, without those types of fans, bands (or just about anything else) don’t make it for long. Loyal fan bases are what carry bands, TV shows, sports teams, and pretty much anything else, through the tough times.

I still don’t really “get” a lot about the album, but I clearly see the direction in which they were headed. I have many reasons to appreciate the album’s place in Duran’s history. Hindsight can be a beautiful thing! I just don’t think they had the choice at the time to work with someone who not only saw where they were headed, but also appreciated where they had come from. They desperately needed someone with the ability to finesse the music and sound they wanted in a way that would actually suit the band.  But again – it’s only hindsight.

In many aspects, Red Carpet Massacre paved the way for Paper Gods.  They could have never written or effectively executed Paper Gods, had they not expanded their horizons with Red Carpet Massacre. I don’t know that the fan base would have been as ready to embrace Paper Gods, had we not had the experience we did with Red Carpet Massacre, either.

One difference between the two albums is that Paper Gods continues to embrace and celebrate who Duran Duran has always been, while looking ahead and challenging their fans. This is something that I’ve always loved about this band. They continually force me to expand the boundaries of how I (and every other fans) personally define who they are. Sometimes, I enjoy the process; other times, it makes me very uncomfortable until I get it. That’s art.

I find it hard to believe it has been ten years since Red Carpet Massacre was released. Like nearly every other album, in some ways it seems impossible to have been that long and in others, it feels like a lifetime. For my family – it has been. My youngest was born the April after the album was released, and on this very day in 2007, I was at home, incubating away! Now she’s nine-and-a-half, and reminds me every single day of why I fear the teen years that lay ahead!

Happy anniversary to Red Carpet Massacre! One thing that album, and even Paper Gods, to some extent, has taught me, is to never second guess what this band will do next!

-R

Sometimes I’m caught in a landslide: Memories of Sears Centre 2006

I remember going to the Sears Center in 2006. It was the grand opening for the arena, and Duran Duran was playing. I arrived at Chicago’s Midway airport in the middle of a rainstorm. Traffic was horrendous. It took Amanda and I, along with my sister and another friend, what seemed like forever to make the trip from the airport to the Marriott nearby the arena that would serve as our hotel room for the night.

We were late getting to the hotel and even later to get ready. We had to grab dinner pretty quickly. If I remember right – we were rushing our poor waitress at the hotel’s restaurant to “please hurry, we have tickets to Duran Duran!” In our haste to get from the car into the venue, Amanda and I both left our cameras behind. At the time, we thought this was a travesty.

The show was outstanding. Amanda and I danced like crazy from our what – 9th row? – seats. The arena was beautiful, and the band was on fire. Just days prior, like perhaps two or less, the band had put out a statement announcing that Andy would no longer be working with the band. It was a tough time for all Duranies, regardless of where one sat on the issue. Questions swirled throughout the community, “Who would be the guitar player?”, “Could the band still go on?”, “Whose fault was it that Andy quit?”, “What would happen next?” The band seemed to answer many of them that night. It was a strong show, and this was not a band that was going to just lie down and die.

Amanda and I were enthusiastic, even through sadness as the Fab Five came to a resounding halt. Again. While our cameras were useless to us in our car, my memories of this show are so clear. It remains one of the best shows I’ve seen. Likely, this is because I didn’t view a single second of the show from a viewfinder or phone screen.

Along with my sister and another friend, Amanda and I truly plotted like crazy for this trip to happen. Originally we were just going to go to the Voodoo Festival in New Orleans, and had the entire trip planned.  My husband had even given me his blessing to go! Somewhere along the way, Duran Duran announced this show at the Sears Centre. Sure, I could have skipped the show and gone straight to New Orleans, but that is pretty much the same thing as telling an alcoholic they should skip the vodka and just drink the mixer.  (My apologies to the teetotalers and members of AA out there…but you get my point, don’t you?)

Emails flew fast and furious between the four of us in the weeks leading up to this date in Chicago. Tickets were secured for the Sears Centre even though rearranging my travel plans without more pain to my wallet seemed impossible. I begged, borrowed, and pleaded with my husband to just let the trip be my birthday gift (a regular tactic of mine). Finally, between the genius of my sister and Amanda, plans came together. As a result, there we were, sitting in traffic on the I-90, screaming at cars to let us pass because we were on our way to see Duran Duran. Good times.

The next day proved to be crazier than the day before in Chicago traffic, but that’s pretty much how traveling to see this crazy band goes. I only regret the shows I haven’t gone to, not the ones I spent following this insanity.

…And you all wonder why I continue to bring up vodka on this blog. Gee, I don’t know!?!

Good memories of the Sears Centre.

-R