Category Archives: history

San Diego State University 1993

Well friends, I’m sad (in some ways) to say it, but it is the end of summer for me. As you are reading this, I am sitting in my first of two staff meetings in San Diego this week. I was up and out the door before dawn this morning, which is certainly not my favorite way to begin the day.

As a result, this blog was written earlier than normal, and since it is August with little real band news to speak of, I’m taking a quick look back in history. On this date in 1993, Duran Duran played at San Diego State University in California as part of their No Ordinary Tour.

I don’t mind mentioning that this date was four days before they played in Irvine at Irvine Meadows Amphitheater.  I went to see Duran Duran in Irvine with my childhood and college friend Stacy-Ann, and my husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) went with a friend of his – each of us had bought seats before we started dating. It was the one (and ONLY) time that he had better seats than I had to a Duran show. Good times, and he never lets me forget it! I was back on the lawn while he proudly sat a couple of sections closer to the stage!!

Another tidbit since I’m thinking about it – last summer Duran Duran  played at Irvine Meadows just before it was demolished in October.  Those of us who live in the Irvine area (I live about 7 miles from where it once stood) fought very hard to get the Irvine city council to consider putting in another amphitheater at the Great Park of Irvine. It’s the perfect place for such a venue, and quite frankly – we need something for adults in this area!  The council agreed, and we can see heavy-duty construction taking place, which is wonderful. Never know, maybe someday I’ll be seeing a Duran Duran show there!

Have a great week, everyone!

-R

 

Do you remember the Hyde Park Show?

Where were you on July 13, 2012?  I can tell you where a lot of my UK friends were!  They were in Hyde Park, London, watching Duran Duran perform for a special Olympics Opening Ceremony Concert (I really don’t know if that’s the official name but it’s what I’m going with today).

I am sure many have seen the photos of Simon in his Union Jack coat, and pictures looking out from the barricade over a sea of fans (many recognizable faces to be found at the rail).  I don’t know about anyone else, but this doesn’t seem like it was all that long ago, but it was five short years ago today.

I couldn’t find the full concert, but I did find a couple of videos compiled into a playlist from that day. Take a look!

 

Not sure if anyone noticed, but I’ve been on vacation for the past two weeks! I was camping up in the Mount Shasta area of California, then up through Oregon to the Columbia River Gorge area with my family.  With any luck, I’ll be back online on Monday, ready to be in civilization once again!

-R

 

Do you remember the Dayton show in 2005?

I know Amanda must. I seem to recall her mentioning this show….

2005…the Astronaut tour. TONS of US dates. So I have to ask, who went to Dayton??

I did not. I was at home, in California. I had already met Amanda the September prior. We had met up again in March in the lovely city of Chicago for the show at the Chicago All-State Arena. I didn’t have the opportunity to do other shows later that summer, though.

It’s kind of funny when I look back on it all now though. I have met enough people over the years that when these dates come up, particularly the ones in the US, but even some from the UK and other places as well, I immediately associate someone with the show. I don’t have actual memories from that show, but often, I remember who was there. In the case of Amanda, we’ve talked and written back and forth about our memories so often – that sometimes I remember specific stories too.

Makes me kind of wonder what I’ll remember from the Paper Gods tour in ten years.

Then again, maybe it’s best not to think about that right now.

-R

 

On this date in DD History – The Joint in Vegas!

Do you remember 2003?  I sure do. It was the summer of Duran Duran shows, and not just “ordinary” Duran Duran shows…but reunion shows. John, Simon, Roger, Nick and Andy. On stage. Together. For the first time in 20-some years.

Complete insanity.

My summer began that year with a show in Costa Mesa at the Pacific Amphitheater. I can still remember completely losing my mind when all five of them walked on stage together. I pinched myself until I was bruised just to be sure I wasn’t imagining everything I was seeing. It was absolutely, positively, unreal.

I know I wasn’t the only one, and little did I know at the time that it wouldn’t be the ONLY show I’d see with them that year. From then on, I was a woman out of control, or so it felt. I bought tickets to see them at 4th and B in San Diego, and then again in September to see them at Inland Invasion (a festival). I hadn’t seen all five members together on stage EVER, and then suddenly I saw them three times in the same year.

That said, I didn’t try to get tickets to see them in places like, Las Vegas, which looking back, seems like a silly thing to overlook. At the time though, traveling to see the band in another city so “far” away (it’s what, four hours from my house if I drive?) seemed so ridiculous. So “out there”.  Who would do something so frivolous???

I can honestly say that in 2003, I didn’t really know anyone in the Duran Duran fan community. I know I had already started dabbling on the message boards, but it wasn’t until after the summer that I found the message board that eventually became my online home. So, I wasn’t aware that droves of fans from So Cal went out to Vegas to see them that summer. It never even occurred to me.  But on this very date in 2003, a gig happened in Las Vegas at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel. Many of you were probably there, and can tell me all about what I missed out on, and that’s OK.

So yeah, my fandom with Duran Duran – or at least the really active part of it – happened later in life. I’ve tried to make up for lost time since, though!

Does anyone remember the show at The Joint?

-R

Mi Vida Loca and John Taylor

Hi everyone! I love it when the day in history gives me something new to learn. Did you know that John wrote a score for a movie? (you probably did, I however…did not.)

On this date in 1994, Mi Vida Loca was released. The movie was directed by Allison Anders, and it is about a group of Mexican-American women in Los Angeles, describing their struggles with gangs, drugs and betrayal.  John wrote a portion of the soundtrack for the film, which was then performed by other artists. A list of the tracks he wrote are as follows:

1 “La Blue Eyes Theme”

  • Written by John Taylor and Jonathan Elias

2 “El Duran Theme”

  • Written by John Taylor
  • Performed by El Chican

3 “Echo Parque”

  • Written by John Taylor
  • Performed by El Chicano

4 “Giggles and Big Sleepy Get Busy”

  • Written by John Taylor
  • Performed by El Chicano

I’ve never checked out this movie, although I’m sure Amanda has. I’m on vacation this week, but I need to find time to see it!

-R

Live Aid – The Music Between Us

Do you know where you were on this date in 1985?  If you were like me, and likely millions of other teenagers around the world, you were sitting in front of your television watching Live Aid.

While this date will ring forever bittersweet to me (and probably any other Duranie out there), I can also remember the feeling that we could conquer anything. Sure, to many adults out there, Live Aid was just a festival with two locations that day: one at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia and the other in London at Wembley, but to me and others in my generation, it become something far greater.

For me, Live Aid marked the beginning of a new era. It wasn’t solely about being the last time that all five original members of Duran Duran would convene onstage until 2003.  In many ways, it marked the end of my childhood infatuation, and taught me that there is indeed a whole world out there to take care of.  Growing up in America at the time certainly had its advantages. Comparatively speaking, I wanted for nothing.  Being poor here in the states in the 1980’s was rough – any kid who actually grew up poor will tell you as much ( I was not. While my parents seriously struggled at times, we always had food on the table, a roof over our heads and some semblance of safety and stability. Many others did not.), but it wasn’t quite the same as living in a third world country with no resources, world attention, or funding. Remarkably, I don’t necessarily remember ever really hearing about the plight of others around the world, except in hindsight—like in a history class. Our nightly news would use the Ethiopian Famine as more of a “In other news” than a headline, and I believe that Live Aid marked the beginning of that changing. Live Aid brought awareness, and once that door was cracked open, there was really no turning back.

Some will argue that the US still does very little to help with the rest of the world. I’m not really here to get into that discussion or to prove our self-worth. I can just share my own experience. Prior to Live Aid (and also Band Aid), I really don’t remember having much of an awareness of what went on outside of the United States. Perhaps that was me and my family, or maybe it was my age, but I know from even looking at old newspapers from back in that day, the front page rarely discussed world issues. That was hidden back on page three or four of the first section.  I think that speaks volumes about America at the time, and while I will always be proud of where I was born and raised, I recognize our shortcomings – and let’s face it – there are many.

When I think back on Live Aid, I try not to focus on Duran Duran. Enough has been said about all of that, and as I said before—for Duranies, it was a bittersweet day for a multitude of reasons.  I think about how for just that 24-hour period, it didn’t seem to matter where we lived or how we grew up. It felt like the world uniting for a common cause, and for this then-fourteen year old, it felt empowering. I think that was probably the first time in my short life that I really felt that way, too.

For me personally, Live Aid took place on an incredibly hot day in July 1985.  We didn’t have air conditioning, and in Glendora, California, I’m pretty sure the thermometer hit 100 degrees F or more that day.  I can remember hearing the very loud fan on our swamp cooler (if you don’t know what that is – it’s a cooling system that runs cool water past a fan – this theoretically cools off the air that is then blown into the house. Not as good as an A/C, but it was all I knew as a kid.) My parents saw me in one of two places that day: sitting on our brown, thread bare living room carpet, eyes glued to the TV, or sitting outside on our patio on a lounge chair, with the television volume (from the living room) turned way up so I could hear. Their attempts to tear me away in order to do chores were futile—I always managed to sneak back in to see how much longer it would be before Duran Duran would take the stage. At the time, I didn’t think I paid much attention to the cause for the event. I was interested in the music, and the rest of it didn’t matter. Except somehow over the course of that day, the more I watched, the more I began to understand the immensity of what was happening, and why.

Nowadays, having an understanding of what is going on in the world is commonplace. It’s difficult to believe or remember a time when it wasn’t. We’ve got Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ (among others!) to inform, confuse, and confound. Cable news is 24/7, and if that isn’t enough, within a few clicks of the keys, the internet awaits. It wasn’t always that way, and certainly not here. I know American’s boast about the freedom of the press, but that “freedom” was also the choice to cover whatever they wanted. Back then, news from the rest of the world didn’t always make the headlines in the same way it might now.

Live Aid inspired a number of other concerts around the world on that same day. Everywhere from Canada to the Soviet Union took part in their own way, and the world came together—if only for a short while—the music between us.  In the decades since, there have been any number of music festivals done in the same vein (albeit not with the same exuberance). Just recently, there was a festival done in Manchester for the victims of the bombing at Ariana Grande’s concert. A variety of different online and print sources claimed it was this generation’s Live Aid.

Only history will decide, but I think we all know how and where Live Aid stands. Thirty-two years later, and we’re still talking about it.

-R

To be a fly on the wall at the Rum Runner

To be a fly on the wall…

On this date in 1986, there was a party. It was a demolition party, held at the Rum Runner in Birmingham. The first scene of the crime, so to speak.

There are plenty of things I am thankful for at this point in my life, trekking the streets in Birmingham among them. I’ve even wandered down around the Cheapside area, where Duran Duran spent time before getting their big break. One thing I couldn’t do was visit the Rum Runner. Sure, I could see where it had once been, but that’s not the same as having gone inside, really. It’s not the same as seeing the mirrored tiles for myself, or smelling (what I can only assume would be) stale cigarette smoke, or just knowing that once upon a time, a band named Duran Duran once occupied the building.

Nostalgic much? Of course! I love that stuff!

There are just times when I wish I could have been a fly on the wall, just to get a small taste of what it was like to see the austere beginnings of this band, prior to Girls on Film and Rio. But on this date especially, I can only wonder what that party was like.

Also on this date, but in 1999, Behind the Music with Duran Duran was first aired.  In my attempt to find the video on YouTube to post here, a few things became clear—namely that it would seem there was more than one version of this made (and even then, I’m really not sure).  In any case, I found one that is Behind the Music Remastered, dated in 2010. I’m assuming that this edition is updated to include the reunion, which would not have happened yet in 1999. In any case, take a gander and see what you think!

-R

Twenty years ago, John plays his first solo gig

I’m struggling this morning. First of all, it’s Monday. Second, in the past 72 hours I have had a bout of food poisoning, had a massive allergy attack, and I’ve gotten a cold. I’d really just rather be sleeping right now.  Today’s blog will be short and sweet.

On this date in 1997, John Taylor was seriously committing himself to going solo. He played at Radio Antenne Bayerne in Stuttgart, Germany.  It was his very first live show as a solo artist.

Flash forward twenty years (yes, twenty!), and he’s back with Duran Duran, getting ready to hit the road for what seems to be the final leg of the Paper Gods tour.

Time flies when we’re all having fun, I guess!  Today’s date in history is a gentle reminder to trust the process. Just when you think all is lost, maybe it’s not after all!

I’m off to begin the week. Happy Monday, everyone!

-R

 

Duran’s Peak Live Performances

Lately, our daily questions/polls have focused on Duran’s live performances.  Specifically, people have picked which version of a song they like better.  The versions are live performances from different tours.  We have asked about New Religion, Careless Memories and the Chauffeur.  Interestingly enough, for each song, fans who participate in our daily questions have stated that the 1984 Sing Blue Silver version of these songs are the best.  This has made me think.  Was Duran really better live in 1984?  Were the arrangements better?  If so, what does that say about the band?  If not, what does that say about the fans?

1984 was the height of Duranmania.  They were selling out stadiums worldwide and had songs and albums at the top of the charts.  Most would agree that they were the most popular band in the world at that time.  Their concerts were often filled with teenage girls who spent a LOT of the time screaming, from everything I read.  I have also read/seen many interviews in which the band discussed the “wall of sound” that was created from the screaming crowd.  Watch the video below and hear the band talk about this about 7 minutes in:

Now, in fairness, I did not see Duran Duran in 1984.  I’m sure that I would have thought that they were amazing then!  But, would they be better then than now?  Would the 30 years after that not make them better, in terms of their musicianship and performance?  Did their live performances peak over 30 years ago?!?  Listen to what Nick said in 2005 about 1 minute into this clip:

Duran would argue that their live performances are better now.  That said, I’ll play devil’s advocate.  In 1984, they were younger and had more energy.  Perhaps, that energy would make their performance more entertaining.  I could see that.  Yet, when I think of live performances, I do want the songs to be entertaining and fun, but I also want the music to be played well.  

Let me try an experiment.  I’m going to put videos of Careless Memories from 1984 and then from 2004.  Just listen to them.  Do not watch them.  Then, tell me which version you like better.  Both of them are from official videos, too, to ensure that the sound quality is decent on both.

In thinking about this question, when did Duran play better live, I think about my own career.  Just yesterday, I was asked to meet with a bunch of soon-to-be-teachers.  While I appreciated their enthusiasm and their idealism, I liked that they wanted me there as someone with experience.  While I might not be as energetic as I once was as a teacher, I know that I’m a better teacher now than I was when I first started.  Experience matters.

Personally, I would hate to believe that the best days of my career were in the past, when I first started.  I would imagine that Duran would hate that, too.  I’m willing to bet that Duran gets a lot of questions in reference to their “heyday” and how they “peaked” in their mid-20s.  I’m sure that’s frustrating and that they would prefer to think that they are at their best right now.  After all, if they were at their best in the mid 80s, then why continue now?

I’m sure that the fans who are voting for the 1984 Sing Blue Silver Tour versions of the songs don’t mean all this.  They are just thinking that they loved that time period.  Sing Blue Silver and As the Lights Go Down bring back nothing but fond memories of a band that they fell in love with.  I guess, for me, while I loved the band then, I love them differently and more now.  Maybe it is the fan in me that actually believes that they are better now, too.

-A

Electric Barbarella finishes filming in 1997

I feel free!  Summer may now begin! Now that the graduation festivities are over and I have another high school graduate on my hands, I’m ready.

It felt really good to see Gavin cross the stage and get his diploma on Saturday, and I’m really thankful that most of my family was there to see it, including my brother-in-law, who spent quite a bit of time in the hospital recently. He’s doing really well though, and we have great hopes that he’ll receive the bone marrow transplant he needs in the coming months. Until then, we treasure whatever time we have together.

Next on the summer “fun” list is Gavin’s 18th birthday, and then 4th of July, which is my favorite holiday, and then I pick Amanda up from the airport for an extended weekend of fun and road tripping to the bay area. I’m excited to see the shows, but I’m also really looking forward to not being in a hurry to get from one place to the next. We are leaving early enough to have time to ourselves, and the same holds true for on the way home. I am hoping it will feel like a real getaway rather than a race, even though the two shows are GA.  We may be waiting in line, but hopefully we will be amongst friends and have a good time chatting the weekend away. I’m not going to think much beyond that because I want to savor every moment.

So, for today – I have a moment in history to think about. On this date in 1997, filming for video for “Electric Barbarella” was completed.

I never really fell in love with this video, and I think it’s one of the pieces that really tends to stir up a fair amount of controversy amongst fans. The woman is a robot, looks an awful lot like Barbie, and the song lyrics are enough to make you wonder just what is meant by the song. Is it all just for fun, or is there another message?

-R