Category Archives: history

Happy 22, Medazzaland!

Medazzaland is 22, today. For some reason, that number doesn’t bother me nearly as much as hearing, for instance, that Astronaut is 15…or that I’m about to turn 49 in a few weeks. Let’s just not talk about any of that, though.

They’ll say we’ll get over it

As I waxed nostalgic earlier to a friend, I can remember when Duran Duran appeared on the Rosie O’Donnell show in 1997. They were promoting Medazzaland, and I was folding laundry while my oldest was bouncing away in her little chair. I can remember hoping she’d stay quiet long enough for me to listen to the interview and see them perform!

I hadn’t bought Medazzaland yet. In fact, I don’t think I even knew they had an album coming out until I watched the show that day, which, when I think back on it – is pretty alarming. It also explains my headspace at the time. I was definitely in the full throes of postpartum depression. Motherhood was proving to be a far bigger challenge than just diapers, laundry and bottles.

Why do we still face the music?

Seeing Simon, Nick and Warren that day made me smile for what might have been the first time in months, but I also felt pretty wistful. Admittedly, they didn’t feel like the Duran Duran I’d known. It was kind of like running into people at your high school reunion. Everyone wears these name tags with their maiden names on them, along with senior pictures to remind everyone of what they once looked like – but you don’t really recognize them. You don’t KNOW them anymore. That’s kind of how I felt with Duran Duran back then. I mean, by the time Medazzaland was released in 1997, Rio had already been out for fifteen years. So yes, I guess I did struggle with that a little bit.

I’d never heard “Electric Barbarella” until that day on the show, and I can remember thinking that the tune was catchy, so I decided that I’d go get the CD when I had a chance. As different as they were, there were still hints of sounds I recognized. (No, it wasn’t all about Simon)

Not long after the Rosie appearance, I bought the CD. I can remember running into the music store and buying it while my husband and Heather happily waited in the car. It was a shock to hear Medazzaland for the first time, as my husband scanned through the songs – only hearing the first 30 seconds or so of each before moving on. I just didn’t know this band anymore, and I think that was a real shock to my system. I’m not writing this as a topic of argument, I’m just explaining how it felt to me at the time, in 1997. Things change.

Now and then you’ll get the strangest notion

There are a good many people out there who claim to love Medazzaland now, 22 years after it’s initial release, but I can remember talking to many of those same people online in the year 2002-2003 or so. There were not nearly as many well-wishers then. Music has a tendency to grow on your ears and your heart, I suppose. I’m still not sure that I love the album as much as I love others, but I recognize its importance in the overall catalog.

Medazzaland kind of allowed Nick, Simon and even Warren to spread their wings and experiment with their sound as a trio for the first time. John was gone. Andy and Roger had been gone for quite a while by then. This trio was the new Duran Duran (or Duranduran if you prefer), and they were making a-go of it. In a lot of ways, this was a brand-new band. I would imagine that it was on this album that Warren really grew more comfortable because he’d already had the success of Ordinary World and Come Undone, and John wasn’t around to side with Simon. So he and Nick grew closer, worked together far more extensively, and the music evolved as result.

Wild ambition can you really blame us

This is why they took the cover of Rio and “redesigned” it. It wasn’t just happenstance they chose that image to graffiti for the cover. They were making a statement that this was a new era. This was not the band who created Rio, this was new. They wanted to be known for who they were at that moment, not for the Fab Five, Rio, or Sing Blue Silver. There is no clearer proof than on the album closer, “Undergoing Treatment”. Read the lyrics. In fact, read them all. The story is right there, laid out in the words, and playing in the music. The problem, of course, is that you can try to outrun it….but you can’t hide from your past. It tends to follow.

Like it, love it, or something else entirely, Medazzaland was a tidal change for Duran Duran. Creatively, they pushed the envelope and broke out of boxes that critics and, yes, even fans, had insisted they stay in. Funny thing about time, too. It softens the hard edges, makes the black and white seem a bit less so. I listen to the album today, and much of it feels and sounds very much like the band I know. Call it wisdom, call it old age, even. Pop Trash, Astronaut, Red Carpet Massacre, All You Need is Now and Paper Gods all came later, and on each album there are the remnants and evolutions of sounds from Medazzaland. That’s success in my book.

Can you give a little more?

The defiance the band found in Medazzaland is still present in their music today. It gives their sound this fiery edge that I’ll hear every once in a while, which I appreciate. The difference, at least one that I hear, is along with that defiance, there is also pride. Shouldn’t they be, though? After all, they’ve been in this business for forty years. They’ve undergone enough personnel changes to have created four or even five different bands. They’ve come full circle, and then some.

Happy anniversary, Medazzaland!

-R

The Perfection of the Paper Gods Track List

The other day we posted Jason’s blog about how the track list for Paper Gods is all wrong, in his opinion. As I read it, I found myself shaking my head. While I appreciate that he didn’t like some of the tracks as much as others or that he felt the order was not quite right, I believe strongly that the track list is as it should be. (You can read his original post here.) Now, he was coming at the question from a purely musical standpoint and used previous albums as his guide. I get all that but I tend to look at the Paper Gods album very differently. As Rhonda and I have hinted or stated on here before, we believe that the album is about their career. If that is the case, the order of the songs might be essential and might not fit the traditional method that Duran typically uses. (The same is true for Red Carpet Massacre’s track list being a story but that it the topic for another blog.)

Paper Gods

The song, Paper Gods, is a perfect opener to let listeners know or remember about how too much of the public and most critics see/saw Duran Duran. They see them as “paper thin”. Back in the 1980s, they were so easily dismissed as being nothing because of the fact that girls liked them and had posters of them on their walls.

Last Night in the City

I don’t know about the rest of you but this song screams touring to me and I think it does for the band, too. All you have to do is check out a verse like, “I’ve been traveling around now, big world with my brothers, always moving’ to a new town, no time to put the roots down, We can’t stop believing, can’t stop, now we believe in you, Coz when you’re standing in the spotlight, the only thing that matters is tonight.” This track is essential and certainly describes their early years of touring, staying up all night, etc.

You Kill Me With Silence

This one might be harder to place in the band’s career context but it describes someone who keeps in a relationship despite criticism. Couldn’t that all be about Duran Duran with the rock critics? I vote yes.

Pressure Off

This track is similar to Last Night in the City in that it could be about live shows since there are lyrics like, “searchlight the crowd.” Could it be about how Duran could let go of all the pressure to be acceptable to the media when they played live? Again, that makes sense to me.

Face for Today

This song’s lyrics lead me to think it is about the band’s acceptance of fame. “You can fight it or invite it.” Couldn’t that it be fame? Then, the idea of “hold on to your time boy,” could be a reference to recognizing that the fame thing might not, probably won’t last forever.

Danceophobia

Could this be a song about how they needed to be reminded not to take it all so seriously, especially as the early 80s became the late 80s? Could it be a reminder just to enjoy the music and the dance even if people might judge them? Maybe even that they should be themselves, musically? That it is okay to make dance music?

What Are the Chances?

To me, this is the part of the album that represents the time in which Duran Duran has fallen off the top 40 charts and away from the media spotlight. Fame has ceased to be as all-consuming as it once was. Now, they are looking to change the direction they seem to be heading. “I’m just trying to change my luck.” Part of this process includes remembering to appreciate each other and what they do have, especially since they really lucked out in finding each other in the first place.

Sunset Garage

Despite this effort to change the direction that they seem to be headed, it isn’t working much. So, they need to remind themselves that it will be okay. “Whatever happens we’re OK – hey we’re still alive.” They reassure each other that they can make it on their own, without the support of record labels, the media, etc. “..if it all goes wrong we’re gonna make it on our own.” I feel like these lyrics represent Duran’s ability to keep going despite the obstacles.

Change the Skyline

By the time the late 1990s roll around, the band members seem to realize that a change needed to be made. They seemed to be realize that it was “time to change the skyline”. This meant that they will have to watch the current version of Duran fade (the Simon, Nick and Warren version) if it means a new one can be born (current line-up), “An empire in a day, Built on hope and burnt by the sun, But I’m happy to watch it fade, What I can raise it up again.”

Butterfly Girl

While the band recognizes that they need to “change the skyline”, they also need to come to grips with where their heads are at. John Taylor is the classic example here as he fought hard to overcome addictions, which I’m reminded of in the lyric, “There’s only one kind of happy in that glass of wine.” I also think of Simon who, from everything I read, was unable to really write a lot of lyrics for Pop Trash. He was in a lyrical hole just like the Butterfly Girl, so to speak.

Only in Dreams

This song always makes me think of the reunion and of our fan community. Wasn’t the reunion in our dreams for years and years and years? We also definitely don’t want to wake up if it means finding out that the reunion and the return of Duran as many of us knew them wasn’t real.

The Universe Alone

For a long time, I think Rhonda and I were convinced that this song was about the end of the line. Could this be why Duran put the album together in such a way that seemed to tell the story of their career with the Universe Alone at the very end? After all lines like, “It’s beautiful the dying sun, The end of everything and everyone” followed up with “I’ll see you in some other lifetime.” Even the very end, musically, with the choir singing left me believing it was the final curtain that was referenced in Paper Gods. Maybe it is them just preparing for the end because they did add bonus tracks, which could be a sign that they are continuing on, especially that first one.

Planet Roaring

This bonus track seems to summarize how fans still want to see and hear the band live. Maybe, this is why they are still doing what they do as opposed to saying good-bye like they could be doing.

What do the rest of you think? Could this album be about their career? In my opinion, the songs say that it is. Take a hard look at each of the lyrics and think about Duran’s career. Maybe you will see what I see. I might argue that the cover also focuses on their career. (An idea that we have covered already.)

-A

Who’s That with the Broom?!

If there were any concert I wish I had video for, it would be the Power Station concert that took place on this date in 1985 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Maybe you’re reading this right now and wondering what I’m going on about. Well, there was a special guest at this particular Power Station performance. He (oh yes, it was a “HE”) appeared between the main set and encore, and proceeded to sweep the stage.

The crowd began to recognize the janitor – he was none other than Nick Rhodes (an obvious choice for janitor???), and as the encore continued, he “played” along…on his broom. (again, of course he did. Who doesn’t imagine Nick playing air guitar, or air keyboards???)

I had wild hopes of finding this clip somewhere on YouTube, but my search was not productive. If you happen to have it or were there…feel free to chime in! I’d have loved to have been in that audience!

With that, I am off to get some work done around here. Have a great Wednesday, everyone!

-R

When I Should Be Feeling Just Right

Have you ever thought what it would have been like to be Duran Duran in 1982? 1984? What would life have been like to be so popular that there was mass hysteria from fans wherever you went? What was it like to have press and the media following you around all of the time? What about a schedule that just didn’t stop? From what I have heard/read, they didn’t get a lot of sleep and certainly didn’t get many days off.

When I was younger, the idea of having an intense life like that appealed to me. I remember thinking in college about how I would do better and be more successful if I found that one thing to focus on. After all, I grew up reading about how passionate Duran Duran was about their career and how that translated to success. My goodness, who hasn’t heard the story about how John and Nick mapped it out in that they would be playing Hammersmith by 1982, Wembly by 1983 and Madison Square Garden by 1984. I looked up to this goal-setting, this focus, and certainly the work ethic I saw. Internalizing that, I believed that this is how success is made.

Then, of course, as the years have gone on, I don’t see quite the same level of intensity. The band does not work seven days a week for 52 weeks a year. No, they take more breaks than they did in 1982 or 1984. I know that this bothers some fans. Heck, it has bothered me before. I remember the time in between All You Need Is Now and Paper Gods in which I wrote countless blogs about how the band needs to hurry up, get to work and get some new music out there. I wasn’t saying that to be a jerk. No, it came from my love for the band. I figured two things. One, if they hurried up, they would have a better chance to capitalize on the momentum they had created with AYNIN. Two, that extreme work ethic proved successful in the past so why wouldn’t it now? Whenever blog posts like that were written, there would always be push-back as people didn’t see the urgency that I felt at the time. Interestingly enough, when people disagreed with me, the reasoning had to do, most of the time, with the idea that you cannot rush art. They need time to create. Very few people commented about how they deserve to *not* have to work all the flipping time.

I admit that I never really considered that side of the argument then. I struggled to see the big picture because I was so emotionally invested. My desire to continue the wave we were on with AYNIN shut out other considerations. Now, though, I see things differently.

As most of you know, ’tis the season for going back to school. In Madison, the kids return the day after Labor Day. Typically, this would mean that this week and next would be spent getting one’s classroom ready, including setting up, planning lessons, etc. This year, though, I have been at work every single day for the past two weeks. Is my classroom ready? No. What about my lessons? Ha. That’s funny. Nope. No way. Instead of all that, I have been busy working on a number of committees. One is to plan special sessions for our incoming 9th graders on their first day. That will be completely over soon. Another one is to implement a new plan, policy and procedure for students late to class. The bulk of the work for that is almost done. The last few are ongoing committees that will meet periodically. While I’m proud of the work that has been done, it has been rather intense or extreme.

The meetings have been mentally exhausting leaving me with little energy or brain power to get anything else done. Then, I have had plans in the evening all week. Many of those are fun but added to my current workload leaves me with little down time and precious few minutes to do anything else that I want or need to do. In the past, I have accepted some of this as the normal path to success. After all, Duran Duran lived and breathed their work for years and it equaled big time success. Heck, I have even been known to seek out more vigorous work with campaigns. Right now, though, I see and feel things differently. I would love a little less extreme. There should be time to do what must be done for work without giving up time to work on our research project or time to get my household chores done.

I have no doubt that the amazing work ethic and extreme focus helped Duran Duran in the early 1980s. I don’t question how it has also led me into success at my jobs. Now, though, I long for a happy medium, a nice balance. I cannot criticize how Duran Duran worked on Paper Gods or the current project as I feel like I get it in a different way now. Intensity is not always the way to go. On that note, I’m off to work for another meeting. I kid you not.

-A

Still In My Heart: Remembering Live Aid & The Power Station

By Jason Lent

Another Live Aid comes and goes and, as always, people have their annual chuckle about Simon LeBon missing a note during Duran Duran’s indifferent performance on the momentous day. For me, Live Aid arrived only four days after my first rock-n-roll concert and my ears were still ringing. As much as I wanted to see Duran Duran, it was The Power Station that had me glued to the television. A few nights earlier, my father took me to the outskirts of Florida civilization to witness John and Andy’s side-project at the infamous Hollywood Sportatorium. The excitement of seeing The Power Station certainly made it easier to accept the splintering mess that Duran Duran had become.


Duran Duran had played the Hollywood Sportatorium, affectionately called the Vomitorium for its lawless behavior, a year prior in March of 1984. Being a school night, I wasn’t able to convince my parents that it was the most important night of my life and I had to be there. They chalked it up to being a music crazed eleven year-old but I was serious. I knew Duran Duran were at their peak and I’ve always regretted missing that tour. My dad came through in 1985 and we stood in line for tickets as soon as the unexpected Power Station tour was announced. 


The videos for “Some Like It Hot” and “Get It On (Bang A Gong)” were colorful, sexy, and rocking. The album was an instant favorite for me whereas Arcadia’s album has taken years to fully win me over (and it has). For a first concert, I could do far worse than The Power Station and my excitement built and built as we drove down a one lane highway towards to Florida Everglades in the middle of empty fields. While South Florida eventually paved its way west into the Everglades, in 1985 the Sportatorium sat alone on the edge of civilization. We were on an adventure in my 12 year-old mind!


The decrepit arena lived up to its reputation. A few weeks earlier, a Robert Plant concert was postponed due to rain which wouldn’t be that odd except the Sportatorium was actually indoors! The crumbing ceiling was a sieve. Upon arrival, we climbed up the side of the concrete box to section 117 after a stop at the merch table to buy a concert program which I still have to this day. The scheduled support act Spandau Ballet had pulled out due to someone blowing out a knee and, I think, The Bongos might have opened the show. Can anyone confirm that? I just learned they had a song called “Barbarella” so there’s that. Regardless, I don’t remember the support act and the arena’s acoustics were a sound engineer’s nightmare so it could have been Poison and I wouldn’t have noticed.


Thinking back on concerts in the 1980s, I really miss the way they started. The excitement of the first song felt bigger back then from Jon Bon Jovi shooting from under the stage to Howard Jones’ mime winding up an audience. The opening riff of “Murderess” is still burned into my memory. As the curtains pulled back, Andy Taylor’s guitar sliced through the clouds of pot smoke and enveloped my entire being. This was rock-n-roll! I was hooked for life.  


The setlist was a mix of somewhat odd covers and the entire debut album. One of the biggest memories of the night was Miami Vice star Don Johnson joining the band on stage for a cover of  Rod Stewart’s “Some Guys Have All the Luck”. One of the most interesting songs would have been The Velvet Underground classic “White Light/White Heat” but I don’t remember it and I wouldn’t have known the VU back then. The Animotion cover of “Obsession” that DesBarres cowrote was a bigger deal to me on that night. Looking back at the setlist, I’m surprised that there were only two Duran Duran songs played (“The Reflex” and “Hungry Like the Wolf”) but I was so overwhelmed by the concert that I left on a high. 


A few days later, I spent a Saturday shifting from the living room couch to the front lawn to kick a soccer ball around awaiting the Duran Duran and The Power Station slots at Live Aid. The Power Station came out swinging at Live Aid, perhaps trying a little too hard. DesBarres runs all over the place while John and Andy play everything a little too fast. Tony Thompson, always a massive hitter, fills the stadium with ease but he was certainly thinking ahead to his set with Led Zeppelin a few hours later.


Next up was Duran Duran and it was quickly apparent that there was trouble in paradise. Roger Taylor looks completely sick of being in Duran Duran and the other four are clearly operating from two different camps. Andy Taylor sounds like he wants to bury Simon and Nick under a wall of distortion and John looks a bit ragged from his lifestyle. This is not a healthy band and Andy’s disgusted look to the stars when Simon misses the infamous note was a portent of what was to come. The fallout of Live Aid changed Duran Duran, and me, forever.


What happened after Live Aid comes back to me in pieces. I definitely didn’t buy Andy Taylor’s Thunder out of loyalty to Duran Duran but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the singles. The Power Station concert had opened my ears to dirtier guitars just in time for the rise of glam metal on MTV. When Notorious arrived, it was such a break from where Duran Duran had left off that it pushed me deeper into the world of Whitesnake and David Lee Roth, both of whom I saw at the Hollywood Sportatorium before it was torn down to the disappointment of absolutely no one. 


I finally saw Duran Duran in 1989 at the Miami Arena, which replaced the Sportatorium for us in South Florida. Empty seats and a lack of energy is what little I remember from the night. It was a difficult time to love Duran Duran but a lot of the songs on Big Thing and Notorious have aged better than Seven & the Ragged Tiger for me. Maybe The Power Station saved Duran Duran from themselves. It gave Andy an exit strategy, it finally forced them to address the divide that formed between the five men, and it forced Duran Duran to find a new sound in the aftermath. The Power Station also lit a fire in my soul for rock-n-roll that burns to this day. Other people have “cooler” first concerts to brag about but I wouldn’t trade that night in 1985 for any of them. 

Jason’s Power Station ticket from 1985!

Part of a Celluloid Dream

So, anybody got that trip to Iceland booked yet???

Me neither. *big sigh*

If I rewind back to yesterday

Speaking of sadness, did you know that on this date in 1986, Duran Duran sent out a press release with the announcement that my favorite drummer (and hopefully yours), Roger Taylor, was leaving the band. Headed for greener pastures. “Gentleman farming”, as he later referred to it.

Bah. Whatever.

The good news, of course, is that he came back! Only took him what…17 years or so….before he played live shows with Duran Duran again?

Watching slo-mo going frame by frame

Needless to say, I wasn’t thrilled he left, but I was overjoy upon the announcement of his return! While I don’t love “celebrating” this day each year, I like reminding myself that things change. “This too shall pass”.

I sure hope so.

It’s been a rough week for me personally, Duranies. Positive thoughts go out to those who need them and a reminder that help, love, and support is here and waiting, whenever and however needed. Cheers.

Happy Easter to those who celebrate, and a wonderful weekend to all.

-R

You Catch That Mirror Way Out West

Her name is Rio

True confession time: I love “Rio”.

Hold on, before you click the red “x” in the corner – I know this isn’t breaking news. No, it’s not earth shattering, or really even all that important in the grand scheme of things. Even so, it’s the one song that I don’t ever seem to get tired of.

“Hungry Like the Wolf”? 200% over it. I’m convinced it will outlive the human race. “A View to a Kill”? That’s my cue for Kodak moments – as in, I take pictures. “Come Undone”? It’s fine, but I wouldn’t miss seeing them play it live.

“Rio”? LOVE IT. Can’t imagine a show without it!

I’ve seen you on the beach, and I’ve seen you on TV

I don’t know exactly what it is about that one song. For me, it is pretty much the epitome of Duran Duran. Perhaps it is because Rio was the first Duran Duran album I purchased. Maybe it is because it is likely one of the first videos I ever saw. I have vivid recollection of my friend Marsha calling me on the phone after she saw it for the first time. (Of course she was first. She had her finger on the pulse of anything Duran-related the entire time we were in middle school!) I can remember her cracking up at the idea of Simon falling off of the dock. I remember her description of Nick. “Rhonda, if I didn’t know better, I’d think he was seasick.” Little did she know then that yes, he was! I also recall her explanation of the neon-colored drinks in the champagne glasses – for whatever reason, those always interested me. I couldn’t wait to see the video for myself. It did not disappoint. To this day, when I think of the song and/or video, I think of those drinks!

Growing up in California, we had plenty of beaches around us, but none looked this tropical (and the water definitely was not that clear!). I was captivated by the entire vibe of the song and video. It seemed about as far away from my life as I could get. At the point Rio was released, I don’t think I’d even been on an airplane before. I’d never traveled outside of the state! Antigua?? I thought to myself….what is that?? The imagery stuck with me though. I always felt that it was summer, encapsulated in song.

In the years since, I’ve caught on to the idea that the video isn’t all about glitz and glamour. In fact, the guys look like they trip all over themselves trying to be cool rock stars and get the girl, when in fact they mostly just look like nerds. I never quite picked up on that until adulthood though, and I tend to believe it is because I was so awkward and nerdy myself, that it all seemed normal! <big cheesy grin right here>

Like a birthday or a pretty view

When I was finally able to go to Antigua myself as an adult with three kids and a husband, I insisted that we go to Miller’s Beach – which is where some of the scenes were filmed. Absolutely stunning. You’d swear it wasn’t real, the water is so clear and perfect – and the weather is gorgeous. Naturally, my kids barely remember being there. Our youngest was only about three when we went – the only thing she remembers was having a fresh coconut to drink and deciding it was “awful”. For me though, it was extra special knowing what had been filmed there!

Our Day in Duran History spreadsheet tells me that on this day in 1983, the single “Rio” peaked at #14. I have several thoughts about that which include the following:

  • Only 14?? Really??
  • 1983? That was 36 years ago!!!
  • Where did those 36 years vanish off to?
  • How did Simon get so tan??
  • Why haven’t I ever tried playing the solo from Rio before? (Seriously! Here I am – clarinet player/sax player – and I’ve never ONCE tried it. What?!?)
  • What was in those glasses that Simon drank underwater anyway? Don’t just say food coloring. That’s boring.

She dances on the sand

I know that everyone has “that” song or “those songs” on the set list that they can’t imagine ever being removed. That’s the problem, because I think between all of us – there’s literally no chance of their set list ever changing if they were to take advice from fans. That said, Rio is mine. I can’t imagine not hearing it in a set. Many fans would probably love to see them can it for a while, but I would be sad. I wouldn’t vow to come after them with torches blazing, but I really can’t imagine it not being in their set at all. To me, it is a closer like no other. It ends the party with…what else but a party!

Since I’ve gushed about “Rio” so much, I’m going to watch the video again. It is warming up here in Atascadero. I’ve moved the chickens into their coop (Finally. OMG they are enormous and WAY past the time for being moved out of the house!!), and I heard a crazy rumor that our temperatures are supposed to start soaring next week. It’s time for a brief, visual vacation! Enjoy

– R

From Here to 2009 and Back Again

Think back to 2014, my friends. Do you know what happened on this day?

Simon sent out a short update on #DD14 (which we now know to be Paper Gods), saying they were in the refinement stages – but he didn’t give out names or confirm/deny any other rumors circulating at that time.

It was as though we were gathered outside a studio, waiting for any signs of life from within. There was a gasp, and perhaps a small shriek of victory from the crowd as a tiny window in the door suddenly creaked open. We ran up to the door, essentially climbing over one another, and straining our necks to see whatever there was to see (which wasn’t much). A voice beckoned from beyond, although it was too dark to see much. The voice told us all that yes, they were still in the studio, and no – we could not come in yet. Go home, the voice suggested. Wait for further instructions there, and leave them in peace. The window slammed shut, the crowd sighed in collective disappointment and perhaps a bit of relief, and more silence ensued.

Can you believe that was already FIVE years ago?? I can remember being so nervous about what the end result would be. So many rumors had circulated about what the band had been working on, and in the end – Paper Gods was exactly as it should be. This time around, I’m not nearly as anxious. I think having time and space to work without comments from the Peanut Gallery (that’d be me!) might be helpful. After all, the band didn’t get this far in their career without knowing a thing or two.

So here we are once again, waiting to see what may come. I say, grab a comfy spot on the sofa, because it might be awhile! While we wait, let’s take a look at an oldie but a goody: Songbook, which aired on Sky Arts also on this date in 2009! Truth be told, this is one of my very favorite televised programs from the band, so I don’t have to be coerced much to sit down and watch it again.

I can’t help it – I do love watching these videos. They help boost my mood a bit (I’m suffering from a little bit of missing my two oldest kids today), and who doesn’t need a pick me up every once in a while – right?

Looking forward to the day when I can post news about studio updates, should we be so lucky as to hear of some! Until then, I’m going to start looking for some good older videos to share from good old YouTube. If you’ve got any you’re hoping to find or want to share – let me know!

-R

Duran Duran History: Hammersmith Palais Show 2005

On this date in 2005, Duran Duran played at Hammersmith Palais in London. Ah, 2005 brings back lots of great memories. This, of course, was a few months after Astronaut was released and right before the big Astronaut Tour was to begin. If I had to describe the fandom at that point, I might use the word “electric.” I remember how I felt then as I was all abuzz with excitement every minute of every day.

January 2005 was not only a few months after Astronaut was released but also a few months after I attended the Duran Duran Fan Convention in New Orleans. I felt like I was walking on a cloud each and every day. I never thought I would hear another album from the Fab Five and I certainly did not think that I would meet so many fellow fans like I did in New Orleans in the previous fall. My evenings were spent online at various message boards, especially the much loved DuranDuranFans.com. Everyone (or so it seemed) loved Astronaut and I don’t remember hearing anyone criticize the album. Excitement was also in the air regarding the upcoming tour. While many fans had seen shows in 2004 either in the UK or as part of the few shows the band played at the end of year connected to Christmas or radio shows, people were itching to see the band perform these new songs and to put on a proper tour. Therefore, this particular show felt like the opening as the band was going to play there before heading over to Japan to officially start the tour. (Unfortunately, the Japan shows had to be canceled due to Roger’s broken foot, I believe.)

I remember wishing desperately that I could be at this show. Part of it, I’m sure, was my desire to see which songs from the new album they would play. I also figured that it would provide a sense of what the tour would be like. After the show, I searched for the setlist as well as pictures and clips. Curious as to what they played? According to setlist.fm, here was the setlist that night:

  1. Finest Hour
  2. Hungry Like the Wolf
  3. Hold Back the Rain
  4. Want You More!
  5. Union of the Snake
  6. What Happens Tomorrow
  7. Chains
  8. Astronaut
  9. Ordinary World
  10. Save a Prayer
  11. Bedroom Toys
  12. Notorious (incl. We Are Family snippet)
  13. The Reflex
  14. Nice
  15. (Reach Up for the) Sunrise
  16. The Wild Boys
  17. Girls on Film (Encore)
  18. Rio (Encore)

So, what do you think of that setlist? They played a LOT of songs off of Astronaut. I would say that they played more new songs at this show than any other show I can think of outside of those Broadway shows for Red Carpet Massacre. I can imagine that the band wanted to use this show as practice and to see how the new songs are received. Still…it seems like a ton of new songs.

As I continued to ponder this show, I went to YouTube to see if there were any clips of this show. While I didn’t find video clips, I did find an audio copy of the show. Listen to the show here:

On that note, I’ve got some tunes to listen to while I work on grading revised essays.

-A

Bowie and Time

Am I sitting in a tin can

It’s hard to imagine, but we’ve already been surviving on this planet without David Bowie for three years. Some say that’s when it all really went to hell….

I’m not so sure I’d go as far to make that claim. However, I know a good many of my friends – including those in that band I tend to talk about here and there – that might! I don’t know where those three years went so fast, but they did.

And here we are.

Find yourself in the moment

Also on this date, but in 2011, Time Magazine published a short Q&A with Simon and Nick, on the heels of the release of All You Need is Now. Here, by the grace of the internet, is the link!

Time Magazine Q&A with Simon and Nick

I read through it as there’s only a few questions. I just have to take a second to marvel at how much my own prospective has changed between 2011 and now. The very first question is in regard to the vision of AYNIN as the “imaginary follow-up to Rio“.
Simon explains that Mark Ronson comes from a fan perspective. Mark guided them to create something that truly was the follow up to their second album. Apparently the third album (SATRT) disappointed Mark as a kid.

I remember hearing all about this over and over during the interviews/press junket for AYNIN. It was all about the “follow-up to Rio” back then. What I didn’t pick up on though, was how artfully the band would put that characterization in Mark’s corner. Rather than accept ownership and say that they wanted to make their own imaginary follow-up, they really hand that over to Mark. I’m not saying that wasn’t indeed the case, but in hindsight – I think the wording may have been very telling.

Like a diamond in the mind

In subsequent interviews since then, particularly during the release of Paper Gods, the band has always been careful to say that they already went “back” for AYNIN, and they wouldn’t want to do that again. I think they know that the album was a fan favorite, but I have often wondered if they felt that it was a bit TOO contrived in parts. I’m thinking of “The Man Who Stole a Leopard” or as I think of it – “The Chauffeur, with Different Lyrics”. I like the song, mind you, but it is VERY close, musically, to “The Chauffeur”. Then again, there are other songs on the album, like “Safe”, or even the title track, that definitely hold up on their own and don’t even need to be characterized as a follow-up to Rio.

I’m still tickled I was able to find the the Q&A online, because if nothing else, it gets me thinking about what they could possibly be cooking up for the next one. Obviously, it is incredibly early in the journey. I can’t imagine they’ve had too much time in the studio to do much – but I still enjoy the wide open feeling of possibilities ahead. It is a good way to begin my weekend, which starts NOW.

Until Monday for me…

-R