Category Archives: Las Vegas

Lounge Lizards and Grapefruit

It’s good to be back in true blogging form, I must say.  It’s Monday, January 3rd, and I’ve never been so happy to send my family off to work and school!  I’m almost finished putting the Christmas decorations away and it’s nice to see my house back to normal.  January is cleansing that way, and of course this year there is the added anticipation of news from Duran Duran in the form of tour dates!

This morning, I began my typical Monday perusal of the boards, twitter and facebook only to see that John Taylor had sent out a tweet regarding a discussion on the Coachella boards.  JT’s reply was only “interesting”, but of course it forced me to go and check out the situation.  There have been some murmurings of a rumor that Duran might play at Coachella this year, and this particular thread was deep in discussion over the idea.  Naturally there are some that are in total support of such an idea, and then there are some that think the idea is preposterous.

I was most amused by one comment/question that indicated Duran Duran must only play casinos these days.  Naturally, my initial reaction was that of disgust…”Ha!  Are you kidding me?!? What hole have you been living in, dude?”  But as I sipped my morning coffee, I began to consider the idea.  In 2009, I saw them at The Palms in Las Vegas.  They played at The Pearl, which is a fairly small venue inside of the casino.  Then I drove back to my home in  the good old OC and saw them at the OC fairgrounds, playing at the Pacific Amphitheater – a venue that is only open during the fair (although it’s a decent sized venue).  Prior to that, I flew to the east coast in 2008 and saw them at Foxwoods in Connecticut (a casino resort area), and at the House of Blues in Atlantic City, also at a casino.  In the recent past – they’ve also played at Morongo Casino near Palm Springs California (for the opening of the Key Club – a show I still kick myself for missing), and at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas more than once….oh, and there was also that Andre Agassi charity gig in Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena as well.  Funny how my irritation began to dissolve into a smile as I drank my coffee and considered the situation a bit further.  At this point, I think it’s fair to say that yes, Duran Duran does play casinos.  They also play county fairs, the House of Blue venues, smaller theaters, arena openings such as the Sears Arena outside of Chicago, other arenas such as the Allstate Arena (also near Chicago),  Staples Center here in Los Angeles, Madison Square Garden in New York City, and even some festivals such as Lovebox in the UK, and Voodoo in New Orleans.

So, not only is it fair to say they play casinos, but they play a variety of different venues – and often times, all within the same tour.  Duran Duran isn’t a group that is likely to be pegged as just a casino band, nor are they the type of band that will only be able to play stadiums or arenas, and that’s just the way we like it as fans.  Let’s face it, it’s good to see the band being able to draw enough of a crowd to fill an arena, but it’s really fun to be in a smaller venue with them, too.  I can’t imagine that they can make the same sort of connection with fans in a huge stadium as what they can do at a small theater or at the House of Blues – but the fact is, they are versatile enough to be able to do it all and do it well.  I know some bands out there that are very popular and yet don’t have enough of a stage presence to be able to command their way out of a hotel room much less a small stage or heaven-forbid Madison Square Garden.

It’s funny that back when I was a kid – the only groups I knew of that played Vegas were the washed-up kind.  There were also visions of the Rat Pack, and older stars that found a final stage in which to perform their retirement away.  Vegas was a different place back then, though.  The super-resorts and attractions we see now were not much more than a glimmer in someone’s eye back then.  Nowadays, Vegas has a life completely of it’s own.  Concert venues attract artists of every genre, and the Rat Pack is remembered only by those old enough to have seen the transformation of Vegas from a small gambling town to a world-class resort destination.  As a direct result, other casinos across the country have gained respect and become far more than meccas for glitter, rhinestones, smoke and fanny packs.  My point being of course that Duran Duran are far more than lounge lizards – but naturally if you’re reading this blog on a regular basis, I probably don’t have to tell you that.

As for playing Coachella, which by the way is the grapefruit growing capital of the world (and is REALLY hot during the late spring, summer and early fall), I’m really not sure.  I know that with each year, the talk of the band playing Coachella has grown a  bit.  I know the festival attracts thousands of fans, as most festivals do.  There is a wide variety of artists and bands that play Coachella, but I wouldn’t be a fair judge of what would or would not attract a crowd. There was discussion about whether the band should be a headliner, a sub-headliner on one of the smaller stages, or if they should play at all.  I just know that Duran Duran played Voodoo in New Orleans a few years back, and I almost lost my life trying to watch them.  That’s where my interest in festivals ended, and it remains that way, Duran Duran or not!  I’m certainly of the age where I feel that it shouldn’t take so much work to simply watch a band – nor should it risk my life to do so.  That said, I’ll be waiting at the casino bar for them.  🙂

-R