Category Archives: set lists

I said I wasn’t going to write about the set anymore

I swore I wouldn’t talk about the set list again…but then I did. As I’m asking myself “When will you EVER learn, Rhonda”, I figure I may as well write about it.

This past weekend, I saw a post on Facebook regarding the band’s set list. I read through the comments because, well, of course I did.  A question came up about whether or not the band plays a lot of their B-sides. Not deep album cuts, not bonus tracks, but B-sides. I felt like I could answer the question without getting myself into a huge discussion or trouble.

I responded by saying that as a rule, they really stick to the songs most people know. Not a controversial statement by any means, and I know well enough to stay away from the emotional side of that. How I may have felt about whether or not they played Late Bar or Secret Oktober, for instance, was immaterial to that conversation. Best to stay matter of fact and move on. I answered pretty offhandedly, without a lot of flowery words, and moved on to the rest of my day.

Later that night, I picked up my phone again, only to see that more comments had in fact been made. The conversation went from discussing the actual set list, to a sideways chat about who should be blamed (meaning band member). There was a time when I might have joined in, joking along. The KEY word in that sentence is “joking”, but even back then, some people would take us seriously.

Nowadays? Oh hell no, I’m not looking for that kind of fight, because when I say something, it’s seen and broadcasted as Daily Duranie is saying something.  I get it, and I’m not even going to step one little toe into all of that. The last thing I need, is to have the word get out that Rhonda from Daily Duranie is blaming Roger (purely for example and no, I don’t blame anyone!) for the set list. Ah, no. No I am not. Have fun fellow Duranies, and I’ll see myself out.

I did eventually go back and clarify my comment because I am a sucker for punishment and couldn’t just let it go.  As I said last night, the band has a fantastic problem.  They have a large catalog of great songs to choose from, and there’s no way to please everyone. They also continue to attract an audience of NOT just die-hard fans, but a wide variety of people. Many of those only know Duran’s hits, and while that might bother some – the band would be foolish to ignore that there are people in that audience that only know songs like “Rio” and “Hungry Like the Wolf”.  It’s just not all that simple. I think it’s pretty obvious I’d go to the shows no matter whether they play the same set list ten times, or they switch it up.

I’ve been to shows where the band left of “The Reflex”, for example. I would go home feeling great about the gig, and there would be people on Facebook complaining about how their favorite song was left out. People would say they’d never been to a show before and that their only wish was to hear that song, and since it wasn’t played the entire concert was ruined for them. I don’t know if the band ever reads or hears about that kind of thing, but it would send me straight over the edge if I were them. I’d get to the point where I’d probably play all of the hits, fearing more comments like that if I didn’t. Particular so, if I were the least bit sensitive.

Huh. Maybe there is something to that set list thing, after all.

And, while I’m at it – they’re not the only band to stick to the same set for an entire tour or more. I saw Chic when they played on the bill with DD quite a bit during the Paper Gods tour. Every night, they played the same set list, right down to Nile’s speech about getting cancer.  I was amazed that every single night, Nile was able to keep up the energy and excitement, even when he spoke – because it was the same show. Yet I danced and felt energized. Every single night, without fail, I’d tell Amanda that I wasn’t going to dance (out of being tired), and yet there I’d go, up and at ’em before the first song was even over. Those shows were among some of the best I’ve ever seen, too.

On the same token, I’ve been to shows where a band has decided to showcase their deepest cuts, songs that only the most ardent of fans would know – and I’ve been bored stiff. I saw The Cure many years ago, and they didn’t play a single hit. I left early out of boredom, and I’m not sorry.  I’m not a huge fan of The Cure, and while I appreciated that they wanted to play for their fans, this was at a festival. Judging by the amount of people who were leaving with me, I wasn’t alone in my boredom.

Actually, Duran Duran had gone on right before The Cure that night, and they played songs everyone knew. I was way the hell back on the lawn, and even back there, the crowd was wild, dancing away throughout their set. So, I can’t really find the words to complain when Duran Duran decides to play what people know.

No, the band is never going to get it perfect for every single person. I know plenty of fans who stopped going to shows during the Paper Gods tour because as they put it, “The shows are all the same and I’m not going to pay $400 or more to see the band play the same set over and over again.”  I can’t argue with them either. They certainly have a point. Maybe Duran Duran isn’t expecting their fans to go to ten or fifteen shows on every tour. I would venture to guess most people don’t.  Those that do, well, we should expect to hear the same basic set list at least most of the time and not complain.

The band really can’t win, though. It took me a while to see that and really get it. After all, I complained about the set list for many years – something that I can’t pretend didn’t happen. That said, I can’t keep finding fault with a band who is trying to entertain their audience as best they can. Sure, I’d love to hear a B-side or bonus track thrown in for good measure, and every now and then, it HAS happened. As a rule, the band does stick to the songs most people know or have at least heard before. But every now and then, they shock the heck out of me and play something I never thought I’d hear. I’m not going to complain about those moments.

This is why I’m not going to keep writing about the set list. I’m not going to complain about specific songs anymore, either. Sure, Nick might peer down from his “Great Keyboard Rig on the Stage” and watch my reaction during the first few notes of “Hungry Like the Wolf”, but I don’t need to write about that.

All any of you need to know is that yes, even after fifty shows, I’m still going back for more. It obviously doesn’t matter what they play, I’m still on board, and I still love it every single time.

If that’s not an endorsement to convince others to go see a band, I don’t know what is.

-R

 

 

Recommended Setlist

For months, the topic of the Duran Duran’s set lists has been a frequently talked about one throughout Duranland.  Many people complained and we took note.  In fact, we then spent months asking people various questions in an attempt to understand what fans really want in a setlist.

We asked the following questions and got the following results:

  • What songs have you never heard live and which one would you like to hear live the most?  Like an Angel
  • What songs have you rarely heard live and which one would you like to hear live the most?  Hold Back the Rain
  • What songs have you heard live a lot and which one would you prefer that they left out?  Hallucinating Elvis
  • What songs out of the recent set lists have you heard a lot and would prefer that they leave out? What are the Chances
  • Which song would you just love if the band added it to the setlist? New Religion

Then, of course, I asked people to send me their lists of the 17 songs they want to hear most in this blog here.  The most common songs were:

Planet Earth
All You Need Is Now
New Religion
Wild Boys
The Chauffeur
New Moon on Monday
Save a Prayer
Pressure Off
Hold Back the Rain
Nice
Union of the Snake
Before the Rain
Come Undone
Rio
What Are the Chances
A View to a Kill
Paper Gods

Based on all this information, I’m going to attempt to create the setlist that fans most want to see.  Obviously, I acknowledge that this isn’t very scientific.  I also readily admit that my doing this shows that I’m a little geeky.  Okay, I’m a lot geeky, but this kind of thing doesn’t hurt anyone, right?  That’s what I figured.

I’ll start with the most recently used setlist then will substitute, add and subtract as necessary.  The songs that people want them to keep based on the list above, I will underline.

Paper Gods
Wild Boys
Hungry like the Wolf
A View to a Kill
Come Undone
Last Night in the City
What Are the Chances
Notorious
Pressure Off
Planet Earth
Ordinary World
I Don’t Want Your Love
White Lines
Sunrise
New Moon on Monday
The Reflex
Girls on Film
Save a Prayer
Rio

Now, that I know the songs to keep, I will begin to substitute where I can.

  • Hold Back the Rain will replace Hungry Like the Wolf
  • New Religion will replace Last Night in the City
  • All You Need Is Now will replace Notorious
  • Like an Angel will replace Ordinary World
  • The Chauffeur will replace I Don’t Want Your Love
  • Nice will replace White Lines
  • Union of the Snake will replace Sunrise
  • Before the Rain will replace The Reflex

Girls on Film is the only left that people felt could be removed.  For the sake of this exercise, I will just leave it.

The new setlist then would look like this:

Paper Gods
Wild Boys
Hold Back the Rain
A View to a Kill
Come Undone
New Religion
What Are the Chances
All You Need Is Now
Pressure Off
Planet Earth
Like an Angel
The Chauffeur
Nice
Union of the Snake
New Moon on Monday
Before the Rain
Girls on Film
Save a Prayer
Rio

Now, I’m sure that many of you reading this (maybe most of you?  all of you?) disagree with some of these songs.  I know that I do.  (Really–Come Undone????  Still???  A View to a Kill????)  Yet, I did my best to combine a lot of fans’ wishes, hopes, desires surrounding the setlist.

The next question then is what about the order?!  😉

-A

But You Have to Make a Choice

Last weekend, I wrote a blog about how fans have been wishing, hoping, begging for Duran Duran to mix up their set lists.  Yet, when I have asked about which songs to remove from the set list, most fans didn’t really want to drop those “classics”.  We all know the ones I am referring to, songs like Hungry Like the Wolf, A View to a Kill, etc.  To read the entire blog, go here.

After I posted the blog, many people expressed everything from shock by the fans’ choices to frustration about the lack of set list variety.  While no one doubted what I found from our daily polls, some questioned if the format ended up forcing fans to continue to choose the “classics”.  Fair enough.  I recognize that how questions are asked matters.  A friend of ours suggested that instead of having fans pick a song or two to be removed from the set list that I should offer fans the ability to just pick the set list from scratch with no songs to start from.  I liked the idea.

So, here is what I’m proposing.  I am asking everyone to pick the 17 songs that you want to hear live most!  Then, once you have picked that list, send it to us.  You can send the list to us in a variety of methods:  email, Facebook message and/or Twitter DM.  Ideally, I would love responses in 2 weeks by October 7th.

Here are the directions:

  • Pick the 17 songs you want to hear the most at a Duran Duran show.
  • The songs do not have to meet any criteria other than what you want to hear/see live the most.
  • The songs do not have to be placed in the order of a typical show unless you want to.
  • Send completed lists to us at our email, our Facebook or our Twitter
  • Lists must sent to us by Friday, October 7th.

After that, I will look through the lists and see if fans really do prefer the classics or if it was just about how I asked the question.  To help you think of some possible songs to include, here are some set lists from different tours.

1987:
A View to a Kill
Notorious
American Science
Union of the Snake
New Religion
Election Day
Some Like It Hot
The Chauffeur
Skin Trade
Hold Me
Is There Something I Should Know?
Hungry Like the Wolf
The Wild Boys
The Reflex

2000:
Fragment
Kiss Goodbye
Last Day on Earth
Union of the Snake
Hungry Like the Wolf
Playing With Uranium
Come Undone
Anyone Out There
Pop Trash Movie
Girls on Film
Save a Prayer
Hallucinating Elvis
White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It)
Mars Meets Venus
All She Wants Is
I Don’t Want Your Love
Notorious
A View to a Kill
The Reflex
Encore:
Ordinary World
The Wild Boys
Rio

2006:
Hungry Like the Wolf
Union of the Snake
Serious
Nice
Come Undone
What Happens Tomorrow
Hold Back the Rain
Some Like It Hot
My Own Way
The Reflex
The Chauffeur
Ordinary World
Save a Prayer
A View to a Kill
Notorious
(Reach Up for the) Sunrise
The Wild Boys
Encore:
Girls on Film
Rio

Let’s hope that this has your brains working a bit!  I can’t wait to see what songs you include!!!

-A

We Fans Choose the Setlist Only In Dreams

This week I’ve seen a few tweets from Anna letting us know that she’s getting back into Duran Duran touring mode, posting songs and evening mentioning informal rehearsals. The band themselves have been very, very quiet – only Dom poking his head up long enough to post yet another RIP tweet, this time for Sir George Martin.

As I mentioned, Anna has posted a couple of songs on her FB page this week, and naturally those always seem to get responses from fans hoping out loud that they’ll play one song or another. Not much changes from tour to tour – fans want it all and then some. I would imagine the band could play for hours and we’d still be crying for more, wouldn’t we?

Just today, Anna posted Only In Dreams – a song that was not played here in the US for their tour in October.  I realize that some readers may believe I keep track of what is played and when, but the truth is that unless they’ve omitted Hungry Like the Wolf, added Secret Oktober, or played something else I haven’t heard in a while, I’m probably not going to notice, and certainly not when it’s a show I didn’t attend. So I’d forgotten that they’d played Only In Dreams on their recent UK tour in December as I thought to myself that it’s another song I’d really love to hear live. Just as I’d posted that though, another fan or two said that they didn’t think the song “worked” live and that there are plenty other, better songs, on the album.

First of all, I chuckled when I saw the comments because, let’s face it, if you’re Duran Duran – there’s really no winning this setlist thing. People like ME are always going to say they’ve heard certain songs entirely too much, people like some of YOU are going to say that it’s not a Duran Duran show unless you hear <insert any hit they’ve ever had here>. There’s no winning because someone is always going to be pissed off that they didn’t play one thing or another. And truthfully, that’s our problem, isn’t it?

I’ve spent more than my fair share of writing time campaigning for one song or another – I use my platform well (whether it’s effective or not!), but the reality is that the band is gonna play what they want and we’re going to like it and keep going, or we’re not.  And if I’m any proof, it turns out that many of us are going to grit our teeth and sing our way through as many shows as we can manage each tour.

Secondly though, I thought about what the person said about Only In Dreams not really “working” live. Interestingly enough, I saw more than one person mention that it’s a relatively slow song and  wanes in energy. That can be a hazard for live shows, I suppose. I remember seeing the Red Carpet Massacre tour, and there were a couple of songs from that album that created something of a vacuum in the venue, sucking the energy right out of the room. Once that happens, it’s very difficult to get the audience back “up”. It’s a vicious circle beyond that, because the band feeds off of the crowd’s energy and vice-versa. For me, Only In Dreams is a song I love because it reminds me so much of what it is like to be a fan, but that doesn’t necessarily translate well to others in the audience, and with the song being slower than say, “Pressure Off”…. Well, I can understand if it’s not the set list.

Another song that is often mentioned and hasn’t been performed (to my knowledge anyway!) is The Universe Alone. The song is huge, epic, and probably the masterpiece off of that album. I don’t even know if it is a song they can perform – but it is certainly one that they should. I could go on like this all day, but only the band knows what they are willing and ready to play, and I know that no matter what they play, many of us will be ready to tell them they should have played X, Y & Z instead!

So, if you could have them add a song or two from Paper Gods that hasn’t been played yet, what would you suggest and why?

-R

For a Point of View–Setlists

As a teacher of history, one of my big goals for my students is to understand perspective, or how one’s point of view shapes how someone sees or thinks about an event.  I teach them to find multiple perspectives on an event, a person, a time period in order to come to their own conclusions.  Lately, I have been trying hard to do that outside of my classroom but in real life.  It isn’t easy to do as so many/most/almost all/all of us want to jump to snap judgements based on OUR OWN perspective without thinking of how someone else might see a situation.  Thus, I find myself stopping those initial judgements in order to think from someone’s else point of view.  I have been trying to do that with my students, with my colleagues, with my family, with my friends and even with Duran Duran.  I did that just last week when I watched the latest Katy Kafe and John said that they weren’t planning on changing up the setlist for the US Tour.  Before I reacted too much, I stopped and thoughts about how he must see the setlist, how some fans might see the setlist versus other fans, etc.  Here is my attempt to see it from multiple perspectives.

John Taylor’s Perspective

Now, I have no idea really WHY John might want to keep the setlist as it is but here’s is what I imagined he might be thinking.  First, the setlist worked well in the UK.  From everything I saw and heard, the reviews from the shows there were nothing but fabulous.  If it isn’t broken, why fix it?  Second, the band, the supporting players, the crew all know the setlist now and have gotten comfortable with it.  There is a better chance that these upcoming shows will rock because of this level of comfort and from all the practice the setlist has received.  There is also no need for additional practice before the tour starts allowing more time to rest, relax, be with family, be at home, work on other projects, etc.  Lastly, he might also feel that the most recent setlist is the best way to showcase the latest album, Paper Gods, without alienating those fans who came just to hear the hits.  All of these reasons make a great deal of sense to me.  I definitely understand why he might not want to mix up the setlist.

Some Fans’ Perspective

Some fans might definitely LOVE the idea of keeping the same setlist as the one used in the UK in the fall.  First, maybe, some fans desperately want to hear the songs on the setlist.  Maybe their favorite song is on it and a change in the setlist might mean that they don’t hear it.  For example, the band was playing a brief snippet of New Moon on Monday.  For many fans, they are dying to hear that live as they figured that they never would.  EVER.  For other fans, they don’t get to see Duran Duran live much.  Perhaps, for them, the setlist doesn’t really matter all that much.  They are so appreciative of seeing the band at all that they aren’t going to even give the setlist another thought.  They don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth or be ungrateful.  Again, these are good reasons for wanting to keep the setlist the same!

Other Fans’ Perspective

Other fans might see the lack of any change with the setlist for the upcoming US tour to be problematic or disappointing.  Some fans do attend more than one show.  They want the shows they are present at to be different, unique.  If each show is no longer special, some of those fans will choose not to go to multiple shows in the future.  This will definitely affect the band in a couple of different ways.  First, they will sell less concert tickets.  Second, the crowds will feel very, very different.  Now, at each show, there are always fans who meet up with other fans at multiple shows.  This creates an increase in energy and enthusiasm as fans get excited not only to see the show but also to see/meet friends.  This energy gets fed back to the band on stage, which probably make the shows better, both for the band and for the audience.  Better, more fun shows, in turn leads people to want to go to more shows, whether that is now or in the future.  That seems like a good thing to me!  What if there are people, for this tour, who have tickets to multiple shows, and they go to the concerts hoping for something new and they don’t get it.  Instead of being excited at those shows, they might become bored, frustrated.  I think that could have a huge impact on the enjoyment for everyone else, including the rest of the crowd and for the band.

Conclusion

I absolutely admit that I’m one of those who goes to multiple shows.  I often get asked, “Why do you go to more than one show?  Aren’t they all the same?”  At those moments, I take a deep breath and begin to explain WHY I go to multiple shows.  I tell the person about how each show can be so different and that Duran Duran can mix up their set lists.  I explain how even an additional new song or two can really change the feel of a show or a tour.  Let me give an example.  When Rhonda and I saw the band play Secret Oktober in Brighton in 2011, it set the tone.  We knew that show and the tour was going to be amazing and they were.  That moment convinced me to fight any and all jet lag and just have a ton of fun.  Do I worry about how much fun people will have if Duran doesn’t change the setlist up at all for the upcoming tour?  I do.  I worry about all the reasons I mentioned.  Thus, I have to say my conclusion remains the same as it initially was.  Duran Duran should mix up the setlist some for the upcoming US Tour or for any tour, for that matter.  While I can appreciate the band’s possible perspective or the perspectives of other fans who want the setlist as is, I still think, in the end, changing it up some during the tour is best for everyone.  This doesn’t necessarily mean having a completely different setlist each night but switching it up a bit would help to keep people on their toes and excited!

-A

They Played…WHAT?!?

Last night, Duran Duran opened up their UK Tour in Manchester.  While that event would be significant enough to blog about, it became very clear that the focus of today’s blog would be something much more specific after seeing and receiving tweets, posts, etc. about last night’s setlist!  If you haven’t seen it yet, let me post it here:

Manchester Setlist

General Observations

Now, if you know anything about me, I could probably analyze this setlist for hours.  I will try to refrain from going overboard to just give a few observations.  First, before I even dive into the setlist itself, I notice that at the very top of this setlist are the words, “Version 7”.  I guess that means that there were 6 versions before that!  I am well-aware of how much debate, discussion, etc. goes into the band’s setlist and this just proved it to me once again.  I would love to know what was on the other versions!  Something else I noticed before I get to the songs themselves is the number of tracks and how some clearly blended into each other.  If you count each song played (partially or otherwise), the band played 22 songs.  Not bad.  That said, 5 of those songs were blended together.  The first one being Sunrise and New Moon.  My understanding is that they didn’t play  all of New Moon.  The other part of the setlist with blended tracks included Danceophobia, Too Much Information and Girls on Film.  They did the same for the US tour.  In that case, I have to assume that they played almost all of those tracks.  (If I’m wrong on this, Manchester attendees, let me know!)

Surprise Songs

By now, everyone in Duranland has probably seen or heard that Duran busted out some unexpected songs!  The first one, Only in Dreams, was a new one off of Paper Gods.  This brought the number of Paper Gods tracks up to 6 from the 5 that they had been playing in the US.  I have been anxiously refreshing YouTube to see if anyone has put this video up for the world to see.  So far, no Only in Dreams.

The next surprise song was Love Voodoo!  If someone would have said that they would have played this one without me getting lots of confirmations that they did, I wouldn’t have believed him/her.  This is not a song that often gets in my radar but, from what I could tell, people were absolutely thrilled that they decided to dive into an album track like this one!  Like Only in Dreams, I haven’t seen anything on YouTube but I did see a clip on Duran Duran Argentina’s Facebook page, if you are interested!

Of course, the biggest surprise and probably the most welcome for many fans was the inclusion of New Moon on Monday.  This is a song that many, many, many fans love and figured that they would never have a chance to hear live, including myself.  I would love to hear any or all of it live.  I know that some attendees were disappointed that the band didn’t play the whole song, which I can understand, but I figure that some is better than nothing!  This one I did find on YouTube and I have to admit that it sounds absolutely fabulous!!!

Other Reactions

In general, most fans seem to be thrilled with this setlist!  While, yes, some might argue (and probably rightly so) that there still could be more changes, fans do appreciate that they included these surprise tracks.  Many US fans, for example, expressed hope that they continue playing songs like New Moon when the band comes back to the States.  I can’t blame them as I feel the same way.

While most of the reactions were generally positive, there were still some fans who pondered the decision to include representation of some albums over others.  Let’s look at album distribution from this setlist:

First Album – Planet Earth, Girls on Film (2 songs)
Rio – Hungry Like the Wolf, Save a Prayer, Rio (3 songs)
Seven and the Ragged Tiger – New Moon on Monday (1 song)
Wild Boys and A View to a Kill
Notorious – Notorious (1 song)
Big Thing – I Don’t Want Your Love (1 song)
Liberty- (0 songs)
Wedding Album – Come Undone, Love Voodoo, Ordinary World, Too Much Information (4 songs)
Thank You – White Lines (1 song)
Medazzaland- (0 songs)
Pop Trash- (0 songs)
Astronaut – Sunrise (1 song)
Red Carpet Massacre- (0 songs)
All You Need Is Now- (0 songs)
Paper Gods – Paper Gods, Last Night in the City, Only in Dreams, Pressure Off, Danceophobia, What Are the Chances (6 songs)

Clearly, Paper Gods ruled the setlist.  What is interesting to me is how the Wedding Album wasn’t that far behind.  In fact, they played more tracks from that album than Rio!  That is a lot!  Then, of course, there weren’t any from Liberty, Medazzaland, Pop Trash, and Red Carpet Massacre.  Generally, none of those albums were fan favorites so that is not surprising that there wasn’t any representation in the setlist.  Some fans did wonder why there wasn’t any representation from All You Need Is Now.  That is a question I can’t answer.  Some fans felt strongly that this was an insult since so many fans loved that album.  While I, too, love that album, I have to assume that they aren’t playing anything off it for a good reason.

No matter the reaction to last night’s setlist, one thing is certain.  I’m anxious to see what the rest of the set lists looks like from here on out!

-A

Duran Duran’s Set List: A Commentary

Duran Duran’s set list is a topic of conversation that is not just argued about amongst band members. It is a subject that comes up any time there might be the announcement of shows. First comes the flurry of excitement that comes with ticket sales and so forth, and before long, Duran Duran’s set list becomes the hot topic.

Even here on Daily Duranie, the set list comes up often. We probably add to the discussion through our daily polls and my complaints of Hungry Like the Wolf over the years. There are those, like myself, that feel as though it’s time for set list makeover; and then there are those who always chime in at the right moment to say “I’ll take anything!!”

Since the War Child UK show will take place tomorrow, the band has been rehearsing in their studio space to prepare.  Luckily for fans, pictures have been shared and posted online. One of the photos includes one of the computers with tracks listed across the top (if you have a magnifying glass…my 44-year old eyes can’t see the print, even WITH the Lasik I had done!), and it was dully noted that Duran Duran’s set list appears to be much of the same as it has been for the past ten years. While this certainly wasn’t surprising (John himself commented in a recent Katy Kafe that they wouldn’t be playing new music), it was noted that it is a shame so many other albums and songs are ignored in favor of solely playing the most recognizable songs in their catalog.

A few of us were lamenting over Duran Duran’s set list,  and one fairly well-known figure from the band’s crew commented in defense of the band, saying that fans really don’t understand the amount of time it takes to put songs into Duran Duran’s set list. This person noted the amount of time the tech staff needs (at least one full day per song), and then rehearsal time for the band members that probably do not know the song. (I am assuming the band mentioned are not John, Roger, Simon or Nick…but instead people such as Anna, Dom, Simon Willescroft and whatever percussionists are involved.) For all of that additional time requires more hotel stay for whomever needs it, and all of that time adds up to money out-of-pocket.

My first thought upon reading all of this was that it’s a shame technology has gotten in the way of just playing the damn songs. My second thought, and the one I chose to reply with, was that it is sad.  And it is. It is sad to me that out of the hundreds of songs in their catalog, or any band’s catalog for that matter, it comes down to a mere twenty or twenty-five that get played with any kind of regularity. In many cases, those twenty are not even the best songs, but instead the ones that the public knows, because otherwise, as this crew member mentioned – you’ll have the audience staring at their watches waiting for the next hit.

For me it is truly a double-edged sword that this band is so well-loved by people who don’t know them at all beyond possibly Union of the Snake. (and I will bet my next cup of coffee that there will be people in the audience tomorrow evening that don’t even know THAT song.) In many ways, those folks ruin it for the rest of us, the dreaded diehards. However, those “You mean the band has other albums that came out after Notorious??” people are honestly the band’s bread and butter. It isn’t me – lover of “Secret Oktober”, and “Late Bar” – that the band counts on. I wish it were. Instead, it is the people who know what Rio sounds like, remember the band from their videos in the 80’s, and might even know that the band is responsible for “Ordinary World” and “Come Undone” that pay their bills. There are far, far more of those people out there than there are people like me, who know this band inside and out and have every biography written about them, or not only know that John Taylor had a solo career, but own his solo catalog. There are far more people who still wonder to this day, “Which one is Andy?” than there are people like us who wonder when they’re going to make Dom a full-fledged member. The people who still think the song is named “Hungry Like A Wolf” far exceed those of us who’d like to smack those people in the face for screwing up the title. This is the reason why, in every single interview they will do to promote the next album and beyond, they will continue to have to comment on “getting back together”, “this isn’t the original five, is it?”, and “are the Taylors really not related at all?”

Cold, harsh realities. Imagine being the band???

So while we take time to occasionally complain that Duran Duran’s set list hasn’t really changed much in ten years, and we will because it is only natural, it might also be fortuitous to think about those cold facts I mentioned. You and I, along with the rest of the fan community that come out in support of the shows is but a very small percentage of that audience. Alarmingly small, in my opinion. So, when they pull out an “obscurity” like they did in say, Brighton of 2011, when they played Secret Oktober, we must remember how special that was, and treasure it for all it is worth.

I get it.

…But I’ll still be checking MY watch when Hungry Like the Wolf is played.

-R

Duran Games for the Obsessive-Compulsive

By C.K. Shortell
Let me start by clearly identifying myself as one of those odd Duran Duran fans, i.e. a heterosexual male who has followed the group since the 80s and never left, even when every Taylor and most of the general public did! So for me, it’s really always been all about the music and less about how the guys looked or what they wore or whether it was Andy or Warren (or now Dom) on guitar etc. Like the guy in Office Space says—I celebrate their entire catalogue!
My biggest struggle with their music is objectivity vs. nostalgia.  Ever since I can remember, I’ve listened to their latest album over and over again, usually convinced it was their best one to date, until some time went by and I was able to see which songs I tended to revisit vs. skip. I guess my obsessive compulsiveness about the band is the need to put their catalogue into context… I have to understand (in my mind) why, for example, I think Notorious is better than The Wedding Album, or Medazzaland better than Astronaut. And how to be truly objective about the early work, which garnered so much radio play (so as to make me sick of most of the early hits) yet also is so dear to me in a way the subsequent albums just aren’t?  For example, my mind tells me that Seven and the Ragged Tiger is a relatively weak album once you get past the 3 singles and The Seventh Stranger. My mind also tells me that pretty much all their other albums—yes even the 90’s work—are deeper and better. And yet…when I listen to “Cracks in the Pavement” or “Shadows on your side,” it’s 1984 again, my parents are both alive and healthy and I’m 12 again…so my heart takes huge issue with any criticism of SATRT even if it may not have 12 songs with 7 good to great ones…
So whether it’s the sports fan in me or just a personality disorder, I need to know where Duran’s records rank…and I’ve found an outlet for this. My job entails a lot of conference calls (doesn’t everyone’s these days?) and they’re bearable because on many it’s possible to multi-task at my desk and get other work done. But there’s still the occasional in-person meeting…and those can be interminable, especially for a relic like me who has refused to get a blackberry or smart phone. Without those toys, how to pass the time in a boring meeting ? I’ve devised two games that are simple—all you need is a pen, some paper, and your imagination.
Create the set list:  Pick the venue (not really important but still fun) and the era (much more important) and pretend that Duran is performing for 3 or 4 nights in a row…and create the set list! Sounds easy, right? Of course you have to play by the “rules” the band has established over the years:  their concerts will always be about 66% to 75% hits (understandable to draw in the casual fans) with the other 25%-35% of songs being from the latest album and/or crowd favorites. (New Religion etc.) Then there’s Nick’s rule about never playing all of the hits in one show. You can’t have them play for 3 hours— you need to be realistic and have anywhere from 14-18 songs, include one or maybe two encores, save a hit or two for the encore, etc… NOW go and create 3 or 4 nights worth of set lists in the same venue that will appeal to a broad audience while not boring the hard core fans like us.  You will kill all sorts of time doing this and it will likely lead to bitter arguments with yourself (e.g., “so is ‘Sunrise’ now a hit? Do I have to include HLTW? Would they realistically play “The Flame” in 2004?”) etc….)  At the end of it all, you’ve hopefully killed time in an otherwise boring meeting.  Maybe you’ve even been inspired to write a guest blog! 
 
Duran brackets:  Other sites do these with albums and bands: Pair them up in brackets and have fans vote round by round until there is a winner. Well, take this concept and apply it just to Duran Duran songs, and you’ve got a way to kill a good hour or so in a boring meeting.  There are easy ways to do this (e.g. pair up songs from Rio and Liberty in one bracket) or just list songs as they come to your mind. The fun of this exercise is that eventually, in the later rounds, you will be faced with impossible decisions. Sure, “Hold Back the Rain” may easily blow by “Hothead” and “I take the dice” but what happens when it’s matched up against “Last Chance on the Stairway”? Or if you’re a big fan of their late 90s work like me, what to do with a “Midnight Sun” vs. “Pop Trash Movie” match up? (Note:  Rhonda and Amanda have been doing this on twitter and even their one question a day has had me writing, erasing, and rewriting my tweets in response…multiply this out by an entire bracket full of Duran songs and you’ll be muttering to yourself and shaking your head all through that boring meeting!)
 
Another potential outcome of either of these games is that it may prompt you to go back and listen to a song that you haven’t heard in a while and maybe even form a new opinion. This has happened on several songs for me. I rediscovered my love for “Vertigo,” finally acknowledged how much I can’t stand “Lava Lamp,” and also made a weird connection between “Friends of Mine” and “All You Need is Now” (the song)—that they seem to be very similar in structure and style, with soaring choruses that don’t quite fit with the grinding verses…
Finally…I will close this by leaving you with my dream set list (at least as of today)…in this scenario, I’ve won the lottery and hired the band to play at Madison Square Garden and gotten Nick, er, I mean all of them to agree to play this list exactly as requested. I’ve blatantly decided that, since I’m paying the band, the general public doesn’t need to hear all the hits… many thanks to Rhonda and Amanda for allowing me to guest blog…happy summer to all, and let the music play a little longer…
The Valley
All you need is now
Hold Back the Rain
Union of the Snake
Planet Earth (night version)
Seventh Stranger
Pop Trash Movie
Nice
The Flame
Shadows on your side
Runway Runaway
Khanada
Proposition
Being Followed
What Happens Tomorrow (original version w/ 3rd verse from 2003 tour)
Save a Prayer
Tel Aviv (air studios version)
ENCORE 1:
I don’t want your love (single version, not 2004 tour version)
Sunrise  (current tour version)
ENCORE 2:
Beautiful Colours
Girls on Film (w/ band intros, 1984 tour version)
Wild Boys
C.K. Shortell is a lifelong Duran Duran fan who lives in the northeast with his wife and two sons, one of whom loves watching concert footage of the band.  When he’s not struggling to explain to a two year old why the guitarist always looks different or just what exactly Nick is doing, C.K. is constantly reminding co-workers and friends that the band never broke up.