Category Archives: show commentary

All You Need is Then: DD in Las Vegas

Just a reminder that we graciously accept reviews from DD shows, as well as blogs on any topic that has to do with Duran Duran. Today Jason Lent shares a different perspective on the recent Las Vegas show. If you’re interested in submitting a blog, please check out our “Guest Blog” page for information. 

For the next two weeks I will be on vacation with family (I’m doing nearly the polar opposite of “touring” by going camping with family in Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons), so I have a few guest blogs to take my place. Enjoy!!  -R

By Jason Lent

My nostalgia drenched July wrapped up with Duran Duran at the Mandalay Events Center in Las Vegas. Seven nights earlier, I stood in a parking lot downtown while Howard Jones and OMD performed on what felt like the surface of the sun. After Duran Duran, Howard Jones and Thompson Twins were pivotal touchstones in my formative years of music while OMD were always on the edges of my life soundtrack. All three provided different reminders of why I love the synth pop sounds of the 1980s.  I still find myself expecting more from Duran Duran overall because they were “my” band as an impressionable 11-year-old. As I walked to my car that night in a mad dash to escape a parking garage built by Satan himself, I realized that no matter what the band does now, all I ever needed from them was already given to me back then.

Touring in support of Paper Gods, I went into last night’s show having already seen the earliest incarnation of this tour in 2015 at the Hollywood Bowl and the Life Is Beautiful Festival in Las Vegas. Selfishly hoping for some radical updates to the set list (this was, after all, the second Vegas show in under a year), I knew that such dreams were foolish. At this point, the band has firmly entrenched itself into the legacy circuit where delivering the most appeal to the largest amount of people is job number one. With that as the goal, this current tour might be as effective as any they’ve undertaken in the last twenty years.  That night in Las Vegas, the cheers of the arena were literally deafening and I awoke the following morning with a ringing in my ears that I’d have expected if I stood in front of the PA at a Five Finger Death Punch concert (on a side note, very cool that Chris Kael from Death Punch was at the Duran show last night!).

From the viewpoint of a casual fan, there is no denying the overall power of the current show. After the artsy run through of the new album’s title track, the hits come fast and furious. Wild Boys, Hungry Like The Wolf, and A View To A Kill lifted the crowd to their feet and had them screaming along. The band appeared to be thrilled by the reception and Simon LeBon stepped into the role of the saucy frontman, a role he was born to play. Come Undone, the finest single of their second career peak, sounded and looked brilliant, providing one of the many highlights.

For the more ardent Duranie, the disappointment with the current show resides in the lack of hope that each show provides. Maybe this always existed with Duran Duran but age and technology now infringe on the innocent hope we carried to shows as teenagers. There is no mystery to which songs might be played and the stage banter feels a little too comfortable as a result. The show is the show and the band delivers it night after night at a very high level. However, most of us know exactly when LeBon is about to ask the audience if anybody is hungry. This lack of spontaneity and a refusal to push themselves outside their comfort zone takes a little sparkle off the modern Duran Duran.

For those of us who lived and died with each album (and Liberty sometimes felt like it wanted to kill me), the current tour does offer a few moments of ecstasy such as a killer performance of I Don’t Want Your Love from Big Thing and a reworked take on Girls On Film that feels funky and fresh. Both of these choices do nothing to hamper the casual fan’s appreciation of the show while giving us more fanatical sorts the hope for more twists and turns in the future. The clock is forever ticking when a band sticks around for over three decades but Duran Duran has some gas left in the tank and the next tour could be truly special if they are willing to take a few more chances.

First and foremost in my mind would be to bring 25-30 songs on the tour and arrange each set list slightly differently from town to town. In doing so, the band would have to stay on their toes musically from night-to-night. Why does that matter? It brings out the best in musicians. What if Notorious and Pressure Off weren’t always side by side for example. The songs are too similar sitting next to each other. If Notorious dropped down into the encore, it’s not like Nile Rodgers isn’t going to come back on stage. From what I’ve seen, he’ll take any chance to get in front of the audience especially if he gets to remind us of all the #1 hits he worked on. God bless the man, but we know you’re a legend. Stop telling us each night.

If the band brought 30 songs on the road, those extra tracks could open up a whole new world to long time fans. It starts with the new material. Last Night In the City should be dropped. It’s a boring EDM track that feels like the band trying to appeal to the very people who aren’t buying concert tickets regardless. Sunset Garage, a far better track, with a video montage of the band over the years could be a show highlight. The fatal flaw with Paper Gods was the decision to put the most Duran sounding songs into the “bonus tracks” of different versions of the release. Ask a hundred Duran fans and we would choose Planet Roaring over Danceophobia almost 100% of the time.

In addition to a better mix of the new tracks, the band’s depth gets grossly overlooked in the current tour which can be fixed fairly easily. All You Need Is Now from 2010 was one of their best studio albums since Rio and not a single song makes the current tour. This is more ludicrous than the decision to cover Public Enemy’s 911 Is A Joke. The album that brought them back into arenas gets no attention while the band continues to play Reach Up For the Sunrise, a modest hit but hardly essential listening. To make matters worse, the band taunts us with a chorus from New Moon On Monday in the middle of Sunrise. Here’s an idea, just play Monday, one of the beloved singles from the band’s biggest period.

As a kid, collecting Duran Duran 12” records felt like my life mission. On the flip side of the Careless Memories 12” was a track called Fame. At that age, I didn’t know who David Bowie was and this was my first time hearing an artist whose career and life would greatly influence everything I love in music. If the band had added Fame to the set list for this tour, not only would it have paid tribute to our collective hero, it would have taken us all back to the early stages of fandom when we were full of hope and wonder. I chalk up the medley of Planet Earth and Space Oddity as a near miss but still a lot of fun last night.

So where do we go from here? Next year is the 35th anniversary of Rio and the trend of bands revisiting complete works shows no signs of dissipating. Rather than head back into the studio, I hope Duran Duran embraces their legacy fully and undertakes a summer tour to celebrate a landmark album in all our lives. Open each night with a handful of other hits, take an intermission with a short film of the band in the studio and on video sets over the years, play Rio in its entirety and finish the night with an encore of even more hits. The ticket sales would be monumental and those of us who stayed with them all along would be rewarded with rarely heard songs like Hold Back the Rain.

I look forward to new albums and new tours while continuing to want more of the past each show. Last night was an amazing experience and despite my many words above, I left with a huge smile on my face. The music critic in me will always explore every corner of my Duran Duran fandom but my passion never diminishes. The recent resurgence in interest for their work vindicates many of us who grew up being teased for loving five good-looking lads from England. Take away their youthful smiles, the expensive videos, and all the radio hits and you still have truly gifted musicians with a natural-born entertainer on the mic. Duran Duran forever.

 

Jason Lent Guest Blogger thumbnailJason Lent discovered Duran Duran on MTV in 1983 and a lifelong musical love affair was born. In 2010, he left a job in Hawaii to tour with Cowboy Junkies as a music writer and his work has appeared in various online music outlets. He currently resides in Las Vegas managing a music venue while trying to learn John Taylor’s bass line from Rio.

 

Show Commentary: BB&T Pavilion, Camden NJ

We were fortunate to get a couple of different reviews for the DD show at BB&T Pavilion in Camden NJ – this one coming to us from Cindy Koller.  Thanks so much for sharing, Cindy!! We welcome any and all reviews of DD shows, so if you feel inclined to write – let us know! -R

By Cindy Koller

The dawning of July 21st brought a lot of excitement. I had just returned the night before from a brutal 10 hour drive north from Myrtle Beach. I was ready to have some fun, and I knew the Duran Duran concert would fit the bill nicely, so to speak.

I am a fan of 33 years and this would be my twelfth show over a 29 year span. Duran has never disappointed me and always puts on a great show, so I knew it would be a fantastic night. I gathered two of my Duranie friends and made the 90 minute drive to Camden: a city with “a tricky reputation” as Simon would say later that night.

An additional fun fact was that by a pure happenstance, an old Duranie friend I had not seen since high school was going to be joining us for the show, instead of my son. She has attended many shows over the years, from The Dead to Dave Matthews to John Mayer. She is a regular attendee of the Philadelphia Folk Festival. Yet, she had never seen Duran live. She would bring a whole new realm to my experience that night.

I was actually excited to see CHIC a little more than Duran, as I have liked them since 1979 and had never seen them live. Their music is part of the foundation of my musical taste that would eventually lead me to Duran. I love Nile Rodgers and just could not wait to see him perform with his band.

We arrived at the BB&T Pavilion, and after getting our refreshments, we entered the venue. It is an open air amphitheater, with 7,000 seats under the roof and a large lawn area beyond. I had purchased tickets 5 rows from the stage, on John’s side. I was beyond thrilled! As we walked to our seats, TOKiMONSTA was just finishing her live DJ set. She soon took her bows and my small group chatted while we waited for CHIC.

Chic takes the stage!
Chic takes the stage! Photo courtesy of Cindy Koller

The venue was still half empty as CHIC was announced, but they were nonplussed. And the set they performed was sheer perfection! Nile and his band were tight and obviously loved performing as they put on one hell of a show. Both female singers were great, but the one named Kimberly gave all of us chills! Her voice was so warm and full of soul. Fantastic! They played a few of their hits and launched into a set of hits that Nile had helped pen, like Diana Ross’ I’m Coming Out, Philly’s Sister Sledge’s We Are Family, Daft Punk’s Get Lucky and the highlight, Bowie’s Let’s Dance. CHIC was absolutely phenomenal! I can see why John Taylor says they raise the bar for Duran’s performances.

Another small intermission while CHIC’s gear was broken down was another chance to just enjoy my friends and the atmosphere. CHIC had definitely gotten us in the mood to groove, so by the time the smoke started to emanate around the stage, we were ready to party!

photo courtesy of Cindy Koller
photo courtesy of Cindy Koller

With the first thunder crack, I actually looked behind me, to the lawn area behind, wondering if the bad weather that had been threatened had arrived. But with the next crack and the light flash, I knew it was Duran’s opening. The lights went down and soon I could see some silhouetted figures moving across the stage, one headed right towards us. I watched as John slipped his bass on to his shoulders and I felt the surge of electric excitement as they were about to launch into their set. Paper Gods filled the venue followed by the screams of the crowd. The stage lights came up and we were off!

What Are the Chances. Photo courtesy of Cindy Koller
What Are the Chances. Photo courtesy of Cindy Koller

Now, I will admit I have been one of those fans complaining about the lack of change in the set list. It really hasn’t changed much since the AYNIN tour, but I have to say, it just works. The others with me were thrilled with the song choices, and probably would have been disappointed if “Rio”, “Come Undone”, or “Hungry Like the Wolf” had not been played. I always grouse before the show, but once I’m there, the setlist is golden!

So, needless to say, song after song, I danced my behind off, enjoying the performance masters that are Duran Duran. Nick was still absent, but TOKiMONSTA filled his spot for the first time and she did quite well! Every moment was to be savored and I did my best to do so. It was a warm and humid night, but that did not stop us from singing and dancing along.

Encore time and “Save a Prayer” was dedicated to those who have experienced the craziness in our world today, lost loved ones to the craziness or just feel the world is a frightening place. Terrorism touches us all now and cell phones were held high in solidarity.

photo courtesy of Cindy Koller
photo courtesy of Cindy Koller

Simon bantered with the crowd about Camden, since it is in New Jersey, but is also directly across the Delaware river from Philadelphia. Were we a Philly crowd, or a New Jersey crowd? I still think Philly won the scream vote. He danced and turned and frolicked about the stage, seeming to defy his 57 years. And yes, he caught his tambourine!! (I watched him clock himself with it in 2008 and always hold my breath whenever he throws it.)

Roger was the solid man we all know him to be, his drumming precise and on beat. Dom was his phenomenal self, playing his parts perfectly. Anna and Erin, two fantastic singers in their own rights, were great and loved to get the crowd involved. Simon Willescroft sauntered about the front of the stage for his sax solos. Am I leaving someone out?

JT and Simon Willescroft. Photo courtesy of Cindy Koller
JT and Simon Willescroft. Photo courtesy of Cindy Koller

Oh! John Taylor! Of course I could not forget him! Since we were seated directly in front of his bass speakers (!), every note went right through us. Literally. When he went to his bass synth for Last Night in the City, the others in my party were shocked! Why yes, John now has a synth in his arsenal. He smiled and danced and seemed to be having a fantastic time. The only curiosity was why did he leave his leather jacket on all night? He wore it through the whole set until they reemerged for the encore. The man had to be sweltering! And he had the last words of the night, as he mentioned all of the Philly venues Duran had played in over the years, thanked Philly for “the long fucking journey with Duran” and promised to see us again soon. At least he got city/state the loyalties right!

All in all, it was a fantastic show that was over much too fast.

I asked my high school Duranie friend to give me her impression, as it was her first Duran show. Here are her thoughts (with permission):

“Having the opportunity to finally see Duran Duran live and in person was amazing! Seeing those boys come running out on stage and performing Wild Boys, brought up nostalgic memories of loving this band to the point of obsession. They were fun and energetic, seeming to never slow down! This was a high energy show, with no low points to speak of. I see many concerts, and this show was the most fun I’ve had. Every song delivered the appropriate goose bump effects.”

Funny, even though it was my 12th show, Duran still brings out the goose bumps in me too.

CindyKollerBio
Cindy (white t-shirt), along with friends for the DD show in Camden NJ.

Cindy Koller is a mom of two (raised to be Duranies, of course), that has been a Duran Duran fan since July of 1983. (33 years!) She lives with her husband and teenage kids in Western Chester County, Pennsylvania, about 75 minutes outside of Philadelphia. She is a letter carrier in Kennett Square, PA who is lucky enough to have a TAYLOR Street on her delivery route!

Common People Festival Oxford Show Review

By Debbie Craggs

For me, the Common People Festival Oxford show is the closest to home that Duran have performed. It’s only an hour by car so how could I not go?  Well, as a single Mum to three teenage girls, two of whom are in major exam mode at the moment the timing wasn’t great. However, I’d suggested to my close friend that having seen them in December at Bournemouth maybe we should consider another outing and the tickets were well within our price range.

My two eldest then decided that they would abandon exam mode that day as it was Comic Con in London.  Could Mum take them and two others to the train station at 8am? OK, if I was going to do Common People as well then it was looking like a VERY long day. Also there was my 15 year old—the youngest—to consider. Anyway I decided that maybe on this occasion I wouldn’t abandon her in pursuit of my own enjoyment, and I’d just wait for the comments on FB and Twitter. There then appeared a competition on DD.com to win a pair of tickets to either Oxford or Southampton, you chose which venue. All that was needed was an email to say yes please and there would be a lucky dip. As I NEVER win anything what was there to lose? Email sent and I got on with being a busy working Mum who is due to start a one-year degree course in September!

Then 2 weeks ago I checked my emails and there sitting in my inbox was a “congratulations you’ve won” message. At this point I was in disbelief, I rang my friend Tania and could barely speak down the ‘phone.  She was due to be working in PICU on that same day and would need to swap her shift.  However, this wasn’t possible and as things turned out she was actually ill on the day and so wouldn’t have been able to come anyway.

I suggested to my youngest that maybe we could go together and enjoy the festival. She was not keen on going to see DD.  However, Jamie Lawson also playing – that was enough to tempt her. So on Saturday morning with blue skies over head (for once the British weather was kind) we set off.

At this point can I say thank you to Common People and DD.com who were very efficient in sorting out emails for the tickets, and also for clear instructions on the Common People website about travel arrangements, etc. We drove as far as the park and ride, easy bus ride to centre of the city and found the shuttle bus back out to the festival. On arrival at the site it was laid out well at the bottom of a slope with the main stage clearly visible. We had a wander around the site, and then made our way to the front of the area by the stage. There were other Duranies already there set up by the barrier but we were happy enough to be just behind them and on John’s side of the stage. Six hours to go until they were on.

The other acts were enjoyed, and for Jamie Lawson I was abandoned by teenager as she went right to the front middle. Each act played for about 45 mins and then there was a DJ for about 30 mins whilst sets were changed. From where we were you could see the confetti cannons primed and ready for later. Soul II Soul are a band that I never really got into in the late 80’s / 90’s but they gave a really good performance, good enough that teenager made a note to check them out once home.

Finally at 20:30 the last act (Katy B) finished so time for stage to be set. It was at this point that we realised we were in for the full light show as the black curtains at the back of the stage that had been there all day were removed to show the video screen, the risers with the drums and keyboards were brought out and the video screens built around them as we watched.

By 21:15 the atmosphere had built. We were now 2nd row JTs side of the stage. The set list was almost identical to that which we had in Bournemouth in December with the exceptions of no Danceophobia, and the addition of the David Bowie tribute. Simon sounded a bit croaky at times but I couldn’t work out if that was just because of the coolness of the night air. The interactions with the crowd were there throughout the show which lasted a full 90 mins. The new backing singer Erin was obviously nervous but it was great to see the support and interactions from the rest of the band. There were some brilliant JoSi moments as well as Dom and John and Dom and Simon.

I had seen the effect of the paper confetti from the cannons at the show in Bournemouth but then we were front row of balcony so saw the overall effect, this time we were right in the middle of it and the effect of being outside and “down wind” so to speak meant it swirled and seemed to last for longer. During Rio (last song of the night) large beach balls were thrown into the crowd who then seemed to think that there should be a competition to get them back on stage and get the band involved, to the point where Simon commented that the idea was NOT to aim at the band and to pass them around!

And so a fantastic evening drew to a close, the weather had added to the enjoyment and having waited 35 years to see them live I have now managed two shows in six months and am keen to continue the experience! It was brilliant to see teenage daughter singing along to classics and the new songs and even she was buzzing and couldn’t stop talking all the way back home about the show.

 

Debbie CraggsDebbie Craggs is a single mum to three teenage girls in Northamptonshire UK where she works as a school nurse. She has been a Duranie since the 80s and in her spare time she plays clarinet at her local chapel.

Southampton Common People Review

Another great review to share from a guest blogger!  Thanks so much for submitting reviews, our readers love them!! -R
By Carron Stacey
Six months ago, my Duranie friend asks if I want to go to this festival in Southampton to see Duran Duran.  I thought to myself, it’s just before my birthday, what a great idea.  We decided to upgrade to VIP tickets! Together, we’ve seen them three times. The first – no John sadly, but still good. The second – in Birmingham, fantastic to see JT at last (he’s always been my fav, my friend preferring SLB). The third – extremely special in St Andrews football ground. We were so close and I was pregnant with my son Ben, dreaming JT was the father!
Fast forward to this gig. We are so excited. Recovering from tonsillitis, I didn’t even know last week if I was going to be able to make it. We must’ve looked a type in the VIP Nook. I don’t know, 40-45 year old mums on a day out? Must be here to see DD. We met some lovely ladies with whom we shared the event, and a group of Southampton couples, with whom we bantered about Pompey -v- The Scummers etc. Yes we’d had a few drinks.
In the VIP Nook area, the toilet blocks are separated by hessian screens. My friend returned from a trip there and said “I’m sure you can see where they’ll go on stage from.” With that, we ran out before they came on. We peered through the small squares in the hessian screen. Lo and behold, there they were! I took a few pictures of them getting ready, listening to the crowd going wild for them. I was almost spellbound, definitely starstruck. I’ve seen you on the stage and I’ve seen you on TV (see what I did there?) but there was something mesmerizing about watching them prepare. Psych up. Whatever. The crowd was crazy and this next bit was worth the extra payment for the VIP area – I saw JT shake his hands together in the air and genuinely look excited at the anticipating audience! It was amazing that he (they) still get turned on by this. That it’s not just ‘”oh some municipal festival or whatever”. This is a DD gig with massive fans and casual fans alike, all cheering their hearts out to see you. I shouted to the sax player “See you in a minute!” He said, “I can’t see you!” and I shouted, “Yes, you can, look here’s my foot” and stuck my foot under the screen. He laughed! They climbed the stairs, we ran back to our bench.
Now I must just take the time to explain what sort of fan I am. I am not, unlike the two lovely ladies we met, uberfans. They’ve seen them so many times. Met them at book signings and on the Eurostar, being asked for headache tablets! They know where JT’s mansion is. I don’t know even know all the words to Notorious, but I think I can fudge it. I certainly don’t know Sunrise off by heart and I haven’t (the shame) listened to Paper Gods, their new album. I am a huge fan, but only really of the first three albums. Duran Duran, spawning the singles Planet Earth and Girls on Film, is the best. I know every song, every lyric, every drum beat, every synthesized Nick note… Rio is just perfection. I know this like I know the first album too. It doesn’t sound dated even today. Seven and the Ragged Tiger, well I can’t say this is a “great” album and it does sound a bit dated, but I loved it at the time and so it remains on the list. Notorious was out in 1986, but by this time, I had gone all Smiths and Cocteau Twins. I do like the funkiness of Notorious and Skin Trade, but I don’t even think I bought it. I think I just preferred the New Romantic stage. Oh and the Look-At-Our-Ostentatious-Video phase.
So, the setlist. Well first off, Simon seems to have had the same illness as me! His voice was croaky and he could be seen coughing off-mike quite a lot. Fair play to him, I’d have expected him to rely on his backing singers more, but he didn’t. He sounded better than I’d heard him before, in spite of his croakiness. No duff notes there Simon! Paper Gods to start off. Wild Boys – always a crowd pleaser. Hungry Like the Wolf – ditto. View to a Kill – loved the Bond theme before. Later when introducing the band, SLB said of himself “The name’s Bon. Simon Le Bon.” Come Undone – I like it but not as much as my friend, it’s her favourite. Last Night in the City – a new one for me, quite good! Notorious – funky as flip. Pressure Off – a newbie but I do sort of know it. Planet Earth/Space Oddity – I’d forgotten they were doing this. It worked well and the crowd appreciated the nod to one of DD’s heroes, Bowie. Ordinary World – a crowd favourite, but not really one of mine. I Don’t Want Your Love – OK. White Lines – they get a lot of stick for this cover version but do you know what? We all love singing it so why can’t they have some fun? Sunrise/New Moon on Monday – obviously I was mostly impressed with the New Moon on Monday bit! Girls on Film – awesome. Their encore – I missed what SLB said as I’d fallen off the bench and launched into the man in front at that point, but it was something like “Without Prince, (our?) music wouldn’t sound like it does”. We held our lighters, I mean phone torches, aloft in memory during Save a Prayer. Rio – the last one. Such energy!
As we were on this hammock/bench thing, we had a great view of the whole festival field. Everyone’s hands were in the air during the 90 minute set. They were awesome to look at (not just the band but the whole set up), the backing singers weren’t annoying like sometimes they can be. They looked part of it. Simon worked the audience. There were youngsters behind us singing every word. Older people singing along. Older couples slow dancing to the hits. I kept catching the eye of a woman dancing near us, and at certain points, it was like we were talking in shorthand about a shared history we’d never had. Who would’ve thought DD were a festival band? They were last night. Of course I’d have liked more old hits, but the whole show was slick, energetic and current. No 80s throwbacks here. The whole atmosphere was enhanced by sharing the experience with our new Duranie friends; we just sang along and screamed like teenagers. I took a blurred photo of us in mid scream. That summed it up. What a fantastic night.
Just as we’d seen them enter the stage, we ran back to our peep-hole to see them exit. We filmed with our phones over the top of the screen this time and watched them descend the steps, to be chaperoned in to their waiting cars. First Roger, then Nick (I always love his lip gloss), the guitarist and sax (sorry I don’t know their names – Dom?), John and then Simon. I shouted to Simon, “Hope your voice gets better.” And this next bit made my night. As he was putting his jacket on, he gave me the peace sign. Swoon. Do you know, I think I may trade my allegiance … JT gave me nothing but SLB gave me a V! I am 10 again.
photo courtesy of Carron Stacey
photo courtesy of Carron Stacey

Carron Stacey has loved Duran Duran since their first album came out when she was 10. JT is her favourite, though she may switch allegiance to SLB after their latest gig. She adores the first three albums; after that she went all goth (she can muddle through at gigs though). Carron lives in the south of England, blogs regularly about being mum to an embarrassed 10-year-old boy and teaches French and computing.

Version 11: The Belasco Theater Los Angeles!

I promised the name of this review for their show at The Belasco Theater was going to be Version 11.  I don’t know what wise guy numbered the set lists for this tour……

I am thrilled to take a small break from writing to say hi and share a little bit of my experience from Monday, especially while the band is likely 40,000 feet up, headed back home!

To begin with, I don’t mind writing that the pre-sale for this last-minute show was a challenge of epic proportions. However, I could have predicted that as soon as I heard that Ticketmaster was handling the sales. I’m sorry to report that way, but it’s the truth. I heard tales from fans who were even unable to get onto Duran Duran’s website, much less Ticketmaster. I heard the password didn’t work for many, and in my own case – I just kept getting kicked out of the Ticketmaster portion of the sale and had to keep putting the password back in to try for tickets again and again. Speaking of which, there is something VERY wrong when at 10:00 on the dot I am requesting tickets and am already being told there are none. I ended up with one ticket (needed two), and decided to try my luck at on the Live Nation pre-sale, which went far better. Early entry be damned, at least I was going.

Speed ahead less than two weeks to the actual show, which took place on Monday, May 2nd.  Unfortunately, there was no way for Amanda to get out here (we are sinking everything we’ve got into our July shows – the band is going to see us all month-long at various gigs, so they should be prepared and plan their spit-zones accordingly.), and for some strange reason – my husband decided he needed to go with me. We went with a couple of my other Duranie friends (shout outs to Shelly & Katie), and planned to make a day of it, languishing on the beautifully picturesque Los Angeles sidewalks as we wait all day in the lovely GA line.  I had gotten reports that there were people in line as early as 3am for the show, and felt that was definitely over the limit of what I would be willing to do for this band. (Yes actually, I do have some limits!) Turns out that no, actually there was someone in line at midnight for the show. (Oh hell no. I don’t ever need the front that bad!)  So, by the time we arrived at The Belasco at 12:30 – we were pleased to see that the line really wasn’t very long at all.  We set up camp for the day, complete with chairs, blankets, some snacks and beverages.

Here’s the thing about GA lines. They don’t suck unless you’re stuck in the rain or bad weather. Otherwise, there is a lot of socializing that goes on, and just like any other show – I have a great time seeing people I hadn’t seen in months, so my afternoon was spent roaming up and down the line chatting with people, and the time flew by.  Before I knew it they were setting up barricades and we were packing up and getting ready to go in.

Once inside, we settled into some prime viewing spots. I have to say, the audience, at least for me, was well-behaved. No pushing, shoving or trying to get up to the front. It was really nice, and I am happy to say I didn’t even mind it being GA for a change!  Before long, Mr. Hudson came out to do his DJ set.  I’m going to be honest – I had low expectations.  I didn’t know what to expect, but I figured there would be mostly music I didn’t know, and maybe I’d find something I liked. I was wrong. Mr. Hudson knew his audience, and he played a LOT of fantastic music.  He had no trouble looking at the crowd, smiling and seemed to have a great time himself. We danced along and after what felt like a super short set, he was leaving the stage and the roadies came out to set up for the main event.

Rather than retell the entire show, I’m going to focus on a few areas:

Sound/Look/etc

I was near the front, but for me, the sound seemed really muddy at times. I hope it’s not my hearing but you never know!!  I had a hard time even hearing some of Mr. Hudson’s music, and then when the band came out there were certain songs that just didn’t sound clear. I am assuming it was the sound system and acoustics of the venue that sucked. Even at the very end when John spoke into the microphone I only picked up on bits of what he said and I couldn’t hear Nick at all. (if anyone knows what they said could you let me know?)  This was the first time I’d seen the updated visuals and even the risers the band was on – for this show the risers/steps didn’t correspond with the onscreen visuals (they didn’t light up at all), but the visuals were really nice.  The one thing I have to mention is that the band doesn’t move as much as they used to…and by the band I mean John, Dom & Simon.  I couldn’t decide if this was because the stage was small (and it was) or if it was because their current production and choreography has them standing pretty much in their own spots. Since this was the only time I saw them, I couldn’t tell. Maybe the band was just tired. ???

Other than that though, I thought they looked and sounded great. Some said that Simon sounded raspy and I did see him cough but I guess I didn’t pick up on his voice being as raspy as it was in the weeks prior.  I liked how he sat down during What are the Chances, too.

Set List:

This was the only show I saw for this leg of their tour, and honestly – while the set list has a few additions (the short medley including NMOM, the Space Oddity tribute to Bowie and IDWYL), the rest of the set is pretty much the same as I saw in October.

To the band: I heard what you said in your Sirius XM town hall, that you’re aware the diehards want B-sides but that it’s not feasible because no one else knows those songs, and it would also mean relearning how to play them.  I guess from our point of view as fans, there comes a point when it makes zero sense to keep going to see the same basic show over and over again, and that is really what it’s become as of late to many people.  I can’t say I’m in that group yet because I’ve got tickets to 8 shows in July.  (I deserve every last one of them and it’s the way A & I are going to celebrate finishing our manuscript), but I see their point as well as I see that of the band. I walked up and down the GA line on Monday – I wish I would have taken video (and in July I will), because nearly everyone I spoke with are doing less shows this summer as a direct result of the set list not changing enough.  So I guess it comes down to whether or not the die hards really make enough of a difference in ticket sales (which I doubt, but I don’t know), and whether it’s worth the time to remember how to play Careless Memories or Friends of Mine or Late Bar, Secret Oktober, New Religion (which we’ve surveyed as being the #1 most requested  song die hards want to hear)…etc.  I don’t know.  I don’t think anyone expects an entirely new set list, but I think being brave enough to switch out a few would freshen the show as much for us as it would the band.

New Moon on Monday

All of that said, in my opinion, I have to be honest – I stood in awe several times during the show on Monday. When Simon sang New Moon on Monday – even though it was only 25 seconds – my heart swelled.  I haven’t heard that song live in many years (I can’t remember when it was played last). I adored every second of it and honestly just stopped and stood there, trying to soak it all in.  I had goosebumps and thoroughly enjoyed every single second.

I Don’t Want Your Love

Another great moment for me was during IDWYL. Again, it’s been a while since it was played – and when it stopped showing up on the set list I was happy to see it get a rest, but now that it’s back in the set it feels rejuvenated. The band seems happy playing it, and the fans really seemed to get into it too.

Tributes

The Space Oddity tribute was really, really cool – thank goodness the band has a guitar player (Dom Brown) that can handle it. I’d hate to have to see poor Nick have to sample all of that, otherwise. 😉  I even got teary eyed. It was a beautiful moment that I’m glad I was able to see.  While I still think SAP does not belong in the encore, I loved the tribute to Prince with the lovely things Simon said about him. For me, I’m still rocked to the core that he’s gone, and it’s nice to know the band cared enough to say something.

Overall

In a perfect world, the band would change-up their set even a little before July.  I know I’m a big (and loud) proponent of some of the obscurities – but even if the band didn’t incorporate B-sides,  there are other ways. They could shelve three songs that are tired, break down the set and they don’t give the impact the band needs, and add in three others that haven’t been played in years but are still known to many like New Religion, All You Need is Now, and maybe Serious…but those are just three off the top of my head from a catalog of thousands and at this point – I don’t really care what they put in the set as long as it’s new.  The few I’d remove might be: AVTAK, Come Undone and Ordinary World (with What are the Chances you don’t need both – and WATC is the one you need to be selling right now anyway). Granted, for every song I mentioned there are going to people screaming, “NOOOOO not that one.”  No kidding. We all have favorites, and yeah I’ve seen the outcry for The Reflex. Too damn bad. That’s the way it works folks, and I didn’t even bother to mention Rio, HLTW or GOF because those are stalwarts in every way for this band. Yeah, I’m tired of HLTW but it is the song everybody on the planet knows. I get it.  I see it when they play, and to be fair, I still dance and sing along, so what can I say?? I’m just gonna roll my eyes every time and Nick can smirk in my direction. No one will die if they miss AVTAK, but I think some might without Rio and HLTW. That said – if the band ever plays a fan show with B-sides (dreams are free) I had better not hear anything about anyone being hungry.

….you know, another way for them to handle this is to play a longer set like some of their contemporaries already do. Just saying. Ok, ok…moving on…

Still hate the spit zone (White Lines), but the good news is that I ducked.  Unfortunately, I failed to warn my husband. Oops.  He especially enjoyed the grin on Nick’s face as Simon spewed over the top of us. (ha ha ha)

The confetti canon is a great moment. I love it and I hope they don’t get rid of it. Still think Pressure Off is a fantastic song, I just wish we had radio stations with platforms to support it. (don’t we all?)

Danceophobia has really lost it’s luster for me. I picture it as a sort of rusted, slightly dented mirror ball now. It’s as used as Lohan herself (too much??), and it’s time to put it away.  Not even John’s dancing can save it, and now that Jessie Wagner is no longer touring with the band, why even bother – not even Lindsey knows the words anyway.

Best moment of the show for me? New Moon on Monday.

Worst? When they left the stage and the house lights went up.  🙂

Biggest surprise? It’s a tie: Kiesza coming out to sing Last Night in the City, which was VERY fun and a real treat – she is darling and is an amazing singer, and I Don’t Want Your Love  – I thought I’d still be bored with it, and wasn’t.

I can’t wait until July 8th. Chicago.  By then, I’ll be done writing and ready for a month-long party.

I hope the band will be ready.  For now, back to the salt-mines with me!

-R

Concert Review: Montreal Bell Center 4/11

We are overjoyed to have another review to share with you – this time coming from Canada!!  Send your own reviews to our gmail, and we’ll be happy to publish them! – A & R


I was just off the heels of my great California adventure when Duran Duran announced their 2016 North American tour. My credit card had barely recovered and with Christmas quickly approaching, I sat back in utter dismay as the fan community plotted and planned which shows they would attend. Presale day came and went and I felt neither the thrill nor frustration of purchasing my tickets. I’d later learn, that the predominant feeling was frustration, as the Ticketmaster presale didn’t ensure priority for Fan Club members. I could at least sit back and think, “I would have gotten crappy seats, anyway.” Sour grapes. Sad fan indeed.

But, as many of you are well aware, there is a certain magic that threads some of us Duranies together. I got a twitter DM from Janice (she wrote the blog for the Niagara shows), whom I had met briefly in Palm Springs, wondering if I wanted to buy a pair of tickets off her. And even better, she didn’t need the money right away. And as if the Paper Gods had not already smiled in my favor, I would later find a ticket for the Toronto show under my Christmas tree a few days later. From disappointment to fangirl excitement in a matter of weeks!

Before I get into the actual review, there is something else that you need to know about me. I’m a small town girl with a big city attitude. Yeah, I have the attitude, but none of the actual experience to go along with it. My husband currently lives out of province for work, so travelling to this show, meant travelling alone. Also worth mentioning, is that my husband is a native of Montreal. We’ve been there many times over the years, and of course, he drives, knowing the city like the back of his hand. I am always the passenger who watches the scenery pass by. (He’s “The Chauffeur”, perhaps?) So this truly would be an adventure. A Duranie with a terrible sense of direction, driving in downtown Montreal—alone. Amanda once told me, “you do what must be done”, when it comes to all things Duran. This was clearly one of those occasions.

In the weeks leading up to the show, I booked my hotel, chatted with other fans in anticipation, and trained myself how to follow a GPS while driving. (Honestly, I had no idea what 800 m really meant, until a few weeks ago.) I connected with a twitter friend who tipped me off about another show the night before the big event. So, I purchased tickets to see the Dandy Warhols, marvelling at how easy and stress-free that ticket-buying experience was.

Days turned into weeks, weeks into months and finally, it was time. A week before the show, my 18-year-old son and I drove to a truck-stop not far from our home. Imagine it, in film-noir black and white: It’s just past midnight, in the pouring rain, and an 18-wheeler pulls off the highway. Janice’s husband, who had been travelling most of the night, hopped out of his rig to hand deliver me my tickets. I couldn’t imagine a better scenario in which to begin this adventure!

The night before my trip, I tossed and turned in what was a mixed bag of excitement to see the band again and utter terror of having to negotiate a labyrinthine set of directions to get to my downtown destination. In the dark of the early morning, I began the long, eight-hour drive. But with every pit stop, there was a flurry of twitter chatter as other fans sent me their well-wishes and shared in my excitement. By the time I arrived in Montreal, I was just too tired to even care about being nervous. The Paper Gods smiled upon me again. I arrived at my boutique hotel without incident. I had just enough time to fit in a disco nap and I was off to the first of my shows.

It never ceases to amaze me how well you can get to know someone on twitter. No sooner had I stepped inside the venue for the Dandy Warhol’s, did I hear someone excitedly call out my name. This was my first time meeting Tammy, who also travelled all the way from Newfoundland, yet, it was like we’d known each other for years. Still excited to see Duran Duran, I took in the show, quickly losing myself in the crowd and in the post-punk psychedelic music. I might add a quick mention of the Seratones, the opening act, who completely blew me away. This band should go places!

The next day, of course, was show day! It couldn’t have been a crappier morning—a fresh layer of snow had fallen overnight which by daybreak had turned into freezing drizzle. However, nothing could dampen my spirits. I found my way to a Quebec-style breakfast café and fuelled up for what would become an adrenaline (and alcohol-soaked) day. Even though I was alone, my virtual friends were a constant source of entertainment. By the time my husband arrived in the city, it was time to get my show on the road!

This was my first time at the Bell Centre, home of the Montreal Canadiens. My husband had attended many shows at the old forum, and was curious about the venue as well. Friends who had seen shows there before, mentioned the great acoustics. We arrived on scene and entered La Cage aux Sports, the adjacent sports bar. We ordered drinks and then entered the venue from there. I have to say, that I was quite surprised how organized everything was when we finally passed through security. This is no longer the Sing Blue Silver days!

How many of us have “dragged” our spouses to shows? This was the first time for mine, and judging by the texts he had been sending me in the days leading up to the show, I could tell he was excited as well. As a child of the late 70s and early 80s, I knew he would also be in for a pleasant surprise with Chic. As we made our way into the heart of the venue and to our seats, my husband looked around and remarked how at the old forum there would be a thick haze of smoke hovering just over our heads. Some things do change. I stood in front of my 12th row centre seat and immediately started sending messages on twitter with earnest. One of my high school girlfriends, one of my original Duranies, was at the venue. It’s amazing how easy social media can make finding someone in a packed stadium. Within seconds, we were waving to one another, and arranged a quick meeting. Because of this, I missed out on the opening act, Shamir. In retrospect, his act seemed rather short, and that is all I can say about that.

Having Chic on tour with Duran Duran is such a treat. I boogied to Le Freak, long before I was even aware of Duran Duran. And music-wise, this is about the only thing that my husband and I have in common. (Let’s just say he sported a mullet and head banged to Iron Maiden in the 80s.) Chic’s show never disappoints. From Nile Rodger’s touching speech about his cancer diagnosis to his high-octane medley featuring the artists he’s produced, you can’t not dance! Luckily, some of the girls beside us opted to miss the act (fools!) so we had plenty of room to boogie. I had the pleasure of seeing this show in California, and what differed, was of course, Bowie. Instead of being woven into the medley, Bowie’s Let’s Dance was presented in a place of honour, and Nile’s introduction was as gracious as only he can be.

I admit that I snuck out during the last song to purchase more alcohol. I was more than ready for Duran Duran!

After more excited tweets to other fans, I downed my drink just in time for the house lights to dim. This was it. I have to say, that the song Paper Gods, now sits in the top three of my all-time favorite Duran Duran songs. It’s the perfect opener, the slow, almost dirge-like quality that eventually crescendos into a crashing dance-track. I’ll always be happy to be greeted by the band through the dry-ice mist with this song. One thing I noticed, was that there were some definite improvements to the light show and to the staging. Now the tiers are all synchronized with the light show, which reflects the animations projected on the backdrop. The entire set started like a racing train, building energy and steam with each song, until they slowed things down with Come Undone. (Yes, I see that look, Amanda!)

I was glad for the change in tempo, as I was totally rocking the 12th row. I had a pretty decent view of Simon, Nick, Dom and Roger, though I could catch occasional glimpses of John if I craned my neck just so. However, the frenetic momentum quickly recovered with Last Night in the City. Anna Ross’s vocals are incredible and it never feels that the song is missing Kiesza’s touch. The one interesting thing I did notice, was John playing the synth bass on this song. I don’t think this happened in California? Is this new? (Yes, he played it during Danceophobia, but this one?) No matter, it afforded me an even better view of the bass-god, though I wasn’t about to slow down and admire the scenery (tempting as it was.) It’s always a treat to see What are the Chances—Dom’s playing is positively sublime. Pressure Off, I think marks the top of the roller coaster, and my secret worries were put to rest when my husband and I found ourselves in the middle of a pink and white blizzard. The piles of confetti that blanketed the floors and seats provided me with unending amusement as I grabbed it by the fistful and continued to toss it in the air throughout the rest of the show. Yes, I was that annoying fan.

And then the part of the show that I was really looking forward to—the Planet Earth/Space Oddity medley. (Incidentally, the “switch it off!” part could have been stronger on the audience’s part). You could hear it in Simon’s vocals—it was pure heart and soul, honouring both the song and the artist. Space Oddity, also draws attention to Dom’s powerful guitar licks. It was completely unexpected, but boy did he own parts of that song.

If there was an equivalent to a saggy diaper within the set, I’d have to say that it was I Don’t Want Your Love. Maybe it was a combination of it being one of the lesser known songs, and not a particular favorite of mine, but it seemed to suck the energy right out of the room. No matter, and moving right along, it’s back to the fan favorite White Lines, and my husband doing the jazz-hands along with the rest of the audience. If I Don’t Want Your Love was my least favorite, then, I can balance that out with the Sunrise/New Moon medley. What a treat to see New Moon on Monday live!

Shall we discuss Danceophobia, the song that threatens to divide an entire fan community? While it’s not in my top five, it’s certainly not among my most loathed. (In case you are curious, All She Wants Is, might find itself on that list, not that I have to worry about it suddenly appearing on the set list anytime soon.) It’s the complete antithesis to Simon’s more cryptic and obtuse lyrics and I am okay with that. There is nothing wrong with being shallow and superficial every once in a while. In fact, I always get a bit of a chuckle when I hear Lindsay Lohan as the voice of reason during the song. Regardless of Lohan’s merits, it’s such a treat to see live, as I completely adore Jessie Wagner and how she has completely made this performance her own. So, let’s just say, I looked around and forgot the crowd.

My evening was quickly coming to a grinding halt. When introducing Save a Prayer, Simon said some lovely things about music being a force for good, in his story about the Eagles of Death Metal at the Bataclan during that horrible day in Paris last fall. We all lit our cell phones and swayed in a crashing wave of feels. I knew Rio would probably be the last of the set. And even thought I love the visuals from the album projected two stories high, it’s a bittersweet moment. It’s almost over. Nevertheless, I do love how the show ends on such an upbeat and positive note. BUT! Montreal shall never be outdone by Toronto. This is a Canadian fact. No sooner had the band completed their final bows, did the crowd begin to chant in earnest: Reflex! Reflex! Reflex! Now I know there is some debate whether this song should remain in circulation, but hell, if it means one more song out of the band, I’m going to scream it from the top of my lungs. (I’d even scream for an acoustic version of Shotgun, for that matter!) And there is nothing quite like the reverberation of 20,000 chanting people. I hope at the very least, that the band appreciated this little bit of magic from us. I certainly did.

Nick did his very best sound-effects and the show, all too soon, came to an end.

It was over and I was sad. Did I have a good time? No. Not really. I had the best time.

After the magic, comes the driving. Eight more hours of it. There’s not much more to say about that. Except this…

See you in Toronto!

 

Heather Todd Duran starHeather Todd is a Duranie from  New Brunswick, Canada. She saw
her first Duran Duran show (with none other than Amanda and Rhonda) in October 2015.  A self-described weirdo, Heather is a writer, video game enthusiast and beta reader (and wields a mighty red pen!!) for Amanda and Rhonda’s manuscript!!

Feel It in the Air: Duran Duran – Mohegan Sun

On Thursday April 7, I attended my 16th Duran Duran show. Although I’m a lifelong American fan dating back to Rio, I had never seen the band until 1997. In fact, nearly all of my Duran concerts occurred between the Medazzaland and Red Carpet Massacre tours (14 shows between 1997-2008, evenly split between the 90’s era and reunited lineups). As I sat with my wife and one of my sisters the other night, waiting for the show to start and chatting with other Duranies, these thoughts ran through my mind.  How was it that I was only seeing my 2nd show in the last 8 years? Of course, starting a family, buying a house, and job demands all get in the way, as does “Durantime” and the band’s lack of touring. Regardless, I made up my mind to go into the show completely open. I was going to enjoy it, even if they played “Hungry Like the Wolf” for two hours straight! (Well, maybe that would be a bit much…but you get my point.)

A little over 24 hours later, as I write this, I am still processing what was an amazing live performance of songs old and new.  Rather than go song by song, here are some general observations:

We’ve come too far to give up who we are. 

Chic’s set was awesome. Nile and the gang played all of their hits—“Le Freak,” “I Want Your Love,” and “Good Times”—in addition to a medley of other songs that he’d written for other artists. The highlight was a cover of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance.” I won’t lie, I have always loved disco (before Duran Duran, my favorite artists included Andy Gibb and the Bee Gees…I was born in the early 70’s and that’s what I grew up with!) and seeing Nile perform these songs live was a dream come true. He has an energy and enthusiasm for life that comes through in his music. Nile introduced “Get Lucky,” a song he wrote with Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams several years ago, as the response to his cancer diagnosis (and he is now cancer free!). I had never heard “Get Lucky” but it resonated with me—musically and lyrically—as Nile, Duran, and all of us fans have truly “come too far to give up who we are.” Nile Rodgers and Chic perfectly set the stage for Duran with their funky, high energy performance.

Is it out of choice that you’re here next to me, or just the aftermath of moments as they pass?

 That line—from “What are the Chances”—is one of my favorites in the entirety of the Duran catalogue. As with any lyric, its interpretation depends on the listener. Last night, I wondered if it might refer to the relationship between Dom Brown and the band. Dom has been a loyal part of the Duran family for over a decade now, not just as a “touring” guitarist but co-writer on the last two (amazing) albums. Much has been made in the Duran fandom of his status (or lack thereof) as an “official” member of the band. All I know is what I saw and heard last night: an amazing show, with great chemistry, much of it involving Dom. Gone is the tension that marked the later Warren years and the initial reunion involving Andy (where something about the “Fab 5” just felt off). Now, they seem as relaxed and sure of themselves as they were in the early 80’s, and surely Dom deserves some measure of credit for that. “What are the Chances” was amazing, emotional, and a standout from last night’s show. I have been on the fence on the track for months now, but last night put me over the edge. Dom was also great on “I Don’t Want Your Love.” While I’ve seen different lineups perform that song, the Mohegan Sun show marked two firsts: The first time I’ve ever heard Dom play it, and the first time I’ve ever heard the guitar solo played properly, like Chester Kamen played it on Big Thing. Even the dreaded “Hungry Like the Wolf” sounded livelier and refreshed (my wife noticed that as well and she is no Duranie!). “Ordinary World,” another song I know some feel should be dropped (more on that in a moment) also sounded great, thanks to Dom’s faithful rendition. While I don’t fully understand the relationship between Dom and the band, and the fact that he seems to be kept at arm’s length at times, I only know what I saw last night. I hope to continue to see him playing with Duran for years to come.

We’re all busy being human; we remember.  

So when it comes down to it, there isn’t much I would change in last night’s set. “Last Night in the City” was far better live than I ever would have imagined, with Anna Ross doing a great job. As noted above, so too was “What are the Chances.” “Paper Gods” was the perfect opener. Complimented by the visuals of the band (minus Nick, unless I missed him) singing the Mr. Hudson backing vocal on the big screen, the band took the stage. Roger’s percussion and Nick’s synth line followed Simon’s vocal, and then the crowd went nuts as John’s bass kicked in. Putting “Wild Boys” earlier in the set (rather than toward the end, where it usually is if they play it) was a great decision. It got the crowd rocking early and followed the momentum of their entrance and “Paper Gods.” Perhaps the highlight of the night were two of the tracks that Nile Rodgers cowrote—“Notorious” and “Pressure Off”—played with the hit maker himself, who returned to the stage. His chemistry with John, Dom and Simon reinforced the fact that Duran truly is like a second band for him. Even “Hungry Like the Wolf” and “Ordinary World”—two hits that seem far overplayed and I could do without—sounded great last night and I would not have removed them.

That being said, I would make a few changes.   While it seemed well received, I would have eliminated “Come Undone.” I understand the band’s attachment to their few 90’s hits. However, we’re nearly a quarter century removed from The Wedding Album. If an 80’s hit like “Union of the Snake” or “The Reflex” can be omitted from the set, surely “Come Undone” can as well. Why not replace that spot in the set with something from the first three albums? “Last Chance on the Stairway” could easily function as an early mid-tempo number that would give the guys a breather while offering the fans (even the casual ones) a song they likely know.

Likewise, “Danceophobia” is a misstep that need not be repeated live. I understand from reading interviews how much the band worked on the track, and of course there is the celebrity connection with Lindsay Lohan performing on the studio version. If the goal is to get the casual Duranies to buy Paper Gods, why not replace “Danceophobia” with “Face for Today” or “Butterfly Girl”?

Finally, the band should either play the guitar-driven, 1993 version of “Too Much Information,” or go all-in and swap it out with “Drowning Man” and strip the guitar from that track (if they are so bent on playing something more from The Wedding Album). The sped-up, electro “Too Much Information” completely ruins one of their best songs.

Those quibbles aside, it was a great show for both long time Duranies and casual fans. The past may very well be “another country” but last night, for a few hours, Duran Duran, Nile Rodgers, and Chic successfully blended past and present songs for an amazing show.

HIGHLIGHTS: I Don’t Want Your Love, Paper Gods, Notorious, Pressure Off, What are the Chances, Planet Earth/Space Oddity, Save a Prayer, Sunrise/New Moon on Monday medley.

LEAST FAVORITE: Danceophobia, Too Much Information, Come Undone

MOST SURPRISING: White Lines continues to be a song that people go nuts for, even though most Duranies would probably like to see it replaced in the set. Yes, Rhonda, he still spit the water, although we were a section too far back to feel it.

BIGGEST OMISSION:  I understand the need to promote Paper Gods, but would it have killed the band to include something from All You Need Is Now?  All they need do is look at how Sunrise has become such a huge fan favorite, even with casual fans.  The same could be true of the song All You Need is Now if given the chance.  It has the same anthemic quality.

BY THE NUMBERS: Paper Gods (5), Rio (3), The Wedding Album (3), Duran Duran (2), SATR (1), Arena (1), Notorious (1), Big Thing (1), Thank You (1), Astronaut (1), & AVTAK.

-C.K

Falling for Paper Gods in (Where else?) Niagara Falls!

As always – we welcome and encourage show reviews of any kind from our readers! This review of the Niagara Falls shows was sent to us courtesy of one of our Canadian friends, enjoy!! 


Last weekend I attended both shows in Niagara Falls. Originally I was only going to see the second show on Saturday night. Since we would already be there on Friday,  I would see if I could get tickets for that show as well. I had been watching a couple of tickets through a private seller the week before the show. He lowered his ticket price, so I ended up getting some great seats – second row to the left – and we all know who owns that area of the stage!

Where to begin? It was quite an amazing whirlwind of a weekend! We stayed at the Fallsview Casino Hotel, which doubled as the show venue. Our room was on the 35th floor.  As we went up to our room, we noticed a gentlemen knocking on the door two rooms down from ours. Who opens the door? Simon!!  I was on the same floor as the band! I couldn’t believe my luck! I didn’t say anything to him, as we  went into our room.  Once the door was securely shut,  I began to dance around like a 13-year-old girl. My husband found me quite amusing!

We went downstairs around 8pm as the show started at 9. I met one of my Facebook friends who was there from Colorado and we hung around for a bit before the show. It was great to finally meet her in person! The show started shortly after 9pm, and the band opened with Paper Gods. That was the perfect opener for the show. The background effects and lighting were just wonderful. The guys looked great and Simon’s voice sounded wonderful.

They played the usual classics along with a few songs from Paper Gods. They added a special homage to David Bowie by playing Space Oddity  in with Planet Earth.  It was so beautiful and moving! They had a picture of David on the big screen. Most of us there were also Bowie fans so I saw a lot of teary eyed people.

The show was short, which was disappointing. Apparently there was a time limit so were not able to play as much material as usual.
“Save A Prayer” was done during the encore, and Simon took a few moments to talk about the Paris attacks and the Eagles of Death Metal, who had been playing onstage at the Bataclan at the time of the attacks. Rio was also a part of the encore. As they were ready to leave the stage everyone started chanting “Reflex Reflex Reflex” So they stayed and granted us our wish!  (The video for The Reflex was filmed at the Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, so Canadians obviously feel a special connection to the song. – R) I didn’t see any disappointed faces in the crowd. Everyone had a smile on their face as they were leaving.

My husband is not a DD fan and he even appreciated the show. This is his second time seeing them with me, and he seeing another DD show in Montreal with me on April 11th, so I think I am slowing turning him into a fan!

We waited awhile before we went upstairs to our room. When we finally went up guess who was going into his room? Simon! I didn’t say anything to him as he looked really tired, and I wanted to respect his space. A few minutes later, I decided I wanted to get something to drink so I went to the vending machine down the hall. When I came back who did I see? Nick! He was almost standing in front of our door with their manager Wendy. His room was in front of ours. I spoke to him for a minute and asked him if he would autograph my Paper Gods book and also got a picture with him. He was so nice!

Nick and Janice

The next morning we decided to go downstairs and shop in the mall part of the hotel. We were walking around and I see Simon and Wendy walking toward us. I went up to Simon, said hi, and told him that I have been a fan since ’83 and shook his hand. I asked if I could get a picture with him. He responds by asking, “Aren’t you the girl down the hall from me?” I was thrilled! He picked out a spot with good lighting and my hubby took a few pictures. He had just come in from seeing the falls and his hands were cold. He was rubbing my arm! It was such a thrill to meet him. I think I played it cool when I met him, but when we walked away I was overcome with emotion. I’m thankful my husband was there with me.

Simon and Janice

Saturday was such a wonderful day. It was great finally meeting some of my FB friends that are also DD fans, and I even made some brand new friends. We all had such a great time. At the Saturday night show I went solo and sat in left balcony. Once again it was excellent. If I were a millionaire I would go to every one of their shows in every city.

This was a very special weekend that I will always remember. I never thought in a million years that I would meet Simon and Nick or end up as hotel neighbours with them!

If you have never seen DD I suggest you see them. They do not disappoint. They are better than ever!


Janice has been a Duranie since 1983 and is from a small town north of Montreal in Canada where she lives with her wonderfully patient (and potential DD convert!) husband.  She is excited for the upcoming show in Montreal this weekend, and says she will always love Duran Duran!

AMEX Presents: Duran Duran at Terminal 5

By Michelle Duran (Daily Duranie Contributor)

On Monday September 14, I ventured to West 56th street in NYC to see Duran Duran at Terminal 5. While it was my first time there, Terminal 5 is a familiar venue to many East Coast Duranies since the band played there with Celebrity DJ Steve Aoki back in June, 2012 as part of Trident Gum’s See What Unfolds series, which featured interesting (read: weird) pairings of performers. After seeing plenty of Aoki videos on YouTube, I chose to skip his “Gallagher meets DJ” shtick while several of my friends went and ended up with green cake icing in places where no frosting belongs.

Regardless, the AMEX event promised to be a very different show, with DD’s core fan base at full strength. In fact, there were three thousand die-hard fans packed into Terminal 5’s GA floor and two levels of balconies, with a select few getting coveted seats along the VIP balconies on John’s side of the stage. The rest of us packed in like sardines in front of the stage. Thanks to those who heard snippets of the sound check that afternoon, we were eagerly anticipating new music and at least one deep cut from our favorite band.

Museum of Love, a New York City band featuring Pat Mahoney, formerly the drummer for LCD Soundsystem, on vocals went on stage at 8:15 pm. As openers go, they were good. I’d put them solidly in the middle of the pack for DD opening acts. The songs were relatively long – they played for about thirty-five minutes but only played about six songs. The music is sort of mellow jamming EDM, if that makes sense. You can listen to their self-titled debut on Spotify if you’d like to get a better idea. Throughout their performance, fans kept the party vibe going by tossing several happy face balloons through the air.

Once Museum of Love finished, the crowd eagerly waited for Duran Duran to take the stage as soon as possible. Finally, at 9:20 pm many who’d hope for a new opening song had our wish granted when we heard the beginning chant of Paper Gods as Simon and the other band members emerged from the stage’s machine made fog to play the seven plus minutes of deliciousness that is the title track of their new album. Even though it was only the first time live, it’s already evident that this song is a new favorite with fans and I hope they keep it as the opener for the West Coast shows.   The band themselves seemed just as happy to play it live as we were hearing it. Simon was in full front man persona, enjoying the attention as he danced around the stage in a black sequined jacket and white jeans.

The black and white theme was well represented by everyone on stage. Anna Ross looked stunning in a dress featuring black and white angled stripes. The only doses of color were the red stripe on the inseam of Dom’s trousers and the hot pink screen-print of John’s tee, courtesy of a Punk Masters.

Next up was AVTAK, which they arranged with a little more of a Bond theme introduction than when it was performed on the AYNIN tour. This isn’t the full orchestral Ronson mix of 2009 but it was definitely a bit meatier than what they did in 2012.

Although I’ve seen complaints on social media that Terminal 5 doesn’t have great acoustics, I thought the band sounded terrific as they played both old hits like Notorious and new songs like Pressure Off with enthusiasm.   They’ve now played Pressure Off on stage several times and it seems as though they feel as comfortable with it live as anything in their catalogue. In fact, they were in great form all night and you could tell that they were really enjoying being on stage.

After the perennial Amanda favorite (wink-wink), Come Undone, Simon made reference to how the next song was exactly about “this sort of situation” waving his hand between the audience and himself before launching into Last Night in the City.   This is a song that grows on you more and more every time you hear it and it’s the perfect showcase for Simon’s voice which sounds stronger than ever. The soaring vocals were nothing short of phenomenal live and you could tell Simon was pleased with how the entire audience responded. LNitC is also a very electronic song. John plays only the keyboards, there’s no traditional bass and Dom really doesn’t have much to do on guitar. Regardless, John threw himself into playing the keyboards with his usual intensity.

The band returned to their roots with The Reflex, Simon leading the crowd in a longer than usual version of the Ta-Na-Na-Na’s and then immediately followed with one of my favorites live, Planet Earth.   Next came White Lines and even though we knew the controversial water spit was coming, Simon somehow snuck up on us. I managed to dodge most of it but if I come down with a cold next week, I’m blaming “Lebonitis.”   After playing hits Ordinary World, Wild Boys, and Reach Up for the Sunrise, the band launched into another song from Paper Gods, Danceophobia.   Anna did a great job with the Lindsey Lohan spoken word part, working the stage. The song is another that strongly favors vocals and electronics at the expense of guitar and bass and there were times when John literally had nothing to do except dance to the music. I’ll admit this is my least favorite song from Paper Gods, so I may be biased but it didn’t seem to go over with the crowd as well as the other new songs.

There’s no doubt however, that the next song was definitely well received. A friend told me that Too Much Information was last played live in 2001, meaning that this would’ve been the first time Roger EVER played it live and for John, possibly the first since 1993’s OW tour. The absence of John’s bass on Danceophobia was ever more apparent when you could literally feel as well as hear it on TMI. IMO, TMI is one of those underappreciated third singles that never realized its potential on the U.S. charts. I thought it was a great song then and it still sounds fantastic today. From there, the band immediately launched into Girls on Film, again a change from the past few tours when GOF was always in the encore and always used for the band intros.   They’ve changed up the beginning of the song. This version of GOF had a bit more of an electronic sound but John’s bass was still prominent. The band had the audience sing along with the chorus and once again, skipped the intros.   GOF signaled the end of the regular set but after a very brief reprieve, the band was back with another fan favorite that had been absent from the last tour, Save A Prayer. Okay, anyone who knows me knows this is my favorite song of all time so of course, I was happy to have it back in the set. We all swayed and sang along as the feeling of being back where we all belonged – the band and its fans was almost palpable.

photo courtesy of Michelle Duran
photo courtesy of Michelle Duran

The night finished with a high energy version of Rio. I never want that song to end, since it’s always the last of the night and it seemed as though the band felt the same way with John and Dom both strumming those last notes as long as possible.   As the crowd cheered and cheered at the end, John spoke one last time “We’ll see you soon” before the band exited the stage. I for one can’t wait.

Yes, there is YouTube video, check GothicblueCJ’s YouTube account for great footage of the show.

Through the Barricades – Spandau Ballet at Pacific Amphitheater

Last night I joined about 8,000 of my newest friends to see Spandau Ballet in concert at the Pacific Amphitheater in Costa Mesa, California. I don’t want to brag (actually I do), but Spandau says that it was one of the best if not the best amphitheater show they’ve done.

First of all, it’s been a couple of years since I’ve been to this venue, and they’ve completely improved the gates leading from inside the fair. What once felt like a back alley was open and inviting, which is nice. The amphitheater has it’s own set of unique problems though, some of which are that it’s attached to a fairground, not permitted to run year-round, and there’s some nasty rules about noise, curfews and horrific fines if a band should happen to go past their time-limit.  Even so, I love it when bands play here…especially when those bands are named Spandau Ballet, Tears for Fears, or Duran Duran.

I recently saw Spandau (by recently I mean earlier this year and you can find my review here), for a show at the Wiltern Theatre in LA and it was fantastic, far exceeding any expectations I may have had. I was a fan who had never seen them live, and I still can’t quite believe my luck at having them play twice in a single year. From what I could gather between the LA show and last night – they have an amazing, fun-loving, and supportive fan base, and it’s a shame it had gone thirty years (according to Tony Hadley, whom I’m assuming knows these things) since their last show in the OC, otherwise known as my backyard.  So, I was curious to see how their shows might differ, especially after long months of touring. Would fatigue get the best of them? Would their music feel a bit tired, or polished?

Once again, Spandau blew me away. In retrospect, the show in LA felt almost a bit stiff compared to the warm, friendly and loving nature of the show last night. While the band certainly interacted in LA, it couldn’t even compare to having Tony Hadley and Gary Kemp decide to literally go play Empty Spaces in the audience….only to follow that up with a brief sing-a-long a cappella version of Gold before going back up to the main stage. We were treated to Steve Norman getting right down to nearly eye-level as he played sax with those in the front rows, quite possibly giving Krista Blade (Richard Blade’s – the KROQ radio DJ and 80’s music guru wife) the show of her life.  Martin and Gary Kemp traded sides of the stage several times throughout the show as well. But it wasn’t just those moments that made the show feel special or intimate. Tony Hadley commented not just once, but several times as to how great the audience was; and I have to say – in all of my years of attending shows, I have NEVER heard an audience sing in quite the same way as we did last night. We sang along to Gold and of course True…and no matter where Tony would hand off the singing of a line to the crowd, it was picked up and beautifully finished with enthusiasm. I think in a lot of ways, True is sort of Spandau’s Hungry Like the Wolf, and rather than the song being tired or boring, which let’s face it – by this time is absolutely a possibility; the band has worked to give it new life and make it something that the fans can sing together with the band as sort of a sentimental moment. It worked beautifully.

The crowd was willing, open, warm…and even had a few self-named superfans present. One such person was in the front row. I noticed him throughout the show because he knew every word to every song, which made me smile. He danced and sang right along with the band, and reminded me of the time someone announced to Amanda and I that they’d never seen more enthusiastic fans at a show. (I don’t really want to know what we must have looked like that night….) In any case, the band went offstage from their main set at precisely 10:01 by my watch, and came back out to do “Through the Barricades”, which has got to be the most romantic song ever written (and I adore Steve Norman’s sax on this one). It was about this time that I glanced down to the front row and noticed that the guy I’d seen earlier was wearing some sort of, well…hat and feather get-up. It was canary yellow…which I’m assuming he wore because he was insistently hoping that the band finished with “Gold”.  They did…but not before Tony Hadley had to turn away from said superfan because he was laughing and couldn’t sing. I have to give the guy credit, he wore that little number (and I’m sorry I don’t have pictures – I was too busy enjoying the song!!) for the entire song, and then the band literally pulled him onstage during their goodbyes as Steve Norman carried him…yes CARRIED him in his arms.

  1. Spandau Ballet loves their fans. A LOT…and they’re definitely not too cool to show it.

  2. Steve Norman can carry a full-sized man. So my hope of someday having him show up and carry me away is still on!!!  😉

  3. I don’t suppose my showing up in a wolf-suit to a Duran Duran concert is really going to help anything…so no one need worry.

  4. I wish I’d bought tickets to see them in San Diego tonight.

  5. It’s not REALLY cheating on Duran Duran. It’s training for the next tour…I swear!!

One last thing: prior to the show, Richard Blade did a DJ set with his buddy (and Duran Duran fan), Steven Wayne.  Steven actually played the songs, and Richard always likes to do the trivia and contests.  The coolest part of his set before the show was when he dramatically said a line from When In Rome’s song “The Promise” (the point was to guess what song the line was from), and Clive Farrington, the lead singer of When in Rome, was planted in the audience with a microphone. He came down on the stage and actually SANG the song. Gotta tell ya, When in Rome was another favorite band of mine from way back when, and I nearly fell out of my chair when literally he rose up from his chair to go sing RIGHT DOWN THE AISLE from me.  He still sings with stunning beauty, and I can cross one more thing off of my lengthy bucket list.  I felt bad for him because people continually stopped him throughout the show for pictures, but I didn’t need any….the memory of having him sing is going to stick with me for a long, long time. Loved it.