Category Archives: show commentary

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.

 

Spandau Ballet Wiltern Theatre

I went to see Spandau Ballet at the Wiltern Theatre in LA last night. Yes, I realize this is the Daily Duranie and maybe one of the last things many of you want to read is a review on another band’s live performance.  You should probably look away….but not you, Duran Duran. No, you four…FIVE (!)…should probably read on. (I am never giving in on Dom being a member, by the way. Suck it up.)

The reason I’m writing a show review about Spandau Ballet, is because for many DD fans, the supposed rivalry between SB and DD never existed. I hadn’t heard of it until I saw a YouTube video of Spandau vs. Duran on Pop Quiz.  (Check them out if you haven’t seen them – they’re funny!!) I just loved both bands for very different reasons. My love for Spandau Ballet did not; however, begin with “True” – as it did for many other American fans. I had heard their music well before that – for me, the very essence of Spandau Ballet is “To Cut a Long Story Short”,  or “Instinction” or better yet, “Confused”.  When I listen to those songs even today – the bridge between Spandau and Duran feels solid and I can see why I love both bands.  So to me, writing about other bands that were very much a part of that time period feels natural…and damn it, if Duran Duran isn’t gonna give me anything to write about, someone else will!

When I got to the Wiltern last night just after 7pm, I was dismayed to see that the line stretched all the way around the building and down the block. This wasn’t a GA show, it was completely seated, and the only reason for the line was a lack in security people to check bags. Ridiculous, but thankfully the line moved fairly quickly. Once in the venue though, we made our way up to our loge seats. I chose loge rather than floor because while I’m sure it would have been great to be up front, I really wanted to hear the full mix of the show. I will openly admit that for me, the experience of seeing Duran Duran live has everything to do with the rush of being near the front…but for Spandau Ballet, and knowing that I probably would not have the opportunity to see them live again (hey, it’s been 30 years since they’ve toured here), I wanted to HEAR the music without my brain playing tricks on me because I was in front of Martin Kemp or seeing Steve Norman play sax in front of me. Just saying.  (Still love you, Duran Duran, but seriously – it’s been a long time!)

Our seats were fantastic with a great view of the full stage, and bonus: the Wiltern takes drink orders from your seat! We settled in, watched Richard Blade give away tickets to see Rio and a couple of other far less interesting events (yes, I really mean that – unless you’re into Morrissey, which I am not.), and waited for the show.

The band opened with Soul Boy – a new song off of their The Story, and from the opening notes it was really clear that this was not going to be an ordinary concert for me. I won’t lie or pretend I never notice backing tracks with other artists. I am very clear that for many bands today – they must have them because they record with so many tracks for each instrument, it’s impossible to replicate live. That said, I have to give Spandau credit: they are the real deal. They PLAY…and any backing used is incredibly minimal compared to many other bands. Tony Hadley has a better voice live than nearly any vocalist I’ve ever heard, and I’m sure the Jack he used for toasting the audience does nothing to hurt him, either.  I can’t really say enough about Tony’s vocal talent OR the rest of the band. Steve Norman is a sax GOD, not to mention a world-class percussionist, of course Gary and Martin Kemp are the backbone of the band along with John Keeble on drums.  After sorting through a lot of misinformation, I’m editing this blog to update that the keyboardist’s name on this tour is Toby Chapman, and he did a fantastic job last night as well.  While in my opinion Spandau comes on stage with a lot less “flash” than say…Duran Duran…they more than make up for it with incredibly solid performance, and I still can’t get over Tony Hadley’s voice. He is amazing.

My moment of the night was hearing “To Cut a Long Story Short” – which is my favorite Spandau song. I marveled at how I was standing there, at a Spandau Ballet concert – something I just never, EVER thought I would do. I had many of the same feelings surging through my veins as I did when I saw Duran Duran – The “Original” Fab Five – at the OC Fair back in 2003. I couldn’t quite make my eyes believe what my ears were hearing. I am kicking myself this morning for not taking video, but in a lot of ways I’m glad I didn’t. I took the moment for myself and soaked it in, feeling that concert rush course through my system. I’d forgotten what it was like.

This review wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t make some commentary on the Spandau Ballet fans – many of which had been waiting thirty years to see this band. I loved being up in the balcony because I was able to see the reaction from fans – diehard Spandau Ballet fans – as they heard songs that they probably never thought they’d see done live. There was something really heartwarming as I watched fans scream with glee as Tony broke into Chant No. 1 (I Don’t Need This Pressure On) or the way the entire audience sang “True” with the band. There were so many special moments about the show I can’t even begin to name them all…and that’s just during the show.  As we waited in line outside that night, I halfway listened as the people in back of us talked about the trek they were making to follow the band on their tour across the country, and how they talked about members of the band as though they were old friends. It reminded me so much of the “relationship” Duran fans have with the band. As much as we might be different – Spandau fans and Duran fans – we’re really the same. (and quite honestly, there were quite a few Spandau fans that I recognized from Duran shows over the years!)

As I sit here, trying to formulate sentences to describe my experience, the one feeling I really want to convey is just how much the Spandau Ballet show reminded me of what I love most about going to concerts. I think I’d forgotten that concert rush – that concert high, a high I caught even while sitting in loge seats rather than in the first few rows down front.  I had forgotten just how much I love seeing bands live and fully immersing myself into the music. Hearing every single note from a sax solo. Feeling the bass drum beat, clapping my hands in rhythm and singing as loud as my voice can manage. Squealing in joy as the band plays another song through to perfection, and yes – even watching the band acknowledge fans who have loved them for thirty years. How can I honestly say I would be OK to never feel any of that again?

I can’t.

-R

Rio: The Duran Duran drought is over?

I’ve almost certainly lost my DD mojo at this point.

These are words I actually texted to a friend of mine on Saturday afternoon as we discussed going to see the greatest Duran Duran tribute band on this side of the Atlantic – Rio. They were playing at the Totally 80’s Bar in Fullerton California, which wasn’t far from my house.  I needed a night out, as did my husband. There has been a serious Duran Duran drought going on, and judging from responses I’ve seen over the past several months to whatever the band says, or even what happen to say on Twitter, it sounds like this is a full-fledged emergency.

Before I get into whom to blame for this tragedy (I think we all know exactly who is to blame here), let’s just talk about that evening. The truth of the matter, it’s been so long that I’ve been out, I feared I’d forgotten how to dress. I spend my luxurious, fun-filled days in jeans, a t-shirt and athletic trainers, running after a now five-month old puppy before he decides to use our house as his personal toilet among many other equally amazing “hobbies” I’ve acquired in the past four years. Dare I say I’ve become frumpy?!? I certainly feel that way every morning when I crawl out of bed, grabbing the first clothing items I can throw on, not even bothering with makeup or hair product. Instead of just being a Duranie-on-a (short) hiatus, I felt like I was becoming my mother, feeling every single second of my forty-four years on this planet. For a while, I even started to give in, waving my dishtowel as a white flag in defeat, sensing that it might be a while, perhaps even forever, before I went to another concert and screamed for the men onstage.

Yes, I had lost my DD mojo. Most definitely.  There is an intense Duran Duran drought going on here.

So that brings me to Saturday night. Immediately upon texting that I’d go to see Rio, I realized I had no idea of what to wear. Did I even still fit into my typical concert clothing? It had been months since I actually did a full make-up job or worried about my hair – could I still pull it off? Probably not. I pulled on my jeans, noting that I could still breathe (definitely an unexpected bonus), and then tried on a shirt. I shrugged it on, and then went to the mirror to see how bad it looked. I took a peek, and to my surprise – I started to recognize the reflection in the mirror. Yes, the girl was still in there, but what about the band…the real band? I hear we’ve got at least another six months of this Duran Duran drought ahead. Seriously, they expect us to hang on this long with virtually nothing?? No one needs remind me that they’ve done a few shows over the past year – but unless you were lucky to be able to attend one – which I was not, the rest of us are still living a California-sized Duran Duran drought.

We get to the club that night and sit down to grab a little pre-show dinner. If you haven’t been, the menu is filled with delights like the Breakfast Club burger (which has everything including an egg and hash browns on it) to Tater-Tots with toppings like poutine or nacho cheese sauce. They also have drinks that run the gamot of 80’s names. Yes, they even have a Duran Duran shot bomb. From memory it is black cherry vodka with some grenadine dropped into Red Bull.  I am certain this could kill me, so I go for the Richard Blade Rum Runner instead (still Duran themed, damn it!). I don’t even remember what is in this drink, but it was good. I want to say there was something raspberry in there with rum and maybe even some pineapple. Not sure. I just know I drank it and lived, even if my memory did not.

My friends arrive, we chat for a while at our table and then make our way to the front of the club to see the show. I’ve been to see Rio before – in fact I’ve done an interview with them here on the blog as well as reviewed a show, so being near the front wasn’t a requirement, but we made our way as close as possible – which ended up being directly to the side of some speakers. Yay for more early onset hearing loss! The show starts and the band is terrific as always. Honestly, as Tiger Tiger began, I could feel the Duran Duran drought ending for me in very much the same way I felt when California finally got some rain in December. Nourishment!! Relief!! I felt at home because let’s face it – Rio’s set list is vaguely familiar, with tunes like Planet Earth, Hungry Like the Wolf (oh you betcha!), Come Undone, Ordinary World…but they also played Is There Something I Should Know, New Moon on Monday (which sounded just a little off to me, but in fairness I was only getting part of the sound through the one set of speakers deafening me), and New Religion. A full-set of Duran Duran drought ending greatness. I can’t  complain about their show (and I wouldn’t anyway because as I’ve already said – this is the greatest DD Tribute band on this side of the pond, hands-down). For this Duranie, their set gave me a hint of DD mojo back.

However, just as I was starting to remember why it is I love the band, and yes, lately it has been difficult to remember why…I started remembering what I’d forgotten about concerts in general.

People are freaking NUTS.

We’d made our way up to nearly the front of the stage before the show started, not by pretending we knew someone or faking a leg injury, by just walking up to the front. After all, this wasn’t the band. I mean, it was Rio…but it wasn’t Duran Duran. Apparently though, management forgot to mention that small detail to many of the women (and a whole lot of the men!) in attendance. I witnessed behavior that night that I haven’t seen (well some of it I’ve never seen, but I’ll get to that in a bit) in a looonnnnngg time. From the woman who refused to give up on getting to the front no matter how many times the gentleman who stopped her from barging up there continued to put her off, to the presumable grandmother that elbowed me several times, leaving me with a nasty bruise on the backside of my arm to shove me out-of-the-way so that she could lock eyes with “Simon” Jake Jacobs, and the very, very drunk woman who used the stage as a way to prop her arms so that she could twerk for her man (I really wish I were joking about that one)…I was shocked. Pushing and shoving to get up front to see a tribute band? Climbing on to the stage to dance with the band members? Staking out front row spots to have a chance for Jake to grab your hand and sing to you?  Where in the hell was I???  I continued to utter the same words throughout the show: “You know this isn’t like, THE BAND…right?!?”  I can only imagine that the Duran Duran drought has caused this kind of madness.

Don’t get me wrong. Rio is fabulous. They are an outstanding band, and they have a great time doing what they do. They’re true musicians and I dare say rock stars in their own right. But they’re not Duran Duran. Unless of course you haven’t seen Duran Duran in what, three or four years. Then suddenly, this tribute band takes on a whole new meaning – they’re helping end the Duran Duran drought!! They’re the band that is standing incredibly well for the other band that can’t seem to be bothered at the moment. From what I saw that night, the crowd is more than happy to take what they’re eager to give. And then some.

The show had everything from a guy jumping up on stage to take a photo with the band – which was harmless enough, to a woman who helped herself to a free frontal feel on “Simon”. (Don’t even ask…although I wonder if the real Simon has been molested the way Jake was that night. I’m going to guess in the affirmative, even though Jake himself told me that in the twenty-something years he’s spent performing, it’s never happened before that night. Nice.) By all intents and purposes, this very-packed crowd genuinely believed it was the real deal on the stage that night, obviously to the credit of Rio. The tribute band really is that charismatic, and while I stood by mostly mortified on Saturday night, Rio tells me that I shouldn’t go around reminding people they’re not really Duran Duran. They love being the enablers for the fantasy, and the last thing they really need is someone like me screaming “Get off my lawn!” Fair enough.

However, facts are facts, and it has been just about three-and-a-half years since the band toured. It has been just over four years since All You Need is Now has been released. As of spring this year, this will be the very longest it’s EVER GONE between album releases – you want to talk about a Duran Duran drought?? Here we are, people! This is insane. Fans are restless. They need shows. They want new music. The tribute band Rio helps to pass the time, and I’m grateful that they play, but they aren’t Duran Duran in the same way that Simon, John, Nick, Roger AND Dom are Duran Duran (and also to their credit, Rio knows this). We’re not a bunch of teenagers anymore that can still be counted on to be there in five or ten years. Fans probably won’t still be there if the band continues to wait to tour or put out a single or do much of anything. At our age – time is a commodity we’re losing, like it or not. I very much respect John, Simon, Roger and Nick – but I very much disagree with the attitude they continue to expel at every opportunity that they don’t need to hurry or get themselves out there to continue the momentum that they have almost assuredly lost after all of this time. To that I must emphatically respond, “You don’t get it at all. You really and truly just do not get it, boys.”

I question what is really going on “behind the curtain” at times such as these. It is difficult to be a Duranie in this Duran Duran drought at the moment. On one hand, of course I want to be supportive. At the end of it all, I’m still a fan. Disgruntled? Perhaps. Bored? Certainly. But I still care. I want to say, “Take the time you need. We’ll wait!” On the other hand, I’m wondering if they really want to get out there at all. It’s been a long-ass time since All You Need is Now. You can’t even argue that it hasn’t. Why did they need so many big names on one album? Why haven’t they put out a single at this point if for no other reason than to put voices like mine with questions like the ones I’ve brought up here to rest? Why don’t they seem to care at all? Have they lost their minds???  Or, is their collective heart not really in the game anymore, and they don’t know how to SAY they’re done?  I think most fans, including myself, feel like this album might be the last for a least a very long while – and every single time I hear Nick say “Well, we’ll certainly play some shows”… my heart hears, “Well, we might play SOME shows…but probably not nearly as many as we did before” and it sinks. Each time John does a Katy Kafe and sounds like he’d much rather be plucking his nose-hairs, I feel it sink even farther. How does a fan stay optimistic during this Duran Duran drought?!?

Mostly, I’ve lost my DD mojo, and this Duran Duran drought feels never-ending. We all tell ourselves that we don’t mind waiting and that it’ll be worth it in the end because otherwise, we wouldn’t be fans. I’ve been doing that as much as anyone. It is the name of the fandom game – we’ll wait because the other choice is to walk away and not care. I also know that for as many people who will tell me they’ll wait forever for Simon and Co…there are still others who are nodding their heads as they read this, proud of my “bravery” in publicly saying what we’re all thinking. This blog isn’t managed or supported by the band. I am not required to adhere to party line talking points provided by a PR company. I write whatever I’m thinking or feeling on any given day and it’s 100% truthful, even if the concerns are unfounded when all said and done – and with that comes great freedom, if not also a little sadness.

The Duran Duran drought continues…

-R

One Night (not exactly) Only! – Unstaged on the big screen!

It is Thursday, and I have ONE question for you, Duranies!  Have you seen any good movies lately?!?

With three kids and a schedule that makes most men cry – I really don’t get out to the movies much. (I don’t get out of my CAR much, either!) That said, last night my husband and I made an exception and drove to Anaheim Hills, California to meet up with my friend Krista.

All three of us had been in the audience at the Mayan Theatre in Los Angeles on that fateful night in 2011 when it was filmed, so for us, it was a special opportunity to relive a memory. I very clearly remember standing in the rain that day, already sick with a cold and shivering (the things we’ll do for this band….), and my husband ran to a nearby store to buy a scarf, mittens and sweatshirt for me. I had no idea what to expect from the show aside from the fact that I knew the Mayan was a small venue, and that the band would likely be playing new music. If you’d like, you can read my original review from the show. As I composed this blog this morning, I re-read my review. Interesting how distance gives you clarity and much different prospective. I had eventually seen Unstaged online, but I hadn’t yet seen it on a big screen, and I am pretty sure my husband had never seen it, so I was curious to see what he thought.

I’m going to be completely honest, I didn’t really understand what David Lynch was thinking or what he was trying to communicate with some of the images he chose, but that’s art. I was fine with most of it, but I still didn’t really get the mice, hand puppets or sausages on a BBQ. That said, I can’t deny that seeing the band on a big screen is a huge draw(just as it was when we did the special screening of Diamond in the Mind on a big screen for Durandemonium – one of the best things we planned for the entire convention, in my opinion!).  The theater that we attended was about 60% full, but everyone stayed seated.  In hindsight we should have sat in the back so that we could have gotten up and danced because I could barely contain myself and no one else around us danced. In fact, Krista and I kept singing along and doing all of the familiar hand Simon hand motions and clapping, and aside from the woman in back of us who announced that Krista and I were her kind of people, no one did much of anything.  My husband was very quiet during the show and didn’t even look sideways at me when I forgot who I was with and cheered for someone on screen. (Which someone?  HA….I’ll never tell!!!) We also watched for glimpses of ourselves on screen and were able to find all three of us, which was fun.  It was definitely a really fun memory to relive, overall.  My husband didn’t really appreciate the filters and graphics that David Lynch used either, which didn’t surprise me. He said that he just focused on the band, which made me chuckle. Don’t we all??

Hard to believe that this show took place 3 and a half years ago now. Where does the time go? We’d only been doing the blog for about six months by then, and now we’re about to turn 4.The show was before Simon’s vocal problems, before the two trips Amanda and I took to the UK, and before we completely lost our minds and planned a fan convention. So much has changed, so much has stayed the same. Here we are, on the cusp of a new album, a new tour at some point, and it only seems fitting to take a good long look back before we take a few steps forward.

Rhonda & Krista
Krista and I after the screening

-R

Duran Duran – Fashion Rocks

Last night, Duran Duran appeared on Fashion Rocks, which was broadcast on CBS stations here in the US, and if you were lucky – you were also able to catch the international live stream.

This was not the first time that the band had appeared on the show. They also appeared on the first two in 2003 and 2005, and this is actually the third time there has been a Fashion Rocks show, so I daresay that this point – the band OWNS the show.  (I’m a loyal fan, no matter what!)

For me personally, I spent the afternoon anxious as certain not-exactly-band-members sent photos of everything from the apparent
“liquid lunch rider” (A rider is basically known as the requirements a particular band or performer has tacked onto a performance contract. For example, Duran Duran has a rider for when they go on tour or perform somewhere and it can include everything from the type of bottled water they prefer to specific types of candy they want stocked or what wine and food they want in their dressing rooms.) to a pre-show selfie…to a photo of a very shirtless (and hairy) Paul Stanley from KISS.  I felt like I was there…or at least 2500 miles away watching it all from my computer screen.

Oh wait.

As I said more than once over Twitter, I was getting more and more anxious for a show that I wasn’t even going to be in the audience to see.  For me, this has been one of the longer Duran Duran “droughts” I’ve experienced in a while, and although I know many of you have been touting your patience and unconcern for the next tour for the past couple of years…I, on the other hand, feel like it’s been forever. If that makes me crazy or insane, I would just like to remind you that you’re reading a Duran Duran fan blog that *I* take time to write nearly every day.  I think the “insane” part has been well-documented, don’t you?

Between Mr. Dom Brown, the rest of the band, and quite frankly – the rest of the country – because I am on the west coast, where we didn’t see the show until a good three hours AFTER everyone else, I was on pins and needles by 9pm. (Ok really it was more like 6:30 pm my time, but who is really paying that much attention?!?) It was fun seeing everyone tweet about how great the band looked and sounded. I couldn’t wait to see them for myself.

So, that brings me to last night’s show. Truth be told, I am not necessarily a fan of Usher, Enrique, Miranda Lambert, Pitbull or whomever else I had to endure to get to the Duran Duran portion of the evening. Thank goodness for Twitter, where I could let my thoughts flow like stream-of-consciousness poetry. (I apologize to my Twitter followers, if I have any left this morning.) The good news is, my previous proclamation, that Duran Duran OWNS Fashion Rocks, was proven true. They were all over that show last night. If they weren’t on stage, they were being announced as a “coming up soon” act. I saw more of All You Need is Now (the video) than I’d seen in months (well, aside from the 50,000 times I’ve tearfully watched my own copy, sobbing about my loneliness into my coffee in the morning as I prepare to compose the blog each day), and during the time I watched the show – there was even a cute little interview segment where they replayed clips I’d already seen from the Road to Fashion Rocks.  All in all, I think the show should be renamed “Duran Duran and Fashion Rocks”, because they do.  Well…Duran does. I’m still not into the whole fashion gig. (Sorry Nick, but you already confiscated my Duranie card from the last time I said that.)

However, there was one portion of the evening that garnered my interest, and that was of course the point just after the Road to Fashion Rocks clips ended. Nico and Vinz and Afrojack both did a little something with Duran songs for their part, and then the whole reason for this show existing appeared onstage to play a little medley of The Reflex, Girl Panic and my personal favorite, Hungry Like the Wolf.

Here is a video of that performance, which I like because it gives a completely different point of view from what we saw on television last night because the person was there at the event. It’s a great overview, and I’m not distracted by Simon’s beautiful ring, his shoes (which I adore)…or anyone else who happened to get camera time:

To recap: The show should be renamed Duran Duran and Fashion Rocks…or better yet, just Duran Duran Rocks…I’m envious of lunchtime riders and selfies outside of dressing rooms… I like Simon’s shoes a lot..they didn’t show enough of John on TV last night and too much of the female percussionist…and I’m anxious for new music and a tour.  I think that about covers it. At least what I’m willing to say publicly, anyway.

So what did you think of the show…and is anyone else looking forward to the time when we’re talking pre-sales and we’re plotting our escapes from reality so that we can go play with the band?!?

-R

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daily Duranie Guest Blog – In Person at the Mazda Unveiling

We are overjoyed to have a live “on the scene” special correspondent to share the in-person details of the Mazda Unveiling. Enjoy! -R

 

By Diane Blardony

What?! A contest for a private corporate gig that’s actually taking place in the Bay Area and not in New York? Talk about a once in a lifetime contest and event! I eagerly sent off my email to DDM and crossed my fingers and toes. The wait was going to kill me.

I found out I was one of only five lucky winners during my son’s first wrestling tournament. I was in the stands and happened to check my e-mail. I saw the heading, “Congratulations – WINNER – Monterey” and jumped up off of my seat and screamed. Thank goodness the gymnasium noise level was loud enough to cover my outburst of joy. My hands were shaking and my husband looked at me funny. He didn’t even know I had entered the contest. I mean, why should I tell him? What were my chances of actually winning anyway?

I suddenly realized I had a problem on my hands. I have way too many local Duranie friends. How could I choose one as my guest? It was a lose-lose situation. I hastily decided to take the non-confrontational route and I called up my non-Duranie friend, Melissa. She came of age during the 90’s so her “Duran Duran” equivalent was New Kids on the Block. Heck, she even named her first born after Jordan Knight. She was definitely familiar with “fandom”! I blew through the exciting events in 2.2 seconds and demanded that she be my guest. She happily agreed to go and the countdown began.

Talk about a top-secret event. Mazda successfully pulled it off with flying colors. The only information we were given in advance was the location of where we were to park (at the Bayonet Golf Course) and that we should be ready to board a shuttle at 4:30 for a 4:45 departure.

Melissa and I arrived at the golf course in plenty of time and met up with a few one of the other winners and her guest. Despite being early, we decided to check-in with Mazda in the hopes of boarding an earlier shuttle since we were going crazy trying to figure out this secret venue. After showing our ID’s, we were each given a “Zoom Zoom” wristband which we were told not to remove at any time. It was our pass in to the event upon arrival and it was also good for a maximum of three mixed drinks. We boarded the waiting shuttle and we were off!

During the approximately 12-minute ride we all pondered the event location. The Monterey Bay Aquarium? The beach? A private residence? We pulled up at Monterey Bay Air and Spaceport and we all giggled with excitement. Talk about swanky!

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View from the shuttle upon arrival

We were greeted on a carpeted walkway by security checking our wristbands and were told to have a good time! We walked past a Mazda Miata timeline spanning 25 years and were greeted with a Mazda wall perfect for a photo-op. There were also waiters walking around offering up appetizers such as stuffed mushrooms and other delicacies.

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Melissa and I

We turned the corner and were immediately impressed by the transformation of this airspace into a classy yet inviting atmosphere. There were three large, full bars interspersed among the space along with white plush couches with coffee tables and areas where you could also sit at a circular bar table with white leather bar stools. Canister lights hung from open metal pavilions and shiny, current model Mazda Miatas were on display at the two back corners. At all perpendicular sides of the venue were grand buffets. The first was a taco bar complete with three chicken, steak or jumbo shrimp to choose from. There was any kind of tortilla or taco shell you could want and fresh guacamole, real queso and three different varieties of salsa. The second buffet was filled with five different kinds of flatbread pizza complete with a pizza oven baking it all fresh on the spot. The third buffet served crab sliders, calamari and gelato. Honestly, I didn’t even get to the fourth buffet which I think served burgers.

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Me at the taco bar (Photo cred: Steven Wayne)

There was also dozens of bars at the ready. My friend and I bellied up to the large square bar in the center and noticed dozens of pre-poured wine glasses filled with higher-end red and white wines with the vintages on display. There was also very refreshing-looking cocktails at the ready. We asked one of the several bartenders, each anxious to attend to your need, what that particular drink entailed. He explained it was a grapefruit-infused tequila cocktail but he was also happy to make any mixed cocktail we could dream up.

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Our happy bartender!

 

My friends and I immediately ordered a round of Cosmopolitans at which point he punched a hole in each of our wristbands. We decided to head to the bar tables closest to the hangar so that we could be ready to get in line at a moment’s notice. Unfortunately, there were at least three security guards in front of the hangar and there was a black curtain at the entrance so you couldn’t peek inside.

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L-R: Tracey Bishop, me, Lisa Amaral, Steven Wayne

We all decided to take advantage of the buffet-style dinner and enjoy our drinks. The consensus was that everything we tried was delicious and who was ready for Round Two of cocktails?

The crowd ranged from auto press to auto dealers and Miata enthusiasts who were lucky enough to get a hold of one of these golden tickets. Attire ranged from khakis and dress shirts to nice dresses to trendy concert outfits. People obviously were here for the 2016 Miata unveiling, NOT to see Duran Duran.

Score for the Duranies!

At about 5:30 we noticed that some of the Mazda enthusiasts were lining up in front of the hangar so to the queue we went. Within minutes we were allowed in and we ran like kids around the back side of the raised platform that took up the entire back half of the hangar and we came upon a triangular stage about 5 feet, 2 inches high. I didn’t quite know where to go in the chaos as the right side of the stage was roped off with an rectangular platform so we headed to the left side of the stage. When I found myself standing in front of John’s microphone (not a bad thing!) I realized that the tip of the triangle was technically the center of the stage but I sort of liked where we were standing. I had plenty of room to dance!

At 6:00 sharp one of the Mazda head designers came out on stage and introduced the Miata. It came out of seemingly nowhere and on to the rectangular platform to my right. It was shiny red and quite sexy. He talked about the inspiration for the model and their connection to Duran Duran. They were both products of the 80’s and both reinvented themselves year after year and found major, continued success.

Of course, while the Mazda representative was speaking, I was keeping my eye on the left side of the stage where the band was waiting in the wings. I first caught a glimpse of Simon in a white shirt and black vest. Honestly, I didn’t even notice LeBeard was gone because I was trying to get the attention of my friends as to what I was seeing. Simon disappeared into the curtains and a moment later I noticed Nick donned in all black. He later stepped back and I could see he was going over the set list with someone.

The moment finally arrived. Duran Duran was introduced and out came the boys! Screams abounded, despite the amount of non-Duran enthusiasts. They opened with “A View to a Kill” and ended with” Rio.” There really were no surprises as far as the set list was concerned. I actually thought they were only going to play about 6-7 songs considering we were told by DDM that they were going to perform for approximately thirty minutes. So when they played nine songs total, I was beyond thrilled. They didn’t leave the stage for an encore but I was a bit surprised that they did a short band introduction during Girls on Film. For obvious reasons there was no, “Play the Fucking Bass, John” moment, but it wasn’t lost on me.

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I was a tad disappointed that the boys didn’t attempt to shake any hands. Roger did give his drumsticks to a Duranie but other than that, they simply waved and quickly walked off the stage.

We all stood there for a while reveling in the moment and talking about how great the band sounded (minus the obviously last-minute backup vocalist substituting for Anna and her reliance on the iPad attached to her microphone so she could follow along with the lyrics.) My friend, Melissa, announced that she was now officially a Duranie, she finds Simon LeBon sexy and when does their tour start?

We eventually made our way outside of the hangar and embraced the cool, coastal air and plopped ourselves down on one of the many couches at our disposal. Mazda, again, thought of everything: they had carts of cold bottled water ready for the guests upon exiting. These Mazda folks are professionals!

We hung out for about half an hour and decided to head back to the waiting shuttle since we all had 2 – 2 1/2 hour drives ahead of us back home with early wake-up calls the next morning. The shuttle promptly took us back to the parking lot where Mazda representatives again greeted us with smiles, asked us how if we enjoyed ourselves and gave us a flyer marking the Miata’s 25th anniversary and a guitar pick attached to it with “Mazda” printed on it.  Not a bad way to see the band after a prolonged absence!

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Diane Blardony lives in the California Bay area. She’s a home hospital teacher and mother of an almost-13-year-old son.  Her obsession with Duran Duran began in 183 when their videos began airing on MTV. Her first DD concert was in 1984 in Oakland, CA, during the filming of  theSing Blue Silver concert documentary. She’s been hooked ever since. She’s traveled across the country to see them perform if her teacher’s salary allows and has made a handful of close friends thanks to DDM and the band.

Mazda MX-5 Unveiling – Monterey, CA

I have much to comment on, but I will start with a couple of admonitions to the general public since we have gained ourselves quite a few new readers since joining WordPress last January, and they haven’t been around long enough to see us review a live show before.  Since the hiatus and LOOOONNNNNGGG years of recording this new album that we’ve yet to see, feel, hear, and hold, we’ve really refrained from getting into fan-politics or any of the social science aspects of fandom.  I’d like to welcome you all back to reality now.  So…. first of all, I am sarcastic…probably to a fault, but I consider it a gift to get through my everyday life.  Amanda is less sarcastic than I am, but she’s also the one to really point out what is really insane about our fan community. She will dive into really tough topics that I will likely just poke fun at.  She’s smarter than I am, much better researched…and nicer than I am, so good luck with that. If you read something of mine and don’t see the humor right away, you should probably try again. I make no apologies for my wickedly dry jokes, and yes…I WILL criticize the band if I see fit.  Learn to love it.  Secondly, I might even criticize fans if I think they’re out of line.  Again, learn to find the humor in what we write and recognize that everything we do for Duran Duran and the fan base comes from a place of love, respect and completely honesty.  If you can’t, this blog is liable not to be your cup of tea, and we can accept that. We will talk about the “tough stuff”, the “fun stuff” and even the “fangirly stuff”.  I will openly gush AND complain in the same blog post…and you’ll like it!  Oh, and sometimes…we might even end up being wrong. That’s extremely rare though.  (Sarcasm, people.  Read the sarcasm…)  Lastly, I’m wordy. Learn to grab food and beverage BEFORE you sit down to read.  That’s your final warning.

Today is one of those days where I am thankful for all the goodness that is found on Youtube. As many know, last night – interested parties (or those who were able to stay up late enough…or get up early enough) were able to watch the band’s performance for the Mazda MX-5 unveiling in Monterey, California.  Going into the afternoon, I had been told that the band would only perform for a half-hour. What I’ve come to understand since, is that the live stream would only be a half-hour in length, which it indeed was. Those at home were treated to a precious three song set that lasted just thirteen minutes. (In fairness DDHQ did say that we would see highlights from the show, not the full set.) For those there in person, they saw about ten songs performed – perhaps about an hour long set.  In any case, Daily Duranie took over the internet last night – Amanda handled Facebook, while I worked Twitter. We live-tweeted (and posted) throughout the show, starting at about 5:30ish (PDT) and continuing until just after the performance when I was called away to cook my starving family some dinner.  (Note to self: teach family to cook their own meals.)  No matter, the point I was making here is simply that last night I found it very difficult to tweet AND watch at the same time. So, I watched the clip of the show on Youtube this morning. Twice. 🙂

Here it is for your viewing:

So where to begin? First of all, we had a great turnout online. DDHQ (management) might not want to acknowledge our efforts, but Daily Duranie had the place going last night. Duran Duran was trending in various places on social media, and the #DDMazda hashtag was all over the place. Not bad for a thirteen minute online show. We were in contact with a couple of people who were AT the show live, and as things would get tweeted, I would turn around, add the #DDMazda hashtag and send it out as a sort of play-by-play for people to follow. (Thanks Diane!!)  As I said to her: it truly takes a village to love this band and satisfy Duranies.  When the show started, we were “treated” to someone from Mazda (the project director, I believe) coming out and talking about the car and why they chose Duran Duran. He said he was a fan of the band, and the Miata and Duran Duran were both products of the 80s, so that’s the connection.  (At least it’s the connection they came up with to explain why Duran Duran was playing their corporate gig.  I can appreciate that.)

So on to the show, right? Well….first we had to watch some propaganda about the car and then be introduced to the Miata, which in MY head looked very much like the Miata from the 80s. I was underwhelmed, but then again, I wanted Dom and the rest of those guys he plays with on the stage. (Yeah, yeah I know he’s not “a permanent member” of the band. He’s permanent in MY version of Duran Duran though…and yes, I do still like those Taylor brothers along with The Controller and Simon.)

I think the Mazda people started noticing that the restless Duranies and finally announced the band. They started with A View to a Kill, which seemed to be a rough song to open with for a number of reasons.  First of all, and this isn’t necessarily a complaint…more of an observation really, but there was a TON of bass in the sound. Plenty of guitar as well, about which I will not complain.  However, and this is likely to upset some of you out there – I thought Simon’s vocals were extremely strained. I don’t know if he hadn’t warmed up or if the jet lag had hurt him or if it was the sound in general, but he sounded very strained in parts. I just think AVTAK is a tough song to start with for a show unless Simon comes on stage VERY warm and very loose in the vocal chords and throat.  It could have been any number of things, and I’m really not finding fault as much as I’m expressing concern. None of us want a redo of 2011, and so yes, there’s some sensitivity there, at least on my part.

Next up was Hungry Like the Wolf, a personal favorite of mine as most of you know.  Just LOOOVEEE that song to bits and pieces. The first thing I noticed was the back-up singer that Simon had to call out on stage. This was not Anna Ross and it appeared she needed sheet music.  I didn’t notice her too much in this song, but take heed…. Again, lots of bass…and I’m still not complaining.  It was in this song though that my head nearly exploded (a common occurrence as you’ll see in the coming months/years I am sure) because I was treated (oh wait, ALL of us were treated…sorry about that) to my beloved DoJo at center stage for all the folks at home, and perhaps even for the audience…which was filled mostly with balding middle-aged Mazda car designers, marketing, product line developers, etc. Dueling bass/guitar.  I’d forgotten how much I love those two.  I don’t know how many of you caught Simon’s line of “I’m lost in this crowd”, but when I heard that this morning, I nearly spit my coffee at the screen.  Truer words were never spoken…at least during THIS gig.

Finally was All You Need is Now. I love this song live. I think many fans do…so we were expecting a rousing performance given that it has been over two years since they’ve played it on US soil….and I’m sure it would have been had their “Not Anna Ross” known her lines. And harmonies.  Granted, I have to think that this was a last minute replacement in probably much of the same vein as the time when DOM was a last minute replacement.  It’s not going to be perfect when you have zero rehearsal time. You’re probably going to need the music. You’re probably going to need to have actually listened to the song more than once.  You might even need the fans to sing your part FOR you….but sadly none of this really happened.  Instead, we heard completely incorrect words, harmonies that weren’t even remotely CLOSE to being correct, and I watched as Simon had to turn around and try to coach the poor girl.  It was a really, really rough performance, and let’s face it – Duran fans (including myself) are pretty unforgiving.  So while I’m pointing out the issues, believe me, I get it. I know she really didn’t have a chance and she did the best she could. I also could hear that HAD she known the music and words, she had a lovely voice.  I just really hope that Anna will be back soon.  REALLY soon.

After AYNIN, the stream ended. There wasn’t even a “thanks for joining us”.  We got nothing.  Mazda really needs work when it comes to doing these because you have to communicate SOMETHING with those who are watching at home.  While I applaud the effort to stream it at all, I wish it would have been a little smoother.  Eventually DDHQ tweeted something saying “thanks for joining us” and that’s when we could tell it was over.  Thirteen teensy minutes. That said, it was wonderful to see the band live again. I have been complaining since September of 2012 that I missed them (It is true, I went back and checked the blogs), and even so – I didn’t realize how much until last night. Well, that’s not true. I realized how much I missed them when my friend Krista sent me the picture of Dom holding up a sign saying hi to me…but that was yesterday’s blog.  🙂

-R

It Just Goes On and On and On

Yesterday, one of our readers sent us a link to a review of the Durham show. He thought that we would be interested in reading, and maybe commenting on the link. Perhaps, other people would like to do the same thing. The link is here:  Durham review

Obviously, this review has prompted a number of people to chime in on the website where it was posted.  Many of the comments were extremely good and brought up various points that needed to be mentioned.  That said, I, too, felt it necessary to comment on the review here and to put it in a larger context.  I suggest you go read the review first before reading my comments but, if not, I’ll do my best to explain what I’m referring to. 

The review doesn’t begin well for Duranies.  I don’t even have to start reading to get annoyed since the title of the review is, “Reunited Duran Duran Swoon the DPAC Crowd.”  First, the band reunited about 10 years ago.  Once again, this is evidence to poor or no research on the part of the writer.  In my opinion, it is amazing how often “journalists” are allowed to publish material that simply isn’t true and this is an example of that.  Then, the author chooses to use the word, “swoon”.  According to dictionary.com, the meaning is “to enter a state of hysterical rapture or ecstasy”.  Oh boy.  Obviously, this person felt it necessary to apply stereotypes about fans, about Duranies right before the get go.  Yes, fans enjoy themselves at concerts.  Yes, Duranies might experience a kind of high at a show but seriously…”hysterical rapture” implies that we are out of control with our emotions.  It is also a word often used to describe someone fainting due to extreme emotion.  Please.  Duranies aren’t 12 and we are well aware that it isn’t 1984.  We actually do want to hear the music.  

The review doesn’t get better from there.  The opening paragraph describes big hair, high heels, satin jackets, and the use of Aqua Net as the scene at the DPAC.  Wow.  I have to admit that I didn’t see ANY of that.  Yes, some of us wore heels but I also wear heels to work.  I didn’t see any big hair or satin jackets.  I would love to see photographic evidence of that, but I suspect that this person couldn’t supply that.  Maybe, the author should check out the audience pictures of the show on dd.com to see that this simply wasn’t true.  As soon as I read that, I began to think that this author had this paragraph in place before he even went to the show.  He ASSUMED that is what it was going to be like.  Again, another example of poor reporting and the use of stereotypes about Duranies.  

After discussing MNDR for a couple of paragraphs, the author chooses to dive into the band’s physical appearance.  Huh?  I thought this was a review of the MUSIC, the SHOW.  The author begins by saying, “Having seen my fair share of sad reunion bands up close, I have to say that Duran Duran has physically kept it together pretty well since their heyday in the early 80s”  Again, using the word “sad” in a sentence to describe Duran is not okay.  Then, again, to describe them as a reunion band makes me crazy!  He goes on to describe Simon, John and Nick, individually in which case he describes John as resembling a 1968 Keith Richards.  Wow.  There are no words I could use to describe my reaction to that statement.  Nick’s description isn’t much better by saying that he appears to be “put-out by having to perform for a living, barely moving during the entire concert and wearing a perma-scowl.”  Again, I’m so glad that he chose to include any of this because it tells me NOTHING about the show itself.  Obviously, he is more guilty of being concerned about their looks then say we were in our review of the same show.

The remaining three paragraphs barely touch on the show at all.  He mentions Before the Rain, The Reflex and Rio.  There isn’t much of a description used other than to say that people swayed during Before the Rain, an audience member started the Reflex and that Rio reminded the audience of good times of the past.  No, most of those paragraphs were filled with descriptions of the crowd or band in less than flattering terms by talking about how “the crowd was moving in ways that it appeared they haven’t in year”.  How rude!  He described Duran’s jackets as have been recycled Member’s Only jackets.  Even the last line is left with a bad taste in my mouth about how the audience would have left behind antacid wrappers and bottles of headache medications.

Truly, I haven’t seen a review this bad, this filled with stereotypes about the bands and the fans in a while.  If I was this person’s editor, I would definitely question both the lack of research and the lack of substance.  The task was to review a show.  There was very little of that in the article.  That said, it isn’t like reviews like this one is new.  They aren’t new to the band and they aren’t new to the fans.  It is really just more evidence, current evidence that the stereotypes about the band and the fans are alive and well.  It seems to me that the stereotypes about the band and their fans have always been there.  They might have changed since the first ones appeared in the early 80s, but they still exist.  Once the stereotypes were about how the band was just a bunch of pretty boys who couldn’t really play and now they are a bunch of has-beens who have “reunited” just to make a living.  There is very little acknowledgment of the fact that they were supporting music that wasn’t released decades ago.  The stereotypes of the fans have altered in some ways and, in other ways, they have remained.  In the 80s, all we cared about were their good looks and we would scream, cry and faint in response.  Now, we just embrace the fashion, the good times that Duran reminds of, or so says the stereotype.  Ugh. 

Stereotypes of the past and the present are annoying.  I’m sure that I’ll get comments telling me to just ignore them or to not let them bother me.  I would say this.  First, I don’t want to, nor can I ignore them as they are a part of the story.  They are a part of what it is like to be a Duranie in 2012.  As someone writing about stigma in the book we are writing, I must be aware of them.  As for letting them bother me, I was actually excited that I reacted like I did.  After all, a couple of days ago, I asked how to return to my normal Duranie self.  It seems to me that defending Duran and Duranies fits that description.  So, in a weird way, I thank this poor reporting writer for bringing me back home with the band and fellow fans that I love.

-A