Category Archives: shows

A terrible day for music fans: Las Vegas

I didn’t sleep last night. I’m sure I am not the only one. I had just settled into bed and turned on our TV at 11 o’clock to catch the news, when the reports of a mass-shooting in Las Vegas took over the normal newscast. I immediately checked Twitter (frankly, social media reacts much faster than even television news in Los Angeles), and saw that chaos had overtaken the Strip, if not the city.

I sat up for hours, unable to sleep. I watched the initial iPhone videos that came over Twitter. I could hear the seemingly incessant gunfire exploding over the crowd of music lovers enjoying Jason Aldean’s set at the Route 91Harvest Music Festival. I was honestly shocked by how long it took people to realize what was happening – probably because when one attends a concert, the last damn worry should be whether or not you’re going to die in the process.  That was pretty much the only thing I considered as the news unfolded. I could barely remember which of my friends lived there, or who could possibly be affected. All that continued running through my head as if on a treadmill, was the thought that no one should ever have to lose their life at a concert.

It isn’t my intention to turn Daily Duranie into a gun-debate. I’m going to leave that to social media to hammer out. In the meantime, I’m going to mourn the people who matter.  Mandalay Bay is my favorite hotel in Las Vegas, and concerts are my refuge. Again, I am sure I am not alone. I’ve spent a lot of time in Las Vegas seeing my favorite band over the years, and seeing images from last night gives me chills to the core. I am a music lover. The people who attended this festival are music lovers. Getting home safely at the end of the night or weekend just doesn’t seem like something that should ever be in question.

It is getting to the point where it is harder and harder to leave the house without a contingency plan in place for the worst case scenario. I actually think twice before going anywhere. This Friday, I’m going with my husband to see Coldplay at the Rose Bowl. At one point, I might have grumbled about the seemingly crazy rules about purses and bags. Now? I’m not bringing anything but my ID, and I hope they search the hell out of the crowd. I don’t even LIKE Coldplay that much! I’m just doing my wifely duty. I very much dislike that I’m second-guessing whether or not I should even go.

I remember writing after the massacre at Le Bataclan and throughout Paris. I have never, ever been more freaked out than I was that afternoon, purely because the band had performed in Paris earlier that day. I’m somewhat embarrassed to say I was “that person” who begged Dom to tweet just to say he was safe. He was the only one I knew that might check Twitter, and I had to at least try.  It was ridiculous on one hand because I don’t even know these people that well, and on the other, they’re my favorite band. I’ve known them  since childhood, dammit! (Again, I KNOW I’m not alone.) The lump in my throat was significant that day. I could feel the panic rising as each moment went by without an update from a band member, or Katy, or even DDHQ. I never want to have that feeling, ever again. Yet, here we are.

My heart goes out to those who have lost family members. I feel for the people who live in Las Vegas and have to pass by the venue. I’m sorry for those who lost their lives, or who were hurt—emotionally and physically. I hate writing these types of blogs. There aren’t words, and I have no reasons. I’m not particularly good with platitudes. I’m sad today, and I’ve hugged my youngest a lot more than normal. My other two are away at school, so the little one is getting all of the hugs.

I also wanted to apologize for the semi-superfluous post that originally went out this morning, given the circumstances. I had written today’s blog ahead of time, and it wasn’t until it was far too late that I recognized it would post before I was able to stop it.  I’m sorry if it appeared that Amanda and I didn’t care as a result. We very much do.

As I tried to find the right words to close this post, I got word that Tom Petty has passed. He was only 66. What a terrible day for music fans.

-R

Depeche Mode, Concert Going, and Staying Young (Relatively)

I slept a glorious 11 hours last night.  I needed it.  This week was not only a long one filled with teacher meetings but it also featured a little concert.  On Wednesday, a couple of friends of mine and I drove from Madison to the south suburbs of Chicago to see Depeche Mode and back.  The 22 hour day contained 7 hours of meetings, 6 hours of driving and a concert.  I might have been a little tired.  No matter the level of exhaustion I had it was worth it.

First of all, the concert was great!  Depeche is one band that I can always count on to put on a good show.  I had seen them six times before over the course of the years.  Not only does Dave Gahan give it his all as a lead singer but Martin Gore brings a unique spirit to the show.  Looking at the setlist, one element that really benefits them to put on a nice, long set is to have two singers.  While Dave takes the rein most of the time, Martin can step in for a few songs here and there to give Dave a rest.  It is an advantage that few bands have.

That said, it was interesting to watch the crowd during the show.  We had seats in a suite above the crowd.  This allowed a full view of both the stage but the fans below.  I liked being able to see the videos as they often added to the performance but more than that, I was able to watch the crowd.  It seemed clear to me that the majority of the crowd knew the fan favorites of old with songs like Enjoy the Silence, Everything Counts, World in my Eyes and more.  When it came to the newer songs, though, the crowd was less into the show.  I also heard people talking about show, including that they wished the band played song ______________.  To me, this felt very familiar as I see and hear the same thing at a Duran show where many in the audience only know either the hits or songs from years ago.  For some reason, that gave me some comfort that it isn’t just Duran to has to deal with that.

Interestingly enough, on the car ride down, we had a conversation about how Depeche always sounds like Depeche.  Every album has a certain feel to it that is uniquely theirs.  They have always owned their sound and never wavered.  Before the show, I wondered if this is why Depeche still fills big venues.  Maybe so.  Yet, I still find myself appreciating that Duran has tried new things.  Maybe that hasn’t always helped them but I like that every album is different than the last.  I’m willing to bet that some Depeche fans aren’t as into the newer stuff because it feels as if it has been done before and that gets boring.

Despite the fact that the audience wasn’t 100% into every song, clearly people still enjoy themselves.  I know that my friends and I did.  Part of what made the night so good for us was how we did well with the tickets.  If you have been reading this blog for awhile now, you know that the Depeche ticket buying deal was one I criticized.  You can read about it here.  The prices were outrageous, I thought.  I remember on presale day.  I could have bought row 17 or 18 or something for like $175 each, which was before fees.  That just didn’t seem worth it to me.  I chose not to buy and instead looked for tickets on StubHub.  Eventually, ticket prices were such that I felt the price was worth it.  My seat cost about $165 with fees but included a cushioned seat in one of the suites above the crowd.  While my friends and I were third row in the suite, we still had a clear shot of their entire stage.  If that wasn’t enough, we had a nice bathroom up there, close by without real lines and a waitress to take our drink orders.  This was a vast improvement over standing for hours for a GA show!

Of course, driving at 2:30 in the morning felt painful as yesterday filled with meetings that my sleep-deprived self barely survived.  I still say that it was worth it.  Yes, the concert was great as was hanging with my friends!  More than that, though, I love being at a live show, hearing great music.  That atmosphere reminds me that it is good to be alive.  I saw my first concert at that venue, Depeche Mode in 1990.  I also saw my first Duran show there in 1993.  I may not be as young as I was for those shows but I will refuse to go quietly into old or middle age.  I will fight as long as I can to hold onto fun times and going to concerts.  Always.

-A

I Know the Score Like the Back of my Hand

If you are good at Duran Duran lyrics, you probably realized that the title of this blog did not come from a Duran lyric.  No, it came from the Killers’ song, “The Man.”  Why in the world would I quote the Killers on a Duran blog?  Simple.  I saw the Killers live on Wednesday in Milwaukee.  I could summarize the show by saying that it was absolutely fabulous but I wouldn’t be me if I did just that.  No, I like to go into some detail.  I’m not going to lie.  I took some notes in my head during the show as I couldn’t help but to compare some to Duran.

Show Length:

The Killers appeared on stage at about 9:05, about 5 minutes after they were supposed to come on stage.  That isn’t much different than what Duran did for the shows in Oakland and San Francisco.  Like Duran, the Killers started with some music as the band entered the stage with bright lights flashing.  Needless to say, excitement increases no matter who is playing!  The Killers went on to play for a little less than 2 hours.  Again, this is similar to Duran’s concert length.  They played about 20 songs which is close to the number of shows played a typical Duran show.  This made me think.  While I hear a lot about band/artists who play for 2 and a half hours or 3 hours, it is starting to feel to me as the exceptions rather than the rules.

Setlist:

Before I went to the show, I took a look at the recent set lists to get an idea of what they have been playing.  I even came up with a playlist to listen to in the car that I figured would closely match the set.  In general, I was pretty close based on what they have recently been playing.  That said, there were some interesting changes.  For example, they opened with “The Man” which is a new song to be included on their upcoming album.  I suspected that they would do that to advertise it.  What surprised me, though, was that the second song was another new song, one that came out like last week, “Run for Cover.”  Both songs went over well.  One fascinating moment was when Brandon, the lead singer, asked the crowd to pick the next song.  He gave two choices.  Choice one was “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine,” which is a popular song of theirs.  The second choice was a b-side called “Under the Gun.”  The crowd chose the b-side.  You know…if Duran wanted to ask the crowd if they wanted to hear say “Late Bar” vs. “Hungry Like the Wolf,” I would be okay with that.  Beyond that, there were not many shockers to the set.  I was not surprised, in the least, that “Mr. Brightside” finished the night as it acts like Duran’s “Rio.”

Just the Music:

One aspect of the Killers show that I immediately noticed was that they did not have visuals.  They had lights, of course, that they used to enhance the songs but they had no video.  I wonder if that was specific to the small venue that they played at or if that was something purposeful.  While I have seen the Killers before, I cannot remember if there were visuals.

Post Show:

After the show, my friend and I planned to just head home.  After all, we were sweaty and tired from standing on our feet.  (For the record, I’m still very anti-GA.  It is hard for me to see and it is too hot and too uncomfortable.  Give me seats, please, bands.  Please.)  As we sat down in my car, my friend noticed that there was a crowd at the back of the venue.  We decided to take a closer look and noticed that Dave Keuning, the band’s guitarist, was standing outside signing autographs and taking pictures.  We figured we could join the crowd.  Immediately, the student of fandom in me began to observe the scene.  I noticed that the crowd was calm.  People nicely asked for autographs or photos and Dave accommodated.  (Maybe a certain blogger asked for one even!)  That said, as new people showed up, they did not look around to consider if other people who were already there were waiting their turn.  I, for one, thought it was great that Dave was willing to be out there with fans.  That said, he was the only one of the band to do so.  I wish that the whole band was out there and I wish that there was more of an organized line just so that people didn’t feel that they needed to be super assertive to get their turn.

Would this work for Duran?  I don’t know.  I have seen them after shows, behind venues before, but it always feels more crazed.  The members of Duran seem to be in demand in a different way.  Now, in fairness, I don’t know what the crowd would have been like if Brandon Flowers, probably the most popular member, was out there.  Maybe it would have felt more like Duran.  Maybe the Killers fans are more used to having a band member outside with fans.  I don’t know.  I have more questions than answers.

Overall:

I adore the Killers and thought they put on a fabulous show.  Brandon, like Simon, knows how to work the crowd by moving around, asking for audience participation, and sharing stories/thoughts to introduce songs.  Now, I have to decide if I want to get tickets to see them again in January.  They are playing in a venue with a GA floor (ugh!) but seats on the side.  It would be interesting to see how the audience would change in a much bigger venue.  One other thought popped into my head about three songs in.  I adore a quality live show.  Someone at work yesterday asked me how many concerts I have attended in the last five years.  I had to really think and then I shocked the heck out of my colleague with my answer.  I followed it up by saying that I go see quality bands, including the Killers and Duran Duran.

Here is a video clip of Wednesday’s show:

Wonder who is in this picture??:

-A

Do you remember the Hyde Park Show?

Where were you on July 13, 2012?  I can tell you where a lot of my UK friends were!  They were in Hyde Park, London, watching Duran Duran perform for a special Olympics Opening Ceremony Concert (I really don’t know if that’s the official name but it’s what I’m going with today).

I am sure many have seen the photos of Simon in his Union Jack coat, and pictures looking out from the barricade over a sea of fans (many recognizable faces to be found at the rail).  I don’t know about anyone else, but this doesn’t seem like it was all that long ago, but it was five short years ago today.

I couldn’t find the full concert, but I did find a couple of videos compiled into a playlist from that day. Take a look!

 

Not sure if anyone noticed, but I’ve been on vacation for the past two weeks! I was camping up in the Mount Shasta area of California, then up through Oregon to the Columbia River Gorge area with my family.  With any luck, I’ll be back online on Monday, ready to be in civilization once again!

-R

 

I Live for Concerts and Fandom

Sometimes, it is good for me to have a blog topic in my head ahead of actually sitting down to write.  Other times, it is good for me to be flexible, to go with the flow, to be prepared to react.  I think today is definitely more of the go with the flow kind-of-day.  Social media has pointed me in some direction about where to go or what to write about after reading an article about fandom and taking a little quiz about concerts.

Fandom Is Good for You!

That header is not one I usually read.  More likely than not, I read articles, essays and even books talking about how fandom can be problematic.  Even recently I read a book by a fan giving advice to other fans so that they don’t take their fandom too far.  I’m not even sure exactly what that means.  Don’t get obsessed?  Don’t become a stalker or a groupie?  Don’t have fandom totally take over one’s life?  I don’t have a clue.  My point is simple.  Fans and fandom are usually presented as something weird or negative.  If you are a fan, it must mean that you don’t have a life or cannot have relationships or something.  The stereotype usually means that fans spend all day, everyday at their computers or TVs and don’t move from their basements.  After all, they are so obsessed that there is no way for fans to be productive members of society.  Therefore, when I saw an article today, which you can read here, about how fandom is good for you, I had to read it!

As with any article on fandom, there is a definition of the term.  I liked how this one defined it as, “Fandoms bring people across the world together and unite them based on the things they love most — so it makes sense that they’re good for us.”  This emphasizes the community aspect of fandom.  To me, as someone who has been reading and studying fandom for years, that is key.  I could be a fan of a lot of things but I’m only a member of the fandom in which I have reached out to other fans.  For example, I’m a fans of the Killers.  I adore their music and think they put on a fabulous show.  While, yes, I know other people who like the Killers, I met them through my Duran fandom.  I didn’t seek out to find other fans of the Killers.

The article goes on to explain how fandom makes people feel less lonely.  I have always thought that.  My best friend as a kid loved Duran and I loved that we shared a love for a band together.  My best friend now and I also share a love for Duran.  I definitely feel amongst my people when I’m at a show and can recognize at least 75% of the people around me.  I feel like I’m a part of something huge, something much larger than myself.  I try to explain touring and how going to shows is so cool.  While, yes, the shows are fabulous, but it is also about seeing people who I have gotten to know over the years.  We all come together to see Duran, from, sometimes, all different directions or places.  It is an awesome experience and feeling.

My only complaint about the article is that one quote focused on youth.  Fandom, I would argue, is good for all ages!

Concert Enthusiast

If that article wasn’t enough to bring a smile to my face, I saw people sharing a Buzzfeed quiz, “This Checklist Will Determine If You’re Actually A Concert Enthusiast”.  

This little quiz is pretty easy.  All you do is read through the list and check off the ones that apply  to you.  Simple, right?  Some of the questions asked include if you have been to a concert, how many concerts you have been to, whether you have traveled to see a concert, whether or not you have crowd surfed, etc.  My results?  Here’s what it said for me:  “Geez, what haven’t you done? You practically live at concerts. Waiting outside the venue in the heat or cold is no biggie to you. Heck, you’ve probably been the very first person in line. Venue security must know exactly who you are. You have a ton of fun at concerts and can’t get enough of them. You probably have a ton of shows coming up in the near future!”

I cannot disagree with it much.  I would love to live at concerts as they are my happy place.  Yes, I have waited outside venues.  Heck, I did it just a couple of weeks ago in Oakland and San Francisco.  I’m not sure about venue security knowing me but band security… 😉  Do I have a ton of shows coming up?  I have two.  That isn’t a ton but I look forward to them all the same.

What about the rest of you?  Did you take the quiz?  What result did you get?

-A

Think Yourself Lucky: Some thoughts on this tour

I’ve been thinking about the Paper Gods tour, or at least the shows that I attended. I have fantastic memories from the past few years, that is for sure. There really isn’t anything like seeing Duran Duran on stage, and being able to go to these shows with my best friend, knowing that however insane I seem – she usually gets it – makes it all the better.

I am pretty lucky that I was able to see Duran Duran play at the Hollywood Bowl, for example. Although I’m not a huge fan of the venue for rock concerts (the crowds are ridiculous and it takes a special sort of patience to handle the parking and traffic issues), seeing Duran Duran there was a dream. To begin with, it was the first show of the tour (for me), not counting Jimmy Kimmel the evening before.  Our seats were amazing – we splurged for second row center tickets, and I just remember how excited I was to be there. We had our friend from Canada with us, and the memories of giggling in the car after the show as I drove over the Grapevine will never leave me.  Amanda read me texts from another friend of ours who had gotten into to the after party with the band, and I was over the moon about the scene she described, wishing I had been there. I still can’t believe I drove all the way from my house, up to Berkeley, then back again, the very next day.

Amanda and I saw a lot of shows this time around. We’ve never done this many before, and I don’t regret a single one.  My bank account does, but that’s alright. You only live once, and I didn’t want to waste the opportunity. I did turn down a few shows—Amanda went without me to DC over New Years, for example—and while sure I wish I could have been there, I also wasn’t ready for the chaos and anger that would have caused here at home. It’s a tradeoff, and not an easy one at that.

When I start thinking about all of the miles and driving and travel—it begins to blow my mind just a little. I’ve gotten to see some parts of this country I’d never seen before, and I even got to go to Canada! I’ve also met a lot of new people, made new friends, and perhaps even made a new pal out of someone I’ve known for a very long time.

I toasted with Simon, saw Nick laugh at me more times than I care admit (I CAN’T HELP ROLLING MY EYES AT HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF – I AM SORRY BUT I TRY MY BEST TO BEHAVE!!), ducked from Simon-spit 16 times (we’re still winning that war, Simon!!), and exchanged smiles with other band members countless times. I can’t even count the amount of moments I would look at Amanda and we’d share a huge grin, because we were in exactly the kind of “heaven” we love most.  She and I made fun of this band at every single opportunity, laughed at ourselves so much our sides hurt, and fell more in “love” with each one of them every single day. Yeah, they’re band members. Celebrities. People. Just like us. We adore them even when we’re calling them dorks. Our readers don’t always understand that, and some really get on us about teasing them – but Amanda and I don’t feel as though we have to apologize to them for our antics. Something tells me that they not only get it, they really kind of like it! Rock on!

No, they probably don’t know me, but they made this tour worth every last mile I traveled, and a lot of the turmoil that went along with my absence from home. I don’t regret a single moment…well, maybe aside from the moments when we should have zigged instead of zagged. (If you don’t know what I mean by that, you’ll need to re-watch last Monday’s video blog)

Then there’s the way I ended this tour – with a show in San Francisco. It was GA, we were pretty far back, and yet I can honestly say I had a great time. I’d forgotten just how much better the sound can be when you’re back away from the stage, and the crowd energy was infectious. The thing is, of course we wanted to be up closer to the front. Yeah, I’m not afraid to say that I wanted to rock out with Dom one last time. But, we made the best of where we were, stayed present in the moment and danced like crazy. Some ridiculous part of me thinks that he still saw me out there, having a great time. And I did. The one thing I can tell you I thought about that night over and over again, was that I was so lucky to be there.

There I was, standing with my best friend, smiling so hard my cheeks hurt, watching the band we adore do their thing. About 30 seconds into the show, it stopped mattering where we were standing, or that there was a really rude, and very tall kid and his also-tall girlfriend standing directly in front of me, positioned so that there was no way I could see past them at all (he was rude for other reasons, not because he was in front of me).  I was just happy to be there one last night. I don’t know if I’ll always be able to be there, and if nothing else – the past couple of months has taught me that there really are NO guarantees in life. You get whatever you get. I would peek in between the sea of arms and camera phones to catch glimpses of Dom, Simon and John, and I just danced.  Pure bliss. And yeah, I’m pretty sure that by the end of the show, I got a wink or two from Dom. I can’t imagine he really saw me, but I smiled in return. We waved to Simon, Nick, John and Roger, and refused to acknowledge that for us, the tour had ended.

These are my favorite people, and I regret nothing. My two girls are performers. Heather is a dancer/choreographer, and my youngest is a singer and piano player, although she’s only nine so who knows what she’ll really do when she’s grown. I always tell each of them the same thing when they’re about to perform, and that’s to leave it ALL out on the stage. Don’t hold back. It’s the only advice I know to give. The only reason I know to give it is because I wouldn’t want them to live life the way I did for so long before I started doing all of this. I only half-lived, and it wasn’t enough. So this tour, I did the shows I wanted to do, and I LIVED. I left it all out there, no regrets, heart on the sleeve, and all of that. Nobody should wonder how I feel about this band, and particularly about the people within—whether or not they’re members, or supporting players.

Those memories are gonna have to last me until I-have-no-idea-when, so I’ll take them.  I am lucky.

-R

San Francisco Show Review Video Blog

Right now, as I type this, I am sitting in the passenger seat as Rhonda is driving.  Clearly, we take this whole blogging thing seriously or else we are just that crazy!!  Before we got into the car to drive back to Rhonda’s, we did do a little video to review the San Francisco Show.  We talked about our experience about half way back in the floor as well as some changes in the show (different song!).  One thing we forgot to mention was that the DJ also changed things up for the better, which we appreciated.  Tomorrow we will try to summarize the Paper Gods album cycle and more since we have one more day together before I head back to the Midwest.  Something to look forward to!  Ha!  Until then, here isn’t today’s video!

It’s a Video Blog! – Fox Theater Oakland, CA 7/8/17

Hi everyone!

We apologize for the lack of blog yesterday. I’ll simply say that it was a rough morning, before we knew it we had to leave for Oakland… and we’ll leave it at that.

So, for your viewing pleasure today – Amanda and I did a video blog to talk about the show, and dancing with other people’s bodies against you….and heat.

We’re having a great time, but as always, it never seems like we have enough of it before it’s time to go home. Like I’ve said before, I just wish time would stand still or go a lot slower on tour.  I hate the fact that we’ll be driving home tomorrow and for us, Paper Gods will be done and we’ll be back in limbo-land.

Yeah, not a fan.

There might be tears tonight. Hell, there were tears LAST night, but for different reasons. It’s been a rough (but at the same time wonderful) trip.

Looking Back She Sees the Pattern

I have decided that Duran Duran’s fan base is tough to understand and full of contradictions.  What led me to this big conclusion?  I could answer that with a simple–years of observation and participation.  That is not the whole story.  Lately, I have been reading a lot of the press that is surrounding the band’s upcoming tour.  One of those articles caught my attention.  Specifically, one question grabbed me especially in light of recent twitter conversations about live performances and the classic debate about set lists.  What was this question?  What were the conversations?

Buzz Bishop of Calgary recently interviewed John Taylor, which you can read here.  The question that first made me react then think was this:

How Duran Duran balances a desire to put out new music with the fan base’s love of nostalgia.

“I don’t know that the fan base wants to live in the past. I think they want to be stirred up and inspired. I think you have to come to terms with your past, we’ve got to be present. I think doing what we do you get a better opportunity to stay current because you’re trying to stay relevant. We have this formula: legacy plus currency equals career.”

At first, when I read this, I thought, “What is this guy talking about?  Fans love nostalgia?  Really?  Has this guy not seen all of the complaints about the setlist?  I know SO many fans who are tired of Hungry Like the Wolf and the rest of the classics.”  Later, I added the idea that it isn’t the hardcore fans who want the old hits at a show, it is those people in the crowd who loved/liked Duran in the 80s but aren’t aware that the band has still been going.  I thought to myself that the guy was just confused about who wants what at a Duran concert.

Then, I thought about the conversation that I have been having on Twitter about which tours Duran performed better for.  Dedicated readers and participants know that the Sing Blue Silver Tour of 1984 has won each and every time.  I have argued that the band performs better now as a result of the decades of practice.  Others have stated that that tour of 1984 wins due to “sentimentality”.  That makes sense.  If you were a Duranie in the 80s, you probably do love Sing Blue Silver.  It captures the time period is which Duran was loved worldwide by tons of people.  Sing Blue Silver is the documentary that many of us grew up watching over and over again.  Watching any of it including the live performances remind us of those good times we had as kids.  So does this mean that the fan base really does love nostalgia?  Maybe so.  We are a confusing bunch, that’s for sure. If the band recognizes this, it must make creating that set list a challenging one.  Heck, maybe that is why it doesn’t change much!  Who knows?!

I cannot argue against 1984 or nostalgia as I have been doing.  That time period means a lot to a lot of fans.  I get it.  For many fans, it is when they became fans.  It might represent what they think of as the best time period for the band.  I can recognize that I might feel differently based on my fandom, my experiences.  Don’t get me wrong.  I loved Duran Duran in 1984.  Sing Blue Silver is a DVD that I have memorized just like so many of you.  Yes, I had a great time as a kid being a fan.  Yet, when I really think of the best time with my fandom, it has been in recent years.  As a kid, my fandom meant watching videos with friends or singing along to the Rio album.  As an adult, it means those things still plus traveling and seeing the band live in concert.  It means a level of fun that my kid self couldn’t even imagine.

Maybe, this is why, for me, I don’t feel so attached to the glory year of 1984.  It could be why I feel so strongly that the band performs better now.  Unlike back then, I can now be there and be a part of it.  It makes the world of difference.

-A

Duran’s Peak Live Performances

Lately, our daily questions/polls have focused on Duran’s live performances.  Specifically, people have picked which version of a song they like better.  The versions are live performances from different tours.  We have asked about New Religion, Careless Memories and the Chauffeur.  Interestingly enough, for each song, fans who participate in our daily questions have stated that the 1984 Sing Blue Silver version of these songs are the best.  This has made me think.  Was Duran really better live in 1984?  Were the arrangements better?  If so, what does that say about the band?  If not, what does that say about the fans?

1984 was the height of Duranmania.  They were selling out stadiums worldwide and had songs and albums at the top of the charts.  Most would agree that they were the most popular band in the world at that time.  Their concerts were often filled with teenage girls who spent a LOT of the time screaming, from everything I read.  I have also read/seen many interviews in which the band discussed the “wall of sound” that was created from the screaming crowd.  Watch the video below and hear the band talk about this about 7 minutes in:

Now, in fairness, I did not see Duran Duran in 1984.  I’m sure that I would have thought that they were amazing then!  But, would they be better then than now?  Would the 30 years after that not make them better, in terms of their musicianship and performance?  Did their live performances peak over 30 years ago?!?  Listen to what Nick said in 2005 about 1 minute into this clip:

Duran would argue that their live performances are better now.  That said, I’ll play devil’s advocate.  In 1984, they were younger and had more energy.  Perhaps, that energy would make their performance more entertaining.  I could see that.  Yet, when I think of live performances, I do want the songs to be entertaining and fun, but I also want the music to be played well.  

Let me try an experiment.  I’m going to put videos of Careless Memories from 1984 and then from 2004.  Just listen to them.  Do not watch them.  Then, tell me which version you like better.  Both of them are from official videos, too, to ensure that the sound quality is decent on both.

In thinking about this question, when did Duran play better live, I think about my own career.  Just yesterday, I was asked to meet with a bunch of soon-to-be-teachers.  While I appreciated their enthusiasm and their idealism, I liked that they wanted me there as someone with experience.  While I might not be as energetic as I once was as a teacher, I know that I’m a better teacher now than I was when I first started.  Experience matters.

Personally, I would hate to believe that the best days of my career were in the past, when I first started.  I would imagine that Duran would hate that, too.  I’m willing to bet that Duran gets a lot of questions in reference to their “heyday” and how they “peaked” in their mid-20s.  I’m sure that’s frustrating and that they would prefer to think that they are at their best right now.  After all, if they were at their best in the mid 80s, then why continue now?

I’m sure that the fans who are voting for the 1984 Sing Blue Silver Tour versions of the songs don’t mean all this.  They are just thinking that they loved that time period.  Sing Blue Silver and As the Lights Go Down bring back nothing but fond memories of a band that they fell in love with.  I guess, for me, while I loved the band then, I love them differently and more now.  Maybe it is the fan in me that actually believes that they are better now, too.

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