Right around this time eleven years ago, Duran Duran was playing on Broadway in New York City as a way to promote their new album, Red Carpet Massacre. The show consisted of three acts. They played the entire album of Red Carpet Massacre except for bonus tracks, in order, for the first act. The second one included the electro set in which they played a few tracks, electronically, at the front of the stage before moving on to the third act, which felt like a usual Duran show with their classic hits.
I was lucky enough to attend one of these shows. In fact, I saw the show in which Donald Trump was in attendance. (For the record, I had better seats than he did.) Anyway, I thought and still think that this was a brilliant way to introduce a new album. Fans get to see their old favorites during the third act. The electro set was special and awesome in its own right but then you get to hear each and every new song live. I don’t know about the rest of you but seeing/hearing songs live make them so much better. In all seriousness, I struggle to listen to studio versions of many Duran songs after seeing them live. With Red Carpet Massacre, hearing the songs live took away some of those overproduction and left the song to speak for itself. I cannot help but to think about one song, in particular, which is Tricked Out. On the album, it feels like a bad 70s science fiction TV show’s theme song. Live, it was all about the guitars. I have loved the song ever since.
So, if playing a whole album works to promote an album, would it work for an older album? While I’m not sure how many copies of an old album would be sold through that method, but I’m certain that there would be new appreciation for the songs. It might even excite more fans to come buy tickets. That has to be just as good as selling albums, right? I think so! Plus, many people think this might be good for the 40th anniversary as a way to capture Duran’s career. It might also sell more concert tickets, especially from the hardcore fans who would definitely like to hear something more than the hits known by the general public.
So if it is a winning idea, which album should be chosen? The immediate fan response is probably Rio. That would draw the crowd! It would be easier on the band since many songs from that album are all ready in the rotation for setlist these days so they wouldn’t have to practice all of them. From my perspective, though, I’m not sure that I would choose Rio. It definitely isn’t that I don’t like it. No, part of my hesitation is that I have seen all the songs from that album live. Granted they were not all at the same show but still. Selfishly, I would like to broaden which songs I have seen live. (I hope that doesn’t make me sound like a terrible person.) The other part would be sad for the fans is that Rio is short. It is a short album in terms of number of songs but also how long the songs are themselves.
No, I think that if I had my choice, it would be a longer album. While I adore the first three, those are all relatively short. I might choose All You Need Is Now. It is a solid album, all the way through, and it brings back lots of great memories. On top of it, since it is relatively new, it could help sell more copies of that one. What about the rest of you? Which album would you love to see played all the way through, in order?