Category Archives: shows

Winter Marches On (Ok, so it’s barely Autumn….)

Is it just me or does summer feel like it was a long time ago…and next summer seems like a mirage out in the distance?

Stay with me here, I’m not talking about the weather, of course. Today in SoCal is pretty much the very first “rainy” day we’ve had in, well…many months.  I’m actually in long sleeves AND enclosed shoes!!! (I am an admitted flip-flop wearer. Style be damned. I’m casual and I like it!) Thank goodness for my grey Chuck Taylors.  I’m talking about the band, of course.

Today I read a great little interview on John Taylor in Guitar World magazine. Haven’t read it yet?  Let me do you the favor of passing it on right here. (Guitar World)  John explains why he wrote the book, why he chose to do it now, and what’s coming up next for the band…which has the rest of the Duraniverse, myself included, on the edge of our seats.  We know they’re headed back into the studio to work with Mark Ronson again in March of 2013, and that is great news. Mark seems to know how to give the band the confidence they need in order to own their own place, and that in turn is the recipe for the band creating their best work.  Synergy can be powerful once placed in the right hands.

March.

I’m not going to lie.  I’m a fan just like the rest of you.  I want to hear news from working on the album tomorrow because that’s what keeps me going.  I want our book done tomorrow, too. That just isn’t possible…on all counts…and we know that.  They finished the tour just what – six weeks ago or so? I suppose it does seem a bit like a slave driver to start cracking the whip just yet, so I will refrain. No really, I promise!

It’s really no better where I sit. My schedule is crazy, Amanda’s schedule is even worse. We’re talking about meeting somewhere and shutting ourselves in a hotel room until our book is done. (Ok, really just for a weekend – but I like the idea of not coming out until it’s done.  My husband though?  Not so much!)  So on that note, I can understand how this works.  I also completely understand the excitement of being a fan, missing the band, wanting new music, and continuing the journey – because that’s what this is really all about, isn’t it?

However, there was another sentence in that interview that continues to give me a small ray of hope.  A little something about touring in the summer…

I tweeted a little note to Duran Duran HQ this morning.  Let’s begin the chant, shall we?  Repeat after me: Summer. Shows.  I love those words, do the rest of you?  Let’s make them work for us.  Let’s keep that little ray of sunshine going through what might very well be a long winter.

-R

 

Live from The Bedford! Or not.

I know the blog is late today, and there are a few reasons for that – all of which have to do with the crazy morning I’ve had. Today is the day for Dom’s Blue to Brown gig at The Bedford (Which looks like a fantastic venue. Someday, I will get there. Someday.), and I had the nerve to actually plan my day so that I could actually WATCH the show (via webcast).  Well, that was my first mistake. I should know better than to plan.

This morning I woke up to find that our refrigerator – the lemon of ALL lemons – has once again decided to stop working. Again. Of course it did. In all fairness, I saw this coming, but it meant moving everything from there to ice chests. So I’m already late. Then my youngest had to have a lunch packed for school because I paid extra so that she could stay for an extended day today. Having her occupied means more time that I can watch the webcast uninterrupted. Yay!! Where were the things I needed for her lunch? In five different places, including the bottom of the damn ice chest I had just packed. *sigh* While making lunch, I get a text from the oldest. She’s not feeling well, plans to stay long enough to take her exam in her AP World History class, but then wants to come home. Guess who gets to drive 30 minutes in traffic to go get her? Oh yes, that’s right – ME. I get home and realize that I’ve got an hour to homeschool before getting online to see Dom’s show. An hour for two subjects.  Sure, that’ll work as long as we FLY through English….

So here I am, taking a deep breath and trying to relax. It’s only just after noon now and yet it feels like it should already be evening my time! I’m sitting at the computer, waiting for the show to start. Funny how no matter where I am, the same butterflies happen and I can’t sit still.  I’m in the chatroom on justin.tv for The Bedford Live, so I see a few people in there waiting.  It’s 12:29 by my computer, so we’ll see just how prompt Mr. Brown really is. (Ha! Bet he didn’t know I’d be reviewing the show for Daily Duranie! Surprise, surprise!) It’s now 12:42 and we’re more and more convinced that there will be no webcast of this show, even though by The Bedfords own website it states the show will be seen live on the web. That’s pretty much how this entire day has gone…so…*taps fingers on table*

As enterprising and devious as Duran fans can be, the few of us in the chat room talk, and one of them decides to call the venue. He’s already playing (of course he is because he’s on time!) so it’s naturally the webcast that is being affected. Of course it is. It’s explained to the venue that the feed isn’t coming through, and the bar staff person tells the Duran caller that they’ll have someone in the event room check on it. This is typical, and while I can understand that The Bedford staff have better things to do than make sure the webcast is running correctly for the sorry souls that don’t live in the UK, it’s disappointing to say that least. Not the end of the world by a long shot – but disappointing.

So Dom, if you’re reading (Ha, sure you are…I am REALLY good at delusions of grandeur here!) ….now I have to beg and plead for you to consider coming to my coast for some gigs.   As it turns out, I’m not especially talented at groveling in print, but I wish you’d consider coming over. That said, there’s always that convention weekend in November.  Birmingham? Over 200 Duran fans in one place… how can that not be tempting??

Oh well. That might just be me then.

I’ve decided to sit here, finish the blog and wait just in case the feed starts to work, but we’re being told by the moderator that Dom decided not to show the webcast otherwise we’d be seeing it. That isn’t the kind of thing you want to hear/read when you’re sitting an ocean away and have been a fan of the guy for years. YEARS…like since day one he got on stage with them and practically no other fan knew of him or wanted him there, but whatever. You know, it’s inconsequential, really.

So we’re just chatting as we’re sitting there waiting, because that’s what Duranies do. We chat. We wait. Sometimes we’re even patient! We get disappointed, but we’re still fans. It’s what we do. I don’t know how many of you out there have seen the commercials for the new Samsung phone that is very similar to the iPhone5. The commercial shows scenes of a line outside of the Apple store where the fans (and I do mean FANS) are talking about all the new features the phone might offer and how they’ve had to wait so long for whatever it is they’re looking for as far as features go. Then they see phones being used from another maker and they’re curious, but they’re trying to pretend they really AREN’T that interested and so forth. The best part is when someone walks up with one of the new phones who used to be one of the Apple fans. The Apple fans recognize this person, and then ask why they’ve got a new phone. They glance at the phone then look to the people in line and say they’ve moved on. This, my friends…is what being a fan is really like, and not just if you’re a Duran fan, apparently.

Always optimistic, always waiting for the next thing. A lot of times, we’re disappointed.  Sometimes we even get mad, and sometimes we move on.

The core group though? We’ve been around for a long time, and we’ll continue to stick around….webcasts, gigs, permanent members….or not.

-R

A Change of Perspective and Attitude

Duran Duran’s last leg of their All You Need is Now Tour has begun.  They have played two dates at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga, California.  Tonight, they play at the Pacific Amphitheater in Costa Mesa, California.  In one week, the Daily Duranie will be enjoying the first show since December of 2011.  Thus, this time is all about DuranLive.  Many fans are going to shows, reacting to how the shows went, waiting for setlists then commenting about them, getting ready for shows and/or commenting about how they will make sure that they hit a show next time.  This isn’t new.  This is how life is in Duranland during a tour.  I’m used to it.  Yet, I find myself also tired of it.

I’m not tired of touring.  I can’t imagine ever being tired of touring.  Friday cannot come fast enough as I’m terribly anxious to see Rhonda and to get to our first show in Biloxi.  No, I’m tired of how Duranland responds to Duran shows.  I feel like my perspective on Duranland or on Duran tours/shows has changed.  As you all know, Rhonda and I flew to the UK twice last year to see them perform in their home country.  A year ago, Simon was unable to sing and Duran’s future was in question.  Then, he got his voice back and the band returned, better and stronger than ever.  I felt this.  Yet, I did not feel it when I went to the show in Chicago in October.  No, I felt it when I went to the shows in the UK.  Why?  What was the difference?  Was it the setlists?  Was it me?  Was it the crowd?  Was it all of the above?

As I look back, I know that it wasn’t the setlists.  In fact, there wasn’t much of a difference between the Chicago show in October and the shows in the UK.  Yes, we heard Secret Oktober, which truly was a dream come true!  Sometimes, I have to remind myself that it was real.  By the third show, though, the setlist was generally locked in place.  We knew what to expect and, frankly, we didn’t care.  I didn’t care.  Why?  The shows were so amazing that I wasn’t annoyed by seeing the exact same songs night after night.  A good show isn’t about that, to me.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I would absolutely ADORE a few changes to the setlists.  Who wouldn’t?  I know that Rhonda was terribly excited about seeing Mediterranea in the setlist.  I would love if they wanted to play Too Bad You’re So Beautiful.  Both of us might faint, cry, scream at the same time if we ever heard the notes to Late Bar.  Yet, I find myself so tired of the complaining.  Duran could play a setlist of b-sides and album tracks and if they played without energy, without focus, the show would still suck.  Likewise, they could play only hits and the show could be great, depending on the band, the crowd, etc.  I understand fans’ desire to see new and different tracks.  I feel that way, too, but I think I’m letting it go.  I learned that it is so much more important to have them performing and performing well than what songs are played.

Maybe, then, the change is me.  My focus, my attitude is different.  I know that this can all be gone in an instant.  Something can happen to them.  Something can happen to me.  Why complain about setlists?  I see so many people saying that they have tickets to show X but aren’t sure if they should go because the setlist is so boring.  Other people would love to be able to go to a show.  I get to go to shows and I’m still excited!  I just don’t want to spend my time getting ready to go on tour or being on tour and hearing negative or not fun things about the shows, the band, etc.  It makes my attitude bad and that almost always guarantees that I will not enjoy myself as I should.  Let me give you an example.  Rhonda and I did three shows at the end of 2008.  We weren’t thrilled with RCM and went into the shows knowing this.  We were excited, we thought.  Yet, when we got to the first show, we weren’t.  Our seats sucked and we complained about the setlist.  Somewhere between that show and the show a couple of days later, we decided to let the rest of the crap go and just enjoy the show.  We got a decent spot at the show (it was GA) and liked listening to other people around us anxiously awaiting the first notes.  Guess what happened?  We didn’t like that first show much but really liked the last one.  Is that a coincidence?  I don’t think so.

My point is this.  Expectations and attitudes matter.  Worrying about the setlist leads to a bad time.  Thinking that the show isn’t going to be that good will make it so.  Interestingly enough, I haven’t seen many comments saying that these first two shows weren’t good.  It has been the exact opposite.  People seem to have had a great time!  Maybe, the lesson really is for me.  Perhaps, I need to avoid those people who would bring me down.  I have a show in a week and I want nothing, nothing, nothing but that excitement that I had during the UK tour.  After all, who knows when the next one will be.

-A

Appreciating Duran and Their Ability to Find an Ordinary World

For those of you who haven’t been around the internet today, it is Duran Duran Appreciation Day.  This is a holiday for Duranies, for Duran fans.  Many people have posted pictures celebrating the band.  Others have written a little something to the band or band members telling them how much they appreciate Duran.  It is a special day for the band and fans alike.  Heck, John Taylor even said so in his little write-up on dd.com.  I pondered today’s blog.  After all, I had planned on finishing up our theme this week on favorite concerts.  Then, it hit me.  Why couldn’t I combine celebrating the band while celebrating their live performances AND their ability to continue on throughout the good and not-so-good times?!  What show emphasized this the most?  For me, it had to be have been the show in Chicago in October of 2006.  To review Duran history a little bit, let me remind all of you about what event happened right before this show.  The band announced literally the day or a few days before that Andy Taylor was no longer in the band.  While many of us suspected that something was going on and many had heard rumors, we have all learned to wait for official announcements because many, many, many rumors are just that–rumors.  Like a great many in the fan community, we were reeling from the official announcement.  How could we not?  Was this the end?  Would the band be able to continue on?  If so, would it continue to have the same feeling?  The same quality it did with the Fab Five?  By the time the announcement was posted on dd.com, Rhonda and I were ready for our mini-tour.  While our excitement level was certainly less than normal, we looked forward to at least seeing each other and to see how the band would cope.  The answer, for me, came during that show. 

This concert was the very first event in the brand new Sears Center, located in Hoffman Estates, north of the city.  We had a difficult time getting there because the weather was horrible (cold and rainy) and traffic was worse, especially since I had to pick people up at two different airports.  By the time we got everyone, checked in and ate dinner, we had to rush to the venue.  We had signs made and cameras, both of which were forgotten in our rush to get to the show.  I’m sure that those pictures would have been the best I had ever taken, too!  Ha!  Perhaps, though, this was good as we could truly only focus on the show.  As we walked around, we heard a number of people talking about Andy’s departure.  Obviously, news had gotten out.  When we finally ventured to our seats, we were pleased that they were 8 rows back, right in front of John Taylor (Was this the last of our John seats?!  Maybe…).  Soon enough, we heard the first notes of Burning the Ground being played, which was how they started the shows then.  I wasn’t too sure of it as a beginning but my excitement definitely increased during it!  This excitement not only remained but increased as the show went on. 

A number of moments stood out for not only me and Rhonda but friends of ours as well.  These moments say a lot about Duran, too.  First, Ordinary World was a complete standout for me.  I will be the first to admit that it isn’t my favorite song and I’m rarely moved by it.  Yet, on that night, Ordinary World became about Duran.  As my friend, Sara, pointed out that night, “This song takes on new meaning tonight.”  Duran had to find their new “ordinary world”, a world without Andy, a world after the reunion ended, a world that could allow Dom Brown, a world that could maybe embrace him.  As soon as the solo started in that song, both Rhonda and I noticed that Dom played it differently than he had previously (We had seen him play in 2005 when Andy was gone to take care of his ill father).  Then, Dom again drew our attention during Sunrise when he was singing the chorus.  Dom began to really show himself without disrespecting the band’s loss and our loss as fans.  He needed to step up but he didn’t hog the spotlight.  Somehow, he managed a perfect balance that night on a night that was a true turning point.  Right then and there, we were fans.  We had to be. 

Beyond those highlights with Dom, John and Simon seemed to be playful.  It was Simon’s birthday (the next day) and he definitely enjoyed the extra attention he received from the crowd while John kept trying to bring him back down to reality by reminding him that it wasn’t his birthday until midnight.  Simon kept arguing that it was past midnight in the UK.  Another key highlight was that John seemed to keep looking at Rhonda and me.  Perhaps, this had to do with the fact that we were in direct line of sight.  Nonetheless, I was amused when John mouthed to Rhonda that she should “keep singing.”.  That Rhonda can be such a slacker!!  By the end of the show, Rhonda and I were full of energy and excitement that was obvious to everyone around us.  In fact, at the end of the show, some woman in front of us said to us, “I haven’t seen such enthusiasm in years.”  The band seemed to think the show was a good one, too.  John kept coming back to the microphone to talk to the audience.  It was like he didn’t want to leave.  I didn’t want them to leave either. 

When I look back to that show, what made it one of the best shows I have been to was it showed how strong the Duran spirit was.  The band seemed to be pushing themselves to be their best.  Was this because they felt like they had something to prove after Andy left?  Maybe.  Did they need to prove it to us?  In some ways, sure, it was important to show the fans that they weren’t planning on ending and that they knew that they could and would continue on.  Dom’s performance showed us, not only what a talented and respectful guy he is, but also that he would and could contribute to Duran’s future.  Yes, it would never be the same but it could still be good.  Isn’t that what Ordinary World’s message is really all about?  Yes, there is sadness and heartbreak in life.  Yet, one has to keep moving in order to find the new normal.  Duran took that step on that cold, damp night in Chicago.  They showed us and themselves that they were strong enough to survive. 

It has been almost six years since and, in my opinion, Duran has found their new “ordinary world”, their new normal.  It isn’t like it was with Andy and it isn’t like what it was with Warren.  Yet, it is still good and like all of Duran history, it is worthy of appreciation and celebration.

-A

Guest Blog: My Best Concert Experiences

 By Grey Rzeznik

My Best Concert Experiences

Music is my life. That’s not a dramatic statement. It’s simple black and white fact. Everyone has a soundtrack to their life but mine is a full on epic score. I hear music in my dreams, while I’m working, meditating, healing, you name it. That said, I’ve been to many a concert. It’s one of my favorite things in the world, frankly; a night of musical magic with the ambiance and wonder that is a live crowd mixed with the character that any given venue imparts. It would be impossible for me to pick out one single show over the rest because so many had special moments. I took something wonderful from each one I’ve been to so what I’m going to write about instead is a series of shows that were shared by me and my best friend Lisa. Duran Duran started us on a sort of tour ritual. We had to see shows together. 2003 was the start of a series of adventures that this little snapshot will unfortunately fail to do justice. I’m going to try to capture the spirit of it though.

July 17th, 2003: Pacific Amp, Costa Mesa – Lisa and her husband flew out to see this show and hit Vegas. I was over the moon that we’d be able to go see a show together, especially since we met because of our mutual Duran adoration. We weren’t in the pit like I’d hoped for but I didn’t do TOO bad with the seats considering how big that place is. Funny thing, I don’t remember as much about that show other than it being one of their best that I’ve seen. Can that make any kind of sense? I’m hoping it does. I remember how the cheers from the crowd rolled across the audience and how incredible those seats looked completely full. I remember teasing Lisa here and there about John’s hair. He had it blonde then and slightly mulleted. It looked great once it flattened out with sweat but then he’d fluff it with his hand and he’d become an instant Foghorn Leghorn. Every time I crowed like a rooster in Lisa’s ear, she’d either elbow me or pinch me. Hard. Make no mistake about Lisa; she’s a tiny thing but she’s STRONG. I had bruises for a week after.

July 19th, 2003: The Joint, Las Vegas – We drove to Vegas the night before and that alone was an adventure. Vegas in July is equal to slow, miserable suffocation. I can’t remember ever coming so close to heat stroke for a band but we sat there on the Hard Rock’s sidewalk forever to get that prime real estate in Casa de General Admission: Smack dab between John and Simon. Talk about a contrast in shows! This is the night Simon battled laryngitis throughout the night. Somehow that man managed to be so charming and boyish that we all still enjoyed the show. Of course it didn’t hurt when he suddenly started picking at his rear end. A little voice went off inside my head. “He’s done it again. He’s split ’em.” I no sooner leaned in to yell my suspicions to Lisa when Simon told us that he had, in fact, split his pants but then had the brilliant idea of having Dave staple them shut. Except now he had staples gouging his ass… thus the perpetual digging. Lisa and I will probably still laugh about that when we’re popping Geritol and in Powerscooters.

March 13, 2005: The Joint – Dear Lord, this show. It was nearly the end of me. Of us. We very nearly expired right there on the floor of the Joint. Right there in JoSi Shangri-La. Yep, that show. THE show. The culmination of years of me and Lisa screaming “Oh for Godsakes, just DO IT! We KNOW! We’ve KNOWN! Get it over with already! You’re killing us!”  Be careful what you wish for dearies. I’m not kidding. I’m still a JoSi shipper. I said it. Proudly. To John’s face even. (Heh!) None of that prepared either of us for those two that night. Actually it was mostly just Simon but nevermind that.

It started with “I Don’t Want Your Love” and in the middle of the song the band went into a slinky, funky breakdown. Of course Simon went into his own brand of slinking. He zeroed in on John from Andy’s side of the stage and began to stalk him. Head slightly down. Eyes clearly intent upon their target. Steps absolutely predatory. The man slinked like no other slink has ever slinked before. Completely invaded John’s space. Okay chills but we’ve seen this on youtube. Wait though… His hands just went up to John’s face and… HOLY BALLS OF… JOSI! That was no peck on the cheek! That was mouth to mouth resuscitation that people usually watch three hour movies to see! That was… wait, do I still have knees?? LISA! Lisa has a camera…! Except she yanked it away from her face because she couldn’t believe what she’d just seen through her viewfinder. We looked at each other. We shrieked. We’re not even the shrieking type. We hugged. I think. Seems like there was a hug in there somewhere. We were in shock. Oh and it wasn’t just us. The hysterical roar that washed from the back of the theatre to the front was like a great sea beast coming to the surface for air. Then it erupted into a full on deafening howl like something from a Beatles gig. My ears actually rang a bit from it. I’m a pretty cool cucumber for the most part but kiddos, that’s the first time in my life I’ve ever gone weak in the knees. Couldn’t tell you what the rest of the show was like other than spot on. It’s all blurred into that one epic, mythic, uber-fantastic moment that was made infinitely better by getting to share it with my best friend. Geritol, Powerscooters. We’ll still get chills and dumb grins over it.

May 9-10, 2008: The Joint – What do you get when you put five gals together in Vegas for a Duran show that includes the Electro Set? Pandemonium. So much happened that weekend that it would be a whole other blog post but I’ll summarize it like this:

Five birds of paradise. Oh wait that’s just Simon’s hand.
All. *thrust* Simon. *thrust* Wants. *thrust* Isss.
One rescued guitar player (Thank you for not ralphing in my car, Mat! Nice Calvins!)
“Quick. Let’s make love.” *dies*
“We’re comin’ in hot!”

Yes, all inside jokes but where I’m ultimately going with this post is this: We all have our gigs that we can fill entire diaries full of inside jokes and random crazy stuff. The strangest thing about it is that what I remember most about the best gigs is sharing them. Remembering one great bit and having your friends remember their own little bits, then getting together and reliving it. Drawing a deeper bond from the ridiculous things that happen before, during and after the gig. Sitting around a table and just looking at one another and bursting into laughter because you’re all giddy with it again; that high that is a rock show. That high that’s never quite as good if you go alone.

September 30th of last year I went to my first Duran show in three years. My first ANY show in three years and that’s unheard of for me. It felt like it’d been an eternity. A lot happened to me during that time that’s not for this blog but I’m including this show because for 12 hours with Lisa my life felt almost normal again. I felt like I was actually breathing again. It was an amazing, solid show and Simon’s voice was back with a vengeance. A lot had changed around me and Lisa but for just that bit of time, it was like the last two years hadn’t happened.

That’s the real power of best friends and the best shows, isn’t it? They’re ones that rescue you from your daily grind a few hours at a time. The ones that recharge your batteries, envigorate you, and give you memories that will stay with you forever.

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Grey Rzeznik lives in Southern California. She is active in local theatre and is passionate about her singing. She’s a proud mama to 4 fur kids who all have her wrapped around their demanding little paws, and is a dedicated advocate of animal welfare causes. Grey’s other passions currently include nautical history, hiking, painting, and all things Benedict Cumberbatch.

The Music’s Between Us or Is It?

For the past week or so, the Daily Duranie has been doing a theme of sorts by telling our stories of meeting the band and having guest bloggers tell theirs.  When Rhonda and I originally discussed how we would handle the blog during the summer and with our real life plans, we came up with this theme.  We also came up with another theme that we thought a lot of people would want to read and talk about, which was people’s favorite show or a show that really meant something to them.  In reaching out to our Duranie community, we asked people if they wanted to write guest blogs about these two topics.  We received 8 guest blogs in total.  How many of them were for favorite show?  One.  That’s right.  ONE.  Some people’s meet and greet stories talked about shows but they also talked about meeting one or more band members as well.  This, of course, got me thinking (What doesn’t? some of you might be thinking.)  I immediately wondered why we would get more meet and greet stories over concert stories.  I would suspect that there are a LOT more people who could talk about concerts.  After all, by this point, I think there are a lot more people who have been a Duran show than have met the band.  Am I right in that assumption?  You tell me.  So, if it isn’t about number of concerts vs. number of meetings, what is it about?  Is meeting the band so much more exciting than going to a show?  Is meeting the band what it is all about?

One thing is certain.  It is much more difficult to meet the band than it is to go to a show.  Now, I know that some of you could point out that it is hard to get either because they never come to your neck-of-the-woods.  Very true.  My point is that it is easier to get tickets to a show than meet the band, in general.  First of all, all it takes (ignoring any geographical challenges) to get a ticket to a show is money.  One cannot buy a meet and greet.  (I hear the arguments here.  Yes, money might help but it isn’t like buying a ticket.)  If people would be able to, then I’m sure a lot more people would have met the band.  Assuming that meeting the band is a more unique situation, this could make it more worthy to talk about.  Yet, I don’t have the feeling that “meeting” the band is as unique as it could be.  Now, I haven’t taken any sort of poll but it seems to me that while a lot of people haven’t met the band, a lot have.  More than half of the fanbase?  I don’t know if it is that high, especially depending on how one’s defines meeting, but I suspect it is higher than 10% of the fans who are reading this blog, commenting on our daily questions, and really participating in the fan community.  So, while I think it is rare, it isn’t that rare.  On the other side of the coin, I’m willing to bet that a lot of people can talk about their favorite Duran show.  Heck, I bet most of us hardcore fans would have a show or 10 we could talk about.  Clearly, if we continue to go to more shows, at least one show must have been good.  Why don’t people want to talk about it?  Isn’t Duran’s music interesting?  Aren’t their performances note-worthy?

I don’t have the answer.  Is the band or members of the band more important than their music?  I doubt anyone would openly say that.  I’m sure that most people would argue that they love the music first and foremost and there is no reason to doubt the truth to this.  Yet, the music isn’t what seems to grab people’s attention.  Maybe, this has more to do with fame and celebrity than it does with Duran, specifically, or Duranland.  Would the same be true for people who went to see many plays with one’s favorite actor or actress?  Would it be more notable to meet that actor than it would be to see those plays, no matter how fabulous the performances, storyline, set, etc. are?  Maybe.  Yet, at the same time we were posting those wonderful meet and greet stories, I heard from fans who had a bad meet and greet.  Some examples were that the band members didn’t seem to want to be there.  They didn’t look at people or talk to anyone.  Other people mentioned how they didn’t even acknowledge fans who had been waiting for them.  This leads me to ponder something else…we, as fans, know that the music is consistently good.  When you are seeing them perform live, the assumption is that they will do well.  The expectation is high but one that Duran continues to meet time and time again.  Meeting them, on the other hand, is filled with such high expectations, usually years or decades in the making.  There are so many emotions connected that when it goes well, it is understandably important to note. 

This leads me to my last question and, maybe, a better question for Duranland.  Which would be better or more important to you (without judgement):  Having a bad meet and greet or attending a great show?  I, personally, feel like I answered this one, in a way.  In 2011, I had the chance to be at a bar with a number of members of the band after a show.  I didn’t say much to any of them (not my style) but I was thrilled to be standing near Dom and Roger.  Yet, that show will not rank as one of my favorites.  Why?  The concert itself was fine.  Decent.  The problem was that the show didn’t wow me and the people I was with could have really cared less.  Yet, in the UK, I didn’t see any members of the band after the shows and I had an absolutely amazing time.  It was a tour of a lifetime.  Clearly, being around the band didn’t make it so special.  What made it special was how good the shows truly were (mind-blowing!!) and being surrounded by my best friend and other really fantastic people.  That’s what did it. 

What about the rest of you?  What matters to you more?

-A

A Diamond in the Mind (or what I call a potentially really good idea!)

Day 3 in the diary of a headache.

Ok not really. Well, this isn’t the diary, anyway. I am sitting here at my table, trusty mug of coffee (second mug of the day, which *never* happens here) within reach…and not a single writing inspiration has come to mind. I hate when this happens. So, I reached out to the only people I know for topic ideas. Some of which were downright amusing! (and you can bet I’ll be writing that critique of a certain bandleaders dancing very, very soon!) I already have the title in my head…

But for today my friends, we’re going to talk about fandom. I hear the cheers and I thank you.  (A little sarcasm to start my day.  Ah yes.)

Seriously (a word I use far too often but don’t care enough to change today) though, Amanda and I have been kicking around an idea for a few months now and it’s really high time to share our thoughts. Not that many years back when DDM was first started, the idea – well the idea that fans had anyway, was to create a real community. Does anyone remember back when VIP tickets gained you entry to a pre-show party? A little known truth about me: I liked them. I liked feeling a little special, to be honest. That said, I’m one of those people who loves valet parking. I love having my bags taken to my room rather than schlepping them myself…and if there’s a side entrance somewhere that I have access to use that others don’t, it makes me smile. I suppose I am exactly whom DDM wants to market those VIP tickets….too bad I’m not a DDM member these days, isn’t it?!? ANYWAY, my point is simply that while the party itself might have been a smidgeon on the lame side, the idea was good.  The party allowed concert goers to chat, visit, take photos with long-lost friends, and at least the idea was supposed to make us feel special. The key for me though (besides feeling a bit exclusive and pampered) was the feeling of community. At that point, DDM went to the trouble to set up Duranie “dorms” – basically calling a hotel and getting a group rate so that interested parties could take advantage. This served several purposes: it directed many DDM members to the same hotel so that plans could be made, parties could be set up, and as a bonus – many of us could get kicked out of hotel bars. Good times. It also tended to deter people from staying at other hotels that may or may not have housed members of the band.  *gasp!* I can’t honestly remember how many times my friends and I took advantage of the “dorms” (maybe only once or twice?), but I really liked the idea. So many times after a show we’re looking to get together with friends for drinks – none of us are ready to call it a night after such great shows – and having a central place to hang out and continue the evening seemed perfect. Sure, I know as well as you do that many want to go and find the band, and that option is always available, but for those like me who rarely know when or where – hanging with friends seems like the more viable alternative. I’m sure the band appreciates that.

Unfortunately, somewhere along the line – the whole sense of community has been lost.  Naturally, this isn’t ONLY due to the mechanics of DDM, but it’s something that Amanda and I both feel could be improved, which is where she and I come in. Part of the reason we started the blog was because we felt that there needed to be a place that topics could be discussed without judgement. Sure, there are times when we all disagree. That happens. It shouldn’t mean that we can’t find common ground, and in our case – it’s the band. No matter what each of feels about the guitar players over the years, the management, the choices in singles, promotion, etc – we all still love the band. That’s enough to build on, and is the other part of the reason the blog was started. We want to bring fans together. We’re not all going to be best friends. That isn’t the point or the goal. If the paid “official” fan community can’t see past the dollar signs enough to build a community, we can do it ourselves….and better because we know what it’s like to be a fan.


I can’t speak for everyone, but it’s become clear to me that unless someone stands up and decides to bridge the gap between the DDM mechanics of getting to a show (i.e. buying tickets) and what it really means to be a fan and enjoy fandom, our community is lost. While the show themselves may never completely lose their luster, the other half of what makes it fun to be a fan will be gone. The shows where I have gone by myself with my husband are fun, but there’s something very special about attending a show where there are other friends in attendance. I have as much fun in planning the before and after get togethers as I do in plotting how I’m going to get my escape from my house!  I am a fan.  Amanda is a fan.  We know what we like, and we’re betting that our thoughts aren’t going to be all that dissimilar to yours.

To begin with, we’re waiting for US concert dates.  (We’ve got to start in the US purely because it’s where we live and what we know) It’d be great if the band would work with us on this and send them – but seeing as we’re just fans trying to do the work that their own fan community has completely dropped the ball on – we’re not counting on a single thing except our own determination. (However, if somebody wants to send us some hints, we’ll gladly take ’em and get our planning started so that we can seem organized….*wink, wink*) Once we know the dates of the shows, we really want to work to get “dorms” set up if there are people interested. In addition, we’re going to set up more meet-ups for fans, whether they are before or after the shows, and we’re going to have fun even if it kills us.  We want you, our friends, fellow fans, readers, etc….to tell us what, where and when.

(I’m pretty certain Amanda is going to love that last sentence.)

No, we’re not getting paid by anyone. No, we’re not getting free tickets to the shows. No, we haven’t lost our grip on reality, quit our jobs or sold our possessions (and as such no, we’re not going to be able to be at every single show. We need your help!)  We just want to make this community fun again. That’s it. If you have ideas, want to help out or just plain want to bitch at us – email us at dailyduranie@gmail.com or leave a comment.  You know we’ll answer you!

Watch this space…

-R

PS – we’re going to do something different on the blog, and by different I mean that YOU can ask US questions.  Have something you’re dying to ask?  Send us an email, talk to us on Facebook, send us a Direct Message on Twitter (otherwise we’ll miss it).  Amanda and I will answer your questions on an upcoming blog.  By “upcoming” I mean in a week or so – no DuranTime here – so get your thinking caps on and send us some creative questions!

The Importance of a Fan Community: Shows!

I have been involved in an interesting discussion throughout the day on Twitter.  One of our friends on Twitter suggested that we talk about our fans who don’t participate in the online fan community.  This lead to a discussion on bringing non-fans or non-Duranies with you to shows.  For some people, this has been a positive experience and for others, it hasn’t been.  I can speculate about why some experiences went well and others didn’t. 

Why do Duranies go with non-Duranies to shows?  Well, the answer is obvious, isn’t it?  People go to shows with non-Duranies because either they don’t have any Duranies to go with or because they want to share their fandom with others.  No matter the reason it seems to me that things can either go well or go very badly.  I have to admit that I have gone to shows with a variety of different people.  An ideal show, for me, would obviously be to go with Rhonda.  Why?  On top of being my best friend, we both have the same philosophy about the band, shows, and activities surrounding the shows.  For me, all three elements are essential for the best time.  The first element is clear and was basically what the conversation surrounded on twitter.  I prefer to go with other fans.  I will be even more clear.  I want to go to shows with Duranies and not just people who liked Rio back in the day or can sing the Reflex.  They have to be fans and I think we all know the difference.  There has to be a passion for the band.  They don’t have to know everything I know about the band but they have to have strong feeling for the band and their music.  Perhaps, then, a spark will take place which results in them finding out more about the band.  To me, anything less results in disappointment.  The second element revolves the show itself and how to behave at a show.  I won’t lie here.  I sing (badly) at a show.  I don’t sit down.  I might scream once or twice, particularly after a JoSi moment.  I move around.  I watch the band closely, especially that bass player guy.  Again, ideally, I would love to be close as the experience is enhanced and, generally, I’m willing to pay to be close.  So, what if the person or people you go with, don’t want to pay.  What if they don’t sing or dance?  What if they would be horrified by your behavior?  Again, I think this could end in disappointment even if you go with Duranies.  Lastly, the activities surrounding a show are also important.  I like to meet up with people before and after a show, for dinner and/or drinks.  My post show nights are, generally, not early as I like to go out.  I like to have a good time and a Duran show is the perfect time to do it.  Again, if the person or people you are with, don’t like to do that, it isn’t going to be as fun.  It is quite possible that everyone involved won’t be happy as some compromise to make the others happy but the happy ones aren’t that happy because their companion(s) aren’t really excited.  Thus, to me, all three elements are important.

Of course, there have been times that Rhonda and I can’t go to shows together.  It is one of the not fun parts of living so far away from each other.  During those times, I have sought out different people to go with.  In many, if not most, cases, the night has gone badly.  Sometimes, it has gone so badly that I know it as it is happening.  For example, once, I was unable to watch the show when the person I went with couldn’t handle being among the masses in a GA show.  Other times, it takes a while to really understand what went wrong.  Usually, those are the shows that I have gone with people who like Duran but aren’t Duranies.  In those cases, I have usually had to listen to them complain about Duran did or didn’t do.  For example, one person complained that Duran wasn’t spontaneous enough and actually compared them to Depeche Mode.  For the record, I like Depeche but their setlists, at times, don’t vary at all.  Literally, it is the same songs in the same order every night.  Anyway, I didn’t want to argue with this friend.  Sometimes, the person I have gone with may appear to be a Duranie or a could be Duranie.  Those experiences are the ones that really disappoint when it turns out that the person isn’t and never will be.  Now, of course, not all of my show going experiences with non-Duranies have been bad.  The ones that haven’t been have, at least, 2 out of the 3 elements, though.  My friend, Robyn, has gone with me a couple of times.  She likes Duran but isn’t a Duranie.  At the shows we have been to, though, Duranie friends have been present.  On top of that, she goes to shows like I do.  She will sing and dance, too.  She also likes to go out before and/or after. Yes, perhaps, my expectations play a significant role.  Maybe, others don’t have as high of expectation as I do, which is why things have gone well for them. 

Despite good experiences with Robyn, I truly hope that the people I go to the rest of my shows with me are on the same page with me.  I wish that everyone had people to go with who are on the same page as they are.  This leads me to the fan community.  Isn’t part of the reason fans talk to other fans to make friends in order to have people to go to shows or fan events with?  I know that was the exact reason that I went to the Duran Convention in New Orleans in 2004.  I knew that there was a tour coming up and wanted to have people to go with.  I would love for every Duranie to go to shows with other Duranies.  Perhaps, the fan community can work to have that happen! 

-A

   

Pictures, rules and nostalgia

Lately I’ve been reading books about MTV.  I already finished one, and I’m starting a couple more this week, all of which will likely be used as some sort of research for the blog and book writing.  I must admit, the reading has been wonderfully nostalgic thus far.  I love reading the tidbits about various videos I haven’t seen in years (and then looking them up on YouTube to refresh my memory!), and I suppose that reading has gotten me in a bit of a mood to think back a bit.

As I was getting ready for the day this morning, for some reason I thought about pictures, or rather, my lack of pictures with the members of Duran Duran.  I have a dear friend here in California who “obsession” (so to speak) is to go to the various award shows – Golden Globes, Oscars, etc.  Yesterday were the SAG awards, and I’m sure I’m due an email with her photo file from the night.  She’s attended several awards now, gone to the after parties and things, and has pictures with everyone from Brad Pitt to John Stamos.  I’m always astonished when she sends me her latest photos from the award shows, and I’m pretty sure every single time I see them (and giggle over them with her) I yelp “I can’t even believe you have a photo with _____________, I’ve been a fan of Duran Duran for 30 years now and don’t have a single one with ANY of them!!!”  To which she always says, “I know.  What IS your problem, Rhonda?”  (good question.  I’ve no single answer to that.)   She was highly disappointed with me after my return from the UK, as she had put me on notice that I wasn’t to return to the US without at least one photo.  I failed miserably.

As I thought about that lack of pictures, I remembered that for me – it was only just after the reunion that I’d ever gotten a picture (that I had taken on my own camera) of ANY of them.  Back in the 80’s & 90’s, I couldn’t really attend many concerts – just one in 1989 and then another in 1993, and in those days – cameras weren’t really allowed into the venues.  Sure, people probably snuck them in, but I never did.  I took “no cameras” to be gospel, and followed the rules.  I’m a good kid, but being well-behaved never got anyone anywhere, did it?  I still have a hard time “breaking” rules to this day, which explains why I still do not have pictures with the band.  I don’t go hanging out waiting for them outside of theater doors, I refuse to intrude on their privacy after the shows….and as a result tons of my friends have photos with them that I do not.  You’d think I’d learn.

It wasn’t until after the reunion at a show in San Diego at 4th and B theater that I ever took pictures at a concert.  I remember that night, being SO thrilled that my husband snuck a disposable camera into the theater (actually, I’m not even sure if he had to sneak it…but he kept it tucked into his jacket all the same), and just before the show, presented it to me.  I think I genuinely squealed when I saw it.  When the band came on stage, I couldn’t get very good shots, so my husband started taking the pictures for me – and that practice of his being the photographer while I’m enjoy the show continues to this very day.  I was so excited to see those pictures – I remember taking the camera to have the pictures developed, and when we got the photos back, I was shocked at how lousy they were.  A disposable camera just didn’t do the band justice.  That said, I proudly scrapbooked the pictures, and still have the doubles somewhere.  After that, it became standard to take a camera to the show, and I worked harder and harder at getting good pictures.  For a while I took my good Canon Rebel (both the film and the digital SLR’s…at different times of course) to the shows, but then security started to tighten up on cameras, and I was told a couple of times that it was a professional camera.  I laugh about that, because if they saw my pictures – they’d no I’m no professional.  In any way. At. All.  That said, I stopped bringing the big Canon after the Voodoo show because I got tired of carrying it around.  I use a small Canon point and shoot now, and I’ve learned to take pictures during my “less than favorite” songs.  I’ll let you all guess which ones those might include…

Speaking of nostalgia, one of the things I’ve always wondered about nearly constantly since I was ten or eleven and first discovered the band was what it must be like (or been like) to actually live in England and have more access to the band.  Here in the states, we had relatively little unless they were touring or were here doing press.  We didn’t live near them on a daily basis, and so naturally we didn’t have quite the same familiarity with them as other fans might in England.  No matter how often I talk to fans from the UK, I just think it’s nearly impossible to really get a good sense of what it must have been like to be able to hop on the tube and get to their studios or homes. (even though we all know that the information might have been difficult to come by unless you knew whom to talk with…)  Well, my friend Michelle kept a diary of her Duran Duran adventures back in the 80’s.  She’s used this diary to begin her own blog, and I encourage everyone to go visit and read!  I found myself giggling away while reading this morning…and as soon as I’m finished blogging, I’m going back for more.

You can find The Duran Diaries here.  Read away!!

I know that often times, there’s a sort of rivalry…implied or otherwise…between the US and UK fans.  The fact is, we have had very different experiences from one another.  There is plenty of joy, exasperation, excitement and even moments of disappointment, to be shared amongst all of us.  It’s my hope that those who read Daily Duranie and the Duran Diaries can embrace all of what is offered without judgement.

Happy Monday everyone!  
-R

The Importance of Seeing Duran Live?

In the last couple of days, the Daily Duranie 30 Day Challenge has focused on live songs.  Yesterday, we asked what people’s favorite song was that they have not heard live.  Today, the question was the least favorite song you have seen live.  Basically, what song have you not seen performed but really want to and which song that you have seen, could you live without.  Yesterday’s results varied quite a bit.  33 different songs were given as answers.  The most popular choices were Shadows On Your Side and Late Bar.  Other popular choices were Land, None of the Above, the Chauffeur, Last Chance on the Stairway, Lonely in Your Nightmare, To the Shore, and Hold Back the Rain.  I have to admit that some of the answers surprised me as I have seen a number of these songs live.  What surprised me even more is that a number of fans haven’t seen them live.  This really got me thinking.

It seems to me that most fandoms have some way of celebrating what they are interested in.  They all have some event to really look forward to.  It may be the Superbowl for football fans or the convention for Star Trek fans.  I have always felt like tours were ours.  It is what we all seem to look forward to, what keeps us going as fans.  Now, that I know that a number of people haven’t been to shows, I have to wonder if my assumption was wrong.  Are tours not as important to the fandom as I thought?  Could it be that tours are the big party for some fans but not others?  Could it be that our fandom wasn’t united with this common element of fandom?

I am pretty open about the fact that tours are a big deal in my life.  I look forward to them and definitely countdown to the next one once I have tickets in hand.  Tours represent fun, travel, friends and more.  Yet, even more importantly, they represent shows.  Concerts.  Gigs.  They are filled with seeing the band perform live.  Let’s face it.  Duran is a band.  They play music.  The two ways they provide us with the music are the live shows and the albums.  While I love, love, love the albums, I don’t know that they are enough for me.  If you look at Duran’s history, they actually don’t happen all that often.  How many studio albums have there been?  13?  That isn’t very many for a band that has been around 30 years.  Are those albums enough to sustain interest?  Enough to keep fans?  I don’t think they would be for me.  While I love the music and can listen to the albums over and over again, I know that my fandom is reinforced at most shows.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that a great show actually increases my love for Duran.  Shows makes the music more powerful, more meaningful.  Then, of course, when I see their reactions to the music and their interactions with the crowd, this pushes my interest as well.  Yet, obviously, there are other fans who don’t share this outlook with me.

I wonder why people haven’t been to shows.  Yes, obviously, I realize that many fans probably have wanted to but haven’t been able for a variety of reasons (financial, health, other responsibilities, no shows near them, etc.).  I wonder if there are some fans who don’t want to see them live, who don’t think it is important.  Is it that their fandom needs are met through the albums?  Maybe they get enough through videos or dvds.  Perhaps, social interactions with other fans give them what they need.  I don’t know.  Nonetheless, it seems to me that my initial assumption about tours being essential isn’t totally right.  Tours might be key for some of us but not all of us. 

-A