Category Archives: shows

Policy of Truth

I cheated.  I cheated again.  Yes, this seems to be a pattern of mine lately.  I can blame Duran downtime for my cheating.  I really can.  If they were on tour, for example, I’m sure all of my time, energy and thoughts would be focused on getting ready for the tour or being on tour or recovering from being on tour.  Nonetheless, I will take responsibility for my actions as well.  I went to see Depeche Mode last night in Chicago.  I won’t lie.  I have always enjoyed Depeche and have seen them a number of times in my life.  In fact, my very first concert was Depeche in 1990.  Therefore, when I found out that they were touring close by, I had no choice but to go.

My friend, Sara, and I had a nice plan for the show.  I would pick her up in the afternoon and we would drive down to the concert, stopping to grab food on the way down.  It was going according to plan until we stopped for food at an oasis (a rest area with restaurants).  Then, everyone serving us seemed to go v….e…..r….y slowly.  Finally, we were back in the car and ready to be on our way with plenty of time to spare.  I start backing up and notice that some other car was backing up, too.  I stop and hook my horn to alert the other driver that I’m there.  What does he do?  Of course, he keeps on going.  Of course, he does.  Obviously, he hit my car.  Thankfully, we weren’t hurt and my car doesn’t have a lot of damage but still.  We called the police and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Finally, the police show up, get our information and fill out the accident report.  This takes about an hour.  Seriously?!  At this point, we are frustrated, hot from sitting in the car and stressed about now being on time.  Did we make the show?  Yes, thankfully, we did.  We missed the opening band completely, though.

Due to the lack of time before Depeche started, I didn’t have a chance to really look around and observe the scene too much.  I’m a little sad about that.  I do like to study any situation where fans might be found.  Anyway, we had 11th row seats right on the aisle, just slightly on the left.  These are definitely the best seats I have ever had for Depeche.  As Rhonda pointed out to me, correctly, they were great seats unless they were for Duran.  Then, they would be unacceptable!  (Yes, we are now spoiled.  It’s true.)  This, of course, marks the real deal for me.  I couldn’t help but to watch the entire concert through the Duran Duran filter.  Heck, even if Duran wasn’t my fandom, I would still probably compare simply because I have seen a lot more Duran shows than I have of Depeche.  It is bound to happen.

Depeche puts on a great show.  I always think that.  Always.  You sense that they give everything they have, every time, especially Martin and Dave.  Martin does so much from singing to playing keyboards to playing guitar.  He is constantly working on stage.  While he doesn’t work to get the crowd involved in the same way that Dave does, it is clear that the show simply wouldn’t work at all without him.  Dave, on the other hand, is the true definition of frontman.  He is constantly moving and getting everyone’s attention with his very…let’s say…sensual dance moves.  While we all know that Simon is able to seduce the audience, it isn’t from his dance moves whereas Dave does.  Yet, it is interesting how both men are able to woo the audience so well and get the audience to participate so frequently.  Dave, like Simon, asks the audience to sing various parts of songs, clap, or move arms in a certain way.  At Duran shows, though, John and even Dom, help to get the audience involved.  For Depeche, it really is mostly Dave with small contributions from Andy and Martin.  Duran is more equal in this respect.  While on the topic of Simon and Dave, both feel the need to spit during a performance. I get it.  I’m not criticizing.  I do appreciate Simon’s “spit cup”, though.  It is a lot less noticeable to the audience.  Another very large difference I noticed between Duran and Depeche is the interaction with fans.  Last night, there was no interaction with the fans in the front.  I saw Dave notice one person once.  That’s it.  There was no other interaction at all with those fans.  Duran, on the other hand, is constantly interacting with the fans, especially those in the first 10 rows or so.  There is eye contact, smiling, flirting, etc.  They move to the front of the stage right in front of fans to get the fans into it.  Depeche doesn’t do this.  When they are in the middle of the stage, they don’t move close to the front.  While Dave moved from side to side, he did that to get the overall crowd into it, not the fans that he could see.  I’m sure this is fine for the general audience.  That said, if I was a big fan in the front, I would miss those possible interactions.  Then again, maybe, those fans don’t know that other bands do it differently.

I also paid attention to Andy, the other member of the band.  As I’m sure most of you might be aware, he stands in the usual Nick location of the stage.  I have heard some comments about how Nick doesn’t do much on stage, which is why he is able to take so many pictures and not sweat.  Well, from what I saw, Andy does even less.  A lot less.  There was another keyboard player who did a lot more, which I found fascinating.  In fact, at one point, during the song, Shake the Disease, it was just Martin and the backup keyboard player performing on stage.  Why wouldn’t Andy want to be in the spotlight during a real special moment of the show?  Beyond the backup keyboard player, there was a drummer as well who really threw me, at times.  There were a few songs that my attention drifted towards the drummer when it shouldn’t have.  I wonder how long the drummer had been playing with them.

Beyond what was happening on the stage, I did pay attention to the fans around me.  I was amazed at how many people near me wore wristbands that said VIP.  I’m not sure if those were VIP seats through the more expensive VIP seats, a fan club thing or what.  I would say this…if they were VIP seat purchasers, meaning that they paid a lot more money than I did, I wouldn’t be happy.  The seats were good but not that good!  Depeche’s audience was definitely a mixed crowd with a lot of people around my age but some people much older than me and some people with children.  I also noticed a lot of accents in the crowd.  Thus, it was a much more diverse crowd, at least in nationality.  A lot of people left during the encore to beat the rush of the crowd and the big traffic jam.  I thought that was weird.  I can’t imagine a lot of people in the front of a Duran show leaving during Rio, for example.  Strange.

Obviously, there are some similarities between Depeche and Duran.  They both have dedicated fan bases and definitely put on great shows in which the audience gets involved.  Yet, I wonder if Depeche fans are as likely to travel, especially since I know that Depeche rarely mixes up their set lists at all.  I also wonder if the fans are satisfied with the lack of personal interaction during the show.  Does this mean that Duran does pay attention and do things to enhance the experience for those of us who do travel and do go to multiple shows?  Maybe.  I like the idea of that.  Maybe, beyond seeing a great Depeche Mode show, I can better appreciate what I do have at a Duran show.  That’s definitely worth the price of admission and the price of cheating.

-A

Beating on my Heart like a Feather

Today is my last day for a blog until later this week as Rhonda returns home from her vacation and back to reality.  I’m sure she is behind thrilled!  *snort*  Anyway, for those of you who stayed with me during Rhonda’s break, I thank you and ask that you treat yourself in some way.  I’m sure, by now, you are anxious to hear the other voice of the lovely, little blog.  From what I have heard, the trip was a fabulous one for her and I am sure she will share all of the details with us soon!  For my last blog of Rhonda’s vacation, I take a look to the past.  More specifically, I am looking back to twenty years from tomorrow, August 6, 1993.  What is the significance of that day?  Simple.  I saw my first Duran concert that day.  Twenty years ago and, yes, that makes me feel old.

The first question that might be asked here is how come my first show was as late as 1993.  This is a simple answer.  Obviously, I was WAY too young in 1981, 1982 and even in 1984.  In 1987, while I was older, I was living further away from the main concert venues around Chicago.  Thus, it would have required my parents to drive quite a distance to get to a show.  Then, they would have had to go with me due to my age and they definitely were not excited about that.  I’m not sure why since they have always been supportive of my fandom.  Nonetheless, they didn’t want to go.  My first concert then was in 1990, when I was 15, when I saw Depeche Mode.  While my mom had to drive my friends and I, there was a new venue, which wasn’t as far away.  Even better, she had a friend nearby so she could drop us off and go visit her friend.  Perfect.  In 1990, though, Duran wasn’t touring and wouldn’t until 1993.  While I can say that I went to the very first Duran show I really could get to, that isn’t quite how it went down.

In 1993, I wasn’t paying that much attention to Duran, despite their more frequent press and media attention.  I was way too wrapped up in graduating high school, getting ready to go to college and more.  Yes, I was listening to music, but most of it was connected to my friend group.  It is just how my life was then.  Therefore, when Duran’s tour came around, I don’t even remember hearing about it.  I know that we didn’t get tickets when the show went on sale.  Nope.  It wasn’t a concern, at all.  My friend (the one who inherited my Duran stuff) saw something or heard something about the show.  She then worked to get me and a couple of our friends to go with her.  Despite my lack of attention on Duran, I didn’t hesitate.  I knew, deep down, what Duran meant to me and how cool it would be to finally see them live.  I longed for that for about 10 years.  Our other friends agreed as well, even though, they weren’t big fans.  They liked them well enough and thought it would be a good time.  Now, even more shockingly then all this, was the fact that my friend bought the tickets.  I didn’t worry about it.  Yes, times have definitely changed.  Yes, my priorities have definitely changed.  Anyway, we were able to get tickets but they sucked.  Truly.  We were all in the back on the left hand side.  Not exactly how I wanted to see Duran for the first time.

What do I remember from the show?  Not very much.  I didn’t know the new songs very well but I do remember enjoying all of the songs that I knew.  I also know that my friends had a good time as well.  I did buy a t-shirt, which I still have along with a keychain that a radio station was passing out.  Afterwards, I do remember listening to more Duran than I had been and stating that I would like to see them again soon.  Thus, in many ways, the show did what it was supposed to do.  They got me listening to more Duran and got me wanting more shows.  Yet, it didn’t feel quite right, for some reason.

At this time of my life, after listening to music for years, I really thought I knew a lot.  I had this theory then that bands needed to be careful not to last longer that they should, that they should choose to end rather than be less than great.  Around this time, I declared that Depeche Mode should do just that.  (For the record:  I was wrong.)  After seeing Duran, I started wondering about them ending, as much as that hurt.  While I liked the show and had a great time, I just had a sense that something wasn’t right.  I had no idea what it was.  It just didn’t feel like I expected it to.  Looking back, I wonder if it was Warren.  Was I so busy expecting Andy that it left me with this feeling?  Was the chemistry wrong?  John wasn’t at his best, personally, then.  Was that it?  I have no idea.  Was it me?  I was in the back and Duran didn’t feature in my life the way they did and should.  Could that be it?  Could it be that my expectations were such that they couldn’t live up to them?  Could it be a combination of all of these reasons?  I don’t know.  I won’t ever know.

I think back to this show not with regret, not with sadness, not with excitement, but with understanding.    I understand how many factors affect one’s enjoyment of a show.  I understand a little bit more about expectations.  I appreciate this lesson.  I am glad that I went to this show and to every other Duran show I have been to since.  Each and every one of them have been important to me and worthy of note.  Today, I acknowledge the first and the lessons learned since that first show.

-A

Get Higher Baby

This week, we have a theme to the blog posts.  It is a pretty simple theme and one that we have previewed some by asking for guest blogs.  The theme is about accomplishments, achievements, what to be proud of in terms of your fandom, in terms of being a Duran Duran fan.  We all have things we have done or not done in the name of fandom that we are proud of.  We all have achieved things related to fandom that should be acknowledged.  These achievements or events of pride can vary from fan to fan.  They could be about finally getting that autograph.  Maybe, they are about holding it together in front of the band at a meet and greet.  Perhaps, it is about completing one’s collection on vinyl.  Yet, it could be something as important as going outside of one’s comfort zone to travel to a show or event or meet other local Duranies in person.  Thus, as part of this theme, Rhonda will address hers.  I will address mine and we will have two guest blogs addressing theirs.  Before we dive into what fans might be proud of, let’s stop and think about what the band might be proud of.

I suspect that the first things that come to mind about what the band might be proud would include things involving commercial success, creativity, and larger-than-life projects.  I think we have all heard the story about how John and Nick had these goals of playing Hammersmith in 1982, Wembly in 1983 and Madison Square Garden in 1984.  It would make sense to imagine that they were thrilled when they actually met those goals.  What other elements of commercial success would or could they focus on?  I can imagine that hearing one of their songs on the radio for the first time was a big deal.  The same might be true about the first time they saw one of their videos on TV.  Of course, I’m ahead of the game since they would have first been proud to get a record deal and proud to record their first album.  I would imagine that the first of anything they did in their careers would have been a big deal.  Here, I’m thinking of first tour, first time out of the country, first photo shoot, first interview and more.  Of course, I would imagine that when Planet Earth charted, that was a huge deal.  Likewise, the first time one of their albums went gold and platinum was pretty monumental, I’m sure.  Now that their careers are decades old, perhaps, they could be proud of how many albums they have sold, how many singles and albums have been on the charts, how many concerts they have played, how many albums they have made, etc.  Truly, it wouldn’t surprise me if they chose any of those commercial success indicators to be proud of.  I would be, if I were them.

What about some of the larger-than-life events that they have been a part of?  Obviously, the first event that pops into my head could be Live Aid and, later, Live 8 (with obvious participation in Band-Aid).  Then, of course, they played in front of Prince Charles and Princess Diana and for her tribute show.  A recent event like that could also be the Olympics.  Not only did they play as part of the London games but they also appeared at the Olympic Games in Torino in 2006.  Of course, they have also played many shows for other causes from the Live Earth to Amnesty International to Big Brothers Big Sisters. Perhaps, then, they are proud that they have been able to use their talents and fame to help out causes and organizations that they believe in.  In playing in some of those, they were also able to be a part of history, which is a huge deal.

Yet, perhaps, what they are most proud of is what they have been able to do, creatively.  They have made quite a few albums and it is very obvious that their musical talents have not only attracted thousands of fans all around the world but they have also influenced plenty of other musical artists.  Their sound is distinct and well-known.  People can generally identify Duran’s music when they hear it.  On top of their music, they certainly made their mark with their videos.  Can you imagine what videos might have been like if there were no videos filmed on location, if they were all filmed in some lifeless studio?  What if videos had no storyline of any sort?  Certainly, Duran showed the world that videos could not only be creative but did affect album sales.  Of course, Duran’s creativity didn’t end there as they took their time to create fabulous album covers, used and created fashion to fit their purposes, and developed strong live performances that almost always had something a little bit extra to them.  Oh no, I think no one would debate the idea that Duran has made their mark on the creative world.

In my opinion, they could and should be proud of any and all of those accomplishments.  All of them are pretty substantial in and of themselves and combined, their achievements are almost overwhelming. I don’t know what the band members, themselves, would say is their proud achievement.  My guess is that they would point out whatever project they are currently working on as they always seemed to be focused on the present.  All of this said, I’m not sure I would mention any of those accomplishments first.  I would think of two other accomplishments before I even got to that not-nearly complete list.  No, I might mention their sheer longevity.  There really aren’t many bands to have survived decades.  More to the point, they experienced fame in such an intense way that many, many, most would not have survived and, if they did survive, they wouldn’t be able to still be at the top of their game.  Duran appeared on the scene and never left.  In fact, I think some might argue that they got stronger along the way.  On top of this, they managed to create a very large, very passionate fanbase that has also lasted decades longer than anyone thought it would.  That’s huge.

What do the rest of you think?  What do you think Duran should be most proud of?  Something I mentioned here or something completely different?

-A

Unicorns, Fairy Tales & Loose Ends (no, this is not a lyric!)

Today I will see my son go through his 8th grade promotion ceremony. This is a huge accomplishment for him because last year at this time – I was contemplating as to whether he would LIVE to finish 8th grade. 🙂 He had given up, was failing out (He had to work really, really hard to nearly fail out!! I think at the time he was calling for help and thank goodness I listened – message received, my son!) and I was having to remind myself on a daily basis that he was in fact my child, and that good, bad or indifferent I was going to raise this boy to be a man, one way or another. Thankfully, I found an excellent program for him, and he went from failing to getting straight A’s this year. We both have a much better outlook, and as a bonus – he gets to live to see high school! Yesterday I saw my oldest dance for the last time at her old high school, and it was bittersweet. I’m excited for her future, but sad as well. It is not always easy to watch your children grow, evolve and follow their hearts. It is not completely lost on me that this is something we also do as devoted fans as well…but that’s another story for another blog!

Before I forget, we are doing another Birthday Promotion for Durandemonium 2013!  We seem to have to have a few band member birthdays coming up during the month of June.  So, from June 8th through June 20, you can buy your registration for $135, which will save you $20!  We have a great group of people coming and we hope you can be with us for some Duran Duran fun and even a few surprises that weekend!  For more information, please see the Durandemonium 2013 website!

I ran across an article today, thanks to my friend Lisa.  It is on the top ten ways a rockstar can ruin a concert experience. You can read the article here.

There are things on the list like showing up ridiculously late, playing medleys or playing perverse arrangements of their songs…things that yes, I would agree have at least the potential to ruin the whole experience.

However, I think the list missed something.  Remembering the lyrics to ones songs is usually kind of important.  I’m not talking about flub-ups.  That happens to everyone once in a while and I am very forgiving, because quite honestly – I like the idea that yes, these people are human. I have laughed right along with Simon when he’s made a mistake and he realizes that we, the audience, are singing the correct words.  He’ll smile, he’ll try to get back on point and we move on. It happens. That said, there was one tour not that long ago where it seemed like this was happening a lot, and I started to wonder if it was because his mind wanders when he’s up there on stage. (confession…I think mine would!!) I even started wondering if he was just bored with us! I know people openly started discussing whether or not he needed a teleprompter, and there was a lot of good (and not-so-good) natured teasing that happened about that. Interestingly enough, this last tour – I saw almost NONE of that.  Simon knew the damn words, and even if he had mistakes, most of the time they were small.  There will be no teleprompter just yet, dammit.  To be fair, Simon is by far not the only person on the planet to forget the words or lose his spot in the song.  I know plenty of artists that really DO use a teleprompter, and some seem to have trouble even keeping up with that.  I’ve been to more than one Psychedelic Furs concert, and Richard Butler never fails to mutilate at least one of his hits to pieces…and sometimes he has even fallen flat on his back on stage from tripping over things.  It’s never good when that is the most entertaining thing to come out of a show.

Then there are the things I totally agree with.

For example, I agree that never varying the set list is a problem. I know you all are very shocked by that statement from me, and you should probably sit down before you faint.  The article says it best, “Some artists have long catalogs of great songs, but their concerts tend to fall back on the same 15 songs they’ve been dragging out for decades. It’s like eating 10 chocolate bars for dinner; it’s not satisfying. Sure, the crowd wants to hear hits and you want to do anything you can to hold their attention, but you also need to challenge them a bit” Of course the argument then becomes how many hits to how many new/unheard/obscure songs…how can that be balanced best. Here is a hint: we have ALL heard certain songs quite enough. I don’t believe that anyone actually still comes to a Duran Duran concert SOLELY to hear Rio or Hungry Like the Wolf, and if they do, then perhaps they should buy tickets to a couple of different nights, that way you can play one of them one night, and the other the next. This way you have room to play a few more more unusual songs each night in your set and still have room to play SOME hits. Then the next night you play OTHER hits…and you might sell more tickets in the process than if it was the same show every single night – which is what I (mostly) found in the last few tours. Is that being unfair of me, to suggest that they split up the hits between two or several shows, basically saying that if you are insistent to hear every hit – that you should be prepared to pay? Probably. Ok, definitely. Especially when I bring up the next example…

Soaking the fans for every penny. To be completely honest, I think this is a problem industry-wide right now. Gigs are an absolute fortune to attend unless you’re lucky enough to be a big fan of someone who maybe plays gigs at venues like The Bedford with their blues band…who was ALSO willing to travel to do some shows for their poor, deprived fans in other parts of the world, like good old Southern California. Because while the gig is cheap, the flight to the UK from Los Angeles or anywhere else in the world is not. (Did you catch what I just did there???) Naturally, from the band’s point of view…if you’ve got the budget to have your band travel for gigs, it’s likely that you’re charging more than £20 or £30 a ticket! On the other hand, the article makes it pretty clear that if your band is charging $300 a show, those seats should probably be up on stage…which in the case of Duran Duran, could be dangerous for them. Those barricades are there for a reason. I’ve seen more than one fan decide that their time with Simon was in the middle of a set and they just went for it, only to have Mr. Dave Casillas kindly pick them up over his shoulder and head offstage. Good times. I myself have paid over $300 for a show, and I know I’m not the only fan out there to do so by a long shot, only to get the seat along with some hit or miss special VIP merchandise. No meet and greet, no stage side seating. These days, it is slightly more manageable price-wise, but I know plenty of fans who simply cannot afford those prices. Touring is incredibly important to a band’s bottom line these days, I think we all understand that. I just agree that there needs to be a better balance, and I’m not at all sure how that can be achieved. I don’t like the idea that the size of ones wallet or bank account should dictate fandom, but then I also believe in rainbows, unicorns and fairy tales, too. There are no easy answers to be found here.

Until then, I will just wait for my windfall so that I can fly to the UK and see a gig at The Bedford or Downstairs at Patrick’s Bar in between the years that DD tours…and if you’re still missing my sneaky point…you need to check out the brand new website for Blue To Brown. Like that plug, Dom Brown??

-R

Don’t you wanna be misled?

From the confessional file….

I cheated on Duran Duran last night.  (and if you believe I am actually taking it that seriously – you have clearly not been reading this blog with the proper tone of sarcasm that is intended.)   I went to go see The Killers last night at the Honda Center in Anaheim.  I really didn’t have a lot of expectations going into the show – it was the first time I have seen The Killers, even though I have each one of their albums.  I adore Hot Fuss and it is probably near the top of my most favorite album list of all time. (which include Duran Duran’s first album, Tears For Fears Songs from the Big Chair, Tears For Fears The Hurting and AYNIN.) The problem for me has been that I loved Hot Fuss so much that I think it set the bar way high – and they’ve never been able to reach that pinnacle since.  (for me)  Regardless, for one reason or another I’ve not seen them live until last night.

They came onstage with full house lights and they opened with Mr. Brightside – with full house lights up.  They could see us, we could see them, and Brandon Flowers is even more beautiful in person.  The energy from that ONE song and the fact that we all sang it together with all of the lights on as we, the audience, were jumping up and down created an energy that lasted the entire show. (oh yes, yes I did jump….and at some point my body said “Um Rhonda?  Yeah…you’re not 20 anymore.”  I’m being punished rather severely as a result today.) I know DD is a little more dramatic with their openings these days, but I have got to say, the experience was so unique and cool – it might be worth a try.  There were lights, there were lasers, there were pyrotechnics and there was a ton of “k’s” and lightning bolts showering down on us like confetti.

Two more exciting points in the show came when Brandon decided to sing “When You Wish Upon a Star” (due to the proximity to Disneyland)…at which time I announced that Brandon could sing anything he wanted, any TIME he wanted…and when the band played “I Think We’re Alone Now”, a song originally done by Tommy James and the Shondells in 1967, then made famous again in the 80’s by the artist Tiffany.  Yes, I even sang that right along with him and smiled the entire time.

I am still marveling over the sheer amount of energy in that arena last night, and I won’t lie -the idea of a Killer’s road trip is suddenly becoming more appealing. (I’m more addicted to the live shows than I thought, apparently.) I came out of the show completely drenched. I danced and sang the entire time, and truthfully, I don’t know when the last time that happened with Duran Duran. but I look forward to giving them the opportunity.  SOON.

-R

**************************************************

As promised, I am excited to announce the winner of our Bring Me Back contest.  Entries were to include a your favorite “Duran influence” moment from the book.  The winner will be receiving a signed copy of the book directly from it’s author, Karen Booth, as well as a Banks Forest t-shirt (fictitious band in the book)  We had many fantastic entries, but one stood out among the crowd!

Debbie Craggs wrote the following for her entry:

I think my favourite Duran reference has to be when Chris is trying on the clothes and asks Claire whether the trousers make him look like he has a square bum.  It instantly brought to mind the “sing blue silver” clip when the band are at the photo shoot and Simon is talking about changing in front of the cameras and comments on the trousers he is wearing and how they make his bum look square.

 
It is not a “classic” reference but the moment I read it I could see that bit in the sing blue silver documentary so clearly even though that is also not my most favourite part of the DVD.  I love the imagery and the feelings of being a mum who had a teenage crush on a band member that the book captures and revives in the reader.”
So Debbie, you’re our winner!!  I need for you to send your mailing address to our gmail account, and we’ll get your book and t-shirt in the mail!  
Thank you to everyone for entering!!

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.

IMG_4130editcrop.jpg

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.