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??