I’ll let you in on a little secret, Duran Duran fans: never wear skinny jeans to a show in 90 degree + heat. Just a tip.
The time in the dreaded GA for the Jimmy Kimmel backlot concert (but “preferred GA of course, thanks to MasterCard) line went fast, although there were a couple of points where I felt like I needed to sit just because of the heat…and I live in Southern California! (albeit farther south and much closer to the coast!) My fellow line-dwellers and I passed the time talking about the band, of course, and musing about the shows to come. We saw the band arrive in their customary black SUV (hope I’m not giving much away there), and was treated to sound check, where we soon realized we were going to hear “You Kill Me With Silence” later on. Our line was formed outside of the fence to the backlot, and chain link on the fence was mostly blocked by plastic, but in between sections there were gaps that worked beautifully for catching glimpses. We were able to see that Mr. Hudson was going to join the band onstage, for instance…and then there was that moment that we saw Simon strip off his t-shirt.
So, back to the line…
At about 5:30 (an hour later than we’d been told), we were allowed onto the backlot and found spaces by the stage. My choice in spots is still the topic of discussion amongst friends today because rather than make a beeline for Dom’s area of the stage, which I wholeheartedly admit is my typical first choice, I took a spot at about third “row” directly in front of Simon. I don’t know why I did that, except that I wasn’t with Amanda, I figured I’d get the whole scene that way, and honestly – there seemed to be more room in front of Simon’s microphone. Go figure. After waiting for what felt like forever (I had forgotten how much my lower back hurts while waiting in GA!), we had some dude from the show come out and try to warm up the crowd and explain how it all was going to go.
Not long after that, the show started. And as always, this is where things start to get fuzzy for me. I blame John Taylor for that, because he came out to the front of the stage and genuinely smiled. Like anyone who has ever seen John up close, I was convinced he smiled at me. Yes, there were 500 people in the crowd. No, don’t try to talk sense into me. I write a blog, remember? Good sense left my body a LONG time ago.
Rather than attempt to write my way through the show, I’m going to try to cover this by bullet point summary:
They all looked great. I will applaud the rhinestoned jacket on John, the mouth shirt and black/white leather jacket on Simon, and yes, Dom’s polka dot shirt (that collar had to have been hot though, it was fully buttoned!) I won’t lie, I can’t remember what Nick or Roger wore. My excuse is that they are only out front for a very short period of time, and let’s face it, I stood there for several minutes just coming to terms with the idea that I was there, they were in front of me, and I was about to hear some Duran.
The band played six songs: Pressure Off, Last Night in the City, You Kill Me With Silence, Hungry Like the Wolf, Save a Prayer and Sunrise. They went back and did several of them more than once to account for lyrical cough, cough errors and whatever else the band felt they needed to correct.
As an aside, I was treated to Hungry Like the Wolf not just once, but twice (did they know I was there or something?!?) The first time, I didn’t see it coming when Simon asked the crowd if we’d been fed, and then launched into “Is anybody hungry?” I groaned, and then, remembering that this was for TV, I cheered and sang right along with everyone else….and then did it all again. Yay!!
Back Up Singers:
This was the first time I’d seen Jessie and Anna together live. In a lot of ways, I think it’s good for Anna to have someone to work with, because maybe it gives her a little more energy. I don’t love the current stage set up with the platforms that line the back of the stage, though. It’s very linear, and I don’t know why – but it bugs me. Jessie and Anna are off to one side, and while I was concerned that they’d be stuck back there, they do come to the front of the stage for various songs. They also have every song completely choreographed which really reminded me of the Big Thing era, and I’m not sure I like that. I tend to prefer the more natural movements of when Anna was alone with the band, overall that time felt far more organic and more like a family or team atmosphere rather than a staged production.
Ben was present for this show, and from what I could tell – he was there to play guitar. This puzzles me, and I’m not even going to pretend otherwise. When I realized he was there, I thought perhaps they were going to play “Paper Gods”, but that didn’t seem plausible for this show. Then he came out during You Kill Me With Silence, and took Dom’s spot on stage. That doesn’t mean Dom wasn’t still on the stage – he was, but he moved further back while Mr. Hudson played and sang on the microphone. It just seemed strange. There was absolutely no interaction between Mr. Hudson and Dom, which is completely unlike what I’ve seen with Dom and any other guest artist the band has ever had on stage with them, including Mark Ronson and Nile Rodgers – two HUGE names. To be completely honest, Dom looked bored stiff and awkward during the song. There just doesn’t SOUND like there’s enough guitar to go around, and if the band’s goal is to make sure fans understand in these moments that Dom is not a valued member of the stage band (at the very least), it’s working. That’s unfortunate, because on any other song the band does, you can see the love and affection they seem to have for one another. I like Mr. Hudson, don’t get me wrong, but there was no chemistry, no playing off of one another, and instead it felt very much as though Dom was just some guy in the background playing back up to a producer that none of us really know.
Overall, the band played a good show at Jimmy Kimmel last night and it was a taster of what is to come. I’m looking forward to the next three shows with my partner-in-crime, as fun as last night was, it’s never the same without Amanda (even though she is threatening to make me stand alone at GA shows from now on).