Category Archives: touring

Common People Festival 2016

Let’s take a little walk back today as we revisit the Common People Festival, which took place on this date in 2016!  I dug through posts to find this gem by Debbie Craggs, who kindly reviewed the festival as our special Duranie-on-the-scene! -R


By Debbie Craggs

For me, the Common People Festival Oxford show is the closest to home that Duran have performed. It’s only an hour by car so how could I not go?  Well, as a single Mum to three teenage girls, two of whom are in major exam mode at the moment the timing wasn’t great. However, I’d suggested to my close friend that having seen them in December at Bournemouth maybe we should consider another outing and the tickets were well within our price range.

My two eldest then decided that they would abandon exam mode that day as it was Comic Con in London.  Could Mum take them and two others to the train station at 8am? OK, if I was going to do Common People as well then it was looking like a VERY long day. Also there was my 15 year old—the youngest—to consider. Anyway I decided that maybe on this occasion I wouldn’t abandon her in pursuit of my own enjoyment, and I’d just wait for the comments on FB and Twitter. There then appeared a competition on DD.com to win a pair of tickets to either Oxford or Southampton, you chose which venue. All that was needed was an email to say yes please and there would be a lucky dip. As I NEVER win anything what was there to lose? Email sent and I got on with being a busy working Mum who is due to start a one-year degree course in September!

Then 2 weeks ago I checked my emails and there sitting in my inbox was a “congratulations you’ve won” message. At this point I was in disbelief, I rang my friend Tania and could barely speak down the ‘phone.  She was due to be working in PICU on that same day and would need to swap her shift.  However, this wasn’t possible and as things turned out she was actually ill on the day and so wouldn’t have been able to come anyway.

I suggested to my youngest that maybe we could go together and enjoy the festival. She was not keen on going to see DD.  However, Jamie Lawson also playing – that was enough to tempt her. So on Saturday morning with blue skies over head (for once the British weather was kind) we set off.

At this point can I say thank you to Common People and DD.com who were very efficient in sorting out emails for the tickets, and also for clear instructions on the Common People website about travel arrangements, etc. We drove as far as the park and ride, easy bus ride to centre of the city and found the shuttle bus back out to the festival. On arrival at the site it was laid out well at the bottom of a slope with the main stage clearly visible. We had a wander around the site, and then made our way to the front of the area by the stage. There were other Duranies already there set up by the barrier but we were happy enough to be just behind them and on John’s side of the stage. Six hours to go until they were on.

The other acts were enjoyed, and for Jamie Lawson I was abandoned by teenager as she went right to the front middle. Each act played for about 45 mins and then there was a DJ for about 30 mins whilst sets were changed. From where we were you could see the confetti cannons primed and ready for later. Soul II Soul are a band that I never really got into in the late 80’s / 90’s but they gave a really good performance, good enough that teenager made a note to check them out once home.

Finally at 20:30 the last act (Katy B) finished so time for stage to be set. It was at this point that we realised we were in for the full light show as the black curtains at the back of the stage that had been there all day were removed to show the video screen, the risers with the drums and keyboards were brought out and the video screens built around them as we watched.

By 21:15 the atmosphere had built. We were now 2nd row JTs side of the stage. The set list was almost identical to that which we had in Bournemouth in December with the exceptions of no Danceophobia, and the addition of the David Bowie tribute. Simon sounded a bit croaky at times but I couldn’t work out if that was just because of the coolness of the night air. The interactions with the crowd were there throughout the show which lasted a full 90 mins. The new backing singer Erin was obviously nervous but it was great to see the support and interactions from the rest of the band. There were some brilliant JoSi moments as well as Dom and John and Dom and Simon.

I had seen the effect of the paper confetti from the cannons at the show in Bournemouth but then we were front row of balcony so saw the overall effect, this time we were right in the middle of it and the effect of being outside and “down wind” so to speak meant it swirled and seemed to last for longer. During Rio (last song of the night) large beach balls were thrown into the crowd who then seemed to think that there should be a competition to get them back on stage and get the band involved, to the point where Simon commented that the idea was NOT to aim at the band and to pass them around!

And so a fantastic evening drew to a close, the weather had added to the enjoyment and having waited 35 years to see them live I have now managed two shows in six months and am keen to continue the experience! It was brilliant to see teenage daughter singing along to classics and the new songs and even she was buzzing and couldn’t stop talking all the way back home about the show.

 

Debbie CraggsDebbie Craggs is a single mum to three teenage girls in Northamptonshire UK where she works as a school nurse. She has been a Duranie since the 80s and in her spare time she plays clarinet at her local chapel.

That There’s Something Missing

On this date in 2005, Duran Duran played in New York City in Madison Square Garden.  It was the last date in the band’s spring Astronaut Tour in North America.

I did not attend that concert.  Did any of you?  I remember thinking to myself that Madison Square Garden was a big deal.  Do I believe that because it is a large, well-known venue or because of that story within Duran lore?  I’m sure you all know that one.  I’m referring to this idea that John Taylor has shared many times when he said that the plan of theirs was to play Hammersmith in 1982, Wembley in 1983 and Madison Square Garden in 1984.  The band met those goals.  I could not even think about attending the show in 1984 there.  No way.  If my age didn’t stop me, the distance would have.  But what about the show in 2005?  Was it as big of a deal as those 1984 shows there?

In thinking about that 2005 show, my thoughts immediately turn to the reunion.  I have such strong memories of that time.  To me, as a fan in 1980s, the reunion represented a real hope of a repeat of that time period.  After all, the five original band members were back together!  I knew what they were able to accomplish in the 1980s.  Why couldn’t they do that now, I wondered.  It felt to me as if the band was everywhere in terms of press.  For instance, they appeared in my local paper.  If I had taken a bet about how successful this reunion was going to be, I would have said that it was going to blow the roof off.  All of the fans from the 80s would return and they would bring new fans in.  They would return to the top of the charts and everyone would love them.  Thus, when I saw this particular date on the tour schedule, it felt perfectly normal.  Of course, they would play there.  Don’t all the big artists perform at that venue?  To me, it was a sign that they had returned to form, in all aspects.

Looking back now to that show, am I sad that I didn’t go?  Maybe.  Maybe not. I went to a bunch of shows in 2005.  So I have no room to complain at all.  Still, then, I went to shows that I could drive to and that’s it.  While at that time I had traveled to go to a convention, the thought of traveling to shows was unheard of in my world.  Even weirder than that was the notion of taking time off of work to do so.  I never even allowed my brain to go there at all. Back then, my life centered around work and my students.  It was one thing to think about taking a day to go to a convention but not to a show.  After all, they would come here Chicago.  I would be able to see them.  Then, I was really lucky that they played a lot of shows near me over my spring break.  After attending most of the Midwest shows, I never even considered  this show in New York City.  At the time, I recall feeling a tiny bit jealous of those fans who were going but I didn’t let myself feel more.

Now, though, knowing that there was not many shows there since then, do I regret not going?  Sure, it would be cool to say that I have seen them play there but more than other shows?  Hmm…I don’t think so.  I wonder if I had seen them there, would I have felt like I had done it all.  I saw the band play at this ever important venue, their peak goal in the beginning of their career, so that I could walk away knowing I had been to the top.  Maybe.  It is hard to say.  Looking back, I’m also glad that I just jump in and do everything all at once.  Perhaps, fandom would have burned out then.  No, I think my fandom journey is good the way it is.  I have no regrets.

-A

Just a Perfect…Weekend or Two!

I am happy to report that my dad is home!  My mom, my niece and I picked him up this morning.  He is a million times better than he was but it will take him some time to fully get his strength back.  While he finishes recovering, I can start to return to my normal life.  It, too, will take me awhile to get back to normal as everything got pushed to the side.  One of the things that I find happens when something like this takes place is that my mind cannot focus on anything besides my family.  I look forward to thinking about other things besides worry, status updates and doctor visits.

It has been so crazy that I haven’t been able to keep track of days, times, etc.  I have noticed that my partner-in-crime has posted a couple memories on Facebook, reminding me of where we were last year on this date.  Oh, yes, March 18th is one that I definitely want to remember.  In fact, this is one of those dates that my Duranie self should always remember as two incredible weekends happened on this date.

In 2005, 13 whole years ago, I was in Chicago seeing Duran play at the All-State Arena.  It was the first show I ever saw with Rhonda and it led us to where we are today.  I tend to think of that weekend being the first bookend to my fandom.  While I had been a fan before that (duh) and had even seen the band in concert before, that weekend in 2005 changed it all.  In many ways, it was the perfect weekend.  No, it did not feature front row seats or a meet and greet with the band.  Yet, it was so much fun that I became addicted to this fandom thing and to touring.

What made it so fun?  It was definitely a combination of factors.  First, I knew a bunch of people attending this show and called them all my friends.  Most of us were staying at the same hotel, resulting in multiple late night parties.  We ended up closing the hotel bar both nights and still were not ready to call it a night as hotel rooms became gathering places for late night/early morning conversations and laughs. The strong connection carried over to the concert venue as the show was enhanced by engaging looks and acknowledging moments with each other.  Okay, it didn’t hurt that we were in the 3rd row in front of John Taylor, either.  Then, of course, Rhonda and I along with some other friends continued the fun the next day at the show in Milwaukee.  By the end of the night, Rhonda and I were so ridiculously tired that we ended up laughing at nothing for hours.  When Rhonda left that Sunday, we both knew that we had found touring partners for life.  I knew that I had found something so fun that I would do a lot to experience it all over again.

Fast forward to 2017, a full 12 years later, and Rhonda and I found ourselves at another weekend.  This time, it was closer to Rhonda’s neck of the woods in California.  While we might have been surrounded by different friends, it was still an amazingly fun weekend with great shows, late nights, partying and more.  I wouldn’t say it was the same at the weekend in Chicago but it was just as good, including more amazing seats.  My addiction had been fed.  In fact, it was such a great weekend that I thought to myself that if that weekend was the last tour, it would provide the best bookend possible to this touring thing.  It didn’t become that touring bookend as more shows followed, but I would have been more than okay with that.

Truly, I realize how lucky I have been.  Not only is my Dad better and back at home, but I have had the good fortune of having some amazing weekends with friends and Duran Duran.

-A

Love’s Already History

This is the first weekend in March.  It is hard to imagine that we are the third month of the year already.  Looking at it a different way, it has been two months since Duran Duran played in Las Vegas, near New Year’s.  That date marked the end of the Paper Gods era for me.    When I realized that the other day, I felt a wave of sadness.  After all, I had a ton of fun through this time and made so many memories.  So, if you all don’t mind, I’m going to indulge myself a bit here with thinking about some of my favorite moments, in no particular order.

The Paper Gods era began in the fall of 2015.  I remember listening to some of those first songs on the phone with Rhonda and then reviewing them.  The one that really sticks out to me is the immediate connection we felt to Pressure Off.  At times, writing this blog is a lot like swimming upstream so the lyrics really spoke to us.  If the song wasn’t great enough, I remember watching the video in my classroom when it came out on the “big screen”.  Good times!

We were lucky enough to see a few shows with our friend, Heather, in October of 2015.  That little mini-tour provided a little foreshadowing of the summer of 2016 in which we spent a lot of time driving.  I won’t lie.  I always enjoy those road trips.  Rhonda and I spend a lot of time analyzing whatever is going on in Duranland, which I love.  Sometimes, we also make plans to do some crazy things like writing a book while ion the road.

Yep, the Daily Duranie version of Thelma and Louise!! photo courtesy of Heather Todd

Throughout the era, we held many meet-ups from the first show at the Hollywood Bowl to the last show at the Hard Rock in Vegas.  All good times!

Our meet up!

One of the things I absolutely loved was all of the shows with Nile Rodgers!  I loved getting to know his set list well and all of the moves made to go along with the various songs!  Sometimes, opportunity presents itself and I was able to give Nile a Daily Duranie wristband!

Nile wearing the wristband

I’m not going to lie.  This tour gave me a lot of laughs.  I appreciated giving the band members a hard time at various points.  (Usual disclaimer applies:  All of the teasing was and always will be given out of love!).  My favorite moment definitely has to be the pants!  In case you don’t remember, it started talking about John’s pants at shows, to Simon and John showing up at an interview wearing some entertaining pants.  This caused us to respond in kind.

Of course, I will very much miss the shows.  I saw so many amazing concerts that I won’t ever forget.

Chicago July 8
Las Vegas

The Paper Gods era gave me plenty of opportunity to hang with my best friend.  I’m always thankful for each and every time that we can get together as I have so much fun when I’m with her.  We laugh a lot…we consume a few vodka tonics…we tease those we love.

Cheers!

Yes, all in all, this part era was a darn good one to us.  We learned a lot, laughed a ton, and had some of the best times of our lives.  I already miss it even though it only ended recently.  I look forward to whatever is going to come next but super thankful I have these fabulous memories to keep me going until then!

-A

Up Close & Personal Tour 2001

Does anyone remember Wes Wehmiller and Joe Travers?

They played bass and drums, respectively, for Duran Duran while touring in the early 2000s.

Wes Wehmiller  was born in New York City and grew up in Pennsylvania and Delaware. He was a very accomplished bass player, and studied at the Berklee School of Music in Boston on a scholarship.  After college, he moved to Los Angeles and formed his own band, I Claudius. When John left Duran Duran, Warren brought Wes on board as a bassist. He remained with Duran Duran until 2001 when John returned. He remained a friend to many Duran Duran fans following his departure. Wes died in 2005 from thyroid cancer.

Joe Travers was born in Pennsylvania, and also attended the Berklee School of Music. Familiarly, he worked with  Dweezil and Ahmet Zappa’s band Z, and was brought on board to play with Duran Duran for their Latest & Greatest Tour by Warren.  He has continued to work with Warren in the years following their departure from Duran Duran.

Wes and Joe began Duran Duran’s Up Close & Personal Tour, which started on this date in 2001 at the Houston Rodeo in the Houston Astrodome. This is interesting given that there were only a few weeks between the end of the Pop Trash tour and this one, which seemed to take place in much smaller venues, for the most part. (Hence the name of the tour!)

-R

You can fight it, or invite it

OK, so I obviously didn’t make the trip to Dubai for yesterday’s show. I know a few people who did, and I saw plenty of others who commented to Duran Duran on social media. The comments were by far positive. For the few songs I did see (thanks to the magic and power of the internet!) – I would wholeheartedly agree.

One surprise in particular was The Chauffeur. First of all, I applaud that it was put in the set.  The Chauffeur is one of those songs that gets circulated in and out of their set every so often. I’ve seen it live several times, but it isn’t in every set list.  Seeing it on occasion is  special. That said, last night’s rendition seemed different. I’m not sure if it was truly that way or because of how it was recorded. The end was the most noticeably different, but I could hear the guitar loud and clear, and it even sounded a bit different from I remember.  Granted, I like the hard edge of a guitar, and last night – the sound really delivered! I don’t know what it was, but I loved the juxtaposition of the guitar against the synthesizers at the end of the song. In the past I can’t say I picked up on it quite as much.  Anyway, I loved it. He didn’t overpower the song or anything, it was just that I could hear the guitar slice right through the music, and I felt it was just what the song needed. Others might disagree, to be expected.

In addition to some great footage from the show, I’ve seen quite a few snippets of video from some sort of an after party. The only band member I’ve seen has been Simon in short snippets. This brings me to reason #567,983 why I am thankful I’m not famous.

First of all, I don’t know why the person taking the videos feels the need to do so. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my Kodak moment with Simon too, and of course I posted it. I just don’t know why you’d take video and pictures of Simon doing whatever it is he’s doing during his own downtime and then broadcast them to all of humanity. To me, it’s a fine line that I don’t want to cross, and yet I know other people have no problem. I just don’t get it.

He’s with a group of women in a couple of the short videos, he’s playing bartender in a couple of others, and while all of them seem  innocuous, I don’t think that’s the point. I mean, it isn’t that I’m not amused. Part of my hobby here is teasing the hell out of the guy and that’s not going to stop. (He gives it right back at times, and I’d expect no less) That said, it will be a very cold day in hell before I start taking video of him and post it online. (outside of when he’s onstage, of course…in which case, game on!)

I know what many will say. “He should be used to it” , “I’m sure he doesn’t mind”, “it’s funny”.  “You’re the one with the problem.” Yep.  All of those things, I’m sure. I’ve had numerous conversations with various people about this over the years, and if we’re going to treat him like you would anybody else, why on earth are we still jumping over cocktail tables to get to him? It’s one thing to ask them for a picture. Lots of fans do that, and by all means – it’s part of the deal of being a fan, right? No one, least of all me, is saying that’s wrong. Don’t send me hate mail – take all the photos you want and post them.

But here’s another scenario:

Let’s say you’re at a show, and some friends invite you to a bar afterward, mentioning that the band “might” show. For most of us, we’d probably go along willingly. We’d have that nervous feeling of excitement welling in our bellies, only to tell ourselves that they probably won’t show. We get to the bar, grab a seat and settle in. Before long, a friend nudges you under the table and you look up to see Simon walk in. You grin, because well – of course you do! I haven’t met a fan that wouldn’t, even if we’re trying to cover it with a mock sense of coolness.

It takes a while, but Simon has this way of working the room when he wants. He eventually makes his way to your table. Inside, you’re screaming because again – of course you are!  He strikes up a good conversation. The next thing you know, he’s sitting down with your group and you’re having fun. Are you really going to film the entire thing? Are you really going to take out your phone, pretend you’re taking video of something else, and get him instead?

I guess if you’re nodding your head yes, I’m responding that I wouldn’t. I definitely haven’t. That moment, or evening, or whatever, is yours. It was mine. I don’t need the video to remember it all.  I also wouldn’t want to ruin the moment by reminding him that I’m one of those teenagers that had his posters on my wall. Not that I think he’d forget, but wouldn’t it nice to have a conversation that doesn’t revolve around the elephant in the room?? Yep, inside, I’d be freaking out for a bit, and sure – afterward I might have a good case of the squeals (who wouldn’t?), but that’s for later!

Perhaps I just don’t get it. That’s very possible. Maybe it’s just ME, and I don’t realize that since he’s been a rock star for seemingly forever, he doesn’t mind being treated like a circus animal even when he’s trying to wind down for the evening. I kinda think he does mind – but that’s just my opinion, take it for what it may be worth.

I wouldn’t want to be treated that way, so I’m not going to do that to him, or anyone else. Based on my limited experience, I suspect Simon prefers having a drink, making a toast to a good night or whatever, and not having people stick their camera phones up to video every last second to post online later. He might act like he doesn’t care, but I’ll bet it’s annoying. Maybe as you’re reading you believe I’m wrong about that, and hey – that’s fine. You all can do what you want to do. But, if you’ve ever wondered why there’s no video of us with Simon, or anyone in the band for that matter – what I’ve written is exactly why.

-R

The Joy of February

Anyone in Dubai today?

Dubai is approximately twelve hours ahead of California. So that means it’s 9pm there already. I would imagine that Duran Duran is about to take the stage for the only show they’ve announced for this year. The real question for many is whether or not there will be more, or if this will truly be a quiet year!

Other things have also occurred on this date – in 1981 Planet Earth hit #12 on the UK charts, and then in 1987 Skin Trade peaked at #22. In 1994, Extraordinary World was released – anyone who has a still-working copy of that one is indeed lucky because it’s not the easiest to find.

My friend Amanda wasn’t living in Madison, Wisconsin when Duran Duran played at the Dane County Coliseum on this date in 1984, and from what I can tell, it’s the only time Duran Duran has actually played in the city.

In 1993, the band played on an Italian TV show in Milan called “Buona Domenica”. In 2000, the band played at the Festival de Mina del Mer. In 2009, Simon and Yasmin attended the Qasimi show at London Fashion Week. Life can be rough when you’re in Duran Duran, right?

Overall, there are more years where it is quiet in February than when it is not.  When I think about it, February really is a sleepy little month. The weather varies from thinking it’s Spring to deciding to be in the depths of winter. We’re eating candy, and seeing pink and red hearts everywhere. It’s when we start looking at ourselves in the mirror with the realization that while it may currently feel like winter will last forever, the calendar will eventually flip to March and then April. Winter-weight must come off and it’s time to put the chocolate down and dust off the old treadmill.  Or not.  It’s when I start seeing daily posts from friends in the midwest that threaten Mother Nature with bodily harm if she dares send another snowstorm their way….along with screenshots of the next weather system destined to hit them within the week.

I have to wonder if it’s like that at all for the band, even this year. I mean yes, they’re playing today – probably right now – but have they started looking at their instruments, sitting somewhat dusty in the corner and thought “Hmm. Maybe we ought to get back in that studio?” Or maybe Simon has started humming some sort of little melody and thought, “You know, that might BE something there.”  Or maybe not. Maybe he is taking time with his soon-to-be-growing family. I can’t blame him, there. Then again, maybe Nick is planning his entire year around all of the art exhibits he will visit, or perhaps putting the final, final touches on that photography book he’mentioned.  Maybe John and Nick will get that musical properly funded and start on production? Perhaps they haven’t quite convinced John to stay in the UK long enough to spend time in the studio? Perhaps Roger will just be, well…Roger this year. (What DOES that man do in his spare time, anyway?)

I suspect that 2018 might be a bit quieter than many would prefer, and still eventful enough for the band to call it busy. Chances are, most of us will never know how they spent most of their year – so much of what they do is done behind the scenes without an audience present. They could be doing anything from preparing things for DD40, to sitting at home with family, and likely everything in between. Like so many of you, I’d love to be a fly on the wall of the studio just once (preferably when they’re actually IN the studio, I might add!) We will sit and speculate based on the few bits and pieces that escape the walls of the studio and make it on to the internet, and will probably never really know the half of it.

Some incorrectly assume that because we write about missing Duran Duran or being anxious for them to return without making mention of whatever other bands we go see or things we do, it must mean we have nothing else in our lives. I’d like to direct you to the name of the blog, first of all.  So while I can attest to the fact that Amanda and I are busy and actually do have other things going on and things we enjoy doing, we also committed to writing about this band. Otherwise we might have called it Daily Fandom, or Daily Ramblings…or something else entirely. So yeah, that’s kind of why we mention them each day.

And yes, we will all complain about never seeing them, even though we just saw them last year.  They can’t win, nor will we ever get enough. That’s fandom!

-R

Losing Control: Where is it leading to?

If it hadn’t been for Amanda, I don’t think I would have remembered that Duran Duran,along with a fair amount of fans I recognize, are in Dubai this week.

Life has been a bit up in the air here lately. My husband has been interviewing by phone for a lot of companies all over the country, and for a while, every single day I’d get a text or two when I was at work suggesting the possibility of a new city to think about. “How do you feel about Philadelphia?”  Or “What about Chicago? Would you move back?” Today he has two more phone interviews. I have no idea how to plan, or what to plan for.  None of this is within my control right now. Should I start fixing up the house and thinking about packing away things I don’t need, or just start selling off personal items in order to keep paying bills. He’s been out of work since November, which in one sense has been a long time, but when you’re job hunting in his particular field with his particular job title, that’s not really so bad. My attention has been elsewhere, to say the least. Selfishly, I’m almost thankful we’re not talking tours right now.

Even with all that going on, and yes, it’s very stressful, I can’t help but notice a few photos from people I recognize and band members who don’t mind sharing their travels with us. Other than that, it’s hard to believe there’s #Duranlive happening anywhere right now. Dubai feels about as far away from California as the moon. (which I am well aware it is not!)

My own selfish needs aside, it is difficult to imagine that this may well be the only date for a live show this year. At one point, I was being told rumors of dates happening in spring. Obviously, that information was either wrong, or has been changed over the past several months. Either way, on one hand I’m relieved because I hate missing out (and I absolutely would have), and on the other – of course I always hope for something to happen. In some strange way, it helps to take my mind off of waiting for whatever is going to happen here at home. Those of you who have been in my situation know how difficult it is.

The one thing I’ve come to accept since November is that in this case, I have very little control over what might happen. I’ve told my husband over and over that I’ll move where ever we need to move. I’ve been very open and willing to consider every single place he’s suggested, and now we’re at a point where interviews are happening, although they’re just phone interviews right now – and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’m anxious. This isn’t the first time he’s had to look for work, and he’s at a point now where it’s not just menial “worker bee” type of positions – the interview process is LONG. Our bills, however, keep rolling in. It isn’t fun. It isn’t as though because Walt has had time off we’ve traveled or gone on vacation. I’d say it’s the opposite.

As I am sitting here writing, Walt comes downstairs to tell me that one of the interviews he had set for this morning ends up needing to be rescheduled. I just take a deep breath and try not to show my disappointment. This has happened more times than I can count this time around, and it doesn’t help. It will easily be another week before that company sets something up (because it always is), and I keep reminding myself that there’s nothing that can be done. I’m merely the sounding block, I have no control. I have to just sit back, try to remain calm and positive, and let it take its course. Chances are, it all happened for a reason.

I suppose in some weird way, I’ve learned that this is the way it is for the band, too. I don’t have any idea if they’ve even started with studio time, or if they’ve even got any plans for anything in the future. Right now, aside from this Dubai show, I don’t know their plans. What I do know, and 100% accept, is that they’re going to do whatever it is that they’re going to do. Or not do. And that’s fine. It is totally out of my control. I have zero expectations this time around, and I don’t even have time or energy to think about it past blogging each day. Every so often I’ll see a comment from a fellow fan about whether or not they’re working on plans for #DD40. Most fans who comment about it seem to post like it’s an absolute “MUST” for the band to acknowledge and celebrate the milestone.

Is it really?

I mean, what if they didn’t? Would the world end? Would their career go up in smoke? What if they waited until year 45 to even tour again? What if they didn’t do a single thing other than put out a Facebook post? You know what would happen then?

Nothing. There would still be a sunrise. And a sunset. “Rio” would still get radio play, as would “Hungry Like the Wolf”.  The world would still know Duran Duran as that “MTV” band. We’d all still be fans. Or not. None of us have any control over what the band does. We don’t OWN them. They make the music. We buy it. For 99.9% of us, that’s as far as the relationship goes, whether we’ve been fans for 40 years or became a fan yesterday. Yes, it is hard to admit we’ve got no bearing, no skin in the game other than our loyalty – but that’s really all it is. We are not in control.

(You know who IS in control right now…along with the rest of his buddies? That’s right. You know the answer. Say it! The Controller. Aptly named, right??? And people wonder why we started calling him that. Gee I don’t know…)

So, I’m going to just sit back, wait, and be positive, because I really can’t do much else.

-R

Niavete falls from our eyes

Prospective is an amazing, wondrous thing. Sometimes, a little time and distance shines just the right kind of light on things. Today, I drove my oldest – Heather – to the airport. She flew out to see my sister for about a week. I remember the last time Heather flew anywhere alone. It was also to go see my sister, and it was the first time she’d ever gone anywhere alone. I was a nervous wreck that day. Heather has changed a lot in the past several years. She’s dangerously close to turning 21. “It’s twenty days away, Mom…but who is counting?”  She is a junior in college, lives pretty much on her own, and is anxious to discover where she’s going after she graduates. When I think back on that first trip on her own now, I realize that she really was young then, but she still managed. I can remember her excitement about being with my sister, away from home, and feeling just a little more grown up when she got home. This time, she’s looking for the place she’s going to live after college. She’s wondering what is going to come next. She’s excited, but in a very different way this time. She knows what Chicago is like (Although I cannot wait to hear about how freaking cold my California kid thinks it is when she gets there!), and her entire perspective might change a bit.

As I drove home from the airport, thinking about all of that, I did something I haven’t done in probably eight or nine years. I put in the CD from the very first time the reunited Duran Duran played at the Pacific Amphitheater in Costa Mesa. The year was of course 2003, and I was in the audience. It was not only the first time they played the Pacific Amphitheater, it was also the first time I ever saw all five original members.

The first thought that went through my head as I listened was that I wish I could bottle up the enthusiasm of the crowd from that night. The roar of fans up on their feet, cheering their hearts out for this band that most, if not everyone in the audience that night, grew up listening to, was like a tidal wave of sound. There was no way not to get caught up in it, and I did as I listened and relived that night.

So much has changed for me since that night. If memory serves, I was in the 16th row. I can remember that (oddly) because I stood there before the show began, watching all of the people in front of me as they would rush up to other fans, hugging, laughing, and yes, even some were crying and cheering as they bounced in the revelry. There was so much excitement and pure joy in the air, and yet I didn’t know a single soul in the amphitheater besides my husband. I wanted to know how they all knew one another, and most of all, I wanted in. I wanted to be a part of whatever group that was. Even though I had already found duranduran.com by then, I wasn’t a vocal member of the message board community. No one knew me, and I hadn’t quite found my place yet.

I thought about how excited I was to see Andy on stage that night. I haven’t allowed myself to even really think about his absence in the years since. I listened to his guitar as the sound washed over me in the car. All I can really say is that there was something certainly very special about the fab five. It was like this shining, perfect, moment that wasn’t ever really meant to last. I’d forgotten how differently he plays, the solo in White Lines coming to mind, but even Hungry Like the Wolf has a different feel in parts. It isn’t necessarily better, just different, and I’d forgotten.

Then there were the songs that we don’t hear much anymore. Friends of Mine, Nightboat, New Religion, What Happens Tomorrow, Virus… I know the band likes the backbone of their set list the way it is, but to hear some of those songs again just made me sit back and really listen. The way the crowd responded to every song blew me away, and yet I was a part of that audience.

In a lot of ways, I wish it could all be like it was then. I screamed and cheered no matter what they played because at the time, everything I heard was brand new, as though I’d never heard it live before.  I can remember feeling out of breath after every single song because I danced like crazy. I jumped, I screamed, I nearly felt faint, and when the concert was over, I felt completely spent. I have seen Duran Duran about fifty times since that fateful show in 2003. Sometimes, even I want to slap myself when I think about that. But, the one thing that hasn’t changed is my love for this band, and even the community that surrounds it.

I am so grateful, and moreover, my heart feels gratitude that I’ve experienced 95% of it as an adult. Sure, I was a petulant ten or eleven year old when I discovered the band. My walls were painted in a beautiful coat of Duran Duran posters and pinups, and I bled Seven and the Ragged Tiger just like most of the rest of you reading. But, it wasn’t until adulthood that I really began traveling, seeing the band, meeting friends, and of course—starting Daily Duranie. I wouldn’t want it any other way.  Sometimes though, I do have moments where I wish I could go back to the beginning, forgetting what I’ve seen and what I know.  Instead,  draping myself with the innocent infatuation I once felt for them,  and allowing the music to fully wash over and consume me.  I want to feel that same wild abandon I once had, not a care in the world beyond that very note or measure.  Listening to this Encore CD in the car reminded me of both how wonderful, and how lonely that time was for me. I still wouldn’t want to go back.

-R

 

 

Expectations are just future resentments: 2018 and DD40

I don’t know about the rest of the world, but I’m still trying to settle into the expectations of 2018. I went to work yesterday and survived. I’ve got to say, I’d be way happier about that if the day didn’t hadn’t begun at 5am. I also found out that I’ll still have a job next year.

It’s a long story, but in short, my school has secured it’s charter. There are going to be a lot of changes, one of which is that my particular region, or campus, will be expanding. The powers that be are looking at the possibility of my role being full-time. On one hand I’m thrilled because it’s touring money. I need that! On the other, I’m considering the expectations for this blog and writing in general. Time is of the essence, and I have had none lately. With the added wrench of my husband’s continued job search, who knows what will happen! We will see in the coming months.

Situations and plans change all of the time. One of the worst things to do is attempt to make plans, so I’m finding. One day I’ll blog about something I’m hoping to do, and the very next, the earth beneath me explodes, and I’m realizing that nothing is going to work as I’d written. Expectations are future resentments, so I heard once upon a time.

It is not a big shocker to read or hear that Duran’s plans for #DD40 are changing. But are they really changing?  Or, is it just that fans had huge, unverified expectations for what 2018 might bring? The supposed “build up” for the 40th anniversary seems to have been something that fans invented on their own.  While it was mentioned a few times over the course of the past year or two, the band itself never focused on it the way the fan base seemed. Perhaps fans let their imaginations run wild with anticipation over what might come.

I don’t think it’s very surprising that Duran Duran is not giving us a firm idea of when or how they plan to commemorate the occasion. The fact that there are only going to be limited dates in 2018 shouldn’t be a concern. No, it’s not a full tour. Why did anyone jump to the conclusion that it would be?

In listening to the end-of-year Katy Kafes,  the band tried to readjust  expectations. Not only was that fair, but wise. There have been some pretty amazing things mentioned about what the band is going to be doing to celebrate their 40th anniversary. The trouble is, none of that information came directly from the band. It was all assumption, rumor, and flat-out wishful thinking on the part of fans. The band never actually said they were going to tour non-stop for the next three years, for instance. Just because John Taylor said they’d probably celebrate beginning in 2018 and culminating in 2020 never meant they were going to be on the road the entire time. John didn’t elaborate publicly,  so any assumptions made based on that comment were simply that – assumptions.  Furthermore, there have been no press releases saying they were going to release Reportage, invite Warren back, sing Kumbaya with Andy, or release an anthology.  In truth, the band itself has said very precious little, at least publicly. Given the voracity of this particular fan base, I don’t blame them one bit.

The band didn’t cancel #DD40. 1978 happened whether the band acknowledges that specific timeframe of the inception of the band or not, and it isn’t as though a huge celebration was planned.  Simon simply mentioned that this year was only the beginning – and he did use the word “only”, should probably clue overzealous fans in. Yes, 2018 is the beginning, just as 1978 was just the beginning. Duran Duran went through a few alliterations before coming to be the Fab Five as we knew them in the 80s. It isn’t a surprise that for their 40th, they are going with 2020 as the “official” date. It’s called business.

Let’s just think back on 78-03, or as we all call it – The Reunion. Naming that tour as 78-03 was convenient. With the press that the band reunited and that it was the 25th anniversary of Duran Duran, it was a golden marketing moment. They needed to get out and play live, and there was the reasoning for doing it. Simple, and the crowds went wild.

This time though, timing is likely different. Duran Duran likes to tour  with new music. Simon didn’t join the band until later on anyway. Since they’ve been saying for a year or more now that the celebration would begin in 2018 and culminate in 2020, it would seem to me that not much has changed, and rest assured nothing has been “canceled”. Once again, the band never said there would be a gigantic tour, that is something that only fans have said. It is easy to make the assumption that the band would tour their 40th anniversary, but it is still just an assumption. Expectations are indeed only future resentments. Watch your footing.

While many are lauding their plan to write and go into the studio this year, Daily Duranie sits here applauding it. How many of your favorite bands are still writing?!? How many are still recording forty years in? Not many. Why are people finding fault with that?

I have even seen groups surveying the fan base about what they want, and then making incredibly leading statements that perhaps the band is actually going to listen.  If only the world actually worked that way. There is far more involved with merchandising than simply what diehard fans may want. If the world worked according to diehards, the set list would change for each show. Talk about setting someone up for a big fall! It is no wonder that John, Nick, Simon and Roger never go into great detail about their plans, and that most of them even mentioned that there would be limited dates next year. Dialing back the expectations seems to be the right way to go because the high level of expectation is palatable. Even as we wrote Daily Duranie over the course of the past year or so, Amanda and I wondered how it would be possible for the band to meet fan expectations for the 40th. In reality, they couldn’t.

It is entirely possible that fans are putting an awful lot more pressure and stock into this 40th anniversary than the band might. This is not a band rooted in nostalgia, no matter what the rest of the world may believe. Duran Duran continues to look forward, not back. This is why they are going back into the studio and creating  more music, whether it’s a full album or even a few songs. I don’t care how long that takes.

Not that long ago, someone mentioned to me that the band has nothing left to prove, that they write and perform for the sheer love of doing so. I’ve thought a lot about that, and damn, we’re lucky they do. Forty years and counting.

-R