Category Archives: touring

The Revolt of the Fans

Last night, at about 7:45 Central Standard Time, I, like many others, received an email from Duran Duran Music, or whatever Duran’s fan community is calling itself these days.  This email told me about a show in Thackerville, Oklahoma on March 18th.  When is the presale?  Yes.  It was today at noon.  It was literally about 17 hours after the show was announced!  17 hours!!!  What used to be a day or three in between announcement and presale is now down to 17 hours!  17!  Wow.  Now, with normal presales, fans would be complaining about the lack of notice all the while accepting it as the way it is.  This time, I heard more than a few rumbles from fans saying that they were “done” and that they weren’t going to play this game again.  Honestly, I can’t blame them.  What the hell are the band’s team thinking here?  Seriously.  How does this help album sales?  How does this help ticket sales?  How does this help keep diehard fans?  Clearly, at this point, it doesn’t.  I’m willing to bet that not a lot of fans are going to this show and not a lot of fans bought tickets through today’s presale.  That said, I do realize that it is a lot more complex than that and that there are other issues surrounding this show beyond the lack of notice and the utter lack of ALL CONSIDERATION for fans. 

I have to admit that I do not understand the method to their madness.  Why are they able to play large venues in the UK but are playing places like a casino in the middle of nowhere (no offense to those people who live there or near there)?  Then, there is the little matter of when are they coming to the US.  We know that they are playing in Oklahoma on March 18th, Miami on March 25th and then nothing until April, when they play San Francisco on April 16th and Coachella on April 17th.  Are they doing dates in between?  What kind of dates are they doing?  Festivals?  Casinos?  Random GA shows?  I don’t get it.  Then, of course, I’m left to wonder why they announce the shows they do, when they do.  Clearly, they didn’t need to announce San Francisco since there has been NO presale at all and no mention of when it might be.  This just makes many of us think that there is no plan and that they (being the band’s management) are just flying by the seat of their pants.  What a great image to convey…

Now, last night, when news of this show spread across message boards and social networking sites, people responded with annoyance, anxiousness, and even anger.  Interestingly enough, John Taylor showed up on Twitter soon after the email went out.  As one can imagine, people immediately began tweeting him about the lack of notice for presales.  While I understand the urge to do this, I can’t imagine that John had anything to do with it.  I’m sure that the band has hired people to deal with this stuff and just expect them to do it.  Now, will tweeting John alert him that this is a problem?  I don’t know.  Maybe.  Even if he learns or knows that this is a problem, will it change anything?  I don’t know about that either.  How does any organization change?  Typically, organizations or businesses change when they are forced to.  Can we force the band’s management and team to change the way they announce tours and shows?  Can we force them to change the way presales are done?  I don’t know.  Obviously, some can argue that they will change if the fans stop buying.  I’m sure that’s true but…is that harming ourselves as well as them?  Yes, I’m sure that we can get tickets through a regular sale but will they be what DDM has been able to do?!  I know that people will tell me that they have gotten good seats without DDM.  That may be true but is it a guarantee?  Or are those good seats just lucky or through people who have connections?  So, what choice do we have?  I wish I had an answer.  Does anyone out there have a clue???? 

-A

Official Announcements

There are many complaints in Duranland and one of the most commonly heard one has to do with the band’s official website.  It seems that dd.com is almost always the last place where Duran Duran news gets posted.  This news could be something as simple as the band’s collaboration with Dior or something as big as information about album releases and tour dates.  Goodness, before the UK tour was announced on dd.com, I saw many of the dates listed on a fan run message board.  I have yet to see an official announcement about when the actual physical release of All You Need is Now is, but have read articles that state it is coming out on March 21/22.  Many online stores have the album for pre-order, which includes a track listing of 14 songs.  Is the final track listing?  I have no idea because there hasn’t been an official announcement that I have seen.  While lack of official announcements about albums are annoying, they are not nearly as frustrating as the lack of information regarding tours.

I suspect that many fans in the US will increase their demand about US tour dates now that the Fan Jam is over.  The writing is on the wall.  If the band is playing in the States between now and the UK tour, tour dates better be released soon.  I have seen as little as 6 weeks in between the official press release and a show and as much as 3 months for the same.  Duran should be announcing then anytime between now and the middle of March, unless they plan to come to the US later.  As I type this, I can hear Duranies mumbling under their breath about the lack of advance notice.  I would probably join in on that mumbling.  Why must they wait until the last minute to announce a show(s)/tour?  It seems like they officially announce only when they have to and by have to, I mean that the sale to the general public is happening within a few days.  Look at the UK tour.  They announced early on a Tuesday and the fan presale happened early the NEXT DAY as regular sales happened on the following Friday.  Is that any way to show consideration to fans?  I don’t think so. 

Part of my problem with the lack of advance notice is that I don’t understand it.  Why wait to announce?  What purpose does it serve?  Does the person/people making this decision think it will help ticket sales?  Does it help to increase the fandom?  Does it make new fans?  Does it help to keep fans?  Somehow, I doubt it.  I think it works to frustrate us as fans.  Worst yet, I think it makes the Duran Duran team look ill prepared.  How is that good for anyone?  Maybe I’m missing a key here.  Yes, I realize that they don’t want to announce anything before it is ready but you can’t tell me that they only know a day or two before a tour is announced?!  It doesn’t make sense to me and it doesn’t make sense to most of the other fans I know and come into contact with. 

So, if I could offer advice to Duran’s people, have dd.com be the definitive source for news.  Fans should not find out new and cool things that the band is doing from message boards or social networking sites.  News should come from the official website.  Also, news regarding tours should be given out as soon as everything is locked in.  The outside world would perceive Duran Duran and their team as organized and prompt.  Duranies will be happy to have the time to truly evaluate the dates and see what, if anything, works for them.  I suspect that the longer people have with tour dates, the more likely they are to work something out and be able to do more, which would help everyone.

-A

US vs. UK

Typically, when the topic of the United States versus the United Kingdom comes up in the Duran Duran fandom, it is usually about which gets more, deserves more, etc.  The conversation usually involves a discussion about geography, distances, sales, fanbase size, band history and more.  I’m not going to dive into that debate as it seems obvious to me that both sides have their legitimate points.  Yes, the US is a lot bigger so more there should be more dates here.  It is true, though, that the UK is their home and will always be so (ignoring John Taylor’s decision to live in the US part/most of the time).  No, what I am more interested in is how the fanbases in both places are the same and different.  I never really paid attention before but now that I’m going (most likely–cross your fingers that I get final approval from work), I find this subject fascinating.

I have to admit that I’m already seeing some differences, at least in terms of show preferences.  Now, I admit that I haven’t done any thorough survey to find exact numbers to compare so this is just my observation of the fans who have spoken up.  First, I noticed a bit of an outcry from the locals over the idea that many of these shows in the UK are seated.  Personally, I was shocked by this!  Why would anyone want General Admission shows?!  I’m sure that people can argue that it is more equalizing as every fan has a chance of being up close if they arrive early enough and are able to hold their position for a long time.  I also heard some fans claim that they can dance more during a GA show.  My response to this is simply confusion.  Then, I started thinking that GA shows there must be very different from GA shows here.  Perhaps, some reader will enlighten me.  For me, I hate GA.  Those shows mean that I have to arrive early or earlier than I wanted in order to get a good spot.  (Remember that I’m spoiled when it comes to Duran shows!).  Once I have my spot of choice, I am forced to stay there in order to keep it.  This means that I have no bathroom breaks and no drink breaks unless I’m willing to let my spot go.  In America, if you leave your spot, people will automatically move up and fill it.  Heck, that doesn’t just happen at concerts but happens at political rallies, too!  Now, even if I am able to stand for hours to hold my spot, it doesn’t mean that I’m safe.  People will still try to push (literally) ahead of you to get a better view.  Is this what GA is like in England?  Do people want to get up front so badly that they are willing to stand for hours or push their way to the front? 

Maybe people there aren’t as concerned about where they are for a concert.  After all, it doesn’t seem like a lot of VIP packages sold.  Of course, the cost of those packages could make a difference.  I don’t see a lot of people buying regular presale tickets either, though.  I know that we got decent seats for Nottingham through regular presale.  Yet, it seems like most people were happy to just try Ticketmaster or Gigs and Tours for their seats.  Is it a cost thing or does seat position not matter?  This, of course, leads me to bigger issues involving fandom.

Will people be interested in getting together before and/or after shows?  Do a lot of fans already know each?  Are there established groups of friends like there are here?  Will there be stories about fans trying to find the band afterwards?  Is that even possible there?  I have no idea.  So much seems to go on in hotels for US tours, is the same there?  Is this a silly question to ask?   Personally, I would like to meet people while I’m there.  I would like to see how the fans are similar to US fans but also to see how they are different.  Maybe they would like to learn the same from me and my friends.  No matter how it goes, I am willing to bet that it will be a tour filled with much learning and much fun!!!

-A 

Presale Week and Evaluation!

I survived presale week!  For me, it was an absolutely crazy one!  It is hard to imagine that just five day ago, no one knew where or when Duran Duran was going to tour outside of a couple random shows.  This week, we added 11 dates in the UK and a date in Germany to the previously known superbowl thing in Dallas, the Coachella festival in California and the iTunes festival in London.  In typical Duran fashion, these UK dates were put up early Tuesday morning with fan community presales beginning the next morning.  Gotta love the pressure of being forced to decide what shows to do in mere HOURS after an announcement.  There was LITTLE time to evaluate choices, discuss with friends, talk to work, anything…Now, this has been how it has been done in Duranland for so long that no one was really surprised and there were little complaints from my observations.  How sad is that?!  We are so used to being treated so poorly that we don’t even pay attention to the lack of consideration.  Clearly, in this case like so many before, the band’s management decided to announce the tour ONLY when they had to.  They put out the information only DAYS before the shows went on sale to the public.  Someone really should explain to me why they can’t give the information further in advance.  They obviously had this information before Tuesday morning.  Why wait?  I swear, sometimes, I feel like we are all being watched and they SO enjoy watching us all run around like crazy people trying to come up with a plan quickly!

As Rhonda mentioned earlier in the week, we decided to do Birmingham, Nottingham, Liverpool and London with friends joining us for three out of the four after much discussion, evaluation, quick budgeting figuring and more.  In all seriousness, I think we all aged about 3 years in just Tuesday alone!  Much of that discussion always includes buying the tickets.  Who is going to buy?  What kind of tickets should we try for?  Should we go with DDM or whatever the hell it is calling itself today?  Should we wait for the regular sale?  I’ll be honest here in saying that I have done the DDM presales more often than not and have almost always been pleased by the seats I have received.  Typically, they have been better than the seats I got through regular sales on places like Ticketmaster.  I also have to confess that the presales have usually gone smoothly for me, with being able to purchase the tickets of my choice within minutes.  I figured that this tour would be no different.  Of course, this time we knew that some other company was taking care of the tickets, which meant changes.

This presale definitely was different than previous ones.  In some ways, it was absolutely better and in other ways, not so much.  As Rhonda mentioned yesterday, part of the changes involved the VIP packages so I won’t get into those.  Yet, despite the changes in packages, it was still having to click on the package of your choice for the city of your choice.  Now, this time, most of the shows went on sale at the exact same time.  I have to wonder if that is a good idea!  Is it really smart to have all of these Duranies trying to get tickets at the same time?!  Will the system be able to handle that?  Maybe it could for 9 or 11 shows this time around but will it be able to handle 25 shows in the US?  I shudder to think about what those presales might be like.  My assessment is that this is a mistake.  For one thing, it is very difficult for people who are buying for more than one show.  Usually, I’m the one to buy the concert tickets as Rhonda picks up the hotel rooms.  That wasn’t possible this time as both of us had to buy tickets at the same time in order to get the seats of our choice.  Ugh.  Then, there was the little glitch in their system….

My little group of four felt pretty confident going into Wednesday morning’s presale.  After all, we had a solid plan with different people buying for different shows and we are experienced Duranies.  We have all done this before.  Maybe we were too confident.  Maybe we couldn’t process the possibility that it wouldn’t go our way after having to make these decisions so damn quickly.  Perhaps, the fact that we had to buy tickets at 2 in the MORNING didn’t help.  It could have been a combination of all of the above or it could have been that their system sucks.  So, I’m supposed to be buying for Birmingham.  No problem.  My friend is buying for Nottingham at the same time.  Her order goes through right away.  Yes.  We are in business.  I’m not, though.  It wouldn’t accept my card.  I tried a different card.  No luck there.  I tried my friend’s card that just worked for the Nottingham order.  No luck.  Then, Rhonda tried and had the same problem.  Much cursing continued.  We tried for a half hour and somehow, we were able to purchase the tickets of our choice.  Of course, we weren’t out of the woods yet.  We had to buy for Liverpool and London.  Oh boy…

Liverpool went fairly smoothly.  London, on the other hand, did not.  We got seats but they were just okay.  Now, I will openly admit that we are spoiled Duranies when it comes to how far back is acceptable for Duran shows.  It does not matter how far back I am for other bands but it absolutely does matter for Duran.  Obviously, part of the reason I usually go with the fan community presale is that I usually get seats in the 6th to 11th row.  Anything less than that is painful.  (See what I mean?  Absolutely spoiled we are!)  So, Rhonda and I, in our infinite wisdom, decide to try for London seats through the regular sale in order to see if we could do better.  This meant, of course, that we were up AGAIN in the middle of the night to buy tickets.  Guess what?  We didn’t have any luck there either.  Great.  Joy.  What do we do?  Go for a different package on DDM.  Guess how that went?  Like it did the first time.  The stupid system wouldn’t take our order at first.  Then, it said that they were sold out and back to not taking our order.  Eventually, we got it to go through.  Ugh.  (By the way, if you are interested in buying our extra tickets for London, they are in Block 101, row T, seats 24 and 25.  Feel free to email us:  dailyduranie@gmail.com.)

Now, I’m utterly exhausted and part of me feels like I have already done the tour!  Would I use the fan community for the next show(s) I go to?  Unfortunately, the answer is going to be yes.  I hate the lack of time between the announcement and the presale.  I thought selling all of the shows at the same time was completely unfair to those of us wanting to buy more than one show.  I wouldn’t doubt that the system was overloaded, which caused the problems we had in buying our tickets.  I would suspect the US presales to be WAY worse.  That said, I did appreciate the fact that we now know exactly where we are sitting, which did not happen with the old system.  I also am completely thrilled with where I will be for these shows!!!  They weren’t cheap but I already know that this is a tour of a lifetime for me.  I have never traveled outside of the US for shows before.  I have never been able to.  I love the people I’m going with and cannot wait to meet people across the pond!  I believe that these new songs are going to be amazing live!  I look forward to seeing how fans there are the same/different than the fans here and so much more now that I survived presale hell 2011!

-A

It’s Next Week Already!

It is Sunday.  According to my calendar, this means that it is a new week and, as many of us know, it isn’t a “normal” week as both John and Simon indicated that tour dates will be officially announced on dd.com this week.  Most people, of course, are assuming that they are only the UK dates based on Simon’s tweet where he specifically mentioned the UK and based on Simon’s recent interview where he spilled the beans about the 14 UK dates during the month of May.  Now, many people in the fan community anxiously await this announcement, including the authors of this blog!  How in the world will we survive until the dates are known?  What are you going to do to get through this painful wait?  I’m not sure what I will do as I have used up many of my tricks so far.

One of the things I typically do while waiting on tour dates is to speculate.  I like to have an idea of what they might look like.  Where will they go?  How long will they be there?  How many shows will that include?  I try to take all of the rumors and organize them.  Then, I also look at past touring history then I combine the rumors and the history to make my best guess.  Sad, isn’t it?  I want to be prepared, though, as best as possible.  Of course, saying this, I know that I will be surprised or shocked by something.  I suppose then it is a false preparedness.  It also helps make the time go faster and increase my excitement.  So, what is known about the upcoming tour?  What are the rumors?  What is the recent touring history?

Here is what I know:
Coachella Festival in California on Sunday, April 17th
14 dates in the UK in May
ITunes Festival in London on Saturday, July 16th

Some of the rumors:
Italy show on Monday, July 11th
Original rumors listed the US from March 31st and the UK/Europe starting in June
Special show in New York City based on a tweet from Wendy Laister, their manager

Touring history for the US and Europe (yes, I realize that I have left out a HUGE chunk of the world but I had to focus on what I might be able to do!)
2003: Random shows through the summer and fall in the US to equal about 4 weeks worth
2004: About 3 weeks in the UK (could this be similar to 2011?)
2005: About 11 weeks in the US (6 at one time and 3 at the other) and 8 weeks in Europe (6 at one time and 2 at the other)
2006: About 1 week in Europe and 3 weeks in the US
2007: About 2 weeks on Broadway
2008: About 6 weeks in US (4 at one time and 2 at the other) and about 7 weeks in Europe

This leads me to wonder when exactly they will be touring the US.  Will they do US around Coachella since they and their equipment will already be here?  If so, then, they better announce those dates as well.  Will they squeeze in the US dates in between the UK and the ITunes festival?  Maybe later in the summer?  Your guess is as good as mine.  (Although, if you do know something more and would like to share it with Rhonda and I, feel free to email us at dailyduranie@gmail.com.  Thanks!) 

Beyond speculating about what the tour might actually look like, I have been talking to my friends, specifically my touring buddies.  Part of those conservations have included developing an ideal plan.  What does your ultimate tour look like?  Do you want to do a show in your city or one nearby?  Do you want to travel?  If so, where specifically do you want to go?  How many shows do you want to do?  Obviously, in these discussions, we are all aware that the ideal probably won’t happen as we are not financially independent and do have other responsibilities but it is fun to think about!

Now that I have used up both of these methods of distraction, I’m forced to rely on the usual methods, which include frequent check-ins on the band’s official site, other message boards, and social networking sites to try and learn the latest info!  I will also make myself available to receive phone calls, emails or text messages as it is quite possible that I won’t be the first one to get the “Official Duranie Alert”.  So, readers, how do you plan on making it through this most anxious time?  What are your secrets? 

-A

Better/Bigger Fans?

Rhonda and I have begun posting questions over on the Daily Duranie Facebook page (come friend us if you haven’t yet!) as a means of getting to know people, starting discussion and adding information for our book.  This morning I posed a question about whether or not people are willing to travel for Duran shows after thinking and blogging about why tours matter to so many of us.  Many people answered that question.  Some people said that they have and included where they have gone and when.  Others said that they are willing but unable to go for financial, family, or work reasons.  One person got me thinking about something that I do from time to time, especially during touring season.  (Like that…it has it’s own season like the baseball season in my world!  😀 ).  Does traveling to shows make you a bigger/better fan?  What about those people who VIP?  Is that better than not?  Then, of course, I wonder who is judging.  Are we the fans judging each other?  Is the band?  Is the band’s employees like the people who work at DDM judging?  Is there a chance that someone could be TOO big of a fan?  Are there other means of showing how big of a fan you are?  Are all of those ways costly?  So many questions…

Does traveling make you a bigger or better fan?  Of course, this automatically asks the question about who is judging and by what standards.  Is this assumption correct?  Here is what I know, objectively speaking. Traveling and going to more shows might give fans a greater knowledge of the band and the fandom as a whole.  It provides the opportunity to meet and get to know more and more people.  You get the chance to see more and more shows performed live.  Then, is the knowledge and the friends that give more status, assuming that this is true?  I don’t know.  Is the assumption correct?  I definitely think that traveling to shows could give people more status both within the fan community and outside of the fan community.  I know that there are fans who get a lot of attention from other fans because they have traveled and seen a bunch of shows.  Obviously, the travelers are believed to be people who know more and who could have greater connections to the band.  Is this always the case?  I’m sure that it is not.  Yet, I’m sure that it does happen as well.  Outside of the fan community, I, personally, have seen people’s reactions to me when it comes to this question.  People are, at first, shocked when I tell them how many shows I have been to and that I have traveled to shows.  The next statement out of their mouths usually is, “You must be a HUGE fan!”  I’m never quite sure how to respond to that, which I guess leads me back to the question at hand.  Is this assumption about traveling done?  Yes, I believe that it is by both other fans and by non-fans.  Is it right?  No way.  Of course, there might be other ways that fans can be seen as “big” or “better” fans as well.

I believe that fans get placed in this bigger/better category all the time for a variety of reasons.  Maybe they do because of traveling.  Perhaps, it is because they always VIP.  Some fans might seem bigger/better because they have a large collection of something or because they can name every b-side.  Obviously, most of those means are ones that cost money.  Is that a problem?  Do you need a lot of money in order to be considered a big fan?  Of course, I also wonder if you could be TOO big of a fan.  Is traveling some cool but going to all shows too much?  Is going VIP once or twice per tour good but doing it every time appear greedy?  Could you have too many t-shirts or spend too much time online talking to other fans?  Could you have met them too many times?  Is there really a delicate balance between being a big fan and being too much of one?  Again, the same questions apply.  Who is judging?  What are the standards and is it a good thing?

Maybe I’m the only one who thinks like this.  Maybe everyone else in Duranland believes that all fans are considered equal.  I don’t know. If people agree that it does exist, should be changed or is there some value to this?  If not, is there someway to improve this, if it exists?  How?  So many questions…so little answers.

-A

Why Do Tours Matter?

Tours matter.  I’m sure you are thinking that I have lost my mind a bit with that opening sentence.  Doesn’t everyone know that tours matter?  After all, it is a means of any musical artist to advertise their music (albums) as well to earn money to make new music.  I’m sure it also provides feedback to them as well.  They learn which songs really touch their fans and which ones aren’t as popular.  I’m sure that they are energized by the love and support that is shown to them, assuming they receive a decent and excited crowd.  But, why do tours matter to FANS?  Typically, for Duran Duran fans, we don’t need to be sold on their music.  Many (most?) of us have heard all of Duran Duran’s officially released material and many own copies or multiple copies of all of it.  Some fans have even heard music that hasn’t been released.  While many of us are happy to help the cause in terms of making money to be able to make more music, I doubt that is why tours matter to us. 

I started thinking about this during my long afternoon at work.  Today seemed relatively calm compared to yesterday when I received many messages and phone calls regarding Simon’s statement on the radio about the band doing 14 shows in the UK during the month of May.  Yesterday, I did not get nearly enough work done so I should have been using today’s calmness (the calm before the storm???) to catch up on work.  Instead, I pondered why so many of us are anxious to see the tour dates that are supposedly being announced on dd.com next week.  Why do we get all excited for this announcement?  Why were so many of us refreshing dd.com’s website earlier in the week to see the instant that Duran’s participation in the Coachella Festival was announced?  I suppose the fast answer to the question is that it depends on the fan.

Some fans might be solely focused on the musical element of a tour.  Perhaps, some fans haven’t seen them play live before and are hoping that this is their chance.  Again, the question could be asked of why seeing them perform live is a big deal if people have heard and own the music.  The answer here could be as simple as the fact that music performed live is pure and could be felt more by one’s soul.  It certainly can sound better than any cd, vinyl record or mp3.  A Duran Duran concert is more than just music but a performance.  Not only do you get to hear them sing and play instruments but you get to witness them interact with each other (yes, I’m thinking about JoSi here!) and with the audience.  The music and songs become personalized through the introductions, through the performance and even through visuals that might be included.  Thus, for some people, touring means seeing a damn good band play live in concert.  Other people might be thinking about other elements of touring as well.

For some fans (including the authors of this blog), touring is much bigger than the shows.  First, for us, it often means that we get to travel.  Sometimes, these travels are within driving distance but it is common for them to require an airplane to get there.  (Please note:  We are very aware of how LUCKY we are to be to be able to do this!)  This provides an escape for the daily grind of work and family.  It is a vacation of sorts as many responsibilities are left at home, including cleaning the house, preparing for meals, etc.  Personally, I know that I appreciate the fact that touring away from home has given me a chance to visit many places that I wouldn’t have before.  I appreciate being able to see other places and while I can definitely do that without shows, going on tour pushes me to go right then!  Second, and perhaps, most importantly, touring gives us a chance to get together and be with other Duranies.  Rhonda and I don’t live close and while we have visited each other in between tours, somehow it is always better with Duran shows involved.  Beyond getting to spend time with each other, we get to see other Duranie friends we have made and make new ones.  There is truly something special when Duranies are able to get together and share our excitement over the band together.  It enhances our fandom, I believe.  It makes our love for the band stronger and certainly makes it way more FUN! 

Beyond the reasons listed above, I’m sure that, for some fans, it is also an opportunity to get close to the band.  Perhaps, some people look forward to shows because it gives them a chance to win a meet and greet where they will be able to tell the band members about how much they have meant to them.  They, then, might be able to get a picture or autograph.  Maybe fans are looking to see the band outside of the venue or at their hotel for the same purpose.  Perhaps, it the chance to fulfill a dream of meeting the band.  For some people, they might hope for more than an autograph or picture.  They might desire a conversation or more as their dream might be more than brief contact.

It is definitely possible to be excited for the tour for a combination of those reasons.  For me, it is the ultimate part of being a Duranie.  While it is wonderful to hear new music and I always appreciate the work that goes into making new songs, there is nothing like a tour.  It is the chance to sing along with my favorite band as they sing my favorite songs surrounded by friends who understand my love for the band in places far away from home.  It gives me a vacation with the most fun possible!  Why do tours matter to you?

-A

Late March

Today, a news article in Variety magazine was released with some updated news about the band and their upcoming tour.  You can read the article here.

Once again, Durantime rears it’s head, complete with bed-head hair and the remnants of last night’s makeup underneath it’s eyes.  Clearly, it’s been a wild-ride thus far.  In reading the news, it’s impossible to overlook the fact that in December, the plan was to release early February, then mid-to late February, then March…and now late March.  I’m sure that there are many reasons behind the release date that someone like me, someone who is just a fan, would not even begin to understand. That said, the point of our blog is to examine the news from the point of view of the fan.  Sometimes, that’s a good thing.  Like it or not, the fans are the lifeblood to the longevity of the band.  If we’re excited about something, that certainly isn’t a bad thing.  The converse also holds true, however.  If the fans aren’t on board – it’s tough to make headway.  I’m not trying to make the fans appear to be an unstoppable force (although one glimpse of us at a show and perhaps that would seem to be the case!), but I am saying that we’re a team with the band.  It truly is teamwork that keeps the band going, and really – that keeps US going as fans.  So, with that in mind, I forge ahead.

My first thought upon reading the news of the day is that it’s already been quite a while since the digital version was released, and as far as I can tell – our excitement has already began to simmer down.  I think that’s natural, and in this day and age with electronic media – what at one point took an entire month to cycle (as in a magazine), now takes days.  Information flows so quickly that we consume it and go on to the next thing in a blink of an eye.  This gives anyone, any band, much more of a challenge to continue to remain new, fresh and relevant;  momentum can be gained and lost overnight.  I think that’s really the energy behind Twitter and even Facebook to some extent, and if bands and artists don’t learn how to use it, well – they lose it.  This is where my concern lies with Duran Duran.  The “public” has already heard the new single.  They have a decent portion (appetizer or otherwise) of the new album.  Sure, sales were good that first week – I’m not really sure how they’re doing now but I have to imagine they’ve weakened since then, and that’s OK.  That said, now there’s a real wait on our hands until late March…and let’s be honest…it could easily be late April, as happens in Durantime.  (imagine if they had decided to withhold everything until then?  As my friend Jessica mentioned today – MUTINY!)

I have to ask – how is that going to help them?  They had real momentum in December.  It would have been very easy to continue to capitalize on that by doing a select number of shows, MANY more interviews, etc.  Instead it would seem as though there was a slight hiccup or misstep in the planning process, and now we’ve got this huge gap of time.  Make no mistake, 3 and a half or four months between the release of digital material and the actual physical CD is a LONG time.  I’ve seen artists have their work released, distributed, and sent BACK to the distributor in that amount of time. (not kidding there)  It’s a gamble, to be sure.  I know they are putting new unheard material on the physical album, the packaging is supposed to be very cool, etc etc.  It all makes me think back to (Reach up for the) Sunrise off of Astronaut.  Here was the first single from the original 5 members in over 20 years.  It was released as a single off of the Queer Eye soundtrack – a different version, yes.  Then, in what I feel was a very risky move – it was released as the single off of the bands own album in yet another version.  Did it gain attention?  Nope.  Not even from fans – we’d already heard it.  Been there, done that, so to speak.  I have some concerns that this album is going to garner the same sort of attention, or lack thereof.  Of course, there were many other issues present with Astronaut, and I’m sure one can find a myriad of reasons why the album didn’t do as well as it should have commercially – MY point is simply that once the fans have heard it and consumed it – we move on quickly.

Then there is/are the sheer lack of dates.  We’ve got what appears to be about 2 months and some before the album drops – I read tweets each day from the band saying that they’re working on bass, keys, vocals for the bonus material – and while that’s exciting, what would really fill the time between now and the album dropping are shows.  That’s right, shows.  You want to keep the fans attention?  Play some shows.  Yeah, it would require work.  Yeah, it would be a pain in the butt to get it all together, but it would keep our interest, and the band might even get some new attention from new fans too.  Of course, they could already be planning shows, I have no idea.  There are rumors of some UK dates in February (seems to me that those should already have been announced or else they’re totally behind the 8-ball…),   but otherwise, I’ve heard of nothing.

I suppose one could say that the wait increases demand.  I would say in return that you’re playing an awfully risky game.  Fans are fickle, and the last album should have proven that without a doubt.  Sorry to those of you diehard RCM fans out there, but a lot of fans simply gave up on the band after that album was released.  So now other bands are starting to announce tours for the spring/summer, and people who might have thought about going to Duran shows are starting to consider other bands – and trust me when I say that most people do not have the money to do it all.  Recession…United States…banks failing all over the world…any of that ringing a bell with anyone?  I just don’t feel that Duran Duran is in the position to play that game and win.

For all of the downer news, however – there is always some good.  For instance, the CD/vinyl will have 14 tracks (if you’re counting, that means we haven’t heard at least 4 or 5 of them, depending upon whether Mediterranea is included), and according to their management, they are looking at doing specific packaging and extras for specific retailers, which means plenty of versions to buy.  I suppose that could be deemed as bad news – but for me, I want it all and I’m not ashamed of that.   We know that they’ll eventually announce tour dates, because they are planning a tour in April (hurry up April!), and in time – all of this waiting will be a distant memory.  Heck, if they wait long enough – I’ll probably forget all about it! (memory isn’t what it used to be!)

I suppose that some will say I’m impatient (no, really?), and some will say I’m negative. (listen, even if the glass is half empty – there’s still vodka left in there, how is that not positive?!?)   That’s OK.  I’m positive most of the time, I try to see the good in the band, and there’s plenty of that to see.  It’s just very hard not to notice the missteps at times, and ANY fan should be able to recognize that.  I still love them all and really, the bottom line here is that if I didn’t care, I wouldn’t mention any of it.  For that matter, I wouldn’t blog.

-R

Are You Anxious?!?

I am anxious for tour dates.  I’ll freely admit that.  I’m to the point where if I were the neighbor of one of the band members, I’d probably go over to borrow milk or something just to see if they were packing for a trip yet!

I really thought they’d announce dates while I was gone this weekend.  My phone was even dead for part of the weekend (I let the battery run out – not on purpose, but it happens!), but still nothing.  This is ridiculous! (and I mean on MY part, not theirs)

Why am I really so anxious?  It’s not as though I’ve never seen the band live before.  It’s not as though I have nothing but time on my hands with which to plan.  The fact is, I’m fairly busy.  I’m supposed to be doing about 50 other things right at this moment, and the time I take to blog every day I am pretty much stealing from some other chore. (one of the more frustrating things I find in being a parent and wife)  I know that the amount of time that I can spend going to shows or traveling is fairly limited, and therefore I also know that once the dates are announced, there is a fairly good chance that I will end up being disappointed as to how much or little I can truly do.  So, why am I really anxious?!?

I think that for me, the tour signifies a chance to spread my wings a bit.  It’s the one time that I plan a trip just for me.  My husband typically stays at home (whether it’s under protest or otherwise), my children are usually not invited (definitely under protest…), and I spend weeks pondering how I’m going to get all of my usual “mom” duties covered, along with the excitement of finding the best airfare times/price, hotel, and making the general plans.  It’s a time for some much appreciated independence on my part, and it reminds me of what it’s like to just be Rhonda, not “mom”, not “dear”….and certainly not “maid”, “cook”, or “chauffeur”.

The trip itself takes place in the blink of an eye.  It amazes me how I can spend weeks planning for each second of the trip (and truly, my plans have very little to do with ME as they do with what I’m doing with my children for while I’m gone…), and yet the trip itself is over before I know it.  If that weren’t enough, to add insult to injury, as the trip gets closer, I find myself actually feeling guilty, and at times I’m feeling guilty enough where I’ve considered canceling my trip.  I feel guilty that I’m leaving my kids in order to have fun.  I feel guilty that I’ve spent money that I could be using for my kids to do things, I feel guilty that I’m asking my husband to not only change his own schedule to suit my trip, but that I’m insisting that he work all day only to come home and assume my normal duties.  It’s a lot of work, I should know!   Once I leave though, I have to admit that I enjoy knowing that for the three or four days I’m gone, I only have to worry about getting myself dressed, fed, etc.  There’s something very odd, yet peaceful about walking through the security line at the airport and realizing that I only have a purse to pick up at the end of the line; not a purse, a child, 5 pairs of shoes, four pillows, a blanket, a diaper bag and god-only-knows-what-else.   I’ve actually stopped on the way to my gate and thought, “I’ve forgotten something!”, only to realize that what I’ve “forgotten” is at home and probably playing happily with my mom!   Cognitively, I know that by going on these trips for me, I’m not being a bad parent.  I’m allowing myself a little bit of down time and fun, and in the end, that’s only going to make me a better mom and wife, but it’s still difficult to put into real practice.

This next tour, I have a little more ambition than usual.  I really would like to try and plan a trip to the UK to see the band.  That’s going to take more than a little luck on my part, both in scheduling it amongst everything else that goes on around here AND convincing my husband that this is a reasonable household expense.  (wish me luck!)  I know that with each passing day, if the dates of shows in the UK are only a few weeks out – such as the rumors persist – it will be less and less likely that I can get a trip together to attend.  So yes, I’m anxious, and still we wait….

Hey John, can I borrow some milk – and while you’re getting that – can we talk tour dates here?

-R

Tour Date Rumor Reactions

I am dying for tour dates as are much, if not all, of the Duranie world.  I would like to be able to call my blog and touring partner who is away from home this weekend to give her some touring alerts!  I want to be able to figure out if I can go to whatever dates and how.  Of course, my desire for dates has increased by both the announcement of a show in July in London at the iTunes festival and by rumors.  Some of the rumors I have heard include the following:  1.  Duran will tour the States in the spring-possibly April.  2.  Duran will play at the Coachella Festival in mid-April.  3.  Duran is playing in Amsterdam in June.  4.  Duran is playing one or more shows next month in the UK.  Some rumors have indicated that there will be 4 shows in the following cities:  Glasgow, Manchester, London and Birmingham.  Others have said that there will be more than one show in London.  I have heard the middle of the month, around Valentine’s Day, and I have heard the end of the month.  Some of the rumor include that the shows will be like those on Broadway were in 2008.  While all of those are interesting to me as I try to figure out which ones might be right, what I find even more interesting is fan reactions to the people who provide the rumors.

It seems to me that each time a rumor about an upcoming show or tour is posted, the reactions by other posters is often fascinating.  Sometimes, the other people shower the rumor provider with lots of positive attention and often will try to get to know this person better in order to get more information.  Other times, the poster is slammed by fellow fans.  S/he gets slammed because they often announce some rumor without much evidence to back it up.  Often, s/he claims that the information came from a close friend who has some sort of connection but can’t reveal too much for whatever reason.  This seems to irritate other posters.  Some assume that the rumor is false and that is why the person can’t back it up.  In those situations, the other fans think that the person must be trying to have fun at their expense as rumors like these create a GREAT deal of excitement in the fanbase.  Perhaps, the real reason there is annoyance or anger directed at the rumor producer is because s/he only shared so much.  Maybe they voice their displeasure about the lack of support for the rumor when, in reality, they want to know more and are really angered that the poster didn’t say more.  Perhaps, it is because these fans want to be the ones who have the knowledge.  After all, who doesn’t feel superior to some extent when they know something as juicy as tour dates before anyone else.  Maybe it is a combination of all of the above.

Honestly, I can’t imagine being the person with the information as I have never really been that person.  I’m usually the one checking the band’s website over and over again or following the boards as closely as possible to see if any information has been given or if there were any hints provided.  Part of me would absolutely LOVE to be the person who knows something ahead of time.  Then, the question that pops up is:  If I had the information, would I share it?  What are the benefits?  What are the risks?  On one hand, by telling, I would be giving information that people are desperate to receive and MANY people would appreciate it.  (I know that I would love to know more info now!)  People might seem more interested in me, which is great, but would they just be using me?  Then, what about the people who just criticize the person who gives the rumors?  How would I deal them, especially if the information was actually correct?  Would the appreciation be worth the ridicule that could happen?  Would it be worth letting people in on your secret?  Of course, I suspect that for some people posting rumors, they might just be too excited to keep some info to themselves.  I can understand that! 

I think that, in most cases, it would be extremely risky to post a rumor without having something or someone to back you up.  From my perspective, though, I hope that people do continue to post these rumors as they are helping me get through this black hole of tour dates.  Of course, Duran could help out the situation for all involved if they were to just post the dates and ALL the dates, no matter when and no matter where.  The rumor debate would end and I could begin to plot my tour!!!

-A