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Duran Duran Pumpkin Carving Contest!

It’s time for a contest!!!

It has been a long time since we’ve run a contest here on the blog, so Amanda and I decided to try something crazy.  So today we are excitedly announcing:

  • 2013-10-Pumpkin-Wallpaper-Face-Background-High-Definition
  • Get yourself a pumpkin.
  • Carve it with your very best, and most creative Duran-inspired design. This design can be ANYTHING having to do with Duran Duran, including but not limited to Paper Gods!
  • Send us a picture, including your REAL NAME, to our GMAIL (dailyduranie(at)gmail(dot)com) by 11:59pm PDT on Friday, October 30.
  • Please do NOT submit photos on Facebook or Twitter – they cannot be accepted that way.
  • Pumpkins MUST be carved (painting is great but you have to carve too), and the pumpkins also have to be real. (no fake pumpkins, that way the same pumpkin cannot be used from year to year!!)
  • Subscribe to get Daily Duranie by mail here, on Facebook and on Twitter!!
  • HAVE FUN!!!

Photos will be posted and voted upon by all of YOU here on the blog on Halloween.  The pumpkin with the most votes wins, and will be announced on November 1st!  (In the unlikely event of a tie, Rhonda’s youngest child will choose the winner. She’s very picky and cannot be bribed. Good luck with that!)

What do you win?!? Not ONLY bragging rights of being the most creative pumpkin carver in all of Duranland…absolutely not!! This time, our friend Patty Palazzo is donating a PunkMasters T-shirt of the winner’s choosing (one t-shirt, design and sizing to be decided by the winner).  We think the prize is pretty cool and thank Patty for her generosity!

So get started! It’s never too early and we’re never too old to carve pumpkins!!!  Amanda and I are looking forward to seeing some amazing designs from the fanbase, and you never know, you might even see a pumpkin or two from us along the way as well!  😉

Questions? Ask away in the comments and/or send us an email.

-R

You Don’t Dance? Apparently We Do!

I started this blog while sitting at Rendezvous Bar at the Agua Caliente Casino with some of my favorite Duranies so it might not be the best written ever.  It was our last night in the city and I was and still am filled with lots of emotions.  I know that people are probably interested in a review of the Agua Caliente show but I want to reflect on some other aspects of the shows and touring instead.  I will say this, though.  Friday night’s show at Berkeley was probably technically better for all the reasons I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, including all of the interactions and energy.  That said, yesterday, it was our last show.  It was a longer show.  It was a show that included both White Lines (thanks for getting us once again, LeBon!) and Save a Prayer as well as Wild Boys.  There was also a very high hug between John and Simon after What Are the Chances.  More importantly for me and Rhonda, we had front row center at a venue that allows you to put your arms right on the stage.  That changes everything.  Everything.  It increases the intensity by about 10,000.

As long-time readers probably know, we first had front row in Biloxi in 2012 after waiting all day long in the general admission line.  I absolutely sucked at being front row that night.  I was too overwhelmed to interact or give real feedback to the band.  I desperately wanted a do over but that didn’t happen until this tour.  At Berkeley, we had front row right. This was a perfect taster for me.  The stage was high and I wasn’t really near my favorite (John).  I could get used to it and get comfortable.  Last night, though, we were front row center.  I was literally right by Simon.  I had to be ready and I was.  There was no standing there, being stunned.  No, I asked them to bring it so I had to bring it, too!

I sang, screamed and danced like I haven’t in years.  I’m surprised I still have a voice.  For once, I wasn’t hiding my love for the band.  No, I was showing it openly and wished for the band to see it and feel it.   There were moments that I felt like they knew that I was there, supporting, giving love and more whether it was a brief glance or a quick smile from one of the guys.  I am like everyone, though, in that it is never enough.  I wished to shake John’s hand or tell Simon how great he was or request a coveted item like a setlist or a guitar pick.  Yet, I did none of the above.  I’m not good with being assertive like that, especially when others near me are trying for the same things I am and, in some cases, are willing to step on others to do so.  For example, last night, I was hoping to stand there for a few minutes longer after the show to soak it all in, to process, but I soon found myself literally being smushed in a painful way between two people trying for the setlist that had been taped down on stage for Simon.  No, in those moments, I back down.  Nothing is that important to treat others around me disrespectfully.  That said, someday, I have to hope that karma will work to my advantage.

Now, as I sit here, preparing to leave, I find myself rather introspective.  Was this tour worth the work to get here?  Was it worth the hassle?  Did it provide me with the fun and the break that I so desperately needed?  I had to work really hard to get to do this tour and to be ready to go.  As this tour winds down, I have to say that it was worth it.  Did it live up to every hope?  Did every dream get made?  Absolutely not, but, many did.  I had the most amazing seats for all three shows, for example!   More importantly,  I had a kick ass time with a bunch of great Duranies and friends!  I saw three fabulous shows.  Heck, I even managed to find a way, I think, to tolerate, to appreciate Danceophobia!  How, you wonder?  Simple.  Watch John during it.  His enthusiasm and dancing  make it fun!

Will the return to reality hurt?  Extremely.  I might, once again, question my decision to go then.  Yet, I know that I could look back to this blog and even the blogs prior to today’s to remember that it was worth it.  The Berkeley show and  last night’s show made all of the driving worth it, for example.  Being front row made it all the more special.  These shows and this tour reminded me of the fun, the friendship and the pure escape that comes with the territory.  Isn’t that what it is all about?!  It is for me.

-A

 

Guest Blog: A Drug is a Drug

By Veronika

I’m not making light of drug addiction; but for me, Duran Duran is sort of drug. It’s much like what Simon sings about in the song, “Drug.” Take me every morning, take me every night. Some like it hot, but I like it Duran. Once you get a little taste, you want more and more. I definitely got a hit of my favorite drug this past week.

Essentially with a brand-new album, live shows, and being all over the media, this Duran-addicted life reached a fever pitch these past several days.

Some of my inspiration for writing this came from seeing them on the Today show. Hearing the new music was exhilarating and knowing that it was on a national stage made it even better! They’ve been doing this for years when they release an album.  They usually get this kind of promotion, and it’s always exciting for fans to see it all, but for some reason the addiction feels different. To use a word  that many writers have used when describing the album – the term triumphant seems appropriate.

Hearing Nick say in a recent interview that they see themselves continuing to do this for the next 15 to 20 years makes me feel overjoyed and overwhelmed with how much of a fixture they are going to continue to be in my life. This (again!) gives me that triumphant feeling as if I won something!  I think what I (and many others) have won was the, “pick-a-band-you-think-is-cool-and-see-if-they-will-last” game. I certainly never gave thought when I discovered Duran Duran as to how long they might last. Now that I can grasp their longevity, and the music they are making is phenomenal, it feels like I am the champion of picking awesome bands! All who read this blog can consider themselves triumphant, and likely as addicted!

Never has being a fan been so exciting!  Not only am I getting personal enjoyment out of this new journey for the band, I am able to share it with all of the new friends I’ve made through social media! Listening to the new songs  and deciphering lyrics for the first time was a joy I could share with other Duranies in real-time. Talking about immediate reactions and which songs were favorites was instantaneous, continuing to feed my addiction. When I was a little kid watching their videos I would have never dreamed I’d be able to have meaningful conversation with others who feel the same as me (even if we are miles away) many years later. Yet, I was texting and tweeting like a crazy person. An excited, overjoyed, enthusiastic crazy person! We feed off of one another, and the loyalty for the band seems to keep growing in direct response. It was sweet that others cared enough to stop what they were doing and give me a smiley face emoji back just because I confessed my newfound love for one of the new songs or to join me in a moment of silence for John’s bass line in “Only in Dreams”. So, thank you to all of you who have been busying letting your fingers do the talking about all of our favorite subjects: Duran Duran! What a thrill, and I want to keep getting more!

On a more personal level, there is so much Duran happening right now and I have found it extremely difficult to concentrate fully on other areas of my life. I just wanna hear the music more!! That’s why they feel like a drug! I really wanted to share my week’s experience with you all and hope that you all had a similar fun time talking to others and jamming out to Paper Gods!

Like anyone else, I waited with bated breath for the release of the album, and some names that were mentioned as having been included on the album made me feel even more triumphant! I am a big fan of Mew and Jonas Bjerre. His voice is heavenly. When I heard he was going to be on the album I lost it! Now that I have heard “Change the Skyline”, I still cannot believe it exists. I am still in disbelief that this relatively unknown Danish singer whom I adore is on a Duran Duran album. I feel like they are spying on my iTunes purchases. Maybe a duet with Ed MacFarlane from Friendly Fires is next. I can dream.

My addiction sometimes bleeds into real life: I saw Duran Duran at Red Rocks recently, and the excitement of a live show hasn’t faded!  Pure adrenaline is more like it! It brings me so much happiness that I can be there for them and support them because they were always there to support me with their music over the years.  I stood there with pride as they performed “Pressure Off”, “Last Night in the City” and even “What are the Chances” triumphantly, and as the night ticked away, I knew I needed more.

And the addiction carries on…

 

Veronika wishes to remain anonymous, but if we could tell you anything about her, we would say that she is a lifelong fan, loves Simon and lives in Texas!

Review: Duran Duran Performs on the TODAY Show

My fellow Duranie Stephanie and I entered the chance to win Fan Passes for the band’s Today Show performance on September 17 . We live in Western New York, so the travel time to New York City is at least 6 hours. Not to mention, we both have jobs with limited time off, so our attitude was if we get passes, we’ll just figure out how to go. We really didn’t expect to win them at all. But then Stephanie got the email a week before the show saying she won a Fan Pass (good for 2 people). Our conversation together went something like this:

“Holy cow!”

“Can we do it?”

“Would we be able to take the time off with such short notice?”

“Can we afford to go?”

“It doesn’t matter – we are going!!”

So after an abnormally long train ride, we finally get to NYC around 11 pm. We decided to go to a bar near Penn Station and the sign outside says “Welcome Madonna fans!” Wait – what??? Madonna was at Madison Square Garden that night? That was just a block away! How cool would that have been if we could have seen that show too?!

Back to Duran-land: The Fan Pass instructions said they would start letting people in at 5:30 am and no one would be let in after 6 am. We decided to get there around 5:00 and figured we’d be early enough. We knew that we couldn’t get front-row spots because there’s a VIP section between the stage and the Fan Pass section. But we would be closer than the general admission audience, so we’ll just see what we can get. We saw on Facebook that some fans were there around midnight. We decided that if we were going to stay up all night, we’d prefer to spend the time having a few pints and some food. (I know, I never said we were the most hardcore fans! Just hardcore enough to skip work and travel to NYC for a free show.)

So we got to the Fan Pass line around 5 am. We waited. And waited. I met some (of course) nice people in line and we all commiserated about how early it was.

Today_PreDawn

Today_Waiting

Finally we received our passes which certified that yes, we are now official FANS!

Today_FanPass

(*Before judging our appearance in the photo, please remember that we stayed up all night before the show!)

It was after 6 am and we still hadn’t been let into the plaza. Now we were starting to get a little angry – and you don’t want to anger Duranies at this hour of the morning. But shortly after 6, a couple black vehicles pull up to the plaza entrance and we heard some fans squealing. Clearly the band had finally arrived. I debated whether the delay was due to Nick’s primping, John getting his hair to defy gravity, or Simon squeezing into his pants. Whatever the reason, we were all glad they finally arrived! Having been at the last-minute-cancellation in Atlantic City in 2012, I was starting to feel like this show might not happen either. But the boys were here – and we were all eager to see them.

Having watched the Today Show concerts on the plaza, I had an idea of what the venue would be like. However, once I was actually there, I realized (spoiler alert) it was a lot smaller than it appeared on TV. But frankly my reaction was, “Well then, I’ll be even closer to the stage than I thought I would be!” As you can see from the sound check photo, it was still pretty dark out when we were let into the plaza. It was rather strange to watch a show that started in the dark and ended when it was light. But as weird as it was for me, it has to be much weirder for the band.

Today_Soundcheck

We get into the Fan Pass area and the band is already doing their sound check and rehearsal. To me, this was the coolest part of the experience. Maybe some of you have been at shows where you’ve seen the band do sound check. This was such a treat and a unique experience. I loved that we saw them in their street clothes. We heard their songs multiple times, starting and stopping mid-song. I was thrilled to see that Kiesza was going to perform with them because “Last Night in the City” is my (current) favorite track off Paper Gods. And every time they played it, I loved it even more.

Today_Soundcheck_Kiesza

It was hard to tell if the band was in “sound check mode” or if they were grumpy for having to play so early in the morning. Of course the fans were all excited and we had our second wind and were ready for the show! Simon was a little playful with the crowd but I was hoping for a little more. They finished up sound check and left the stage, so we didn’t know how long it would be until they played again. I think a producer from the Today Show gave us the times the band would be on, but we didn’t listen too closely. I was secretly hoping the band would play an entire concert, but knew that was a little too much to hope for. However I was thankful for whatever we could get.

Here’s the setlist as it happened in real-time:

Ordinary World – This was played/filmed first but actually aired in the last hour of the show. I thought it was a downer to start with, and I worried that Simon wouldn’t hit the high notes, but he killed it. In fact the vocals and sound were amazing all around. I saw some chatter online about how the sound on TV wasn’t great. I thought it was awesome in person.

Notorious (snippet) – The show bumped to commercial with this one. If you watched the show and felt like you got cheated out of the song, don’t worry – we did too. What you saw is all we got.

Last Night in the City (with Kiesza) –  If you watch the video you see around 2:52 Kiesza misses the start of her solo verse. She kept missing it in rehearsal too. Methinks Le Bon got Le Pissed.

Hungry Like the Wolf – Overplayed or not, the guys still sold it. And I think this was the one that the crowd was most enthusiastic about.

Pressure Off –  When introducing the band, Savannah Guthrie was a little flustered and called the new album “Paper Goods”. She was standing so close to JT I would have been flustered too.

Today_Savannah

Save a Prayer – This one they played just for us in the plaza. I’m not sure how others felt, but I was kind of bummed that this was the last song. I’m so used to them ending on an upbeat song that it felt pretty weird for that to be the final song.

I was convinced that they’d play Sunrise given that, well, we were all there together for the sunrise that day. And it’s definitely one that the crowd gets into. Next time guys, OK?

Watching the show back on my DVR, I really enjoyed seeing the little bits when the anchors talked to the audience and showed us arriving pre-dawn. Speaking of the anchors, (a) Carson Daly has piercing blue eyes! I wasn’t standing too close to him but man, those are some sparkly blue eyes! And (b) we saw Dylan Dreyer after the show and man, she is tiny!

I had a great time chatting with fans around us. One woman said it was her first time seeing the band ever. I told her it’s never too late! And to be able to see them that close for free, what a way to see your first show!

Having been to a handful of Duran shows now, I really try to not be stuck behind my camera or phone and fret about getting a great photo or the best video. I really wanted to soak in this unique opportunity and have no regrets. My only regret is that we didn’t show more enthusiasm because then we would have been picked to go down in front of the stage and dance. That would have been incredible, however I was a little camera-shy because I was sort of playing hooky from work, so I wasn’t anxious to be all over the TV screen. Next time Steph, OK?

Thanks to my friend and partner in crime for inviting me to be her +1. I had a wonderful adventure and can’t wait to see them on tour in 2016. If you ever have a chance to start your day with a Duran Duran show, I highly recommend it!

Story & videos from the Today Show

-PamG

Paper Gods: The Bonus Tracks

Like most of our readers, I’ve been settling in with Paper Gods for a couple of weeks now. During that time, I went from not feeling really sure about the album, to finding tracks that I really like, to falling in love with particular songs; and of course, to being able to list favorites. I have also done as Simon asked, and listened to the album the entire way through…. many times now. I have to say, listening to it all in a single sitting is worth the time. Not that the album literally tells a story – I don’t think it’s exactly a concept album in that regard, but I think that it does have its own tale to tell. Paper Gods gives a snapshot of a particular period of time in the lives of the people who created it, and I also think there is much to say about how the album translates to the history of the band in general – but that’s a topic for another time! Today, we’re talking bonus tracks!

For me, my favorites can almost all be found in the bonus tracks – whether we’re talking about the Target version or the Fan Deluxe version (and between them both you have ALL of the available bonus material).  I have to admit that I squealed more than once when I first listened to a couple of the songs, and I’ve really given a lot of thought as to why these songs weren’t included in the regular album.  I love Paper Gods, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t quite hitting all of my buttons, so to speak. I couldn’t put my finger on what was needed, which hindered me from truly embracing the album until I finally just decided it didn’t matter. My ears liked what I was hearing, and I felt like maybe I was just trying to pick out what might be wrong instead of enjoying what was there.

Fast forward to the day I had all of the bonus tracks at hand and sat down in my car to listen to them. The things I felt were missing seemed to be present in these songs, and for me, they round out the album beautifully and tick off all of the boxes that I still felt needed ticking. What was once an album I liked but didn’t love suddenly became an album I completely embraced. And in fairness, I really have thought a lot about why these are just bonus tracks. The truth is, as much as I love them – and they are all great songs on their own – they might not necessarily blend in that well with the album. In my head, the album – the 12 tracks that were released in the standard version of Paper Gods – create a full statement. I suppose in a lot of ways, it’s up to each of us to decide what the full meaning of that statement might be. Perhaps these extra songs, for whatever reason, don’t really add to that statement. Maybe they don’t blend as well as the others… but even so, I can count at least one of them on my “all time favorite songs” list.

Planet Roaring: At first, the song reminds me very much of “Flight of the Bumblebee,” 2015 edition.  The intro grabs your attention, and then suddenly Simon’s voice comes in, and I love the way he sounds. This is a song that, as far as my ears can tell, is meant for fans.  I love the uplifting sound, the words as only a real fan could recognize as our journey with this band.  I would absolutely be bowled over if they played it live – and the die hards would be singing right along, loud and proud.

Valentine Stones: This is a title that I’ve heard floating around for months…and I’m sure I’m not the only fan that thought to myself, “Valentine? That sounds vaguely familiar!” I have no idea what a Valentine Stone is, but I like it. I won’t lie, to me – this is essential Duran Duran. It’s the type of sound I expect, there’s no fancy featured vocalists, and it’s exactly what I needed to hear.

Northern Lights: I have read quite a few comments from people asking what that “walking around” part at the beginning is really about. I must be crazy, because I love it.  It reminds me of hiking, and yeah, I really like it when I’m wearing ear buds and hear it. I’m not super crazy about the beginning synthesizer notes – they remind me of what an alien ship would sound like if it were landing, but the rest of the song more than makes up for it.  THIS song reminds me of what “modern” Duran Duran should sound like.  The softness of the music with just a tinge of…I’m really not sure how to characterize it…darkness maybe(??)…in the vocals…it’s what I would expect Duran circa 2015 to be.

On Evil Beach: This song sounds like it could have been included on the bands very first album, albeit with perhaps a bit more technology involved than what the band may have had at hand back then. The lyrics are fairly simple and short, but the sound is as brand-Duran as anything I’ve heard in the past 37 years….and I like it.

Cinderella Ride: Without giving anything away (ha!)…this is my favorite of the bunch. Any element that I could have possibly missed from Paper Gods, as well as ALL of the elements I love best from a Duran Duran song are represented, along with gorgeous lyrics. I adore the guitar part (is that really a surprise?) and the strength of the drums – THIS is what I have missed.  In a word? Balance…with one of the best choruses I’ve heard since Duran Duran 1981. Modern, without completely losing the soul of what this band was, and is.

The bonus tracks have really filled out this album for me, and I find them playing them endlessly on repeat, going from one to another thinking to myself, “Oh, I love this one!” I can’t imagine I’m alone.

-R

This is where it starts

This is one of those days where I don’t really know where to start. Paper Gods debuted at number ten on the Billboard Hot 200…I’m still wrapping my head around that wonderful news… Duran Duran played at Red Rocks last night for the first time…apparently Simon smooched my guy on the cheek (I am honestly not sure how I would have responded to that. I’m used to JoSi, but DoSi?!? WOW.)…I’m avoiding any and all YouTube clips of new songs because I want to be surprised…  and then comes my thought and preparation for next week…

There’s just too much…and yet I want it all!

I posted about the Billboard chart last night, and I’m still so incredibly proud this morning. To see this band back on the charts again is such an accomplishment. I’m happy for them and their team, but I’m also thrilled for fans around the world – we’ve all done our part to make this happen, and now the sound of that celebration is taking place!!

Yesterday, the band played their show at Red Rocks (if anyone wants to give a first person review of the show – our gmail box is ready!!). I have never been to that specific venue, but I’ve been to that area before – and it is beyond words. Stunningly gorgeous. Someone said to me last night that the venue is magical, and I think that’s the perfect word for it.  I’m aiming to live without regrets, but there is a part of me that does regret missing out on that show.

photo courtesy of Duran Duran/Twitter
photo courtesy of Duran Duran/Twitter

Then of course comes the excited tweets/texts/messages from friends after the show…all basically warning me that I should probably begin making funeral arrangements because when I see them that up close and personal at the Hollywood Bowl next Thursday, I might die. This is true.  I did happen to see a clip of Planet Earth from Red Rocks (I didn’t say I wouldn’t watch clips from songs I’ve heard before!), and let me just say – as much as I try not to fawn and fangirl – if Dom and John come to center stage like that, it’s going to be REALLY tough for me not to scream my head off.  As Amanda said to me earlier this morning over email, “we are going to die.”  Well then. (PS – I really WILL die if Dom wears those leather pants…and then again, if it’s as hot that day as it is going to be this week, he really will too!)

photo courtesy of Getty Images (photoshop courtesy of Rhonda!!)
photo courtesy of Getty Images (Photoshop courtesy of Rhonda!!)

Anybody have video of Simon planting a big ole fat kiss on Dom’s cheek last night?? That moment alone may have been worth the price of admission… Well done, Simon!  I miss out on the best moments sometimes, but then, I’m trying to really not watch the new songs or arrangements because I really do want to be completely shocked and surprised next week. The waiting is really tough though!! I heard they played “What Are the Chances” last night, and I already know going in that if the song comes up in the set list, I am going to need to steady myself and prepare to have my mind blown. I accept the challenge willingly.  I also heard they’ve played Danceophobia a couple of times now….and yes, CK Shortell, I am well aware that Dom co-wrote it, thanks ever so much for the reminder. Again.  I’ll just say now, it’s not my favorite song, but we’ll see how it plays live.

I guess I’m really kind of dumbfounded that my adventure begins next week. Thanks to the kindness of a good friend, I was able to secure a ticket to the after show concert for Jimmy Kimmel on Tuesday. I’m thrilled because I’ve never gone to anything like that before, and well – it’s Duran Duran.  I can’t wait to see my friends who are coming in early just to go to Kimmel, and I’m also nervous about how I’m going to take my kids out of school early so that I can get up to LA. (Before I am nailed with “bad mom” comments, I also home school. This is just their extra learning-center classes, so you can keep those comments to yourself unless you do what I do.) There is also a tinge of sadness because while I’m enjoying that concert, Amanda will be on her own “bus” to get to California. The band really needs to check with our travel schedules before planning these things….  I will pick her up after Jimmy Kimmel and then the fun truly begins. Not that seeing the band isn’t already going to be fun, but well…without Amanda it’s just a little different.

There is a lot for me to do between now and next week, not the least of which is getting the Daily Duranie-mobile ready for a road trip! That’s right – rather than fly from LA up to Oakland and back, we’re driving. We’re literally taking off after the Bowl on Thursday night, driving up to see the show in Berkeley, and then driving back down to Rancho Mirage (which is really near Palm Springs).  It’s just over a thousand miles, much of that driving will be done at night after the shows, because we’re really that crazy, and we had to do this trip as “cheaply” as possible so that way next year I can make it out to where ever we can for the larger tour that the band is planning for next year.  Before I get too far ahead, our blogs for next week/weekend will be posted…but the timing may be quite a bit different from what you’re used to. I imagine Amanda or I typing in the car, using my phone as a hotspot to get things online as we’re driving up the 5 freeway through the middle of California…. so we’ll see how this goes. It’s always an adventure!!

As for next year, I am seriously hoping, praying and ready to do sacrificial offerings if necessary so that we can travel during Amanda’s spring break in late March…or wait until Summer if that ends up being the case.  Long weekends are getting tougher and tougher to manage, so we’re hoping for a straight week that we can get together, unencumbered by work!

For now at least, I need to get my mind OFF of Duran Duran and back to work…they sure don’t make that easy, do they?!?

-R

AMEX Presents: Duran Duran at Terminal 5

By Michelle Duran (Daily Duranie Contributor)

On Monday September 14, I ventured to West 56th street in NYC to see Duran Duran at Terminal 5. While it was my first time there, Terminal 5 is a familiar venue to many East Coast Duranies since the band played there with Celebrity DJ Steve Aoki back in June, 2012 as part of Trident Gum’s See What Unfolds series, which featured interesting (read: weird) pairings of performers. After seeing plenty of Aoki videos on YouTube, I chose to skip his “Gallagher meets DJ” shtick while several of my friends went and ended up with green cake icing in places where no frosting belongs.

Regardless, the AMEX event promised to be a very different show, with DD’s core fan base at full strength. In fact, there were three thousand die-hard fans packed into Terminal 5’s GA floor and two levels of balconies, with a select few getting coveted seats along the VIP balconies on John’s side of the stage. The rest of us packed in like sardines in front of the stage. Thanks to those who heard snippets of the sound check that afternoon, we were eagerly anticipating new music and at least one deep cut from our favorite band.

Museum of Love, a New York City band featuring Pat Mahoney, formerly the drummer for LCD Soundsystem, on vocals went on stage at 8:15 pm. As openers go, they were good. I’d put them solidly in the middle of the pack for DD opening acts. The songs were relatively long – they played for about thirty-five minutes but only played about six songs. The music is sort of mellow jamming EDM, if that makes sense. You can listen to their self-titled debut on Spotify if you’d like to get a better idea. Throughout their performance, fans kept the party vibe going by tossing several happy face balloons through the air.

Once Museum of Love finished, the crowd eagerly waited for Duran Duran to take the stage as soon as possible. Finally, at 9:20 pm many who’d hope for a new opening song had our wish granted when we heard the beginning chant of Paper Gods as Simon and the other band members emerged from the stage’s machine made fog to play the seven plus minutes of deliciousness that is the title track of their new album. Even though it was only the first time live, it’s already evident that this song is a new favorite with fans and I hope they keep it as the opener for the West Coast shows.   The band themselves seemed just as happy to play it live as we were hearing it. Simon was in full front man persona, enjoying the attention as he danced around the stage in a black sequined jacket and white jeans.

The black and white theme was well represented by everyone on stage. Anna Ross looked stunning in a dress featuring black and white angled stripes. The only doses of color were the red stripe on the inseam of Dom’s trousers and the hot pink screen-print of John’s tee, courtesy of a Punk Masters.

Next up was AVTAK, which they arranged with a little more of a Bond theme introduction than when it was performed on the AYNIN tour. This isn’t the full orchestral Ronson mix of 2009 but it was definitely a bit meatier than what they did in 2012.

Although I’ve seen complaints on social media that Terminal 5 doesn’t have great acoustics, I thought the band sounded terrific as they played both old hits like Notorious and new songs like Pressure Off with enthusiasm.   They’ve now played Pressure Off on stage several times and it seems as though they feel as comfortable with it live as anything in their catalogue. In fact, they were in great form all night and you could tell that they were really enjoying being on stage.

After the perennial Amanda favorite (wink-wink), Come Undone, Simon made reference to how the next song was exactly about “this sort of situation” waving his hand between the audience and himself before launching into Last Night in the City.   This is a song that grows on you more and more every time you hear it and it’s the perfect showcase for Simon’s voice which sounds stronger than ever. The soaring vocals were nothing short of phenomenal live and you could tell Simon was pleased with how the entire audience responded. LNitC is also a very electronic song. John plays only the keyboards, there’s no traditional bass and Dom really doesn’t have much to do on guitar. Regardless, John threw himself into playing the keyboards with his usual intensity.

The band returned to their roots with The Reflex, Simon leading the crowd in a longer than usual version of the Ta-Na-Na-Na’s and then immediately followed with one of my favorites live, Planet Earth.   Next came White Lines and even though we knew the controversial water spit was coming, Simon somehow snuck up on us. I managed to dodge most of it but if I come down with a cold next week, I’m blaming “Lebonitis.”   After playing hits Ordinary World, Wild Boys, and Reach Up for the Sunrise, the band launched into another song from Paper Gods, Danceophobia.   Anna did a great job with the Lindsey Lohan spoken word part, working the stage. The song is another that strongly favors vocals and electronics at the expense of guitar and bass and there were times when John literally had nothing to do except dance to the music. I’ll admit this is my least favorite song from Paper Gods, so I may be biased but it didn’t seem to go over with the crowd as well as the other new songs.

There’s no doubt however, that the next song was definitely well received. A friend told me that Too Much Information was last played live in 2001, meaning that this would’ve been the first time Roger EVER played it live and for John, possibly the first since 1993’s OW tour. The absence of John’s bass on Danceophobia was ever more apparent when you could literally feel as well as hear it on TMI. IMO, TMI is one of those underappreciated third singles that never realized its potential on the U.S. charts. I thought it was a great song then and it still sounds fantastic today. From there, the band immediately launched into Girls on Film, again a change from the past few tours when GOF was always in the encore and always used for the band intros.   They’ve changed up the beginning of the song. This version of GOF had a bit more of an electronic sound but John’s bass was still prominent. The band had the audience sing along with the chorus and once again, skipped the intros.   GOF signaled the end of the regular set but after a very brief reprieve, the band was back with another fan favorite that had been absent from the last tour, Save A Prayer. Okay, anyone who knows me knows this is my favorite song of all time so of course, I was happy to have it back in the set. We all swayed and sang along as the feeling of being back where we all belonged – the band and its fans was almost palpable.

photo courtesy of Michelle Duran
photo courtesy of Michelle Duran

The night finished with a high energy version of Rio. I never want that song to end, since it’s always the last of the night and it seemed as though the band felt the same way with John and Dom both strumming those last notes as long as possible.   As the crowd cheered and cheered at the end, John spoke one last time “We’ll see you soon” before the band exited the stage. I for one can’t wait.

Yes, there is YouTube video, check GothicblueCJ’s YouTube account for great footage of the show.

Lessons We Have Learned (On Our FIFTH Birthday!)

It is that time of year again, and we can hardly believe it! This year is kind of a landmark for us because as we type, Daily Duranie has hit the five year mark. FIVE YEARS!! Where does the time go? How on earth did we really find that much to write about?!? (we have no idea…)

While we want to shout from the rooftops and celebrate exuberantly, we also find ourselves just the tiniest bit reflective. During this past five years, we have learned a lot. We’ve learned about the band, music industry, fandom, and most importantly,  about ourselves and each other. Since today is a special day, we’ve decided to share some of what we’ve learned (so far) along our way.

Knowing when it is time to take a break

We are hard workers. Some might even say we’re a little obsessed or OCD (both are true). We don’t take often take breaks, and we don’t cut ourselves much slack. The blog is titled “Daily”, and it took us quite a while to understand that even so, if the blog doesn’t get written…the world will not end. Sometimes, we need a break. So this past year, we took one.  It will not be our last.

Sometimes, wording matters

One of us is incredibly blunt and quick to react, and the other is carefully measured. One might think that between the two of us, we’d get it right. We try. Sometimes though, whether out of haste, impatience or downright annoyance, we miss. Sometimes we forget to soften our words or forget that not everyone else on planet earth (!) can see inside our heads. We can’t promise it’ll never happen again, but we try.

We must ask for the things we want

We are terrible when it comes to asking for help. Well, we’re actually terrible about asking for anything, actually. Time and time again we will run into fellow fans, etc. and they’ll tell us that we just have to ASK if we want something. (In that case, we have a list…) Both of us have a bit of a fear of being told no, but we’re trying, and sometimes, to our complete and utter astonishment, it even works.

We know it’s going to be OK

In the beginning, we were pretty nervous. After all, when we first started this blog, we were even afraid to sign our real names or have our pictures up online with it! Even the idea of a band member, someone on their team…or even a roadie reading our blog really and truly scared the crap out of us. We really were not writing the blog for the band to read. We weren’t really even writing for fellow fans at first. We wrote for ourselves, and to a large extent, we still do. It’s only when we stop writing for ourselves and begin thinking about what others might want to read or see that we get into trouble, and that’s something else we’ve learned along the way. (Sounds familiar to the way the band writes and records, now that we think about it!)  It wasn’t very long into the blog when Rhonda wrote something about how if the band were to ever read, she didn’t even want to know about it. That was five years ago now, and at this point, we’ve both achieved a little bit of comfort. It is no longer quite as frightening to know that our words are just “out there” for all to read…and so you know, if the band ever read the blog, we’re OK with that, even if they don’t always agree. We just hope we’re a little entertaining. We certainly make each other laugh!

It’s OK to still be fans

Once we settled into the act of writing the blog, we started noticing that writing from this space sometimes required a bit more distance from being fans than we were used to occupying. Granted, this wasn’t just because of this blog – but also due to the book we were writing. Without getting too much into what we were aiming for with the book, our “fieldwork”, so to speak, required objectivity in order to be more accurate and less “emotional”. So we got into the habit of examining behaviors and culture norms from that angle. The problem there of course is that once you stop being fans…it’s not all that much fun sometimes. Additionally, we wanted the blog to be taken seriously. If we fangirl over every last thing that’s ever done, it’s going to grow tiresome…and the last thing we want this blog to be is a pure sappy sweet love note to the band. That’s just not who we are or the image we want to convey.  We’ve been accused more times than we care to admit that because we don’t love every single blasted thing the band does, that we’re somehow “less” than fans. We’d like to challenge anyone who feels that way to run right out and set up your own blog – then write it DAILY for five years long with planning conventions, pre-concert meet-ups and writing a full manuscript on the subject of fan communities.  After that bar is met, we can certainly sit down and have a conversation about what qualities a “real” fan may or may not have. However, there are times when we desperately want to let that Duran Duran fan flag fly, and we’ve learned that on occasion, it’s not only appropriate – it’s FUN.  And if we’re not having fun…what is really the point?!?

We ALL like a little validation once in a while

We aren’t going to tell tales here: sometimes, we actually LIKE being noticed for our hard work. This doesn’t happen every day, every week or even every month, but there is a certain part of us that needs to know people like and appreciate our work, whether that acknowledgement comes from one another, other fans, other people in the media…or the band and management.  Don’t get us wrong, we love writing. We love this blog, and we love putting on events. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t bother, because it is a LOT of work.  We also love hearing that we’re doing a good job and that someone actually likes what we do. Those little moments are what get us through the day-to-day grind of figuring out how to maintain this blog and website along with raising a family, teaching a class, and being good and decent family members. We both love reading or hearing  that we’re on the right track, and that someone other than the two of us is laughing and having a good time! Especially notable are the comments from fans who have just found our blog, and are overjoyed to read that there are literally thousands of other people out there who still love this band.

Interviews are a lot of work

It never occurred to us that there are two sides to an interview: the part where you meet or communicate with whomever you are interviewing, and the part where you’re sitting down and transcribing that interview…and then writing it up. We ALL say we want to meet the band, and we ALL say we want to ask them questions, but we’re also pretty sure no one thinks about the research that goes into asking the right questions, or the fact that for every minute or two you’re interviewing – you’re also signing yourself up for about 20 minutes of transcription time.  All of that aside, Rhonda says she would be happy to interview Dom Brown again any time!  🙂

It’s OK if our opinions are different from everyone else

This is an especially timely and poignant headline for a week when Duran Duran has just released their 14th studio album. While there are plenty of fans out there that have left testimony saying that this is the best album the band has done, there are just as many fans who are less-than-thrilled. We find ourselves in the precarious position of having to be head cheerleaders AND camp counselors. We love the album, but we also know what it is like to feel as though you’re the only one who doesn’t. This isn’t a particularly forgiving fan community to voice one’s dissenting opinion, we admit. The reality is, it’s OK not to love everything the band has ever done. It’s also OK if readers don’t agree with everything we’ve written. However, we pretty much insist that a reader has actually READ the blog before choosing to take issue. So if you find yourself reading a headline and deciding that it’s time to leave us a nastygram on Facebook or Twitter or even here on the blog, don’t be surprised when we thank you kindly for taking the time and giving us the respect of actually reading our work before deciding to disagree. It’s really that simple. We don’t care if readers’ opinions are different from ours, and we really don’t mind if anyone shares their opinion. Thoughtful comments are always welcome.

Balance is important

Fun matters. Maybe some days we just want to laugh and squee over pictures of DoJo one day, or another time we post a video of Simon’s infamous dance moves (we do miss his chicken dance from Skin Trade or his infamous karate chops).  Fun is important, which is why we’re throwing ourselves our own birthday party!  Expect more fun this next year!!

Lastly, and most importantly for many reasons – the band can’t retire yet!

We mean it. We’re just getting into our groove now, and we see fantastic things ahead. Retirement? NO WAY!  There’s no quitting yet…do you hear us, Duran Duran?  We’re in this for the long haul, people!

 

SO….

Here we are, at the beginning of a brand new year of Daily Duranie. I (Rhonda) am not really sure what made me choose September 13th 2010 as the day to begin this blog, but I am glad I did. While I wrote the first post, Amanda had to agree to this insane venture otherwise I would have never even taken those first steps while she was at work on that fateful day. I remember shakily typing -R at the end of my first writing, not really sure what I had just done. Then I literally shut my laptop and didn’t look at it again until the following day. That was back during the time when I gave myself 30 minutes each day to write the blog. HA. It’s more like a half-day gig now, and some days, even longer. It’s been a wild, crazy ride so far, to say the least. With a brand new album and tour just ahead, I have no doubt that we will have a good many more stories and tales to tell ahead. Thank you for sticking with us, for supporting our efforts, and for just being good people. Huge hugs and thank you’s also go to our muses – Simon, John, Nick, Roger and Dom – without your work, the blog would never have been started. Even bigger hugs go to Katy Krassner and the rest of DDHQ, because we appreciate your help, the occasional retweet, and all of the shared information.

It takes a village to support a band. We are incredibly lucky to be a part of such a wonderful one.  🙂

-A & R

Steppin’ Out with Paper Gods

In preparation for tomorrow’s release of Paper Gods, we decided to offer our own quick “shot” in summation for each song.  Rest assured that at some point not far in the future, we will write full Daily Duranie song reviews with cocktail ratings to match, but until then, enjoy our Daily Duranie “Happy Hour”, and have some shots on us!

Paper Gods

Rhonda:

I tried to prepare myself for what Paper Gods could possibly sound like, and even then – I couldn’t have been farther off. I’m still stumbling over myself to try to fully absorb this song, but one thing is sure: these lyrics have the depth and emotion I’ve been craving. 

Amanda:

This song is one of three songs that we did a video review for when it first was made available.  My thoughts about it haven’t really changed.  I appreciate that this song is like the anti-single, the anti-radio focused track as it doesn’t follow much when it comes to standard radio friendly tracks.  It is long, has frequent changes and just seems unpredictable.  I like all that and I like that they just embraced the art, for art sake on this one, and added a social commentary on top of that.

Last Night in the City

Rhonda:

If there were ever a party song…or a to fully describe a road trip with Amanda & Rhonda…this is it. I know plenty of people have a love/hate relationship with EDM, and I’ve got to be honest…I just don’t care. It took me more than one listen to get into this song, but once I finally stopped trying to cram Duran Duran into the “box” that held them in the 80’s,  I couldn’t stop myself from wiggling in my chair or bobbing my head as I listened. That’s all that matters.

Amanda:

I’ll be completely honest with this song.  When I first heard it, I told Rhonda that it reminded me of a bad, meat market type club that I would never want to go to.  It didn’t sound or feel like Duran, initially, to me.  It is very electronic and I missed the feel of organic instrumentation.  Then, at the same time, Rhonda and I realized that the lyrics describe what it is like for us when we are on tour.  It is that complete focus on having fun and connecting.  The female vocals just makes me connect to the song even more.  Now, I still think the song is very different from what I think of when I think Duran but it is super fun and has become a favorite on the album.

You Kill Me With Silence

Rhonda:

So, we did already do a video review of this song, which were our first impressions. I had difficulty with the chorus/verse changes and felt it really watered down the song. That said, I must admit this one is slowly growing on me. On one hand, it’s like Simon LeBon lives in my head and I thank him for putting my feelings into words. On the other hand, this song has just enough darkness for me to make it interesting. Who doesn’t love that Nick Rhodes solo at the end? Come on now!

Amanda:

Again, this is one of the songs that we reviewed earlier in video format.  Like Paper Gods, my feelings about it haven’t changed that much.  One change is that I might not be as critical of the chorus now that I have gotten more used to it.  That said, I’m still struggle a little. Perhaps, the subject matter is partly to blame for that.  I have a hard time really loving a song with the focus of emotional abuse in relationships. 

Pressure Off

Rhonda:

I’m always amazed by the responses out there in the fan community. To me, this is the easiest song on the album to fall in love with, and I still say this has the strongest hook I’ve heard in a Duran Duran song since the 80’s. To others, “this is like listening to Simon sing High School Musical.”   If the band wanted me to dance, this was the way to do it! The one thing that has changed for me since I first heard is that it sounds nothing like the rest of the album, and as a result it is (still) a standout! 

Amanda:

In many ways, now that I have heard the album as a whole, this song doesn’t match the feel of much of the rest.  That said, it is still a favorite.  To me, the instrumentation feels very Duran and the lyrics are just fun.  I know that some have criticized all of the “oh”s in the chorus but that even feels Duran-like (Hungry Like the Wolf, anyone??).  This is one that I’m very much looking forward to hearing live!

Face For Today

Rhonda:

Maybe I lied about Pressure Off being the easiest song to love on this album… The truth is, I really like this song too. It’s very “Duran Duran”, complete with the stacked harmonies and soaring chorus…I just wish (and this goes for the entire album) that they’d create more of a balance with their instrumentation. There, I said it. Done.

Amanda:

I enjoyed this one as soon as I heard it as it is easy to like. Right away, I found the lyrics swimming around in my head as I tried to figure out what the heck it is about. Quickly, I began to feel that this was the band giving advice and well wishes to those young and super popular bands now. This added some depth to the song.

Danceophobia

Rhonda:

The tune is slightly catchy while the lyrics are very elementary. The addition of Lindsay Lohan does absolutely nothing to add to the song particularly when it’s clear she is having difficulty not laughing while “singing” the last portion of the song after her dreadful spoken part.  On the upside, it does add something to the album that magazine editors and trash TV “celeb” news shows LOVE to dish on. Cringe-worthy at best.

Amanda:

It seems to me with many of these tracks I had strong reactions as soon as I heard them.  For some, it was an instant like and others I had to hope that the song would grow on me.  It did for Last Night in the City but…I am not as successful with this one.  I start to get passed the silly lyrics and non-Duran music then Lohan comes in.  I just don’t think her part works.  Is she supposed to be taken seriously?  Is it supposed to be funny?  Sexy?  I just don’t get it.

What Are the Chances

Rhonda:

I fell in love with this song as soon as I heard it. As I said on Twitter, there’s only ONE thing wrong with this song, and it’s that Dom Brown isn’t playing the lead guitar part. I don’t know if I’ll ever quite forgive them. That said, I’m pretty sure I’ll forget all about this small oversight should they play this live with Dom playing the part that should have been his to begin with.  PS – These lyrics? Really??? Beautifully done.

Amanda:

This isn’t my usual song to gravitate towards.  I am much more of an up tempo, rocking out sort of person.  I have gotten bored over many of the more ballad type songs in Duran’s catalog over the years.  Yet, this isn’t really that.  It does have a “bigger than normal” sort of feel like an Ordinary World has with some really great lines in the lyrics that will keep me interested for years to come.

Sunset Garage

Rhonda:

When someone is able to tell me what a Sunset Garage is, I will be much better able to talk about this song. Until then, I’m still struck by how “not” Duran Duran this song really is…and how much I enjoy it, even though I still see the Brady Bunch “Silver Platter” episode in my head as it plays. Definitely a tune for a summer night taking a drive along the coast. Gonna keep on, keep on…. (if you don’t get the reference, click here)

Amanda:

This is a song that simply had not hit me.  It isn’t one that has created strong emotion in me, either super positive or super negative.  The song has left me more puzzled than anything else.  I don’t understand the message.  I will be interested to see if this one grows on me after time.

Change the Skyline

Rhonda:

From the first sounds of the synth intro, I think it’s pretty clear this isn’t your average Duran Duran tune. I can’t help but think about how this song might have sounded with Brandon Flowers…but Jonas Bjerre does a good job. This is a song that I’m still trying to hash out and find a comfy spot, but there’s a lot going on here to like. 

Amanda:

This is the one track that got lost when listening to the album.  I’m not sure why with that chorus.  At first, I wasn’t sure about having Jonas Bjerre on this track.  Yet, his vocals and the song is starting to grow on me.  I’m starting to pay more and more attention to it, which is leading to greater appreciation.  It is one that I’m anxious to take the time to really read and digest the lyrics. 

Butterfly Girl

Rhonda:

The best part of this song for me is that Anna Ross is featured, and I love her. She brings an energy that this song was crying for, and I can hardly wait to hear them play this song live. Oh yes, the guitar. It’s good even if it’s not Dom (but he is going to blow the audience away with this live)…and there’s only one kind of happy in a glass of wine. (we all learn something from Duran Duran, don’t we?)

Amanda:

This is one of my favorite tracks on the album.  Like Last Night in the City, I love the additional female vocal (Go Anna!) and I usually don’t go for female vocals.  Musically, the song grabs me but more than that is the picture of this girl that is created.  She seems so specific and, yet, so universal.  I think many people can relate.  Goodness knows that I certainly do.  What more can you ask for?

Only In Dreams

Rhonda:

This song starts off reminding me of Before the Rain, and then very quickly turns into this gorgeous dream-like scene. Definitely a favorite of mine on the album. Simon sings like it’s a lullaby (and I really want to know who is on backup vocals…), and I love the calm that comes over me until the funk hits after the intro. Then I’m completely in it for the long haul. Vampires, limousines, reminds me of some elements of fandom…and no, I don’t want to wake up. 

Amanda:

Like the previous song, this is another favorite.  I love the opening which reminds me of Before the Rain.  Of course, it quickly changes to something else completely different.  Then, there are more changes as the song moves further along.  I love all of the changes.  Even more importantly than that, I love the lyrics.  There are so many great lines in this one and as a whole it really feels like Simon is describing fandom.  With good times in fandom, it is like being in a dream that you don’t want to wake up from!

The Universe Alone

Rhonda:

Here’s the thing: this song is pure Duran Duran genius from start to finish. It is also the darkest and deepest song on the album. I listen and get this scary sense of foreboding that makes the hair on my neck stand up and my emotions run way high every time I listen. I’d forgotten that Duran Duran can write like this – appealing to the modern sound they strive for,  with some of the deepest writing (both music and lyrics) I’ve heard them do in decades. Well done, Duran Duran, you’ve managed to make me extremely uncomfortable (as all art should!) AND love the song at the same time. Thumbs way, way, up.  

Amanda:

The first and only word that comes to mind when I hear this song is haunting.  It feels like goodbye.  I don’t know if it is the end of the world type goodbye or individuals leaving a huge chapter in their lives but it definitely feels like closure of some sort.  The first line really sets the tone about how there can be beauty within dying.  That said, it isn’t an easy song to want to listen to because it creates so many uncomfortable feelings in me.  Despite that, I adore the ending with the distortion followed by the beautiful chorus.

 

We can’t wait to read your own thoughts as you listen to the album yourselves. It took both of us some time to adjust to the new sounds and feelings, and as you can see – we’re still adjusting, but we welcome the challenge. We also congratulate the band and look forward to seeing them LIVE in the coming weeks!!

-A&R

Bonding with Paper Gods

Lately I have come to the realization that there are remarkably few songs that I fall in love with immediately….”love at first listen”, so to speak. I don’t know if it has always been that way and I’m just now noticing; or if it is that my tastes have changed, my condition more stringent, and it just takes much more to impress me.

I’ve sat back over the past couple of weeks, eyeballing Twitter and Facebook, observing comments that many fans have excitedly and/or begrudgingly posted about the new material. I’ve seen both ends of the spectrum and everything in-between, feelings ranging from disgust to euphoria. Publicly, four songs have been released with eight more to eventually arrive. We’re sixteen days away from release of Paper Gods, and the general mood amongst fans is that of anticipation, whether anxious or otherwise.

I share in that anticipation to some extent, as I wait to see what others think of the album in full. In the meantime, I’ve been listening, digesting, contemplating and coming back around for more. I can’t lie, it’s been a struggle….a term I’ve used a lot lately while discussing Paper Gods amongst friends.

Let me put it another way: for me, Paper Gods is a bit like a newborn baby. When you’re a parent, you’re given this infant and, as nature goes, parents are expected to love and care for it. That feeling is inherent as you stare down at that wiggly little bundle, but the whole experience feels foreign. It is assumed that love is immediate, but I can say that at least for myself, it was something that needed to grow over time. Those bonds aren’t quite there yet, other than what you know you’re supposed to have.

Right now, that’s exactly where I’m at with this album. There are elements I really like. Songs I actually enjoy. Then I start really listening and wondering where in the hell the bass REALLY is (I know, I know, there’s a lot of synthesized bass on the album), and why there’s not more “real” Roger…and don’t even get me started on guitar…or more precisely, who SHOULD be playing guitar. Then I start feeling like I’ve completely missed something somewhere. This is a band that likes to reinvent themselves with each album. I prepare myself, as best as I can, to keep an open mind with every single release. It’s not easy. My gut reaction with hearing “You Kill Me With Silence” simply is not the same as when I hear “Girl Panic”, for instance.  When I listen to “Pressure Off”, I start feeling those warm fuzzies and continue to look for more with other songs off of the album.  The more I listen to “What Are the Chances”, the more I fall in love with everything from lyrics to guitar. Then I remember that Dom isn’t even playing the guitar, and I feel guilty as hell…but then I remember Dom is listed as co-writer and I start to feel at least a little better. (I am begging you, Duran Duran – please play this live and let the boy play it!!!)  There are quite a few of those moments throughout the album for me.

For me, instrumentation matters. I fell in love with a five-piece band. Drums, bass, guitar, keyboards and vocalist. When I listen to their music, I want to hear those elements. I’ve seen many people compare this album to others in the past – and even Nick himself mentions Red Carpet Massacre. Amanda and I have kind of dubbed this album “RCM-lite”, because many of those elements are contained within Paper Gods, but for us it is a much more palatable album overall. It’s still Duran Duran somewhere in there…and we didn’t find that as much with RCM. John Taylor mentions in a couple of interviews lately that for him, it was about finding where to fit in (something he also said about RCM). He says that current, modern music doesn’t really have traditional bass, so he looked to using more of a synthetic bass. Roger, someone who I think is completely open to whatever has to happen and making it work, used a stick with his bass drum at some point or another on this album. There is also a ton of electronic drums and perhaps a drum machine in there somewhere. I guess for me, it comes down to the fact that the Duran Duran I know and love uses traditional instruments right alongside the synthesizers and keyboards. I don’t know if that is always made clear on this album. The mix throughout the entire album really leans heavily towards the electronic end in many ways, which screws with my own perception. A lot of what my ears hear is Simon and Nick with whatever guest they happen to have playing with them at the time, and yet my heart and head know John and Roger (and Dom, thankyouverymuch) should be there somewhere. My hope is that while playing live, they’re all there front and center, running wild and free. No guesswork, ear buds, or fancy headphones needed.

I look forward to breathing in the excitement as the opening notes begin and the screams release the nervous anticipation, just like an uncorked champagne bottle. We will celebrate the release of this album, welcome the band back to us, and revel in the moment.  Songs that we may have once questioned will become familiar, and those wonderful bonds will become second nature, adding another album to the soundtrack of our lives.

-R