Category Archives: Uncategorized

Thank You, You’re Welcome – Part One

The inexplicable decision to record Thank You in the wake of a commercial resurgence continues to perplex me whenever I revisit it. Duran Duran have a few solid covers to their name but few of them made it onto Thank You. If they had either released a covers album on par with David Bowie’s Pin Ups (a tall order for any artist) or put out a new studio album with a few hit singles to maintain their momentum, the 1990s might have gone much differently for the band. What should have Thank You sounded like? That is a question I plan to address in part two of this essay. For now, I am more excited about the idea of younger bands wearing their Duranie influence on their sleeves.


The recent cover of “Hungry Like the Wolf” by Muse is far more significant than has been noted. The 2014 tribute album Making Patterns Rhyme was a beautiful collection of ethereal covers but apart from Warpaint (and veteran Moby), the artist list was more underground and obscure. Muse are playing sold-out arenas right now. They are one of the few rock-n-roll bands who can do that in today’s industry. And they covered “Hungry Like the Wolf” without a hint of hipster irony. If you haven’t heard this slice of sonic gold, check it out here:


Muse joins The Deftones, and Eagles of Death Metal, as contemporary bands willing to fly the Duran Duran flag with sharp covers. The influence of the band can be traced through almost every sub-genre of popular music today and popular culture’s retro fetish has again made Duran Duran fashionable. It gets me excited for what happens tomorrow. Here is my list of twelve dream covers of Duran Duran songs.


1. Peaches – “Girls On Film”


The current live version of the song by Duran is what I’m imagining with a Peaches cover. Her ability to deconstruct gender roles makes this a lyrical feast for her to dine on. Check out how she balances guitars and electronics on “Boys Wanna Be Her” and you hear some of Duran’s DNA percolating beneath its surface.


2. Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance) – “First Impression”


OK, we have to get MCR to reunite for this to work but I can see that happening in the not too distant future. Regardless, Gerard Way’s solid solo album would have been a good home for this cover as well. Slathering the lyrics in some teenage angst would give it a stronger narrative punch. I can see the band playing a goth prom with young kids “turning on the animal” and knocking over the lockers as they run out into the night. 


3. The Killers – “Planet Earth”


This seems so obvious it may have already happened and I missed it. The vocal line suits Brandon Flowers perfectly and the rhythm track would be a rollicking fun ride with Ronnie Vanucci Jr. pounding the skins. The influence of Duran Duran is all over Hot Fuss and it’s not like The Killers are making interesting music at this point (Wonderful Wonderful? Umm, no and no.). 


4. Kacey Musgraves – “Lonely In Your Nightmare”


She would own this! Strip it back to an acoustic ballad with a little steel guitar playing behind her. As a country artist, she has confounded expectations at every turn and a Duran Duran cover would be another unexpected move. She could probably sing any Duran song and make it work but these lyrics seem to best suit her style.


5. Let’s Eat Grandma – “Come Undone”


When Let’s Eat Grandma take the stage at Coachella in April, they will convert even more listeners to their unique alchemy of glitchy synths and soaring pop. Covering this song demands a complete re-invention because it is hard to top the original. Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth were born long after the song was a hit so they could shatter it and re-arrange the shards into a beautiful new prism. 


6. Sunflower Bean – “Do You Believe In Shame?”


Julia Cumming’s voice and bass tone are in this song’s sweet spot. Sunflower Bean can shift from Blondie disco-punk to Fleetwood Mac balladry in seconds so they could take this in a few interesting directions. One of Duran Duran’s most beautiful songs, it really deserves to be revived and shared with new listeners.


7. The 1975 – “New Moon On Monday”


I don’t know why but I can see this video already with Matty Healy looking mysterious on crowded London streets. The nonsensical lyrics (A lizard mixture? Help us out, Simon.) are no problem for Healy. He could sing anything and teenagers would go crazy. The 1975 already borrow a lot of their aesthetic from the 1980s so this wouldn’t be a creative leap for them to tackle. 


8. Robyn – “Electric Barbarella”


Nobody makes dance music like Robyn and this song would be the perfect companion to her classic “Dancing With Myself”. Sprinkle a little Swedish electro-pop fairy dust on the song to give it a stronger kick drum that shakes the walls and you have a hit song. Hearing Robyn whisper “princess of my dreams” would leave us begging for more.


9. IDLES – “Wild Boys”


Last year’s Joy As An Act of Resistance won IDLES critical acclaim and a legion of positive-minded punk fans who are ready to kick toxic masculinity in the face. Never an easy vocal for Simon LeBon, IDLES could reimagine it as a working-class anthem for young men trying to do right by this world. 


10. Garbage – “Pop Trash Movie”


OK, Garbage probably don’t need to cover Duran Duran but their recent version of Bowie’s “Starman” was a sheer delight. The only band on this list to have also done a Bond cover, Shirley Manson would bring this song to life. Manson would sell the narrative, too. She knows exactly what this song is trying to say and she could deliver it with more force than Duran Duran. 


11. St. Vincent – “Too Much Information”


Annie Clark’s immense guitar skills and anti-establishment attitude would suit this better than Duran Duran. No soda company will ever sponsor a St. Vincent tour. She would turn it inside out with a less linear version, I believe. Her and Dua Lipa covering this at this year’s Grammy Awards would have been a joy to see. 


12. Pale Waves – “Night Boat”


Pale Waves straddle the border between dark pop and dreamy gothic atmosphere which makes “New Religion” the perfect tune for them. They would slow it down to a glacial pace, perhaps, and take it from Birmingham to Manchester where the heavy clouds of Joy Division could strip it of any color. Pale Waves are finding success injecting irresistible pop songs with darker, more artistic tones. Sound familiar?

Jason Lent Guest Blogger thumbnail

Jason Lent (Velvet Rebel Music) discovered Duran Duran on MTV in 1983 and a lifelong musical love affair was born. In 2010, he left a job in Hawaii to tour with Cowboy Junkies as a music writer and his work has appeared in various online music outlets. He currently resides in Las Vegas managing a music venue while trying to learn John Taylor’s bass line from Rio.

Maybe Things Can Change Only if You Want

Random aspects of our lives

Well, heck. I’ve sat here with this window open on my computer for far too long, without a single Durancentric, fandom idea popping into my head.

The trouble is two-fold: Spring has sprung at my house. We actually had to mow the grass yesterday afternoon, and for the first time since we moved in – I was able to be outside without a jacket or hoodie on. It had hit 60 degrees F, and I was outside with a Punkmasters t-shirt on. Funny. When I lived in So Cal, if the thermometer dipped below about 68, I was in long sleeves. I had to – it wasn’t as though it would get too much colder! Up here, I was proclaiming it nearly beach weather! So, I’m anxious to be outside, getting our chicken coop finished, and begin making plans for the goat barn and pen areas.

Yes, you read that correctly. Just go with it.

Naivete falls from our eyes

Where was I? Oh yes, the second, more somber reason for my writers block. Well, real-life trouble, of course. I need to tread carefully because this isn’t my story to tell. The bottom line is that sometimes, I don’t know how to help someone. It isn’t just a case of someone needing a bed moved, or even a love triangle than needs sorting. More serious than that, addiction, rehab, lying, and scheming all taking their fair share of the story here. You’d think these were themes from a TV show, except this is all happening in real life.

Of course, I think about John. I have other friends who have gone to rehab and have their own 12-step programs, but he is obviously the most well-known. I think about all he has done in the years since, and how he gives back – as do others within the band. On this very date in 2009, Nick attended the Naked Soul art exhibit in Howick Place, London. The exhibit was to benefit Youth to Youth, a charity to end gang violence and drugs in 2009. Clearly, the cause is something they take to heart.

You know there’s no avoiding

John, of course, has remained pretty vocal about addiction and recovery programs. He’s made it less of a horrible secret and more like any other disease, which seems to be the key. The more we talk about it, the less shameful it becomes. Addiction is a disease. The people – the addicts themselves – aren’t terrible people. They’re not losers, they’re not wastes of life. I sometimes think that gets lost in the translation amongst the horrific tales of desperation that coincide with addiction. Before John wrote his book or started really speaking out, my feelings were very different. It all seemed pretty black and white to me. The school drug programs we sat through each year while growing up really did their work on me.

Now, as a grown woman with children, I see shades of grey. If we can’t help one another, what good are we as humans, anyway? Compassion and kindness go a long way. (Consider this my newer, softer side!)

Admittedly, while I have quite a few friends who have faced the disease, I don’t have a lot of personal experience. I’ve never been that close to it, at least not that I know. Compassion though – that’s something I understand. How far that should go, though? I can’t answer that question. It is one thing to be compassionate, it is another to have your life railroaded. Self-care and protection is important. I recognize that the idea of fighting for sobriety must be incredibly overwhelming.

The lesson to be learned

As I said this morning, the one thing I do know about addiction is that it is a continual, lifelong process, fight, or journey. There’s no magic recipe, or rehab that one enters and comes out an immediate, perfect, success. My understanding is incredibly limited, but I hear it is one day at a time. That’s it. One day. The decision to remain sober is active, whether it is minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, or day-by-day. For those of us habitual, control freakish, long term planners, it seems like a potential nightmare.

Unlike many of my other writings, this doesn’t end with a shiny red bow to tie it up prettily before publishing. These are just musings going through my head that somehow found themselves typed and bound into WordPress. I very much dislike not having answers beyond “protect yourself, but be compassionate”. I know how to finish a chicken coop. (words I never thought I’d type to the world…) I can fix something like that.

This though, is tougher. There isn’t just one pat answer.

-R

Some Extraordinary News Bytes for a Happy (Fat) Tuesday!

After yesterday, I need a little “happy”. Anybody else?

I’m still bogged down between Michael Jackson being a pedophile and my #1 crush of the 90s, Luke Perry dying from a stroke. (sorry Roger, but you were farming!) Was yesterday really just Monday?? I’d like to declare the week finished now.

However, today is a brand new day, and I’m determined to find the good. Luckily for me – I didn’t have to look very long, or very hard to find it.

Two great things to be happy about today:

Duran Duran will be inducting Roxy Music into the Hall of Fame

While it isn’t the same as say, Duran Duran being inducted – they will be participating in the ceremony to be held on March 29th at Barclays Center in New York. Last week, John was on KLOS 95.5 with Steve Jones (Jonesy’s Jukebox) in Los Angeles and broke the news.

Most fans know that Roxy Music is one of Duran Duran’s biggest influences. Simon and John will be at the ceremony to pay tribute. There is no word whether or not Roxy Music will take the stage to actually perform, although Andy MacKay (saxophone) hopes they will.

I suspect many Duran fans will be getting tickets to the ceremony or, like me, tuning in to watch the show when it airs.

Duran Duran to play Tinderbox (Denmark) on June 28th

Life is funny. Just a little over a week ago, I was speaking with a friend about the band’s 2019 schedule. This person, who is extremely reliable, and will remain nameless, shared that they hadn’t heard of anything else coming up in 2019, but that they fully expected this to change in a matter of days. I’d spoken with someone else close to the band earlier in the day who had said the same basic words. I knew by the way they’d both made sure to say that things would change that something was coming down the pipes soon. But where? When?

It turns out that Europe will be getting a Duran Duran visit this summer! While I’d love to jet on over to Denmark, I’m gonna have to sit this one out. Tickets are on sale now! Go grab yours!

If that weren’t enough, we’re still getting studio teasers from DDHQ….and this time, it’s all Mark Ronson, all the time. You could say I’m still a skeptic, but I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing what will come next! Will he sing or perform as a guest artist? Is he producing? Only time will tell.

Lastly, DDHQ tweeted an excerpt from “Extraordinary World”, which in their words, is the chronological story-telling of the band’s career up through The Wedding Album. If you haven’t seen this documentary – it is worth the hunt to find it. Since the 25th anniversary for The Wedding Album was last year, and I’m still confused as to what they’re doing for the 40th, I have to wonder why they tweeted it. More teasing? If so…for what?

I have a feeling the next few months are going to be very interesting. Don’t blink, you might miss something!

-R

Duran Duran Record Store Day 2019 Press Release: Fluff or Fake News?

By, @duranimaljeff(Twitter)

Did you read the exciting news released by Duran Duran this week?  In case you missed it, Warner is releasing a double LP of live music from “As The Lights Go Down” for Record Store Day 2019.  The special was a TV concert filmed in Oakland, CA for the Sing Blue Silver tour in 1984.  As a collector, this news excites me as I have long yearned for the band/management/record label to release more physical music items.  However, there are a few items in the press release that didn’t sound right to me.  In this era of “Fake News”, I had to wonder how much of this info is “fluff”, and how much is fact.

First, the press release claims that “Duran Duran played three incredible shows to over 150k people at the Oakland Coliseum”.  We all know they were incredible, that’s for sure!  However, I have done some research over the years and I believe the biggest non-festival shows that Duran Duran have played in the United States were at Madison Square Garden in 1984 and the Staples Center in 2005 with both venues having a capacity of 20,000 people for concerts.  Naturally, it seemed incorrect that they played to 150,000 people over three shows in Oakland. 

Some quick research (and the fact that I’m a sports fan) indicates that there are two neighboring properties as part of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum complex, both commonly referred to “Oakland Coliseum”.  First, there is the football and baseball stadium that can hold 50,000 people for concerts.  Second, there is the basketball arena (now called Oracle Arena) that can hold 16,000 for concerts.  Duran Duran played in the arena, as seen in the As The Lights Go Down video, so it is not possible that they played to 150,000 people over those three days.

Second, the press release states that “no official products were ever released”.  Again, I take issue with this statement.  The actual video for “As The Lights Go Down” was released on DVD as part of the 2010 Special Edition CD/DVD box set for “Seven And The Ragged Tiger”.  Also, the live tracks were released as part of an iTunes audio album in 2010.  Even though Itunes is a digital format, it is still considered a product in my book since I had to pay for it!! 

Furthermore, for those that do not know, the live tracks presented on “As The Lights Go Down” are the same live tracks released on the live album “Arena”.  The audio is mixed and edited a bit differently, and the “As The Lights Go Down” version has some of the sound effects from the video incorporated, but the base live tracks are the same recording.  Therefore, I have a hard time believing that “no official products were ever released” with regards to “As The Lights Go Down”.

Third, the last line of the press release states that the release “is available from 13 April 2019 (Record Store Day) in records stores across the country”.  I am not a card-carrying member of the grammar and spelling police, but shouldn’t it read record stores?  Also, which country is being referred to here?  I’m guessing it is referring to the United States, but then why use the European date format?  Fans outside the United States may take offense to this wording.  I believe the record is being released in the U.S. and U.K. 

Finally, all wording issues and “fluff” aside from the press release, am I excited for this release, or am I just a bit triggered about all this?  I’m absolutely very happy!!!  Duran Duran has not participated in Record Store Day every year.  The fact that we have something to buy on this special day in April for the second straight year is step in the right direction! 

The two pink and blue colored vinyls match the gatefold  cover perfectly and also gives a nice nod to the recent Paper Gods era/branding.  The package will also feature photos from Denis O’Regan.  As an audio collector, it will be fantastic to have this recording on a physical format.  There has also been some debate online if Duran Duran are still signed to Warner.  This RSD release confirms there is still some relationship, even though Duran Duran is not currently on the artist roster at warnerbrosrecords.com.

I would like to give Amanda and Rhonda a special thank you for allowing me to write a short piece concerning this press release.  I don’t write a lot, but I think it’s a great outlet to organize and communicate your thoughts, and sometimes it just feels better to “get the words out”!!  Happy Record Store Day 2019 to everyone!

Jeff Bistline has been a dedicated Duranie since 1984. His passions in life are his Duran Duran collection, college basketball, and his boxer dog, Vivi. He is an accountant and lives in Nebraska.


Don’t You Worry

‘Fore you know it

Happy Thursday everyone! We’ve almost made it through the week! Just last Thursday at this time, I was waiting for my ticket counter to open so that I could get my boarding pass for Vegas. Time flies and all that…

This week has flown by at such a rate that I have to keep reminding myself what day it is! I kind of like it that way. I’m busy, and as it turns out….so is Duran Duran.

Just believing

Yesterday was apparently a very productive day for our guys as they met with Mark Ronson(you know who this is)…and Lykke Li (she is someone John has mentioned several times – check her out!)..AND Graham Coxon (Blur)…in a studio. DDHQ tweeted a photo or two using the #DD15 hashtag, and Mark Ronson mentioned it as well.

What could it all mean???

Many Duranies are ready to throw parties, assuming this must mean Mark is producing the next album. Others are retweeting the photos citing that DDHQ *said* it was for the next album, so that must be the case. It is written in stone now, because DDHQ tweeted it.

I know a similar saying that goes a little like this, “I read it on the internet, so it MUST be true.

Trusting instinct

I’m not saying DDHQ is telling fibs, but I am going to go out on a limb and say that they’re doing their job. PR is a thing. Keeping Duran Duran in the news, being talked about, having photos shared, etc….is important. However, we don’t even know if any of this is going to be an actual album. The band hasn’t even committed to labeling what they’re working on beyond saying they’re working on new music. I don’t think that’s a horrible thing, either.

I like the idea of the creativity happening organically rather than them thinking, “Ok, we have to hurry up and write this album. Let’s do it. Now!” I would imagine it might feel a lot less daunting and, in some way, less restrictive, to say they’re working on new music than it is for them to say they’re working on creating a new album….to release in 2020 in culmination for their 40th anniversary. Get it?

If that doesn’t sit well with you, I’ll give an anecdote. Several years back, Amanda and I wrote a manuscript. We submitted it to a publisher who showed interest and wanted us to rewrite it and frame it a different way. We had a deadline, and so Amanda and I went to work. While the writing wasn’t horribly difficult, much of it felt like writing an extended college essay rather than this organic, holistic creation. In the end, the publisher didn’t take the book. That was a huge blow. I wish we’d have just worked the way we always did – letting the manuscript take US on a journey rather than the other way around. I would imagine that in the most basic of ways, creating an album is the same.

Lots of time left

While sure, DDHQ is using the #DD15 hashtag, that doesn’t really mean a single thing in this moment other than keeping all of these ongoing news bytes grouped together. Yes, they’re speaking with people. Yes, they’ve been in a studio in London, and they’ve met with Mark Ronson. They’ve also worked with Errol Alkan and plan to go back into their studio in London in a few weeks. This is a process. Aside from having hope to have new music in 2020, there are no lines in the sand, no plans set in stone.

Once upon a time, I would speculate. I’d make assumptions based on the news I would hear. And then there was that time that they met with Mark Ronson and we all though for sure they were going to have him produce their next album…but he didn’t. He worked a little bit on one or two songs. Next was that time that they had someone with the initials B.F. work on a song, and then due to obligations to his own label contract, he couldn’t appear…so someone else did.

Should we be excited by what we hear or see from DDHQ about studio happenings? Absolutely. If nothing else, be curious! That’s the point. Check out Blur if you don’t know them. Listen to Lykke Li if you’ve never given her a chance! By all means, download Wonderful, Wonderful by The Killers and listen to “The Man” on repeat because that was produced by Errol Alkan. But don’t make the mistake of assuming that what they’re doing right now, or yesterday, or even tomorrow, is going to have anything to do with whatever music eventually ends up in your ears. Keep an open mind rather than expect based on assumption.

Left to move up

I used to be one of those people who wanted to know the news and be the one to break it before anyone else. No matter how quickly I’d hear of something, someone else knew it first, and I’d get disheartened very quickly. It would boggle my mind how people found out about things so fast. Other times, I’d hear something that I’d feel very confident was truth, only to find out later that the band had changed their minds. There was always someone who knew first, and had better info. Nowadays, I don’t care too much about being first.

Don’t get me wrong, I still like talking to people who know what is going on with the band and hearing about their progress, but I don’t need to be the one to share it. I know what I know, and really – that counts for nothing at the end of it all. This is a process, and much of what we’re learning right now will indeed change by the time music is released.

Once again, I find myself saying “Trust the Process”…along with “sit back and enjoy the ride.” This is going to be good!

-R


I Really Didn’t Sleep Last Night

Hello everyone! I am attempting to blog from the airport. I’m on my phone, and I am so tired I can’t see straight, but this is happening anyway.

Amanda is already waiting for her flight and won’t be home until late, so I offered to write today. Here’s the thing, we didn’t get back to our room until after 4am, and unfortunately we didn’t have time to even talk about the show last night. So, these are my rambling thoughts. Good luck reading!!

Before the show, we had a meet up at the CliQue Bar in the hotel. I thoroughly enjoyed sitting and talking with everyone. As much as I felt like planning a meet up would be overwhelming for me, I realized just how important they are. Those social activities are what help to keep us all connected. Yes, the shows matter. The music is paramount. It is what brought us here to begin with. I don’t know about anyone else, but the friendships I’ve made are what keep me coming back for more, even 40 years later. Maybe I’m not the only one.

The show was, of course, fantastic. Our seats were closer by a few rows last night, which made us very happy. We were even later to the show last night, a welcome thanks to everyone we saw in the main lobby of the venue. I don’t think Amanda and I minded for one minute that we were running behind because we were stopped by fellow fans wanting to say hi.

The band seemed every bit as energetic as the night before. When someone asked me later that night about which show I thought was better, it was a tough choice. They were both fantastic. I know that in some way, I needed to give a definitive answer so I replied “Last night”, to which this person – who may or may not have been one of the musicians onstage – informed me that they played better that night.

I’m gonna just agree. I mean, he’d know better than I would have from my fourth row, just a bit to the right of Simon location (that he admitted never being able to find me in!)

I did notice that Simon was in a silly sort of mood. He talked a lot, almost as though he were trying to stretch out the show to make the moment last. Personally, I thought the show length was fine, particularly since they added The Reflex to the setlist. I enjoyed Tempted much more last night, likely because I wasn’t nearly as emotional about Seventh Stranger (I had seen it the night before and ended up a sloppy, terry mess). It felt like there was more of a pause between the songs too, which also helped. Or, I wasn’t sniffling and wiping my eyes so it just felt like a longer pause!

I thought the entire band did a wonderful job. Not only were the shows great, they lit a fire in me that I haven’t felt in a long time. Standing there, cheering for some of my favorite people on the planet made me feel so alive. I needed it.

So here I sit at my gate, waiting for my plane to take me back to reality. In some ways, I really am sad. I will miss my friends, and I enjoyed not having to worry about anyone but myself for a change. I took walks with friends, spent a glorious amount of time talking with people I genuinely care about, and even managed to eat at a couple fabulous restaurants, thanks to our resident foodie-friend, Lori!

I rarely talk about things like this, but Dom and I ended up at the same place last night. It was good to see him, get a couple of bearhugs and chat. He’s a good guy…even though he seems to love to give me as hard of a time as I give right back at him. Bring it, my friend….Maybe next show, I’ll have to draw a map so you can find me. Ha!

What else? I guess this week will be about assimilating back into my normal mom role. Did I mention that I’m picking up my very first baby chicks to raise? I’m going to be a chicken-mama!! Yep, I’m going to develop my own litttle farm at our new house, so I’ve been building a chick brooder (google it if you don’t know). I’m excited. It is so not Duran, but balance is good, right?

I’m off. Thank you to Amanda, Lori and Suzie for being great friends, confidants and roomies. It was great seeing Patty and Kelly, along with an entire list of people I’m not mentioning for fear of leaving someone out. Lots of love to all of you. My life wouldn’t be the same without Duranies, that is for sure! Special thanks to Duran Duran for making me remember to stop and listen to the music. I am so grateful for you and your work.

-R

Chasing After Rainbows

Did you know there was a show last night?!?

There were DEFINITELY Duranies in the house, the two of us included! Today’s v-log covers the show, the music, the fun, and the fans! This outrageously wild weekend isn’t over yet, either. Today we are meeting at the CliQue bar (or as our naughty roommates call it – the Clitoris bar!!) today at 5pm for an OFFICIAL DAILY DURANIE MEET UP! See you there!!

Another crazy and slightly silly Daily Duranie show review!!

See you tonight! -A & R

It’s Vegas, Baby!

We are here, and we’ve filmed a blog to celebrate!! So far, it has been a weekend of getting reacquainted, relaxing, and resting, but we found the time to shoot a quick update.

Cant wait for the show, hope to see you there…and if you can find the time to stop by CliQue tomorrow before the show – we will be hanging out!

Until then….

Not our best vlog…but probably our shortest!!

-A & R

Are You Ready For This?

I leave tomorrow. After what has felt like years to me, tomorrow is the day. To say I’m excited doesn’t really cover it. This isn’t just about seeing Duran Duran, but it’s also about catching up with everyone else, too. Weirdly, for me it is almost like seeing everyone will prove to me that yep – I made it through. I’m still here, I’m living, and more importantly, I’m happy. Not expecting that most people will get what I’m saying, and that’s OK. You know that song, “The Valley”? Yep. That x 1000.

Welcome to the Beautiful Fillmore

Before I can think about tomorrow too much, I need to blog for today. The band played their first of two shows at The Fillmore in New Orleans last night, going back to the setlist they did in Miami. I can only imagine the thunder coming from the crowd as they took the stage to “New Religion”, continuing on with hits representing as many of their 14 albums as they could include in a 15-song set.

Therein lies the problem, though…and that problem is two-fold. Let’s discuss show length first. According to Keith Spera, a reviewer for The Advocate, the band only played for 80 minutes. Simon remarked twice that their set was going by quickly. Once towards the end of their regular set, and another time during the encore. “We’ll try stretching it out.”

Now, I wasn’t there, and I don’t know how accurate the reviewer was about the show length. I do know, however, that the band didn’t take the stage until 9:30 and just about every venue wants bands off the stage before 11pm. That’s the norm. In the recent past during the Paper Gods tour, their shows were running a bit longer, somewhere around the 90-95 minute mark (give or take).

This is going quickly

Some feel that’s a pretty short set for a band whose tickets are selling for a couple hundred dollars. Others believe that Duran Duran is doing no different than any other band these days – that the longer shows that bands like The Cure, or artists such as Elton John or even Paul McCartney tend to do are unusual.

Here’s where the slope gets slippery for me. At first thought, 15 songs seems a bit…”scant”…to use the same word from the review this morning. Have they really been doing fewer songs lately?

So let’s just address that first elephant in the room. In 2017, Duran Duran played 17 songs at the Fox theater in Oakland (according to setlist.fm). Earlier that same year, they played only 16 songs at Agua Caliente. In 2016, also during the Paper Gods tour, they played 18 songs at Irvine Meadows Amphitheater, but then earlier that year they played 19 songs at The Belasco. At the SSE Hydro in Glasgow 2015, they played a whopping 21 songs. In 2012 at the Pacific Amphitheater during the AYNIN tour, they played 20 songs. I can go back farther, but the truth is, there is a significant difference in the amount of songs they play depending upon the venue and the type of show.

Somebody slow it down

Just by looking at the shows I mentioned, it would appear that they might have cut a song, maybe two from their tour set lists. Shows that they do as a one-off, or even as they’re doing now, where they’re playing six shows here in the states, are quite different. Those run the gamut in length. For example, I looked up Madison Square Garden Theater back in 2015, and they played eleven songs. On the other hand, they played 21 songs for the fan community concert at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City back in 2007. I have to admit, my memory of that show doesn’t feel like it was 21 songs.

So is a 15-song set list really too short? Well, if Simon is mentioning how quickly the set seems to be going, then yes, I suppose it might be. I would defer to him, because it’s his voice taking the beating…but even without that, this isn’t a band that just stays static on stage. They are moving and dancing. They work it.

14 studio albums

On the flip side of this issue is the set list itself. As a friendly aptly pointed out this morning on Twitter, this band has a catalog of 14 studio albums at this point. We fans make a big show of begging for less of the well-known hits in favor of throwing us a proverbial “bone” or two of the songs that only a minuscule percentage of any crowd might know. When a reviewer is complaining about not only the length of the set, but also that they didn’t even play all of their hits, what is the band to do? The same reviewer openly suggested that they stop playing songs like “Pressure Off”, “Tempted” or “Friends of Mine” in favor of “Union of the Snake”, “The Reflex”, “New Moon on Monday”, “Is There Something I Should Know”, or “Planet Earth”, suggesting that fans wouldn’t have known the difference.

Yes, this is a fantastic problem to have…but a slight entanglement nonetheless. Should the band cater to fair-weather, concert going fans that make up 99% of their concert audience, or do they play songs that the diehards might appreciate. Yes, I go to multiple shows, as do many of you. That’s wonderful, but we don’t fill arenas alone. It takes thousands of fans who might ONLY know “Rio”, “Hungry Like the Wolf”, “A View to a Kill” and all of the other songs mentioned in The Advocate this morning. They go to ONE show, and they want to hear the songs they know.

High maintenance expectations

I am aware there is likely someone reading who wants desperately to remind me that the band plays the US often, and that there are any number of ignored countries in the world that would cheer no matter what the band plays, or for however long – point taken. My post this morning isn’t a complaint. I’m thankful that I’m seeing them again, and whether they play 15 songs for 80 minutes or 20 songs for closer to two hours, I’m going to love it all the same.

The bottom line is that there’s no pleasing everyone. It’s a rough road to nowhere. Sure, the band could play 20 songs, throw in a few extras for the diehards, and I am betting somebody would still be pissed. Maybe they’d be angry that the starting time was 9 instead of 9:30 and DDHQ didn’t send out a show agenda. Perhaps someone would be mad that that the encore was too short, or that dang it, they still didn’t play “Late Bar”. There is simply no meeting the expectations of everyone. In my “vast” experience with this particular fan community – we are the toughest of all to please. We are high maintenance with expectations to match. We’re a bit too quick on the admonishments, and quite a bit short on the thank you’s. Isn’t the band and DDHQ lucky??

If you want to read the article in The Advocate for yourself, check it out!

-R

Standing On A Roof Up Here

This is where it starts

One of the best things to ever come from listening to Duran Duran, at least for me, has been friendship. When I was in sixth and seventh grade, completely awkward looking and feeling (may those school photos never surface…), finding other girls who liked Duran Duran helped me feel a little more normal. Still nerdy and weird, but not alone. As a mom of two, Duran Duran was my one “adult-outlet”. Now, as a middle-aged mom of two adults along with one 10-going-on-15 year old, I have a few incredibly good friends that are my people.

Now, I know that the band doesn’t like to pat themselves on the back for that sort of thing. I get it. You can’t just go around taking credit for saving the world and all that. On the other hand though, isn’t it remarkable that the music continues to bring people together?!? Relationships have been formed, many of them proving to be long lasting and able to withstand thousands of miles in distance. No, I don’t think you can be “proud” of that, per se….but I do believe it’s worthy of marveling over, just a little.

Saying goodbye to darkness

I think of my own fandom in two parts, really. The first would be when I was in school, all the way through college. I adored the band, but I wasn’t involved in a true fan community. Coincidentally, this was all before social media was ever a thing. The second part started in about the year 2000, continuing through present day. Naturally, social media plays a gigantic role in my fandom activities. It is how I first “met” every single one of my current Duran Duran friends. It is also how I stay in touch. I’m not a phone person. I’ll text all day long, but I HATE speaking on the phone. A lot of that has to do with my hearing, but that’s another story for another day.

I’ve known Amanda since 2004. I have a few other friends (Jess, Lisa, Tarcia, Tracye, Robin, Krissie and a few others that I’m failing to list and will likely hear from later) that I’ve been friends with since almost Day One, which would be slightly before I met Amanda. Many of those women have drifted off into their own worlds now, but we still stay in touch. Who said you can’t meet “real” friends online???

When Amanda and I hosted Durandemonium several years back, our goal was to bring fans together. It mattered very little to me whether or not we received any sort of “notoriety” from having put that party together. I didn’t care about being recognized, or having someway call me an uber fan. My joy came from seeing people make new friends. I still see many of those friendly faces when I go to shows, and I like the idea that the weekend that we, along with a great group of organizers, brought people closer.

Now I can see the big idea

Lately, I’ve been spending more time on Twitter. The whole social media thing has had it’s own strange learning curve with me. At first, I spent more time on Facebook (after message boards), then I moved to Twitter, and then back towards Facebook. Now, I’m on Twitter a lot.

Plenty of fans backed off from Twitter once John and Simon stopped tweeting. Even Dom only surfaces once or twice in a blue moon, and I don’t see nearly the same amount of activity on Twitter from fans. But I’m not really there for the band members. (Yes I know everyone says that. I’m not, though. I was there before Duran Duran even joined Twitter!) I like the flow of Twitter. Ignoring the political stuff, the anger and angst – I like to talk about music. There are plenty of people on there that know far more than I do, and I enjoy learning from them.

I feel like I’ve started to fall in with some new friends, whom I treasure. They don’t seem to mind that I write Daily Duranie, or that I’m overly opinionated about some things. I definitely don’t mind that most of them know far more about Duran Duran than I do. In fact, I appreciate it. Our chats range from discussions about Nick’s fashion sense to talking about newly mentioned producers.

One of my newer friends is a podcaster (If you haven’t taken the time to listen to “The D-Side”, you should), another is a photographer (shout out to @BBamok – you’ve seen her work because DDHQ reposts it every once in a while. She is incredibly talented!), still another lives in Birmingham and does beautiful sketches and paints, and a few others are DD collectors that have proven over and over that I know almost NOTHING about Duran Duran. I love them all.

One of them is planning a Duranie party in Atlanta in April. I’m actually considering using a frequent flier ticket and going out there. I haven’t done something like that in years – and I think getting together with other fans is exactly what I need. Just like anyone else, getting away from the house isn’t an easy task for me, so I am going to need to figure out the logistics and have answers before I mention it very quickly in passing to my husband…but I’m working on it!

An empire in a day, built on hope

So what is all of this musing really about, then? I suppose that I’m reminding myself that the best part of being involved in a fan community is in fact the “community” part. Meeting new people, making new friends, learning new things. That is what makes life so wonderful and rich. In turn, if I can remind someone else of that before going into what can sometimes be a crazed, fan-frenzied environment, so be it.

The real experiences and memories don’t come solely from getting that picture of John Taylor. I know that very few of you will believe me there, but it’s true, at least for me. I have one photo with Simon, and another with Dom. Those memories are nice, but when I think about being a Duran Duran fan – those pictures aren’t what my mind drifts to most often. Obviously, the shows and music go without saying, but what else?

My smiles come from thinking about ordering that first vodka tonic with Amanda, when we discovered we liked the same cocktail. I think about listening to Mac tell me about the time John came walking down an escalator. One of my favorite memories was the time Walt drove Amanda and I up in the Hollywood Hills, which culminated in a litany of curse words from me as I exclaimed “Start the damn truck Walt and get us the hell out off of his driveway!” I think about the Ace Hotel, the Sunset Marquis, and how cocktails that mix vodka and champagne are unkind a few hours later. Hurricanes and PB&J’s with Mac and Jess in New Orleans, my friendships with Lori and Suzie, and of course those trips to the UK are the things I think about whenever I start to feel down.

When I can raise it up again

I am so lucky. So, so lucky. It feels good to spend a few minutes in gratitude over the times that I have had in this fan community. I really don’t want or need time directly in front of the band or a band member in order to make my life full or have meaning. I’ve hit the jackpot in so many other ways when it comes to Duran Duran. Seeing the band again in Las Vegas, and more importantly having the opportunity to connect with everyone while I’m there is a bonus to what has already been a wonderful ride.

I wish everyone the very best time in Vegas or New Orleans. We’re going to have a great time! Hope to see many of you along the way – say hi if you see me!

-R