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Daily Duranie Special Report: F.O.L.D. Festival

We know it’s been a couple of weeks since the F.O.L.D festival, but we don’t think anyone is going to mind revisiting the show in anticipation of upcoming tour dates! Thanks to our special correspondents “on the scene”, we’re able to bring readers a taste of these amazing shows!  -R

 

By Michelle Duran (Daily Duranie Contributor)

I hate festivals. I hate shortened set lists, I hate being surrounded by fans of other bands who only know ‘Hungry Like a Wolf’ (grrr!!!), I hate sitting through sets of artists I don’t like, and I absolutely hate port-a-potties. This isn’t just my mantra but that of many other Duran Duran fans I know.  Add to it the horrific New York – Long Island summer commuter traffic and why would any of us want to go to the Martha Clara Vineyard in Riverhead, Long Island for the two day F.O.L.D. (Freak Out Let’s Dance) Festival?

For starters, this wasn’t just any music festival. Organized by Duran Duran’s self- proclaimed big brother, and musical genius extraordinaire, Nile Rodgers, he promised it would be something special and it most certainly was. This was THE ONE, Duranies, the one that made the lack of indoor plumbing and the possibility of traffic congestion all worthwhile.

My friends and I opted for general admission tickets for Day 2, the day the band was to play. Parking lots were to open at 4 pm and the venue at 5 pm with the show beginning at 6 pm. Due to the winery being in a residential area, there was an 11 pm curfew, meaning that the concert would be no more than five hours. I’ve endured twelve plus hour music festivals in the blazing summer sun before so five hours in the evening at a winery sounded pretty good. While we were enroute to the winery, a friend messaged us that the lots opened early. What followed was a series of sharp corners and possibly illegal U-turns when I drove past the entrance for the parking lots not once, but three times. Finally, we made it, parked our car and were ready to queue. There were about twenty people in front of us, including several Duranies. The line was sheltered by tall shrubs along the vineyard, so not only was it a beautiful place to wait but it was also shaded and relatively comfortable. The festival staff, dressed in black shirts and shorts, presided everywhere. All were polite and professional. The stage was only about fifty feet from the entrance and we arrived to hear the incomparable Chaka Khan warming up, which was amazing.  After she finished, we were treated to something even better- Duran Duran’s sound check.  Thanks to Twitter posts by the band, we confirmed what our ears already knew,  Janelle Monae and Nile were with them running through Pressure Off several times. In addition, we heard snippets of Notorious, and Wild Boys. Try as we might, we couldn’t see the stage from where we were standing. However, we heard a crowd cheering and found out that VIP ticketholders were allowed in front of the stage to watch the sound-check. In true Duran fashion, the sound-check ran late and they were still on stage when the gates were supposed to open at 5 pm. By this time the line snaked down quite a distance. The only complaints I heard were from a few older fans of some of the other acts. The rest of us know Durantime is always in effect and took it in stride.  At 5:15, some of the staff came through the queue to apologize and hand out free bottles of water to those waiting, which was a nice touch.

Gates finally opened a few minutes later and we were in. Thanks to a tip from a friendly photographer (heyjoe.nyc) we’d met at breakfast, we knew the right side of the stage was only for VIP.  My friends and I bee-lined for the left side of the stage and found spots directly in front of where John would be, with only the photo pit separating us from the stage. The crowd itself was a mix of older fans of Nile, Chaka Khan, and the other “old school” performers; Duranies; music loving locals from the area; and a few younger fans there for the EDM (Electronic Dance Music) acts. Due to the selection of performers, I think the crowd was older than the usual age at a music festival of this nature.

After a few minutes, the music started with international celebrity DJ, Greg Cerrone, who fit F.O.L.D. Festival between gigs in St. Barth’s and Saint Tropez. The crowd was fairly small at this point, fewer than one thousand, but his enthusiastic attitude never waned.  I have to admit, EDM is not my thing. I may think I’m still twenty five but EDM proves I’m not. The heavy electronic bass pounding through my body and trying to take control of my heart isn’t something I enjoy, especially when I’m right in front of the speakers. However, there were plenty of people in the crowd enjoying the show as a slew of DJ acts such as Slander, Lea Luna, and Ultra Naté all took turns on the main stage. Later, drag queen Ginger Minj, best known from RuPaul’s Drag Race, performed; interacting with the crowd in a set that was a mixture of standup comedy and singing.

Finally, the EDM portion of the evening ended and Old School arrived as Grandmaster Melle Mel accompanied by DJ Prince Paul took over.  For the next thirty minutes, we were all raising our hands in the air and waving them like we just didn’t care- Oh yeah!  Melle Mel reminded us all of where Hip Hop and Rap began, performing the Grandmaster Flash and Furious Five version of White Lines, The Message and then leading the audience in a medley of some of the best known Old School rap.  Once his set finished, the DJ table was removed and it was time to move to the next portion of the evening.

While the stage was readied for Nile Rodgers and Chic, a youth dance troupe from Oakland, California, Destiny Arts, entertained the crowd with a high energy hip hop performance. This non-profit group combats inner city violence through programs in dance and martial arts.  Nile personally introduced them. In fact, throughout the night, Nile had been on stage, cheering on the various performers and even taking pictures. F.O.L.D. Festival was definitely a well-recorded event.  In addition to a cadre of professional photographers and videographers, a drone hovered above the crowd and a 360 degree camera captured every moment from every angle. In addition to heyjoe.nyc, also check out Jennifer Sheppard’s blog here.

Shortly before 8 pm, Nile Rodgers and Chic, currently comprised of singers Folami, Kim Davis, and musicians Ralph Rolle on drums, Jerry Barnes on bass, Bill Holloman on sax, Don Harris on trumpet, and Russell Graham and Richard Hilton on keyboards, began their set. Like many fans of Duran Duran, I consider Nile to be an icon.  Aside from the actual members of Duran, there is no one else more responsible for their sound, first as an influence when they were teens in Birmingham listening to Chic, then later as a mentor, producer and co-writer on everything from The Reflex, Wild Boys, Notorious, Astronaut and right up to their new single, Pressure Off. Nile had injured his knee the previous night so he apologized for not being able to dance around the stage and for wearing a tee and jeans with his signature beret, instead of his customary suit. Regardless, getting to finally see Nile Rodgers playing his signature Stratocaster, the Hitmaker, live with Chic was incredible. Tight doesn’t even begin to describe them- their sound, their look, their moves are all well practiced and well executed.  Everyone is in black and white with the singers, Folami and Kim Davis in matching print jumpsuits that recall the glamour of disco fashions.  Launching into Dance, Dance, Dance, the band wowed the crowd as they played hit after hit, not only from Chic but other songs Nile has written such as Diana Ross’s I’m Coming Out and Upside Down and Daft Punk’s Get Lucky. Nile teased us you’re all about to go crazy as he began playing Let’s Dance, which he wrote for one of Duran Duran’s other major influences, David Bowie.

Nile next introduced Janelle Monae, referring to her as his little sister while praising her talent and hard work.  If you’re not familiar with Monae, watch a few videos of her live performances and you’ll understand why she has earned such high acclaim from Nile Rodgers.  Also dressed in black and white, the diminutive Monae, who will be thirty this year, could easily pass for someone half her age.  However, she’s a powerful, dynamic performer, singing and dancing with intensity and skill. Performing with Chic as her backing band, along with her own charismatic guitarist, Kellindo Parker, Janelle Monae gave her all as she ran through her 4 song set, which included Q.U.E.E.N, Electric Lady, a cover of  James Brown’s I Feel Good, complete with the requisite cape, and finished with Tightrope.

As with Janelle Monae, Chaka Khan used Chic as her backing band and supplemented with her own guitarist.  Dressed all in black, she looked ageless with her trademark hair and beautiful smile as she sang four songs: I Feel for You, Sweetest Thing, I’m Every Woman, and Ain’t Nobody.  Unfortunately, Melle Mel had to leave right after his set so he wasn’t there to perform his “Let me love you Chaka Khan” rap during I Feel for You. Duran fans were also well aware that this meant he wouldn’t be there for a possible guest appearance with Duran Duran during White Lines.

After Chaka Khan finished her set, the Destiny Arts dancers and a number of family and friends joined the band on stage. After a moving speech by Nile about his aggressive cancer diagnosis and ultimate recovery, Chic played a rousing finale of Good Times. Nile even rapped part of the Sugar Hill Gang’s Rappers’ Delight, which famously sampled Good Times, bringing it all full circle and again emphasizing Nile’s influence on artists across many genres of music.  Throughout the night, you could really sense the camaraderie not only between Nile Rodgers and the other performers but the crew and staff as well.  Everyone working the show seemed truly happy to be there.

Once Good Times finished, the stage cleared and the DJ table was brought back for Chuck D. from Public Enemy.  Chuck D was originally scheduled to perform on the first night but couldn’t make it due to scheduling conflicts.  He began his set by telling us we had “twenty nine minutes to Duran Duran.”   With Nile again staying on stage and lending his support, Chuck D, backed by another Public Enemy founding member, DJ Keith Shocklee, led the crowd through some of the rap group’s biggest hits including Fight the Power as well as songs from their just released album, Man Plans God Laughs.  Chuck D rapped almost non-stop during his set, only stopping to tell the crowd how many more minutes to Duran Duran or to express his respect and admiration for Nile. As promised, he finished his set in just under thirty minutes and it was time for Duran Duran to perform.

Nile once again introduced the band, recalling how they met back in the early 80’s, and their long association with each other. Simon called the introduction the best they’d ever had before launching into an energetic performance of Wild Boys. The band looked and sounded fantastic. Simon, looking slim in white jeans and a black and white leather jacket, launched right into A View to a Kill as Nile Rodgers stood on the side of the stage clearly enjoying the set as the crowd, now at an estimated twenty-five hundred, sang along.

The next song on the roster was Girl Panic, which cause a minor panic of its own because up until this point, we had expected nothing more than the same five song set as all the other performers had given, especially with the time constraint of an 11 pm curfew. Therefore, we expected the Nile songs- Wild Boys, AVTAK, Notorious, Pressure Off, and The Reflex.  Girl Panic was quickly followed by All You Need Is Now and then Come Undone. We were getting a full set. F.O.L.D. Festival was suddenly even a better decision.

Following the AYNIN selections, the band rolled out three fan favorites, Is There Something I Should Know and The Chauffeur and Ordinary World.  It’s been exactly three years since the AYNIN tour ended abruptly with Nick’s illness in August, 2012 so it was fantastic to once again hear these live. The crowd, which wasn’t as familiar with the newer songs, was also thrilled to be back in familiar territory.

After OW, Nile walked back onto center stage as Simon announced “There’s one reason-one really big reason why we’re standing in front of you guys tonight…. And his name is Nile Rodgers.” Simon went on to describe the band’s reaction when they first heard The Original Sin by INXS, which was also produced by Nile Rodgers. They sent The Reflex to Nile and we know the rest. Simon finished by telling Nile “I love you, you are my brother” and hugged him, while every Duranie in the house raced to capture this Kodak moment.  They then launched into the song Simon describes as the complete “intertwangling of Nile Rodgers and Duran Duran”:  Notorious.  Nile went right over to JT and fans were treated to Nile and John playing together as Simon led the crowd.

Simon reintroduced Janelle Monae, describing her as a firecracker, as she returned to the stage and it was time for the premiere of Pressure Off.  The chemistry between them was fantastic.  Janelle’s high energy invigorated everyone and even Nile’s injured knee couldn’t stop him from dancing along as they played.

After once again thanking Nile and Janelle, the band continued playing, pushing well past the curfew as they played set list staples Planet Earth, HLTW, and Sunrise.  Finally, they said good night but were soon back on stage for their signature closing song, Rio.  Hearing it is always bittersweet since we know this is really the end.  The band thanked the crowd and the first F.O.L.D. Festival was officially in the history books.   Interestingly, the song many most associate with the relationship between Nile and Duran Duran, The Reflex, wasn’t on the set list.   I thought this was an odd decision since the song has so much history.  Also, the band once again didn’t play GOF and there were no band intros.  They skipped the intro again the next night at Musikfest and I’m told it was also skipped at the Capitol Theater shows.   It’s hard to imagine that they won’t add the intros back in for the main Paper Gods tour when it begins unless they’re looking to purposefully change their show ending.

Overall it was fantastic to finally be back in my favorite place on Planet Earth, front row at a Duran Duran concert.  My expectations for F.O.L.D. Festival were more than exceeded.  Nile Rodgers has already committed to bringing the festival back to Riverhead next year as a three day long weekend event, promising to bring back many of the acts that performed this time and grow the festival so that it’s one of the premiere destination events like Coachella.   Only time will tell, but if anyone can do it, it’s Nile Rodgers.

Set list:

Wild Boys
A View To A Kill
Girl Panic
All You Need Is Now
Come Undone
Is There Something I Should Know?
The Chauffeur
Ordinary World
Notorious
Pressure Off
Planet Earth
Hungry Like The Wolf
Reach Up For The Sunrise


Encore:
Rio

Nick Rhodes – Still Denimless?

I love seeing things get shaken up every once in a while, and this morning was no exception. Today, most people on the planet should have felt a rumbling from deep within because Nick Rhodes…yes, that Nick Rhodes, was on Twitter, answering questions from fans like he’d been on Twitter all along….

The announcement of Nick answering questions on Twitter went over like a lead balloon in the Duraniverse…and even better, people continued asking Amanda and I if we were going send in questions as well. Amanda had other things to take care of today, and so it was left to me – which is always dangerous. This morning proved no different than normal in my crazy household, and I ended up not being around for 90% of his Q&A. I did attempt to quickly send in a couple of questions, but he was finished before he could even see them, much less answer. Alas.

That said, I did see all of the questions and his answers. Rather than just be serious and boring (Nick, boring?? Is that even possible?), he took the attitude I really expected and went another, far more creative and witty route.

For example, @SweetRose1993 asked “Hi Nick, what’s your favourite place to shoot a DD video? And what’s your favourite DD single so far?”

Nick’s answer? “To shoot a video? A virtual reality floatation tank with dancing girls and a pocket universe. – NR”

Not too shabby with the wit there, Nicholas (and somehow I don’t think you’re joking).  I appreciated his wit, particularly when answering questions about doing a memoir (He answered that he just needs to dig a worm hole in between minutes) or about the health of his trusty Jupiter 8 (“I am happy to report all three are fit and well at present, however the emergency room is never too far away. – NR”) .  I especially loved his answer to a question that a fan asked about his joining Twitter (“Look for me on Wednesdays at 3am, I’ll be “my head is full of chopsticks” – NR).

Is that 3am my time, or yours, Nick??

And my most favorite, although they were all really good questions and answers )with far less “Please say hi to my mum” comments than Tumblr had the other day with John and Roger), was from @mondaymoon7609 who asked about time travel and where Nick would want to go. His reply, “The future, then I could fix a lot of things in the past. – NR” will keep me thinking for a while.

But then on second thought, maybe I really loved the question about giving Simon fashion advice…. “Only when we reach crisis point.It happened with a particularly nasty pair of crocs once. -NR”  And I did wince a little when Nick said “No. Absolutely not” to owning a pair of blue jeans.

Here’s the thing, Nick. I own enough pairs for both of us. You’re welcome. 

I had a few people ask Daily Duranie how we thought he did, and I thought he was great. He didn’t answer questions that probably couldn’t get a quick 140-character answer, and yet he did answer a fair amount of serious questions. In all fairness, I had no doubt that he’d do well. Nick is extremely quick-witted, and that works very well with an environment that can feel a little like a mass feeding frenzy. So yes, he did extremely well and I’m surprised it’s taken him this long to participate. I had to laugh because he answered a question about his favorite song off of Paper Gods by saying that on Thursdays it is “You Kill Me With Silence”, but if you’re in Australia it’s already a different song.” I sat there for a couple of seconds longer than I probably should have thinking, Wait, is it really Thursday already?!? 

(Yes, that is EXACTLY the type of week it has been.)

-R

Paper Gods – A Duran Duran Comeback?

There has been quite a bit of press for the band recently, and it has been fantastic seeing their name (and faces) in the news again promoting Paper Gods. As a fan, it is always exciting to see the band in magazines and on covers – although admittedly these days – I see very few “physical” covers, most of it (for me) has been what I’ve seen online. The days of sitting around carefully extracting centerfolds and pin-ups to add to my wallpaper is pretty much over, but I still love reading the articles online and seeing the new band photos, doesn’t everyone?

Since this blog is really an ongoing conversation regarding the “State of Duraniverse”, we comment as fans – which isn’t difficult considering that is exactly what we are. I don’t look at things from a public relations point of view or as an industry insider might, simply because I’m not. That’s the difference in this blog. I’ve never worked at a label or a radio station, and the closest I’ve ever been to management was working with a fledgling band who once opened for Duran Duran. It was like herding cats, I might add…to say the least. I leave planning promotional agendas to the people who are paid to do such things, and I react to things in the same way as any other fan…not as someone who works in the “industry”.  This is a point well-worth making because sometimes, I feel as though it is forgotten. Amanda and I are fans. Much of the time, we’re the lightning rod for the community-at-large, and at other moments, we’re the microphone.

One thing I’ve noticed with the latest round of press is that Paper Gods is a Duran Duran Comeback. The first time I read it, I skipped over the word, because let’s face it – media can be stupid. They assume that just because they haven’t noticed the band as of late, no one else has heard from them either. The second and third times, I wondered if a pattern hadn’t formed. After that I stopped counting, and then this morning I saw the word “comeback” again after another fan pointed it out on Twitter.

I realize that for much of the rest of the world, Duran Duran apparently ceased to exist after what…Ordinary World? The Reunion? I’m really not sure, but it is clear that even though the media has covered Duran Duran without fail (in varying degrees) for each album; and media has used the word “comeback” for more than one album in the past…they’re apparently using that word again to describe the promotion of yet another album release by my favorite band. It’s low-hanging fruit I suppose. Easy words to pin on a band that have not had a bonafide hit in a while, even though to those of us who have been loyal fans for several decades at this point know they’ve never gone away.

Does it really matter? Most likely not. As I continue to be reminded by those who actually DO work in the industry – it’s about the press and I should be thrilled that they’re getting out there on the cover again. Period. It doesn’t really matter WHAT is actually said in the articles about them, it doesn’t apparently matter whether the article is written with a snarky tone or with dignity and respect, it’s about getting their name out there. I did miss my classes on public relations in college, and I’ll be honest: I would have failed MISERABLY at them. My loyalty gets in the way when it comes to this stuff. I couldn’t be that person who sends notes to fans like me reminding them of how amazing it is that they’ve got the cover and that I shouldn’t be disappointed by the words contained within. (apparently no one actually reads the articles these days, which I should probably understand given my experience with this blog at times) I’m still stuck on someone calling Simon out for caring about lighting, or talking about each member of the band’s personal (and ancient) history rather than the music at hand. That’s why I’m a fan blogger and not someone working at a record label, and I’m fine with that, actually. My struggle with the press is real. Cognitively, I get it. Any press is good press. I don’t love the method…but I get it.  Emotionally? I’m loyal and it really bothers me at times. Is that negative? I applaud their covers, I applaud their PRESS. I just don’t care for some of the words used to describe my favorite band. So sue me.

Simply put, I’m a fan and I don’t like seeing my band disrespected.  They’ve worked their asses off to get here; and no, they never left. “Duran Duran Comeback”? Are you kidding? Just because the rest of the world may not have loved All You Need is Now or Red Carpet Massacre doesn’t mean those albums didn’t exist, and many within our community find those albums to be among their best. Comeback for the rest of the world, maybe??

I have no idea what is in the future for Paper Gods, and I’m certainly not going to Monday Morning Quarterback before the game even begins. The Duran Duran comeback the media is talking about could end up being that the new album is a runaway hit, which would be amazing!  I just know that as a fan, the word can be taken in multiple ways – and for those of us loyalists, we know the band has never left, and we’re still right by their sides on this journey. I’m just looking forward to seeing this band get back out on the road again. Let the celebration of #DD14 begin!

-R

Crisis Equals Opportunity: The Daily Duranie Facebook

Today has been quite a day. During the summer, Amanda and I have committed ourselves to working on projects together via Skype, and today was no exception. We got online, chatted a bit and settled down to work. That’s when the day was completely derailed.

Amanda went to log on to our Daily Duranie Facebook account like normal, only to find that she couldn’t get into our account. We were locked out and Facebook wanted to confirm our identity…something that has never happened before. It wanted government ID, a birth certificate or something similar. While we acknowledge that Daily Duranie has taken on a life of it’s own….it’s not quite THAT big. We thought we’d been hacked, to be honest.

So, we settled into trying to understand why this happened. In a nutshell, Facebook wants to “encourage” people to only use their real names for personal accounts. This is of course, because they want businesses, public figures, bands, magazines, entertainment entities, authors, etc to create a Facebook Page instead. Pages are more of an advertising type of entity as opposed to a personal account for regular ole folks. Pages are fine, but the main problem is that in order to get your posts widely seen – EVEN by those who follow – you must pay to have the posts “boosted”.  That’s great if you’re a business who has a revenue stream to support such activity, but if you’re a small blog like us?  That’s an issue, and that’s one reason Amanda and I agreed to stick with a regular account, and all was fine until today.  Today Facebook decided that we weren’t getting in. Period. No warning, no measure for helping or allowing us to just move the account to a page, nothing. We could try to appeal (which did not work), or move forward.

So we set about creating the new Daily Duranie Facebook Page, and fretting about all that we’d lost. Maybe none of you realize, but we’re talking nearly FIVE YEARS of hard work. Posts. Pictures. Nearly 2500 friends. Real friends from around the world. The more I typed, fixed profile pictures and cover photos, messaged Duran Duran pages and groups…the bigger the knot in my stomach and throat became. We have put blood, sweat and tears into this blog in a way that no one on the planet can really understand. It has felt at times that for every two steps forward, we’ve taken five backward. Yet, I couldn’t separate myself from Daily Duranie even if I tried, because it’s ME. It’s Amanda. It’s US.  And a large part of the two of us is now in Facebook jail. Welcome to Tuesday, my friends.

As I set about understanding the reasoning why our account – out of all the thousands of FB accounts who go by pseudonyms instead of birth names – was chosen today, I discovered that the only way Facebook really keeps track is if they were told about us. That means that someone, most likely a “friend”, made the point to tell Facebook about us and mention that we’re not a real person. Except of course, we are.

Upset? Yes. Wounded? Sure. Done? Not even close. We’re just getting started.

So instead of working on the other projects today, Amanda and I have been scrambling to get the page together, tell people what happened, we’ve BEGGED Duran Duran to retweet our page link (nothing yet, but we’re hopeful – surely they have to know how much we’ve done for this community in the past five years???), and mostly – WE NEED YOU.

Please, please, PLEASE come to the new page. Like it and then share the link with others. We’ve tried to go to some of the pages and groups we know, but to be honest – there are thousands of groups and pages, and only two of us. We need help. Desperately.  Here is the new link to the page, and we hope to see you there.  Send us a note, post to the page…make us laugh, and let’s keep this party going.

https://www.facebook.com/dailyduranieblog

Amanda and I like a good challenge, and maybe this will end up being a good thing in the long run. John Taylor has this saying that is from Eastern philosophy that is on the cover of his (solo) Feelings Are Good CD. Crisis equals opportunity.

We’re going to go with that.

-R

Through the City…

Today, Duran Duran is playing at the Night at the Park festival in The Hague, Netherlands.  I hope that everyone going has an absolutely fabulous time and that Duran plays an awesome set there!  Lately, when thinking about Duran playing shows, I have been noticing where a lot more than I have in the past.  Earlier in my life and like many fans, I went to shows only near my house.  In the last ten years, though, my desire for Duran shows has meant that I have been willing (and thankfully able) to travel.  Therefore, I have started to think about shows in slightly different ways than I used to.

First, I pay attention to WHERE Duran is playing.  Let’s face it.  There are cities that I would love to see them play for various reasons.  For example, in the U.S., I wanted to see them in cities that I knew would be fun and would provide a good time.  These cities included places like Vegas and Atlantic City.  Perhaps, some cities you want to see them play in just because the city is significant.  For example, I thought it was super cool to be able to see them in New York City.  Of course, many of the cities that people might want to see Duran might be out of the U.S.  Like many, for me, the ideal was to see the band play in Birmingham.  I know someday I would love to see them in places like Manchester.  Certainly, the Netherlands, like today’s festival would be a fun place to see them!  Of course, the venue might matter, too.

Is there a particular venue that you think might be really great to see them in?  Maybe, it is a place like Madison Square Garden in New York City.  For me, I am super excited to see them play at the Hollywood Bowl.  Some people really like the idea of small venues.  I can understand that.  Therefore, there is always more excitement when Duran plays theaters over arena shows.

Then, of course, there might be other factors that might enhance one’s desire to get to a particular show.  Am I the only one who is super excited to see Duran Duran play with Nile Rodgers?!?  To me, that is a once in a lifetime sort of deal, something extra special.  I remember really wanting to go see Nine Inch Nails with David Bowie because that was a combination that too weird not to see!  Plus, David Bowie is a legend, right?  Maybe a festival catches your attention.  Sometimes, a festival might have such a line-up that really appeals to you.

So, what factors make a show must see for you?  Is it the city?  If so, which cities are on your list?  The venue?  If so, what are special venues to you?  The line-up?  Maybe, it has to do with the fact that your friends are all able to get to a specific show and it is the company that matters more to you.  Do share–where would you want to see the band and why?

-A

All She Wants Is – The Daily Duranie Review

This review finds us examining the song, All She Wants Is. This song was the second single off of the Big Thing album and peaked at number 22 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart (but spent a total of 13 weeks on the charts in some fashion). Should it have done better? Should it have even been a single?  Read and find out what we think then share your thoughts!

Rhonda

Musicality/Instrumentation:

I’ve always thought it was interesting and unique how the song begins solely with tracks of Simon’s voice, slightly out of sync. The instrumentation grows from there, with drums and background percussion, then a distorted guitar, some bass and keyboards following. Oddly, for this song, the instrumentation is rather simple by Duran Duran standards. I like the roughness of the guitar – because here you’ve got a sound that is very much “club-like”, almost like house music, and yet Duran Duran adds a soaring rock guitar “solo” (so to speak) right over the top.  Risky? Maybe, but it works brilliantly for a song that could otherwise be boring.

Vocals:

I like the way Simon opens up the song with the monotone “chant” of  “all she wants is”.  I agree with Amanda when she says the song reminds her of Big Thing – I think it’s because of the chanting.  Out of all of the songs on Big Thing, this one reminds me most of House or Industrial club music that was popular in the 1990’s. (am I dating myself?? Goodness…) Vocally for Simon, I don’t think the the song is particularly difficult – it’s within his range, and really the song is far more a testament to the band’s willingness to take risks and try new styles than it is about vocal ability for Simon.

Lyrics:

I think the song is fairly obvious in that it’s about women who have to use whatever means possible to get ahead in the world.  Rather than focusing on the task at hand, they’re thinking about the goal farther down the line. This is a song that I can sing word for word, but I never really THINK about the words at hand. The band has always been very good at that – giving rather benign words to even the most controversial of subjects so that the listener can find whatever they need to find (or not find) in the lyrics.

Overall:

This is one of those songs that is easy to use as a club mix because it can blend well with other songs. That said, it is also easy to tune it out because of the fact it is incredibly repetitive throughout, but it has also earned its way as a crowd pleaser with the DD catalog for many fans. It does grab your attention, and is by far the best representation of industrial or house music within their catalog. Who knew Duran Duran could pull that off?!? Lyrically, it is easy to forget what the song is really about, which is unfortunate. I think the lyrics tend to get lost within all of the “All she wants is” chanting. My favorite part of the entire song though is the guitar – that saves it all for me because it is so different and really very unexpected within this genre. Overall however, this song has never been a favorite of mine, although I give high props to the band for going this route and trying something so different. Duran Duran is nothing if not versatile and willing to take risks.

Cocktails:

3.5 cocktails!

3.5 cocktails

Amanda:

Musicality/Instrumentation:
Like the first track on this album, it is difficult to even think about the music/instrumentation, especially in the beginning because the vocals are SO front and center.  It is really interesting, though, when you do focus on it to realize how minimized the instrumentation is for the first 15 seconds or so.  Then, of course, there is more instrumentation and then a few seconds after that even more.  The music builds and it creates a level of intensity, musically.  Once the song gets going, a couple of elements stick out to me.  First, there is the clapping sound that showcases the song’s rhythm.  Then, the instrumentation, especially guitars, sounds distorted in a way, creating almost an industrial feel.  Yet, the top layer of drums remind me of drums that would be found on Notorious.  The effects create a very danceable sound, even if a bit darker than the usual Duran sound.

Vocals:

Immediately, this song reminds me of the song, Big Thing.  You can instantly tell that they are from the same album/era.  Before the music totally kicks in, there is the chanting of “All She Wants Is” done with quite a bit of vocal effect.  Then, of course, there is the female moaning done mostly in the beginning but some towards the end, which definitely implies this something is sexual in nature.  This is a much more in your face sexuality than the Duran in the past.  Yet, Simon’s vocals during the verses remain smooth, easy.  The song ends with the chanting chorus, moaning and more creating a bookend to the beginning of the song, showing that the chorus really does dominate.

Lyrics:

This is one of those songs that I sing every word when I hear but never really thought about what the lyrics might mean.  When I stop and really look at them, it seems to me that it is about a woman who is trying to figure out a way to make it in the world.  Perhaps, this person is all alone and looking for that special job or that break.  Until that happens, though, she is left to do what she must do.  Could she be a prostitute or something similar?  I suppose it is possible with lines like, “You’ve been pulling ‘em by the hand inside”.  Yet, clearly, she wants so much more than she has.  What I find interesting is how easily the chorus and the repeating of the phrase “all she wants is” really works for Duranies and for fandom, in general.  It seems to me that the goal could have been to lure people, fans to the song by getting them to think it is about the band and about how Duranies want them.  Yet, of course, when you actually look at the lyrics, it has nothing to do with that.  They did the same thing with Big Thing.  Clever.

Overall:

This song definitely matches the other tracks on side A of the Big Thing album.  It has in-your-face vocals and lyrics that catch your attention.  Is it the most intellectual song?  Probably not.  Is it the most fun song in the Duran catalog?  Probably not.  Nonetheless, it is one that catches your attention and one that you can sing along with.  That said, it has also easily pass beyond the fun to the annoying.  I tend to appreciate the song more after not hearing it for awhile.

Cocktail Rating:

3 cocktails!

three cocktails

Duran Duran Ticket Presale Frenzy!

Got Duran Duran tickets?  Happy Presale Monday?!?

As the title suggests, it was a frenzy of activity this morning as a multitude of messages were exchanged between friends prior to the presale.

Duran Duran Ticket Presale – words that create both joy and panic (alternately) in the hearts and minds of every Duranie who has been around for a while.  Fans are overjoyed to finally have tour dates, and downright panicky when it comes to buying them.  Things go wrong, systems crash, and Duranies are not very forgiving as a rule, so ticket systems MUST work properly.

This time, Crowdsurge handled presales and VIP packages for DDM members, and aside from a brief moment which I will describe later in more amusing detail, all went well. Checking around the Duran community, it would appear that most were pleased with the experience, particularly in the ability to actually know what seats they were buying (although the same can be said for past experiences with Artist Arena).  I will say that later on, I went into DDM to see what I might find available for tickets, and the system seemed very smooth.  The only constructive criticism I might give would be that it would help so much more to have maps available for ALL shows (the Cal Coast Credit Union venue at SDSU comes to mind), and that Artist Arena had a great interactive map system that I think would be the perfect end cap to presale experiences with Crowdsurge.

The comments I’ve seen about the VIP presales thus far have been that the platinum packages run out VERY quickly.  I can’t say I’m entirely surprised – it isn’t as though there are thousands available, and there really are not many Duranies out there that can turn down a guaranteed front row seat. I know that as late as an hour into presales for shows that had presales today I was able to pull up at least single VIP tickets (mostly Bronze)…so my advice is simple: act fast if you want the most expensive VIP packages.  The other comment I’ve seen is that once the tickets are in your cart, people aren’t seeing that at the bottom of the screen there is a “radio” button for “remove and search again”.  Remain calm, take a deep breath and look carefully. Another interesting point is that once you have tickets in your cart, you have up to ten minutes to finish your transaction or else the tickets are released back into the pool.  This is key. Read on:

In my experience, Duran Duran ticket presales work kind of like this: everyone hits refresh until finally, blessedly – the tickets go live. Then you rush to get tickets into your cart. You search for the show, click “buy VIP”, then you see what’s available. What?!? No Platinum?! There’s cursing, grumbling, hitting “refresh”… and the next thing I know I’m reading how there are no tickets available at all and it’s only been two minutes into the presale. It’s hideous when it happens to you. Best thing you can do is slow down, take a deep cleansing breath, and wait. In eight minutes, (10 minutes after presales start for that particular show) tickets will be released from carts, and then you can try again.  Keep trying. You never know. Don’t give up.

So, wanna read something amusing? Let me go ahead and replay the scenario from this morning’s presale activities.  I had just gotten home from a quick run to Target and Amanda tweets that she’s trying to call me to clarify a couple of things before presale panic sets in. We quickly discuss things and I decide I’m gonna stay on the phone with her during the process…because you know…we’re a team:

Amanda: We’re two minutes out from start time and I’m hitting refresh now.

Rhonda: (hears Amanda saying ‘refresh, refresh, refresh’) I’m feeling nauseous now.

Amanda: (I know she says something here about how she’s nauseated too, but I can’t remember the exact words) Oh God, I’m in.

(complete silence)

Amanda: OH MY GOD. FRONT ROW, SEATS 7 & 8!!!!!

Rhonda: SCREAMS (clicks to twitter and begins typing) “FRONT ROW BABY”….

Amanda: Oh no. No!!!

Rhonda: (silently hits “delete tweet” and says nothing about it at all to Amanda) What?

Amanda: I can’t get the drop down to work. It only shows expiration dates up to _____ and I need it to get to October!!!

Rhonda: (silent…because well, I was thinking!! At the time I had gone through each of the credit cards I have, noting that all of the expiration dates were in the Fall months which apparently wouldn’t work.

Amanda: Walk me through this, Rhonda. What do I do?

Rhonda: (in my head at the time I was thinking that we’d lost our chance at front row, that she’d have to throw them back and start over. That’s what I probably would have done most of the time, except that this was FRONT EFFING ROW… which is why Amanda handles presales and I book hotels.)  I asked her about using other cards, but that idea was nixed. I commented that I didn’t know the system at Crowdsurge so I felt like my hands were tied.

Amanda: Wait. I can use paypal. It’s not ideal but….(I hear furious clicking on her end and I start to breathe again) DAMN IT…my Paypal password isn’t working!!!

Rhonda: (at this point, I’m starting to believe that this is our worst presale nightmare coming home to roost.) What? Your password doesn’t work? (I begin to start considering what small child I can sacrifice in order to please the ticket Gods…)

Amanda: Oh wait. It worked!  I’m in and we are confirmed for Agua Caliente.

Rhonda: (I don’t immediately answer because my brain is trying to process what she just said).  Ok. You mean that I can go ahead and tweet that we’re in front row?!? (begins typing) “FRONT ROW BABY!!!”

It was only later that I realized that this will be my very first seated front row show…and that I can’t get kicked out this time because the seat is actually mine!  🙂

Interestingly enough, I don’t know how many fans caught it because we missed it the first time, but when you put tickets into your cart for purchase, there is an offer to preorder a “Deluxe Fan edition” of Paper Gods, which will be delivered on or before September 18, 2015 for those of us here in the US. I actually went back to Crowdsurge and went through the ticket buying process so that I could buy myself a copy. (I discarded the tickets; however, because I’d actually like to stay married for a while longer.) It is on sale for $18.99 and then they tack on a couple bucks extra for shipping. Not sure what it includes, but….what the hell.  I’m already pretty sure I’ll end up with three or four copies of this album by the time it’s all said and done, which is exactly why no one has to worry about doing promo directed at fans, am I right?? Double-edged sword, really.

So, I’m going to go and attempt to recover from Duran Duran Ticket presales today…and also try to absorb all of the information that has come out today about the band, the album, etc.  In a single week we went from a small trickle in the DD info stream to a bloody flood.  This, I can work with, folks!  Expect to see blogs each day covering some aspect of the band’s upcoming album, Paper Gods!

-R

 

Mine, Immaculate Dream

I remember when Duran Duran first joined Twitter. There was a learning curve involved of course, because we were all trying to figure out Twitter.  It really made no sense to me until I relaxed a little and just tweeted whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Then I learned that it was far more fun to tweet WITH people rather than AT them, and now Twitter is far more like a running conversation than posting 140-character status updates like “I am going to fold laundry now.” (although I still post a fair number of those)

I also remember when Simon and John started tweeting. At first I thought it was nothing short of miraculous. I remember how insane my timeline would get whenever John jumped online and had what we all learned to coin, a “Tweetfest”. Just a shout-out, an RT, a mere mention would send a fan’s heart soaring. I remember seeing the hundreds, if not thousands of requests for follows, and that prompted me to write a post about not following fans. At the time, I was convinced that following a fan like that would do nothing but promote more nastiness between fans. The competitiveness between DD fans was still palpable at the time, the idea of actually communicating directly with the band was still new enough, that it seemed like a recipe ripe for disaster.

I’ve thought about reasons why a band from the 80s may or may not be involved on Twitter. We’ve talked about how for many of us, bands like Duran Duran are a complete enigma. We knew they existed, but never once thought we could actually speak with them. So many of those bands have dropped off of the face of music now, the few that are left are very much treasured.

Lately, I’ve gotten somewhat involved in the Spandau Ballet fan community. Their community seems to be so much more at peace than Duran’s has been in the past, which interests me…mainly because I just can’t figure out what makes it that much different. I’m sure many of you will have some idea that you’ll happily pass on, so I’ll wait and read your comments. In any case, this past week, the members of Spandau Ballet have been following fans. They’ve openly been coming onto Twitter and spending time tweeting fans and even following them. There has been no bloodshed from fans, nor signs of exasperation coming from the band. Aside from fans asking to be followed (which was encouraged), I’ve seen very little uproar, and the best part is that the fans have encouraged one another.  I continually see “OMG, _______________ is following me!!!” posts on Facebook with a chorus of “Congratulations!” comments  following.

Truly, I don’t feel comfortable saying that this is the way all bands should handle social media with fans, mainly because it’s really difficult for me to see beyond my own fandom. Not everyone can feel comfortable reaching out; indeed, not everyone should. I only know that as a fan, I love seeing these bands and artists I grew up idolizing making the effort to get to know their fans…and they all seem to do it in their own way. It is a good time to be a fan.

-R

The Shortcomings of Being a Die-hard

It is time for another confessional, don’t you think?  As if you readers haven’t read enough of my shortcomings….I still have more to share!

Lately, I’ve been struggling with something, and I’m wondering if I’m the only die-hard fan out there feeling this way, so I’m putting it out there.

I am excited to see the band has shows scheduled, I really am. I’m also excited to hear that the band seems to feel so positive about their upcoming album – after all, we take our cues from them. I trust that they really do love the work they’ve done, and from the teeny tiny little bit of Pressure Off that I heard (that has now seemingly vanished from the internet…), I am anxious to hear it all myself. I’m excited to support the album. It’s been a long, long time, and I’m ready to have the band back out there. The shows they’ve scheduled thus far have all been festivals, and it sounds as though they would prefer to play festivals than dedicated “only Duran Duran” shows right now. I can’t really blame them, it is an excellent way to expose oceans of people who may not already count Duran Duran among their favorite bands to their music. They’re playing these festivals to gain possible new fans, not necessarily to retain the people who have been around for thirty-five years or more. I know all of this in my head, and believe me, I recite those words to myself often. I tend to write them here a lot too, as a reminder.

However, there is also this small(ish) part of me that niggles at me in the dark crevices of my mind. It puts little doubts in my head. I can hear it saying things like, “Do they even care about their long time fans?” or  “What about us? What about playing to the people who have supported them when no one else bothered?”or  “Aren’t we enough?”

Before I go much further, I should probably explain: I hate festivals. I recognize that “hate” is a strong word, and there is a part of me that feels badly about typing that, but I DO very much hate them. I don’t love standing in a punishing throng of people, waiting all day for a band that won’t perform until a good 12-15 hours later. I don’t enjoy fighting kids who are honestly now half my age or even less for spots near the barricades. It isn’t fun being pushed and shoved around just because I want to see Duran Duran. My knees are not what they used to be, and my tolerance for heat/sunshine, a lack of clean restrooms is FAR less now than it was even ten years ago. I don’t enjoy festivals in the same way I don’t enjoy tent camping. It’s like roughing it vs. staying a clean hotel.  I’m over the idea of sleeping on the ground, dealing with rocks in the back, bugs and dirt. It’s the kind of thing I did in my 20’s (and 30’s…) with vigor, and I’m leaving it behind.  The same can be said for festivals…hence the niggling worry in the back of my head.

Of course the answer to whether or not we, the diehards, are enough is no, not when it comes to sales. We’re not “enough”, sadly.  If you look at the numbers of their last album(s)…I think that point becomes abundantly clear, and this band certainly has the right to make an obscene money from their art. (hell, don’t you wish you could do the same?) I wish we were enough. Try as we might, even as some of us have upwards of five or six different versions of their last album – it’s still not enough. If they really want to expose the people to their music, they’ve got to look past all of us and get to the people who haven’t already committed much of their lives to being fans of the band. (That last sentence sounded so much better in my head…because on the screen it makes us all sound psycho.)

As for the other questions, of COURSE I know they care. Every single time I’ve worried that maybe they’ve decided “out with the old, in with the new”, one of them will say or do something to make me see that of course they care.  This is all just part of the business of being a band, and when I think about it analytically or logically with my head instead of my (slightly oversized when it comes to this band) heart,  I know that to feel otherwise is silly.  I mentioned the slight misgivings I had about some of these festivals yesterday with some other fans who, like me, have decided not to jump for tickets just yet.  Her response was that she knew where I was coming from. She just hopes the band loves (us) die-hards as much as we love them.

Isn’t that really the question we all, or most of us have?  I think it’s come up a LOT in our fandom. In fact, that’s very much a part of the reason we started the blog to begin with. It’s hard to know where we really fit in to their picture.  As much as Amanda and I wanted to begin a dialogue with fellow fans, we also hoped that somehow, someway, our message – the collective message from the fans – would reach the band and they’d hear us. A lofty, ridiculous goal from two “commoners” who don’t even live on the same continent as the band in question. We’re dreamers in our own way, I guess.  As much as we know that the band probably couldn’t care less about what a couple of fans have to say…we hope they do, enough to put ourselves out there, hoping for some sort of affirmation from fans and band alike. Validation is a very big issue in our community, and this fact is proven every single time a band member tweets or posts and we all run to be acknowledged; or when the band makes an appearance and photos are taken with fans, or when jealousy erupts because one fan gets (seemingly) more attention than another fan from a band member. That validation is what many fans vie for, and it is a precious commodity.  Does the band love (us) die-hards as much as we love them?? It’s a constant question hidden in every online and in-person exchange.

This blog is difficult to write, really. I know I’m opening myself up for ridicule and probably a few well-intentioned folks are going to tell me I’m being negative. I’m really not being negative as much as I’m admitting that I have shortcomings like anyone else. I don’t necessarily know how important long time fans are to the band at this point. I mean, I know we’re important because we’re a part of their history. That’s just it though – collectively we’re the ones who have helped bring them to this point. But from here? Do we really still matter so much, especially when they’re trying to market their music to a much younger generation?  I can’t speak for the rest of you, but it’s awfully hard to hear the band talk about how All You Need is Now was great, but that album was really just for fans, and now this new album is for OTHER people.  Why does it have to be that way? My head understands the point completely. They need the new album to have a much farther reach. My heart? It says “ouch”, because AYNIN meant the world to me as a fan. Is it really the fault of the album’s material that it didn’t do well, or is it really that the album wasn’t promoted due to a lack of power and money from a major label?

I’d like to think the diehards still matter. That’s why Amanda and I work so hard to keep the fan community talking about the band, keeping everyone up to date with what’s going on, planning events to cultivate friendships and community, and so forth. We have strength not only in numbers, but in passion. We think fans, even those of us who have been around a few decades, still matter…and that we’ve got some power left in us to keep this ball rolling. I’ve said this before: fans are ready to stand on the rooftops and shout, they just need a bit guidance in knowing what to say. They (we) need a little validating, and a little love. Is that really so ridiculous of an idea?  Balancing the plan of exposing music to potential new fans (that join the fold of diehards) with enriching relationships with existing fans is the way to go.

Do I really think the band is leaving diehard fans behind? No, of course not.  Festivals are likely not to make up their entire tour. I have great hope that the band will do shows that we can all attend and enjoy. This is only the beginning – touring is a marathon, not a sprint. Those thoughts, however, don’t always stop me from occasionally having low points where I have doubts…and today I’m wondering if there’s anybody else out there fighting those same worries.

-R