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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

Daily Questions Update

Don’t be scared!  The daily questions aren’t going away!  On the contrary, I’m always thinking of new questions that can be asked and I always look forward to the results.  At times, the results are totally predictable and other times…not so much.  Anyway, I want to stop, take a second from the chaos of the end of the school year to update all of you on where we are at with this series of daily questions/polls and what is coming up next!

Ultimate Album

We are getting to the end of the ultimate album questioning.  We are finishing track 10 now and will go through track 13.  Now, in order to truly ensure that we (the fans) have picked the ultimate album in the right fashion, we are also going to go back through each track and ask again but in a different way.  The second time around we are going to list all of the track ones together in a  single poll.  You, the voter, will have to just choose the favorite first track.  Then, the next day, you will get all of the second tracks to choose from.  At that point, we know that each and every voter will consider not only the favorite second track but also what would go best to follow the one(s) chosen before.  After we do this for all 13 tracks, we can be certain that we have, indeed, the ultimate Duran Duran album as chosen by the fans!

Sharing of the Ultimate Album

Once we have the definite ultimate album, we will put together a playlist via YouTube so that you all can listen to that album!!  Of course, Rhonda and I will put together our personal ultimate albums since we just might be different than the overall fan base (shocking, I know!).  Those will go on YouTube, too.  Likewise, we would love, love, love to have your ultimate albums, too!  It would really interest me what you all come up!  You will be welcome to share just your album/track listings but if you also want to share why you chose those tracks, we would love that, too!

What’s Next:  Duos!

After the ultimate album, we will turn back to pictures.  If you have been reading or following us for awhile, you might be asking yourself this question:  “What?  Didn’t we do pictures already?”  We did.  Earlier, we found everyone’s favorite picture of each individual band member then we compared favorite pictures to get a final favorite picture of an individual member.  (It was a picture of John from 1982, if you don’t remember!)  Anyway, it is time to expand beyond the individual member.  We will be moving on to favorite duos!  Perhaps, you prefer JoSi (John and Simon together!) or maybe DoJo (Dom and John!) is your thing! NiSi (Nick and Simon) might strike your fancy or, perhaps, RoJo works for you!  Here is what we need.  Like with the individual band members, we need you to send your favorite pictures of your two band members!  Last time, with individual members, we asked you to save just your FIVE favorites.  This time, because there are two members per picture, please send your TEN favorite pictures!  Where/how should you send them?  Simple.  Send them in one of three ways:  By email (dailyduranie@gmail.com), by private message on Facebook or via direct message on Twitter.  The key is to send them in a way that others can’t see what you send.  I don’t have a deadline for the last day you can send the pictures yet, but once I do, I’ll let you all know!  Assume that the deadline will be around the end of the twelve track. I, for one, know that you all will send fabulous pictures!  I can’t wait to see them!

Now, on that note, today’s question is a close one!  Only one vote separates the choices!

-A

Happy Anniversary Katy! (With Roger)

Today’s Katy Kafe features Roger!  Roger loves the word “incredible” (oh, I just like to tease…) and he does think it’s incredible that Katy has been with the band so long.  And it is…she has seen a lot over the past twenty years. Katy remembers that Roger had come in to do the Perfect Day video but that she didn’t meet him, and they quickly skip down memory lane, recalling that for a while, Katy was only working with Simon, Nick and Warren. Then the reunion happened, and Nick set up a phone call with Roger and Andy because Katy was very nervous about working with them since she didn’t know them. She says that Roger was very nice, and that she was struck by how funny Roger was, because that wasn’t something she expected.

Curiously, I think many fans (including myself) don’t really know how funny Roger is. He’s always been characterized as the “quiet one”, and Katy expands upon this, trying to explain that she thought he’d be shy and maybe a bit “Howard Hughes-like”. Roger follows up saying that she probably thought he was going to be weird, quiet, anti-social, etc, and that other people have told him that as well. Without getting too far off topic here, the reality is – I think a LOT of fans thought that about him at one point or another. Let’s face it, when Roger left the band, rumors circulated about him up until the time he returned. I heard every sort of sad story about him: “he went crazy and had to be hospitalized (in a mental hospital)” to “He’s a recluse”….and beyond. Who knew what was really true?  Certainly not fans. They don’t tell us those things, you see. Couple all that with the comments the media would say about Roger, calling him “brooding” and “super shy”…and need I remind anyone about the ITSISK video where, when it’s Roger’s turn to look into the camera and say “Please please tell me now”…..Roger kind of mumbles the words and looks away, and you’ve got the basis for lots and lots of conjecture over the years.

However, Katy tells us that Roger has a sense of humor. I’ll bet he is as sarcastic and dry as they get…I wish we’d see that side of him more often. Even in Kafe’s, I don’t hear much of Roger’s humor, whether that’s due to being in the Kafe or because there is nothing funny about having to talk about your job constantly.  (Duran Duran must be very serious business!) Once again, I enjoy the banter, you can tell there is a lot of admiration, love and friendship there, which is nice.

I can’t remember a lot from the Ask Katy’s over the years, but I do remember a series of blogs that Katy did – she described how it was working with each member, and she shared a little bit about them that we might not really see as fans. I felt at the time that they were some of the most enjoyable things I’ve read about the band, and that’s exactly how these Kafe’s, with Katy speaking with each member about her history with the band, tend to feel.  Incredible, right?  😉

-R

 

Proposition — The Daily Duranie Review

We have finally hit the last song on the Notorious album.  This week, we take a look at the song, Proposition.  This is one of those tracks that is often overlooked.  Is that fair or should people pay more attention to it?  Read to find out what we think!

Rhonda

Musicality/Instrumentation:

There is no mistaking that this song is off of Notorious from the very first notes of Nick’s keyboards. Anytime I hear a horn section, I know that chances are – it’s from Notorious. I like that I can really hear John’s bass, and there is one small section where you can actually hear the guitar, imagine that! I find myself missing the days when the guitar actually mattered to this band and was used for more than just texture, which is one reason I tend to struggle with the entire Notorious album – it is not one of my favorite Duran moments. I know they were struggling to find a new identity without Roger and Andy, but I do miss a more audible and noticeable LEAD guitar. Musically the song is incredibly funky and jazzy…and when the guitar is allowed to be up in the mix, it provides a good deal of rock to balance the sound. The drums are good and I love the fill/pick up at the beginning of the song.

Vocals:

I must be in the minority, but I really do not love the moments when Simon is singing in a high register. He loses all depth and dimension to his voice, and it becomes falsetto…which really doesn’t work at all, and it weakens the entire song. I think it would have been far more effective to have Simon sing in a range that actually played to his talents rather than have him do falsetto. He has such a strong voice, why not use it?

Lyrics

This song is tougher for me to really understand, but for some reason I get the feeling it is about society forgetting about their children.  We promise to take care of our children, and yet somehow – so many end up starving, dying, getting into trouble, left for the streets to raise as their own. The song makes me uncomfortable, which probably means the lyrics do their job – they make me think about subjects none of us may want to consider, but we really should. Whether that’s really what Simon was getting at or not, I’m unsure..but isn’t that part of the fun with Duran songs?

Overall:

I struggle with the Notorious album. It is very funky, and I know that is as much a part of Duran’s history as is punk…but I struggle. The album really marks such a huge departure in sound, in personnel and even in the band themselves as they go from being the number one band in the world to something a little farther down on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts. The song itself has some good: the bass, a guitar part that doesn’t mind being in the background and adding texture, a cohesive rhythm section, but it’s never been a favorite. The chorus quite honestly ruins the song a bit for me with the falsetto and tough to hear words, and the lyrics, while potentially interesting, never seem to hold my attention. I fade away whenever the song is on, which is disappointing.

Cocktail Rating:

2.5 cocktails! Two and half cocktails

Amanda

Musicality/Instrumentation:

As soon as the song begins, Nick’s keyboards are right there, front and center. As soon as the rest of the instrumentation jumps in, you know that this is a song off of Notorious. The guitars have the same style, for one, and horns are present and drums to help with transitions. Even with all of the instruments present, Nick’s keyboards still seem to play a major role. They are funky, for sure, and remain even when other instruments like guitar take the spotlight. One thing that is interesting to me is how little change there seems, musically, between verse and chorus. The only time there seems to be a real change is during the bridge about two-thirds of the way through. Then, the guitar really takes the spotlight along with keyboards. The funk is on high for most of the song.

Vocals:

I really like Simon’s vocals during the verse. It is at a good range for him and love how he emphasizes the last word in most lines in a very subtle way. Unfortunately, he totally loses me during the chorus. Why must the word “Proposition” and other part of the chorus be sung at that higher range? It doesn’t make show off Simon’s talents much. Why make Simon sing in such a high range? I find the words in the higher range even hard to understand. It is such a shame, too, since the verse shows great vocals. I have to wonder if the range of this song is the reason that I have never seen it on a setlist. (If you have, please let me know! I would love to know when and where they played this one live.)

Lyrics:

Before I take a look at the specific lyrics to this song, I refresh my memory about the specific meaning to this word. The meanings I found: a statement expressing a judgment or a suggested plan of action. Which definition matches the song? It seems to me that this song is about a crime. Is the baby dead? The baby’s head is cold, after all and this woman is to “pay for the crime of feeling”. Then, the next verse seems broader—more society and less individual. No matter who is to blame, the person is feeling guilty for something. I’ll be honest. I’m not sure what the song is really about. Could it be about a judgment? Maybe. I, generally, like lyrics that make me think, make me wonder, make me what to figure it out. Yet, these lyrics don’t intrigue me. I don’t know why. Maybe, it is the mentioning of the baby. Maybe the only interpretation I can come up with isn’t one I relate to or appreciate. Nonetheless, I find the lyrics disappointing.

Overall:

I want to like this song. I’m not a huge fan of the funk found on this album. If I was, I would probably love the instrumentation as it is full of the funk. The lyrics seem intriguing but the intrigue doesn’t last long. They are unable to keep my attention for some reason. Perhaps, the instrumentation and the lyrics don’t keep me into the song because of the chorus, which I don’t like. I want Simon to stay in the range of the verse. Yet, the chorus is at a much higher range and such that I can’t follow or sing along. I think the song has potential but doesn’t fulfill that potential.

Cocktail Rating:

2.5 cocktailsTwo and half cocktails

Time for Temptation: I Need a Duran Tour!

Isn’t it time?  Don’t you all think that it is time?  What am I talking about?  Simple.  I think it is time to be plotting…I mean planning to go on “tour”, to go to multiple Duran shows.  We know that the album is coming.  We know that the first single is coming.  We know that Duran Duran is playing a number of festivals in Europe this summer.  Thus, it just seems BEYOND logical for U.S. tour dates to come out, right?  (Please note:  I would love for Duran to release tour dates everywhere in the world.  I just mention the U.S., specifically, because that is where we live.)  Tour dates would be the next usual step in the Duran Duran new album schedule, right?  I think so.  Promotional activities could surround those tour dates as well.  Again, I think that seems logical.

Beyond where Duran Duran is at in their new album process, I, personally, would love, love, love to be planning a trip, a tour, a few shows.  There are two very big reasons for this.  Well, maybe, there are three big reasons for this .  First, I got a reminder, a taste, a tease about Duran Duran live a few weeks ago in Los Angeles at the Lynch Foundation show.  Clearly, this wasn’t enough.  I need more.  I admit it.  I’m weak.  I suspect that everyone who has experienced Duran Duran Live feels the same way.  Right?  Three songs are never enough.  Heck, three shows are never enough.  This event that took place a few weeks ago leads me to reason number two.  I am a fan.  Sometimes, I question this, for whatever stupid reason is occupying my thoughts.  Yet, this show reawakened my fandom spirit.  As the band played, it was like the fan part of me was being shaken awake from a very long slumber.  Now, that my fandom is awake again, I want to see them again.  Who can blame me for that?!  The third reason I want to plotting for a tour is to have something FUN to look forward to!  (In fairness, I have a couple of fun things planned in the upcoming weeks and months.  First, I’m having Duranies over next weekend to watch some Duran related videos, talk Duran, etc.  This is ALWAYS a good time and I am very lucky to have fellow fans nearby!  Second, Rhonda and I will be trying to find time over the summer to get together.  Of course, if we had tour dates to plan for, that would help tremendously!!!)  Beyond those events, I have to admit that I really think reality sucks.  I want to look forward to escaping the day-to-day grind and the less-than-fun aspects of family, work, health, etc.

I want to be making immediate calls to my partner-in-crime in which we scream, shout, swear while calling the band names and examining tour dates to see what is possible.  I look forward to the puzzle that tour dates brings us.  What shows can we do?  How do we get to them?  Would we need to fly?  What transportation would we use?  How many hotel rooms would we need?  Where would we need them?  What about those tickets?  When are they going on sale?  Who is doing what?  I want each and every aspect of planning.  My life doesn’t feel right unless Rhonda and I are sending messages back and forth and back and forth where we can’t decide some aspect of our plan, knowing full well that we do better when we just make a plan and commit to it.  Truly, after ten plus years of touring, this plotting has not gotten old and that tease we had a few weeks ago wasn’t enough.  I know…I know.  I need to be patient.  It won’t be long now.  They are getting much closer to getting the single and album out.  I try but real life, lately, has made me less than patient.  I’m only human.  Worse yet, I’m a fan.

Thus, In order to remind all of the joys of Duran Duran live, let’s take a look at some fabulous live performances from the All You Need Is Now Tour!

-A

Winter Marches On — The Daily Duranie Review

Our reviews continue with the ninth song off of the album, Notorious.  The song is Winter Marches On and definitely represents THE ballad off of this album.  Is this a good ballad or not?  See what we think below then let us know what you think!

Rhonda

Musicality/Instrumentation:

Is there really a more melancholy song in Duran’s catalog?  Probably. But for now, we haven’t gotten there yet!  I love the emotion produced by the music for this one. When I listen, I can hear the tambourine, keyboards, and of course bass…which really helps to provide a rhythm with the absence of any other percussion aside from the tambourine. I also really like the melody line – which sounds like it could be a synthesized woodwind (clarinet or even oboe…they should have called me!!).  The music is very slow, and I think that it’s easy to pass this song by unless you’re really in the mood to sit, listen and ponder. The song certainly isn’t boring (not by a long shot!), but it also isn’t the type of song you necessarily want to hear when you’re in the mood for playing Wild Boys loud and proud in the car.

Vocals:

I might be in the minority, but I wish a few more Duran songs were written in this key/range for Simon. He has a gorgeous voice. I know we’re all about the party, but I love this slightly darker and chilled timbre. His voice has a beautiful roundness, and he is really the best when it comes to portraying emotion in his singing. One doesn’t even have to know the words to recognize the emotion in the song – vocals and music work hand in hand here to do bring that home. I really can’t find anything to complain about here!

Lyrics:

Not gonna lie – I have no idea what this song is about. Lines like “Birth time rose; a thorn for coronation” or “Soon you’ll belong to the blest, spare us your lives while we need you”. In some ways it reminds me of motherhood. Mostly, I think I completely lost the plot somewhere. I really like the line, “dreams have frozen crystal in the morning”….beautiful.  I’ll admit that I read Amanda’s interpretation below, and she might be right. I wouldn’t be surprised that Simon used this sort of analogy to describe fame, especially given the changes the band has already seen by this point. I always think of the saying “Be careful what you wish for.”

Overall:

This is a song that I have to be in the right mood to enjoy. It isn’t a song I would belt out in the car, nor is a song that I find myself yearning to hear – but having done this review, I found new appreciation for it. (It is the best part of doing reviews!!) I love that the slowness of the song almost forces me to really listen to each subtle nuance, from the way the tambourine accents the beat to the deep bass. The song slows me down, encourages me to take the time to sink within the music and think.  The music and vocals work together to create a very different emotion from most Duran Duran songs, and I really enjoy that. The sounds are simple, but purposeful. Winter Marches On isn’t particularly loud, noisy or even overproduced – which I applaud. Well done and worth many listens!

Cocktail Rating:  4 cocktails!

4 cocktails rating

Amanda

Musicality/Instrumentation:

The first word that comes to mind as Winter Marches On begins is atmospheric with the melancholy keyboards and the slow hits of what sounds like a tambourine.  Right away, you know that this isn’t going to the happiest of Duran songs.  The song continues in this fashion even as the vocals begin with some additional keyboard sound until finally some other instrumentation is heard with the deep bass adding to the mood of the song.  At one point, it sounds like there is some strings included but it is clear that this isn’t the usual Duran song in that there is little noticeable guitar and drums.  That isn’t to say that it is boring.  It isn’t.  It is just different.  If the goal was to create a beautiful, haunting song, the music did its job.

Vocals:

This song starts out, vocally, with Simon’s “oh”, “ah”, “hmm”.  Normally, I’m not a fan of little vocal additions like that but, in this case, it sets a tone of emotion and sadness.  Then, his vocals are generally slow in tempo and much lower in his range than what he did for the rest of the album.  I love how he elongates a number of words to add emphasis and emotion.  This is one of those songs that Simon’s voice really adds almost additional instrumentation.

Lyrics:

These lyrics intrigue me.  Who is the she that is referenced in the first verse?  Could it be fame?  “She drains emotion.  To drink from her breast of fortune”.  Then, the rest of the song sounds like it is being addressed to the band.  “Spare us your lives while we need you.”  Could that be from the fans?  The industry?  The next couple of lines definitely sound like what they were experiencing:  “Loud is the music the crowd is bringing.”  While the lyrics are on the shorter side, I do like that they make me think.  I also always feel like I can relate to the line about sparing one’s live while needed.  I certainly feel that at work, when I have my teacher hat on.  I suspect others might feel that way with their lives or where they are in their lives.  Lyrics like this definitely show me the connection between this album and the previous one as so much of Seven and the Ragged Tiger subtly discussed fame, being in the spotlight, etc.

Overall:

Winter Marches On is one of those songs that I would have dismissed, if I had not done this review.  I’m generally not attracted to ballads unless they offer something more (think Before the Rain).  This one, though, has some merit.  The lyrics made me think and I enjoy Simon’s vocals on this one a lot.  Musically, it isn’t the most interesting or most complex, but definitely works to create a mood and an atmosphere.  Thinking about the individual elements of this song definitely made me appreciate it more.
Cocktail Rating:  4 cocktails
4 cocktails rating

The Dark Side of Social Media

Seriously, did he really just answer me?

I write about social media quite a bit. I’m continually astounded by its existence and the changes it has made for the entertainment industry as a whole. I remember the first time I realized that not only could I passively follow bands like Duran Duran, but I could interact with them. I would post responses to things they’d tweet whenever I felt like it, and figured that was as far as it would go, but it felt good to be able to say my piece. I remember being so puzzled when John Taylor actually responded to me for the first time, as I sat thinking to myself, seriously, did he really ANSWER me?? I mean let’s face it, I vibrated like a tuning fork at the idea that a member of Duran Duran actually noted my existence on this planet, my excitement was off the charts. Then it became a sort of challenge. I upped the ante for myself.  He answered me once, will he ever answer again??  Never MIND how I felt when other band members, or “not quite” band members answered, or still answer me. I don’t think it’s gotten old with me yet – even if they don’t necessarily talk TO you, just seeing them tweet and communicate remains exciting.  The possibility for interaction, the possibility that they might see or read tweets and/or Facebook posts makes it interesting.

Yes, I really AM <insert band member name here>.

Things have changed since the first days of social media. Does anyone remember My Space? I remember the platform well, as I handled the My Space account for a delightful little start-up band named Clear Static. That’s right, not only did I answer their mail, I interacted with fans. I answered fans as someone from Clear Static might answer them, because well, somebody had to do it. Let’s just say that the band was ready to be famous far before their music gave them the right to call themselves stars. They toured with Duran Duran, they gained attention and notoriety from Duran fans, and thought they had made the big time. They soon found out that being rock stars meant communicating with fans far more often than they wanted or felt was needed, so they hired me. I kept the enthusiasm going, put out the PR fires as necessary, and lied to fans on a regular basis, telling them that “Yes, I really am <insert band member name here>.” Remembering back to those days on My Space sheds a little light on the darker side of social media.

The band/artist is as big of a product as their music.

My Space was the very beginning of a time we still live in where the band/artist is easily as big of a product as their music. Their image,  online presence and personality matter as much as the music they create.  For a band like Duran Duran, that’s quite a change from the days of video – where we fans could SEE them, but they never had to actually interact, and certainly not with so many of us at one time. Image has always mattered to Duran Duran, but perhaps not the personal interaction. We fans were kept at arm’s length for the most part, and to be fair – can we really blame them? I still picture the scenes from Sing Blue Silver where they are in the limo and the fans are banging on the windows outside the limo.  Yes, it is likely a good thing that social media didn’t exist in the 1980s.

The connectivity piece has become an expected facet – and you know this because I write of it often. Fans want to know who it is behind the music, and let’s face it – the band was pretty interactive during the release of All You Need is Now.  We still want more. Maybe we expect too much, but I assure you – it isn’t just Duran Duran fans.  Have you seen Taylor Swift’s Twitter or Instagram lately? Those millions of fans aren’t following her because she never shares, I can guarantee you that. Interaction is expected. A daunting reality for a band that spent their earliest years running from the lot of us, wouldn’t you say? This is a time when so many other things matter besides the music, and yet if I asked any of you why you’re Duran Duran fans – I don’t think it’s likely that any of you would answer that it is social media.  But yet, for new bands out there – I read over and over again every single day that social media is easily as important as the music. Maybe even more so.  According to Wolfgang Gartner, a DJ, artist, producer and label founder, “an artist with a vibrant, thriving social media profile and personality and ‘so-so’ music may have a better shot at getting signed or achieving success than the artist with no social media presence and amazing music. It means that I don’t actually know if that person in my Twitter timeline composed that tweet, or if it was written by an intern at a social media management company.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked how I “know” it’s really John, Simon, Roger, or even Dom that answers us. In reality? I have no idea. Wouldn’t we all like to believe we know their voices well enough to know the difference?? Even so, I have to trust it really is them talking to us on their individual accounts even though the strong possibility exists that they’ve hired social media people to do it all for them. Let us all hope we never find out otherwise.

Each piece is a pawn in the social media game.

The sales engine continues to run, according to Wolfgang Gartner. In an article written for the website Medium Gartner expands, “Artists are often contractually obligated to say specific things on their social networks as part of agreements or contracts; artists are often encouraged by their publicists or managers to be active on social media even if they don’t want to, because it helps sell records and tickets to shows; artists who are constantly on social media interacting with fans thrive, and are effectively helping sell their product.”

Each piece: the music, the image, the connectivity, the branding, the artist – is used as a pawn in the game of sales. A social game of sorts. Artists essentially must become the role they play online, and many don’t want to play the game at all. They’d prefer to be in the studio writing music; up on stage playing music, and leave the rest behind the velvet curtain, safe from view. Not all artists are social, not all artists are even that likable or personable, but in this day and age – one cannot afford to be antisocial.

Gartner goes even further to describe just how far some will go to use the social ladder to further their own game, “Some artists formed bonds with their musical idols, many contacts and collaborations were made, artists were able to give each other praise for their work, and everybody got to watch it happen in real-time. However, a darker side of this trend emerged: artists strategically interacting with other artists in attempts to boost their own careers. Of course musicians and entertainers have been doing this long before the internet, but social media took it to a new level.”

We’ve all seen this happening. Some of it is organic and beautiful, like when Nile Rodgers comments to a band member and they answer. I love that because I can see it happening right on my screen. For some reason, it makes me feel as though we’re all connected, and that it is all real. Conversely, there are the times when Duran Duran picks Pages of the Week that are purely just celebrities on Facebook, or favorites tweets from celebrities mentioning Duran Duran on Twitter. You know (and I know) it’s not “the band” actually doing that, and we ALL should recognize it is grossly fake. In some respects it is an attempt to put the band on equal level with those they respect and admire, and in others it feels just slightly smarmy. Part of the business? Probably. Does it really work? That’s a good question. Overall, it remains part of the social media game.

For Duran Duran, quality music is the end game.

In many ways, I must give proper admiration and respect to Duran Duran, because even with all of the extraneous details, the music continues to be central priority for the band. Yes, they care about their image, they delight in the visual, but the music matters. There is certainly a danger in getting caught up in the current of social media to the point where one forgets what really matters. Many an artist has allowed his/her social media fame to override the music – thus becoming more of an entertainer than musician. While I wouldn’t argue that social media is completely immaterial, I appreciate that the band knows that quality music is the end game. So I suppose I can forgive them for being largely absent for the past few years on social media, and delight in the few moments where they let me know I’m remembered in one way or another.

-R

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fandom Representation: SNL

It has been awhile since I took a long look at something in the media and how it represents fans and fandom.  Over the years, I have analyzed books, TV shows, and movies.  This past weekend, like many in America, I tuned into the SNL 40th Anniversary Show.  It reminded me that there have been a number of skits on Saturday Night Live over the years that focuses on fans.  What are some of those skits and how are fans represented?

When I think of the fandom most often covered on SNL, I think of Star Trek.  That fandom has been discussed a number of times.  There are two skits that really stick out to me.  This first one involves William Shatner (actor who played Captain Kirk) who attends a Star Trek convention.

https://screen.yahoo.com/star-trek-convention-000000768.html

As you can tell, the fans at the convention are dressed like characters from the show and ask questions as if Shatner is actually Kirk.  They are unable to keep actor and character separate.  How does Shatner respond to this and more?  He tells them to “Get a Life” and that it is weird to dress in character.  In fact, they are so weird that they would never be able to have romantic relationships.  While, obviously, the skit is supposed to be funny.  Taking that into consideration, what makes it funny?  Simple.  It is based on stereotypes of fans and science fiction/Star Trek fans, most specifically.  While we all might laugh at the skit, does a skit like this reinforce those stereotypes?  I am not sure.  Probably.  What I do think is interesting is that this skit came out at a time in which geekdom wasn’t popular.  It wasn’t popular at all.  Now, it is much cooler to be into something in that genre.  Would be fans be represented in the same way now?

Speaking of more modern times, there was another Star Trek skit that sticks out in my mind.  This skit features Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine (actors who most recently played Spock and Kirk in the newly rebooted Star Trek).  In this case, they addressed concerns that the fans had about how the Star Trek franchise was changing.

https://screen.yahoo.com/feature-star-trek-000000010.html

Clearly, the idea behind this skit is that fans take things too seriously and are unwilling to change.  They refuse to accept a new direction.  Hmm…I am sure that there aren’t Duranies who are stuck in thinking that the only good Duran albums were the first three, right?  Again, this skit is supposed to be funny because it focuses on the stereotypes of fans, including that they take the object of their fandom too seriously.  In fact, they are so serious that they cross the line into scary.  Is there truth to this?  Perhaps.  Does this reinforce stereotypes?  Again, probably.

Of course, other fandoms have been featured on Saturday Night Live over the years, including musical fandoms.  Not too long ago, SNL took on the hysteria following the band, One Direction.  In this skit, an adult tries to prove that he is the band’s number one fan over the pre-teen girls.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7YW6LjHHiE

How does this clip do in terms of representing fandom?  Obviously, his behavior is supposed to look silly since he is an adult.  Thus, he should not be doing the things that the preteen fans do like know trivia, compete over who is going to marry which band member, plan to name children after them, push through the crowd to get an autograph and more.  Since this particular clip hits close to home for most of us reading this blog, I have to admit that I laughed and laughed at this one, too.  Again, the jokes are funny when they are based on stereotypes.  Clearly, there are a ton of stereotypes about young, female fans.  Are some of them true?  Sure.  Does it then reinforce the idea that fandom is only for young girls who do silly things?  It does that, too, I think.

It is difficult to analyze comedy in terms of how it does with fandom because it is MEANT to be funny.  It isn’t supposed to be taken seriously in the same way that documentaries are.  That said, it can reinforce stereotypes, even stereotypes involving fandom.  Now, on that note, I understand that there was a skit on SNL about Spring Break in the UK in which Duran Duran shows up.  I believe Chris Farley was playing Simon.  Clearly, if my understanding is correct, the stereotypes in that skit weren’t about fans but about the band, or at least Simon.  I tried desperately to find it online but couldn’t.  If anyone has it, please share!

What do the rest of you think?  Are these portrayals of fans accurate?  Are they exaggerations based on commonly held beliefs?  Do they reinforce negative assumptions?

-A