Category Archives: venue

Duran Duran Roundtable Part 2: Touring, Online, and Miscellaneous

On yesterday’s blog, I responded to the first half of Duran Duran’s roundtable released this week, which, again, you can find here.  The first half of the roundtable focused on music, including albums, singles, unreleased material and more.  The latter part of the roundtable contained some questions regarding touring, online presence and questions that did not fit into any category.  Like yesterday’s blog post, I won’t transcribe questions and answers but respond to what I heard. 

The first question under the touring section regarded how much input the band has on what countries, what cities and what venues they play.  Simon mentioned how their are certain countries they won’t play due to the countries due to political regimes of those places, which makes sense to me.  He then went on to say that they really let the booking agent work out the details of a particular tour.  The only time they might step in is if the tour misses an obvious city like Los Angeles or New York City.  I have two thoughts in hearing this answer.  First, I hope that their booking agent takes some factors into consideration.  I couldn’t help but to think of this summer when the band played outdoor venues in the heat of the summer.  I couldn’t also help but to think of Nick getting sick at the end of the tour, too.  Second, I think this shows how much we, fans, do not know about the business.  We don’t know all of the details that must be worked out when it comes to planning a tour.  We don’t know exactly which pieces the actual band members have their say with.  I guess this helps me realize that there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes and that the band can’t do every little thing themselves.  They must have help and must trust that the help knows what they are doing. 

The next question regarded writing on the road.  I was pleasantly surprised that they started to record some of the jam sessions or warm-ups as something interesting things were heard.  I wonder, of course, who all is involved in the warm-up.  I remember back in 2005 that there were clips of the warm-up and, at that time, it consisted of John, Roger and Andy Hamilton.  Is it still John, Roger and Saxy Simon?  What about Dom?  Is he involved? 

There were a number of questions that touched on the setlist in some way, which isn’t surprising to me as setlist discussions are frequent ones in Duranland.  They were asked if they would ever play Palomino, if they would ever do a B-Side tour, or if there is one song that they must play.  They did not think that there is one song that they must play.  I suppose that I agree.  I have kept track of the songs I have heard live.  I have been to 32 shows and have not heard one particular song 32 times.  Thank goodness.  I could say, though, that there are far too many that I have seen about 30 times.  As far as Palomino and the B-Sides go, the response was predictable.  They like the idea but…as Simon pointed out it is a job.  Thus, they have to be sell tickets and leave people with a lasting positive impression so that they want to come back for more.  This makes perfect sense to me.  As much as I would love, love, love a B-Side tour, I get that the crowd isn’t made up of just us die-hard fans.  Much of any audience is made up of people who only know the hits.  Those people wouldn’t enjoy a show of B-sides.  John did suggest an idea of Nick’s to do a 5 show residency in which each show would have a different focus.  One night might be B-Sides.  One night might be So Red the Rose, etc.  I don’t know about the rest of you but I would LOVE this.  I think it would be a great way to thank the hardcore fans!

The last touring question that caught my attention was whether All You Need is Now, the tour, was the best ever.  John said it was consistent and “up there”.  Roger said that the quality had a lot to do with the right album and the right band.  (We think so, too.  Have we mentioned that we kind of like that Dom Brown guy and think he offers a lot, especially live!)  The part that really caught my attention was how John said the band no longer focuses on numbers.  They aren’t going to hit the numbers of the 80s.  Now, they just focus on playing better than ever.  Rhonda rightly pointed out that this seems like a bit of the All You Need is Now philosophy!

The online question focused on the use of twitter.  John’s and Simon’s responses clearly show how they use twitter differently.  For John, it is “therapeutic” and he likes (kind of) being in touch with the fans and knowing what we are thinking.  Simon, on the other hand, uses it to be “unprofessional”.  He gets to say what he thinks without it being what Duran thinks.  Then, he points out how that can be scary because he can say the wrong thing.  I’m glad to hear that my thoughts about their twitters match exactly to what they think of their own twitters.  It has always seemed to me that John typically uses twitter to converse.  Simon uses it to say what he thinks.  Obviously, neither one is wrong.  They are just different. 

The last serious question that I noticed had to do with John’s book.  He was asked why was now the time and if there were any events that pushed him to writing it.  He said that his father’s death and Simon losing his voice.  He didn’t say much after that but how Simon losing his voice gave him extra time.  Yes, that would be true, but he could have done other things to fill the void.  I have to wonder if both of those events reminded him that nothing lasts forever.  Again, how very All You Need is Now!

The rest of the roundtable was fun and kind of silly with questions about hair, cooking and hobbies.  I enjoy those light moments and it sounded like the band did, too.  Overall, I enjoyed the roundtable and would love to see more of them.  They seemed to be tired but perked up as it went along, which is usually how I am when I first start teaching in the morning!  The one thing that Rhonda and I really picked up on, though, is how curious the fans are about the business side of Duran Duran.  We don’t really know much about so many elements of their jobs and we have to remember that.  It is a job.  It is what they do for a career.  We may think we know what they should do, but most of us don’t have a clue.  We know what we like.  For example, we know that we would like them to do a B-Side tour or, at least, play a song like Palomino.  We forget that it is about ticket sales–not just current ones but future ones.  The same is true when it comes to locations of where they play.  We don’t know who is making the decisions and why they are making them.  Again, we know that we want them to come to our locations and most of us rarely think about why they might not.  I would also say this.  I think this must frustrate both sides.  We don’t know how things are run so we get frustrated when it seems like they should be doing something that is obviously what we want or think makes the most sense.  I’m sure they also get frustrated that we don’t understand how the business part of it works.  It seems to me that the best way forward would be for all of us to try and be understanding. 

Now, my new understanding self is going to wait patiently for the next roundtable, tour, album, etc.  I can do this, right?  🙂

-A

Its not where you do it…

There are some days when I really have trouble finding an appropriate title for the blog, and I suspect this is going to be one of those days.  I didn’t wake up with a writing idea for today (although I did wake up with a monster headache), so I knew I was going to need to spend some time this morning reading and finding some sort of a launch point.  I think most fans know that last night was the concert at O2 in London.  This was originally one of the shows that Amanda and I held tickets (GREAT TICKETS for, I might add) back in May – and it was one of the shows that we unfortunately had to sell purely because I couldn’t be gone from home this particular week.  As it turns out, neither could Amanda – but that’s another story for another day.  Yesterday I watched our Twitter feed with great interest, purely because reading the tweets of excitement from people made me feel just a little bit more connected with what was happening a good 5,000 miles away from me. Then I drowned my sorrows in a dirty martini or two….and today I’ve got a headache.  Coincidence??

Where was I again??  Oh yes…the London show.  O2.  When we were there in May, we went to see the O2.  This venue was very curious to me because its so different from anything I’ve seen here in the US. To begin with, our venues typically don’t have so many bars and restaurants in them.  The closest thing to the O2 that I can think of offhand is Staples Center here in LA. It is where our LA Lakers play (that’s our basketball team for those of you not from the US) and it’s right next to a dining/entertainment area called LA Live – but this area is more open air or outside rather than contained in the venue.  It certainly isn’t a tent as the O2 seems, which reminded me of a giant birthday cake with candles sticking out of the top.  I couldn’t get over the size of the place – it’s huge, and from the pictures I’ve seen of last night’s show – its flat out enormous on the inside as well.

The shows that we saw while in the UK didn’t seem to be quite as large, and from the bit of research I did this morning – none of them were even remotely close!  According to what I’ve read, the SECC in Glasgow can hold about 10,000 people in Hall 4, while the O2 holds about 20,000.  Since I wasn’t at the show, I don’t know how sold the show was in London, but Glasgow appeared pretty well sold out.  There might have been seats on the sides that weren’t opened or sold, but I’m going to be honest – I didn’t notice that night.  I was busy paying attention to the stage.  🙂  That was probably our biggest show, along with Birmingham.  Regardless, 20,000 people is a LOT of screaming fans.

Over the course of the many months that this tour has been discussed, one theme continues to arise out of the excitement – and that’s whether or not fans like arena shows.  Many don’t mind them but question whether or not the band could actually sell enough tickets to make the arenas worth their while; and still others hate them with intense passion.

I suspect that the way one feels about those sorts of shows has everything to do with where they’ve sat, and most likely the crowd near where they have indeed sat.  There is something extremely special about being in a huge arena and near the front.  The energy is infectious, and when the crowd is thunderous, you can really feel it!  On the other hand, I’ve had the experience of being near the front at a GA show where there were not quite 500 people in attendance, and the energy was every bit as solid – if not nearly as loud.  The trouble is when you’re at an arena show, your seats are nosebleed and everyone around you sits.  That’s a buzzkill that can ruin an entire show for anyone.  Conversely, earlier I was at a show – the Fox Theater in Pomona, and due to circumstances that were entirely my husband’s fault – we got there late and were about 3/4 of the way back on the floor – and still had one of the best GA shows I’ve ever experienced.

For me personally, I like a mixture of both types of shows, but the key is where I’m sitting and what the crowd is like.  In Bournemouth, we were in a theater (of sorts) that held about 6,500 people and we were in the 4th row, but off to the side a bit and everyone around us sat down.  The show was still good, but compared to the rest of the shows, I have to say it was my least favorite.  In Brighton we were still 4th row, but more towards the center and the people around us (especially right in front of us!) were having a party – and that made the atmosphere just that more festive – which it was!

Bottom line?  It’s not necessarily where you do it that matters nearly as much as whom you’re doing it with!

-R