Category Archives: year-in-short-review

A few of my best moments of 2015

30th of December, 2015. We’ve got about a day and a half left in this year, give or take depending upon where you are in the world. Speaking for myself, I’m happy to see this one end. I have friends who look at New Years with some sort of wide-eyed optimism for possibilities, and I’m not sure I’m in that camp. I wouldn’t necessarily say that I’m looking for a do-over, but I do kind of think of January as a sort of reboot. It’s a good time to sort of purge the system, clean the slate, and start over. Before I move forward, I like to close out the year with a good look back.

This is always a sort of strange time of year for me because typically either I’m sick (as I am this year), or my kids are sick…or even the husband (I shudder to think). It all adds up to where I almost never leave the house for that week between Christmas and New Years, and it is typically right about now when I’m starting to get cabin fever….which I am.  The idea of going out shopping sounds great in theory, but then I take a deep breath and realize that I shouldn’t be going anywhere just yet. And I’m exhausted just thinking about it…so instead I’ll try to recap some of my better moments of 2015.  Granted, I have to actually try to remember all of last year. My memory seems to stop right at April 1st.

January 2015 Katy Kafe

The first thing that comes to mind is the January 2015 Katy Kafe with John Taylor. It isn’t often that I go back an re-read blogs, particular those that were written nearly a year ago…but in searching for something else, I re-read this one. I can remember writing it with absolutely no idea what Paper Gods, or as I fondly call it, #DD14, would have to offer. I wrote about how excited John seemed. How passionate he came across about the new music…and I clearly recall having a sense of real anticipation for the year ahead.  It was a good, breakthrough moment to start the year, without a doubt.

“It’s like riding a bike, Rhonda – you don’t forget!” – Amanda (while we were trying to buy pre-sale tickets to the David Lynch Foundation show)

I remember the day that Duran Duran announced that they would appear and play at the David Lynch Foundation Gala at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles. To begin with, I nearly choked on my coffee. I just wasn’t expecting that sort of news on that particular day. Then again, I must admit I’m almost never expecting show announcements and they always surprise me! I can remember sending texts to Amanda, full-well knowing she was in class, but I didn’t care. I even sent it with the “bat-code” for CHECK THIS RIGHT NOW.  I also remember how overjoyed I was at the very idea that they were going to be coming to LA after so long. I always joke that getting show announcements feels similar to having been running through the desert and you finally see a drinking fountain or a swimming pool. Naturally, I blogged about the hilarity of the pre-sales being one hour after the band announced the date, which you can re-read here. (It’s even new if you haven’t read it before!)

Hearing a snippet of Pressure Off for the very first time

In all fairness, I can’t seem to remember when this happened. Was it before or after David Lynch?  I’m thinking before. I know they had announced “Pressure Off” being the single by then, but even as I tried to search our archives, I couldn’t find mention of it. Probably because we were on Spring Break at the time. No matter, I remember listening/watching to a horribly distorted snippet of the song that one of the radio DJ’s who attended some sort of party that Warner put on up in Northern California – this was right after it was announced that DD had signed with Warner for this album. I must have watched that snippet (and searched for other longer versions) 50,000 times. I can remember listening quizzically – as though that single 30 second “snapshot” was going to give me all of the answers I was seeking about #DD14.  The one thing I do remember feeling though, was hope. I liked the tiny bit I’d heard.

I know that not long after that snippet made its way through the internet, Roger commented in a Katy Kafe that he really didn’t like that it had been posted because the production couldn’t really be heard. Gotta tell you, Roger – with all due respect – it didn’t matter.  Here’s the thing: and I’m speaking purely from the point of view as a fan – when fans find things like that online – just tiny little slices of new music and so forth, it’s really not about getting a full taste of the production quality. It’s about just hearing the tune, so to speak. I don’t think anyone truly watched that video with the idea that they’d judge the whole album by what was seen. It was more about satisfying the urge. Imagine being thirsty – I mean REALLY thirsty. You don’t sit down and think about what you want to drink. You just need some water, and you guzzle it. Quickly.  And then you refill the glass.

The David Lynch Foundation Gala

We were expecting one song but ended up with three, and had a fantastic time with friends both old and new.  One of the best nights I’d had in a very long time, and of course we tweeted, blogged, and Instagrammed our way through.  Plenty of people chuckled at the idea that Amanda would travel all the way to California for a single song, and I say to them that they just don’t get it. The band was a great backdrop, and sure – they were definitely a motivating factor, but it still comes down to friendship. Amanda and I hadn’t seen one another since the previous summer, and it was time.  There are also those photos with John, Dom & Simon, too.  Of course then we wondered just how much longer it would be before we’d see them again.

Pre-Sales (for the US shows in the Fall)

Yes, I know…pre-sales are both the joy and stress of being a fan. That said, there was something that felt very good about getting online, blood surging through my clogged arteries as I had Amanda on speaker phone that morning in May, both of us working to get the best tickets possible for the shows coming up in October. It felt good. It felt right…and despite that moment when she couldn’t get the darn website to take her credit card expiration date…we survived….and to think we hadn’t even heard the entire album yet.

Listening to Paper Gods

It felt so good to finally have the album in my hand. I relished in taking the time to really look at the icons and the artwork. I read over the liner notes, and then played the album itself non-stop for weeks (from start to finish each time, thank you!). After three years, many of the songs being released early, it finally felt like we’d made it. I remember the exact moment I finally “got” the album – not just hearing it but actually GETTING it. I called Amanda, triumphantly acknowledging that the album wasn’t just about the BAND….it was about fans as well. The album, as a whole (not counting the bonus songs) very much listens as a musical journey throughout the band’s career. There’s a reason why Simon suggests we listen to the album as a whole, all the way through, at least once.  Pure, unadulterated joy…and profound respect are feelings I can easily assign to Paper Gods.

The US Fall tour

Rather than just pick one show – I’m choosing to just say all of them. After three years, seeing the band was one of the best parts of this entire year.  From standing there in second row center at the Hollywood Bowl to leaning my elbows on the stage at Agua Caliente – I don’t think I will ever be able to top those moments as a music lover. What more could I really ever ask for?  I’m really not sure. I just know that the band exceeded my expectations, and whatever I enjoy from here on out is bonus.

 

There were so many other little moments I could have mentioned, but these were the big Duran Duran moments for me this year.  I also want to make mention that while I didn’t include the moment I read that all of the band members were fine and safe after the Paris terrorist attacks – on a very personal level, I don’t think I’ve ever been so thankful. It didn’t seem right to include that in this list, nor did it seem right to include my pride in their decision to donate the their proceeds from EODM’s version of Save a Prayer to charity, but they are not forgotten. I will never forget that so many music lovers, like myself, did not come home from the simple act of going to a concert.

-R

Some thoughts on New Years Eve…

So it’s New Years Eve. I recognize that I should have something incredibly profound to say on this day that somehow sums up the entire year, cleanses the soul and readies oneself for the start of a new year. On that note, I really don’t have much to say. I’m still really trying to sort out the past year for myself, much less on a broader scale. All I can really gather my thoughts to say is that I’m readying myself for quite a bit of change in the next year…and even more so in 2015. So, rather than look ahead, which is rather daunting, let’s look back.

In January, we conveyed a team of Duranies together with a common cause: to find a place for Durandemonium. This task proved much harder than any of us initially thought. We wanted Chicago. We had a difficult time finding a hotel that didn’t want my first born AND all of our blood as payment. We were back and forth between two cities for a while, finally settling (much later) on Chicago, the Amalfi Hotel and Harry Caray’s (not the easiest place to work with for a gathering, I might add…) Our convention planning took many months to work through, but by late spring we had the framework ready and a website was up.

In the meantime, the band was in the studio. Honestly – I could use this one sentence as their entire year, for the most part. The band did do the AMFAR charity event in Cannes in late May, and of course there was MoMA in November – where they had the meet and greet to end all meet and greets. I’m still kicking myself over not being there, so at least there’s that… but for the most part, the band has been relatively quiet, and according to John Taylor, it seems as though they actually like being at home and not touring. Well, then.

At some point in late July (I realize I should have the exact date engraved upon my memory but I do not.) we finished our manuscript for our “yet to be really named out loud…but we know what we’d like to call it and no we’re not sharing yet” book. Amanda is working to format the book into an acceptable format that can be sent to publishers, and I’m putting off going back to edit a chapter that is now out of date and needs reworked a bit. I’m also putting together a list of publishers that may in fact be willing to at least contemplate publishing our work…and biting all of my nails in the process. Good times!

This really sort of brings us to the fall, or as everyone else in the world calls it, “Autumn”.  (Why ARE we so different here in America anyway??) Moving on… in Autumn, we started panicking, realizing that we were closerthanthis to the beginning of Durandemonium, and we had a lot of things to accomplish. So we collectively worked our fingers to the bone, got ourselves together and pulled Durandemonium through by a shoestring. The good news is that we believe everyone enjoyed themselves, plenty was learned, and we survived!!!

No sooner did we get home and settled, and Unstaged at MoMA was announced. Friends planned their trip(s), while Amanda and I remained fairly unimpressed. Until the day after.  That’s when we heard that the band was actually present and mingled…in the same room as the VIP attendees. Photos were taken, conversations took place, while Amanda and I were at our respective homes. Away from the excitement, away from the energy. We truly have the BEST luck ever. (That, my friends…is sarcasm.)  No matter, we were excited for everyone who had their moment(s), and while both of us know there’s no way the band could do this every night of a tour, or even once a week – we hope they do it again, and that we have the opportunity to be there. Doesn’t everyone?

Since MoMA, we’ve been working on our bibliography and thinking about the future of the band. We’ve wondered about their album, what their plans might be for next year, such as: When will the album be finished and released? When will we hear new music? Are they ever going to get up out of their barcaloungers/recliners and tour again? What’s more, we’ve been considering what OUR future is going to be. Will we do another convention? Have we really lost our minds?? Do we continue with Daily Duranie or hang it up because it’s simply too difficult to come up with new topics every single day while the band is in the studio? Will Amanda keep teaching? Will Rhonda finally move out of California?? Will the book ever find a publisher, and will they write another???

All of these questions, and many, many more will be answered in the months to come. One thing is certain: life is never boring, at least not for long.

Happy 2014 to all of our family and friends around the world.  We look forward to a new year with new music (and maybe even some shows!), and plenty of surprises ahead.  Love, happiness and hopes of health and safe celebrating to all!

-R