‘Cuz it makes you feel so nice…

I’ve got my own “question of the day” for you Duran fans out there. Are there songs that you love, but only when the band plays them live? I think you all know what I mean, but in case you’re sitting there scratching your head…are there songs that you’ll make the effort to skip when listening to a CD or your mp3 player in the car (or even on your computer), but when the band plays them live, you stand there screaming your lungs out, wondering all the while why they didn’t just record it that way to begin with?

I do. In fact, there are quite a bit of those for me. Sometimes I even wonder if I should be embarrassed about that, until the next time I see the band live – then I’m suddenly OK with it all again. So I’ll tell you what, I’ll share a few of mine, and if you feel like it – you can share a few of yours.

White Lines – I was never a fan of this remake. In fact, I will openly tell anyone who asks, and even those of you who aren’t, that when I first heard Thank You, I wondered why someone didn’t explain to Simon that he is not, nor should he ever pretend to be Grandmaster Flash. Back in high school, I adored the original, so even I was taken back when Duran Duran decided to do this cover and felt it would be an extremely tall order. I wasn’t impressed with the song on the album, and even to this day, I skip the album version at nearly every opportunity. It is just too homogenized for my taste, to be honest. The guitar isn’t nearly gritty enough, and while good old Grandmaster Flash himself helps out, it still doesn’t work for me. However, in 2003 the band did something that made me stop and reconsider this song.  They had Andy play the guitar. A simple thing really, and I found myself rocking out in the best way imaginable. Then I heard it again, and again, and then noticed I was hoping they’d put it on the set list! Of course, we all know that it is now Dom Brown playing the guitar, and my ears still love what I hear. I love that raw, gritty guitar and it has become one of my most favorite songs. Live.

Sunrise -The funny thing about this particular song though is that I heard the live version first…well before I heard any remixes or the version on Astronaut, and that live version – I loved. Unlike my friend C.K, I actually liked the “Tra la la la” beginning that was done in 2003. I just felt it added some fantastic texture to the song. Sort of like adding silk to burlap…or vice-versa if you prefer. (Ok, so maybe not quite that drastic but you get my point.)  I think that when I first heard the version that is included on the Queer Eye soundtrack, I liked it. I wouldn’t say it was a favorite by any means, but I didn’t run to skip it the way I do some others. I did always feel (and still do) that the song, in any of the recorded versions I’ve heard, is way overproduced and hurts the quality of the song. They took a technicolor song and made it plain vanilla, in my opinion. Of course, the live version has evolved over time into this sort of hybrid between the remix and the album version, with much more of a raw feel – that yes, I love. The song is uplifting, fun and it rocks live.

Wild Boys – And here is where I start feeling insecure…  Did you know that when Wild Boys first came out, I didn’t really like it? It’s true. I’m not even sure that I can put my finger on why that was, but it was not a favorite. I would genuinely SKIP the song, and back in those days, it required more labor than just clicking an arrow!  Keeping in mind that I didn’t actually hear Wild Boys live until MUCH later in my life – I’d grown steadily more irritated with that song over the years until the reunion. The fact is, they just do more with this song live than they could ever record on an album. For one thing, there’s this energy that permeates from the band when they are really feeling it – and yes, I’ve seen some rather lackluster performances of Wild Boys in my time; but more often than not, the band brings it, and I soak it up. I just don’t know if there’s a way to ignore the power of this song live, at least not for me. Do I still skip the album version when I hear it? Yep.

One more for the road…then it’s your turn.

Tiger Tiger – It’s not always the guitar that does it for me, and this song is proof. I’ll admit it, when I was what – 13 years old, I would skip this song on SATRT. I did it, and I accept whatever punishment comes my way. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the tune or that there was something horribly wrong, it’s that I was a kid, Simon wasn’t singing, and I saw no point.  (Wow, that feels even worse to admit when it’s in print and I’m reading it….) Sure, sure, I got goosebumps during the opening scenes of Sing Blue Silver. What I’m not saying though is that I didn’t really get those goosebumps until about 2004 when I would watch the DVD.  Before that, the song really didn’t have much meaning for me. I didn’t GO to any shows during that tour, and while I would watch SBS with this melancholy, bittersweet sort of feeling about the whole thing, the song didn’t really connect well. Along came 2004 when I got very involved in the fan community, planned a convention, watched the DVD’s with a sort of reverence that I can’t quite describe…and hoped against hope that they would play Tiger Tiger live when they toured for Astronaut. My hopes were not dashed, and in Chicago of 2005, I heard the song live and cried like a baby. The song has obviously come to mean a bit more for me now than in 1984, and I adore hearing it live…although I will say that I much prefer the way it was played in 2005 than I did this last tour. I can’t quite put my finger on the difference but I think Andy Hamilton has quite a bit to do with the success.

I’m sure that for me, part of the energy that I feel from these songs that seems to be lacking on their respective albums is due to being right there in front of them, watching them perform.  I’d be crazy not to admit that, but the truth is that it’s not just being there. For that matter, there are plenty of songs that they play live that I honestly think sounded better on the album! (Another blog, another day) There are even other songs that no matter how they play them, live…on the album…standing on their heads in my living room…they’re not going to move me. I can’t imagine I’m completely alone here. So what about you?  Any songs you’ve never loved off the album(s) but really get into live? Don’t leave me hanging – share away!


11 thoughts on “‘Cuz it makes you feel so nice…”

  1. Totally agree about White Lines, although I think the live Warren-era version from the late 90s is excellent (but also love the Andy/Dom live versions too). In fact, this was my wife’s favorite song at the last show in CT in 2012. Although I’ve never heard it live, only on bootlegs, “Taste the Summer” would be another one that I’d skip on the CD but love how it sounds live. Likewise, they played “Lay Lady Lay” at the warm-up shows prior to the Broadway stint and I enjoyed that much more than the album version.

    I wouldn’t say that I skip New Religion, but if we’re talking live versions, the Live at Hammersmith ’82 version—with Andy just completely rocking out the opening and ending with his guitar—might be my favorite DD live cut of all time. I wish the version on Arena was like that (but they probably gave Andy a stern lecture after that…God forbid Duran Duran sounds too much like a rock band…!).

  2. Wow…that's a hard one because of they usualy don't play alot of songs live other than the classics and the new ones.
    The first thing that came in my mind is Secret Oktober, the original verson is cute but no more tha this. The live version they did in 1998 was spectacular, mesmerizing ! And you see me coming Rhonda… Only Warren was able to play that way ! On another nivel I would say Girl Panic isn't that good on album and was a great moment live. I believe because of the guitar being more present(yes Dom's one this time). In fact often this is the problem with the band, they tend to do softer songs on record and more rock n Roll live. They should be harder like on the first album. The other way around, The Reflex is far better on the record than live, never like the live version.


    Are we getting old and

  3. Oh see Patrick, I could never stand the way Warren played Secret Oktober. I think he slaughtered it and took the original spirit right out of the song. I will agree with you on one point though, only Warren could do that! 😀


  4. I didn't realize they did Lay Lady Lay during the warm up shows for Broadway. Interesting!! I have to agree with you (not surprisingly) about the Hammersmith 82 version of New Religion – best I've EVER heard that song, and it's probably why I love so much of the live stuff, because it does give the band a chance to sound more like a rock band. 🙂 -R

  5. That’s a very nice query. I love listening to my heroes’ music everyday and I love listening also to their live performance, either via YouTube, or via their official live albums.
    One thing to point out is that the guys love changing the songs arrangements when on the stage, from tour to tour, which I take my hat off to them for the effort of being in any concert creative and “seductive”.
    Actually I have to admit there are few songs off their albums I don’t like: for example, off their 1981 record To The Shore, off Rio – Lonely in your Nightmare, off Medazzaland – Undergoing Treatment Seven – Of Crime and Passion, … so to answer to your question I’d pick these songs: only do they play live?
    I noticed White Lines in your blog: as for it, I love the live version feat. Warren

  6. AVTAK…I can't listen to the CD…makes me think of Live Aide. Live Aide was amazing for the world but not the band. Now when I hear it live I feel relived and just enjoy the show

  7. I actually meant: “Do they play the songs I mentioned live?”, as they're very rarely performed, (like Undergoing Treatment, for example)?
    Sorry for the mistyping, “do they play live” read really a disconnected phrase.

  8. Totally agree with White Lines (which I absolutely love live despite the potential danger of having LeBon spit H20 all over me)and Wild Boys. I also agree with AVTAK too. I love the Mark Ronson version they did. Here's a funny little anecdote, when SLB sat with my friends and I after a show in 2006, we were discussing various songs we'd like to hear live and some they had played that night. When Wild Boys was mentioned I actually blurted out “It always sounds better live.” Yep, open mouth and insert foot down the throat and out the backside. Luckily, the conversation moved on to NMOM and I tried not to slink under the table in embarassment. – Michduran

  9. Rhonda, I apreciate you sense of humor. But no, he is not the only one: Dom and Andy destroyed Ordinary World and I heard the olympic gig and Dom also destroyed Save a Prayer… I have a great idea ! What would you think? The band should use all 3 guys each one with the songs they wrote. 😉


  10. Touché my friend!! 🙂

    I still say, and will always say, that I prefer Dom and Andy's version of Ordinary World much better than I ever did Warrens (although I still do not like the song in general). The point here? I never appreciated Warren's style of guitar, and that is all it really comes down to – style preferences.

    As far as Save a Prayer goes at the Olympics – I never heard it, so I can't even begin to comment. That bad, huh??

    I would never say to bring any of those who have left back – I think we've already seen what happens when they try, don't you think? -R

  11. Good story – I would have sat there nodding my head along with you. The difference? I would have kept the conversation going out of complete stupidity on my part. I tend to keep right on digging the hole… LOL 😀 -R

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