This review wasn’t going to be standard. We had every intention of actually doing a little video clip of the two of us giving the review. We filmed it at 5:45 in the morning. Let’s just say…it wasn’t fit for public consumption. I have no doubt that we looked beyond exhausted and probably didn’t make a whole lot of sense. Thus, we decided to return to the good, old-fashioned words method of reviewing a show. I will be summarizing and combining our thoughts. For the most part, we saw the show in a similar light. That said, if part of the review belongs to one of us, only, I will make that clear. Also, do remember that this was my first show since April and the first one since the UK trip. For Rhonda, it was the first show since Valley Center earlier this month. Our perspectives differ, which may or may not impact our review.
This was the exact same setlist as the previous two nights. How boring for them and for those fans who went to more than one of these shows! Of course, it could mean that they really feel like this setlist and that they thinks it works for them. We won’t lie. We were terribly disappointed that they didn’t play Secret Oktober. Many, many fans were requesting it on twitter, which could be openly seen on the twitter scroll in the background before the show. Some fans even brought signs and banners. Yet, they ignored those requests. Why? I am sure that they could say that it didn’t receive that great of a response when it was played but it didn’t feel that way to us when we saw people’s reactions. As this point, they aren’t really listening and responding to the fans, which is upsetting. You would think that they would listen to their audience. After all, we are the ones in the crowd watching the show. You would think we would know what would work. Besides, Secret Oktober would have gone in place of Tiger Tiger, a b-side over an obscure album track. It is not like casual fans would really know either one of those so it would be harmless to switch it up. In fact, it would make serious fans happy and it would open up those casual listener to not-common Duran, which can’t hurt. Rhonda pointed out that as Duran moves further on, the audience will become more and more just serious fans. You would think that they would want to make us happy since we will be there until the end. It would also provide energy to the audience as serious fans would get really excited!! There were songs that went over well, including Planet Earth due to its position in the setlist, Notorious except for the extended part of that as Rhonda felt like it went over better in Valley Center, and Wild Boys with Relax in the middle of it. Relax falls into the song, seamlessly, as people really know it so people jump in right away! Speaking of extending songs, Rhonda isn’t a fan. She would prefer to fill those minutes with another song, which is a good point! We wonder why Duran chooses to do this. Is it to make a song more interesting to them? Do they think it will make it more interesting for us? Will the critics and reviewers respect them more if they do this? As far as the new songs go, in our opinion, Safe and Blame the Machines isn’t catching any one’s attention. We aren’t sure why people don’t seem to enjoy BTM, but people who are unfamiliar with it don’t seem to. It is like they don’t get it. As far as Safe goes, we both feel strongly that the female vocal makes a huge difference. Unfortunately, Anna’s voice is very different than how the song was recorded. We thought that All You Need Is Now went over pretty well and Leave a Light On was okay. Perhaps, the band would be better served by dropping either BTM or Safe for different new tracks like Too Bad You’re So Beautiful, for example. We both liked Leopard. Rhonda really liked the video at the end of the newscaster telling the story to be a good way to present that part of the song. I liked how John had the audience clapping right away with the song. It was a good way to bring in audience members who haven’t heard the song before. Plus, he was singing the lyrics to himself, which I always like.
Rhonda is not fond of the faces at the top of the stage. I, on the other hand, didn’t look at them at all. I couldn’t see them from where I was. Rhonda feels that the angle of the faces make a big difference as some angles are not flattering. We wonder why these faces were even necessary. The band is on stage and there are lights and video footage or images on screens behind the band. Isn’t that enough to focus on? I really like a lot of the video footage they chose to play fit the songs. For example, the military images fit well with Before the Rain with the military sounding drums. We both appreciated that Anna wasn’t as noticeable for this show as she had been in the spring as back-up singers and musicians should be just that—back-ups. We don’t get the reason they need an extra percussionist. Is she just to get more men to come to the shows?!
John and Dom seemed to interact quite a bit! They certainly seemed to enjoy playing together. I noticed how John would be obviously pleased when Dom did something well and vice versa. Rhonda also feels like the band is laughing more than they did in Valley Center. Perhaps, they are more relaxed now after their past six months or so of serious stress. Simon was good with lyrics, setlists and even vocally. He did make one little mistake in Girl Panic but nothing major. Yet, the one thing he did that got people to react was when he made a comment about the Iraq War ending before All You Need Is Now. He described former President George W. Bush and former Prime Minister Tony Blair as “war criminals”. The crowd openly booed him. Both Rhonda and I didn’t understand why Simon felt it necessary to say anything like this at all as any political statement runs the risk of alienating one’s audience. We also couldn’t figure out the reason people booed. Did they boo because they didn’t want to hear anything about politics at all since they were there to have fun? Did they boo because they don’t agree that Bush and Blair were war criminals? If you were there and you did boo or felt like booing, can you drop us a line and let us know which reason caused you to react in such a way?
The show was good. It was great that it was a solid two hours long. Rhonda felt like this show was an improvement over Valley Center and that this show felt like a FULL show. We did see that Simon tweeted that the band agreed that this was the best show of the tour and possibly one of the best of their careers. While we both thought the show was a solid performance, we didn’t think it was one of their best and here’s why. We thought that the audience did not produce the tremendous energy needed for one of the best shows. At times, the crowd was into it. Obviously, there were some audience members who were into it the whole time but there were many who weren’t. I was sitting in the PIT (4th row) and there were people even in that section who were sitting down and when I glanced around I noticed that in other sections as well. (By the way, who does that?! Why would you sit at a Duran show? Okay, maybe, there is some physical limitation, then you should be dancing in your seat as much as possible, in my opinion, especially when they took good seats from others.) Now, is the lack of audience energy because the band didn’t perform as well as could be? Not necessarily as they cannot control who comes to their shows and their level of dedication and fandom. However, perhaps, mixing up the setlist as suggested above might have helped. A couple of changes in songs could have made a HUGE difference. It is also possible that Simon thought it was such a great show because the Daily Duranie was there!!! LOL! That said, we are absolutely thrilled with the show and cannot wait to go to the UK for 4 more shows!!!