If you look at Duran’s tour history, you might see that during this time in early August in 1982, they were opening up for Blondie. In fact, during the tour, they played such places as Rockford, Illinois, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. That makes me laugh. Neither one of those places are super exciting. I suspect that they might have been the only times they played in these very small cities. This makes me think, though. What did Duran Duran think of those places? Did this tour help Duran win any fans? What about the bands and artists who have opened for Duran? Have they earned any new fans that way?
So, in thinking about these shows in Rockford and Cedar Rapids, I have to laugh. I’m pretty familiar with both places after having grown up in Illinois and visiting Iowa a number of times when my siblings attended college or graduate school there. I don’t think it would be wrong of me to say that they are not super hip. Rockford has less than 150,000 people and Cedar Rapids has about 130,000. They are not know to be musical meccas now and probably not even in 1982. Yet, Blondie decided to go to these places. Okay. Interesting choices considering that Chicago isn’t that far away, neither is Milwaukee or even Des Moines. Both of these cities are surrounded by farmland and a heck of a lot of corn. I seriously wish that I was a fly on the wall in Duran’s tour bus at the time. What did they think? This makes me wonder about other weird places Duran has played over the years. What is the weirdest place you know that Duran played? I would like to know what could possibly beat or equal these Midwestern “cities”.
More importantly, I suppose, then the locations is whether or not this tour really did any good for Duran, in terms of winning over fans. Now, I know that a lot of books and documentaries have covered the rise of the band and how they became successful. Many times, this tour is mentioned but did it really do its job for them? I think many Duran historians and music historians, for that matter, believe that the introduction of MTV and the use of video did a lot to get Duran fans. Some might claim that opening for Hazel O’Connor was super important as that is where record labels first heard and saw them. It is where they got signed to EMI. Still, others might mention meeting the Berrow brothers at the Rum Runner as being super important to Duran’s future success but the Blondie tour? I’m not sure. Of course, I doubt there are statistics out there that can directly measure the number of fans before and after opening for Blondie. I also recognize that there aren’t direct lines between events. The Blondie tour might have opened up some doors which led to even more doors, which eventually brought commercial success. What do you all think? Did this tour matter to the band’s success?
Then, I flip it around to ponder whether or not Duran helped other bands reach success by having them as an opener. In 2005, if anyone would have asked me, I would have said that the band’s opener then, Clear Static, would definitely find success. Years later, obviously, that isn’t true. Of course, they have also had bands who are already successful themselves like Chic. This makes me think of the fans. While I think it is cool to see a new band with a lot of potential play, I love seeing a fabulous opener that is already known to me like Chic. What about the rest of you? Who have you seen as an opener who you thought would really make it? Who did make it? Who have been some great openers for shows you have attended?