Guest Blog: Venues Matter

By Nat Mingo

Super Tuesday was supercharged for me! In the United States, we are in the midst of an election year. On Super Tuesday, several states were voting to select a Democratic nominee for the Office of President. I can be a political junkie so I knew it was going to be a long night. I was therefore unprepared when the band announced
two new Las Vegas shows. My mind was temporarily overwhelmed with a flood of information and questions. The band has subsequently announced a London show as well. These events made me think about the importance of the concert venue.

Festivals
I’ve got a confession to make. Going to see our band in another country is on my Duran Duran bucket list. I own a recording of the Mark Ronson- Louvre show and it’s pretty special. So, I will admit that I have delusions about European shows. Of course, the Hyde Park concert announcement caused me to self-assess. I have never
attended a Duran Duran show in a “festival” outdoor setting. The band has performed at such settings before; they performed at the 2011 Coachella show and in Hyde Park for the London 2012 Olympics. The concert goers are standing together outdoors, enjoying a live show. It looks incredible on film and in photographs. These vehicles cannot possibly capture the energy emanating from a thong of music fans. Yet, I am not an outdoorsy type of gal. I don’t go camping and I have an extreme abhorrence for getting my hair drenched (think Chaka Khan). Also, these large shows attract the casual fans which impact’s the concert’s set list. There is a large gap
between the stage and the audience for safety reasons. I haven’t found a show (yet) that has peaked my interest enough to attend. I could see myself attending a future festival show but it would be a rare occurrence.

Arenas
Just typing this heading gave me the goosebumps. I was a little too young to attend the Seven and the Ragged Tiger US tour despite my band devotion in 1984. I recollect sitting at the kitchen table that night, listening to Chicago radio, and drowning my sorrows with chocolate milk. I enjoy listening to the Arena album on vinyl to
capture that period. Since then, I have attended several shows in large, indoor arenas. I have TERRIBLE TicketMaster luck and so my seats in these places have been mediocre. The set list does tend to be more “generic” to attract/reflect the larger audience. Fortunately, the band was promoting albums and so they played some “non” hits. I enjoy these shows for the set list variety. There’s something magical about entering and exiting these venues; perhaps it echoes scenes during Sing Blue Silver DVD. I’ve also been able to meet fans
that I interacted with via the Internet at such shows. It’s also fun to strike up a conversation with the people around you. From band interviews, I know that band members prefer the arena settings. I can happily oblige in this venue type; I have several fond memories from these shows. My only gripe is parking at such shows; you
can be at a standstill for long stretches so go to the bathroom first!

Seasonal Outdoor Venues
These venues exist in warmer climates or during the warmer seasons of a colder climate. I don’t have to work during the summer season so I tend to go to more shows in this setting. There is usually a seated, covered section and a grassy knoll for fans to spread blankets upon. I prefer the seated section at these shows. My firstDuran Duran show during the “Notorious” tour was in such a venue. My mother & I were 2 rows from the last seats. I used her glasses as binoculars to see the stage. We laugh now, at how I snatched her glasses off when she realized Andy Bell of Erasure was wearing a rubber leotard onstage. The fan seat competition increases at these shows. I find myself judging my seat in comparison with someone else’s seat. I was thrilled with my seat during the TicketMaster sale but feel deflated that my view wasn’t as clear. Fortunately, there is a positive vibe that I imagine mimics the outdoor festival shows on a smaller scale. The general audience is pretty chill and the locations have a beauty to them. I don’t know if my mindset is more positive or if it’s the combination of sunshine, alcohol and my favorite music being played combined that cause me to enjoy this type of venue. Seat placement aside, I appreciate these shows because I get the benefits of the outdoor and indoor experience.

Casinos/Concert Halls/Clubs
This is my favorite type of venue to see Duran Duran. The parking issue can be similar or worse than the arena venues. These shows can also be general admission which means long periods of standing. I once mistakenly wore heels to a Neurotic Outsiders GA show and could not feel my feet or correctly hear for 24 hours. The acoustics are best in concert halls. John’s basslines sound so much more robust in the smaller venues. I attended the first two Vegas Cosmopolitan shows and there were some bass lines during “Girls on Film” that brought me to nirvana. Thanks John & Bernie for those moments and please repeat for the next tour cycle. If anyone has a recording of these shows, please let me know! I would love to have this song in my audio collection. The fan competition is fierce at these shows. I dislike listening to prolonged conversations when
someone is gushing over a front row experience. I am working on tamping down on these feelings for the next tour cycle because there’s an intimacy that I adore at these shows. I like walking into a small, darkened room and listening to the pre-show music while waiting for the concert to commence. The “All You Need Is Now”
tour did a great job of building audience anticipation. Again, I’ve had some good pre and post-concert interactions at these smaller shows. I feel more connected with my fellow concert-goers.

We are fortunate that Duran Duran plays in so many different venues. I am fortunate that I have attended past concerts. I’m reminded of the Dr. Seuss book “Green Eggs and Ham”. One character describes his dislike of a food item in rhyme. I am the opposite with this band- “I will listen to them on a boat; I will listen to them with a goat. I will listen to them in a box; I will listen to them with a fox.” Luckily, the band has announced several summer shows in numerous countries. I wish everyone who will attend a summer Duran concert the best of luck. I will be there physically if I can or in spirit, if I cannot. More concerts are in our futures!

Grooving at Home,

Nathalie

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