It’s going to be conditional

For my next trick, I Rhonda, your ever-faithful Daily Duranie blogger, will attempt to comment properly on the Katy Kafe posted on DDM within the next 15 minutes.  The Kafe hosted John, who was ever-insightful about the band and their rehearsal habits, touring, and of course, how the band is going forward from the infamous stopping point of last May.

If you haven’t listened to the Kafe yourself, I have to tell you all – it’s worth the close listen.  I gleaned so much from the 15 minute session, and I can’t possibly convey all of my thoughts and feelings here, and definitely not within the self-imposed time frame of about 15 minutes.  John jumps right into what it has been like to restart the proverbial “touring engine” for Duran Duran – and while I haven’t been to the shows yet (my turn is Saturday), I felt as though I had a general sense of what the shows have been like for the fans.  John comments that the shows have been great so far, and that he feels like they are “where they really should be” for the present.  He also comments that they have a “long way to go”.  It would appear as though that is the case – at the time the Kafe was recorded, it was the 25th, and they’ve since done the Mountain Winery show in Saratoga.  They are only 3 shows into a very lengthy tour, especially when, much later in the Kafe, Katy mentions that the plan is to tour throughout 2012.  That’s a LONG time for any band, much less a band that has experienced severe vocal trouble with their lead singer…which brings me of course to Simon.

According to John, the band felt that Simon sounded as good or better than he ever has at the shows in Everett Washington and in Portland Oregon.  When they came offstage before the encore, however, Simon could barely speak.  He immediately requested that the band shorten the encore to just Rio, which of course they did.  The show was about 90 minutes in length with that revision.  While walking back after the show was over, Nick and John mentioned to one another that they didn’t see that coming.  To me, Miss Rhonda-Fan, that’s concerning.  It should be concerning to any fan, but to be fair and realistic – these guys are not 30 years old anymore.  As John said, anything is going to be conditional going forward.  They must take care of themselves, and even then, there are going to be times when the engine just isn’t running the way they might like.  A good example of this would be their performance last night at Mountain Winery, where Simon apparently missed several (3 or 4) of his vocal cues, and was just clearly off his game (no matter the reason).  Reports from the show (again I was not there to hear it myself, I’m only reporting what was told to me) were that his voice sounded very gravely at times – “rough” probably being the best way to describe it.  As I understand it, once again the show was shortened to an hour and a half, and according to John – that’s about the perfect length for them….right now.  I think, given his discussion with Katy, that the hope is that eventually they may make it to the 2 hour mark in the last week or so of this tour, but I think it’s also appropriate for the fans to recognize that the days of the two or two and a half hour show may very well be over.  I know not everyone will be thrilled by that, nor am I, but I would prefer any show over no show.  Food for thought.

John speaks freely about the audience vibe throughout the year.  He feels as though the fans want to be there, they are there for them, and “not just for the nostalgia”.  He goes on to say how important that is for them, and that he doesn’t know if it’s the social networking or what the difference is between now and a few years back.  I would like to direct this part of the blog to John specifically:

1. The reunion ended when Andy left.  It took a lot of people a while to come to terms, and others left altogether, but what you’ve got now are people who truly WANT to be here.

2. I think that overall, the fan community seems to be behind AYNIN much more than RCM.  Take that for what you will.

3. Your fans desperately wanted to feel connected to the band beyond the stage.  You answered that need with getting involved on Twitter and so forth.  While it might feel like therapy for you – it is that way for the fans as well.  A fan community that is connected to their band (aka Duran Duran or it’s members in this case) is a fan community that truly has a bond to their band.  It works!

4. I think most everyone realizes this isn’t going to last forever, and while going through Simon’s vocal trouble has somehow bonded the 4 or 5 of you (if Dom is included) more closely – it is clear that the same has been done for the fans.  We’re making the most of the time we’ve got.  Living in the now.  Loving the moment.  All You Need is Now.  😀

5. I could go on…but I think you get it.

It sounds like the band has quite a lengthy road ahead of them, and not all of it will be smooth.   We fans may need to adjust our perception of what makes a good show (meaning that an hour and a half of awesome music beats out a two hour rocking show followed by a 4 month absence), and I still say the band can do without playing so many “hits”.  John said they play about 8 a night.  Why not do 6 and get in a couple more songs off of the new album or even sneak in Shadows on Your Side?!?  Secret Oktober???

What if I beg?!?

Tonight is LA, followed by Friday in Vegas and Saturday in Valley Center.  Let’s see how this goes!

-R

11 thoughts on “It’s going to be conditional”

  1. Hi Ladies,

    I have a lot to say about all this. And I will now spill. Understandably, many people will think I am being harsh here, and say it's just my opinion (which it is) but the other three folks that were with me all felt the same way (and there was a pretty sane, reasonable dude in that mix.) So, this is really a collective unloading of The Mountain Winery performance. I'm speaking for the four of us. And please keep in mind, none of us were drunk. Which is more than I can say about myself for The Fillmore show.

    We all went to The Fillmore show in April. Which we all agreed was a fantastic night. All together, the four of us have seen 29 shows. So, not a ton, but enough to make some comparisons. Last night we had good seats, with great views of everything. We sat in section 21, on Nick's side, about 10 rows back.

    The band opened with Before the Rain, followed by Planet Earth, and ATNIN. After AYNIN, the man in our group looked at all of us and said, “Is Simon on some serious pain meds, or is he drunk? ” Up until he mentioned that, I had just chalked it up to Simon being silly. But then I began to see where he got that notion. In the first three songs, Simon had already missed two vocal cues. It did appear JT was a little flustered by this (on him that comes across as damn adorable.) But still, you could tell he felt the need to “carry” Simon through the rest of the show.

    Speaking for myself now, the set list was disappointing. I have been longing to hear Leopard, and Perhaps Girl Panic, or …Beautiful. I thought for sure we'd either here Secret Oktober or Hold Back the Rain as they played them for the England warm-ups. Nope. I also think playing only 5 tracks off the new album is a bit thin.

    Then there was Simon's voice. It was at times whole and beautiful, but ultimately, weak. During the sax interlude of Rio, Simon crouched behind Roger's drum set and put both of his hands around his throat. All four of us friends noticed it, and gestured to each other- “did you see that?” I kid you not- this happened.

    Upon exiting the venue (which was spectacular) we all kind of walked away with the same perspective. We are worried about Simon's health, and frankly wonder how they are going to make the next three+ months work. We all agreed the band appeared to be having fun and never thought they seemed to be going through the motions.

    It wasn't the best show, it wasn't the worst. It was a hazy, quirky, weird set. There were a lot of little interactions and moments between band members. Several times we would look at each other to see if we were taking in all the little snippets being exchanged on stage. It was fun to be a witness, but with the knowledge of Simon's vocal problems, it was also a bit disconcerting.

  2. I have to tell you – THIS is exactly why I do this blog. I LIKE hearing other people's opinions, and I like knowing that for the most part, all of us truly care about this band. It's not the drama that brings us here – it's the band. That's why I write this blog.

    I'm so glad to read someone's take on the performance, and I'm glad it was yours, Toni. I don't think you're being harsh, you're being honest and yes, it's YOUR opinion, which is just as worthy of being written here as anyone else's. Thank you for sharing.

    My concerns are every bit the same as yours (sans the whole being drunk thing…I didn't see that coming. LOL), but given the fact that the night before he had already had to shorten the set, I guess I'm not totally surprised. Worried yes…surprised…not as much. -R

  3. Thanks for having a great blog where you value everyone's opinion. This always feels like a “safe” place to comment. Sometimes I think Duranies feel their fan card will be pulled if they express critiques and criticisms. That's a shame.

    I'm going to the Vegas show on Friday with my husband. He was last at The Fillmore show. I'll be interested to see what his opinion of the show is versus the SF show (which he really liked.) I'll be letting you guys know how Friday goes as well. 🙂

    Thanks,

    Toni

  4. I read all the twitters of Gela this morning of the concert in LA and did not seem to have problems, she was excited by photojournalist, anyway I hope your review of this concert. regards

  5. While I appreciate that Gela was excited to cover the concert for those of us who couldn't attend – I can't really say she's completely unbiased, given that she's well, John's wife and all. 😉

    I haven't seen anything about the Nokia show yet, but I did see the setlist and it looks like they lengthened the encore. I need to do some more reading this morning and see what people thought! -R

  6. I say this with all due respect to Rhonda, Katy, and John. There's a brief mention about band members “wanting” to be there when speaking about Andy's departure and where they are now. From all I've read from BOTH sides of the divide….Andy did not want to be there due to the direction things were going and due to some personal struggles that needed attending….not just because he didn't want to be there at all. I figure maybe he just didn't want any assistance from his band-mates or they weren't offering to be there for him as the band has suggested “they're all about” and “why the get along so well as a family”. Without all the facts still, it's a rock and a hard place at best. @ Toni about getting the fan pass “pulled” for sharing un-like opinions….”There are some duranies that resemble that remark one more than 1 level”. I do agree with you though that this is a safe place to share your opinion and I think you did a fine job of expressing yours…as does Daily. 🙂

  7. I just wanted to add a little something to this. I just got done reading an article on Duranasty's website and this quote caught my eye and applies well to my reply….

    “There are certain things we all understand about being in a band and one of them is that the music, at that stage, the music has to be king of everything. So personal issues get put aside; egos get put aside; everything gets put aside, and the only thing that matters is making the best record.” Simon Le Bon

    Either this is irony in it's most pure form or Simon showing his compassionate side on a rare occasion. His recent “medical issue” was a door stopper for the start of their European Tour much like Andy's dilemma which entailed medical considerations yet it did not get him the same compassion as Simon's has. I know this maybe considered a mere coincidence but as a long time fan myself it saddens me to know that it takes a renewed sense of success for this stuff to finally be said. Is it just positive self-promotion or a real honest sentiment that weighs so heavily that if finally comes after they have their own inner dilemma? I really wish I knew.

    Having brought this up I'm am very happy people are enjoying themselves immensely with the U.S. tour even with some of the glitches that have been reported.

    Cheers to all!!!!

  8. Hi Jetrell – I want to make sure I'm understanding you correctly in that you are saying that back when Andy had the flu and missed several shows in 2005 along with the time when his father passed and all of that, that he wasn't given the same sort of compassion that Simon has experienced? If that is in fact what you're saying – I would hesitantly agree. The reason I say “hesitantly” is because Andy's situation was different if in only that the band never TRULY came clean with what was going on, nor did Andy for that matter. Perhaps they've learned from that?? Possibly. I refer to that period in general as a lot of smoke and mirrors because all we really knew was that Andy had some sort of flu and not much else was said, but we all were expected to believe that all was fine even though I think most Duran fans knew that was not the case. Dom came in and did the shows, and that was a temporary “fix”. Andy did return for shows though, and he certainly wasn't out for months at a time until later when it was eventually announced that he had quit the group. I know that I always felt uneasy about that entire situation, and when Andy did finally return to perform, I know I'm not alone when I say that it never quite felt the same. There didn't seem to be that same sense of unity, and I don't believe that issues were ever truly put aside…whether that's on the fault of the remaining 4 guys, Andy, Wendy…or more likely…all of the above. I do see what you mean by Simon's statement though that they've learned to put all else aside and allow the music to be “king”…but I also believe that there are some problems that simply cannot be ignored, and there are impasses that are indeed so great that they cannot be mended. Hindsight is 20/20 though, isn't it? Thanks for commenting! -R

  9. I don't think Andy has been shown the same compassion by a great number of fans and sometimes by the band. If I knew the exact answer or had all those “details” and posted them I'd probably be banned from Duran fandom altogether. I guess I just found it awkward that this is the second statement from a current original member that conveys such sentiment with regards to “the bands” feelings on what makes them and keeps them the way they are. I don't think it's coincidence and I really don't think it's just shameless promotion. Hindsight isn't always 20/20 but it does sound as if their being a bit more open about such realizations and that is a positive thing….and hopefully a positive step towards Duran Duran's future. These are just my feelings and opinions and certainly not the official word.

    Thanks for allowing me to post. 🙂 🙂

  10. I would have to agree….and I also agree that if I had the exact answers for why and posted them, I'd be banned right along with ya. (in fact I'll save you a seat on the bus!!) There are many fans who don't care for my opinions, and that's just fine. It's a blog, not world domination. 😀 Post away!! -R

We (Amanda and Rhonda) appreciate discussion and differences of opinion. We respectfully ask that you fully read the blog before bitching us out. If you're only here to take us down a notch, note that we moderate replies (meaning we're not printing rude comments). Thanks a bunch!

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