I have decided that Duran Duran’s fan base is tough to understand and full of contradictions. What led me to this big conclusion? I could answer that with a simple–years of observation and participation. That is not the whole story. Lately, I have been reading a lot of the press that is surrounding the band’s upcoming tour. One of those articles caught my attention. Specifically, one question grabbed me especially in light of recent twitter conversations about live performances and the classic debate about set lists. What was this question? What were the conversations?
Buzz Bishop of Calgary recently interviewed John Taylor, which you can read here. The question that first made me react then think was this:
How Duran Duran balances a desire to put out new music with the fan base’s love of nostalgia.
“I don’t know that the fan base wants to live in the past. I think they want to be stirred up and inspired. I think you have to come to terms with your past, we’ve got to be present. I think doing what we do you get a better opportunity to stay current because you’re trying to stay relevant. We have this formula: legacy plus currency equals career.”
At first, when I read this, I thought, “What is this guy talking about? Fans love nostalgia? Really? Has this guy not seen all of the complaints about the setlist? I know SO many fans who are tired of Hungry Like the Wolf and the rest of the classics.” Later, I added the idea that it isn’t the hardcore fans who want the old hits at a show, it is those people in the crowd who loved/liked Duran in the 80s but aren’t aware that the band has still been going. I thought to myself that the guy was just confused about who wants what at a Duran concert.
Then, I thought about the conversation that I have been having on Twitter about which tours Duran performed better for. Dedicated readers and participants know that the Sing Blue Silver Tour of 1984 has won each and every time. I have argued that the band performs better now as a result of the decades of practice. Others have stated that that tour of 1984 wins due to “sentimentality”. That makes sense. If you were a Duranie in the 80s, you probably do love Sing Blue Silver. It captures the time period is which Duran was loved worldwide by tons of people. Sing Blue Silver is the documentary that many of us grew up watching over and over again. Watching any of it including the live performances remind us of those good times we had as kids. So does this mean that the fan base really does love nostalgia? Maybe so. We are a confusing bunch, that’s for sure. If the band recognizes this, it must make creating that set list a challenging one. Heck, maybe that is why it doesn’t change much! Who knows?!
I cannot argue against 1984 or nostalgia as I have been doing. That time period means a lot to a lot of fans. I get it. For many fans, it is when they became fans. It might represent what they think of as the best time period for the band. I can recognize that I might feel differently based on my fandom, my experiences. Don’t get me wrong. I loved Duran Duran in 1984. Sing Blue Silver is a DVD that I have memorized just like so many of you. Yes, I had a great time as a kid being a fan. Yet, when I really think of the best time with my fandom, it has been in recent years. As a kid, my fandom meant watching videos with friends or singing along to the Rio album. As an adult, it means those things still plus traveling and seeing the band live in concert. It means a level of fun that my kid self couldn’t even imagine.
Maybe, this is why, for me, I don’t feel so attached to the glory year of 1984. It could be why I feel so strongly that the band performs better now. Unlike back then, I can now be there and be a part of it. It makes the world of difference.