Looking Back She Sees the Pattern

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.

-A

3 thoughts on “Looking Back She Sees the Pattern”

  1. I have to say the sometimes frightening enthusiasm of JT hit back my heart: legacy+currency = a career.
    Well,I come to share it with John. at least since 1987, when they performed live the glory songs, but carried on making new (awesome) music, albums…
    They were able to balance past and present: they were able to not let anything off their glorious past sacrified and it is not easy for a band who are rated, stil in 2017, the symbol of the 80’s (guys can’t you see it is not not that glorious line-up???).
    When our lovely JT announced some of the plans for the 40th anniversary, my first thought was: “John you have always been able to look to the present/future and now you have announced plans to celebrate your history!”.

  2. Many of my classmates were into Duran Duran in the 1980s but I didn’t really start liking their music until 1992. It wasn’t until 2005, however, that I was totally a fan- around the time of seeing them in concert for the first time. I suppose that to people who had seen them way before I did, the playing of the same old songs could be boring, but to me then they were exciting. I think about the fans blogs- some of them are younger generation and others later-in-life fans- to them I guess that their set lists are fresh and fun. I can understand both your viewpoint and theirs.

    1. Yeah, I think the point of the post was just how one’s perspective on when the band is/was the best has absolutely everything to do with one’s personal fandom. I was just owning mine. 🙂 -A

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!