Mazda MX-5 Unveiling – Monterey, CA

I have much to comment on, but I will start with a couple of admonitions to the general public since we have gained ourselves quite a few new readers since joining WordPress last January, and they haven’t been around long enough to see us review a live show before.  Since the hiatus and LOOOONNNNNGGG years of recording this new album that we’ve yet to see, feel, hear, and hold, we’ve really refrained from getting into fan-politics or any of the social science aspects of fandom.  I’d like to welcome you all back to reality now.  So…. first of all, I am sarcastic…probably to a fault, but I consider it a gift to get through my everyday life.  Amanda is less sarcastic than I am, but she’s also the one to really point out what is really insane about our fan community. She will dive into really tough topics that I will likely just poke fun at.  She’s smarter than I am, much better researched…and nicer than I am, so good luck with that. If you read something of mine and don’t see the humor right away, you should probably try again. I make no apologies for my wickedly dry jokes, and yes…I WILL criticize the band if I see fit.  Learn to love it.  Secondly, I might even criticize fans if I think they’re out of line.  Again, learn to find the humor in what we write and recognize that everything we do for Duran Duran and the fan base comes from a place of love, respect and completely honesty.  If you can’t, this blog is liable not to be your cup of tea, and we can accept that. We will talk about the “tough stuff”, the “fun stuff” and even the “fangirly stuff”.  I will openly gush AND complain in the same blog post…and you’ll like it!  Oh, and sometimes…we might even end up being wrong. That’s extremely rare though.  (Sarcasm, people.  Read the sarcasm…)  Lastly, I’m wordy. Learn to grab food and beverage BEFORE you sit down to read.  That’s your final warning.

Today is one of those days where I am thankful for all the goodness that is found on Youtube. As many know, last night – interested parties (or those who were able to stay up late enough…or get up early enough) were able to watch the band’s performance for the Mazda MX-5 unveiling in Monterey, California.  Going into the afternoon, I had been told that the band would only perform for a half-hour. What I’ve come to understand since, is that the live stream would only be a half-hour in length, which it indeed was. Those at home were treated to a precious three song set that lasted just thirteen minutes. (In fairness DDHQ did say that we would see highlights from the show, not the full set.) For those there in person, they saw about ten songs performed – perhaps about an hour long set.  In any case, Daily Duranie took over the internet last night – Amanda handled Facebook, while I worked Twitter. We live-tweeted (and posted) throughout the show, starting at about 5:30ish (PDT) and continuing until just after the performance when I was called away to cook my starving family some dinner.  (Note to self: teach family to cook their own meals.)  No matter, the point I was making here is simply that last night I found it very difficult to tweet AND watch at the same time. So, I watched the clip of the show on Youtube this morning. Twice. 🙂

Here it is for your viewing:

So where to begin? First of all, we had a great turnout online. DDHQ (management) might not want to acknowledge our efforts, but Daily Duranie had the place going last night. Duran Duran was trending in various places on social media, and the #DDMazda hashtag was all over the place. Not bad for a thirteen minute online show. We were in contact with a couple of people who were AT the show live, and as things would get tweeted, I would turn around, add the #DDMazda hashtag and send it out as a sort of play-by-play for people to follow. (Thanks Diane!!)  As I said to her: it truly takes a village to love this band and satisfy Duranies.  When the show started, we were “treated” to someone from Mazda (the project director, I believe) coming out and talking about the car and why they chose Duran Duran. He said he was a fan of the band, and the Miata and Duran Duran were both products of the 80s, so that’s the connection.  (At least it’s the connection they came up with to explain why Duran Duran was playing their corporate gig.  I can appreciate that.)

So on to the show, right? Well….first we had to watch some propaganda about the car and then be introduced to the Miata, which in MY head looked very much like the Miata from the 80s. I was underwhelmed, but then again, I wanted Dom and the rest of those guys he plays with on the stage. (Yeah, yeah I know he’s not “a permanent member” of the band. He’s permanent in MY version of Duran Duran though…and yes, I do still like those Taylor brothers along with The Controller and Simon.)

I think the Mazda people started noticing that the restless Duranies and finally announced the band. They started with A View to a Kill, which seemed to be a rough song to open with for a number of reasons.  First of all, and this isn’t necessarily a complaint…more of an observation really, but there was a TON of bass in the sound. Plenty of guitar as well, about which I will not complain.  However, and this is likely to upset some of you out there – I thought Simon’s vocals were extremely strained. I don’t know if he hadn’t warmed up or if the jet lag had hurt him or if it was the sound in general, but he sounded very strained in parts. I just think AVTAK is a tough song to start with for a show unless Simon comes on stage VERY warm and very loose in the vocal chords and throat.  It could have been any number of things, and I’m really not finding fault as much as I’m expressing concern. None of us want a redo of 2011, and so yes, there’s some sensitivity there, at least on my part.

Next up was Hungry Like the Wolf, a personal favorite of mine as most of you know.  Just LOOOVEEE that song to bits and pieces. The first thing I noticed was the back-up singer that Simon had to call out on stage. This was not Anna Ross and it appeared she needed sheet music.  I didn’t notice her too much in this song, but take heed…. Again, lots of bass…and I’m still not complaining.  It was in this song though that my head nearly exploded (a common occurrence as you’ll see in the coming months/years I am sure) because I was treated (oh wait, ALL of us were treated…sorry about that) to my beloved DoJo at center stage for all the folks at home, and perhaps even for the audience…which was filled mostly with balding middle-aged Mazda car designers, marketing, product line developers, etc. Dueling bass/guitar.  I’d forgotten how much I love those two.  I don’t know how many of you caught Simon’s line of “I’m lost in this crowd”, but when I heard that this morning, I nearly spit my coffee at the screen.  Truer words were never spoken…at least during THIS gig.

Finally was All You Need is Now. I love this song live. I think many fans do…so we were expecting a rousing performance given that it has been over two years since they’ve played it on US soil….and I’m sure it would have been had their “Not Anna Ross” known her lines. And harmonies.  Granted, I have to think that this was a last minute replacement in probably much of the same vein as the time when DOM was a last minute replacement.  It’s not going to be perfect when you have zero rehearsal time. You’re probably going to need the music. You’re probably going to need to have actually listened to the song more than once.  You might even need the fans to sing your part FOR you….but sadly none of this really happened.  Instead, we heard completely incorrect words, harmonies that weren’t even remotely CLOSE to being correct, and I watched as Simon had to turn around and try to coach the poor girl.  It was a really, really rough performance, and let’s face it – Duran fans (including myself) are pretty unforgiving.  So while I’m pointing out the issues, believe me, I get it. I know she really didn’t have a chance and she did the best she could. I also could hear that HAD she known the music and words, she had a lovely voice.  I just really hope that Anna will be back soon.  REALLY soon.

After AYNIN, the stream ended. There wasn’t even a “thanks for joining us”.  We got nothing.  Mazda really needs work when it comes to doing these because you have to communicate SOMETHING with those who are watching at home.  While I applaud the effort to stream it at all, I wish it would have been a little smoother.  Eventually DDHQ tweeted something saying “thanks for joining us” and that’s when we could tell it was over.  Thirteen teensy minutes. That said, it was wonderful to see the band live again. I have been complaining since September of 2012 that I missed them (It is true, I went back and checked the blogs), and even so – I didn’t realize how much until last night. Well, that’s not true. I realized how much I missed them when my friend Krista sent me the picture of Dom holding up a sign saying hi to me…but that was yesterday’s blog.  🙂

-R

10 thoughts on “Mazda MX-5 Unveiling – Monterey, CA”

  1. Sam was called to substitute Anna Ross since Anna had to stay home at last minute due to a bad back-acke. She herself told me and other worried fans on her FB page, and she has thanked Samantha for the last minute substitution (she has a beautiful voice after all).
    Don’t blame that poor girl, any of us would have done far more worst in her shoes…

    1. No one was really blaming, but the bottom line is that she didn’t know her part and it really showed. It’s obvious she has a beautiful voice and it’s a shame that she clearly didn’t have any time to rehearse with the band beforehand. -R

  2. I watched the YouTube clip the next day and that audience could not have been any more dead! Any large corporation who hires a well known artist to perform at a corporate gig that will be broadcast to entice their customers needs to school their corporate slugs on how to act alive during a concert.

    Now back to making Simon very warm please 🙂

    1. I don’t think that even entered the minds of the engineers and designers that were there in that audience that night…I really don’t. My husband’s company has hired bands for events (we saw the Doobie Brothers once – I cringe that I even have to type that because they really are not my thing, and then once it was Third Eye Blind, another time it was Sugar Ray…and a couple others that I can’t remember offhand) and most of the time those guys (the engineers) just stand there. That said, I don’t recall them ever streaming something like that. But then, my husband’s company is a huge semiconductor company. It’s only “exciting” for them when the announce a new product. It’s not like they actually MAKE the iPod or iPhone…they just supply the chips. I would think for a consumer product like a car, those guys would think a little more about making it a party atmosphere, but I guess not. They needed more fans there for that. LOL -R

  3. Hi, my sister and I were at the Mazda gig. And let me tell you, they sounded amazing in person. The live feed was terrible. And whomever filmed it, filmed it from the wrong part of the stage. There was plenty of dancing where the “Duranies” were. I don’t know why they didn’t film us???

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