Whole Albums?

Right around this time eleven years ago, Duran Duran was playing on Broadway in New York City as a way to promote their new album,  Red Carpet Massacre.  The show consisted of three acts.  They played the entire album of Red Carpet Massacre except for bonus tracks, in order, for the first act.  The second one included the electro set in which they played a few tracks, electronically, at the front of the stage before moving on to the third act, which felt like a usual Duran show with their classic hits.

I was lucky enough to attend one of these shows.  In fact, I saw the show in which Donald Trump was in attendance.  (For the record, I had better seats than he did.)  Anyway, I thought and still think that this was a brilliant way to introduce a new album.  Fans get to see their old favorites during the third act.  The electro set was special and awesome in its own right but then you get to hear each and every new song live.  I don’t know about the rest of you but seeing/hearing songs live make them so much better.  In all seriousness, I struggle to listen to studio versions of many Duran songs after seeing them live.  With Red Carpet Massacre, hearing the songs live took away some of those overproduction and left the song to speak for itself.  I cannot help but to think about one song, in particular, which is Tricked Out.  On the album, it feels like a bad 70s science fiction TV show’s theme song.  Live, it was all about the guitars.  I have loved the song ever since.

So, if playing a whole album works to promote an album, would it work for an older album?  While I’m not sure how many copies of an old album would be sold through that method, but I’m certain that there would be new appreciation for the songs.  It might even excite more fans to come buy tickets.  That has to be just as good as selling albums, right?  I think so!  Plus, many people think this might be good for the 40th anniversary as a way to capture Duran’s career.  It might also sell more concert tickets, especially from the hardcore fans who would definitely like to hear something more than the hits known by the general public.

So if it is a winning idea, which album should be chosen?  The immediate fan response is probably Rio.  That would draw the crowd!  It would be easier on the band since many songs from that album are all ready in the rotation for setlist these days so they wouldn’t have to practice all of them.  From my perspective, though, I’m not sure that I would choose Rio.  It definitely isn’t that I don’t like it.  No, part of my hesitation is that I have seen all the songs from that album live.  Granted they were not all at the same show but still.   Selfishly, I would like to broaden which songs I have seen live.  (I hope that doesn’t make me sound like a terrible person.)   The other part would be sad for the fans is that Rio is short.  It is a short album in terms of number of songs but also how long the songs are themselves.

No, I think that if I had my choice, it would be a longer album.  While I adore the first three, those are all relatively short.  I might choose All You Need Is Now.  It is a solid album, all the way through, and it brings back lots of great memories.  On top of it, since it is relatively new, it could help sell more copies of that one.  What about the rest of you?  Which album would you love to see played all the way through, in order?

-A

On this day in Duran Duran History – Girl Panic released in 2011

Today is a rough one, I’m not going to pretend otherwise. Last night as I was drifting off to sleep with the TV on (a very bad but frequent habit of mine), our local news station began reporting on a shooting in Thousand Oaks, California. The venue was the Borderline bar and grill, and it was college night, which attracts a number of young people from the surrounding communities.

I have no personal connection to the shooting, other than having college-aged kids, living in Southern California, and being human. Even so, I watched the news with that now-familiar sense of dread. All I know for sure, is that I spent many nights during college in the local bars (sorry mom!!), and I never once worried about being shot or not coming home.

This incident is no different from any of the other shootings that have taken place here in the United States. I don’t pretend that this time is any different. It’s just a little closer to home, I suppose. It makes me think about things that no parent, no spouse, should ever really need to consider.

I don’t want to use this blog as a political soapbox. This site is my safe place. It’s the spot, so to speak, where I can escape the stresses of reality for a few minutes each day. I’m not ignoring the world, just taking a breather. So that’s what I’m going to do.

On this day in 2011, Duran Duran released the video for Girl Panic. I can’t really think of a better escape than watching a video that embraced the storied Duran Duran “excesses” of their career – tongue in cheek or otherwise.

Thank goodness for Duran Duran. They still manage to make me smile, even on days like this.

-R

A moment worth celebrating

Some days are just meant to be celebrated!  I am super behind today already, but I needed to take a minute and congratulate my dearest friend on some VERY hard-fought victories.

A lot of people, including myself – simply vote on election day. We proudly display our “I voted” stickers as though we’ve done something monumental, take selfies and display them all over the net. My friend Amanda takes the process a lot more to heart. She volunteers for campaigns, running and organizing teams of people for canvassing, among a great many other things. In short, she lives, eats, and breathes campaigning. Since 2010, she has been working nearly non-stop to “right” some of the things that have happened in her state. Last night (or early this morning!), election results appear to show that her goal has finally been reached.

My purpose in writing this post isn’t to get into political debate over what anyone else may think or feel is right or wrong…but simply to prove a point that I think has been very lost in this world lately.

Amanda and I kind of sit on opposite sides of the political spectrum, to some degree. I lean more towards right of center. She is most definitely on the left. Yet we still get along, and agree on a great many things. We find common ground because THAT IS WHAT NORMAL, LEVEL-HEADED PEOPLE DO.

I respect Amanda, 100%. I celebrate her victory because she is my closest friend. I wouldn’t set out to hurt her any more than she would me.  I am incredibly proud of her today (although I still would have been proud even if her candidates had not won), and I’m overjoyed that she is able to feel like she can celebrate her hard work. Everyone needs that, and I’m relieved that SHE is relieved.

Sometimes I think our governments, social media, and media in general, are so focused on making sure we see what makes us all different that we forget to notice and comment on all of the things that make us similar. The common ground is there and miles wide, we just need to be willing to find it. That doesn’t mean looking at your friend and saying “You’re the one who voted for the guy I don’t like, so you need to change your thinking and know that I’m the one who is right.” It means listening to one another. It means doing a LOT of listening, and a lot less talking.

Social media is great for talking. Tweeting is really just about who can yell the loudest. There’s a lot of that going on. I’m wondering more about the listening, though. Who is willing to do more of that?

Count me in on that side.

Congratulations my friend. I am thrilled for you, and for your state. I know how much of yourself you put into this election and campaign. It is inspiring to see that kind of hard work amount to so much. I hope you never lose sight of what you’ve accomplished.

Oh, I know this has little to do with Duran Duran. Except that it does. Amanda and I are both fans. Our common ground has ALWAYS been this band. I know of fellow fans who are far more liberal AND far more conservative than I am. Yet when it comes down to it, we all love the band. It’s a great starting point. I strive to remind everyone that when it boils down to it, I really do believe there is more that makes us similar than different, no matter the color of our skin, the loves of our life, or where you fall on the political spectrum. I think that to some degree, we’re all a bit guilty of forgetting that from time to time.

Onward and upward.

-R

A Night at the Movies with Bohemian Rhapsody

Since she barely began talking, my youngest has been singing. If she didn’t know the words, she would make up her own, or hum her way through the song. It (music) comes so naturally to her that she knows no other way. I don’t know when it became a “thing” for her to sing along with the radio, but she has been belting “Bohemian Rhapsody” since she was a tiny little thing in her car seat.

From “Bohemian Rhapsody”, to “Radio Ga-ga”, “We Are the Champions”, “We Will Rock You”, and plenty of the rest of the Queen catalog – she sings it all. The music and words just seem to resonate with her. I didn’t think much of it until we heard that there would be a movie based on the career of Freddie Mercury and Queen. My husband and I agreed that we’d take her to see it. We didn’t know if the story would be over her head, but we knew she’d love the soundtrack!

Both Walt and I are fans of Queen – we have their albums and love their music. Neither of us saw them in concert when Freddie was alive, though. We did go to see We Will Rock You in London while we were visiting, and even got to see both Roger Taylor (no, not OUR Roger Taylor…) and Brian May on stage for the curtain call.  We were thrilled the movie was being released and couldn’t wait to go.

The movie opened this past week, and on Sunday night, we went to see it. I tend to talk about my daughter as though she is still five, but the fact is—she’s emotionally mature for a ten-year old. She is very sensitive to other people (as if all of the empathy missing from the rest of us was packed into her little body!), and I find that she even explains things to me. There is this saying about how having a child means you’re OK with your heart being outside of your own body and walking around forever. Well, this heart of hers is FAR bigger than anything I could have grown on my own.

Freddie’s story of learning how to really love the person he was, and embracing his own bravado and talent really touched her. She openly sobbed as the story of “Bohemian Rhapsody” came to light, and talked a lot with me about his struggle of learning to love himself even when he knew he was different from what his parents expected. She was completely devastated at the end of the movie as she realized just how short Freddie Mercury’s life really was, and what the AIDS epidemic meant during the 1980s. The movie is one that I suspect will stay with her forever. I would have never thought so much of the movie would reach her so deeply. After all, she’s only ten, right?

I think back to being ten myself. Although my memory is fuzzy – I was around that same age when I first heard Duran Duran. It is fair to say they not only resonated—they helped form me into the person I am. Many fans feel that way about their own experience with them, too. I don’t believe I was ever the deep thinker that my youngest is. In spite of my own lack of emotional maturity at the time, Duran Duran worked their way into my head and heart, just as Queen has done with her. It is one of those parenting moments I treasure witnessing.

As I sat watching Bohemian Rhapsody in the theater, I thought about Duran Duran. It was impossible not to, really. Today I’ve seen so many people posting about Bohemian Rhapsody, and following up by saying they want their Duran Duran movie next – I just have to wonder what that might look like. I don’t think their story is over just yet.

Duran Duran continues to inspire me in a way few other things ever have. A good example is the video for “The Edge of America”. Who knew that thirty years after its release there would be a video made that even Rolling Stone and Billboard would comment on?

I think the best is yet to come.

-R