I’m writing to you from the Daily Duranie video lab where I am trying to stay in isolation. With concerts being cancelled left and right, I have a lot more free time to think about playlists. I’ve been obsessed with mix tapes all my life. If you’re like me, this v-blog is for you.
Ed note: My apologies for continuing to publish so late this week. There’s a lot going on, and unfortunately I’ve had to wait later and later to begin writing this week. Hopefully this will smooth out again in the coming days!! This particular post was written and submitted last week, but due to scheduling, I needed to wait and publish it today. Please enjoy the break from reality!! -R
Teenage Ambitions We Remember Well…
Growing up, I wasn’t allowed to go to concerts, or do most other “fun” teenager things. Which I think is one of the reasons I am so adamant about chasing these activities now. I’ve never forgotten those dreams from my early years. This cruise has been an amazing way to see several of those musical artist ambitions through in a short period of time.
Yesterday, Russ and I took a celebrity-led excursion with Mark Goodman (MTV VJ) and John Payne of Asia. Approximately 100 people were with us, lapping up the sun, and talking to the two celebrities like old friends. That’s the atmosphere on this trip. One of true extended family. If we do indeed come back next year, we have already revised our plans for getting things done: skip the island excursions to rest up more for the shows and hang out in the bars later in order to mix with the celebrities more. It was Russ’ idea, but let me assure you — the fan girl in me is all about it!
I’m Not Expecting To Grow Flowers in the Desert…
I think that Lori Majewski said it best when introducing Annabella from BowWowWow last night. She had tried to describe the experience to her husband in a phone call home, and remarked, “Where else can you do a concert in the afternoon, a concert in the evening, and a concert at night?” All without going out into the weather or traveling more than two floors from Point A to Point B! Unlike a festival, there’s no camping. No port-a-potties. No standing in lines for hours. There are cushioned seats. There’s climate control. There’s free alcohol, as much as you want/can tolerate. In other words, it’s more than you expect, and how very pleasant is that!
I Want Candy…
There’s plenty of “sweet stuff” on this cruise. There’s a prom night. A chance to renew your vows. The opportunity to spend time together in a way that you just don’t make time for when you’re at home.
In terms of the musical dessert bar, well, I can barely get started. Yesterday alone, I caught an interview with Grandmaster Flash at 3:30. I cannot begin to tell you how impressed I was with him and what he had to say about his feelings about the origins of hip hop. At 4:30, I got to see Big Country play to an absolutely packed Studio B. The energy between the band and crowd was unreal! We skipped dinner in the formal dining room to go up to the Windjammer, where they offer more of a buffet, so that we could get back to Studio B at 7, for Annabella, the most adorable little ball of energy in the universe (BowWowWow would not have been the same band with Boy George fronting them, so thank God, fate intervened)! Then we went to get in line when that was over, to see Berlin in the Palace Theater at 9 p.m., because we are red card holders (meaning that we are signed up for the second “main show” each night). Then came the Punk Rock Prom, which we skipped. Being newbies, we didn’t do any of the dress-up nights, decorate our doors, etc. But we were also very tired and in dire need of deep rest.
Swimming in Apologies…
In fact, I needed rest so much that I completely forgot that today is Friday. So my blog post is coming late, for which I apologize profusely. Today finds us on a private island in Haiti, Labadee. To say that it is gorgeous is such an understatement! I haven’t made it out to the water yet. That’s next on my agenda. Only a couple of musical events on tap for tonight. Since tomorrow is our final day, I guess that I will start packing up tonight. Were going to need an extra suitcase for all the swag we have gotten with the 80’s Cruise logo on it. Including a bottle of red, red wine left in our rooms last night!
I’m interested to see how the entertainment company offers to make up for the stars who canceled (they are supposed to do so within the month that we get home), but I will say that I feel like they have really given it their best shot during the remainder of the cruise to make some amends. I guess that all of us have times when we find ourselves swimming in apologies. Extending a lifeline is a pretty humane thing to do.
I hope to do another blog post or two next week, one on an interview on Saturday, called “Ladies of the 80’s,” and one that is a sort of synopsis/wrap-up of the cruise overall. I hope that these have been of interest to at least some of you, and maybe we will see some of you out here with us next year. Lord willing, it looks like a bang-up lineup for 2021!
Chrissie Anderson Peters is an author who lives in Bristol, TN, with her husband Russ, and their five feline children. She fell in love with Duran Duran during the video to “Do They Know It’s Christmas.” She was 13, and came late to the party, but she’s staying until they kick her out.
The studio, a cocktail, and some very timely television recommendations are all on tap with this month’s Kafe!
Cocktail of the month – Espresso Martini
While this is totally out of order, given our worldwide circumstances at this time – we should probably all start with a cocktail (if so inclined!). In a shaker, add the following:
- 1 oz vodka
- 1 oz Kahlua or Tia Maria
- 1 oz (or more) of espresso
- 3 coffee beans
Shake the drink “to wake it to life, not put it to bed”. (Listen, I took that straight from the Absolut website. Feel free to interpret that however you want!) Pour the drink from the shaker into a coupe glass and garnish with the 3 coffee beans. Enjoy!!
(my original notes from the Kafe didn’t include the espresso, so I looked it up online and most recipes include it)
Notes from the studio
Simon says he’s been laying down lots of vocal tracks. Personally, I wish they’d do something… ANYTHING…to share with us just so that I could take my mind off of the craziness outside, but I know that’s a virtual impossibility, and an admittedly selfish one at that.
As quickly as he mentioned the vocal tracks, he reminded Katy that he wasn’t going to be giving any information about the album, remarking, “it’s the nature of the business.” He said that these are the final vocals for the album, and that as a band they’re very much in that “determined” phase.
He did say later as part of a radio interview that there is a EuroDisco song which makes my heart soar with hope and anticipation, and that they worked with Giorgio Moroder, Mark Ronson, along with a a duet with Lykke Li – all points destined to make longtime Duranies squeal with excitement.
(I only question why Simon was so willing and able to share such juicy info to a radio interviewer and not to his own die hard fan base. Probably best for me not to think too much about that.)
Back in the Kafe, Katy steered the conversation towards how the band must feel, whether they’re excited or just nervous about the new music. Simon pointedly commented that “Some members of the band are half empty, while others are half full.”
Don’t you just wonder….or do you think you know… who sits on which side of the glass??
For Simon’s part, he considers himself to be half full, and Katy believes that Simon’s enthusiasm can change other people’s minds. He is happy about what it IS, not unhappy about what it is not. (Reasonable point to remember in the coming months!)
During the summer, assuming those shows and festivals take place, Simon believes they’ll undoubtedly do some new songs, but not a lot of new songs until the album is released. (I am hearing September as the current date, but one has to wonder if the coronavirus will end up causing a delay.)
Speaking of shows, Simon and Katy commented how there has been an excitement for Duran Duran during the past 10 years or so, and that energy has allowed them the prestige to play in some fantastic venues, including the Hyde Park festival happening this summer. They believe that this is because Duran Duran plays the hits, instead of just playing new material. They tend to rely on those hits to reach a wide audience.
I would not be doing my job if I didn’t point out that they seem to do a lot of festivals these days, and they didn’t play many dedicated shows outside of the US on the last tour for Paper Gods. Now, perhaps what they meant was that they’re being offered prestigious festival appearances as headliners, along with a few very special gigs like the Apollo 50th. Katy herself mentioned during the Paper Gods album cycle that promoters were not coming to them with great packages for actual tours, outside of those for the US – and it made her sad to see so many fans begging for the band to come to their country. It’s Also, Las Vegas feels like a residence at this point, they’ve been there so incredibly often. Yet…
Katy asked Simon if he’d be interested in doing a Vegas residency. At this point, I have to wonder why they haven’t signed on for one – it has certainly felt that way, albeit the shows are spaced out so they come back every six-eight months for a couple of shows. Simon himself is up for one, while others in the band consider it a cliché.
From my own biased point of view, I contemplate the set lists I’ve seen performed. The band plays their hits, and I think they tend to rely on them to sell shows, depending upon the type of show and venue they’re performing. Vegas audiences don’t necessarily know the band’s new music, uses of course we consider the somewhat few die hard Duranies in the audience. That means the majority of the audience comes to the see the band play the music they know best – which is obviously that of the 80s. They’d never get away with not playing Hungry Like the Wolf at this point. Like it or not, that does make them a bit of a nostalgia act, at least in Vegas. Isn’t that what they had hoped to avoid?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not finding fault, but I am saying that it’s time we accept the space we’re in. After all, just like Simon, I’m happy about what it IS, not unhappy about what it is NOT. I just think it’s interesting to see the evolution of what the band has become, and embraced during the last decade. They still create new music, and I believe they embrace those studio opportunities, but they’re also very realistic about what sells to a more mainstream, middle-of-the-road listening audience looking for a night out. We – you, me, and other Duranies around the world – are the exception, not the rule.
If you’re like me – and you should be – staying at home these days is the priority. So, what shows does Simon recommend? Here’s a list:
- Killing Eve
- Baghdad Central
- The Young Pope
- Good Omen
- Fake Heiress
Happy watching! Take care of yourself and those around you!!
By Nat Mingo
Super Tuesday was supercharged for me! In the United States, we are in the midst of an election year. On Super Tuesday, several states were voting to select a Democratic nominee for the Office of President. I can be a political junkie so I knew it was going to be a long night. I was therefore unprepared when the band announced
two new Las Vegas shows. My mind was temporarily overwhelmed with a flood of information and questions. The band has subsequently announced a London show as well. These events made me think about the importance of the concert venue.
I’ve got a confession to make. Going to see our band in another country is on my Duran Duran bucket list. I own a recording of the Mark Ronson- Louvre show and it’s pretty special. So, I will admit that I have delusions about European shows. Of course, the Hyde Park concert announcement caused me to self-assess. I have never
attended a Duran Duran show in a “festival” outdoor setting. The band has performed at such settings before; they performed at the 2011 Coachella show and in Hyde Park for the London 2012 Olympics. The concert goers are standing together outdoors, enjoying a live show. It looks incredible on film and in photographs. These vehicles cannot possibly capture the energy emanating from a thong of music fans. Yet, I am not an outdoorsy type of gal. I don’t go camping and I have an extreme abhorrence for getting my hair drenched (think Chaka Khan). Also, these large shows attract the casual fans which impact’s the concert’s set list. There is a large gap
between the stage and the audience for safety reasons. I haven’t found a show (yet) that has peaked my interest enough to attend. I could see myself attending a future festival show but it would be a rare occurrence.
Just typing this heading gave me the goosebumps. I was a little too young to attend the Seven and the Ragged Tiger US tour despite my band devotion in 1984. I recollect sitting at the kitchen table that night, listening to Chicago radio, and drowning my sorrows with chocolate milk. I enjoy listening to the Arena album on vinyl to
capture that period. Since then, I have attended several shows in large, indoor arenas. I have TERRIBLE TicketMaster luck and so my seats in these places have been mediocre. The set list does tend to be more “generic” to attract/reflect the larger audience. Fortunately, the band was promoting albums and so they played some “non” hits. I enjoy these shows for the set list variety. There’s something magical about entering and exiting these venues; perhaps it echoes scenes during Sing Blue Silver DVD. I’ve also been able to meet fans
that I interacted with via the Internet at such shows. It’s also fun to strike up a conversation with the people around you. From band interviews, I know that band members prefer the arena settings. I can happily oblige in this venue type; I have several fond memories from these shows. My only gripe is parking at such shows; you
can be at a standstill for long stretches so go to the bathroom first!
Seasonal Outdoor Venues
These venues exist in warmer climates or during the warmer seasons of a colder climate. I don’t have to work during the summer season so I tend to go to more shows in this setting. There is usually a seated, covered section and a grassy knoll for fans to spread blankets upon. I prefer the seated section at these shows. My firstDuran Duran show during the “Notorious” tour was in such a venue. My mother & I were 2 rows from the last seats. I used her glasses as binoculars to see the stage. We laugh now, at how I snatched her glasses off when she realized Andy Bell of Erasure was wearing a rubber leotard onstage. The fan seat competition increases at these shows. I find myself judging my seat in comparison with someone else’s seat. I was thrilled with my seat during the TicketMaster sale but feel deflated that my view wasn’t as clear. Fortunately, there is a positive vibe that I imagine mimics the outdoor festival shows on a smaller scale. The general audience is pretty chill and the locations have a beauty to them. I don’t know if my mindset is more positive or if it’s the combination of sunshine, alcohol and my favorite music being played combined that cause me to enjoy this type of venue. Seat placement aside, I appreciate these shows because I get the benefits of the outdoor and indoor experience.
This is my favorite type of venue to see Duran Duran. The parking issue can be similar or worse than the arena venues. These shows can also be general admission which means long periods of standing. I once mistakenly wore heels to a Neurotic Outsiders GA show and could not feel my feet or correctly hear for 24 hours. The acoustics are best in concert halls. John’s basslines sound so much more robust in the smaller venues. I attended the first two Vegas Cosmopolitan shows and there were some bass lines during “Girls on Film” that brought me to nirvana. Thanks John & Bernie for those moments and please repeat for the next tour cycle. If anyone has a recording of these shows, please let me know! I would love to have this song in my audio collection. The fan competition is fierce at these shows. I dislike listening to prolonged conversations when
someone is gushing over a front row experience. I am working on tamping down on these feelings for the next tour cycle because there’s an intimacy that I adore at these shows. I like walking into a small, darkened room and listening to the pre-show music while waiting for the concert to commence. The “All You Need Is Now”
tour did a great job of building audience anticipation. Again, I’ve had some good pre and post-concert interactions at these smaller shows. I feel more connected with my fellow concert-goers.
We are fortunate that Duran Duran plays in so many different venues. I am fortunate that I have attended past concerts. I’m reminded of the Dr. Seuss book “Green Eggs and Ham”. One character describes his dislike of a food item in rhyme. I am the opposite with this band- “I will listen to them on a boat; I will listen to them with a goat. I will listen to them in a box; I will listen to them with a fox.” Luckily, the band has announced several summer shows in numerous countries. I wish everyone who will attend a summer Duran concert the best of luck. I will be there physically if I can or in spirit, if I cannot. More concerts are in our futures!
Grooving at Home,
Last week, I asked the question about which song represents the Red Carpet Massacre Tour. The results were interesting. According to the voters, the song that represents that tour was Seven Nations Army, a cover. Fascinating. So, my question for you readers is a simple one. Should we take this pick at face value or ask another question comparing the top two songs? Here is a video of Seven Nations Army:
According to setlist.fm, in 2008, this song was played one time. Now, I definitely don’t want to undercut democracy, but it seems strange to me since it was not played a lot and not many fans would have seen it. Therefore, I have decided just to do a run-off in order to make me feel better.
Here is the new poll. Please vote! ( Pretend like this matters when it really does not. Ha!)
Throughout my life, when things have gotten tough, I have turned to music. At times, I gravitate towards songs to steer me away from negative emotions like sadness, loneliness, anger. Other times I find me seeking out songs that match my feelings. When I do that, I’m really looking for words, lyrics to articulate what I am thinking and feeling. Those songs provide comfort as I feel a little less alone, a little more understood.
Interestingly enough, there are few Duran songs that I turn to at those extreme moments of distress. I’m not sure why. Maybe there are few that match my moods of despair or rage. I’m not sure. Yet, I have turned to some music connected to Duran Duran and that is some of John Taylor’s solo work. Anyone here familiar with the song, Johnny Full of Fear? Here are the lyrics that I could find:
He’s walking on the wall
Cause he’s heard it all before
He’d laugh it off, if he could
But his glasses might fall off
The madman’s at the door
Whispering through the floor
Sordid times in life before
Will keep him from flying once more
Johnny full of fear
He’s hanging on a thread
Don’t be afraid of the dark
Don’t be afraid of what you are
Johnny is learning, to feed, to fear
He’s whacking in time
‘Cause his wife gave him some room
Now he’s up to neck in debt
And his partner’s blown a fuse
Well he sits still for a minute
While he’s waiting for some credit
The property’s in ruins
But the suit is good and shiny
Johnny full of fear
He’s hanging from a thread
Don’t be afraid of the dark
Don’t be afraid of what you have
Johnny has known to fear
The messenger of fortune
He’s the messenger
He’s the messenger
He’s alone most nights now
More often than not
He’s too much time to think
Gives his committee too much room
He’s thinking of expanding
Taking on responsibilities
I’m, in all, in favor of it
I’ll encourage him every chance I get
Johnny full of fear
Johnny full of fear
Full of fear
I remember the first time I heard this song. I connected with so many of the lyrics on a deeply personal level. The lines about the “madman’s at the door” and “hanging by a thread” especially got to me. True confession time. I have an anxiety disorder. You know one that has been officially diagnosed, is on file at my doctor’s, etc. It is not something that I generally bring up or talk about. I’m not embarrassed about it or anything like that. It is just part of who I am and something that I have to deal with in my daily life. That said, it is rare that I ever see anything like anxiety described in a song. Usually, if it mentioned in some way shape or form, it is not written seriously or with any real understanding of what it is like. This song, though, feels genuine. Now, I have no idea if John Taylor has ever experienced anxiety himself or knows someone who has. I just know that he was able to capture how I feel sometimes.
What made me think of this now? It is probably obvious but with the coronavirus, my anxiety has been seriously spiking. (In general, medical issues are a trigger.) I don’t necessarily worry about myself but I do about my elderly parents (one of whom is over 80 with an underlying medical condition that compromises the immune system). I’m concerned that my niece who has been studying abroad in Ireland now needs to find a fast way to get home. I need to be the calming influence for my students who are asking if they are safe at school. (Good question–is it really a good idea to have a couple thousand people in one building?!) The government’s response (or lack of one) adds to it. I don’t really think there is a plan to really get it under control. The combination of all of this means that I wander around my house, unable to get anything done, unfocused. It has meant not sleeping well and calling family frequently demanding that they check in. Headaches have been common as has the irritable mood that won’t go away along with my inability to calm my thoughts. Then, as anxiety tends to do, it has builds on itself as the lack of productions leaves me with an overwhelming list of things to do and a feeling of being inadequate. I have been describing it as my anxiety has anxiety. It is not fun.
So, as I try to use various strategies to keep my anxiety at a manageable level, I’ll put on a little JT and feel better thinking that someone out there gets it, at least a little bit. That helps.
Ed: Live from the high seas of the Caribbean, our special correspondent checks in with an update of what cruising in the time of Covid-19 is really like. – R
By Chrissie Peters
No Mistakes (Revisited)…
In my last blog from Explorer of the Seas, I reported that there had been a few mis-steps, but that I firmly believed that, as the lyrics to Patty Smyth’s song suggests, there are no mistakes. Wow! Have the past 24 hours tested my faith in that belief! This blog won’t focus on the negative aspects of what have transpired, I promise, but, in the spirit of full disclosure, I want to be honest about what has gone wrong.
Just hours after I sent the blog post to Rhonda, an announcement came over the ship’s PA system, including into our staterooms, which typically only happens during emergencies or major events. It was the Activities Director, JT. Within 60 minutes of each other that afternoon, cancellations had been submitted to the entertainment company responsible for the cruise, by Bret Michaels, The B-52’s, and Midnight Star. That’s right. Two more headlining acts had decided not to show up, we’re all guessing because of this admittedly unknown business with the coronavirus, although we were never given official reasons. And quite honestly, I don’t think that anyone really cared; many people, myself included, felt like we had just been robbed. The B-52’s was the main reason my husband signed on for the cruise; Russ is not the 80’s music lover that I am, so that was a really big let-down.
I felt indignant that we were told to just keep enjoying the party and other activities going on. Yes, there is more happening than one person can possibly do, but let’s face reality: those big-name performers are the big attraction on this smorgasbord. Everything else is really good sides and gravy! I understand that they have to be cheerleaders, if for no other reason, than to keep stampedes from occurring. But I did not want them to tell me to continue feeling joyous, especially when, two hours earlier, we had just laid down $800 in non-refundable money for next year’s cruise. I thought, “I just lost all faith in your company and I’m tied down for next year now, too.”
When The Going Gets Tough…
Dinner was a mixed bag of people at our table being bummed, but not wanting to bring down everyone else’s 80’s buzz, which was really what I needed. People who understood my disappointment, but realized that we are out here, regardless, and that there is still (at least for the moment) some amazing talent aboard this big boat with us, and that makes us pretty lucky people!
So we went to see Katrina (formerly of Katrina and the Waves), who put on an amazing show, interacting with the audience on a great personal level in Studio B. Then, we experienced one of the highest-energy shows that I have come across, since Chic opening for Duran Duran. I cannot say enough about the positive energy and showmanship of Kool & The Gang! Robert “Kool” Bell plays bass in the band named for him, and has been doing so for more than 50 years! Forget Bret Michaels, The B-52’s, and whoever else for a few minutes and let that sink in! The man is a legend, and for great reasons. You don’t achieve that sort of longevity in the entertainment business without talent and something special! They played hit after hit, did choreographed dance steps onstage that were a cross between what you saw from the old Motown legends to the two lead singers doing more current simultaneous “mirror” moves that made you ooh and aah at their flashiness and difficulty (especially to someone like me, who often experiences Danceaphobia)!
We stayed up extra late to catch Tony Hadley, just in case he decided to jump ship when we docked in San Juan today. For various reasons, some personal and therefore not worth mentioning, the others just my opinion and probably not worth mentioning in order to avoid offending anyone, I wasn’t as wowed by him as I wanted to be. Some people behind us remarked that it was like seeing Tom Jones in Vegas, only not as good, before they got up to leave. To be certain, though, he held many audience members in his sway. He just wasn’t my glass or three of Jack Daniels, but he still has a magnificent voice. To his credit, he makes himself very available to guests on the cruise, and loves holding court, sharing stories, answering questions, and just having discussions at all hours. And, especially in the face of the coronavirus, I find that mightily impressive.
Sing Blue Silver (Linings)…
The weather has been miserable since we left Miami on Sunday, high winds, rain, water from the onboard pools rolling out onto the deck in crashing waves. So, any outdoor concerts have had to be moved inside, postponed, or canceled. Today, the weather caused us to arrive in San Juan more than three hours late, so all excursions were canceled and people received onboard credit for those missed activities. Russ and I were here last spring and had decided against an excursion, so we weren’t impacted. Except for being confused about when other things were happening. Meanwhile, we enjoyed an early interview with Annabella from BowWowWow by fellow Duranie, Lori Majewski, and a super-charged concert from Taylor Dayne. The entertainment company lined up The Wailers to come aboard for a late-night show tonight in San Juan. I think that they will probably leave the ship before we leave port at 12:30 a.m. But I’m impressed that the company is still scrambling to make things good for us, to try to fill in gaps as best as they can. And I hope to catch Berlin’s piano player in a piano bar jam late tonight. You don’t get that opportunity every day!
What Happens Tomorrow…
Well, at this point, I have given up trying to plan anything, really. We receive a daily print update, but there seem to be PA-system updates that conflict with those in some way or another. For now, I’m trying to go with the flow, take it easy, and not be too surprised by anything that happens, good or bad. In the end, it still beats being at home, stressing over things that I have no control over there. In the end, it’s all going to be okay.
Chrissie Anderson Peters is an author who lives in Bristol, TN, with her husband Russ, and their five feline children. She fell in love with Duran Duran during the video to “Do They Know It’s Christmas.” She was 13, and came late to the party, but she’s staying until they kick her out.
YOU SAID NEVER TO GROW OLD, BUT YOU FORGOT TO TELL ME HOW“Those Final Feet” – Cowboy Junkies
Flying back late Saturday night, the Southwest plane banked over Las Vegas and the city skyline was perfectly laid out over the wing. For some, the city represents an escape, a promise, an excuse. For me, it represents work and I was back at it the next morning at 6am. The real world. Ugh.
The short trip to Chicago for two sold-out shows watching Cowboy Junkies was wonderful, as always. It was an important reminder to me that seeing my favorite bands keeps me in a good place mentally. Spending time with the band, it was great to catch up on family and discuss the current toilet paper shortage in America. I float on the periphery of their circle, always conscious that touring is a job for them and wanting to respect that. Their music, not the memories it conjures up, are why I keep coming back. In a way, that is the opposite of what Duran Duran does for me. And, I need both.
Having seen Duran Duran on consecutive nights in Vegas, I know how to spot the little differences in the otherwise static set list and find pleasure in hearing the hits I loved as a kid. Cowboy Junkies are the polar opposite. The set list is written the day of the show and can include just about anything. On one tour in California, I caught eight shows and heard 51 different songs. Can you imagine Duran Duran taking 51 songs on a tour? I’d love to see that list!
While the first night of the two Chicago shows was fantastic, the second night really burned into my memory as one of the best sets I’ve seen the band play. The soundcheck was full of darkness and I joked about it with the band before dinner. No matter how sad the songs might be, the band’s sense of humor always shines through and it was feeling like it might be a special night. It was. Singer Margo Timmins was in a mood as soon as she hit the stage. The new songs in the first set were delivered with abandon as she let her voice loose.
After a short intermission (wish more bands my age did this!), the band returned with a glorious set of despair and pain:
- Third Crusade – about murderous Christians and politcal hypocrisy
- 200 More Miles – about lonely highways while on tour
- Flirted With You All My Life – about suicide
- Sweet Jane – the big hit (think “Rio” if she developed a heroin habit)
- A Horse In the Country – about a marital affair in a loveless marriage
- Fairytale – being tired with life
- Shining Teeth – more marital troubles
- Bea’s Song – really serious marital troubles (song two in a trilogy that ends with a dead body in a river)
- Just Want To See – a song about how you’ll die
- Those Final Feet – a song about dying
- Murder Tonight In the Trailer Park – a song about homicide
The encore choice of David Bowie’s “Five Years” felt like a spiritual release from the weight of the set. After all, Ziggy Stardust comes to earth to save us all. Based on the band’s set, there is a lot of saving needed. Of course, I read too much into everything. Don’t we all when we love an artist?
As I returned home to the warm arms of an understanding wife, I realized how much emotion the songs stir in me. Hearing “Those Final Feet”, written for the passing of a grandfather, so soon after seeing my own in hospice, felt cathartic. All the songs about unhappy relationships puts your own daily hurdles into a larger perspective and leaves you grateful for what you have. More than anything, seeing your favorite bands perform keeps you feeling young and engaged in life.
So, no matter how much I whine about the short sets that never change and how expensive it all is, I know that I need a Duran Duran show in 2020. Also on the calendar this year is Shopping (one of the best bands going these days), Bryan Adams, Squeeze, Kraftwerk, A-Ha, more Cowboy Junkies, and Nick Cave. I’m sure plenty more will come up. My body and soul yearns for it. Music is the drug.
I am the virus
Crazy times, am I right?
Epidemic: a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time.
Pandemic: An epidemic of a disease that has spread across a large region or the world. World Health Organization defines a pandemic as the worldwide spread of a new disease.
When I interface
Listen, I am trying to summon all the joy in my soul, and throw massive support, positivity, and sunshine behind the announcement that Duran Duran will be not only performing, but headlining at BST in Hyde Park on July 12. Nile Rodgers, Chic and Gwen Stefani are among the special guests for the gig, along with more to be announced later. The last time Duran Duran graced their home crowd – if not hometown audience – with a show was 2012. The gig is overdue at BEST, and that comment comes from someone who doesn’t even live in the UK.
However…I have some concerns…
I’m not paid by the band. (NOT one of my concerns, by the way…it’s just how I’m prefacing what I’m about to write!) As such, you can and should be assured that I’m responding the way I truly feel. I’m not a sycophant, paid player, or even close insider. I’m a longtime fan. It isn’t my “job” to promote the band, or protect their brand. So, when I say that while I’m happy to see the band finally playing a gig in their own country – I mean that. I just can’t understand why they haven’t announced a single, non-festival (I edited this a few hours after publishing for clarity), Birmingham gig to celebrate their 40th anniversary. Maybe they still will. I just know they haven’t yet, and fans are already talking about this Hyde Park gig as if it is indeed the special gig we’ve all been waiting for. Is this really it?? (also edited to included that last question)
I am a siren in the rain
Maybe it is. So sure, I’m thrilled for UK fans, as I should be. It’s about time, don’t you think?? Even so, I’m also apprehensive, and not just for that show – but for all those that have been announced. (So maybe it’s a good thing nothing has been announced about a potentially special show in Birmingham!!)
One would have had to be living under a rock to escape the news of Covid-19, aka Coronavirus, or the global pandemic. The headlines are everywhere. Just this morning sources confirmed to CNN that the very popular Coachella Festival – the same one Duran Duran performed at in 2011 – will be postponed until at least October. SXSW was altogether canceled. Pearl Jam postponed their summer tour, many of the artists on the 80s cruise cancelled at the last minute. In the Bay Area of California, any and all public gatherings of more than 1,000 people have been banned. In New York, a one-mile radius “containment area” around New Rochelle will be instituted for two weeks beginning on Thursday with the help of the National Guard. The area has what they currently believe to be the largest cluster of cases in the US, and the governor thinks this is the best shot they have at containment.
All over the country, cities, towns, counties and states are deciding what to ask of their citizens. Self-containment, self-isolation, social distancing, cancelling in-person learning and classes, banning large events…the list goes on. While I have no doubt that containment will eventually be reached and that this virus will indeed run it’s course just as influenza typically does, fear permeates and spreads in the same fashion. The populations of our most vulnerable need to be protected, yet life must go on. I can’t help but wonder how long it will be before other shows are canceled.
Everything will change forever
I’m a realist by nature. Over the years, some have called me negative, and you know, that annoys the hell out of me. It’s not a good opening line, nor is it a point I take seriously. I’m not negative, but I am not in the practice of burying my head in the sand or donning a pair of rose-colored glasses, either. I see things pretty much as they are, and I call it like I see it! I can’t say I’m overjoyed or optimistic when I see huge conventions and concerts cancelled. It isn’t comforting knowing that an entire city is being quarantined, much less an entire country – as is the case with Italy. What are the chances of a gig attended by 70,000+ in Hyde Park, or anywhere for that matter, happening? I’m not feeling confident, that is for sure. Our world is wacky enough without a pandemic, don’t you think?
Crazy times, indeed. A had a lady use her overflowing shopping cart filled with paper towel as a blocking device to stop me from grabbing one of the last three packs of toilet paper at the store this morning. I wasn’t even trying to get paper products. I just needed to walk down the aisle for sandwich baggies.
Ed Note: Okay, so perhaps I got a little carried away with the title. Chrissie has graciously volunteered her services as a special contributor on board the 5th Annual 80’s Cruise. Today brings her first installment. Enjoy! -R
By Chrissie Peters
Dig, If You Will, A Picture…
For the next seven days, I have the unique opportunity to have a vacation on a cruise ship in the Caribbean Sea, as well as seeing more than a dozen 80’s musical artists and acts. My husband Russ and I are sailing aboard Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas with approximately 3,000 other avid 80’s fans on the 5th Annual 80’s Cruise, hosted by three of the original MTV VJ’s (Alan Hunter, Mark Goodman, and Nina Blackwood).
This trip was not my idea, although I am the big 80’s fan in our household. The week after last year’s cruise ended, with just a few artists announced for the 2020 cruise, my husband proposed that we go ahead and do it, as I had really wanted to go a couple of previous year. Admittedly, I was most excited about the prospect of seeing Bananarama. Less than two weeks after we made our down-payment, guess who canceled their contract with the company for the 2020 cruise? That’s right — Bananarama, for reasons that were never disclosed to us. We, of course, had the option to cancel, but decided that we would wait to see who would be selected to replace the group. By then, we were also excited about some of the other acts, too, especially The B-52’s, The Motels, and Patty Smythe & Scandal. Then we found out that two acts would replace Bananarama — Bret Michaels and Loverboy. So we happily continued to make our monthly payments on what has easily been the most expensive cruise (or vacation at all, for that matter), that we have ever taken. Of course, we have never had a vacation cruising the tropics while it’s snowing back home, complete with more than a dozen concerts, interviews, celebrity-led excursions, etc., either. In the end, I feel like the value far outweighs what we have paid (and I am saying that after being aboard the ship for less than twelve hours)!
If I Could Turn Back Time…
Everything here is retro. The hairstyles. The clothes. Men and women, alike. My favorite bar, Music Video Tavern (MVT), features video screens playing real videos, just like the old days. There are tables with board games like Trivial Pursuit, Life, and more. There’s a life-sized Operation game. And several arcade games that you can just walk up to and start playing, no quarters required. (Nick Rhodes of yesteryear would be in heaven, as Galaga is among them — think the Sing Blue Silver documentary). The drinks have throwback names, and I have become quite fond of Welcome to the Jungle at MVT (drinks are included with the price of the trip, so I figure I might as well take advantage of what we paid for).
There are different themes nightly. Tonight, we partied like it was 1979, and ushered in 1980 with no fewer than four separate New Year’s Eve parties. Well, that’s a general “we,” since I stayed in the stateroom to start this post, and to indulge in watching more videos. (Honestly, I could just sit and do this for hours. I mean, didn’t all of us used to???) and I’m glad that I did. “Hungry Like the Wolf” came on back-to-back with “Take On Me,” by Aha; I was in 1980’s heaven!
There Are No Mistakes…
In the past few weeks, the landscape of health and travel have taken on new concerns with the rise and spread of the coronavirus. Many of our friends and family members have tried to talk out of coming on the cruise completely. My husband is a Registered Nurse, so he has kept on top of the situation for work purposes, as well as for our vacation. While we realize that there is some risk involved, we both agreed that we felt that there was a greater risk of catching something during our flight than on the actual cruise.
To keep in order with CDC guidelines, one of the acts for the cruise, Dire Straits Legacy Band, were restricted from the trip due to the fact that they had been in Rome within the past few weeks. Just two days later, and three days before leaving port, it was announced that Loverboy had also pulled out, no reasons given to us. Remember when Bananarama canceled, right? And Loverboy was named as one of two replacement acts? The next day, it was announced that we would have two more acts to replace the two acts that had had to cancel in the final week leading up to the trip. Kool & The Gang, and Taylor Dayne.
When we made that deposit a year ago, we never imagined something like the coronavirus. I never imagined not seeing Bananarama. But things happen the way they do for specific reasons. My cousins and I used to sing “Celebration” at family reunions and force family members a quarter each to see us perform the song. That was back in 1980. Forty years later, I will get to hear the real deal in person and have new memories to add to those from my childhood. Like Patty Smyth & Scandal sang in their amazing show tonight, “There are no mistakes.”