Was It Worth It?

Last weekend, I blogged about the article in Classic Pop magazine about Duran Duran’s videos.  In this piece, the author mentioned about how the band or some band members were less than excited about the Girls on Film video.  First of all, I’m not sure I ever really read that before or if I did, it didn’t stick to me.  Then, this led me to ask the question.  Do they regret this decision?  Are there other decisions that they wish weren’t made?  Even if they regret decisions, do they think that they were still worth it?

Again, I turn to Girls on Film.  From everything I know about the video, they did it for two reasons.  One, they had learned that there were clubs in the U.S. that showed videos.  A long form video like GOF would get them a spot in those clubs with frequent airplay.  Two, they wanted something controversial in order to get people talking.  The more people talk, the more interested people get and the more likely to sell records.  In fact, on the easter egg on the Greatest DVD, one version of GOF shows the band holding a sign that read, “Some people would do anything to sell their records,” (or something like that).  That statement tells me that they weren’t so excited to do a video like this but they were willing to do it for the end goal of selling records, getting famous, etc.

Is it okay to do some less than awesome things in order to achieve one’s end goal?  Do you think it never is okay?  Sometimes is?  Never is?  In the scheme of things, this probably isn’t so bad.  It isn’t like they killed anyone or something that hurt people directly.  Still, I have to wonder if they think it was worth it now.  Then, of course, I’m sure that there are lots of other decisions that they might not have been excited about but sucked it up for the purpose of the end goal.

One aspect of their career that I would put in this category is the work ethic they demonstrated.  When I read about early Duran, I’m always so amazed how much they worked.  They put out three albums in less than 4 years with touring and promo appearances throughout.  While I’m sure that they had a ton of fun within this work, it still meant that they gave up almost every other aspect of their lives.  Yes, some managed to get and keep relationships, but it seems to me that most didn’t.  I am willing to bet that they missed a lot of family functions, for example.  Did they miss out on reading a lot of books then?  Watching movies?  Taking up hobbies?  Lost friendships due to lack of time?

I know it is probably weird to think about all that.  Yet, I find myself asking the same types of questions of myself.  I have a time consuming job but I am also busy doing political work.  Like Duran in the early 1980s, I have my eyes on a prize.  My schedule between now and Election Day is insane, to say the least.  Is it worth it, though?  I hope it will be.  Will I think so if things go my way?  Probably.  What if they don’t?  Will I second guess myself and this decision?  Possibly.   Would Duran have regretted Girl on Film and their insane schedule if they were not successful?  No clue.  If only I had hours and hours to converse with them.  Nonetheless, I appreciate the food for thought.

-A

Dark Circles Come Alive

Everywhere I look, there are forlorn Duranies, hoping for something new.  Many “veteran” Duran fans know that it is likely to be many more months before we hear the sweet chords of new music. We’ve settled in, recognizing the long haul in front of us. We try to use the time to catch up other favorite bands, see other tours, and expand our horizons.

Or so we all say, right?

Invariably, when we are between albums, I start pulling out music I haven’t listened to in a while. At at least I would be, if my music hadn’t been packed away and put in a storage facility about three hours from me. Oh, the joys of moving.

In any case, my music suggestion for today is The Devils!

I’m sure many of you have heard of them before, but nearly any time I write about them, at least one Duranie will write in, completely flabbergasted. Take a giant step back in time, before “Hungry Like the Wolf”, and even before Simon stepped in as vocalist.

The very first manifestation of Duran Duran included Nick Rhodes on keyboards, John Taylor on guitar, and Stephen Duffy (The Lilac Time) on vocals. Simon Colley also participated, sharing bass duties with Stephen Duffy.  Simon Colley also played my personal favorite instrument – the clarinet! (Who knew Duran Duran once had a clarinet player?!) This group played together for about a year before Stephen Duffy and Simon Colley left the group. (Crushing my future dreams of seeing a clarinet player tour with Duran Duran, I might add)

According to Wikipedia, Stephen Duffy found an old cassette from one of their shows. He and Nick worked together to release an album’s worth of material under the name The Devils, and even played a couple of live shows back in the early 2000s. Simply put, Dark Circles is an audio history of Duran Duran. If you don’t have it in your library yet, you should find it!

One of the songs from this album, “Come Alive” was remixed (Tiga Swears Lies Remix) and appeared on Headman Dance Modern, Eskimo Records, Belgium, released on this date in 2004.

So, if you haven’t heard of The Devils, or haven’t had time to check out the music before – here’s your chance to catch up! Click the link to grab an import copy from Amazon.

 

Happy Listening!

-R

Not Knowing Where You’re Rolling

The other day, I saw a meme on Facebook about concert withdrawals. That same day, a fellow Duranie posted a question as her status update, asking if anyone else was having Paper God withdrawals. I enthusiastically responded, “YES”.

I don’t know what is going on with me. Maybe it is the time of year. Perhaps I just don’t have enough to do here at home. I do miss that band more now than I have in months, though. Apparently, I’m not alone. That’s comforting.

As I wrote in an email yesterday, I have no business wishing for concerts right now. I really don’t. It is tough finding a way to sneak out of this house during daylight hours to get groceries, much less escape for an extended period to see a band perform somewhere in this country. However, the heart wants what it wants, right?

If I could go anywhere in the world to see Duran Duran play – OUTSIDE of the state I live in, where would I go?  I’d love to have the money to go anywhere I wanted, but like everyone else – my responsibilities and budget keep me tethered.  Even so, if I could…where would I want to go?

Worldwide, there are a few places I’d love to see Duran Duran again. Oddly, I have yet to see the band play in London. I love the UK in general, and I will take advantage of any excuse I can find to go and explore more of England in particular. I’d also love to see them in Sicily, since my dad’s family is originally from there. The last choice is really a toss-up because there is so much of Europe I’d love to see. Switzerland, France and Austria are at the top of my list. Klosters in Switzerland looked like a snowy-dream world, Carcassonne, France seemed like somewhere I’d want to escape on vacation, and even my husband can attest that I bring up going to Vienna every time the idea of going on a real, extended, holiday comes up. (Maybe once the kids are out of college!)

Even here in the states, there are places I’ve yet to see, and shows I regret not being able to get to. Red Rocks, for instance. That was a once-in-a-lifetime gig that I missed out on. I’m still kicking myself about that. I’d love to go to Florida and see them play, and definitely Boston.

Fantasy time!! What about you? Where would you go, outside of where you currently live, if you could go anywhere?

-R

 

 

Were you at the Greek Theatre at UC Berkeley in 2015?

On this date in 2015, Duran Duran played the Greek Theatre on the campus of UC Berkeley. I drove to this show with Amanda and our friend Heather. We left right after the concert ended at the Hollywood Bowl the night before, and stopped at a hotel (I use that term rather loosely here) along the way.

I don’t remember much about the trip that night.  I remember a few  texts and emails that Amanda read to me, while I focused on driving safely. My eyes got so tired that they hurt, which I hadn’t expected. I figured I’d ride the adrenaline high from the show, but it didn’t last long. I vaguely remember something about a giant bug in the bathtub of the aforementioned “hotel” that night. I let Heather and Amanda fight that one as I let myself fall into a deep sleep!

The next day, we got ourselves up and out the door so that we could get to our next hotel, and then finish the drive to Berkeley. We got there super early, and walked down to have dinner with friends before the concert. Months earlier during the pre-sale, we’d pulled front row seats. Our joy lasted for about five minutes, until someone mentioned that they would absolutely hate having front row seats at this venue. The person explained that the stage is very tall, and it would be difficult to see.

At the time, Amanda and I were quickly coming down off the high from winning the pre-sale “jackpot”. In one breath we were yelling, “Front row!  Finally!!” and in the next, “Wait, what??” Both of us tried to ignore the possibility that perhaps even when we “won”, we’d lost. I mean, who complains about front row?!? We decided that we were not going to be those people!  Even so, the little niggling worry in my head would not subside. As I climbed the steps to the venue, I just hoped it would work out.

Yes, the stage was very tall. I’d also say that the sides of the venue were fairly steep. The height of the stage was probably necessary for the shape of the venue. Front row wasn’t terrible though. There was plenty of room between our seats and the stage, and I had no trouble seeing the band that night, nor did they have trouble seeing us! I definitely didn’t hate having front row in Berkeley!

The most puzzling part of the evening came after the band had taken their final bows and had left the stage. We were making our way out of the venue and had stopped to say hello to a friend. A small skirmish involving two fans and one of the set lists that had been taped to the stage floor caught our attention. Two women were about to come to blows over an unsigned, untouched-by-any-band-member setlist. I watched, completely incredulous that someone was likely to get a black-eye purely because they didn’t want to give up a piece of paper.

Since then, I’ve noticed that one of the techs usually walks around with a stack of set lists after the show.  They throw them out to whomever wants one. I’ve also experienced the joy of someone choosing to crawl right over the top of Amanda and I while we were up against the stage. They climbed right up as though we were a step-ladder, taking no care to not hurt us in the process. All for a piece of paper. Those memories are pretty indicative of the fandom, in many ways.

After the show, we met friends for a quick drink (I had water!) before getting back on the road to our hotel for the night. The following day we had a massive drive ahead of us as we headed from Berkeley to the final stop for that road trip: Agua Caliente.

-R

Time is a Ribbon

We are finally in October. I say finally because September seemed to creep by, and I’m hopeful that my weather gets on board with the idea of October and cools off a little bit. One can hope, right?

October first is an interesting date for me, particularly when it comes to Duran history. I have not checked thoroughly, but I tend to believe that I have seen more Duran-shows on October first than any other date during the year.

The idea that I’ve been to that many shows over the course of a lifetime to even compare is ridiculous. However silly it may be, it is true. Even better, each show I’ve been to on October 1st has taken place since 2005. For my next trick, I will age some of you!

Do you remember the Agassi Grand Slam for Children Charity show in Las Vegas? That was on this date in 2005. A wild weekend made hundreds of times more fun and memorable because so many of my friends were there. From field trips by limo to see an 80s cover band play, to get togethers in the bar and our own special brand of after party that went until sunrise, it was a weekend I will never forget. I could be mistaken, but I believe that it was the last time I saw Andy Taylor perform with the band. I don’t remember the show itself being very remarkable (aside from the foot pounding we did in the stands back in the “Duranie” section during Wild Boys).  Isn’t it strange how those seemingly unremarkable moments sometimes end up as footnotes our history? So much has taken place during the thirteen years since, yet I can hardly believe it has been that long.

In 2011, I saw Duran Duran play at the Sky Theatre in Valley Center, California. This was the first show I had seen since flying to the UK in May for shows that didn’t happen. I was very nervous about seeing the band again and for the first few minutes they were onstage I couldn’t even look at Simon. Amanda couldn’t fly to California for the show, so I went with my husband. As much as I love the guy, he  had no understanding of what it felt like for me to be there that night. He didn’t get it, he’s never going to get it, and that’s that. Even so, the band was back and better than ever. I remember being shocked by how strong Simon’s voice was that night, and I still believe he is a stronger, more powerful singer now than he was before that mess with his vocal chords earlier that year. As for the rest of the band, well, I think the entire flow of events that year gave them a new appreciation for their craft. I know I certainly appreciate them. Seven years went by in the blink of an eye.

Then there was the Hollywood Bowl in 2015. That show remains as something out of a dream for me. Truth be told, Amanda and I were willing to break the bank to get the best possible seats for that show, and from our second row center chairs that night, we saw the first of many shows on the Paper Gods tour that night. The Bowl is a very special place, filled with a lot of personal memories for me, but knowing that I finally saw Duran Duran perform there, is at the top of the list. It nearly erases the memory I have of driving up the Grapevine that night after the show, knowing that many of my friends had gotten invited, or made their way into the after party for the band that night. Lucky souls! Can you imagine it has already been three years?

The moral here, of course, is that time flies. I have the luxury of taking the time to think back and take stock in those seemingly small moments. I mean, Duran Duran only played four songs that night in Las Vegas. I remember seeing Andy on stage that night, but I didn’t necessarily take special notice. Would I have done it differently if I’d known it would be the last time I’d see him with Duran Duran? Who knows? If I’d realized that so many of my friends got into the after party at the Hollywood Bowl, or that someone would have gotten in me in there if I’d asked – would I have stayed? Who really knows?  Lamenting history isn’t helpful, but what I find most poignant and worthy of tucking away is that those tiny little moments and memories matter. Sometimes, they might even determine what comes next.

-R