Duran Duran Appreciation Day 2018 is tomorrow!

Sadly, I am going to miss Duran Duran Appreciation Day festivities this year.  As I lamented earlier in the week on social media – this is the year where nothing goes quite as planned. Instead, I’ll be driving back to the OC from a quick trip north. It can’t really be helped, but that doesn’t mean I’m not sad about missing out.

It’s weird to me, because if all had gone as originally planned, I would be in Las Vegas right now, preparing for our convention. I hate thinking about that because I really wanted to do it, and while I know there’s no way I could have actually pulled it off, I sure wish we were there! I’m hoping for better DDAD showings in the future from Daily Duranie, that is for sure. We need a real party!

We do appreciate Duran Duran. More than they know, really. We write about them nearly every day in one capacity or another. I love that there’s a holiday for them, though! I know that our goals with writing the blog has changed over the years. It is an elastic sort of thing, I suppose. Right now, I use the blog as a sort of escape, but also as a way to solidify myself. I sometimes still have to figure out how to  allow myself “space” to be a fan, and I use the blog as a place to grapple with it, oddly enough!

Most of us can say that the band has been there through some of the most difficult times in our lives. The music guides us through, gives us the gentle shove when we need it, and even some hope that things will get better. I know it’s helped me. Right now, as I start really saying goodbye to the only house my kids have known, the place we held so many birthdays, holidays and family get-togethers, along with all of the memories held within (my darling son once took his teeth and ran them the entire way down our wooden stair railing – the grooves are still there. Yes, he’s still alive to tell about it!), I listen to the band a lot. Moving is rough, life can be crushingly painful, but music helps.

I hope everyone is able to take time and enjoy that they’re fans of a band that is still out there creating, even in 2018!  We are so lucky to still have them out there, writing, recording and performing – and even communicating with us on occasion. That’s definitely worth celebrating!

Happy Duran Duran Appreciation Day, everyone! Have a wonderful day tomorrow!

-R

 

 

Mountain Winery, 2012 – were you there?

What were you doing on this date in 2012? Anything good? I do believe that some DD fans out there were lucky enough to be at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga, California! This was the first of two nights at the winery, and in fact they were the first US dates included in the final leg of shows on the All You Need is Now tour.

Let’s just take a quick look at the set list, shall we?

  1. Before the Rain
  2. Planet Earth
  3. A View to a Kill
  4. All You Need is Now
  5. Being Followed
  6. The Reflex
  7. Come Undone
  8. Is There Something I Should Know
  9. Girl Panic!
  10. The Man Who Stole a Leopard
  11. Notorious
  12. White Lines
  13. Ordinary World
  14. Hungry Like the Wolf
  15. Sunrise
  16. Wild Boys/Relax

Encore:

  1. Save a Prayer
  2. Rio

 

I hadn’t looked at this set list in quite a while. I must admit that I miss “All You Need is Now”, opening with “Before the Rain” (but not that 9-minute artsy film they played before they took the stage!), and even seeing the audience clap along with “The Man Who Stole a Leopard”.  Good times.

All of this talk about setlist makes me wonder what, when and where we’ll hear of Duranlive next!

-R

Brilliant Minds Podcast with John

Has anyone checked out the Brilliant Minds podcast with John yet?  It is about 27 minutes in length, and I gave it a listen yesterday.  I was green with envy when it was announced that John would be speaking in Stockholm for the Brilliant Minds symposium. He is an engaging speaker and tends to get me thinking, which I appreciate.

I’d searched online for John’s talk, but I hadn’t found anything about it, and then yesterday DDHQ tweeted that his podcast from that same symposium was on Spotify. I don’t believe it is the same as his speech that was delivered there, but I thought it would be worth a listen anyway.

The podcast is basically an interview, with Juliet de Baubigny speaking with John. She is a very successful venture capitalist who has known John and his wife Gela for years,  among many other things. I wasn’t familiar with her at all before the podcast, so I had to google her. Shameful, I know.

Truth be told, they covered many topics that are in John’s book: art, addiction recovery (and living with addiction), his success, and even Gela’s success. While I personally didn’t feel like I learned anything really groundbreaking or new, I also recognize that I’m not your average listener. It’s that “fan” thing again. I can imagine that for those who really don’t know John Taylor, or even those who haven’t read his autobiography four times like I have, they might learn something new about him. I thoroughly enjoyed how introspective John has become about his life and career over the years – and truthfully, he may have always been that way. It just didn’t always come through during interviews in 1985.

John talked about how he’s glad he had all of those crazy times (in regards to partying and living the rock star life) because he knows he had enough fun. (Is enough really ever enough, though??) He also talked about how he was embarrassed about how much money he made back in his twenties, while Gela was very proud of her success later in life.  I don’t deny it was hard work for Duran Duran to actually “make” it, but I wonder if it can really be characterized as the same sort of hard work Pam and Gela experienced? I don’t mean that John didn’t work hard – one look at their schedule back in the day might say otherwise. I think though in some way, it’s like comparing apples and oranges. They are both fruit and grow on a tree, but aside from that, they’re totally different.

I especially enjoyed the discussion of using one’s platform to do good work in the world. We’ve seen that with John, as he has reached out to help addiction recovery programs and help with music programs where he grew up in Birmingham. Even the talks he gives at symposiums such as Brilliant Minds, are direct evidence. I admire John’s ability to see beyond himself. I love that he gives himself grace for his  past, but also uses his experience to help others. A little of that shined through during the interview, and it was an enjoyable listen. During a time when there is very little by way of good news to be found on social media, I appreciate the few rays of sunshine that peek through, such as this podcast. It’s definitely worth the time to listen in!

Check it out: Brilliant Minds Podcast with JT

-R

 

I Have a Problem with Tribute Bands

On Saturday night, we took a break from the whirlwind of constant activity so that we could spend time seeing a few tribute bands at the Anaheim House of Blues. My sister-in-law invited my husband and I to go see The Cured with them, and while we had no business taking any time away to do much of anything, we said yes anyway.

Rule #1 – buy the concert tickets.  In this case, they were free, so why not, right??

I was thrilled to get away from this house, to be honest. Selling a house is stressful, and we’ve been working on this place for months now. Any deep desire to stay here and not move has long since been squelched. I’m ready to bid farewell to Rancho Santa Margarita and welcome what comes next.

Turns out, not only was The Cured playing, but Planet Earth (which ended up being Arena, because Planet Earth suddenly retired) was also on the bill that night, along with Substance, a New Order tribute. I was in luck!

This show was at the new Anaheim House of Blues. On the inside, the venue is big, clean and beautiful, but I dislike the way you enter. It used to be that if a concert-goer dines at the restaurant, entrance would be granted through the dining hall, and there wouldn’t be a wait at the door. No more. Customers may certainly eat at the HOB, but afterward, you exit the restaurant and still wait in the long line. Not the end of the world, but definitely an inconvenience and a hassle. Fine for tribute band shows, particularly this one since we had free tickets, but for a well-known band? No way. Why would anyone want to eat dinner at the House of Blues, particularly when their once-ample menu has now been paired down to less-than-a single-page of offerings, and then be forced to stand at the end of the very long GA line for a band like Duran Duran, for instance? The wise decision would be to forgo the dinner and just wait in line, or be happy hearing the concert from one of the side bar areas that offer an obstructed view.

The venue itself is big and airy like a warehouse conversion, along with dark and intimate feeling inside the actual concert hall. It is a nice, ample space for GA shows, similar to most other HOB locations I’ve been in. Believe it or not, the space filled very quickly. When the first band took the stage around 8pm, the house was packed.

And what was that first band, you ask?  Arena!

I’ve learned a few things about tribute bands over the years. They tend to use the tribute thing as a bit of a gimmick. Some create as real of an experience as you can get without seeing the actual band live. They strive for authenticity, and that means if you’re playing Simon Le Bon, you’d better BE as close to Simon as possible. There’s no taking “artistic license” with his vocals OR with the lyrics. The costuming has to be accurate. “Simon’s” wig cannot look like it once belonged to Donald Trump, for instance. The music has to sound as close to the band as possible without it being karaoke or merely a lip sync performance. Sure, there might be some smoke and some mirrors, after all, even the real bands use backing tracks and a zillion other effects. However, the goal is for it all to feel genuine. Other bands use the tribute as shtick. It’s comedic, and it’s not really meant to be authentic, although it might still get audiences in the door. That said, there’s good comedy, and there’s really bad comedy, right? The same can be said for tribute bands. Some might be hilariously funny, but the musicianship is top-notch. Others might be funny because they’re trying to hide the fact that they can’t really play. Still others are a blend of all of it.

The whole tribute band scene is rather incestuous, so to speak. While you might see a band like Arena, or even The Cured—later on that same night, you might see people from those same bands performing in other tributes. While I can understand the economic issues in doing so, it all feels a little awkward to someone like me who might be paying attention.  What band are they actually IN, and why is everyone trading members? Those things bug me. Even so, if the guy (or girl) can play it all, so be it.

Lastly, there’s me, obsessed Duran Duran fan. I am probably not the best audience for any DD tribute band, because A. I’m a huge fan. I know every single Duran Duran song down to the tiniest chord and glottal stop. and B. I own a blog.

The reality is, I’m a great audience member for any other tribute band besides Duran Duran. I don’t know anyone’s music the way I do DD’s, and I’m happy just to hear Blue Monday, Love Will Tear Us Apart or even Love Cats. I know the hits pretty well, but not obsessively so, and it’s all great fun. So, when I tell you that I was not entirely taken by Arena, understand that my standards are unapologetically high. They were good, but not great.

All of that aside, the band was fun. I definitely spent time bobbing my head and instinctively doing all the same things I might do at a Duran show—except for maybe screaming at the guitar player and rolling my eyes when they played HLTW—I’ve got to save something for the real deal, you know. I can’t review Arena the way I initially thought I might, because it would be unfair. I did have fun that night, and maybe that’s the takeaway for me – I can’t and shouldn’t intensively review a DD-tribute band.

I’ve come to the realization that I am the nightmare audience member for a DD tribute band, outside of maybe any actual, real, band member. I’m the person you can and should call in for a quality control assessment, because I’m brutally honest. However, no one needs me in their audience, particularly if I’m writing a review.

On the other hand, I loved Substance – the New Order tribute, because I’m a casual fan of New Order. I have their albums, I know their songs, but I don’t know them in the same way. The vocals weren’t exactly the right tone, but the music was good, and I heard songs I hadn’t heard in years. The same holds true for The Cured. The vocals were fairly close, and musically the band was fabulous. They have a professional quality about them that I very much admire, and I’d go see them again.

The escape, even for just a few hours, was a welcome respite.

-R

Duran Duran Appreciation Day 2018 Prep

Sometimes, life does not work out the way you had hoped.  At the end of 2017, Rhonda and I began planning for another convention, bringing Duranies from all over to Las Vegas during Duran Duran Appreciation Day weekend.  Unfortunately, life got in the way and we had to cancel those plans.  Hopefully, we will be able to plan one in the next couple of years.  Then, summer came and I had high hopes that we might be able to at least host a party for our special holiday.  Like the convention plans, that idea had to be pushed aside as well.  My nieces will be in town that day as we prepare to take my eldest niece back to college on the 11th.  So much for celebrating Duran Duran.

Yet, I cannot allow that to happen.  I just can’t.  I have to do something to acknowledge the day, right?  So, how can I do that with very limited amount of time?  After all, the plan that day is to take my nieces to a nearby water park (something that I have been promising them for literally years).  Hmm…I think about what we have done in the past.  Well, during our online parties, we usually watch a playlist we put together on YouTube while watching together, enjoying a few beverages and chatting online.  While I cannot commit to watching together, I can at least put together a playlist for this year that people can enjoy whenever they are available.  Maybe people can have smaller parties, whether online or in person.

Let’s take this a step farther.  Why should I create the playlist all on my own?  While I think I have pretty good taste when it comes to all things Duran, it shouldn’t be about me or me and Rhonda.  It should be about all Duran Duran fans.  I will create the playlist from YOUR suggestions.  What do you think should be included in this year’s playlist?  What is something Duran that you have been really digging?  Maybe it is a new favorite song, one that you have a new appreciation for.  What is the video that you go to when you need a pick-me-up?  What about your favorite video, interview or live track?  Perhaps, you have some side project songs or videos that you love, love, love.  So, I’m asking all of you.  What should be included in this year’s Duran Duran Appreciation Day Playlist?

-A

Duran Duran History: Opening for Blondie

If you look at Duran’s tour history, you might see that during this time in early August in 1982, they were opening up for Blondie.  In fact, during the tour, they played such places as Rockford, Illinois, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  That makes me laugh.  Neither one of those places are super exciting.  I suspect that they might have been the only times they played in these very small cities.  This makes me think, though.  What did Duran Duran think of those places?  Did this tour help Duran win any fans?  What about the bands and artists who have opened for Duran?  Have they earned any new fans that way?

So, in thinking about these shows in Rockford and Cedar Rapids, I have to laugh.  I’m pretty familiar with both places after having grown up in Illinois and visiting Iowa a number of times when my siblings attended college or graduate school there.  I don’t think it would be wrong of me to say that they are not super hip.  Rockford has less than 150,000 people and Cedar Rapids has about 130,000.  They are not know to be musical meccas now and probably not even in 1982.  Yet, Blondie decided to go to these places.  Okay.  Interesting choices considering that Chicago isn’t that far away, neither is Milwaukee or even Des Moines.  Both of these cities are surrounded by farmland and a heck of a lot of corn.  I seriously wish that I was a fly on the wall in Duran’s tour bus at the time.  What did they think?  This makes me wonder about other weird places Duran has played over the years.  What is the weirdest place you know that Duran played?  I would like to know what could possibly beat or equal these Midwestern “cities”.

More importantly, I suppose, then the locations is whether or not this tour really did any good for Duran, in terms of winning over fans.  Now, I know that a lot of books and documentaries have covered the rise of the band and how they became successful.  Many times, this tour is mentioned but did it really do its job for them?  I think many Duran historians and music historians, for that matter, believe that the introduction of MTV and the use of video did a lot to get Duran fans.  Some might claim that opening for Hazel O’Connor was super important as that is where record labels first heard and saw them.  It is where they got signed to EMI.  Still, others might mention meeting the Berrow brothers at the Rum Runner as being super important to Duran’s future success but the Blondie tour?  I’m not sure.  Of course, I doubt there are statistics out there that can directly measure the number of fans before and after opening for Blondie.  I also recognize that there aren’t direct lines between events.  The Blondie tour might have opened up some doors which led to even more doors, which eventually brought commercial success.  What do you all think?  Did this tour matter to the band’s success?

Then, I flip it around to ponder whether or not Duran helped other bands reach success by having them as an opener.  In 2005, if anyone would have asked me, I would have said that the band’s opener then, Clear Static, would definitely find success.  Years later, obviously, that isn’t true.  Of course, they have also had bands who are already successful themselves like  Chic.  This makes me think of the fans.  While I think it is cool to see a new band with a lot of potential play, I love seeing a fabulous opener that is already known to me like Chic.  What about the rest of you?  Who have you seen as an opener who you thought would really make it?  Who did make it?  Who have been some great openers for shows you have attended?

-A