Sell Outs!!

No, not the band exactly!!  I’m talking about their recently announced shows here in the US!  I don’t know how many fans would have guessed that the shows would not only sell out, but do so within minutes of going on sale (general sale).  

Yes, we can say that the venues are small.  Absolutely.  I think most of the venues that they’ve announced hold around 2000 people, give or take.  We can even say that the fans were chomping at the bit for tickets, definitely.  But weren’t we chomping at the bit back during the Red Carpet Massacre tour?  Weren’t a lot of those shows in smaller venues?  Yet – I don’t remember there being quite as much of a scramble for tickets and hearing of shows selling out within two or three minutes.  So what is the difference with this tour?

I think a few moves are in play this time:  to begin with, the band is touring with a brand new album that we’ve not yet heard live.  Yes, they’ve played a few songs at various appearances, but not really “live” to many of us, so it’s “new” for the most part.  I also think that generally speaking, this album seems to be better received by the fans.  Do not send mail about how much better of an album Red Carpet Massacre was, because that’s not what I’m saying.  I’m simply saying that I don’t hear of AS MANY fans wanting to use this album to line their cat litter boxes or as a backboard for darts.  This can’t be hurting the band!

Naturally, the venues are smaller and I think a lot of fans really want to see the new album played in an intimate setting as well.  That said, we’re US fans – and here in the US, GA (standing) shows aren’t well-loved.  Yes, we’ll still go to the show and we’ll still have a great time – but a lot of us hate the idea of having to continue to fight for our spots the entire night, and here in the US – that’s the way concerts are.  There’s no respect for space, or for one another for that matter.  There are the people that assume that they must be the ONLY real fans of Duran Duran, and so therefore everyone else should allow them to move to the front row, even if the people who are in the front have been there since 1pm that afternoon, first in line to get in, first to the front.  Then there’s the two girls (and there are always two…usually a blonde AND a brunette) who are typically very pretty, with long hair, shorter skirts than necessary….and they typically have no idea who the band really are, but since these girls know they’re gorgeous, obviously they have room with their name on it in the front row.  They’ll wait until the show starts, and then start to make their way to the front, assuming that they’re good looks are somehow going to get them through the crowd to the front of the stage.  They smile very condescendingly at those of us who are in their way and then nonchalantly wait for us to move aside (because obviously – why would we block their beauty?) so they can move up front.  You know they must be thinking to themselves that the other women in the front aren’t nearly as hot – so why should they be allowed to stand there?  Never mind that yes, those women they are eschewing have been at the venue since 1pm that day.  Then there’s the drunk, older woman who seems to show up at about mid-show.  You know who she is and you can see her coming because she’s been hanging out between the side of the crowd on the floor and the bar most of the night.  She’d been dancing most of the time, and it becomes very obvious when the alcohol has done it’s thing because she starts laughing loudly, stumbling about since she’s wearing heels that are far, FAR too high for someone her age. Then she starts plowing through the crowd, unaware that yes, there really ARE other people there, and that yes, she is really, really drunk and looking fairly lame.  And on it goes….
is it like this everywhere else in the world, or is just in the US where people are this inconsiderate?

Wait.  Maybe you shouldn’t tell Daily Duranie this publicly – I mean, if you did, we might all move to your country!  But I digress… (and I’m sorry for my rant above, but you’ve gotta admit – every GA show seems to have the same crowd!!!)

The fact is, here in the US, we’d sooner pay more for a seated show, and yet these GA venues have still sold out within what I would consider to be lightening speed.  Sure, we can account for why these sell outs are happening, but I prefer to think that there is still a great demand for this band, even after 30 years.  This isn’t a bad thing, and while I might be cursing that demand on Friday as I try to get tickets for their show in Pomona, CA (Fox theater)…I will try to remember that this is really a good thing!

-R

Worried about the Future

Duranies fret about the future, or at least, they have for as long as I can remember.  It seems that there are always fans who are concerned that Duran’s career will be coming to an end soon.  Part of me completely understands this anxiety and the other part of me finds it ironic right now.  So, why the concern now?  From what I have seen, the worry comes from the following: their age, their popularity, their album sales and their concert ticket sales.  Yes, the truth is that the members of Duran Duran are getting older.  We all are, but that doesn’t mean that their lives are about to end.  Roger’s about to be a dad again, for goodness sakes.  I believe that he plans to be around for that little one.  What exactly is the concern with their age then?  Is it because we don’t believe that they can cut it as rock stars for that much longer?  Why?  What does it mean to be a rock star?  Does being a rock star mean that they won’t play as long of shows or that their tours won’t be as long?  Does it mean that they wouldn’t stay up late and party?  What is really important here?  Personally, I don’t care if they go out and party anymore.  Yes, I want them to play really long shows and I want long tours so that I can see and enjoy them!  What fan doesn’t?  If they want to slow down because of their age, though, I have to respect that. 

As far as their popularity goes, I feel like this topic has been discussed to death.  Yes, it is a fact that they are not as popular as they once were.  It is obvious when you look at the album sales and even concert ticket sales.  That said, they have sold out most of the small shows around the States during the next couple of months, but I do admit that they are small venues.  Of course, we have mentioned the possible for reasons for this lack of popularity in many other blog posts that I won’t go into.  Yet, I’m not sure why this fact automatically equals that they are about to end.  Do we all assume that popularity is the only thing that matters to the band?  I guess I don’t believe that.  Yes, people will say that they need to sell albums and tours to make money to keep going.  News flash here.  Many of them have money.  Maybe they don’t have as much money as they did but still.  Now, I do think that they like to be loved and I’m sure that their egos are alive and well.  But, if they only wanted to be popular, why didn’t they quit decades ago when they fell from popularity?  Is it just that they keep chasing popularity?  Maybe.  I still doubt it.  If they were, wouldn’t they always try to work with the most popular people?  Wouldn’t all of their albums be done like Red Carpet Massacre was?  Wouldn’t they try to change their style completely to fit in with whatever trend is popular?  Is it possible then that they would like to be popular and recognized for their work but also want to be themselves, musically and artistically, for the most part? 

Do fans of other bands who have been around as long as Duran has worry about the future?  Do U2 fans, for example?  I don’t know but I doubt it.  Does this happen in Duranworld because Duran has been so inconsistent with their popularity?  Maybe.  Is it because we all love them so much that this is something that we are always anxious about?  Possibly.  I do find this to be rather ironic.  I wonder if the fans who are worried realize that the name of their current album is All You Need Is Now.  Duran has always said that they are about embracing the present and this song, in particular, shows that.  Can’t we just be glad that they have a new album?  Be happy about whatever shows and promo appearances that they are doing?  As someone who is facing a very uncertain future, I can understand the concern.  I get it because I know that I really want Duran to be around for a long time.  I couldn’t face losing them.  However, I also think that we should enjoy what we do have rather than worry about what we might not have soon.  I wish that I had done that more in the last decade of my life, but I’m trying to do that now, both personally and with Duran.

-A

Luxury Discussions and Pregnancy Announcements

Shock waves were felt throughout the Duran community yesterday when Roger’s confirmed his wife’s pregnancy.  Now, before Roger blogged, fans were already assuming this after seeing a picture, which showed his wife sporting a little extra around the middle.  Interestingly enough, his blog wasn’t really about his upcoming new edition to the family, but about Duran’s participation in an event for the organization, Walking for the Wounded, which according to their website is about getting wounded soldiers to the North Pole to show how amazing they are.  Since Roger’s blog, the Daily Duranie has received messages from other fans about the pregnancy.  I have also seen threads on message boards about it.  It seems to me that most people were wondering if it is true, offering congratulations, or giving opinions about whether or not it is a good thing.  As soon as I saw people reacting to the news, I had two reactions.  First, are we still 12?  Second, is this really an important issue to be discussing?

Does anyone else remember those days back in the 1980s when the guys got married for the first time and they began to have children?  I remember fans being so upset when Nick got married, for example.  I also recall how everyone thought that Andy’s oldest was an adorable baby.  Back in the day when we were kids, these events seemed HUGE!  We used to sit around and discuss every aspect we could about their family lives.  Was Giovanna good enough for Roger?  Who is this Yasmin person?  Will John ever marry Renee?  I do remember being glad that John was my favorite because he seemed so determined to NOT get married.  I was also so relieved to hear or read when he madee statements about not getting married because I just knew that I would be devastated if he ever got married, or so I thought.  The truth is that he did get married and I survived.  All of the Roger girls survived, too.  So did the Nick, Simon and Andy girls.  We lived.  When we were kids, we might have grieved a little over what we thought was the end of our chance to grow up and be what?  Their girlfriends?  Their wives?  Writing that now seems silly.  So, what is the big deal now?  While it seems to me that most of us responded to the news very differently than we did when we were kids, there were some people who reacted with some emotion.  Is it because we become kids again when we think about this band?  Is it because we think of the band members in a certain way and can’t deal with any changes with them?  Why?  Even when there wasn’t much emotion given in the post, I was still struck by the fact that this was the discussion topic of the moment.

Roger included this announcement about becoming a father again in one sentence of a blog.  The rest of this particular blog talked about how powerful it was when he met people in the organization, Walking for the Wounded, who had risked their lives fighting for a cause.  Yet, I didn’t see or hear much discussion about this organization or about soldiers in the fan community.  Obviously, the current state of the world is one of much strife.  Yet, for the most part, we don’t allow those world problems to enter our state of fandom.  In this case, we don’t even bring them in when the band talks about them.  Why is that?  Is it easier to talk about a band member’s personal life than it is to talk about the destruction that war causes?  I’m sure that’s true.  For many of us, fandom and Duran Duran, in particular, give us the escape from reality, from problems.  It certainly does for me and I’m forever grateful for that because otherwise I think I would be a basket case (no comments are needed!  LOL).  Yet, I wonder why Roger felt it necessary to blog about this particular event and organization.  Of course, he could have just wanted to write about something that moved him, emotionally.  That’s possible.  It also seems like maybe he wanted to raise awareness to an issue.  Perhaps, he wanted us fans to know about this and support this.  What do we do?  We talk about his wife’s pregnancy instead.  Is that the easier thing to do?  Yes.  Absolutely.  The best thing we could have done?  Maybe not.

-A

Unfinished Projects

Yesterday’s blog about the upcoming release of the regular and deluxe versions of the album reminded me of an all too frequent occurrence in Duranland, which is unfinished projects.  Rhonda mentioned this interview with Duran Duran’s manager yesterday, in regards to the upcoming album.  Like Rhonda, I believed that there would be many different versions released, depending on location, type of store, etc.  Right now, that doesn’t seem to be the case.  While each location for pre-order seems to have something slightly different, there isn’t enough of a difference to say that the band followed this idea.  I suspect that these differences between track listing has more to do with the ever-changing list of finished, extra tracks rather than releasing a bunch of different versions.  I’m willing to bet that by March 21/22, the track listings all match based on the country.  This leads me to wonder if this idea about many different versions is another one of Duran’s ideas that faded from reality.  I would have liked to have seen as many versions as possible, not because I need or want to spend a ton of money (goodness knows I don’t have it and may soon have a lot less) but I want as many new Duran songs as possible.  Therefore, this was one idea I hoped to actually see happen.

Another project that I long to see completed is the Drama Americana documentary of the spring 2005 U.S. Astronaut tour.  Like many of you, I’m sure, I have seen the trailer on youtube.  This brief clip just makes me want to see it even more.  That spring was such a great time for so many of us.  For some people, it was the first opportunity to see the Fab Five all together.  For others, it was the first chance to really tour or to get to know other Duranies or get to know them better.  For me, it was both.  I was able to see five shows in a week during that tour and was lucky enough to experience those shows with tremendously great and fun people.  Beyond my personal experience, it seemed to me that everyone was SO excited by Duran and by the reunion.  It was like no one could get enough of the band, of shows, of each other.  Plus, we were all celebrating Astronaut, an album that most of the fans embraced, from what I saw.  I loved the idea of a documentary about this time.  I was hoping it would be like an updated version of Sing Blue Silver!  It seems to be about done, too, if there is a trailer.  Yet, for some crazy reason, it hasn’t seen the light of day.  Why?  What happened?  They don’t have to release it through some big distribution.  They could release it just on their website.  I’m sure that many of us would still buy it!!!

On the opposite end of the unfinished projects is Second Life.  For those people who can’t remember, this was the idea that they would appear in this virtual world and eventually play a virtual concert there.  At that announcement, Duranies flocked to the website and signed on.  It seems like many people got into it, too.  Apparently, real life money is exchanged for or through the website.  I don’t really understand.  Yet, we haven’t heard anything about it in a long time.  Obviously, Duran was still thinking about it during the recording of RCM since Zoom In makes direct references to it.  Again, I have no clue about what happened to the idea or why.  Unlike the Drama Americana documentary, I don’t know that this one would have much interest, if it was resurrected.  Second Life was too hard, for me, to get into.  I’m not one to play video games and didn’t even like setting up my avatar in it.  Then, I didn’t understand why I should talk to people or how.  It seemed like way too much work for me and very time consuming.  Plus, while I love Duran shows, I don’t think a virtual one would be nearly as exciting as a real one. 

I’m sure that there are a bunch more unfinished projects just sitting somewhere.  Maybe they are sitting in the Duran archives.  Possibly Nick is storing everything in his non-human like brain.  I don’t know.  Some of them I would love to see come to fruition and others not so much.  What projects would you still like to see them do and why?

-A

Is it March 22nd yet?

Is it just me or does this album release feel like it’s taken 6 months longer than it should have?  It feels like a very long time since I first downloaded the digital copy of All You Need Is Now, that is for sure.  I remember the excitement I had as each little snippet would be uncovered, and the jubilance I felt when I finally was able to buy the download and play the album.  A spirit was uncovered in the band that I never thought would see the light of day again, and I was sure that this was the album that I had been waiting for the band to make since about 1985.  That feeling hasn’t really changed, but I’ll admit that for me, the time between the digital release and now seems to have been dragging by.  I don’t get that same sense of excitement when I hear that a new snippet can be heard on youtube, and although I’m interested to see the artwork, the liner notes and everything else that goes along with a CD, I freely admit that it’s not at the forefront of my thoughts these days.  I wonder if I’m the only one…and I have to wonder why I’m just not feeling it.

First of all, I am positive that the goings-on in my own personal life (and those of friends) has taken some of the fun out of the anticipation.  There’s hardly enough time to talk to friends and catch up on the day to day insanity much less take the time to obsess what every last new music snippet really means for the new album!  I know that as far as I’m concerned, I don’t even spend much time on the message boards anymore – I try to check in when I can, and I miss the times when it took precedence.  I just need more hours added to the day, I think.

Secondly, and probably more importantly, I don’t notice much excitement for the new material even when I *do* visit the message boards.  Most people aren’t talking about the CD release, they’re talking about the tour, or up until recently, the lack of announced tour dates.   I have to say that this reminds me very much of when [Reach up for the] Sunrise was first released.  It was the first new Duran Duran song that was released by the original 5 band members in 20 years, and so it made a huge splash with the fan base.  People were talking about the band and the excitement was infectious within the community.  That first release was on an album soundtrack for Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and naturally that was just the first taste of what lay ahead for the fans, and the band.  A few months later, Astronaut was released, and once again, Sunrise was released as a single.  This was a completely different version of Sunrise, but you know – we’d already heard the song.  Sure, it was different, but it was still very much the same.  There wasn’t enough of a difference to make it “brand spanking new”, and I just don’t think the single resonated with the fan base, or the radio, because it felt like more of an afterthought, or a continuation of something we’d already heard once.  As much as I hate to say it, I do have similar concerns for this new album.  Many fans think they’ve already heard most of the album, and the rest of us aren’t really sure what we’re going to be getting!

As far as I understand, there are two versions of the album coming out – the regular CD, and then a deluxe version.  This is where I’m finding confusion because each time I see information listed for the album(s) – it’s a different damn list of songs.  Not only that, but I refer back to an article that quoted Wendy Laister as saying that they were working with retailers to offer different versions to different retailers, which leaves me wondering what in the heck I should be buying.  Do I order the deluxe version through Amazon?  Do I order both the regular and deluxe versions so that way I can have all of the new songs?  Will I get all of the new songs through Amazon or do I need to go hunting to find out who else has different copies?  What about that DVD – what’s going to be on that?  Is it stuff I’ve already seen??  For me, this isn’t about the money – I don’t care about that, but I’m going to be honest – I don’t need 14 copies of the same album.  I’d buy them and never complain if they were all different, but I’m going to be furious if I buy several different copies and find out they’re all pretty much the same….  It’s just very difficult to know what we’re getting, and I think that confusion has added to the lack of excitement in some ways.

Which leads me to something else – why would the band decide to put more than one interlude or remix to All You Need Is Now on the album?  Why not put those out on a separate CD, because not all of us are slaves to the remixes or even love them.  Personally, I like new songs.  I don’t want 4 different versions of the same song on the album.  That said, I have a pretty extensive collection (what Duranie doesn’t???) of night versions and other remixes over the years, and I do like them – just not when an album is being sold to me as all new material when it really isn’t.  Make sense?

Oh sure, I could talk all about the lost momentum with the release being handled like this – but the truth is, I don’t need to do that.  I want this to work out beautifully for the band because they deserve at least that.   I want this album to be fantastic, which I’m sure it will be as soon as March 22nd gets here (for the US – the rest of you will have it a day earlier and yes, I’m envious.), and we’re all listening to songs we haven’t heard before along with 9 songs that have already permanently inked themselves into the soundtrack of my life.  I want to be excited and overjoyed with the idea of getting a new album in just a couple short weeks, it just feels like I’ve already done that for about 4 months now.

-R

It’s Pre-Sale Wednesday!!

That’s right kids – today is pre-sale day for many of you out there!  I honestly and truly hope things went well.

I grabbed myself a cup of coffee (while I really wanted buttery popcorn) and sat down to check out the happenings this morning.  I even ventured on over to DDM to gain a quick check of the insanity…

Overall, I think that many found the change from DDM to Artist Arena to be nothing short of chaotic.  For every tale of triumph, there were two or three rants of frustration.  Apparently, VIP tickets for Foxwoods were sold out before the sale even started (a SLIGHT exaggeration on my part – but only by a minute!), and I think the same could be said for Fillmore.  Both presales are now sold out to the best of my knowledge – which is pretty amazing and I’m thankful that the UK sales didn’t go quite that way for us.  We’d have had heart attacks for sure.

I definitely have seen some differences in the way presales are handled under Artist Arena that I’m willing to share.  Again, this is just MY view of things – if you didn’t find it this way or don’t agree, so be it.

1. If you’re really wanting to sit anywhere from 10th row forward and want to do presale – you’d better consider VIP, unless we’re talking GA in which case – that’s an entirely different animal.  I hate saying that, but I’ve yet to see a situation where someone has done regular presale and gotten anywhere farther to the front than 10th row.  If you don’t want to go VIP – consider waiting and trying your luck at a general sale (see below) or go through a broker – don’t send me hate mail for suggesting either of those things.  🙂

2. On the subject of the cost of VIP: I go to enough shows to know how much tickets cost these days, and the fact is – if you want up front, you’re gonna have to pay for it unless you’re extremely lucky.  I am not.  It’s up to you to decide how much is too much.   Done.

3.  Don’t be surprised to see VIP sell out quickly here in the states.  People want up front and are willing to pay for it.  Period.  In the UK presales, I didn’t see that same type of frenzy.  I don’t know what that really says about our US culture other than we want top-of-the-line luxury things yesterday and are willing to go into serious debt to get them.

4.  I think Artist Arena plays a sort of game with their ticket allocations.  They set aside a lower number of VIP seats/tickets per show to begin with, wait for them to sell out and then add more as necessary.  This probably accounts for part of the reason why when you go to the site you’ll see VIP sold out, then refresh and see there are some available…I’m not positive of this….but I suspect it to be the case.  I think this helps to create demand, and it also allows Artist Arena the opportunity to say VIP is sold out.  This is made VERY clear when the day of the regular sale approaches and every single VIP is suddenly sold out, and then just as suddenly there are a few more VIP packages made available for a limited time.

5. Make SURE you’ve set up your Artist Arena account ahead of time.  That takes precious time.

6.  You can’t buy regular pre-sale & VIP tickets in the same “cart”.  That means you either do two separate purchases or work it out amongst your friends to each buy a show’s worth of tickets.

7.  We had trouble with the system going wonky on us at times – we found that we had to logout completely and try again.  I know, it wastes time – but if nothing else is working, you might be left with this option.  I sincerely hope that when the full tour is announced that presales don’t all take place at the same time (they haven’t been thus far and the system has still gone weird on us at times) – otherwise I can promise the system will crash.  We Duranies are good that way!

One other commentary I have is on the whole “Will Call” situation.  Apparently for the US shows there was a 2 ticket per cart maximum, which makes buying tickets even tougher.  Yet Artist Arena allows a 4 ticket per show maximum.  (still a pain, but reasonable)  On top of that, in order to curb scalping, several venues were “will call” pick up only.  Above all else, this irritates me.  I buy tickets to all kinds of different bands – Bon Jovi, INXS, Paul McCartney, Def Leppard, Poison….many others.  The only case where I have run into not getting my tickets delivered to me electronically or dealing with a two ticket limit has been Duran Duran.  I have to wait for them to be mailed a week before the event, or I have to pick them up at will call.  I think it’s ridiculous.  Are Duran Duran tickets really that much more likely to be scalped than any of the others???  Really??   I just feel that at this point, buying tickets to see this band shouldn’t require jumping through this many hoops.  I can’t be the only one feeling that way.

-R

Is it just me??

Out of sheer boredom last night, I was online (my husband is in Japan for the week and my kids were either doing homework or sleeping!) and looked over all of the announced concert dates for the band.  I don’t really know what I was looking for – but I guess that after the dates being either leaked or announced like a drippy faucet, I had the sense that I’d lost track of what they were really doing.

As I looked over the dates, it seemed to me that they have the intention of doing quite a few festivals this tour.  Interestingly enough, as I use the word ‘tour’, I really don’t consider festival dates part of the tour, per se.  When I think of tour dates, I think of dates where you’re going to hear a full-set and Duran Duran would likely be the only band playing (along with an opener, perhaps).  The festival dates are sort of like bonuses….I guess.  I thought back to other tours, and either I didn’t pay very much attention (very possible!), or I’ve grown hypersensitive to festivals being announced because I refuse to attend, but it just seems as though they are trying to do more of them this year.

Naturally, the reasons for doing so are obvious – you get your music heard by an audience that might not do so otherwise, the venues are unique and large, and I would imagine that the overall ‘bang for the buck’ potential for the band is huge.  I am fairly sure that they don’t have to pay much of a venue fee – certainly not anywhere near what they would have to pay in order to play at a venue by themselves – so that’s gotta help them somewhere along the line as well.  I can’t really fault management for pushing them in this direction, for all of the reasons listed above, likely many more that I haven’t even thought of yet.

Of course, I’m also looking at this from the prospective of their everyday fan.  We’ve been told the band is going to do more dates, both in the US and worldwide at a later point in the year.  There are numerous rumors (which in my opinion are no more reliable than educated guesses at this point) as to when they’ll do a full tour here and elsewhere, so we do have some comfort in knowing that at least for now, this is what they are planning.  For many of us, festivals aren’t our idea of the best circumstances under which to see the band.  If you’ve been reading the blog with any kind of regularity – you may have noticed my mentioning a lack of love for festivals.  Maybe.  😉   I’m thrilled the band is going to have the opportunity to get their music and more specifically their new music from this current album heard by thousands of people that probably would ignore it otherwise, don’t get me wrong.  However, the more selfish part of me is saying “Hey, wait a second here – if they’re breaking up their tour with all of these festival dates – is it just a way to cost cut for themselves so that they’re still getting lots of playing time in front of audiences and we real fans end up with less REAL dates in the end unless we’re willing to do festivals?”  Then I slap myself back into submission and all is well again.  🙂   I don’t think I’m alone in my thoughts on this one.

I’m sure many will say that we need to wait until all of the dates are listed before throwing complaints – and I would agree.  I’m merely putting the subject out there for discussion.  Then again, maybe they aren’t really doing as many festivals as it would seem.  Regardless, even if it is to MY detriment as a festival-hating human being, it appears as though the band is doing what they need to be doing to get their music heard.  Over the years, plenty of us have cried out and complained about their lack of promotion, whether that’s the fault of their management or the label that they were with at the time.  Interestingly enough, I never felt that their promotion was so horrible.  They did what they had thought was right – plenty of print media, lots of radio promo where they were able to get in, the talk-show circuit, and even a signing or two. (truthfully though, that was for the fans, and I’m eternally grateful for that!)  I might suggest that perhaps, just maybe, they’ve revamped and reconsidered what it really takes to get music heard these days.  Maybe all of that media is fine and good – but what they really have to do is go to places and play to audiences that wouldn’t have given them the time of day otherwise.  A captive audience so to speak.  Sure, people could look at the lineup and say “Duran Duran?  No way am I staying to hear them.”, just in the same way that I would say that about just about any rap artist out there – and I get that even if I think those people are bonkers.  However, I’ve never looked at a festival lineup and decided not to go to over one single artist playing.  In fact, I’ve gone to a few festivals where there’s only been one artist in the entire lineup that was excited to see – and I’ve come away from them (in most cases) learning of another band that I really like.  That, my friends, is REAL promotion whether it’s what I know and love or not.

So, while I might not be overjoyed by the idea of Duran Duran doing so many festivals and not enough real concert dates as of yet (which I am sure will change), I look forward to hearing that they’ve taken the world by storm once again.  What fan wouldn’t want to see that?  Sure, it’s a long shot at this point – but they’ve got nothing to lose by doing so.  Who wouldn’t want them to gain new fans, and quite frankly – if they were to somehow gain footing into the demographic in which my oldest daughter resides – I’d laugh in a way that only a mom can.  😀

-R

Choices

So some US dates have finally been announced!  I know plenty of fans out there that must be pleased by now!!

I did a quick glance at the upcoming dates; it seems that the band is going to do a quick sweep of the country in April before heading back to the UK for their shows in May and early June.  I’ve read that the band plans to return to the US at some point later in the year – I think many assume they’ll do a more thorough tour here at that time, and that these are just warm-up dates.  I really don’t know what the plan is, so I’m along for the ride like anyone else.

I’ve had a few friends ask if I plan to do any of the US shows in April, and the answer from me is no.  To begin with, I made a deal with my husband when we discussed the possibility of going to the UK, and that was I wouldn’t be traveling to shows again any time soon.  It’s all about choices for me, because I can’t possibly be going to every show I might like.  There are also timing issues that come into play since my husband travels rather extensively for work and we really cannot both be gone at the same time, but ultimately it comes down to the choices I’ve made and honoring the terms under which I made them.

At one point, I would have a fair amount of jealousy for the people who could attend more shows than I.  It really bothered me that some people seemed to be able to do anything and everything they wanted without answering to anyone.  It’s pretty obvious that isn’t the case with me – there are 4 other people who are directly affected by my choices, and I never do anything without thinking about them first.  It’s a chore at times, a downright drag at others, but I would never trade what I have here at home for the ability to travel at the drop of a hat.  No way.  Pretty rapidly during the announcement of the Astronaut tour dates, I realized that being jealous would get me nowhere – all that does is breed anger, and I don’t have any time or energy left for those feelings.  Sure, I’m envious of everyone who is planning to attend the US dates, but many of those same people probably are also envious of the planning I am doing to go to the UK.  Or not!  It really doesn’t matter in the end, because we’re all going to have our moment to enjoy the live show – and contrary to what I believe to be popular belief in the fan community: there is NO prize for attending the most shows.  I know, I know – hard to believe isn’t it?  🙂

With regard to my UK planning, we’ve hit a major snag.  For reasons that I probably shouldn’t go into here, more than one of my traveling companions has had some major life changes as of late.  One of them has been laid off, the other also has her own work challenges.  It appears as though at least one of them will still be going, but there is some major concern about the other, and it’s enough of a problem to where planning had to stop until we know for certain what will be happening.  In the meantime, a couple of my companions are planning to do a US date in April – and while I said above that I’m not jealous, there is truthfully a small part of me that is downright furious about the situation for my own selfish reasons.  These UK shows are most likely to be the only shows I will do this year (and probably next!), as it has been made very clear to me in recent days that my traveling for the band days are coming to a swift end – this is the “last hurrah” so to speak.  Of course, there may be future negotiating to be done, but I have to agree for now.  Again, it’s all about choices.   When we initially planned for the UK shows, it was done so under the belief that we would all be going since we work with the information we have available at the time.  I felt that since I was going to be flying ridiculously far to attend, and that I’d have a real discussion on my hands with my husband – I was going to go “all in” or nothing.  So I did, and I played my hand the best I could. Since then of course, things have changed, and I find myself wondering if I’m doing the right thing at all by going.   The entire situation is very trying for all of us involved, and is likely to remain that way until we can resolve the question of who is really going to end up going to the UK.

Some say that once we’re there, all of this will be worth the effort.  At this particular point in time – I am really not sure that’s going to be the case.  It’s not about seeing the band, or about the fun we’ll have over there, obviously.  It’s about the choices we all are having to make, and the future consequences we will all endure in order to get there that concern me right now.  I’ve never been the type of person to only worry about myself – I worry about everyone and everything, and so the enjoyment of planning has been put on the backburner for the time being, and I hope to rekindle that excitement again very soon!

Good luck with your own choices for the upcoming tour!
-R

Debate about Fan Expectations for Celebrities

Yesterday, Duran Duran officially announced some dates for North America as part of a mini-tour.  The dates are as follows:

4/2 – MGM Grand at Foxwoods (Mashantucket, CT)
4/4 – Center Stage (Atlanta, GA)
4/6 – Warehouse (Houston, TX)
4/16 – The Fillmore (San Francisco, CA)
4/20 – Ogden Theatre (Denver, CO)
4/23 – House of Blues (Chicago, IL)
4/25 – Phoenix Concert Theatre (Toronto, ON)

Hopefully, some of you will be able to attend one or more of those shows.  Right now, I plan on attending that Chicago show.  It works out well for me in that it is a Saturday night.  I also won’t be working the week before (my spring break) so I could make it a longer trip, if I want.  Anyway, I’m anxious to hear if other people have plans on attending shows and which one(s).

I suspect that as these shows get closer, there will be an increased conversation about “meeting” the guys.  Some fans will discuss among their friends and others might try to get information about how to find the guys from other fans.  Discussions about past meetings may increase as people want to share their experiences and others will want to know what they were like.  How long did you talk to them?  Who was the kindest?  Did you get a picture?  These types of discussions are common place in Duranland for obvious reasons.  I get it.  Yet, interestingly enough, these types of discussions shift to be a bit more serious in that a debate about celebrity and fan expectations begin.

One side of this debate feels that once someone becomes a celebrity then that person knows and should understand that fans will want to come up to talk with them or to ask for an autograph or a picture.  These interactions with the public comes with the territoryy, so goes the argument.  The other side feels that the individual celebrity should have the right to privacy in public.  So, where do I stand on this issue?

I have been lucky in that I have been able to see members of Duran Duran in public a few times.  (Now, I’m not going to answer where or how.)  Despite that fact, I have only spoken to them a few times.  Why?  The answer to that is simple.  I do believe that they deserve personal space.  Yes, they are famous.  Did they want to be famous?  I think they wanted to sell a lot of albums and make a lot of money.  Maybe they did want people coming after them for autographs or pictures.  Maybe they still do but I believe that they should be able to choose how and where.  Yes, being “famous” is part of their job but do they work 24 hours a day/7 days a week?  Does anyone?  Should anyone?  Doesn’t everyone deserve time off?

Let’s play out a scenario.  Let’s say people find the hotel that Duran Duran is staying at.  They show up after the show.  The band had completed their job for the day in playing the show.  They are now going back to the hotel to do whatever they want to do.  Some members may want to go up and go to sleep.  Others may want to stay at the hotel restaurant or bar.  What should the fans do?  I obviously can’t and won’t tell others how to behave.  I can only tell you about what I’m comfortable doing and why.  I have approached them and didn’t feel good about it.  To me, it would be like someone approaching me about work when I’m at home or out with friends.  It felt inappropriate.  On the other hand, I had a situation when one of them has come up to me and talked to me.  That moment is one of my best Duran moments because it was genuine. 

Many people have complained that Duran is not very responsive when it comes to the fans.  They have often seemed like they don’t want to interact with us fans (and I won’t argue that), but I wonder why that is.  Is it because they are jerks?  Maybe.  I don’t know them.  Is it because people bother them?  Possible.  It is hard to say.  It is quite possibly a bit of both.  For me, I wouldn’t want them to stop talking to us fans entirely and I worry that might happen if people don’t give them space.  Therefore, I think it is important to show them respect.  To get respect, you must give it, right?  Maybe, I’m naive about how this all works.  Maybe I should ask for more.  I just always want to think about how I would want to be treated.  If I was someone famous, I would want my space.  I would want to know that I can hang out in public and not be bothered.  Yes, some can argue that this is the trade off for being rich and successful.  I disagree.  They wanted to make music.  Our role is to buy the music.  If they want to interact with us in person, great, I’m all for it, but it should be on their terms. 

-A

Pride

I’m feeling pretty raw tonight.  The last few weeks have been very tough and are finally getting to me.  Tonight, on top of everything else, my computer seems to have caught a virus.  Obviously, this is the last thing I wanted or needed to deal with.  Ugh.  I’m going to have to take it in and I hope that it not only doesn’t cost much but that everything that I have on that computer can be saved.  Like most of you, I have a lot of Duran Duran related materials on my computer.  One really significant folder that can be found on my computer has everything we have for the book.  Yes, I do have a hard copy of a lot of it and, yes, I have saved the work in other spots.  Nonetheless, I worry.  We have a significant part of the book done and, frankly, I’m proud of what we have written.  I really want to finish it as soon as we can in order for us to be able to share it with all of you and more.  Of course, I am also proud of what I have accomplished as a teacher and as a community organizer.  Yet, sometimes, I have received negative feedback for these things.  I certainly have heard TONS of negative statements about teachers and have definitely heard negative statements about my political beliefs and activities.  In the case of this blog and our upcoming book, I suspect that we will experience something similar.  Many people have offered praise about the blog and I am hopeful that people will like the book.  Yet, I know that some do not and will not like what we have done.  It seems to me that in all of these situations, I have put myself out there.  I’m vulnerable.  This has opened me up in a way that can and has resulted in painful moments.  Of course, I am sure that the band has felt this way many times as well.

Today, I heard a couple of snippets from some of the new songs featured on the physical release of AYNIN.  Of course, as I listened to them, I was judging them.  Obviously, this is usually how it works.  Bands release music and people decide if they like it or not.  Yet, because of how I’m feeling, I started to think about how scary it must be to be them.  Like me, they receive praise but they also get a lot of criticism.  The good seems to out weigh the bad for them as they keep going.  I wonder if the negatives get to them, at times, though.  I have to think that it does.  While they put on a strong, positive face, do they struggle behind closed doors?  How do they deal with the negative reactions?  The negative statements?  What kind of suggestions would they have to offer for someone in my shoes?  What would they say to us when we release the book? 

I would like to think that they would tell us to remain confident in our work and know that we did well.  They should us that we should be proud of ourselves like they are proud of themselves. 

-A

An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!