Duran Games for the Obsessive-Compulsive

By C.K. Shortell
Let me start by clearly identifying myself as one of those odd Duran Duran fans, i.e. a heterosexual male who has followed the group since the 80s and never left, even when every Taylor and most of the general public did! So for me, it’s really always been all about the music and less about how the guys looked or what they wore or whether it was Andy or Warren (or now Dom) on guitar etc. Like the guy in Office Space says—I celebrate their entire catalogue!
My biggest struggle with their music is objectivity vs. nostalgia.  Ever since I can remember, I’ve listened to their latest album over and over again, usually convinced it was their best one to date, until some time went by and I was able to see which songs I tended to revisit vs. skip. I guess my obsessive compulsiveness about the band is the need to put their catalogue into context… I have to understand (in my mind) why, for example, I think Notorious is better than The Wedding Album, or Medazzaland better than Astronaut. And how to be truly objective about the early work, which garnered so much radio play (so as to make me sick of most of the early hits) yet also is so dear to me in a way the subsequent albums just aren’t?  For example, my mind tells me that Seven and the Ragged Tiger is a relatively weak album once you get past the 3 singles and The Seventh Stranger. My mind also tells me that pretty much all their other albums—yes even the 90’s work—are deeper and better. And yet…when I listen to “Cracks in the Pavement” or “Shadows on your side,” it’s 1984 again, my parents are both alive and healthy and I’m 12 again…so my heart takes huge issue with any criticism of SATRT even if it may not have 12 songs with 7 good to great ones…
So whether it’s the sports fan in me or just a personality disorder, I need to know where Duran’s records rank…and I’ve found an outlet for this. My job entails a lot of conference calls (doesn’t everyone’s these days?) and they’re bearable because on many it’s possible to multi-task at my desk and get other work done. But there’s still the occasional in-person meeting…and those can be interminable, especially for a relic like me who has refused to get a blackberry or smart phone. Without those toys, how to pass the time in a boring meeting ? I’ve devised two games that are simple—all you need is a pen, some paper, and your imagination.
Create the set list:  Pick the venue (not really important but still fun) and the era (much more important) and pretend that Duran is performing for 3 or 4 nights in a row…and create the set list! Sounds easy, right? Of course you have to play by the “rules” the band has established over the years:  their concerts will always be about 66% to 75% hits (understandable to draw in the casual fans) with the other 25%-35% of songs being from the latest album and/or crowd favorites. (New Religion etc.) Then there’s Nick’s rule about never playing all of the hits in one show. You can’t have them play for 3 hours— you need to be realistic and have anywhere from 14-18 songs, include one or maybe two encores, save a hit or two for the encore, etc… NOW go and create 3 or 4 nights worth of set lists in the same venue that will appeal to a broad audience while not boring the hard core fans like us.  You will kill all sorts of time doing this and it will likely lead to bitter arguments with yourself (e.g., “so is ‘Sunrise’ now a hit? Do I have to include HLTW? Would they realistically play “The Flame” in 2004?”) etc….)  At the end of it all, you’ve hopefully killed time in an otherwise boring meeting.  Maybe you’ve even been inspired to write a guest blog! 
Duran brackets:  Other sites do these with albums and bands: Pair them up in brackets and have fans vote round by round until there is a winner. Well, take this concept and apply it just to Duran Duran songs, and you’ve got a way to kill a good hour or so in a boring meeting.  There are easy ways to do this (e.g. pair up songs from Rio and Liberty in one bracket) or just list songs as they come to your mind. The fun of this exercise is that eventually, in the later rounds, you will be faced with impossible decisions. Sure, “Hold Back the Rain” may easily blow by “Hothead” and “I take the dice” but what happens when it’s matched up against “Last Chance on the Stairway”? Or if you’re a big fan of their late 90s work like me, what to do with a “Midnight Sun” vs. “Pop Trash Movie” match up? (Note:  Rhonda and Amanda have been doing this on twitter and even their one question a day has had me writing, erasing, and rewriting my tweets in response…multiply this out by an entire bracket full of Duran songs and you’ll be muttering to yourself and shaking your head all through that boring meeting!)
Another potential outcome of either of these games is that it may prompt you to go back and listen to a song that you haven’t heard in a while and maybe even form a new opinion. This has happened on several songs for me. I rediscovered my love for “Vertigo,” finally acknowledged how much I can’t stand “Lava Lamp,” and also made a weird connection between “Friends of Mine” and “All You Need is Now” (the song)—that they seem to be very similar in structure and style, with soaring choruses that don’t quite fit with the grinding verses…
Finally…I will close this by leaving you with my dream set list (at least as of today)…in this scenario, I’ve won the lottery and hired the band to play at Madison Square Garden and gotten Nick, er, I mean all of them to agree to play this list exactly as requested. I’ve blatantly decided that, since I’m paying the band, the general public doesn’t need to hear all the hits… many thanks to Rhonda and Amanda for allowing me to guest blog…happy summer to all, and let the music play a little longer…
The Valley
All you need is now
Hold Back the Rain
Union of the Snake
Planet Earth (night version)
Seventh Stranger
Pop Trash Movie
The Flame
Shadows on your side
Runway Runaway
Being Followed
What Happens Tomorrow (original version w/ 3rd verse from 2003 tour)
Save a Prayer
Tel Aviv (air studios version)
I don’t want your love (single version, not 2004 tour version)
Sunrise  (current tour version)
Beautiful Colours
Girls on Film (w/ band intros, 1984 tour version)
Wild Boys
C.K. Shortell is a lifelong Duran Duran fan who lives in the northeast with his wife and two sons, one of whom loves watching concert footage of the band.  When he’s not struggling to explain to a two year old why the guitarist always looks different or just what exactly Nick is doing, C.K. is constantly reminding co-workers and friends that the band never broke up.    

Guest Blog: Duran Duran’s NYC Show with Aoki, Cynical Version, Take One

 By Jonee Howell

What follows is a completely fictional account of the recent, much talked about Duran Duran/DJ Aoki show. Like all fiction, there may be a kernel or two of truth somewhere. Case in point: there was, in fact, a ticketless pigeon waiting in line to see the band. Alas, she could not take the heat and
flew away well before doors opened.

There have been tons of comments made since the show: on twitter, the ‘See What Unfolds Live’ Facebook site…

This one is just for fun.

Act One – Whose Nutball Idea Was THIS?

DD Official Person:
Hey Durans! (ooo, nice shoes, Simon!) We’ve been approached by Trident (yes, THAT Trident) to participate in a show with DJ Steve Aoki as a superduper-secret surprise guest! It’ll be great!

Random Band Member: Well, that’s sort of a different fanbase than ours, don’t you think? How will we be received? I wouldn’t want the crowd to leave as soon as we got onstage…I don’t look good wearing embarrassment…

DDOP: Don’t worry! We’ve been given eleventy-umpteen tickets. For FREE! We’ll give them out to your superfans!

RBM: Umm…I don’t know…I don’t think they’d really be hip to an Aoki-style rave, ya know? Our fans are older…Some of them are actually mature…Well, a couple are…

Got that covered! Check it–we have a contest for VIP members to win free tickets to a secret Duran Duran show. We won’t actually TELL them what it is. They’ll eat it up!

RBM: Errrr…I’ve heard he throws cake on people and spews champagne outta his mouth…I wouldn’t be caught DEAD in an audience with that staring at me…

DDOP: Oh, lighten up! A little cake never hurt anyone! You LOVE cake! And I’ve got it all planned out–
We’ll announce the winners (everyone who enters), but we won’t exactly tell them what they’ve won! And we’ll require an official rsvp BEFORE we tell them the actual details!  It’ll be a surprise–yeah, a surprise!–performance! We’ll give details ‘as soon as we know them’ (wink wink)…Let ’em think whatever they wanna think…a surprise can be ANYTHING.

RBM: But how will we plan our wardrobe if we don’t know what the show is? You know we have trouble planning what to–

DDOP: Stop! YOU’LL know what it is, but THEY won’t. Not until they’ve been sucked into the Duran fan vortex…and once the especially dumb ones have bought their plane tickets, they’re IN. There’ll be no turning back! (muahahaa!)

RBM: Hmm, I dunno…sounds sorta shady…

DDOP: Relax! You’ll have plausible deniability! No one will ever have to know this is how it went down! You DO want to broaden your fan base don’t you? You don’t wanna encounter a bunch of rave kids giving you blank, acid-trip stares when you walk onstage do you? You want DURANIES there–your superfans–screaming for you…You know, in case the youngsters don’t quite get it on their own.

RBM: I sure hope this goes off like you plan…if it gets screwed up, I’m gonna play dumb, got it?

(that’ll be a real stretch.)

What was that?

DDOP: Nothing, nothing…Listen-it’ll be FINE. What could go wrong? It’s TRIDENT, for God sakes. The kings of gum! They’ll put on a class show. At least you’ll be ON the stage instead of BELOW it.

Act Two: Fast Forward to Show Day–Wheeee!

Duranies Who Queue:
Man! It’s hot out here! Anybody got a portable air con?

DWQ: Nope! But at least we can sit down. (I’ve really got to pee! Is that car dealership open?) Only four more hours to go! Here–have a piece of cardboard–take a load off.

Watch out for that pigeon!!

DWQ: How long you been here? Since 9? Like, in the morning? Dayuuumm. And I thought I was die hard…Props.

DWQ: Anyone know who this Aoki fella is?

I hear he’s a DJ…Couldn’t check for sure, though, cause my google was down all week.

What’s a DJ? (Can you pass me my knitting? Thanks.)

DWQ: It’s newfangled. It’s a person who plays records on a turntable onstage. Should be nice! I like records.

DWQ: Me too, me too…but I LOOOVVE me some Duran Duran!

DWQ: (all together now) Wooohooooo!!!

***Hours pass (la la laaa)

DWQ: Hey! The door peeps are finally here! Let’s make sure they know we’re back here in the alley waiting patiently to get in!

DWQ: What? They’re gonna WHAT? Just let everybody go in however? Willy Nilly? But, but…We’ve been here ALL DAY! Waiting! Patiently! In the HEAT!

DWQ: I’ll poke ’em with my knitting needle if they don’t get their silly little act together! I swear! These venues never know what to do with us Duranies. Jaysis. Will you pass me some of that 90-degree water? Thanks, doll.

DWQ: Ok, ok…I think we’ve gotten THAT cleared up…We should be cool now…Just get through the door and RUN! (Sure hope I don’t break one of my 6-inch heels! I don’t look good in lopsided…)

Here we are! In our inalienable front row spots! Whew! That was close, huh?  Ahhh, front row, front row, I love you front row…Say whaaah? You want us to move back two feet to let Aoki’s fans be in the front? You’re joking, right? Where were THEY when we were sweatin’ large outside? What’s that? They’ll leave as soon as his set is done?  You sure? Well, ok…We don’t really need to be in front to see a guy play records…

***Push em back, push em back, waaaaaay back!

DWQ: Wow, it’s sorta crowded in here, yeah? I need my required three feet of dance
space, so skooch. I am a diva. STOP. SWEATING. ON. ME! 

***Enter Aoki

***And cake…

***And champagne…

***And a big-ass raft…with PEOPLE in it…floating on hands outstretched to their DJ Jesus…

DWQ: Aaagghhh! What have Duran Duran gotten us INTO? No one told us about THIS!  What were they thinking? They HATE us! And isn’t that JT? Up there in the balcony?  He’s laughing at us! See him? What a D*CK!

Random DD Fan Who Did Not Queue: Aaagghhh! What have Duran Duran gotten us INTO? No one told us about THIS! What were they thinking? They HATE us! And isn’t that JT? Up there in the balcony? He’s laughing at us! See him? What a D*CK!

DWQ: My goodness, these youngsters are STRONG! They’ve knocked quite a few people down with their juvenile rave antics! Where IS that blasted security guy? The one who made us move at the beginning? Is that him? Over there at the side having a beverage? Yooohooo? Could you (ugh) please come over here and (ouch) get this pesky child off my HEAD, please and thank you?? *waves old lady hanky*

DWQ: And I thought WE were bad! My stars, the youth of today…Wait! Is that NICK?  Behind the screen? Yeah!! They’re coming onstage!  GET THE F**K OUTTA MY WAAAAY, B**CHEZZZ!!!

—The End—

Okay…Little serious moment now.
I find myself laughing a lot about this loony experience. No, none of it went down the way I’ve presented it (well, SOME of it did), but it gives me a chuckle nevertheless. In all honesty, I don’t know why Duran chose to pair up crowds with Aoki’s – to ‘See What Unfolded’ perhaps? Good idea? Bad Idea? It’s their little red wagon at the end of the day I suppose. I do think some things could’ve been handled better though (Umm,
guys? Serious up…next time you rely on someone else’s planning of an event–even if you are a mere guest–please check on the deets just a wee bit, a’yite? Security at a rave is sort of important.) And fully disclosing what we are ‘winning’ before people make unchangeable travel arrangements can only show that you respect us as fans and as people. I know, I know… It was our decision to do this. Yep, it was. Still, the feeling that
we were somehow purposely duped remains for some. Just sayin’.

This was an unforgettable Duran experience for sure, and truthfully, I had a complete BLAST until some guys started to go nucking futs and use themselves as human wrecking balls. Most of the people there were just other fans trying to have fun, dance, jump around, not a care in the world. I dig that. But having to expend the majority of my energy to simply remain upright is not my idea of a good time: impedes dancing–trust me on this. I’m SO not whining about being caught up in a sweaty mess of crazy, I’m talking about the actual seriously mean, violent guys who did their best to ruin the show for everyone: Duranie and Aokian alike. I’ve since heard stories of people getting choked, punched, kicked, stomped on…That is not ‘normal’ rave behavior (so sayeth the bonafide ravers on Facebook, anyway). It is not ‘kids having fun’. It is beyond what my exhaustive google-pre-researching of Aoki and of Terminal 5 led me to believe was in store. I’m just glad nothing worse broke out. Got reeaallll close at times though, cause bruthas and sistas, there was no security to be found ANYWHERE, and that is my gripe with this gig. Once Duran started playing, a guy looked at me with an incredulous, wild eyed look on his face and screamed at the top of his lungs that a fan had bitten him (Uh huh. BITTEN). What could I do? (Must’ve been that old, Duran-fan ‘mom’ look I werk.)  He was screaming for security, and every camera guy in the pit just shrugged and walked away.

It was mos def enjoyable to see the band again–it really was (Love you guys! Mwah!).
Even if I WAS completely flattened against the barricade. ;D

Rock on Duran Duran! Looking forward to the next show like crazy!

Jonee has been a fan of Duran Duran ever since she saw John Taylor running down the streets of Sri Lanka bare chested in Hungry Like the Wolf when it came on Friday Night Videos (she was 12). She missed a great deal of touring since her first show in ’84 (life, college, grad school, family, yadda yadda), but has since come back into the Duranie fold just in time for this whirlwind All You Need Is Now tour. She loves the band and all the ridiculously cool friends she’s made through them. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, is the mom of two kids, 7 and 4, and is currently trying to convince her sweet husband that she needs to see Duran Duran just one more time…

Holy Meetups, Batman!!!

I love summer vacation!  I am starting to get my groove going in terms of getting projects done!  Yay!  Of course, one of the biggest projects is getting ready for the tour in August.  Rhonda and I have held phone conferences in order to determine our plan.  We have both booked our flights and are now moving on to other aspects of life on tour.  In this case, we have begun to focus on the fan community, including get togethers, group hotels and more.  I figured it would be good to let you all know what we have up our sleeve so far so that you, too, might be able to join in on the fun! 

1.  Biloxi, Mississippi
We have a meetup planned for the night before the Biloxi show.  While we realize that many people won’t be in town early, we also realize that on the day of the show many (most?  all?) of the people will be worried about getting a good spot in line to get a decent spot at the show.  Yes, it is all about the joy of general admission.  Anyway, if you plan on being in Biloxi on Friday, August 17th or are considering it, check out the facebook page and RSVP!  We would love to meet and hang out with you!  Right now, it is set up for 8 pm at one of the bars inside the Hard Rock. 
Here is the link:  Biloxi Meetup

2.  Atlanta, Georgia
We have yet to determine a place for this meetup.  People have said suggestions and we are doing our own research.  It appears that the venue, Chastain Park Amphitheatre, does not have a lot of restaurants or bars nearby, which isn’t helpful as I would prefer a place that is close so that people don’t have to worry about driving and parking.  Alas, we are trying to find a space that isn’t too far away but can accommodate a large group, both in terms of food options and drink choices!  If you have a suggestion, send it our way!  We did set up a facebook page for this event, too.
Link to RSVP:   Atlanta Meetup

3.  Durham, North Carolina
This meetup has been set for awhile now.  The details are on a picture on the right hand column of this blog.  If you would like to attend and haven’t RSVPed yet, let us know and we will send you an invite on facebook.

4.  Caravan between Durham, North Carolina, and Portsmouth, Virginia
Now, by this point, Rhonda and I will be sick of driving and riding in a car!  Yet, since there are so many Duranies who appear to be going to both Durham and Portsmouth, we figured out a way to make it more fun!  Let’s caravan!  Obviously, we all can’t be in the same car but we can all form a parade of sorts to travel from one place to another.  People on the road won’t know what is going on!  It will be beautifully entertaining and will definitely make the drive of ours more bearable!
Again, here is the facebook page to RSVP:  Caravan from Durham to Portsmouth

5.  Portsmouth, Virginia
Like the rest of the shows we are going to, we thought it would be fun to do one last meetup together in Virginia.  We are still working on a location and a time for it.  Once we have the details, we will definitely share!  On top of the caravan and meetup, we are also trying to get a group rate for a hotel there.  If interested in that, there is a thread on the facebook invite page.
Here is the facebook page to RSVP:  Portsmouth Meetup

6.  Chicago, Illinois
While my partner-in-crime won’t be able to attend this show with me, I think it would still be good to have something beforehand.  I won’t be able to stay overnight like I usually do as I have to work the next day (talk about cruel punishment!) but I would like to see people.  Again, I have no firm details but will be working on it in the next couple of months.
Facebook page is here:  Chicago Meetup

Now, does anyone else have a meetup that they are planning for shows other than these?  If so, let us know.  We would be happy to share information on those, too!  After all, we think one of the best parts of being a Duranie is getting to meet and know other Duranies!


Too Old for This???

Lately, age has been on my mind and not in a happy sort of way.  First, I have been watching my father deal with his getting older and not being able to do as much as he once could.  Second, while I think I am immune to the aging factor, clearly, I’m not.  Last night, in my infinite wisdom, I decided to go out with a couple of people I worked on the campaign with.  These campaign staffers are a lot younger than me.  A LOT younger.  While it was great fun to drink, tell stories, and remind each other of the fun aspects of working on a political campaign, it hasn’t been so fun today for me.  Let’s just say that when I was 20-something, the hangovers weren’t fun but tolerable and were short in duration.  Now, the hangovers are horrible!  I still feel like hell and I stopped drinking 18 hours ago!  What the hell was I thinking?!  Then, of course, age also seemed to come up in Duranland, especially in connection to Wednesday’s performance for Trident Gum with Steve Aoki.

From what I have been reading about Wednesday’s event, there was a mosh pit on the floor, which included a lot of pushing and shoving.  If that wasn’t bad enough, I heard things about cake being thrown and champagne being poured.  Oh boy.  In reading these stories, I saw a number of comments mentioning about how they were “too old” to deal with those kind of concert antics!  I have to admit that I had the same thoughts!  Heck, I felt like I was too old way back in 2006 at the Voodoo Festival where we had to deal with the crowd surfing, trying to keep our spot and more.  I knew then I was too old to stand for literally hours in the exact same spot without food, water or bathroom breaks in order to be up front at a festival.  This experience was so bad, for me, that I made a silent vow that I would and should seriously not go to any Duran event in which they were playing with someone else (unless that someone was Duran like).  I realize that if everyone followed my rule then Duran wouldn’t have any supporters at various events.  That is unfortunate, but I have to look out for my rapidly aging body!  Am I the only one who has this rule or wants to avoid any scene with crowd surfing, mosh pits and flying food?!

Of course, the band has to deal with aging issues as well.  Just the other day, I posted a picture of John on my personal facebook and got comments from non-Duranie friends about how he is “an old fart now”!  Wow.   Don’t think that is really necessary.  Of course, many other friends responded with how good he looks, though, and he does.  They all look good for their age.  Of course, the media can be just as unkind as my friend.  Just today, we were sent the link to an article in the Daily Mail about how Simon is way too old to wear what he wore on Wednesday.  If you feel like reading this horrendous article, it is here.  I am always irritated by this kind of thing.  First, as I mentioned before, they still look damn good.  We could only be so lucky.  Second, that’s the only kind of insult you can give, media person?  It is unintelligent and shows a true lack of effort to find a real criticism to make.  Here’s a new flash:  Duran Duran is a band.  They make and play MUSIC.  Why don’t you focus on that?  No, that would require work and an IQ above 70. 

As much as I acknowledge that I can’t and/or won’t do things like I did when I was younger, I am constantly motivated by the band.  Just when I think I can’t tour like I use to.  I remind myself that the band can still do it.  Thus, I should be able to as well!  Today was definitely a reminder about how I can and should approach our little tour in August.  I can still do shows and hopefully survive a GA show, too!  I can still travel through the 7 states that we will pass through.  Yet, I need to do this with more moderation than I would have when I was younger.  This won’t make the tour less fun, just more successful for us! 


New York Werewolf on the Loose!

So, heard about any crazy gigs happening lately??

You’d have to be living under a rock not to have heard stories of green cake and champagne showers, rafting over audience members and mosh pits full of sweaty, cake lathered people at the Trident Gum gig last night at Terminal 5.

In my “expert” estimation, I would have to say the scene sounded as bad, and probably worse, as Voodoo was for me in 2006. That gig brought an end to my festival days. I just don’t need to be roughed up quite that badly in order to see my band of choice and get something out of the show.  Call me crazy.

Many came out of the show saying nearly the same thing – that it was great to see the band, but that if they never saw a Steve Aoki DJ set again it would be too soon. Are boycotts on Trident gum next??  (Of course not, but it’s an amusing thought all the same.) Another widely held opinion was that the DJ set (90 minutes) was far too long, and Duran’s appearance was of course, far too short. (Naturally, we’d all say that even if they had played a full-set, wouldn’t we?) Lastly, many were shocked and disappointed that not a single mention was made of John’s birthday, nor were there band introductions made, but again – this was not a Duran gig, only a special appearance. We have an extra-special blog coming from someone who was actually at the show last night in the next day or two, so watch this space. I believe it will be worth the wait and the read.

So that brings us to the reason for the appearance.  The newly minted remix of Hungry Like the Wolf. (Of all the songs on the planet…it had to be this one. Of course it did.)  I have to say, I’ve given it several listens, and it’s nothing like I would have expected to come out of the original song, yet it’s exactly like what Steve Aoki is known.  What I think fans need to recognize and respect before giving it a fair listen is that this really is not Duran Duran.  I mean yes, they collaborated on the remix, but this isn’t about Hungry Like the Wolf ending up to sound like Hungry Like the Wolf dance remix. The remix is very techno and electronica and even a bit trance-like. If you’re not into that type of music, this is probably not going to please your ears much. Me? I like it, but I’ve got to ask where the guitar went.  Did Dom melt in the New York City heat or something?  Normally I wouldn’t have expected to hear guitar on a remix like this one, but in the interview I heard in promotion for this, much was made about the fact that the remix incorporated each member.  I hear bass, but just as I believe in “More Cowbell!!” I believe in “More Dom!” Some have called the remix boring (um, how about trance-like??) and generic, and perhaps that is so, but it’s the type of music I can put on while I’m writing and it’s not distracting.  Yes, I can actually write and get work done to this.  I don’t know what that says about me other than it blocks out the sound that 3 kids can make in the morning running around this house in complete chaos.  

If you haven’t given it a listen, here’s your chance.  Hungry Like The Wolf: Steve Aoki vs Duran Duran — The New York Werewolf Mix.

Just as a point of reference, as much as I am sick to death of Hungry Like the Wolf – I’ll be buying this one.  If nothing else, it’s good music to keep me working!!  


Happy Birthday John Taylor!

Is it coincidence that everyone in the band has their birthday in spring/summer besides Simon?? These are the types of things I ponder before I write the blog each day.

I don’t think I need to tell anyone whose birthday it is today. I especially do not need to tell my partner-in-crime here on the blog, since she’s been a John girl since elementary school.  Unlike the band, we do play favorites – and John is hers, which would mean to me that perhaps she would be better suited to write his birthday blog, but alas, you’ve got me instead.

I have “met” John Taylor exactly one time, and it was at the Virgin Megastore signing in Hollywood for the Astronaut album. My meeting went like this: Nick passed him the album, John (Not daring to even look up at the crowd pressing the table, and I am not passing judgement on him for this, because truth be told – I wouldn’t have looked up either for fear of passing out. Too many people, not enough space. Yes, I’m just a tad claustrophobic.) took the album, signed it, and as he passed it on to Simon, I found enough voice to say “It’s a beautiful album, John”, to which he looked up briefly and said “thank you”. Unfortunately, he didn’t know what person the voice came from and as such – he said thanks to the crowd of people swarming his tiny little spot on the table. The whole thing was so rushed anyway, but that’s what I’ve got for you on John as far as personal experience goes.

Of course, that’s with me right in front of him. On stage is another matter entirely. I don’t know John, but if I had to guess, when he’s on stage it’s when he feels the most alive, the most “normal”, and the most himself. It’s been years since I’ve actually sat or stood on John’s side of the stage, as Amanda will gladly tell you because much to her dismay – we always seem to end up on Dom’s side and she’s a John-girl, but in the few times I’ve sat in front of him, John always seems to make eye contact.

There was that time in Milwaukee back in 2005 when Amanda and I sang and danced to every single song the band played. (Wait, don’t we always do that?!?) Not only did John notice and insist we clap along with him, but people around us noticed as well. (So we were a little excited about the show…nothing wrong with some enthusiasm!) Then there was the time at the Sears Center in 2006 when we were in 9th row or something like that. I was singing my little heart out until Electric Barbarella came on. Admittedly, this is not my favorite Duran Duran tune of all time and I frowned a bit. Actually, I pulled a face and stopped moving for the briefest of moments…and during that time, John saw, and frowned right back at me. I thought to myself, “That can’t possibly mean he saw me.  Impossible.”  So I literally stuck my tongue out. (Yes, I’m a complete idiot. I dared to test the system. I know.)  Well, he stuck his out as well. Awesome. (Oh, you BET I mean that with every bit of Southern California “attitude” possible.)  I laughed, he laughed, and from there I realized I would end up in an early grave if this kind of mutual admiration continued…because I’d either die from embarrassment or have a heart attack.

In Atlantic City, I think this was late 2008, we saw them at the House of Blues. While Amanda and I would have preferred to be up closer to the stage, on this night it wasn’t really possible, and so we we back more than a few rows in the GA crowd. I know this is going to shock you all, but there wasn’t much on Red Carpet Massacre that I enjoyed, song-wise.  The one song I do love though – is in fact Red Carpet Massacre. It holds many meanings, and at the time, was very fitting for how I felt about being a fan and the fan community in general. At the beginning of the song, John claps, and I clapped with him. Well, I don’t take instruction well, apparently, because I catch John looking in my general direction. He shakes his head – and yes, I’m deluded enough to believe he’s meaning that shake of the head for ME specifically, and shows me how to clap to the song correctly. Then when I corrected myself, he smiled and winked. (I was missing the double clap. I could blame it on the significant amount of drinking I’d already done that evening, but the fact is, I wasn’t paying attention. I’m pretty sure I was looking at Dom. ) Hey, we all have our favorites!

My final example(s) would be from both the fall shows I attended as well as our little UK tour.  Once again, I’m sure I would shock you all when I say that I am ready to retire Hungry Like The Wolf permanently. As such, I wait with great anticipation each show to see if they’ll play it. Well, during the show in Valley Center, the song didn’t start off quite as I’d expected – it’s done a little differently than on previous tours, so it faked me out a bit. Of course, that was until I heard those familiar chords, in which case my heart sank once again and I probably made a face, and rolled my eyes. I know Dom saw this because he grinned. Well, John had already made his way over to Dom’s side of the stage and as they sing the “Doo doo doo…” part of the chorus, he looks directly at me and sings it, almost as though he was mocking me.  Even my husband noticed, and laughed at me. Honestly. If I could have gotten up on that stage, I’d have spanked John AND Dom in that moment. In Glasgow, Amanda and I were second row, nearly dead center, and during that same song, we had both John and Dom singing right at us and playing right in front of us. I’m sure they were taunting us…because as I may have mentioned before, I’m deluded enough to believe that.  (We ALL have our fantasies. I won’t ruin yours if you let me have mine!)

All fun and games aside, up until a few years ago – I really didn’t feel any sort of connection with John. I know the girls all loved him when we were young, and I know all the women love him now. Yes, it’s difficult not to notice how gorgeous he is, even today. I always felt he was just a little bit removed from all of us, and I never really felt like he cared. I hate to say that, especially because I am not meaning to be harsh, but out of everyone in the band – my opinion of John has changed the most over the years. It was only after he started blogging for dd.com and joined Twitter and Facebook that I really felt like I was getting a sense of who he really was beyond the stage. John seems to be thoughtful, kind…and he has a great sense of who he has sort of become over the years for the fans. He likes to tease even though he is as coy about it as any guy I’ve ever known, and I think that for the most part, he genuinely loves the fans and cares. I dare say that out of everyone in the band, he is the one who cares about his relationship with the fans the most. I value that so much. Without sounding like too much of a crazy person (Note to self: you write a blog. About a pop band. You’re an adult female.  A mom. That ship has long since sailed, lady.), I waited a long time to see any glimmer of interest, concern, or anything that even remotely rivaled a connection coming from the band to the fan base. John was the first to sort of extend that olive branch, for lack of a better description. Sure, I know it’s done as a sort of professional courtesy or promotional effort in a lot of ways, and it’s done to try and make the end sale. I still value the effort.

As I said to him today on his Facebook page, he’s been in our lives in however large or small  of a part for a very long time now. I can’t imagine what my world would be like without him in it. No, he doesn’t know me from Adam and I doubt that will change in the coming years, but he needs to know that he made a difference in the lives of a lot of people. He matters to a great many humans out there, and while I know fans can be a pain in the ass at times – we love him and wish him the very happiest of birthdays. And yes, he SHOULD be celebrating!


Ooh, in my revelry about John I almost forgot to mention that I’m going on vacation!  I’m off for a reasonably quick adult getaway with my husband for a change, but never fear – Daily Duranie will still be posting as normal during my absence, and I’ll be back next Thursday. Take care, be good humans – and I’ll think of you all often as I am lounging under an umbrella by the pool in the desert heat (we’re going to Vegas)  Mwah!

Return to Now

After the GMA appearance yesterday, I saw a flurry of posts from friends, both commending the performance of the band, and lamenting (if not panning) the interviewer for focusing on the band as though they’ve come straight from 1985 as though the band has done nary a thing since the chords of Rio or Girls on Film were recorded.

I have to be honest here, I didn’t think too much about the interview.  I don’t know if it’s because I’ve gotten so used to the band being billed as a nostalgia act that I just don’t pay attention, or if it was because it was such a joy to see MOST of my favorites on TV for an interview that I just didn’t hear what the interviewer was saying. (I’ll just say it: it’s time to include Dom in the band. He’s been around a long time and he looks like he belongs there anyway at this point. I don’t care. Send me all the hate mail you’d like…call for my public flogging. I’m going on vacation in a few days anyway, so I’m throwing caution to the wind!)  Where was I?  Oh yes, the interview.  It was only later in the day when I watched it again that I really took notice of just how intent she (Lara Spencer) was to stick to the past.  I winced a bit when she asked them how it was to get back together after thirty years, and then I had to remind myself that this was not 2003.  It wasn’t even 2005, or even 2007.  It’s 2012.  Their latest album has been out for over a year now.  She even mentioned it herself when she commented that it hit #1 on iTunes. (I’m going to be even more honest here, I don’t care if it hit that on iTunes for 30 damn seconds, I’m glad the band holds on to that.  All You Need is Now is SO worthy of that number one spot and I’ll never stop being proud of them for writing such a fantastic album.)  I just don’t understand why the press is so apt to ignore the present when it comes to Duran Duran.

Do we still live in times of backlash when it comes to this band?  Sure, they have worn and occasionally still wear make up.  Name bands who don’t at this point in time.  There’s not many.  Yeah, they’re still good looking. (thank goodness!!)  Yep, their fans are still primarily female, although there are more than a few really good men out there that love their music as much as I do.  I’m lucky to count several of them as my friends, actually!  Does that really all add up to discounting them to nostalgia?  Here’s the real question: what about their music???  When does that actually count for something?

Sometimes, I stop and wonder if any of this bothers the band.  I mean, it was one thing to be a pop idol back in the 80’s. I’ve read enough to know that the band never minded being idols to their fans, they wanted to be famous and they were willing to do whatever it took for that to happen.  (Goal successfully reached!)  I have to believe that at some point, they were hoping to be known for more than just making young girls scream.  Sure, we fans have grown up and while we might all still scream for more when we see them live on stage, their music resonates.  While we fans take them seriously (and still have fun all the while), it would seem   at least to me that the press never has.  Do you think that bothers them?

I suppose the band can either fight it or embrace it and continue to work towards whatever personal goals they have on their own. While I sit here writing and contemplating, I recognize that the press can be very much like a tidal wave, and sometimes it’s just better to let the wave do it’s thing and help you get places in the long run than fight mother nature.

While that method seems to work for the band, I know I’m not alone when I say that as a fan – it’s really tough to sit back and see the hard work of thirty years diminished to a few shining moments that happened decades ago.  It’s difficult not to feel personally affronted, and yet if it doesn’t bother the band, perhaps we need to take our cue from them.  They certainly didn’t write All You Need is Now (single) with absolutely nothing in mind.  It really is all up to us to find ourselves in the moment.  It’s never really been about what the press or critics have said about them, it’s been about you and I…and the band.


Good Morning America (and the rest of the world of course!)

It’s never a bad thing to wake up, turn on the telly and watch Duran Duran tear it up on Good Morning America. It’s one of those early morning “breakfast” TV shows I typically avoid (Ok, I’ll be honest – it has more to do with it interfering with the beginnings of my day with driving kids to school and blogging than anything else.), but today I made the exception. Besides, it’s the first Monday that two out of my three are out of school, thus I could take my time today!

The band looked fantastic, they sounded even better, and I think they’re in fine shape for a good summer of touring…as long as they’re not asked to cut the ending of Sunrise short. 😀 (What was that screech on the guitar about Dom? Yes…I think we all heard that! I’ll chalk it up to your 5am call time and some jet lag.)

If you missed GMA and want to see the interview, go here.

We all know that this summer is going to be the last of the shows for some time while the band takes something we call “a lengthy vacation” and…if Roger Taylor is to be trusted…they will get back into the studio in January to start the entire process over again. I have a few general feelings about this:

1. Extreme melancholy because I hate to see good things come to an end, even if it’s just the tour for an incredibly good album.

2. Relief for my bank account. (and my husband’s extreme patience).

3. Anticipation for a fantastic 3 or 4 city “tour” of my own later this summer as a great way to end what has been a few of the best “fan” years of my life so far.

4. Anxiety. Why? I’m Rhonda. What’s life with me without some anxiety of what comes next?!  🙂  The band makes music and I worry. It’s what I do, and I do it well.

One thing I know for sure: I still love this band, and I think it’s fair to say I love them more now than ever. Even after all of the traveling, the crazy heartache, the annoyances…I still love them and I’m still having fun. Who can really ask for more than that?

See What Unfolds – Live…

Sometimes I completely miss things. For example, I never saw that DDM had a sort of contest going for people to go and see a private show in New York City later this week. I don’t know where I was or what I was up to – but I missed the news. In my own case, it didn’t matter much because there’s no way I’m getting on a plane to fly to New York, but the fact is – I didn’t even see the opportunity come up, so it came with great surprise to me when people started announcing they’d won tickets for a private show. I thought they were talking about getting into the studio for the GMA show until someone gave me a quick run-down on the details. Not much info was making it’s way to the fans other than the show would be in the evening in an indoor venue in Manhattan. Seems reasonable, right?

Well, as Gimme A Wristband reported late last week, this show is a general admission show sponsored by Trident gum and DJ Steve Aoki for 3,000 lucky fans. As I understand, 500 tickets were given away to DDM members, with the rest of the tickets going to other people. I hope they’re fans of some sort, otherwise this could get ugly. The purpose of the show is, as it’s named, to see what unfolds. The band will play 4-5 songs, Steve Aoki will remix an original live track and the crowd will go wild. Right?

Somehow, given the various excited posts with hopes and dreams listed for all to see – I worry (see, more worrying!) that this is not quite the show fans were thinking it would be. Of course, the show hasn’t happened yet so it’s hard to tell how it will all go over, but when I’m reading things about how fans hope they play some B-sides and how “intimate” they hope the show will be for John Taylor’s birthday party with fans, it’s not hard to see that at least some may have quite the let-down coming.

Realistically though, is this any fault of the band or their “people”? I’d have to argue no. In no way have I or did I see any mention of what type of show this would be beyond the albeit very generic description of “4-5 songs in an indoor venue”. That leaves the door pretty open for interpretation, and while I do think the band could have made it a little more clear (perhaps saying that it’s a GA show for up to 3,000 people), I don’t think they intended for fans to believe they were going to get the show of a lifetime, but rather a fun opportunity to see a short performance from the band. Over the weekend I saw more than a few pointed remarks made on the band’s Facebook page or tweeted to them, requesting special perks for fan club members (early entry as well as other meet and greet requests), who, by their own accord had spent a lot of money being able to fly to NYC on relatively short notice. It’s easy to say “Buyer Beware” here, sure. The fact remains that we’re all adults, and we should all know better than to book a flight at the first mere mention of a show, even if I myself am among the very guilty at times!  Even so, should we decide to make those flight arrangements, we have no one to thank but ourselves when that “show of a lifetime” turns out to be little more than watching a DJ remix a song live in front of us. That said, it could easily turn out to be a fantastic show. No one really knows what will happen, and the potential for a good time still remains. I certainly hope that the fans who attend have a great time. The show is Wednesday night, and I hope to hear great things!

If you’re looking for a good example of what Steve Aoki might do to a Duran song – look no further.

With that, I bid you adieu, and I’m still looking for Guest Bloggers!  If you want to review a song, an album, a concert or share a rare tidbit on the band (among almost any other DD topic in the world), please – send it in because we’d love to post it here on the blog!!


Appreciating the Setlist Dilemma

For the last two weeks, our daily, or, in this case, weekly questions have focused on the setlist.  Last week, we asked people to give the top 10 Duran/Duran related songs that they wanted to hear live.  Obviously, people would want to hear more than 10 but I had to limit it in order to be consistent and in order to properly track the choices.  Then, this week, we asked which Duran/Duran related songs did people not want to hear live.  Let me clarify this question.  Clearly, any Duran is better than no Duran but there are definitely songs that people don’t like and there are songs that people are sick of (yes, obviously, this applies to those of us who are lucky enough to see multiple shows).  The reality is that Duran can only play for so long on any given night.  They have to try and appeal to both casual fans who know only the big hits and those of us diehards begging for something more obscure.  I was hoping that by asking these questions I could provide them with a real setlist that would appeal to us crazy fans.  I discovered that it really isn’t that easy to put songs in or remove songs.  Setlists are truly hard to create. 

When I asked for people’s top 10 Duran/Duran related songs to hear live, I got plenty of responses.  For the most part, I received requests for mostly Duran songs.  I suppose if I put the related songs on a different question, I would get more of those side and solo projects songs.  I didn’t, though, because this is what Duran must do.  If they put in a solo song or a song from a side project, it must go in place of a Duran song.  Thus, I chose to ask the question as I did.  Many, many, many people responded to this question.  In fact, at times, it was hard for me to keep up as I was trying to figure out not only the songs listed but how frequently each song was listed.  137 different songs were chosen!  Clearly, the band can’t play all of them.  51 of these songs were only listed by one person.  This leaves 86 songs to choose from.  86!  Most Duran setlists are 20-22 songs.  Okay, so, then, I thought I could remove the songs that people are sick of or don’t like as well, which is what I asked this week.

Of course, some people could not or did not come up with songs that they would prefer Duran didn’t play live, for whatever reason.  That said, a number of people still participated.  For that list, 72 songs were given.  Oh boy…this doesn’t appear to be an easy process.  Nonetheless, if you remove the songs that people definitely do not want to hear, I was left with 41 songs.  This is still too big.  Now, the band must take into consideration the fans who only know the hits.  In that recent interview on Loose Women, Simon mentioned about how they do about 2/3 hits and 1/3 other.  Okay.  Here is the list of 41 songs that people want to hear live.  Let’s see if it meets this criteria of percentage of hits. 

Hits/Singles:                                                                    Not Hits:
Careless Memories                                                         A Matter of Feeling
Election Day                                                                   American Science
Electric Barbarella                                                          Box Full O’Honey
Girl Panic                                                                       Beautiful Colours
Out of my Mind                                                             The Chauffeur
Skin Trade                                                                     Cracks in the Pavement
                                                                                      Cry Baby Cry
                                                                                      Faster Than Light
                                                                                      Finest Hour
                                                                                      First Impression
                                                                                      Fallen Angel
                                                                                      The Flame
                                                                                      Hold Back the Rain
                                                                                      I Believe All/I Need to Know
                                                                                      Late Bar
                                                                                      Last Chance on the Stairway
                                                                                      Love Voodoo
                                                                                      Midnight Sun
                                                                                      My Antarctica
                                                                                      (Come Up and See Me) Make Me Smile
                                                                                      None of the Above
                                                                                      Of Crime and Passion
                                                                                      Other People’s Lives
                                                                                      The Seventh Stranger
                                                                                      Shadows on Your Side
                                                                                      Salt in the Rainbow
                                                                                      She’s Too Much
                                                                                      Secret Oktober
                                                                                      Tel Aviv
                                                                                      The Edge of America
                                                                                      Too Bad You’re So Beautiful
                                                                                      The Valley

Clearly, we chose a lot more album tracks over singles.  We would need to add some singles back into the list.  Here are the singles that more people wanted to hear than didn’t: 

Do You Believe in Shame
New Moon on Monday
Perfect Day
Someone Else Not Me
Too Much Information
Violence of Summer
White Lines

If we add those back in, it is more even but there still are more album tracks to get rid of.  My point being that making setlists are hard.  Even if we were to finish making the setlist from these choices, would that make the casual fan happy?  While there are singles and hits on that list, the most well-known of their songs have been removed.  For example, way more fans wanted Rio, Girls on Film, Ordinary World, Come Undone and A View to a Kill removed than wanted to hear them.  Yet, those are some of the songs that a majority of those going to a Duran show would want to hear. 

I don’t envy the guys in trying to make a setlist that would make everyone happy.  I would argue that everyone is going to be disappointed in a setlist, except for those diehard fans who get a show for the first time.  That said, I think we, collectively, came up with a great list of album tracks/B-sides/demos that the band might want to check out and figure out a way to pick 2, 3, or 4 of them in their setlist for the summer.  It would make many of us happy!!!


Promotion Clips and Excitement

Could my blogs get any later in the day?  Of course, the answer is yes.  I still have over 4 hours in this Saturday.  I don’t really have a good excuse to the tardiness of this blog.  Today was the first day that I didn’t go anywhere in months.  Months.  I know that I confused my poor cat, which couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t jumping out of bed to get ready to go.  While part of me thought it might be good to take this day to get a lot done, the other part of me preferred to do not much.  I did get a few things done, in between naps (I took two!), including a few Duran related items!  First, I hooked up my new blu-ray player in order to be ready for the upcoming release of A Diamond in the Mind.  (By the way, I’m sure that Rhonda will either be entertained or horrified that it took me since the end of April to do this task!)  The second thing I did was to try to catch up on the news front, the Duran news front, that is!  Some of what I found I will be sharing here!

Obviously, part of what I learned about what has been happening in Duranland has to do that upcoming DVD/Blu-Ray release.  Apparently, the band announced a digital premiere of it on facebook.  The news release can be read completely here.  I’ll summarize what I understand about it here by using those fantastic journalistic questions of who, what, when, where, why and how.

Who:  Obviously Duran Duran

What: “Duran Duran to stream their latest concert DVD, A Diamond In The Mind with EXCLUSIVE Audio Commentary and LIVE Q&A.”  As I understand it, this commentary and Q&A session will be special to this streaming, which I’m sure is done to encourage viewing.

When:  July 8th at 2 pm EST 
For some people, like me, this would be the first chance to see it and, for others, the DVD will already be available.  Again, though, I guess with the additional commentary and Q&A session, the date isn’t so important.  I do find it interesting that it is on a Sunday afternoon.

Where:  Facebook through some application called Qello.
Is this a case of Duran acknowledging the number of fans on Facebook or a case of them encouraging fans to join facebook?  Both?  No matter, I find it interesting that they are once again acknowledging social networking like they did with the youtube streaming of the show directed by David Lynch last spring. 

How:  This application, Qello, will cost $4.99 for a 30 day all access membership. 
I know nothing about this app, but it appears to be new based on this quote from the news release:  “The program launches June 18th with several weeks of festivities on the Duran Duran Facebook page, including Digital Premiere ticketing, and VIP Ticket and CD giveaways. To promote the Premiere, and make the experience more social, fans that post about the event via Facebook will gain access to a special sneak preview.”
Will this $4.99 be worth it?  Is it lame that they are charging money for this streaming?  Like many other things related to Duran, I find myself assuming that I will be purchasing this app in order to watch, assuming that I can figure out what to do when the time comes!  I’m such a sucker!

Now, if all of that didn’t get you excited for ADITM, my friend, Faby, found a lovely, lengthy preview on youtube, which I will now share with all of you after she shared with me:

Of course, beyond ADITM, there have been TV and radio appearances.  I am focusing here on the TV appearances because I haven’t been able to find many (most) of the radio interviews.  If you know where to find them, please post the link for me and everyone else!  Thanks!  As for the TV appearances, I know that Simon appeared on Loose Women in the UK.  I also read about appearances on Sky Sunrise, ITV Daybreak and CNN.  Again, I completely suck because the only one I could find was Loose Women, which I have included below.

My reaction to this clip was that it was enjoyable despite being like every other interview on TV with the list of successes in the beginning and the video montage, which, of course, included Rio!  I’m not sure what the deal was with the bananas but I like seeing the silly side of Simon!  On a more serious note, one comment I found interesting was when Simon stressed that the band only focused on the songs and not the videos, back in the day.  Of course, I think that they focused on the music more but following that statement up with the intelligence of the managers imply that the managers did everything with the video.  I always had the impression that the band gave input to the videos.  Am I wrong?  Also, on a serious note, I loved the statement about how ADITM was a celebration of being able to sing again.  On a personal level, the UK tour felt like a celebration for me, too!

Now that my blu-ray player is hooked up, I have seen that long preview, and had Simon describe ADITM as a celebration, I’m really ready to see it!!!  I can’t be the only one, right?  Right????