John Taylor is a big tease!

Sometimes, I just want to reach out and smack them.

Oh, come now – you know that sometimes, you’d do it too if you could!

This morning on Twitter, John sends out a tweet that says “Pondering a map of the US thinking, ‘Where can we play next year…’

Of course, that one tweet got the fans going, and I think they’re on a nonstop tweetathon to John (hee hee, a rhyme!) as to where the band should play next year.  Naturally, John immediately (and smartly so) tweeted a follow up saying that of course they had many other places throughout the world to go first.  I would agree.

The fact is, they’ve been here twice this year.  Do I count myself lucky?  Oh yeah.  Yes I do, because I was able to take advantage of both tours and see some shows.  I’m also painfully aware that they missed many a state here in the US, and fans in those areas were not nearly as lucky as I.  The truth is, they could spend 8 more weeks here and still not get everywhere that the fans feel they need to be.  Like my backyard, for instance.  And yours.   Meanwhile the rest of the world has had nearly nothing by way of tours for several years, and I’m sure the band recognizes that, and hopefully they will be willing to do something about that next year.  I know he mentioned Europe, South America, Australia and Asia…and of course Brazil here in the next couple weeks along with the UK in December.  But after that, they really want to come back to the US again?  They didn’t get enough of the raucous American fan base yet??

I suppose my thought was that they would go to Brazil and the UK, then do Europe and where ever else they wished to go next year…never once thinking they’d come back to the US, and to be fair to John, just because he mentioned coming back doesn’t mean they actually will.  They have a lot of people to please, and there are a few other people in the band besides John that might have a differing opinion.  I suppose the new plan is to tour the hell out of this album until everyone in the world has seen them, bought a copy and knows the words to every song by heart – and I’d have to say, that’s not a bad plan.  The Killers toured Hot Fuss to death until everyone in the US really *did* know the songs by heart, and only then did radio begin to play them.  It’s not a bad plan, even for Duran Duran, because I really think – and I know at least as much as my next door neighbor about the music industry (my next door neighbor is an inspector for Fluor Daniels. Not in the music industry at all.  I don’t even think he listens to music.) – that the key to getting radio play is getting exposure.  The more people know the album, the more people will insist that their local radio station play it.   The only kind of promotion that counts these days is the kind the band does on their own, so it seems.

Like I said, I know at LEAST as much as my neighbor.  😀

Honestly though, what else is really working?  Many people postulate on the boards that the bands promotion is horrible, that their PR people should be fired.  My response is always “What PR people?!?”  Like I know or something…which I do not.  In all seriousness though, the band could do meet and greets for radio stations until the cows come home (and I hear that one lone cow showed up in Atlantic City ’round about encore time….) and that wouldn’t be enough to get radio play.  Leave a Light On isn’t going to be enough to stimulate sales, and I’m not even sure that’s the point.  The point is that the general public isn’t you or even me anymore – they are the ages of our kids (if you’ve got kids…and if not, I’ve got a couple you can borrow for the sake of argument), and for the most part, they don’t even know who Duran Duran is!  If we’re going to talk about people our age, then aside from diehard fans, those people don’t even realize that Duran Duran still plays together.  It’s alarming and I typically have to refrain from reaching out and smacking those people back into reality.  How many times have you mentioned going to see a DD show, or buying the new album only to have someone respond “Oh wow, I remember them!  They’re still together??”   I have had to start working very hard not to wince when people say that.  Or do that eye rolling thing that I hate seeing my kids do….

So while I still think John Taylor is a big ole tease and just likes to start trouble….perhaps continuing to tour this album is the right idea…and hey, if they need a backyard to play in….I’ve got one!

-R

What in the hell keeps us going?

Happy Halloween to anyone out there that celebrates this godforsaken holiday.  It is not one of my favorites these days.  Funny how that changes when you’re a parent!!!   I say that will all of the cynicism and jaded attitude that comes with being a mom.  Candy+tired kids=migraine 4 me tomorrow.   I fear for the teaching profession in the morning, and I apologize in advance to my son’s teachers at his middle school.  My oldest daughter’s teachers are on their own…she’s a teenager and in high school. That’s all I can say.

I’ve had a couple of conversations recently that have coaxed my brain into pondering about why in the hell I’m still a fan.  There are all of the obvious things: the music, the band, the nostalgia, etc. etc. etc.  Those are a given and not what I’m really considering here.  I’m thinking about all of the other things.  The things that we don’t really talk about much on this blog, but are very much a part of the whole Duran Duran ambience.  I’m talking about going to a show, being super excited to see them after X number of years, only to have the setlist shortened by X amount of songs (as opposed to other shows on the same tour).  I’m considering those very much fan treasured meet and greets where one band member or another doesn’t bother to show (granted, there may be good reasons for someone not to be in attendance, but if that isn’t acknowledged by the band or their management…what is a fan to think?), or perhaps those meet and greets where it’s very apparent that one or more wishes that they could be somewhere, anywhere else.  I suppose that in most individual instances, they are easy to explain away, dismiss, or otherwise cast off as not being a big deal and certainly not something to dwell on.  I would stick my own neck out here and say that I myself have said that people need to “get over it” at times.  It’s true.  Quit whining and get on with it…that’s what I try to even tell myself when I’m annoyed. What happens when those kinds of things seem to happen continually or at least often enough to draw comment?  I have friends who have all but walked away from this band as a result of seeing them truly bite the hand that feeds, and at the time, I’ve shaken my head and told myself that those people simply have bad attitudes and don’t really get it.  Of course they were bound to be burned.  Well, is that really the case?  I doubt it.  I think it is probably more of a case where they’ve finally just seen and done enough and don’t have an urge to put up with the B.S. that comes with being a fan.  Let’s just take a second and admit that – there IS B.S. that we all put up with, whether it comes from the band, fellow fans or just life in general. It’s OK to say it and still be a fan (in my mind anyway), so let me hear it!!

Is there really a point where you’ve seen and done enough and just realize its not worth the trouble, and if once you get to the point and cross it – can you come back?  Hell, should you?  Is that where the infamous “end of the line” resides??

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard about a bad fan experience someone had with the band or even their management over the years, I think I’d probably be a pretty wealthy woman right now.  At the very least I’d be able to finance my UK tour.  (I’m feeling a new career coming on here….) To be fair, the good experiences FAR exceed the bad ones that I’ve heard and perhaps that’s the point, which I’ll get at later. The trouble is, where at one time I would almost start to scoff at the “bad” experiences – trying to find a reason behind why something would happen, almost to the point of making excuses for the band (who doesn’t even know me or pay me to do so…), it’s getting to the border now where I’m finding that there are just too many good people out there having the same complaints for me not to notice.  I wish I had the right answers, but I do not.

The fact is, we’re talking about humans here.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve typed “Listen, the band CAN have bad days.  We can’t judge them based on a single incident.  They do have the right to private lives…etc. etc.”  ALL of those things are true.  Goodness knows I’m in a bad mood much of the time (Yes I am indeed a scorpio.  Approach carefully, with coffee in hand.), so I get it.  The trouble is, the impression they leave behind – and I use the word “they” collectively here because I’m not going to single out individual members – is that they don’t give a damn as long as they are kept in the manner to which they’ve grown accustomed.  (She  who used this quote this morning should be aware that while I won’t name her publicly I am giving credit in my head privately. :D)  Of course none of us have any idea whether or not this is true.  I would strongly suspect that my writing partner Amanda disagrees wholeheartedly with that sentiment.  I know she believes they really do care about the fans and about the band, that they would have to after so many years. I am not nearly that sure.  I think they all (mostly) need to keep working, whether that’s financially or egotistically speaking, and I think they definitely care about the direction of their careers, but I think they all have their moments because they are all entirely human.  Well, everyone except that little alien they’ve got playing keyboards.  😉  There are days when I couldn’t care less about the blog OR the band because I’ve got other issues (I really wanted to say crap but I’m trying to sound somewhat intelligent today…so far its not working for me.)  The difference being that I don’t get paid to care. (Not that it would change, but I must call a spade a spade)  Regardless, I suspect the same to be true for them.  The difficulty with that of course is that their entire career is played out in public, as well as much of their private lives.  With that I say a hearty “Thank god it’s not me – I might not have a mansion or a private plane, but I can also say what I will, go about my day and not have cameras in my face either!”  It’s an excruciatingly difficult balance that none of us can really understand unless we were them, and we are not.  It’s entirely healthy to recognize that sometimes, they completely screw up and piss us off, and yet we’re still fans.

It’s the end of a tour – the US tour – and for many, it’s a letdown emotionally.  It’s easy to misread the depression of the tour being over and not really knowing the direction from here as anger towards the band.  It’s also easy to feel as though let down because we didn’t see the shows we wanted, we didn’t meet John Taylor’s glance when he was playing right in front of us…..we didn’t get that front row seat we were dying to have….and we didn’t get to sit between Dom & Roger at a bar that won’t be named here…..oh wait, that’s just me.  Moving right along….

At the bottom of the Trick or Treat pillowcase are all the leftovers from the night.  There’s a few crumbs in there and probably some dirt from when I dropped the sack as I was running away from the house with all the fog and the zombie dude saying he was going to eat me and all of my friends.  All of the candy fell out and in the haste of shoving all of it back in the sack so that I could run and catch up with my friends for the next house, I probably threw some dirt and pebbles in there too, and it settled in the bottom of the pillowcase in the seam.  But amongst that dirt and those crumbs…and of course the leftover JuJuBees (I can’t stand those!) is one perfect Mini Reeses Peanut Butter Cup.  That’s what the good times are like as a fan, and that’s why I’m still a fan…even when I think the band should be spanked, and not in a good way!  (Get your minds out of the gutter people, I’m being stern here!)

-R

The End of the US Tour and Embracing the Now

Last night marked the end of the US tour as the band played the final, official show in Atlantic City.  (Yes, I know they are doing some sort of gig in Atlanta tomorrow.)  In many ways, this tour was like any other and, in some ways, it was very different.  It was a usual tour in that the same discussions popped up that always pop up.  People debated setlists, stage setups, ticket sales, album sales, clothes, and more.  People bought tickets and many traveled to one or more shows.  Pictures and videos were posted.  Excitement was felt throughout the fan community.  In those ways, it was a standard 6 weeks tour of the US.  Yet, to me, it felt very different than any other tour.

I remember that there is a scene in Sing Blue Silver where John, I think, talks about how that 1984 was never an assured tour.  I always thought that was a strange quote.  As a kid watching that documentary, I thought he was making a really silly statement as the band was the biggest, most popular band in the world.  What did he think was going to happen on that tour?  What did he think was going to get in the way?  I still don’t have answers to those questions about that tour but I certainly do if I apply that statement to this tour and, frankly, to any tour in the future.

When these tour dates were announced, Duran’s future seemed questionable.  Many people wondered either openly or to themselves about if these dates were actually going to happen.  I saw people consider various shows and decide not to even try because they felt so uncertain about whether or not they would actually happen.  After all, this tour was following a spring and summer in which Simon lost a significant portion to his range, which resulted in tour cancellations.  I could not blame anyone for being cautious.  Then, the shows started and they seemed…well…less than normal in the beginning.  The sets were short and there was information about the band cutting songs in the moment.  For me, and others I’m sure, this raised many alarm bells.  Would Duran be able to perform these dates?  If they did, would they be as good as what people have come to expect from them?  I remember feeling very anxious while I waited for my show.  In some ways, this feeling of anticipation reminded me of years ago when I was SO excited to tour.  Yet, it was different as this time fear was present as well as excitement.  Anxiety was the word of the day.  I didn’t want to voice my concerns because I didn’t want others to feel what I had been feeling and I thought that if I said them out loud they would become more real, more possible.  Luckily, they were able to make it to my show and perform.  They were able to perform all of the shows they have scheduled.  Beyond that, it seemed that they got stronger as the tour went on and became more normal. 

What was interesting to me was watching those fans who were still fixated on things like ticket sales and album sales.  I couldn’t relate.  I get wanting the band to be successful.  I want that, too.  Yet, it seemed to me that they were focusing on less immediate concerns.  None of those external elements of success would be important if they couldn’t perform and if they couldn’t get back on track.  Thus, while I didn’t feel like last week’s Chicago show was the best ever, I still thought it a victory.  They were able to play for two hours in a way that we have all come to expect of them.  To me, that was enough.  Will someday I begin to demand more?  I’m sure.  I think there is a lesson here, though, and one that I don’t want to forget.  The album’s name was a reminder to all of us to appreciate the now and I thought I was doing that in December when the iTunes version came out and I thought I was doing that in April when I saw them in the Midwest but I wasn’t.  I don’t think I really started to do that until I realized and realized deep in my gut that Duran will end someday.  That someday might be years or decades away but it could be tomorrow.  I didn’t really get how important the now was until I almost lost something precious to me, to all of us. 

For many people, yesterday marked the end of a chapter in Duran’s history and in their history as a fan.  For Rhonda and I, it marks the end of the US part and the break before the UK tour.  Did I ever think that I would be going to the UK to see them perform?  Not really.  I went in May because my friends wanted to go.  I figured that it was a good time to do it.  Now, I’m going back because I might not have the chance ever again.  I don’t want to regret something despite the financial cost, despite the time away from work, despite the time away from other aspects of life and more.  I now know what it means to embrace the now.  I’m sure that there will be people reading this blog and thinking that we have it so easy.  We don’t.  We are sacrificing to make this happen.  Frankly, we had to sacrifice to make Chicago happen.  Shows and tours don’t fall into our laps.  The band doesn’t play in our backyards (they are welcome to, though!) so we have gone out of our way for this tour that just finished and for the tour that will be coming up.  This way I know I won’t have any regrets when the end does come.

-A

Duran on TV: Piers Morgan and Craig Ferguson

Last night, Duran appeared on not one but two shows here in the States:  Piers Morgan and Craig Ferguson.  This made for a good Friday night but part of me definitely wishes that only one aired at a night to spread out the good stuff!  Anyway, I was able to watch both live and record them so that I could watch them again to give our usual review.

Piers Morgan:
Obviously, I was thrilled that they were on a show that is an hour long and usually features two guests, one for each half of the program.  Duran was to be featured on the second half.  Of course, they were mentioned in the show’s introduction in the usual way with clips of Rio, pictures from the 80s (1982/1983/1984) and more recently (2007), live clips (1993 era with Warren) and statements of “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll”.  First of all, I’m sick to death of the Rio clips and I’m sick to death of just talking about Duran in terms of “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll”.  It seems to me that it boxes Duran into a typical rock band and nothing deeper, nothing more interesting.  Despite that lame introduction, I continued to watch and hoped for the best. 

Piers introduced Duran by giving some statistics, including 80 million albums sold, 18 US hits, 30 UK hits, the 13th album AYNIN and latest single Leave a Light On.  That’s fine.  I don’t think it hurts to discuss their success and what they have currently going on.  The show featured Nick, Simon and John.  Before I dive into the meat of the interview, as a Duranie, I must comment on how they looked.  I think that all of three of them (where was Roger, by the way?!) looked good.  They had on decent clothes as Nick was wearing a white button down shirt with a black suit jacket, Simon was in some white t-shirt with a blueish suit jacket and some multi-colored scarf and John in a black button down shirt and green/brown jacket.  Nick was sporting light eyeliner.  Simon’s beard was full but neat.  The most notable feature on John was his hair.  The color with brown as the main color and blonde bangs is good but really…can’t he figure out how to style it?!  It just looked messy and undone. 

I appreciated some of the questions but really wish that some of the questions were different or that Piers had gone more in depth or asked more follow-up questions.  The first question had to do with the changes in America since they had first come.  This question has been talked to death, in my opinion.  They did tell the story about how Andy got them kicked out of the Hyatt in LA, which is a story that has been around but some people might not have known it.  Then, they discussed vinyl and iTunes.  Once again, Nick commented about how illegal downloading is still a problem whereas John seemed much more accepting about how the world is just different now.  I did appreciate the question about Simon’s vocal problems and their reaction to just the question showed how scary it must have been for all of them.  I loved John’s response about how it could it have splintered the group but instead brought them together.  While I hope that John is completely sincere with that statement, it is also a great thing to say publicly.  They need people to believe that this is true.  From there, they discussed the forming of the band and jumping on the New Romantics bandwagon.  Again, I’m a little bored with this line of questioning. 

After a commercial, the discussion continued with a focus on Mark Ronson.  I did like how Piers asked more follow-up questions about how Mark brought the band back to their original sound.  Unfortunately, this lead the discussion to Amy Winehouse and drinking and drugs.  John did respond to this well about how it was fortunate that they were in a band so that the band would pull anyone back if needed.  They had a different level of support than she did.  John stated that they never went as far as heroin and Piers accepted that.  There was no follow up with what Duran did do, which I suppose is okay as the drinking and drugs discussion must be tough to ask and answer.  Then, there were questions about being parents and what their fanbase is like.

The last segment focused on how they have been able to remain together, how they keep it exciting, twitter, best shows, most outrageous parties, makeup, etc.  I wish that Piers had questioned Nick more about twitter.  I think fans don’t really get why he isn’t on there or at least I don’t.  On a different note, while they were doing the interview, they showed a variety of footage, including often music playing, which was distracting from the interview.  The footage that they did show was SO weird and included some that I had never seen.  For example, they played rehearsal footage from 1989.  Huh?  They also showed a lot of clips from the reunion tour in 2003.  Who chose this footage and why?  They did include some more recent pictures but still!

Overall, I think that this interview was fun but as a diehard fan, I didn’t learn a whole lot new.  I loved John’s statement about Simon but the rest of it was pretty common material.  I would be curious about what more casual fans thought about it.  Obviously, this criticism isn’t about the band.  They did the best they could with the questions given.  I just thought that the questions were common and that there wasn’t enough follow-up. 

Craig Ferguson:
This was just a performance of Leave a Light On and no interview.  Again, I must comment on their appearances.  Dom was wearing a leopard shirt and leather jacket.  He looked good!  Nick was wearing some sparkly jacket with this white tie thing that expanded as it moved down away from his neck.  It looked like a bib to me.  (Sorry Nick!).  I couldn’t really tell what Roger was wearing, which says that there wasn’t nearly enough shots of him.  Simon was in his blue snakeskin shirt with a jacket over it and some grey/black jeans.  He was wearing sunglasses.  Not sure what that is about.  John was in leather pants and some polo shirt on top.  The polo shirt didn’t really go well with the leather pants, in my opinion.  Polo shirts are way more conservative than the leather pants.  Oh well.  That said, they looked decent. 

As for the performance, it was also decent.  I felt that they got stronger as the song goes on but I have felt that way every time I have seen the song performed.  It was good to see them perform like this, though, even if they didn’t blow me out of the water.   I don’t really think that is possible with a song like this.  It just isn’t the style to do that. 

-A 

My Response to Nick!

For the past two days, I had professional development, which means that I sit and listen to the latest and greatest idea in education.  I’m not very good at these type of things because, as a teacher, I’m used to doing.  I’m used to moving and talking constantly throughout the day.  I am not good at listening and NOT responding as I have many things to say about any/every idea presented.  Perhaps, this is part of the reason I chose to do this blog so that I could respond to what is going on in Duranland.  Tonight, the boys are playing their second to last show in Boston.  Yesterday, I became aware of an article/interview with Nick from The Boston Phoenix.  The article can be found here and my responses to the answers are here!  Obviously, some questions did not get my attention as much as others.

In the beginning of the interview, Nick is asked where he is to which he responds about how he is Chicago and says the following, “Actually in Chicago we’ve spent quite a bit of time.  I’m sure I’ll find some trouble to get into.”  As someone who was in Chicago, I have to ask.  What did Nick do?  I know that John and Dom went record shopping but what about Nick?  What about Roger or Simon?  Next time, I think the band should let Rhonda and I know their plans.  It would make our lives more interesting and fun!

Shortly, Nick gets asked about the new album. 

SD: So 2011 has been a pretty big year for you guys, although, not without ups and downs.NR: Yeah, it’s been one of the most exciting years in the Duran calendar in our three decades, I have to say. It all started with the release of All You Need is Now, which we worked on with producer Mark Ronson. I think when you have something that you feel very confident in musically and artistically, it gives you the energy to go forward and do other things and it helps to unfold the origami, because things start to happen when you have something other people are excited about too. We made the film with David Lynch. That’s certainly one of the highlights throughout our career so far. He’s been someone we’ve admired for many, many, many years, so when the opportunity came up to make a film together, that was a complete thrill. We started out playing in America at the SXSW festival. We talked about going there for years, because the spirit of Duran Duran has always been that of an independent band. Even when we’ve made records that have been enormously successful commercially and we’ve been on major record labels, we’ve never lost the spirit that we started out with.” 
My response:  I’m thrilled that they feel confident about AYNIN, musically and artistically, and that should be a highlight of the year.  Yet, the interviewer asked about the ups and downs.  Why not acknowledge everything that Simon went through?  Everything the band went through?  Everything the fans went through?  It could be easily acknowledged and done in a way in which tells how Duran is stronger, better because of it.

Later in the interview, after discussing how other bands had been “borrowing” from Duran, the interviewer asks about the fanbase, which as a student of fandom got my attention!  “SD: I think one of the reasons that you guys, and you know, this is me postulating, you can tell me what you think about it, one of the reasons you’ve maintained this fan base is because Duran Duran is kind of like it’s own little culture, it’s own little land. From the earliest interviews with you guys, you’re always talked about different art and culture, and I think in America, especially kids living in the middle of nowhere, to hear about Andy Warhol, to see Keith Haring on television, to hear about Cocteau and Patrick Nagel, and all these people. This was a big deal for a lot of people who didn’t have access to that kind of culture.NR: Well, I hope so, because I know what other artists from all spheres have given to me over my life. It’s food for me, for my imagination. Nothing makes me happier then sitting in a cinema or going to an art gallery. John, Simon and I all went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art the other day, because I’ve been there several times before and neither of them have actually visited there. I said, “Look, we have a day off, let’s go.” They were both completely up for it. We all left there just floating because seeing the collection that has been that well curated over so many years. I mean they have some of the greatest artworks ever made in there. They have the ultimate Marcel Duchamp collection, including The Bride Stripped Bare, the Nude Descending a Staircase, the Urinal, the Bicycle Wheel, each absolutely extraordinary. But then you sort of wander down the corridor and they’ve got one of the greatest Van Gogh Sunflowers. They’ve got a couple of the best Matisse’s that I’ve ever seen anywhere in the world. You know, if you can bring a little of that information to other people in, I don’t know, in the form of suggestions, or images, or just the notion of it. Then I think that’s great.”
My response:  First, I completely agree that Duranland is its own little culture, which I have addressed before.  I think that Duran has influenced many of us to check out musicians, artists, fashion, etc. that we would not have ever considered.  As much as I was destined to check out art because my mom is an artist, I doubt I would have cared as much if it wasn’t for them.  I also find it amusing that Rhonda and I are like them as well since we try to check out art museums when we can!

This question about the year leads to questions regarding Mark Ronson.  “SD: Back to the new album briefly, I have to ask, I think a number of people have asked, and I know you guys obviously don’t have any plan or anything. But as a big music fan, like you guys are, I’m sure you can think of any number of sequels or trilogies of records that bands have made with producers. I know a lot of people are wondering if you guys might work with Mark again. It’s been a while since you’ve done two in a row.NR: Of all the producers that we’ve ever worked with, I have to say, Mark is the one that I think suits Duran Duran best. We’ve worked with some amazing producers, we really have, we’ve been very lucky. Sadly, the first few albums produced by Colin Thurston, and then the third album by Alex Sadkin, who have both passed away, but they were extraordinary teachers.
SD: For me as well…
NR: Yeah, amazing, amazing, amazing people. But, of the people we’ve worked with in the last couple decades, Mark just suits us better. He has an understanding of so many genres of music. He has incredible style and great taste and he really, really gets what Duran Duran is about. So, I sincerely hope we work with him again. We stay in constant touch. We’re so fond of him on a very personal level, as well as musical level. He’s really something.”
My response:  I completely agree with Nick that Mark is the producer that suits Duran best.  I think he gets THEM and I think that he gets US (the fans).  Thus, I, too, hope that they work together again.  🙂

Of course, this leads to brief discussions about both Red Carpet Massacre and Reportage.  “SD: I like the last record, I like Red Carpet MassacreNR: Me too.
SD: …I actually think it’s great Simon record.
NR: Yeah, a few people have said that. John and Roger feel that their presence was diminished on the album, I understand that.
SD: I feel like maybe the fans kind of felt like that. It felt a little anti-climatic post-reunion?
NR: Maybe. It was very programmed. You see, the genesis of that record is quite interesting because we made an entire album with Andy Taylor. Which is called Reportage…”
My response:  I’m not surprised that John and Roger felt like their presence was diminished.  It felt that way to me, too.  Thus, it didn’t feel like Duran to me no matter the quality of the song.  It wasn’t what I think of when I think Duran.  I also agree that it was very programmed, which again makes it anti-Duran to me.  Of course, Duran can, has and should use technology but it should have something organic, something more musical. 

The interview continues to say:  “SD: Which is coming out when?NR: It may come out, it would need mixing, it would need finishing a few things, but then what happened was we were just literally going to do a couple tracks with Timbaland and we got in there and Andy didn’t turn up for those sessions, and so we ended up doing them without a guitarist, we obviously added guitar to the tracks later, but we recorded them without guitar, wrote them without guitar. That set the mold, really. Had Andy been there, I think those tracks would have probably started to sound a little different in the first place.
SD: They sound really cool, and if that record had come out in, like, ’99 no-one would’ve batted an eyelash, but I think when you have this sort of legendary rhythm section back together it felt like, you know, they are a little bit under utilized on that record, theres just little moments…
NR: Yeah, I understand. For me, that album was an experiment. For everyone in the band, that album was an experiment. It was how to merge the Timbaland beats with Duran Duran. And the expense of us doing that was the rhythm section became different. Obviously they both played on the album. They played synth bass on some of them. Some of the drums were programmed by Roger…
SD: There’s some of that on the new album too…
NR: Yeah.
SD: It’s not like it’s unlike Duran Duran to have some synthbass.
NR: Yeah, but on that one it was largely the makeup of the sound and I think we definitely sacrificed something but we work as a unit and whatever we feel is right for Duran Duran, and I mean honestly, if we decided we wanted to make an album that was just guitars and strings and we decided, no, we’re not gonna use any synths on this, we would do it. It’s a case of the time and we felt with Tim that he was one of the most interesting people out there making contemporary music at that time. We’ve always loved dance music and so…”
My response:  Obviously, I have no idea about the quality of the songs on Reportage, how much work it would be to finish or even if they can finish it and release it, legally, but I would still love to hear it.  It might also be a good way of releasing another album sooner rather than later, if there aren’t legal issues with it, as most of the writing and recording appears to be done.  Nonetheless, it says something to me that if Nick, who was RCM’s biggest supporter, is saying that “something sacrificed” when they made RCM. 

Nick goes on to make a really good point and one that I must remember: “And certainly, the other point about working with Timbaland is that had we not made that album, I don’t think it would have lead us to make this new album with Mark.”  If this is true that Duran needed to work with Timbaland and needed to make RCM as a step before working with Mark and making AYNIN, I am grateful it happened.  I do think that sometimes things need to be one way before things are able to go a different way.  Maybe RCM was the lesson they needed to learn.

Then, of course, the interviewer turns to the current tour and the current setlist.  Oh boy.  “SD: I have it on good faith that you guys are gonna be playing “Shadows On Your Side” in Boston. Can I put that in print?NR: (laughs) We haven’t played it on the American tour at all yet. The trouble is with set lists, and I’m sure you could talk to any artist, you must know this yourself, if you have have a lot of material, it’s hard enough to condense it into something that is a little less than two hours. But when you want to put in a song that is possibly a real fan favorite, but maybe not with the broader audience, it’s hard to find places in the set to put them in. For example, recently we have been playing a song “Tiger, Tiger” from the third album which is instrumental. And the reason we started playing it was to create a little three minute spot for people to Tweet live during the show onto the screen. And it has been a fascinating moment in the set.
SD: Gives Simon a rest.
NR: So we thought, perhaps we’ll replace it and we’ll do “Secret October” instead because it has a vocal on it and we said we would play this song. And of course, Simon said “I don’t want to do it and have Tweeting going on whilst I’m singing.” Whereas musically, we are just creating a soundtrack and I think that’s fine, visually. And so we took out the Tweets and we did the song, and the song went down really well. But then we realized that a lot of people were missing the Tweeting thing because a lot of it was interactive and thats part of modern shows. So you have all these things …all I’m really doing is making excuses for you. We probably won’t. We could play it instead of a number of things but I’m not sure what would give.”
My response:  Clearly, they don’t want to put in anymore “fan favorites” than they already have for these US dates.  Obviously, they feel that they need to appeal to the “broader audience”.  As Rhonda and I have both mentioned, I think this is lame.  If you play enough hits, that “broader audience” will be happy.  Duran should worry about keeping us dedicated fans happy and keeping us going to shows.  Then, to hear Nick talk about the discussion surrounding Tiger Tiger versus Secret Oktober, I got even more frustrated.  Yes, I can understand Simon’s point of view of not wanting people to tweet during him singing.  I tweeted during Tiger Tiger but that felt uncomfortable, too, as I’m ignoring the band playing.  If you want to have the tweet thing in do it when the band is not on stage.  Have people tweet while waiting for the encore to start but don’t let that get in the way of the fans hearing a song they desperately want to hear!  Ugh!

Speaking of Twitter, the interviewer asked about the band’s involvement.  “SD: It is interesting. I think both Simon and John have been doing it since around the release of the record. It is interesting to kind of follow along…NR: I think John particularly loves it. I think its really something that he’s been able to focus some of his energy on. I know he’s always taking little photos and putting them up when we’ve arrived somewhere, or we see something interesting. He was tweeting from the Museum the other day. I’m all for that. I have a concept for tweeting which would be very much against the grain of what people like it for, so people may really not like the idea of what I might want to do with it, and I keep threatening to do it. For me, it would be a complete experiment so I would enjoy it, and I think there may be some people out there that would see what I was getting at, but it’s much more of a one way street. It would be that I was really just publishing certain things and not really getting involved in conversations about them. I’m not sure if that’s in the spirit of it, but I may do that.
SD: Well it’s difficult, I think, to have in-depth conversations. I think John tries to answer peoples’ little questions and things from time to time, but I don’t think you can get too in depth. The other side of it is, I think for some people, and I don’t know if you fall into this category or not, but some people see that artists being on Twitter constantly, kind of affects their mystique a little bit. Where it was so hard to get information about somebody ten years ago but now it’s like…
NR: Well I feel that way very generally anyways. We were talking about when were growing up as kids and the photos of artists we used to see, whether it was David Bowie or Iggy or the New York Dolls or Lou, they had a real mystery to them because there weren’t that many photos. You might see the occasional live photo from a concert or you’d see David Bowie and Iggy Pop in Moscow together or a picture of a couple people on a train having lunch and this was really as far as you got into their world and you had to then use your own imagination as to what else they might be doing or what it was like in the studio and what they were recording. Now I do feel with web cams everywhere and everyone with a mobile phone during the show, every second of everything is recorded from all these different angles and published everywhere, it’s an overwhelming amount of content. In a way, you definitely lose focus because people are watching dreadful live videos with dreadful sound quality and then saying, “Oh well that was that, wasn’t it.” As opposed to something that was being produced with beauty and care. And its not that I’m completely against it because this is a very modern world where this is what’s happening and that’s that, but as regards to what it has done to mystique, yeah, its shattered it into a million pieces.
SD: Yeah that’s true, it’s a strange game. I can’t think of a band, current day, that can maintain that exactly. You have to, obviously, evolve with the times somewhat, but it’s interesting with some groups, it might not be in their best interest to be too involved with that.
NR: I think you have to embrace new technologies and use them to the best of your ability, and use them artistically. With our online presence we’re always looking to do different things. We launched Second Life some months ago which was initially launched as a completely non-commercial project. It was literally an arts project. We built a universe for people go in as Avatars and communicate with each other, really. And so far I have to say I’m thrilled with the results because it seems to be a really good breeding ground for ideas and for artistic statements. The costumes that people are wearing in there are spectacular. It’s worth going in to look at that alone. When they have parties in there it really is pretty remarkable, it’s an utterly surreal world where anything goes and they’re having an amazing time. So, you try to do these different things with the website we’re going to relaunch that soon, so its version 2.2 or 3.3 or wherever we are now, and there have been some huge improvements there. The live stuff and the Tweeting. During the live shows I take pictures of the audience every night which has now become quite interesting because there’s a whole section on the site where you can see the audiences from my point of view from the different shows. We’re always looking to do things and find ways to make it a bit different. Everybody out there is putting everything up they can.”
My response:  I can definitely see Nick’s idea of tweeting being VERY different than what is normal, common, expected.  My guess is that Nick fans would eat it up!  Yet, ideally, fans would want some conversation and it doesn’t seem like Nick does, for whatever reason.  I also agree with Nick that technology should be used and embraced but that it does have its drawbacks and has taken some of the mystery out of life.  That said, I still don’t get Second Life.  I don’t understand why he is so thrilled by it.  He says that it is filled with artistic ideas.  Really?  Someone who is involved in it tell me how. 

The interview ended with a question about John’s book.  “SD: Have you seen any advanced writing in Johns book?NR: No, nothing. I think it’s probably best that I don’t and I’m sure John would feel the same. I guess eventually there will probably be a full set of books. I don’t know when I’ll be doing mine. I don’t know when Simon will be doing his but I imagine there will be a set, and that will give you all the different perspectives as to why Duran Duran is what it is.” 
My response:  I’m thrilled with the idea of one day having a set of autobiographies from the band members.  Maybe then, we would have a good idea of what went down and how it was!

So, readers, read the entire interview, and come back and tell me your responses!  Were there questions that I didn’t focus on that I should have?  Were my responses different than what you would have said?  I would love to know!

-A

Happy Birthday Simon!

Silly me.  I was thinking that I’d have nothing to say today, but then I realized that yes – not only do I have my son’s 504 Plan meeting today at school, but it’s none other than Simon LeBon’s birthday.  #53 to be exact!  Simon, you are truly the gift that keeps right on giving!!

To think that just one week ago I was well on my way to Chicago to see a show…and to think that six months prior, I wasn’t quite sure when I would hear Simon sing live again.  What a crazy damn year, huh?

Simon is a fellow Scorpio to me, and his birthday is in between my husband’s and mine.  I never forget Simon’s birthday. (although truth be told I tend to forget what day of the week it is, or what the date is….one of the “benefits” of being a mom, I think.)  For me, Simon has always been the one I’ve teased, whether that is by laughing my head off as he’s dancing to Skin Trade, making a “special note” of some of his clothing choices in the past, or groaning as I’ve heard some very awkward stories about the guy after shows over the years.  Teasing Simon, at least on message boards and occasionally in this blog, comes as naturally to me as gushing over the band as a whole.  I don’t ever do it with malice, and I would like to think that if Simon actually knew me, he’d tease right back, and I’d welcome the exchange.

After the past year, however, I see things a little differently.  Just last year in my little birthday message to Mr. LeBon on this blog I commented that…well…I’ll just quote myself:  “I also know that he is at the heart of Duran Duran.  The band would definitely not be the same without him – in the same way that it wouldn’t be the same (and isn’t the same) without all original 5 members.  Some will argue that certain members, such as Simon, can’t be replaced at all, and while I would wholeheartedly disagree (everyone can be replaced, but it would change everything about the band, and that’s really the point in question.), I wouldn’t want him to leave.  I need to see him in front of the band, I enjoy watching him banter with John (those infamous JoSi moments!)…”  Even after 30 years of being a fan, I can still be taught things, and one of those things is that this band could never continue without Simon.  Individual members could still go on – but without that voice, without everything that is Simon, we’d have no Duran Duran.  I stand fully corrected on that one, and to whatever powers that be, I promise that I’ve learned my life lesson.  I can’t ever replace the people who have done so much to influence me in my life, whether we’re talking about friends, family, or the Simon’s of this world.   I’ve mentioned many times how differently I see Simon now.  It’s true.  I saw a very small glimpse behind the big green curtain (Wizard of Oz reference of course), and while I am sure I’m not meant to reside back there permanently, I think it made me treasure my love for this band.  


When I stood in the audience at the Valley Center show and the beginning chords of Before the Rain started to play, I didn’t dare look at Simon…or any of them really.  I just couldn’t.  It was an extremely emotional moment for me, and quite honestly, I wasn’t about to share that vulnerability with anyone.  I couldn’t look up for most of the song, and when I did – it was Dom’s glance I met, and he winked.  I very much doubt that Dom knew what was on my mind, but naturally any interaction is good interaction and one of the reasons I like being so close.  All I knew that night was that I was so thankful to hear Simon sing again.  Most of the audience hadn’t the first clue (Hell, I doubt they knew the names of the band members or the names of the songs beyond Rio and Hungry Like the Wolf…), but I certainly did, and so do the rest of you.  We stand very, very lucky these days.  


My life is far from perfect right now. Sometimes I’m closer to perfect than not – this is not one of those times, not by a landslide. However, there are these tiny moments when the world feels right again and I feel “normal”.  I feel like the Rhonda I left behind long ago, before I became a wife and mom.  I have no worries, no cares, and can live in the moment fully and completely.  Some of those tiny microseconds are spent in front of the band, and I treasure each one of them because you never know when your last one might occur.  Simon is at least partially responsible for those moments, and I don’t know how I’ll ever do without them when they end.  


Happy Birthday Simon.  I know I’m absolutely no one to you – you wouldn’t know me out of a crowd, but trust me when I say you’ve made all the difference in my life.  Thank you…and those crazy karate dance moves of yours, too.  (yes, I had to get one good “dig” in there…)


-R



More on Friendships

While I didn’t get comments here, I did see quite a few comments regarding yesterday’s blog topic on Facebook.  The overwhelming response is that the friendships we make have all the difference in our experience, and I would agree.  (obviously?!?)

The most interesting part of this fan community, and I would venture to guess it’s the same with every fan community – is the overall intensity of the bonding.  Whether we’re talking about the bonding between fans, or the bond between fan and band (although I have to point out that I’m specifically referring to the FAN…not the band…I have little doubt that for most of us, they have zero recognition, much less feel that same bonding), I’ve always felt that the fan community in general intensifies the experience as a whole.

When I first found dd.com, I was shocked as to just how black and white everything was on the message board.  You were either included or you were not.  You were either well liked, or you were not.  The same holds true today on virtually every message board I’ve visited.  Where I was completely embraced on some boards, there were others where I went completely unnoticed, or in some cases, I was even disliked.  We’ve discussed the anonymity of being online before and how for a lot of people, it somehow gives license to be as rude and cruel as they wish.  Conversely it somehow works to accentuate or emphasize friendships when they form.  Friendships are formed swiftly and strongly, and I suppose enemies are formed in virtually the same way.  The real question, and one I’m not going to try to answer in the blog today – is why that really happens.  I’ve never formed friends or enemies in real life nearly as quickly as I have online on a message board, have you?

The Daily Duranie blog has tried very hard to focus on the fan experience.  Amanda and I have always held that if you’re looking for Duran news – there are plenty of places to find it online, and we never wanted to reinvent the wheel or steal anyone’s thunder.  Our “niche”, so to speak, is the fan.  When we first began to blog, I don’t think Amanda or I really knew where the blog would head – we just wanted to find our special space in the world, for better or worse.  Over time though, we’ve seen one common thread amongst Duran fans – and that is by and large – everyone wants to feel included, find friends, and enjoy talking about this little band we’ve heard some things about.  What has amazed me over the past year is that for all the 30 some odd years the band has been together, there are still tons of people out there amongst us that just haven’t gotten that involved in the community.  I just read a post today from someone who said they never go with friends to a show and that they haven’t met anyone.  I’m here to tell you that going to a show is fantastic in and of itself, but having friends to share that with makes all the difference.  If you loved Duran before, being able to gush over the show with a friend or more is huge.  Enormous!

Of course, there are always going to be people that prefer the solo experience.  I can’t find fault with that, and I think it’s probably beyond the scope of the blog to delve too deeply into why that may be.  (my major was American Studies, not Psychology – and I sort of suspect that may have a little something more to do with this than pop culture or sociology!)  I did have one comment from someone who didn’t mind sitting alone at all, primarily because they were in the first row.  I smiled at that – because let me tell you – had *I* been in the front row on Friday, I think I would have been just fine with that too.  Who here would not have been?!?  Sure, I’d rather be with my friends…in the front row….but solo would work in that case.  I’d have braved it out just fine!  I suppose we all have our limits or standards.  Mine is in the front row!

What about that false sense of friendship?  Let me explain myself a bit – what about those friends who you may be at a show with that disappear after the show without a trace, and you only hear much later that they were at a large gathering where the band happened to show?  What about those friends that are friends online but when it comes to push and shove are nowhere to be seen?  They exist in real life just as well as online or in the fan community…so I don’t think it’s unique to Duran Duran…but how do they play in?  For me, I think it’s been doubly hurtful to see that I’ve been deceived.  I’ve gone from the high of a show, to the low of seeing that I’ve been completely left out, and there’s not much that annoys me more than that. I know I’m not alone.

I think that at the end of the day, everyone wants to be included and they want that fan experience, and that’s where Daily Duranie is headed.  If we can bring fans together to be friends, then that’s what we’ll do.

-R

Oh, is that tonight??

Since I arrived at home on Saturday evening, it’s been pretty much non-stop stress for me.  The details aren’t really important, suffice to say that I’ve given Duran Duran precious little thought.  I did recall that the Gimme a Wristband party was last night (I’m sure it was a great time), but I didn’t honestly think about the shows I was missing.  I was on Facebook yesterday and then again this morning, reading a litany of status updates from people saying that they wished they were in NYC, or talking about the party and the show at Madison Square Gardens tonight…and my first thought was “Oh, is that tonight?”

After I had that initial thought, I really started worrying.  What is going on with me?!  I don’t even care about the show?  How can that be?!?  Keep in mind, I still don’t care about the show – I’m just a little surprised by my own apathy!  Normally when I take a trip like the one I just made to Chicago, I’ll come away craving more.  I’ll think about how I could have been on my way to Windsor, Ontario; Montreal, or yes…even NYC.  This time, there was none of that.  I got home and went back to real life.  I mentioned as much on Facebook and had some good friends talk me down from the “Am I losing my Duranie?” ledge I was sitting on.  

Initially when I started really going to a lot of Duran shows during adulthood, it was just after the reunion.  I’d gone to many shows prior to that, but I’d not traveled for them or anything like that.  It was purely a case where if they came to L.A. (and as I’m reminded, they do come here often!), I would go to a single show.  It wasn’t until the reunion where I started going to as many shows as I could manage (which weren’t many to begin with), and then started actually traveling to see them as well.  At that time, I think it really was about seeing the band for me.  I craved their live shows.  I wanted to be in that moment with them as much as possible.  Along the way, I met friends.  Real, life long friends.  What was once about seeing the band suddenly became seeing the band with my friends.  Using the shows to be the backdrop for amazing weekends and that sort of thing.  When I think about it, a change happened in May that goes well beyond just traveling to the UK.  It was the first time I’d planned a major trip with friends assuming the band would play, only to have those plans changed and suddenly the trip became purely about being with friends.  Not only did I have the friends I’d traveled with, but I met new friends in London when Gimme a Wristband and Daily Duranie held their joint party at the Reflex.  We became friends over some bad circumstances with the shows being postponed, but I think the feelings all of us had that night helped to bond us to one another.  Friendship truly transcended the band that night, and it continues.

So I guess what I’ve discerned with the help of friends today is that my friendships are what I crave most these days when I travel for the band.  Touring is tough.  It seems like a lot of fun (and it is), but can also be brutal and punishing.  My body is 10 years older than it was when I started all of this, and while I’m still not quite an old lady – I’m not a kid with endless energy either.  I fear for our UK trip, to be honest.  4 shows.  6 days.  About a zillion miles of travel via airplanes and trains.  Tired is going to even begin to cut how we’re going to feel, but I know it’s going to provide a lifetime of memories due to the friendships I’ve made along the way.  For me personally, I don’t know of a lot of people going to the Madison Square Garden show, so my interest isn’t quite there, regardless of it being THE Madison Square Garden. (although I should wave an enthusiastic hello to our friend Kitty from Gimme a Wristband – have a great show!!)  Atlantic City is slightly more interesting to me, but I think my saving grace is that Amanda isn’t going, and I have about 34 days until I leave for the UK.  Amanda would be pleased that I actually know how many days we’ve got!!

A good example of this comes from my show on Friday in Chicago.  I sat alone at this show while Amanda and her cousin had seats in the pit up front.  I knew I’d be buying a single ticket, and that wasn’t a problem at all.  The show was great, but I’d be lying if I didn’t mention that something felt slightly off during the show.  I was excited to see the band, yes, and they didn’t disappoint, but even so – there was something missing.  I was even slightly offended when Simon tweeted after the show that it was their best show of the tour and possibly their career.  I remember calling that tweet “complete BS”. (actually I think my language might have been slightly more colorful….)  What was my problem?  Well, it’s easy – I was alone at the show.  There is something to be said for having someone next to you to squee along with (and no, my husband doesn’t count at all on that one!!) when John comes over to your side of the stage, or when you can comment about Simon’s choice of attire, or the fact that he still does those fancy karate moves at the end of Notorious, or when Roger twirls his stick (come on now!!).  But, when you’re alone, there’s nothing to say – and try as I might – the guys next to me were not interested in hearing my comments!  It really was a great show and I was excited to be there – but that feeling would have been amplified tenfold if I’d have been sitting with friends.  Naturally, I’d do it (sit alone) again if I needed; but I hope I never need!

The night of the show, I sat in the audience and tweeted something about how after 30 years, it’s great to be experiencing all of this with so many friends, and that we’re so lucky that a band of all things brought us together.  I think that statement really holds true for so many of us “hardcores” in the community.  I don’t know if I’d still be going to shows if I hadn’t made so many friends – and to be honest I think this very subject is one of the reasons why Amanda and I have taken this blog to heart so well.  We WANT fans to find connections with other fans, and if Daily Duranie needs to be vehicle to help make this happen – we happily accept that challenge.  We want EVERY fan to have the types of experiences that are life changing, and when it comes right down to it at the end of the day – it’s our friendships with one another that will make that happen.  That isn’t to say we’re all going to be friends with one another and be a happy family – that’s not the point and it’s not reality.  What I mean is simply that going to the shows and meeting the band is one facet (a face of a cut diamond) on a very large uncut diamond. (Yes, I’m a gemologist when I’m not a Duranie…)  What is going to make that diamond special and unique is to fill in or cut the other facets so that it shines like no other, and those “facets” are the experiences we have with the other people we meet along the way.  I love bringing people together and giving other fans an avenue or opportunity to have experiences similar to what I’ve been lucky enough to experience along my own journey.  We may never be able to get front row, but we will certainly have the joys of a lifetime along the way, and we want to share that with others however we can, whether it’s through as many meetups as we can manage or other experiences.

This week has been full of life lessons for me, both on a very personal and “Duranie” level, and it’s only Tuesday!

-R

Back home and running!

This past weekend felt extremely long…probably because it started on Thursday for me!   The trouble with those weekends though, is that come Monday morning, reality sets back in with a vengeance, which indeed is the case.  It’s the price we pay I suppose.

My weekend was a lot of fun and I’m glad I had the opportunity to head to Chicago for some fun! I felt as though I had to squeeze a lot into the two days I was in the city, and I tried my best to make every moment count (and then some!).  Seeing fellow Duranies at Hoyt’s was memorable, and I hope everyone had a good time.  We will definitely do it again!

The concert.  The concert was fantastic.  I have to admit that the band has improved quite a bit over the show in Valley Center – and even that show was great – so I can honestly say the band is in top form.  Madison Square Garden is going to have a fabulous show, that is for sure.  I known Amanda posted our joint review of the show – and I have to reiterate that while it was our intention to do a video chat of the review – be glad you don’t have to see that, and pray the video never gets leaked.  No one should ever have to witness something like that, and we’ve learned our lesson:  never do a review at 5:45am.  Ever.

As for me, I headed home to a lot of not-good things going on here at home that have to take precedence, so I must tend to them.  In the meantime for today though, I wanted to share a couple of photos of the show with you.  If I catch anyone using them without MY permission, you’ll be cursed to a life without a Duran show.  Yes, I do have those powers.  (Listen, you don’t really know or can’t prove that I don’t have magical powers…so I wouldn’t chance it!)

Have a good week everyone!
-R

Is Duran Successful Right Now?

Is Duran Duran successful right now in October of 2011?  How can that question be answered?  Is it about album sales?  Album or single chart positions?  How well the tour is selling?  Something else?  I ask this question because an article I read, the announcement of some rescheduled dates in Europe and my observations of the band on the road. 

Many people, both inside and outside of the fandom, look to album sales and chart positions to determine how successful a band is.  I suppose in this way it is like a business looking at profits or how many of a certain product was sold.  It could also be like a teacher analyzing test scores or reading levels.  Numbers are an easy way to judge success or are they?  It seems to me that numbers can be given without context, which when known can dramatically change their meaning.  For example, let’s say a business had profits of one million dollars.  To me, that would seem like a lot but what if that business had a profit of ten million a year ago.  Then, that number seems to be negative or bad.  Likewise, an 8th grade student with a 6th grade reading level sounds problematic until you find out that last year the student was reading at the 3rd grade level.  Context is important.  That said, according to Billboard.com’s article:  Hot Tours, Duran is in the top 10 of hot tours.  This article allows us to compare Duran to other artists, which provides some context.  Does it give us the complete picture?  Absolutely not.  We don’t know what the expectations were.  How does this compare to the Red Carpet Massacre tour of 2008?  Is it enough to cover expenses and the canceled shows of the spring and summer?  I don’t have answers to those questions.  Of course, it does provide some good publicity and definitely paints this tour as successful, which can’t hurt. 

This week was also filled with more “good” touring news.  First, the shows have increased to twenty songs and are now a full two hours in length.  Second, some of the rescheduled dates for Europe have been announced for January.  Clearly, Duran is feeling more and more confident with Simon’s voice and are planning on continuing to tour for at least through January.  These could also be signs of success once people know of the context.  If people didn’t know that Simon had lost the higher range in his voice in the spring, these pieces of news wouldn’t be a big deal.  Who cares if they added a couple of dates in Europe?  Isn’t that their job? could be the random thought of the non-Duranie.  Likewise, a non-Duranie could think that it is normal for Duran to play for two hours and include 20 songs.  For Duranies, we know that this wasn’t a guarantee and wasn’t happening in the beginning of this fall US tour.  For Duranies who know the context, these are positive signs and signs of success.

Can success be completely told based on articles, numbers and facts?  Are there less tangible, less concrete elements to consider when answering this question?  For example, does it matter if the band is happy and enjoying themselves?  Does it matter if they are getting along?  Does it matter if the fanbase is happy?  I think those things DO matter and, perhaps, might matter more than those concrete statistics.  Based on what I have heard and seen via youtube and in person, it seems to me that Duran is finally starting to really relax and have fun on stage again.  I loved all of the smiles and the laughs that they exhibited on stage when I saw them on Friday.  I wasn’t hearing or seeing much of this carefree attitude in the beginning of the tour.  Now, I don’t blame them for this.  I think it is perfectly natural for them to feel the way they do and did.  It must have been a very difficult spring and summer for them and that kind of emotional trauma and worry doesn’t fade in a day or a week or a month.  It takes time.  It takes time to trust that everything is okay.  That said, I’m not sure that they are totally there yet.  While the show in Chicago was great, performance wise, I sensed a need on their parts to really get a positive response.  Simon often encouraged the audience to cheer more and louder.  Then, it seems to me that after almost every show, the guy(s) feel it necessary to comment on how great the audience was.  Do they really think that every audience was great?  I don’t know but they need us to believe that they do.  I suspect that they need this affirmation, emotionally.  They need to know that the fans are still here and are still supporting them.  Perhaps, this need for positive feedback is keeping them cautious.  Maybe they are fearful of trying something different with their live performances (like putting Secret Oktober or some other rare track in their setlists).  Maybe they couldn’t handle an apathetic or negative response.  I can understand that but I do think they will be better served when they are feeling perfectly normal again.  While they might be hoping that fans can help, in reality, only time will heal all wounds, especially emotional ones.

Thus, to answer my own question, I do think that Duran is successful right now to some extent.  I do think it is a success that they are back on the road, playing good, long shows.  I think it is great that they are having fun on stage and that the tour is making some money and getting good press.  Yet, I feel like they aren’t completely healed from everything that happened this year.  I am hopeful, though, that their confidence continues to grow and more success will follow!

-A

An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!