Collections

This week, Duran Duran played a show in London, which marks the beginning of their year’s touring season for them and for us.  For some of us, extremely lucky fans, this means that we will get to see our or one of our favorite band in concert (again).  Yet, for others, these shows will not only give the chance to see them again but will also provide the opportunity to expand one’s collection.  Obviously, many Duranies have a collection of their albums and singles.  Yet, some fans go beyond collecting the music to collecting other items related to the band and related to touring.  Collections may include t-shirts, tour books, bootlegs, posters and more.  These collections can and do grow during touring season.

Many fans of bands and other things like to show off their fandom through wearing t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, etc.  Interestingly enough, Duranies do, too.  When I was a young Duranie, I didn’t have many Duran related clothing but what I did, I wore ALL the time.  For example, I had a Duran Duran nightshirt that I wore until that lovely picture on the front faded.  Now, I have many Duran t-shirts.  Some of these were gifts or purchased on their website but most of them were bought at concerts.  I really appreciate the ones that had tour dates on the back that show what tours I have attended!  I’m such a dork!  Now, I admit that you can’t wear Duran Duran t-shirts everywhere, but I do try to sneak them in my wardrobe when I can.  I suspect that when I hit my first show or two, I may have to buy another one or two, especially if they look cool.  I did see a picture of the t-shirts they were selling this past week.  I wasn’t wild about it–it was a group picture from the video but lacked color. 

The other item I will look for at my next show is the tour book.  I have a number of them from previous tours and look forward to this one.  One thing about Duran is that they tend to have really quality products when it comes to things like a tour book.  They want to make sure that all of their products are well-done, which is a quality that I admire.  I’m hoping that it is something like the Astronaut one, which just seemed huge!  Plus, the Astronaut one had a pop-up piece to it!  Who didn’t love setting up the pop-up band members and being able to move them around the little stage?!  Of course, I would be happy with something like the book for RCM, which wasn’t too terribly fancy but still had quality.  These items will, unfortunately, increase my costs at the shows, but they are well worth the price to me and to my collection.

One collection that might not require a lot of money is one’s bootleg collection.  It is not uncommon within fandom for people to have bootlegs of concerts.  These bootlegs could be video or audio.  (Now, I’m not going to talk about the legality of bootlegs here-just acknowledging that they exist in fandom.)  For some people, they might want to have a copy of the shows they have attended and, for others, they might want to have every show possible.  Perhaps, they hear something new or different with each show.  Maybe, they feel like they are on tour this way, even if they aren’t.  It seems to me that most bootlegs in Duranland are not passed around for profit but are done through trading from one fan to another.  Thus, new shows mean new bootlegs.

It seems to me that having a collection is one way for fans to show or express their fandom.  Each fan who wants to express their fandom this way decides which thing to collect.  Some may focus on the music.  Others may focus on something like t-shirts that can travel with them.  It doesn’t matter to me, but think anything that increases or reinforces one’s fandom is a cool thing.

-A

Bonus Tracks

So in the last couple of days I’ve heard a few of the bonus tracks on the album – before someone reports me to the Duran police, I should probably clarify that I only heard short little snippets, not entire tracks.  When I’m listening, I have a really hard time trying not to form an immediate opinion – some people out there are fabulous about that, I’m still working on it.

I remember when I first heard snippets from the original 9-track album – I don’t think anything I heard completely blew me away.  Some things made me want more, other songs made me think “hmm…well, maybe the next one will be better!”   Of course, I didn’t post much of that, because I like living, and because I hadn’t heard the whole song.  It’s a good thing I didn’t post much of it – because oddly enough, the songs I thought I’d love ended up being ones that while I still like, aren’t necessarily my favorites; and vice-versa.

This time around, there is one song in particular that I am interested in listening to in it’s entirety. Not because I love it, but because I was shocked at how much I didn’t love it.  Naturally I’m not saying which one yet.  One other thing that I am really disappointed about are the interludes and the remixes of All You Need Is Now that are being included on the deluxe version.  It’s not that I don’t think the interludes are worthy of being recorded and included – it’s that in my opinion, they should have gone on their own separate EP.  (oh how I miss the days of the 12″ remix single…..)  I don’t think they quite belong on the CD, but that’s just my own quirky opinion.  I guess I should be thankful that Duran Duran is giving us everything on one album.

Oh wait.  They aren’t.  😀  I know they felt they were doing this release as intelligently as possible.  It’s been pointed out to me that they really are learning the way here – it’s a whole new world to release an album in 2011, and I get that.  Learning how to market effectively takes quite a curve.  My entire problem with this…process…so to speak, is that it seems utterly ridiculous to have SO many different versions of the album coming out.  Not only do the versions vary by where you reside in the world, but they also vary by retailer (at least here in the states, if not elsewhere).  I’ve complained about this previously, and Duran Duran so graciously has responded to the questions by trying to clarify – but the real problem is that there are just too many different versions to keep track of.  

That said, I have to wonder if this hasn’t really always been the case to some extent.  Back in the days of vinyl, I recall hunting high and low for the “Harvest” versions of some albums, or the Japanese release of others.  I can remember looking in numerous record stores for Duran Goes Dutch, or countless other things by Duran Duran that may not have even been official releases, but I still wanted them for my collection.  Half the fun in going to a vinyl store these days is when I find a copy of something that I’ve been looking for over the past 25 years.  There are even some Duran Duran albums out there that I didn’t even know existed until rather recently – the bliss of ignorance, I suppose.   Perhaps the only real difference between then and now is that nowadays, we have the tools available to us to know what other countries are actually getting, and what is included on their versions.  Back in the 80’s and even the 90’s, it was much harder to tell.  Ignorance is bliss once again.

I suppose that fans could argue that now, it’s even more difficult to keep track because some retailers want their own exclusive versions of the album – it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why.  They have to have some way of competing with Amazon and iTunes, and this is the way to do it.  If Best Buy has a different version of the album than everyone else – even if it only includes one or two different songs on it, there’s a reasonable assurance that fans are going to want to buy that version, therefore guaranteeing sales.  In this day and age, where physical CD shelf space is shrinking by the day in stores – Duran Duran is going to do whatever it takes to get their product into that store.  I can’t blame them.  I still think though that fans owe it to themselves to really think back to the day when we didn’t know ANYTHING.  We had no access to information telling us where certain versions were going to be until way after the fact and someone told someone else.  The bottom line is that it’s still up to each and every one of us to make our own choice as to what to buy.  The band is not holding a gun to our heads, much as we might like to characterize them as “forcing us” to love them, and once again – there is NO PRIZE for who has the most at the end.  John Taylor still isn’t going to marry any of us.  😉

 Oh, neither are Roger, Nick or Simon.   😀

-R

I’m seeing the band WHERE?

Today is Wednesday March 9, and that must mean it’s Presale Wednesday!  Like the dutiful Duranie I am, I got up and proceeded to stand (or rather, sit!) watch…waiting with much anxiety while the clock ticked ever closer to 10am PST.  I read the boards, got two children off to school, cleaned up numerous messes from the one still here at home with Mommy, got my credit card ready for show time…and waited.  I worried about whether or not my credit card would work (we had real trouble with the UK shows in that area. I later found out it was because my credit union didn’t like that I was trying to purchase tickets overseas from a website. Food for thought for the next time I guess!)  I worried about whether or not every other Duranie in California also wanted to go to the show. I thought about whether or not my husband (who is going to be my date for that night since none of my partners in crime will be in the state of California at the time!) will be willing to leave work early enough to drive out to Pomona for the show, and I bit my nails.  A LOT.  Once the clock hit 10am, I was quick like a bunny and got my tickets to the Fox theater show in Pomona California – bounding in and out of the presale in about 2 minutes, and it only took that long because I made triple sure I’d bought the right tickets to the right show. (somehow, I think my husband would have had plenty to say had I clicked on ‘VIP’ tickets instead of regular….)  All of my worrying for basically nothing.  (well, we’re not at the show yet….we’ll see if my husband will actually make the effort to get home early so we can get there on time!)

After the anxiety of the morning, I decided to take advantage of the beautifully clear skies and 80 degree Southern California weather and go for a walk with my little one.  I needed a break, and she desperately needed a change of scenery, so off we went.  As we were walking, my normally very chatty little girl became quiet and I was alone with my thoughts. (very, VERY unusual around here!)  I thought about the upcoming shows, the momentous UK trip, and about presales in general.  I realized that this is the first presale that I’ve actually done, for myself, for a show in the state I actually LIVE in…in a very, very long time.  I believe the last show I went to here in my home state of California was the show at the Pacific Amphitheater (Costa Mesa) in July of 2009, and I didn’t buy those tickets (thanks goes to Amanda, because she is the Queen of Presales)!   Prior to that, I don’t think I’ve been to a show in California since 2003, and I’m not kidding!  I believe the last Duran Duran show I went to in California was KROQ’s Inland Invasion Festival – and that feels like a lifetime ago.  I suppose that for me, it really was – I’ve had a baby since then!  I missed their show here during Astronaut because I had the audacity to be vacationing on a cruise ship at the time (and I wasn’t giving that trip up, even for Duran Duran!), and so for that tour I did shows in Chicago and Milwaukee, then later that same year I saw them in Las Vegas.  Then during the Red Carpet Massacre tour I had a newborn.  In fact, the very night that they began their North American tour, April 29th, 2008 I was in a hospital having the strangest childbirth experience EVER. (another story for another blog – but I will say that as I was coming out of it – Hungry Like the Wolf was playing in the background and I thought I was in Hell.  Like I said, another story for another blog!)  That point was a very difficult time in my life, due both to having a ridiculously messed up childbirth experience as well as my father dying two weeks later.  A concert was the very last place I could go, both physically and mentally, so I missed that tour here.  I did catch them later on…for three shows on the east coast…because really, why see them anywhere nearby?  😀  It’s been a joke between my friends and I that the band would never be able to place a face to my name along with where I lived or normally saw them because I’ve seen them everywhere BUT where I lived, which is really kind of true.  Not that they would know me from anyone else at this point – and yes – I do take comfort in that.  😉

So that brings me to once again realizing just how lucky I’ve been.  I know there are many of you out there that haven’t had the opportunity to travel to see the band, and still more of you that have to wait just so that they even come to your country. I know how lucky I am to have the chance to see them somewhat regularly, and I also realize how unfair it must seem to those of you who do not. This blog isn’t gloating, although I suppose one could read it that way – please do not.  I think that mostly I’m counting my own blessings.  I came from a very modest upbringing, in fact – I hadn’t even been on a plane more than twice before I was married, and the very idea of going to a concert was a luxury, much less traveling out of state to see a band!  If I had only known in 2001 that just by my husband taking me to one single Duran Duran show at the House of Blues in Anaheim that I would find myself here – well, I would have jumped at the opportunity a lot sooner, and I think my husband may have thought twice before insisting I go to that concert with him!!  It’s been a wild, strange trip at times, and I’m very much looking forward to getting back out there to see my friends, meet new ones, and of course to exchange a smile or two with the band!

So Pomona, California – here I come!  -R

80’s fans

I was surfing the net today, looking for something other than my pre-sale stress to write about here, and it didn’t take very long before I found it.  Out of the boards that I regularly visit for Duran Duran, there is one that seems to have a much more, well, negative side to it these days.  It used to be that I could count on the board for a shot of realism, but it’s sadly gone down the way from realistic to downright dumping on the band, and their fans.  It’s confusing to be honest, because these people say they are fans – and I believe them – but I also think they are hoping to change things that have been in place for years and years and years at this point.  I ended up clicking the “big red X” in the left hand corner of the screen rather quickly after reading the first few thread updates, simply because what started off as a good anticipatory mood quickly became one of frustration, and disappointment.  Why bother??

The thread topic in question was a basic review of last night’s show – Shepherds Bush Empire.  I think that for most of us, this kind of marks the beginning of the shows ahead.  It was the first real all-encompassing chance the band had to play some new material, mix it with some older material, and get a feel for how the crowd would take it.  The setlist was pretty mixed in that there were quite a few “old standby” songs NOT on the list, but also plenty that were, and some new songs that were played, as well as many that were not.  As is typical, for every fan or two you find that loved the set, there are two others that hated it.  (for the record, I must again state that I would HATE to be the band.  They can’t win with us.  Ever.)   I don’t think there was anything truly surprising about the show or the setlist, or even the review…until they got to the part about the audience.

To be fair, I was not at the show, and I have never attended a show outside of the US.  I’m actually looking forward to going to the UK in May, in part because I really want to be able to see the differences between the audience and fans there vs. here.  Maybe there really aren’t any differences – maybe there are plenty, I don’t know – but I’m looking forward to finding out.  That said, the one comment I read that is the topic for this blog is that according to the reviewer, the band needs younger fans.  I believe the topic of the thread is “All The Band Needs….is a better Audience!”, and the board is www.duranduranboard.proboards.com (you must be a member of the board to read the thread)  In the thread, the reviewer says that most of the audience was “older” – in that they were in their 40’s.  After about 30 minutes, much of the audience stopped clapping and dancing.  Of course, a few other posters refuted that claim – but having not been there, I have no idea.   I did see video clips from others though, and I saw NOTHING of the sort.  It looked to me like the audience was dancing, screaming, singing right along with the band.  I don’t know what else they were looking for – a mosh pit??  I will say though that I’ve been to many shows here in the states, and there have been some shows where the audience seemed dead on their feet.  Still many others where I could feel the excitement reverberating in the floor, and see the effects all around me.  I also think it has everything to do with where you’re standing, whom you’re around, and your own attitude.   This particular reviewer feels that the fans from the 80’s are just too old to be of any real help to the band….and still a few others on the board apparently agree.  I’m just not sure I understand that logic. My take on this is that if it weren’t for long time fans….of ANY age…the band wouldn’t have a fanbase.  Period.  To try and purposefully turn people off is not the way to go. I would wholeheartedly agree that doing festivals and trying to show younger audiences what the band is doing nowadays is a great idea – and I hope it works for them.

I guess that my big problem with this line of thinking is that – weren’t we here before?  Like maybe during the last album?  I know I read many, many times on the boards that the “old” fans needed to just go away if we didn’t like the new material.  Many of us did leave, and many of us stuck around – figuring that we’d been fans for so long that we didn’t know who else we’d be without the band in our lives.  Still others loved Red Carpet Massacre, and yet it took each one of us to make this community what it was during Red Carpet Massacre, and what it IS right now.   Now the old fans need to go away if we can’t dance like we’re 15, and we’re apparently scaring the young kids away from being interested in Duran Duran.  I’m sorry, but if it weren’t for each and every single one of us – regardless of how old you are or when you became a fan (I don’t care if it was yesterday – welcome to the club, here’s your card, and good luck – you’re gonna need therapy.), the band NEEDS US, because without their fans – they wouldn’t have a damn job!

If you can’t tell, I’ve definitely got my ire up today.   – R

Sell Outs!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

-R

Worried about the Future

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

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

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

-A

Luxury Discussions and Pregnancy Announcements

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

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

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

-A

Unfinished Projects

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

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

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

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

-A

Is it March 22nd yet?

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

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

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

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

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

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

-R

It’s Pre-Sale Wednesday!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-R