Twitter Vacation

John Taylor has gone on a twitter vacation.  It is just for a few days.  Yet, I’m finding myself pondering this.  Is it a good thing?  A bad thing?  How will it effect the fan community?  Duran Duran finished their shows in North America on Saturday night in the Dominican Republic.  From here, they are off to Europe with a show in Zurich followed by the shows in the UK (Yay!).  Summer will be filled with Europe dates.  I wonder with Duran moving beyond the US and other North American countries and with John’s twitter silence how fans here are going to deal, assuming that John really will be able to keep silent.  One of the interesting things about John and tweeting is that he really seems to enjoy doing it.  It doesn’t seem to be part of his job but something that he wants to do.  Nonetheless, right now, he is taking a break from it as the band is between North American and Europe tour dates.  I don’t blame him but I will be watching to see how the fans handle this. 

Duran is one band that seems to take a lot of breaks.  Now, being honest, I don’t follow any other bands this closely so it might be that all bands take breaks.  Duran obviously takes breaks to work on albums but they also take them in between legs of a tour, like now.  I can definitely understand that.  I’m sure that many/most/all of them are checking in at home, trying to rest up, etc.  Maybe they are even getting ready to introduce new songs into the setlist (please, oh, please…*coughLateBarcough*).  These breaks, though, sometimes, seem to bring out the worst in us fans.  I worry that this time might be even worse.  Why?  Why would it be worse?  Two reasons, really.  The first and most important reason is that we have all been able to feel closer to the band because of their use of social networking.  They have become more of a constant entity in our daily lives.  The second one has more to do with the nature of our fan community.  I’m sure that there is some negative feelings towards or between those fans who got to see a show or two on this run.  Maybe, there is animosity towards those who have shows coming up.  Perhaps, those negative feelings (fair or not) might be coming from the people who won’t get a show for whatever reason.  In my experience, when Duranies are restless, bored or annoyed, shit tends to hit the fan. 

In the past, whenever there has been downtime, Duranies seem to start to get on each other’s nerves.  I’m not sure why.  My theory has always been that when you have nothing else to focus on, you tend to focus on each other.  Yet, it seems to be relatively calm and peaceful on most message boards I have glanced at recently and I haven’t heard anything too crazy going on in the world of Twitter or Facebook.  People commented about their shows, shared their stories and seem to be accepting of one another.  This also surprises me.  Does this mean that there wasn’t any drama during this leg?  I can’t imagine that.  I’m sure that there had to be some drama somewhere.  I’m not saying that there should be drama or conflicts anywhere just that I’m surprised by this and am preparing for it now that the guys are gone.  Although, I don’t know if the others are taking a break from social networking, too, or if it is just John? 

Could the quiet be a sign that our fan community is growing up a bit?  Could be that everyone really just sticks to their own group of friends so there is less interaction and less conflict?  Could it be that people are being better about this type of thing?  I don’t know.  I know that there has been conflicts in the last month or so.  I can’t imagine that everything has improved that dramatically in such a short time.  Is it that everyone is tired from following all of the action?  That could be.  I obviously welcome this.  I am still preparing myself, though, as I know that the peace can end quickly.  This could be the calm before the storm.  To be honest, that is one thing I’m really looking forward to in the UK.  No known drama.  I’m sure that drama is quite possible there, too, but I’m not as familiar with it.  The trip can be drama-free, at least for my group. 

Thus, as I continue to plan for my trip, I will be missing John’s tweets and will be watching and waiting to see if all of the Duranies can handle the silence and the break.

-A

Birmingham Sites Related to Duran

As part of my birthday gift from my brother, I received a tour guide book on Britain.  Sweet.  I, of course, have already looked through it a bunch and expect that I will be looking through it a lot more in the next few weeks.  Speaking of that, in just 3 short weeks, I will be in Birmingham!  I cannot believe it!  Rhonda and I have been busy trying to get everything ready for our trip.  Obviously, a lot of our plans revolve around those Duran Duran shows that we will be attending.  In fact, our first few days will be a blur as we travel from city to city and go from show to show.  Then, we will have a chance to catch our breaths and see a bit of the country.  I’m looking forward to this almost as much as the shows.  Right now, we plan to return to Birmingham for a day in order to spend a bit more time than what the show schedule allows.  As part of this return, we hope to see some of the Duran related locations.  Unfortunately, a Duran Duran sponsored tour like this does not seem to be featured in any tour guide book that I have looked at.  I also have not been able to find something like this online, either.  I don’t get it. 

I find it fascinating that there is not somewhere, some place to find all of the Duran related locations and how to get to them.  Obviously, I know that some of the sites are no longer there since the band hasn’t lived there for a long time, but still.  For example, I plan to go to the site of where the Rum Runner once stood.  I want to acknowledge their beginnings.  I want to be able to say that I was there.  Other fandoms seem to have this.  For example, fans of TV shows and movies often travel to the locations of where the shows or movies were filmed to see the locations.  As a fan of Roswell (the old TV show), I was able to go to the area in California where the show was filmed and follow an online tour to see where various scenes, episodes and locations were shot.  This online tour not only described where to find the places but also gave an order about which places to see in order to be most efficient.  The guide also described what was significant about each location in case I could not remember.  Why isn’t there something like this for Duranies in relation to Birmingham?  I cannot imagine that Rhonda and I will be the first fans to go there wanting to see places that have/had meaning in the band’s history. 

I know that as part of the Live from London DVD, Nick, Roger and John walked around different parts of the city and talked about what happened, where.  This does not necessarily help me.  Did they provide addresses?  Directions on how to get there?  Not so much.  I have been going through articles and their unofficial biography to write down any locations that were meaningful and then will do searches to figure out exactly where they might be.  This is a lot of work.  Now, I don’t mind doing it, to some extent.  I am, after all, a researcher at heart (I have a history degree.), but I also have a ton of other things to do.  I also worry that my research will not result in me having all of the really important places.  For instance, I have seen pictures of the guys’ childhood homes.  Do I have any chance of really finding them?  Probably not.  I just don’t want to miss this opportunity, especially when I don’t know if it will ever come again. 

Maybe there is some guide out there.  Maybe some fans have something like this and have never shared it publicly.  If this is the case, then, I urge you to make it public or to, at least, send it to the Daily Duranie at dailyduranie@gmail.com.  If people do have information and want to share it with us, we would gladly take the help.  Our hope with this type of visit is to simply embrace the band’s history and to learn a little bit more about where they came from. 

-A

It’s Personal

First, I must apologize for the lateness of this blog entry.  Today’s my birthday and I had been out with friends and was at work before that.  Second, I had an entry all planned out in my head but have decided to scrap that one for today.  I might write about it tomorrow or Sunday, though.  I don’t know why days like this make me emotional, but they do.  Is it because people make a big deal out of birthdays?  Is it because it represents the stopping of one year and the starting of the next?  Is that I had a couple of drinks?  Is it because last weekend I was at Duran shows and in three weeks I’ll be on a plane to London?  Is it all of the above?  Probably.

I have to admit that I have been processing everything that was last weekend still.  I keep thinking about the shows, the drive, the interactions with others and more.  I have been accused once or twice in my life of over thinking and I’m sure I’m guilty of it now.  Yet, sometimes, thinking helps to make decisions, draw conclusions and move on.  Here is the conclusion I have drawn since last weekend.  I’m not inviting anyone else in.  You are probably thinking that you have no freaking idea of what the heck I’m talking about.  Let me explain and maybe, you, too, can relate.

When I first started touring and going to Duran functions, I wanted to meet as many people as I could!  For one thing, I wanted to share my excitement, my love for the band with other people who understood.  Heck, isn’t that why a lot of us sought out message boards in the modern era and penpals back in the day?  I was really lucky to have met Rhonda early on in my touring life.  Although, looking back on it, maybe I wasn’t as I think she spoiled me for life.  As I was saying, the other part of meeting fellow Duranies was to find people to go to shows with.  I figured that I could always go alone but it would not be the same or as fun.  Therefore, over the course of many years now, I have attended shows with a variety of people.  Some of these people are very much like me in my fandom and others, not at all.  Last weekend, I attended my two shows with 3 people I wasn’t sure of as I didn’t really know or understand their Duranie status. 

I believe that all 3 of those people had a good time.  Nothing super dramatic or problematic happened with any of them.  Yet, I have found myself with a burning desire to narrow the group of people I attend shows with.  (I still really want to meet other fans, though!!!!)  Why?  If there wasn’t a problem and people had a good time, why would I limit myself?  Why would I want that?  I want that because it’s personal.  The thing about Duran Duran for me is that they aren’t just another band.  I’m not just a fan of theirs.  There is something more, something deeper.  Obviously, I have made a commitment to this fandom in a much different way than someone who attends their hometown show when the band comes around.  I write this blog and I’m working on a book.  My vacations are tours or to visit other friends that I have met because of the band.  I’m not saying that I’m a bigger or better fan than the new people I went with or than the people who go to hometown shows, but I am different.  I can’t and shouldn’t expect people to be like me.  At the same token, I also need to feel safe in my fandom on tour. 

I feel like I have taken risks every time someone new enters my touring world.  I’ll be really honest here.  Some of the people that were, at one point, part of my Duranie world are no longer.  I have been hurt by many of these situations whether it is that the person used me or whether it was because the person wasn’t being truthful.  I am tired of trying to explain my fandom.  I’m tired of being worried about whether or not I will be treated well and whether or not I will be uncomfortable in any given situation on tour.  I don’t want to spend my time worrying about those issues when I could and should be enjoying a show or shows.  I don’t know how long this will last and I want to be able to really enjoy it while I can.  I want to go to shows with people who get it and get me or can at least appreciate where I’m coming from.  This is personal to me and I’m tired of feeling exposed and vulnerable.  Likewise, I can imagine that non-Duranies would have as much fun doing some of the things I do on tour. 

I know that this probably sounds incredibly vague and I apologize for this.  Let me try to put a twist on it with concrete terms that I think might make more sense.  I was willing to stand in line and in GA for hours last weekend to get a decent spot for the Chicago show.  Not everyone is.  I get that.  If I try to force someone to do that in order to go with me, it probably won’t go too well.  Maybe it will go okay once or twice but after awhile, true feelings with come out.  Maybe then the other person will go but start to feel bitter or resentful.  Maybe I will, too, because I don’t know why someone isn’t enjoying this as much as I am.  Maybe I will feel judged for loving it the way I do.  Maybe I’ll judge them.  It isn’t good for anyone. 

Therefore, I, now, think I will stick to those people I have attended shows with and have had a good time with.  I want to be with people who understand how much all of this means to me or can appreciate it.  I want to feel comfortable and not worried about when it will all fall apart.  I need some security and I need to be able to trust the people I attend shows with. 

-A

Early Summer Nerves – The Daily Duranie Review

It’s Thursday – and that means it’s time for another Daily Duranie Review!!  Today we bring you Early Summer Nerves, which is a track off of the Best Buy exclusive version of All You Need Is Now.

Rhonda’s take:


Musicality/Instrumentation:  This song me of something you might hear late, late, late at night at the after after party of a show by a band that did an awesome show earlier that night in a much bigger setting.  Maybe a band like Duran Duran, but maybe not.  It’s like the last song of the last set in the last bar that the band visited that evening.  It starts off with a lazy yet funky groove (that I completely adore) sound to it – almost as though the band is putting it together as the go along.  Not quite a full out “jam”, more of a drunken “let’s get together and play one for the road”.  Then Nick’s synths kick in around 55 seconds into the song and you realize – “oh wait, this is for REAL!”  It slows right back down as we enter the second course and we’re back to funknation.  (yes, that’s a Nick Rhodes term if I’ve ever heard it – but please don’t confuse it with “groooveworld”)  The song has almost a transcendental type feel to it around 1:50 seconds, almost later Beatlesque – it reminds me of several songs off of either the White Album or Abbey Road – but then it goes right back to lazy funk to finish out the song.  I have to wonder just how much more dirty, gritty funk could be had if it were less electronic/synthesizer and more bass, guitar & drums.

Vocals:  When I first heard this – I was completely appalled at Simon’s voice.  It sounded semi-whiney, VERY strained and way out of his vocal range.  I didn’t think it was necessary – and it sounded a lot like a one-take type of song.  Something they threw on the album just to finish it out.  Oh wait.  It’s on the “Best Buy” exclusive, isn’t it?  Now, before you all throw tomatoes, I have to say I’ve continued to force myself to listen to the song many, many more times since – and it’s honestly growing on me.  I think the vocal strain is probably part of the whole point.  It gives Simon’s voice an almost organic type of feel to it, rather than every note being rehearsed, practiced and polished.  I think the song was meant to feel more like a demo than it was anything else, and it does give the song that lazy type of feel – just like a hot, lazy summers evening…  Or, as *I* prefer to envision it – the last song of the last set, well after midnight (as in we’re almost, but not quite reaching up for the sunrise) in an almost empty bar in the middle of August.  Not one of those fancy schmancy bars either – I’m talking one of those bars with wood floors that haven’t been resurfaced in years, with wood stools and chairs, and the bar is in the middle of the room, with the “stage” set up in the corner of the room.  Just a couple of microphones, a stool, some speakers and some people sitting around nursing the last drinks of the night.  Simon is sitting on that stool, crooning away, and begins whistling the tune instead of singing,  as he gets up off of the stool and wanders out of the bar, onto the sidewalk – swaggering (or staggering, however you so choose to envision the moment) back up to his hotel for the night.  Or morning.   So yeah, I get it.

Lyrics:  You mean there are real lyrics to this song??  A small admission here is that I’ve gotten so into the pure funk of the moment that I have paid almost ZERO attention to what the heck the song is about.  Nice reviewing, huh?  I have to hand it to the musicality because it’s made me completely forget to notice what the band is trying to convey through lyrics.  Does it really matter?  Clearly, it’s about a guy/girl thing…aren’t they all??  It reminds me a little bit of a sort of “walk of shame” set up…  Kind of like the “morning after” sort of song – and the way it’s being sung is perfect for that sort of thing.  I love the line about “now as the memory hits me right between the eyes”.  I don’t know, it reminds me of some long last nights from college!  I can’t help but love ’em.  Perfect for those late, late nights when your head is wrapped up from earlier events that night!

Production: My only real complaint – and it’s not necessarily a complaint as much as it is more of a question – is that I wonder how this song would sound live.  Would I hear more guitar?  Would I feel more bass?  COULD I feel more bass?  Would the song have more swagger live than it does on the CD?  I’m not sure.  I think it might…  I think that for the way the song was arranged and written musically though, the production is perfect.  I still get the swagger, I still get plenty of funk and I think the balance between bass and treble is perfect.  Every track is able to be heard and I don’t feel as though I’ve been slapped in the face with noise…and yes, that matters!

Overall: I completely hated this song the first time I heard it.  I remember it clearly because within one single measure (4 counts) – I was yelling that they’d taken a masterpiece album and – as John had said that they still had time to do – they fucked up the ending.  I couldn’t understand why they bothered to include it on ANY version of the album, much less expect fans to pay for it.  (yes, I really said that.  Out loud even.)  But, then I forced myself to listen again, and again and again because – well – I refused to believe that there wasn’t at least one thing about this song that I couldn’t learn to respect.  I refuse to have another Night Runner on my hands from this group! I’m glad I did that, because in a very short amount of time I found that while this is definitely not a “typical” Duran Duran song in many ways – it’s a gem of its own right.  It’s like finding one of those obscure B-sides you’d never heard before, then playing it and at first saying “Oh god – now I know why I’ve never heard it before, it sucks!” , then with more listens it becomes one of your sentimental favorites.  That’s what this song is like for me.  I don’t ever expect to hear it live – but if I do – I’ll be nodding my head and swaggering right along with the band.

Rating: 

Amanda’s take:

Musicality/Instrumentation:  I have to admit that it has taken me a long time to separate the two bonus tracks featured on the Best Buy edition.  This was also true for the interludes.  I just couldn’t separate them.  Perhaps, in this case, it is because neither one hit me in a positive way, initially.  This song is a mixed bag for me, musically.  It has some elements that I love and others that drive me crazy.  For most of the song, it feels like a solid groove, one that creates a kind of mellow feeling to it, thanks to John Taylor’s bass playing.  Then, Nick’s keyboards enter to introduce the chorus and transition back to the verse.  I hate the keyboards.  I find them distracting and feel like they take away from the relaxed jam going on.   

Vocals:  I have tried to appreciate Simon’s vocals here.  I have.  I even heard a little Anyone Out There in the first verse with the line that ends with “night”, which gives me a warm feeling, but, in general, I’m not a fan.  The vocals seem to match the music well, which could be good.  Unfortunately, most of it acts as a compliment to the keyboards that drive me crazy.  Instead of being low and mellow like the bass, he sings in a range that sounds strained to me and concerns me that there might be damage (joking..kinda).  Like the keyboards themselves, I think the vocals hurt the quality of the song.

Lyrics:  Now, there isn’t anything extra special when it comes to the lyrics other than the fact that it took many, many listens for me to catch most of them.  They feel like a classic Duran song, though.  In fact, they could be a combination between something like Save a Prayer and Last Chance on the Stairway with the references to the morning light and trying to impress a girl.  Of course, like many Duran tracks, the hero of the song seems to fail at his task.  It seems to me that Simon does this kind of guy unable to get girl’s attention or affection well.  It has been a theme throughout their career, from the first album to this one and most in between.  While it may be something overdone, it is always done well and does represent a timeless and common situation in the dating world.

Production:  Okay.  I, generally, don’t have much to say about the production but not this time!  Why can’t they turn down the keyboards.  I understand that Nick wants to be featured, wants to be heard.  I get that, but why must they then be so noticeable?  In a song that could be ruled by the rhythm section, I find myself having to focus on the keyboards and keyboards that don’t make me happy.  Maybe they wouldn’t bother me as much if they didn’t seem so loud!  I will say one thing for this–it made what could have been a relaxed song one that feels more like someone’s “nerves” are a little frayed!

Overall:  This song had such potential.  I really like some elements to it.  The bass is great and creates a good atmosphere that is pushed to the side by overpowering keyboards and vocals that coincide.  The vocals actually make it so the lyrics aren’t as noticeable as well and they are classic Duran lyrics!  To me, this song ends up as a weird combination of separate elements instead of one strong unit with every band member working together to create a masterpiece.

Rating:

I’m pretty comfortable going out on a limb and saying that MANY of Duran Duran’s fans have been fans for a fairly lengthy amount of time at this point.  Some have been fans since the reunion was announced.  Others say they’ve been fans since the 90’s, and still others, like myself, have been fans since the 80’s.  Some of us have stuck with the band since we first heard  a song on the radio, some of us were drawn in by a video, some wandered away for a while, and others float in and out of the fan community as albums have been released, tours played, and then during the down time – they are on to something else.  The point being, most of the fan base have been fans for long enough to where there’s a certain amount of comfort, as though the fan community is home – and we own it.

With that sense of ownership comes a very slippery slope down to the busy highway of reality.  I know this because I have to constantly remind myself that although I’ve been a fan since 1981 (and as I type that I’m telling myself that 1981 wasn’t really that long ago…ha!), I’m only a FAN.  I’ve never been behind the big curtain to see what goes on behind the scenes, nor do I know even the first thing about the business dealings that must go on.  I can’t possibly know how the band should handle their business, and even though I feel like I’ve been around long enough to be an expert – I’m not.   I catch myself trying to play Monday Morning Quarterback (I know not all of our readers are from the US, so I apologize for the American football reference – I don’t know an equivalent reference for the rest of the world’s version of football!), and then I staple my mouth shut and tie my fingers together.  Although I’d like to say I’ve got it all figured out, of course I don’t!

Along with that sort of feeling of ownership comes one where we all want to believe they love us best.  Elementary schoolyard type issues, of course – but it still holds true.  We’ve all been fans for so long, how could they NOT know that, see that, and adore us for that?  Why wouldn’t they love the US best??  (puh-leese.  I can name about 500,000 reasons why they shouldn’t!!)  Simon mentioned being glad he was in Canada yesterday, and as a big reward, his twitter blew up with messages from many, MANY fans asking why he didn’t love the USA. I think that annoyed the hell out of Simon (it annoyed me, and I live here!) because he responded with his usual sarcasm – mentioning that it’s a sense of national insecurity.  True, although I think it is more like insecurity in general.  If they didn’t love touring, if they didn’t love seeing new places – why would they bother?  Believe me, they like the US fine, but sometimes it’s really nice to get the hell out of Dodge and see somewhere new!   The United States might very well be a nice place – I haven’t personally traveled the world enough to really know it’s the best, nor would I put myself out on a limb to say so.  I know there are other places on the planet that are just as nice, in completely different ways.  I appreciate different cultures and ways of life.  Why wouldn’t the band?  What bothers me the most about all of that is then we’ve got people who do not live in the US who end up believing that Americans only think of themselves, that we’re just soulless people who are made purely of money and don’t have any vision of the rest of the world.  While I have no doubt that there are plenty of people like that in this country, and those opinions have little to do with Duran Duran as they might our foreign policies and our history;  I really don’t think that the comments to Simon had anything to do with that vision.  It had everything to do with feeling as though we all individually have some sort of ownership over the band.  Go on and admit it – it won’t kill you, and I already did it!  We want to keep them for ourselves because we’re all selfish little beasts at times, and along with being beasts – we’re damn insecure no less!  Not only do we want John and Simon to tell us if they’re going to come back to see us again in the fall – we want them to know which venues they should play at, and then we want a DM (direct message) back from them saying that we’re the best fan “evah” and that they really would just rather stay in the US.

Wake up, people!!!  There’s a whole world out there – and for the record, sure…I’d love for the band to play here continuously.  In my backyard, naturally!  I’m sure fans in Japan, China, India…South Africa…Australia, New Zealand and plenty of other places I’m not mentioning but probably should would love for them to play there continuously as well!  There’s one band and a zillion places to visit.  We must share and be thankful that they’re still playing – some day not so incredibly long off that may not still be the case.  

-R

Happy Birthday Roger!

Roger Taylor was not my first crush, as it turns out.  That title is held by none other than Shaun Cassidy.  I think I was probably about seven, maybe even six years old when I decided that yes, Shaun was the man for me.  I had posters up on my wall, all of his record albums and read every magazine I could get my hands on that had articles of Shaun in them.  Sunday nights?  They were spent watching The Hardy Boys on TV, and yes – I even read the Hardy Boys books.  Then one day I heard he got married.  I was furious!  How DARE he forget about me!!  I calmly took his posters off of my wall – handed them to my younger sister for her viewing pleasure, simply stopped listening to his albums, and moved on to Rick Springfield.  My affair with Rick was intense, yet shortlived.  I collected his posters and pictures with care, I rocked out to Jessie’s Girl and I’ve Done Everything for You…and I loved his dog, too.  Somewhere along the line though – and perhaps even simultaneously, I heard Planet Earth.  Then I saw the video…and then I heard and saw Rio, and watched that video.  That, my friends, is what began my love for the drummer.   Below are some of my Roger memories from over the years.

There was something about him that just drew me in.  I’ll admit it, I go for brunettes.  The brown eyes, the olive skin?  Yep…it all works.  I liked the fact that he seemed quiet and shy because I could easily identify with that.  I loved the fact that he mumbled the words to ITSISK in the video and turned away from the camera – because I would have done it exactly the same way!  I think that I also loved that aside from the occasional eyeliner, Roger didn’t seem to wear much makeup.  I guess I like ’em masculine, although eyeliner works really well for me.  It was within the first 30 seconds of seeing Planet Earth that I proclaimed Roger to be my future husband, and I meant it with every fiber of my 11 year old self.  Age difference?  What’s 10 years among friends??   The fact that I wasn’t a supermodel?  EH.   I might not have the smokey sex appeal of a size 0 supermodel, but I was no slouch.  I’d learn, dammit!   Thus began the plastering of posters on my wall and the silent pleas with whatever god was listening that he bring Roger to me.  Yes, one year I really did ask Santa for Roger.  Santa laughed, damn him.  I never did decide if Santa was laughing because of my crazy request, or because I was probably about 13 at the time, making a trip back to Santa’s lap after a few years of absence just to see if it’d work!   It wasn’t very long after that request though that I heard some horrible news:  Roger was getting married.  MARRIED.  My friends consoled me as I pouted over the news.  I suppose a part of me wished for his happiness, and I recognized that simply due to the fact that he’d never met me – he had to move on.  *please read my BIG dramatic, teenage girl sigh right HERE*   Of course, that was only the beginning of the heartbreaks the man would provide me with for the next few years.  Naturally we all know that Roger left Duran Duran after Live Aid, which for me was the ultimate betrayal.  I was gutted and furious at the same time.  In a fit I know I tore at least one of his pictures off of my wall (yes, Andy came down as well!), but in time, I just grew to miss him.  I never cared whether he was the best drummer or the worst drummer the band had ever had – the fact was, he was *my* drummer.  I did learn to accept his absence, although I always wondered whatever happened.

As we all know, in 2003 – a miracle happened (at least for me!) and the band reunited.  Here is the funny thing – when duranduran.com first put up the splash page they used to announce the reunion, I honestly wasn’t positive which one was Roger.  I had to go through the photos one by one – obviously recognizing Simon, Nick and then John, which left two photos.  I couldn’t be sure which one was Roger.  “Awesome” (to be very Californian) fan, huh?  😀   Naturally I did figure it out eventually!   I went to the reunion shows, and finally was able to say that I saw the original 5 band members together.  A dream come true.

My next Roger “experience” was at the Virgin Megastores signing on Sunset in LA.  Up until then, I’d never been the type of fan to try and find them after shows, or go to hotels where I think they might be staying – that kind of thing always interested me, but I felt like at my age – what point would there really be?  By then I’d more than realized that while my husband has NO qualms about pronouncing my “hotness”, I definitely wasn’t rock star wife material.  I’m not   a size 0, my hair isn’t super long, I’m not gorgeous beyond all means…I’m not even sure you’d be able to pick me out of a crowd. (although my husband, bless him…says I’m the hottest Duran Duran fan around.  No, I’m not continually drugging him.  I’ll keep him!!)  In any case, I figured that this was the one and only chance I’d ever have at actually meeting the guys in any   kind of a situation that didn’t involve them being on a stage and my being many rows back.  As I approached Roger – he was seated last in line at the table – I swear my hands were shaking but I absolutely refused to allow myself to blow my moment and look like the desperate housewife I knew I probably was.  I smiled right at him, said thank you for doing the signing because I’d have never had the chance to “meet” him otherwise (and I seriously held up my hands and did the quote mark thing…good god…), and THEN…to finish up I told him that I’d been a fan since 1981 and that he had always been my favorite, and that he still was.  Then the floor opened up and swallowed me whole.  😀

Roger was kind enough to look at me, smile very nicely and say that was really sweet – and I think I believed he really meant it.  Then he saw my daughter Heather standing off to the side (at the time she was 7 and super cute – not that she isn’t still super cute, but she’s a teenager now – pigtails don’t really work the same way anymore!), he winked at her, told her to take good care of her mummy, and sent us on our way.

More recently, I did learn the fine art of hanging out at hotel bars with my friends – checking out the scene and if we were lucky, we’d see a band member show up.  One of those times was in Las Vegas, and Roger was the “lucky” band member of the evening.  I actually got a few smiles out of him that night, but I never once tried to approach him.  I’m not that bold, because while I know many, MANY people have been lucky enough to go up to him or any one of the band members for hugs – I wouldn’t dare.  I’d be the one they’d recoil back from, give a curt ‘no thank you’ to, and I’d be mortified, both at my boldness and at the result – and I am going to be honest, I think that would completely ruin me.  So, I watch others, think wistfully about what could be, and go away happy knowing that I didn’t create a scene, behave like “one of THOSE” fans, or…be rejected.   More power to those of you who have no issue.

You would think that by now, I’d have a drumstick or two.  He is my favorite band member to this day – although Dom Brown is an extremely close second.  (psst – he’s probably surpassed Roger most of the time, but Roger and I have “history” and that counts for something!  Don’t tell Roger!  Or my husband! *gasp*)  Sadly though, I do not have a drumstick OR a photo with him. (or any band member, actually)  There was one time though, that I was very close.  It was in New Orleans when they did the Voodoo Festival.  I can’t remember exactly how close we finally ended up to the stage, but given the crowd behind me – we were pretty close.  Maybe about 5th row?  Anyway, I had a sign specifically for Roger that I’d brought to a few shows since 2005.  I didn’t think there’d be a chance in hell he’d see it, but luck was in my favor that night and he did.  He motioned to me, asking if I wanted the drumstick, then he tossed it my way.  The girls in front of me even looked back to see me when I’d catch it, then this giant man next to me reached up, grabbed out of my reach and handed it to his wife.  I was shocked because I knew the stick was meant for me – but what do you do?  I know some fans who would have made an issue out of it, and I would be lying if I didn’t admit that part of me wanted to – but what good would it have really done, and of course – it’s just a drumstick.  I looked up at Roger and kind of wrinkled my nose and shrugged.  And he smiled at me, winked and mouthed “sorry”.  That totally trumped getting the drumstick and I’ll never forget it!!  

I know I’ve told that story, and probably all of these before, to friends or maybe even on the blog – but my personal experiences with these guys are pretty far and few in between, so these tend to stand out.  Sure, I’d love a stick one of these days – and maybe I’ll be lucky and get one, but if not – that memory serves it’s purpose.

Roger is still my favorite (or ONE of my favorites).  I know people who haven’t had the best run-ins with him, but I can say that about every single one of the band members at this point – including those who are no longer with the band.  That doesn’t excuse whatever happened, but my point is that they all share one blinding characteristic, and that is that they are all male, and all human.  They aren’t perfect, and based on what I’ve seen over my years of being a fan, they all have had their personal boundaries crossed by fans, sometimes several times over the course of any one evening.  I’ll bet they get tired of it, and you know – they have that right.  For example: I’m a mom, I know what goes into the job and yet I chose to have three children. I still get very annoyed when I have to get up over and over again during the night because my youngest refuses to sleep and wants to wander the house instead.  It’s not fun all the time, and yet I chose this life – just as they chose theirs.  I try to remember that although it’s not always easy.

Happy Birthday Roger.  I wish you the very, very best for many healthy and happy years ahead…and hey, if you want to try throwing me a drumstick again in say – Birmingham – I’ll try to catch it this time.  😀

-R

The Final Countdown

Tell me that you all aren’t hearing The Final Countdown by Europe playing in your heads….because I hear it in mine.  Wrong band, wrong blog….but I still really like the song! (I can’t help it.  The 80’s power ballads hold a dear spot in my heart and memory.  Sue me.)

It is Monday, April 25.  I have 25 days to go until I leave for England.  (I can also tell you the hours and minutes until my plane leaves…and yes, I really AM counting.)  Today, in the life of Rhonda, I dropped off my middle child – my son – for 6th grade Science Camp.  Science Camp, for those who don’t have kids or don’t partake in such events – is the very apex of being in elementary school here in Orange County.  You start hearing about it in kindergarten, and the big deal is that it’s an overnight thing.  Several “overnights” to be exact.  He left today and returns on Friday afternoon – likely exhausted and sleep deprived, no less.  (kind of like how we are after going to a DD show or two…)  His time finally arrived, and I’m happy to say – he made it on the bus and is on his way!  The even bigger deal about all of this, is that my son is on the Autistic spectrum.  He is extremely high functioning and well on his way to being a superior computer engineer (likely specializing in video gaming) someday.  However, not long ago – my son was a very depressed 7 year old.  We were in the process of getting his autism diagnosis and we were trying to get him help at school – which took forever.  Then he hit 4th grade, and everything seemed to get much, much worse.  He was ridiculed at school, both by his class and by his teacher.  He believed no one wanted him, loved him or cared about him except for me – those were his words, not mine.  His habitual side took over, and he was a child that chewed on everything he could get his hands on, and if he couldn’t chew it, he’d completely destroy it. (including each and every jet we have in our backyard hot tub – that took him 10 minutes to completely dismantle)  If he wasn’t chewing or destroying things, he was taking his anger out on his stuffed animals, completely beheading them, stabbing them and taking the stuffing out of them.  It was after I found those heaped in a pile in his room that I knew we needed help, fast.  After much counseling, a brand new school year with a new teacher and a lot of healing, I am thrilled and so extremely proud to say that he is my “easy” child, and he really, REALLY is.  I am going to miss him so much this week, but I can’t think of another kid that deserves this camp more, and I hope he has a fantastic week ahead.   Next up is my youngest’s third birthday.  Conversely, she is not my easy child right now.  I love her dearly, but she is embracing the age of three in all of it’s splendor.  I especially love when I tell her no and she screams directly in my face – only to have me start laughing in return.  (ah, to be the last of a long line of tantrum-throwers.  There’s not much left I haven’t had done to me, so nothing really phases mom much!)  The other night she had a completely epic tantrum after being told the last Easter Egg had already been dyed and we were finished.  I actually videotaped it for later use.  As blackmail.  🙂   The beauty of this birthday is that not only is it my little one’s special day, but it is also the very special day of my blogging partner Amanda!  Thank you for agreeing to share your birthday with my youngest, Amanda – do you still remember that fateful phone call 3 years ago??    She was actually supposed to be born on my sisters birthday – May 15, but due to an immense amount of stress that I was under (my dad had just been rushed to the hospital, and my blood pressure was through the roof), I had to have her early.  Amanda was the first person I called, both to wish her a happy birthday and to tell her that she was going to be sharing her birthday with my youngest!  Good times!!!

Yes, I realize the blog today has nothing to do with Duran Duran yet.  I’m just counting down my own busy life between now and the day I leave.

I suppose I will close the blog by mentioning that I’ve read in a few places about how fantastic the show was in Chicago this weekend.  Both the show itself…and the show after the show that took place at a local bar.  Amanda blogged about the concert, which sounded like a good one, but she’s conspicuously NOT blogged about the fun that took place afterward.  Our blog has desperately tried not to be gossip rag or a “tell-all”.  I almost wish I WOULD post some of the crazy stuff I’ve seen over the years, and I’m not talking about the behavior of the band, but rather, the behavior of some of the fans.  I think we’ve all done things at times that we’ve cringed about later – but I don’t mind saying that some seem to keep right on doing it, over and over again.  Clearly it’s not enough to crave the attention from the band, but they also crave the attention from the rest of the fans as well – because it is always quite a show.  We sit, we watch, we laugh.  Does this make us mean?  Well, partly no because we don’t post those stories… but partly yes because to be honest – half of the reason I hang around afterwards is to watch the scene unfold.  I could lie and try to take the high road by saying I do it all in the name of social science, but the fact is – it’s entertaining and I am probably not being very nice when I say that, so I openly apologize.  I still promise that I will do my best not to blog about the “guess who threw her breasts at Roger” type stories I hear because that is unkind, but I can’t promise not to grin or even snicker a little at some of the crazy things that happen at times.  I don’t ever intend to be mean, but sometimes I do have to wonder out loud as to why people behave the way they do, and not think that someone, somewhere, is ever going to call them out for that behavior.  If that’s not social science, I don’t know what is!

-R

Daily Duranie Show Review–Chicago, Illinois April 23, 2011

That’s more like it.  This show, unlike the previous one, had everything go right despite a uh…challenging morning.  For those of you who missed yesterday’s post, this half of the Daily Duranie consumed a bit too much alcohol on the night of the Minneapolis gig.  Since I’m not 22 anymore, hangovers are now an issue.  This led my friend, Deb, and I to leave Minneapolis about an hour and a half behind schedule.  Luckily for us, though, we made incredibly good time due to decent weather and little traffic.  In fact, we made it from Minneapolis to Chicago in just under 7 hours!  The other members of our Chicago show group arrived at our hotel around the same time.  We then got ready and got some food in us.  By 4:20, we were ready to take on the world or in this case the line to get into the show.  Like many before and after us, we used the jump the line deal that House of Blues offers, which is paying money at either their restaurant or gift shop and getting a wristband to go in after those who are VIPing do.  The wait in line was pretty standard.  It was a little chilly at times and hard on our feet, back, and other body parts, but we managed to pass the time by having some fun conversation with each other and with the people near us.  By this point, I’m already feeling better about the show.  First of all, I was actually in line, which meant that I had a decent shot at a decent spot to see.  Second, it was clear that House of Blues runs a more much organized operation.  Each different group of ticket holders had their own place to line up.  Then, the doors actually opened at the time they said they were going to be opened.  One funny incident that happened as we were entering the venue was that Deb got stopped as her ticket wasn’t registering on their little scanner.  Turns out that she handed the person her Minneapolis ticket!  Oops.  The problem was easily fixed and we were well prepared with a strategy about where to stake our spot.  We aimed to go between Simon and Dom, figuring that John’s side is usually much more crowded.  Well, in this case, it wasn’t true because we entered from the right so Dom side was filling up faster.  After a quick change of plans to go to John’s side, we found ourselves about 7 rows back right in front of his microphone.  Oh yes, this show was definitely going to be better than the last!

The audience suffered through an additional wait before having the show start.  Like the previous night, what I assume, are some of the fan made videos were shown on a big screen in front of the stage.  The videos matched the nine tracks of the iTunes edition of the album.  I suppose in this way the audience could now say that they heard that version of the album.  Perhaps, that will help album sales.  I also noticed that there was a deal at the merchandise table for some product plus a cd.  I would assume that would be a copy of AYNIN but I didn’t check.  Like the previous night, the band started late.  Luckily, it wasn’t over an hour but it was 25 minutes late.  Ugh.  Torture.  I swear.  Plus, I also agree with Rhonda that this is unprofessional of them.  They should be prepared and on time.

The show began with Planet Earth as they have been doing for a couple of weeks now.  Nick and Roger are the first ones out, which works to both spotlight each member and helps to build anticipation in the audience, especially as people start figuring out what song it is.  The Chicago crowd was into as soon as the first note was played.  They were into it so much that I remember thinking to myself that there was NO way that any of us could keep up that level of intensity.  This feeling is enhanced by this venue’s floor which seems to actually move when there is enough bouncing or movement on it. The band sounded great and the song featured the standard JoSi moments when John and Simon sing part of the chorus together.  I also noticed that John was singing along away from his microphone as soon as the lyrics started, which always pleases me.  That says to me that he is as into it as I am!  This classic was followed up by another classic of Hungry Like the Wolf.  Normally, I complain to myself or out loud about how sick of this song I am but there was something about it last night that seemed fresher.  Perhaps, it was because Planet Earth was so intense but I actually sort of enjoyed it!

The new songs started with All You Need is Now as the third song.  I was so surprised that they didn’t introduce this one.  I instantly worried that people would not recognize it and wouldn’t even think about appreciating it because there was no introduction to it.  I was pleasantly surprised, though, when a lot of people seemed familiar with it.  To be fair, though, I was fairly close to the front, which usually features more of the core fanbase.  I don’t know how well known it seemed at the back.  The energy for the song felt good and the band seemed really comfortable with it.  Being Followed, on the other hand, did not go down as well despite having a great intro.  Simon started talking about Twitter and about how he and John have been tweeting.  In fact, he said that he learns about the plans for the day by reading John’s twitter!  John seemed thoroughly amused by this and later tweeted about how he is now being called Sir Tweetsalot!  After these two news tracks, they returned to an oldie but a goody with Notorious.  Again, they helped their cause by encouraging the audience to join with the saying of “Notorious”.  This worked well.  After that, they played two new tracks, Safe and Leave a Light on.

I was not overly impressed with Safe.  I agree with a number of people’s opinions that Anna isn’t cutting it with this song.  To be fair, I think a lot of it has to do with vocal style as opposed to effort.  Speaking of Anna, I noticed that she plays a much more prominent role in the show in that she is moving around more and is actually often in the main part of the stage with the guys as opposed to being off to the side.  I’m uncomfortable with this as her role isn’t to be part of the group exactly.  Now, it makes sense when she is featured in a song, but otherwise, not so much.  While I’m thinking of backup musicians, Saxy Simon seems to have taken on the role of doing additional percussion over by John.  Interesting.  I didn’t notice anything particularly wrong with this but I also didn’t notice him much in that role.  Anyway, I expected to be really impressed with Leave a Light on based on what I have heard so far about that song live.  John gave a wonderful introduction about how they had been coming to Chicago for like 30 years and that this song was about those 30 years and the next!  It gave me goosebumps to think of their history like that and to think that they plan on continuing for a long time!  That said, the song didn’t really hit me.  There was nothing technically wrong with the song but something seemed missing.  I wonder if that had to do with the lack of emotion coming from the audience.  Since the crowd wasn’t feeling it, the band wasn’t feeling it much either.  Perhaps, it is hard for me to judge slower numbers as they are not really my thing. 

At this point, the band decided to bust into Friends of Mine.  I had to laugh at the comment about how they had to brush the dust off of this number as I know that they have been playing it periodically during this tour.  Nonetheless, it lived up to its billing as being a super big crowd pleaser!  The crowd was WAY into it as was Simon!  He was so into it with the dramatic faces that seem to accompany this song!  This was a definite highlight.  From there, they decided to do Blame the Machines, which I thought was an interesting choice at that time.  The crowd was really pumped from FOM and then to go to a new one was a tough jump.  The band performed the song relatively well.  I’m still not sure about the ending with Anna being the voice of the GPS woman.  It just seems really hard to translate live well.  After that point, they performed two classics:  The Chauffeur and Ordinary World.  They performed these well but were not the highlights.  Like a normal Duran show, the end always builds into such intensity that no one wants them to stop.

They played four more songs before the encore including Girl Panic, Careless Memories, Sunrise and Rio.  My personal highlight out of those and out of the whole show was Careless Memories.  It featured the BEST of Duran Duran, in my opinion.  First of all, it features both DoJo (Dom and John rocking out together) AND JoSi!  I wasn’t expecting that!  In fact, at one point, it appeared as if John put his head on Simon’s shoulder when standing behind him!  Dang!  Then, it also features highlights of both Roger’s playing as well as Nick’s.  Such good stuff!  The rest of that group of songs went over as they normally do.  By now, the fans get excited to “Reach up for the Sunrise” and are ready to clap at the end of Rio.  I, for one, though, was pleased to get a brief break as I had been moving around a lot, singing and screaming, when something worthy took place, which seemed to happen a lot during this show!  The encore featured the Reflex, for a change, and Girls on Film.  I didn’t miss a View to a Kill and enjoyed the Reflex.  Girls on Film was good, as usual, but the intros were better than ever!!!  Each person was given time to perform a solo, including Anna, Saxy Simon and Dom.  Then, of course, I enjoyed the heck out of Simon’s introductions for the band members, especially John’s.  Again, Simon did a little Poker Face as part of his intro, which was fine but the audience participation of that fell apart.  People just don’t know it well enough.

Overall, the show was amazing!  It was definitely one of the best shows I have ever seen!  Now, I still had to deal with the usual crap found with general admission including the drunk people near you and the people that move in from nowhere just when the show is about to start.  In general, I thought the crowd was really into it, but even near me there were people who didn’t seem to.  Some people were literally just standing or barely moving.  I don’t get that!  How is that even possible at a show like this?!  Why bother coming if you aren’t going to enjoy it?  The band sounded very tight and really seemed relaxed.  They really seemed to be enjoying themselves and I believe that they enjoyed the reception they received.  John, in fact, made motions that he kept hearing a lot of screaming.  I can’t imagine why?!  I’m glad that this was the last show I go to before the UK shows as it did exactly what I expected it to:  it made me want to do more!  I even joked about hopping on a plane to Toronto to go to the next show!  Ha!  I guess I have to be a little patient and Birmingham will be here before I know it!

-A

All I Need is Vodka….

It is 2 o’clock in the morning.  I am probably still feeling the effect of many, many, many vodka tonics.  This was my response to a very unusual Duran Duran show.  In fact, I’m not sure how to feel about this show.  I will not be getting much sleep tonight as I’m going to finish this and get ready for bed only to get up in a few hours to drive 8 hours to Chicago.  Normally, I would be giving a review of the show but I don’t think that would be fair.  Let me explain.

We arrived at the venue at about 7:15 and the doors were to open at 7.  Why?  Well, I got a late start leaving from home.  Then, we ran into construction which added significant amount of time to the trip.  Then, we got food and got ready.  Our plan was to order a cab from my friend’s house so that we didn’t have to drive and worry about parking.  The cab didn’t come.  We ended up getting a ride from my friend’s husband.  We were late.  Okay.  I was determined to be okay with this.  I knew that I wasn’t going to be in front but then I wanted a spot where I could jam out at.  Initially, we seem to get that.  We had some space on the far right about 9 or 10 rows back.  I was good with that.  Well, it kept filling up and filling up.  Then, people started to be serious jerks.  What do I do?  Do I stay and hope that people give more space?  Do I leave in order to get more space?  I hated this.  I hated having to move.  I hated all of it.  Honestly, I just wanted to be somewhere where I could see some of the band and enjoy myself.  Is that too much to ask? 

I move.  I move many times throughout the rest of the show for a variety of reasons that I won’t get into.  The point is that I truly only enjoyed about 5-6 songs.  I won’t do this again.  Ever.  Not at a Duran show.  Especially not for Duran.  I’m either at a decent place or I’m not there at all.  I’m not saying that I have to VIP but I do want a decent location and I want to stay there.  When it comes down to it, I’m truly there to see and hear a performance.  I didn’t have that tonight.  I will have it tomorrow or I won’t do it again.

Now, it seems to be that the band sounded great from what I heard.  I was thrilled to hear real intros during Girls on Film.  I wasn’t all that excited with their lateness (they started at 9:05 for what was supposed to be a 8 o’clock start).  I also wasn’t all that excited by the “let’s play some of the fan videos while we wait thing”.  It turned me off and can’t imagine that it didn’t others.  As for the rest of the show, I honestly have no idea.  I don’t need to be moving around.  I don’t want to be.  I want to watch and listen to Duran Duran live.  Simple.  The rest of the crap doesn’t matter to me.

I apologize if this review wasn’t standard.  I wish that I could be providing one that is more like the Daily Duranie style.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have the experience that would warrant a review.  I wasn’t in a position to judge ANYTHING.  Obviously, I am hoping that I will have a chance to enjoy a show tomorrow and to give a real review for Chicago.

Can You Feel It?

I know that I can feel it.  Call it nervous energy.  Call it cautious excitement.  Call it positive anxiety.  I don’t care what you or I call it but I have it.  I have had it all week.  In fact, it has been slowly building, which has caused me to get less sleep than I should have last night.  How do I know that I have it?  I know because I feel slightly giddy at times and completely irritated when I must deal with real life issues, at other times.  I alternately want to speed up time and worried that I don’t have enough time to be completely ready.  I have made lists upon lists and double and triple checked the ones I have already made.  I have sent multiple messages to multiple people to “check in”.  Weather.com has regained status of one of my most active links, which hasn’t happened since the last winter snow storm.  My closet looks like it has been through a war as random clothes were pulled out, tried on, and thrown to the floor in rejection.  What does all of this mean?  It means that there is a show tonight!!!!

I cannot be the only one who gets this nervous energy, right?!  Part of it, absolutely, is nothing but excitement!  I haven’t seen the boys in a couple of years and I’m thrilled with the new material.  The positive reviews from my partner-in-crime and others have only increased my level of anticipation!  Perhaps, this year is a little bit more special because it has been a rough one for me.  I remember, years ago, when I had a show coming up, it was all that I thought about, all that I worried about!  I no longer have that luxury as real life has hit me upside the head a few hundred times since December.  Therefore, maybe, I’m looking at these shows as a sanctuary, a place to get much needed relief.  I have a whole weekend to just enjoy friends who I love and music that I love.  I don’t have to think about my future, my career, my finances or anything else like that.  It is all about fun and good times.  I bet Duran likes it that way, too.  🙂

Of course, the other part has less to do with excitement and more to do with nervousness.  Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a planner.  My friends always tease me about the tour binder but I suspect that I would be a basketcase without it.  I need to know that any information I might need is readily available and that I have enough planned to ensure a smooth tour.  Now, don’t get me wrong, there is plenty left open to make choices about!  Despite being beyond prepared, I’m always a little worried about those elements of a show or tour that I can’t control!  Will we get there on time?  How long will the line be?  Should we have lined up earlier?  Will we have to fight for our spots (I hate GA!)?  Did I take care of everything at home?  Is there something I should have done before I left?  I could go on and on.

Many reasons for today’s blog post.  First, I suspect that I’m not the only one to feel this same sort of mixed anticipation.  Second, I find expressing my thoughts and emotions to be a positive way to deal with my feelings or some crap like that.  Lastly, this is a warning to our readers, to my family and to my friends, near and far.  I experience this before just 2 shows in the Midwest, near home.  I am an experienced tour goer, especially in both Minneapolis and Chicago.  I swear that I would be capable of doing it all well in my sleep.  That said, in less than a month now, the Daily Duranie and friends leave to go to England where we will be doing multiple shows in multiple cities.  This type of tour will increase both the time and intensity of this nervous energy.   People may want to proceed with caution when dealing with me for the next month!   

Now, I plan on enjoying myself thoroughly for this weekend as it is the preview, the warm up, to the tour of a lifetime!!!

-A