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

Too Bad You’re So Beautiful – The Daily Duranie Review

Hello Thursday!  Today we’re continuing to review the album (and yes, someday we really will finish it – probably just in time to start complaining about the time it’s taking to finish up the “next” album, ha ha!)  by checking in with Too Bad You’re So Beautiful.

Rhonda’s take:

Musicality/Instrumentation:  I really like the beginning of this song with the way it starts with what sounds like Nick switching all systems “on”.   Then the guitar starts in with it’s driving rhythm, followed by the full band at 22 seconds into the song.  It’s a good intro that draws you in immediately.  I really like John’s part in this song, because rather than just have what could a very bland bass part – he really does have his own piece of the melody, and it adds a solid foundation to the sound.  I really don’t think there’s any mistaking the use of chords, the call/answer of the synths to the rest of the band, or even the short instrumental section in the middle of the song to be Duran Duran – it’s their classic “formula”. (and if I’m being fair, I should add here that I really dislike the word “formula” because it would indicate that they don’t try to be experimental or go out on a limb – and that couldn’t be further from the truth.  I just can’t come up with a better description word)  There are so many parts to this song that I can trace back to their beginning roots – it’s a definite classic.

Vocals:  Hello Simon LeBon.  After hearing a few of the more recent additions to the physical CD, I was starting to get worried.  His voice seemed to be strained and whiny, and he really isn’t that way at all.  However, in this case – his vocals are true to real life.  That said, there is a certain quality to Simon’s voice that has been lost over the years.  Back on their earlier albums (I’m thinking specifically of their first album and Rio), there was a beautifully dark quality to his vocals – it provided a depth to their music as a whole, and I think that as the years have worn on, that quality has been lost, and I do miss it.  As a whole though, Simon’s voice is still gorgeous, and we should all be so lucky as to be able to “bring it” quite the way he still does after singing professionally for over 30 years now.  Before someone slams me for not mentioning it, yes – I am aware that Simon had injured his vocal chords some years back, and the effects are there, like them or not.

Lyrics: I’m curious as to how many of you out there liken these lyrics to JoSi…and I’m even more curious as to whether or not my writing partner will comment on them in her review!  What is the song really about?  Well, I’ll leave the JoSi fantasy up to those who choose to partake.  I have to say that I really miss the obscurity in their lyrics.  Sure, we can all sing Planet Earth, and we can all sing Cracks in the Pavement (and if you cannot – my assignment for you is to go back and listen to SATRT.  It’s obviously been too long for you!), but what do those words really mean?!?  I miss the days of not really knowing for sure.  I mean, I suppose we could take up a debate about who Simon is really talking about in this song – but the fact is, we all get the basic idea.  I miss my head being full of chopstick!

Oh, and as for *my* take on the lyrics?  JoSi aside (because that’s really Amanda’s department!), I really like the idea of this song being about the fans.  For that matter, Simon could be singing the song from the standpoint of the fans and he’d be dead on.  I can really kind of see it either way – and yes Amanda, I’m entitled to my own fantasy here.  😀    My favorite line(s)?  “I may be a deluded fool but still fascinated”  and “My lunar dreams, how do I stop them?  But it’s not your problem when you’re above it all.”  (and I probably didn’t even say that right and I really don’t give a damn…..yeah I’m all about the puns today…..)

Production:   This is my least favorite category to review, and admittedly – it’s because I have one ounce of knowledge about something that is as wide as an ocean, and I recognize that.  I can only really give my opinion based on being a layman listener. (and I’m thankful each and every day that I play an instrument that is rarely “screwed with” on an electronic level – I’m a clarinet player!) I’m not an audiophile in any real sense of the word, and while I have a great ear, I’m no expert…but I digress.  I really like the song as a whole, although I feel as though every knob in the studio was turned up to ’10’ again.  It’s really up in your face, and I don’t feel that they did everyone justice here – the guitar blends right in with Nick’s synths (they slightly overpower the guitar, which I don’t think is a compliment) and that does it’s share to  although I will say that John’s bass is a standout.  In a good way.  The song really needs that bass to kick it into a groove without it just being a wall of treble clef sound coming at you, and John’s bass does that.  I’m not totally in love with the way Roger was recorded on this one either – the “slap” sound they gave his drums, while intriguing at first – is just too much of the “high” without any of the “low” that a drum can give, which would have benefited this song.

Overall: When I hear the very first sounds from this song – I know immediately that it’s Duran Duran. (what is it about their music? Without even hearing Simon we know it’s Duran Duran and there’s comfort in that)  That’s not a bad thing.  I would say that this is one of the “safest” songs on the album – I don’t hear huge chances being taken musically or lyrically in any sense, but with that safety comes great comfort to a fan.  Yes, it’s nice to fall for a song that’s completely “out there”….like perhaps Night Runner or even Hallucinating Elvis, but there’s something to be said for the warm cozy blanket feeling I get when I hear this song or many others off of this album.  Sometimes it’s good to be cloaked with what we know and love.  I read somewhere that the band felt pretty confident that this song would be in the “top 10” for fans.  I’m not sure if that’s true yet (haven’t heard a lot of chat about the song), but I definitely feel it’s a Duran Duran classic.  I’m looking very forward to hearing it live and feeling the differences between the recorded version and what they can bring live.  The one thing I want to say is that this song could have easily had been a 5 cocktail, but I can’t give it that rating with the obvious production issues.  If I could give Duran Duran one word to think about the next time they record, that word would be BALANCE.  Balance the high notes with low notes. Don’t forget to support the melody with the bass – it’s the foundation of the song.  John totally and completely brings it to the table on this record, but it’s not being taken full advantage, and that’s a crime on this one.

Rating:

Amanda’s thoughts:

Musicality/Instrumentation:  I have been anxiously awaiting the chance to review this one.  (We don’t have much left, do we?  Of course, we have lots of previous songs and albums to review!)  I LOVE how this song starts.  It feels very sci-fi to me as it feels like buttons have been pressed and that whatever the sound is keeps increasing until the meat of the music begins.  It definitely works to build anticipation and to give the listener a clue that this is going to be an upbeat song.  Then, I love how instantly I hear bass, guitar and drums before the vocals start.  I have to admit to really loving the bass in this one.  It reminds me in some ways of some of John’s classic bass lines that I love like a Hold Back the Rain, for example.  Not sure why.  It just does.  I appreciate how Nick’s synths become more noticeable but still not in the spotlight during the part leading up to the chorus.  This, of course, is complimented by Simon’s vocals at that time, which I will mention later.  Then, the keyboards come on very strong at the end of the chorus signaling a new verse.  This pattern feels very Duran Duran to me.  Then, of course, there is the little interlude about 3 minutes into it which features a softer keyboard sound along with the foundation of the bass and Simon’s prettier vocals, which is a nice touch!

Vocals:
Simon’s vocals are the most noticeable in this song during the two sections of the song in which Simon sounds more mechanical and less melodic which begins with the lyric, “Lay me on your bed”.  At first, I wasn’t sure about his vocals in those sections.  It sort of reminded me of the strange, almost harsh keyboard sounds in All You Need Is Now.  Obviously, those two do not sound at all alike and I’m not saying that.  I’m saying that both elements were different than the rest of the song and seemed almost shocking.  Yet, I can’t imagine either song without these parts.  Both work to catch your attention.  In this song’s case, this section alerts me that the chorus is about to begin.  The lyrics in those sections are also such that they catch my attention as well!  As for the rest of the song, I think classic Simon is featured unlike Other People’s Lives and some of the other tracks off the album that we haven’t gotten to yet.  I like classic LeBon.

Lyrics:
Okay.  I’m not going to lie.  I’m a JoSi fan and thought INSTANTLY about JoSi when I heard these lyrics.  The same was true for the first time I heard Want You More off of Astronaut.  (Rhonda was full of lyrical puns and I’m referencing other songs!  What is up with us today?!)  Both songs were very gender neutral.  Yes, there is a reference to a “queen” in this song, but that term isn’t always used to describe a female.  Then, of course, there is the image of someone laying on a bed, smoking a cigarette.  Strangely enough, John has recently quit smoking.  Thus, he was still smoking during the making of this track.  Coincidence?  That is for you to decide, my friends.  Now, let’s assume for a second that this is the case of Simon lusting after John.  I find myself relating!  Do you know how easily I related to the line about being a “hostage to that face of yours”?  How many John girls haven’t felt that?!   Then, of course, the idea that the person singing wants to be more than just a friend.  I think that might fit with the idea of JoSi as well.  I won’t even go there with the line, “I want to stroke your sleepy head.”  Beyond the potential JoSi references, there is another line that has caught my attention, which is, “I may be a deluded fool but still fascinated.”  That line could really be a reference to fandom, in general.  Good stuff.  Of course, this isn’t exactly poetry of LeBon’s past or even the poetry of Before the Rain, but it is vague enough that we can interpret it however we want!  *coughJoSicough*

Production:
Like Rhonda, this is the area that I feel least qualified to talk about.  I almost wish that I could review songs after I hear them live.  To me, then, I have a much better glimpse into the quality of production.  Some songs are definitely improved by production and others are not.  I suspect that this song might be one that is better live, which isn’t to say that I don’t love it because I do.  I just bet it sounds better live.  Does that mean that the production was bad?  I don’t know that I would go that far either.  I think that a valid criticism could be that the instruments became a little less natural with the production.  It became too smooth.  It took a little away from the soul of the song.

Overall:
I love this song.  Up until hearing this song, I had been searching for an upbeat song to compliment the fabulous slower tempo songs.  While I love Girl Panic, it didn’t take me to the level of I must listen to this song over and over and over again like songs like Leopard had done for me.  Yet, this song does that for me.  I keep finding myself listening to it over and over again.  The musical pattern feels like classic Duran for me.  The lyrics entertain the heck out of me and Simon’s vocals do exactly what they should do.  Now, let’s hope that John’s tweet about getting ready to play this one in the UK is right because I’m ready to rock out to it!

Rating:

30 Days…holidays, memories, and planning!

So I received a package today that contained my travel size, dual voltage flat iron.  I realize this might not be terribly exciting for the rest of the world – but for me, it’s thrilling because it means that I will still have straight hair while visiting England, and more importantly – when I go to see Duran Duran.  😀  Laugh if you must, just understand that I know they can see to about the 10th row.  I won’t have curly, unruly wavy hair while standing in front of John, Simon, Nick, Roger OR Dom, thankyouverymuch.  Vain much?  YES!

In the coming days I have a few more travel items being sent – adapters and that sort of thing.  Again, not terribly exciting to everyone else, but for me – it’s Christmas Part II!  I can’t help but feel both a sense of excitement and of course one of continuous anxiety, and that’s probably going to continue until the moment I get on the plane, and maybe even then I’ll fret a bit until I find Amanda (along with our other friends Jessica and Deb!) on the ground once I’ve landed at Heathrow.  Once I know we’re all there, together and safe, I’ll be ready to get the party started!

Between now and then – and we’ve got 30 days to go here – it’s going to be insanity at my house.  Sunday is Easter, (it’s honestly a miracle that the “Easter Bunny” remembered to buy candy, baskets and goodies this year….just saying) then next Friday is the 3rd birthday of my youngest.  We’re celebrating the birthday both on Friday AND on Saturday because she’s just too cute to stuff it all into one day.  The following week (officially in May now), my oldest has her spring dance performances.  Then there’s Mothers Day, my sister’s birthday and somewhere in between all of that, I have to give myself sometime to breathe and probably grieve and remember a bit – as the anniversary of my dad’s passing will take place.  It was a rather long and drawn out type of thing while he was in the hospital those last few weeks, and unfortunately I’m still getting used to those memories, the pain that is associated with them, and learning to go on without his daily presence.  Unfortunately for me, during this time of year that should be so joyous, my thoughts  are typically of what my mom, sister and I went through and I don’t mind saying that I have a very tough time, although I try to do it privately because that’s just me.  I talk about it more on this blog than I ever do in “real life”, oddly enough.  This year though, I’m hopeful that I will keep myself busy enough with the trip planning to do better.  It will have only been 3 years (yes, if you’re keeping track – my youngest was born 2 weeks prior to my dad’s passing.  Now you can probably understand why it’s all a little more difficult.  My dad was rushed to the hospital on a Sunday and I was put in the hospital two days later – the stress was just too much for me)  So, while I don’t want the blog to be a downer for the next few weeks, I’m not going to lie – it might be at times.  If I seem a little out of sorts, it’s probably because I will be, and I apologize in advance.

On a better note, the weeks are gonna FLY by until I leave, that is for sure!  In just a few days, my good friend Amanda will have her two show “binge” with the band before getting ready for her trip, too!  It’s funny because at this point, I’ve already seen my US shows and I’ve moved on to preparing for the UK – and yet she’s yet to see her shows so she probably thinks I’ve lost my mind by just moving right along.  I’m looking forward to hearing how her shows go, and naturally, once she’s off of her Duran “high”, I look even more forward to going over our plans with a fine toothed comb – and hearing all about the tour binder for the UK!  I can’t even begin to imagine what all she’ll include in there, but I look forward to hearing all about it!

Next on my list of “things to buy for trip” are shoes.  I need to spend some serious time looking for cute ballet flats for during the day – must be cute AND comfortable.  I also still need clothes….and a billion dollars to spend however I choose…. 🙂  The list goes on, and don’t think I’m completely ignoring my children, or their ever-growing and changing “Master Schedule” that must be devised before I set one foot out of this house on May 20th.

I’ll start working on that  May 19th.   Midnight.   😉

-R

We want to meet YOU!

Exactly one month from tomorrow, yours truly will be packing the last of her closet to get on a plane bound for the UK.  (is it wrong that I am almost looking forward to the flight because I’ll have some much needed peace and quiet?  Yes, compared to my home on any given day, a crowded seat, on a plane, in COACH – is quiet!)  My credit card seems to still be shocked from it’s liberal application towards hotel rooms, various modes of transportation, not to mention tickets to shows….but it’ll be OK eventually.  I’m starting to have anxiety about leaving, especially when my mother calls me (this morning) and asks for the “master schedule” during the time I am gone.  It’s a MONTH away.  Obviously my mom has no idea what goes on here during a “normal” week.  Plans are made and changed.  Children (aka my oldest) will call on a moments notice and tell me that the entire afternoons schedule has been scrapped due to a previously unannounced rehearsal being called….doctors appointments are made, changed, and then completely canceled, and…in what I consider to be the “crowning glory”, my husband emails me…as he is boarding a plane, to tell me that he won’t be home that night.  Or the next.   Yes, that’s my life in a nutshell.  I’ve taken to not only having my schedule on my laptop and my phone, but also on a very large white board attached to a wall in my kitchen, and yes – it’s color-coded based on what person’s appointments are up there, and yes – it’s scary to look at.  Sometimes in the middle of the night I’ll creep downstairs after tossing and turning in bed for an hour or more because I can’t remember who is supposed to be where the next day, and god-forbid the day I actually forget to put something on there.  I’ve missed parent teacher meetings even when they’ve been scheduled in my phone because I’ve missed the alarm for them, so yeah – there’s a little anxiety, and my mom wants the schedule today.  This morning.  Now.

After I finished laughing ruefully, I silently reminded myself that my mom is leaving for a trip next week and she’ll be gone until the day that I leave for the UK.  I really don’t have much time to talk to her between now and then, and…I hesitate to say this, but I must…she’s a senior citizen.  They PLAN things.  In ADVANCE.  I explained my circumstances to my mom, and after carefully promising to get that schedule to her via email (yes, my mom is completely wired as far as the ‘net goes) before I leave, I take a deep breath.  I’ve got at least 2 more weeks before I have to start panicking about the trip, along with Easter and a birthday party for my youngest to get through.  One day at a time.

In the meantime, Amanda and I have started conversing over what we’d like to do in our spare time while in England.  Naturally we’ve got shows to see, but we’ve also got a few days where we’re in London, and we thought that at the very least – we should put the idea of a meet-up out there to our fellow DD fans!  We would love to meet some fans while we’re there!  We have it on good authority that there’s a club called Club Reflex in London that plays 80’s music.  Seems like a good fit for Duran Duran fans like us, and so we’re throwing the idea out to anyone who might be interested.  We’re thinking of going on Friday night – we’re going with another friend of ours from the US, and we’d love to populate the club with as many fellow DD fans as possible and have it become a real party.  Drop us a line, either here on the blog, at our gmail address (dailyduranie@gmail.com), find us on Facebook (Daily Duranie) or even on Twitter (@DailyDuranie) – let’s get together and have a great time!

-R

Poker Face Made Me Hurl

No really – I did!

My plan was simple:  get home from a day out with the family in time to catch DD’s set at Coachella.  I was thrilled they were broadcasting their show on Youtube because it saved me the pain and suffering of having to be at the Festival in person.  (Please see my previous blog: The Top 10 Reasons I Won’t be at Coachella )  The plan worked well, I was home from a fantastic Earth Day hike around Newport’s Back Bay in plenty of time to rest up, put aloe on my sunburn and get myself a glass of wine for the show.  Then just as Duran took the stage – my stomach announced that the day was going to end badly:  FOOD POISONING.

As I clutched my belly and hunched over in my chair in pain, I watched the band take the stage at Coachella.  At first, I felt that they all appeared rather tentative.  Well, all except perhaps Nick Rhodes, who was barely recognizable behind the facemask – or hat – he wore on his face.  (Daily Duranie secret: I am still trying to understand the purpose.  I’m all about art.  My gosh I’ve taken enough art classes to count it as at LEAST a minor degree, but I still don’t get it.  I am positive that Nick Rhodes is going to show up here some day and revoke my Duranie card – if it weren’t due to my lack of fashion sense, it’s definitely going to be this!)  They just seemed a bit nervous and not quite at ease, but that feeling dissipated quickly as they blew through Planet Earth and on to HLTW.  The setlist didn’t really surprise me, since I had a fairly good idea of what they’d play from the Pomona show last week.  I still feel that it was smart for the band to intersperse the new music with “oldies” that the crowd might have heard over the years.   I think one can take the setlist in one of two ways and in many ways it IS a double edged sword to have such a great back catalog:  by playing the oldies such as Rio or GOF – perhaps kids in the audience said “Oh, that band plays this song?  My parents listen to that!”  therefore being turned off….or….the band won them over with the songs they’ve learned to sing along to in the car, and then snuck some new songs in to give them a taste of what they’ve been doing all these years.   Judging from what I saw in crowd reaction – this crowd was happy to hear whatever Duran Duran was playing.  I wouldn’t say the crowd was ridiculously with them, but on the same token – I saw a variety of reactions going from the Duranie who was likely both thrilled to see them as well as thrilled they’d made it through the weekend alive (props to those of you brave souls out there!!!); to those Coachella attendees that were thinking the band was OK but still not quite their favorite – so they stood there and watched; to those who might have started out thinking that the band was just OK but as the set wore on, they began to bob their head and clap their hands in spite of themselves.  At a festival, what more can you really ask for?

A few standout moments for me were during the Chauffeur – the band sounded as tight as ever, and definitely a whole lot better from some of the other acts appearing that weekend.  Safe – I am a HUGE fan of Ana Matronic after her appearance with them last night.  I wholeheartedly think she should just be on tour with the band so that they can play Safe the way it was meant to sound from here on out (I’m sorry but Anna Ross just doesn’t cut it on Safe)  and the AVTAK medley.  Simon sounded perfect, and that string section makes that entire song just work.  It was gorgeous, lush and all of the things that it should have been, and everything that shouldn’t really work at a festival, yet they did.  To perfection.

I’ve seen comments from fans saying that this was the tightest they’ve sounded yet.  Well, I can’t really agree with that – Pomona, overall, was the best show I’ve seen from them recently with regard to the bands performance, both musically and otherwise….but I might be a bit biased, since of course I was there in person and LOVED IT!  I just didn’t see quite the same amount of connection to the audience at this show, but again – it was a festival.  It’s a different crowd.  You’re not necessarily playing to a group of FANS as much as you’re playing to a group of interested bystanders who you need/want to win over.  Regardless, it was a great show for them, and if they didn’t earn any new fans from that festival – well, I’d be surprised.

By midway through the show, I was really convinced I was going to die, painfully. The show kept my mind off of the stabbing pain up until their Girls on Film encore though, in which case it was clear that my body wasn’t going to be keeping my lunch.  Or dinner.  I ran from the table just as Simon insisted on the sing-a-long that led to Anna and Simon’s version of Poker Face. Not my favorite moment of the show for a myriad of reasons as I look back on last night with a sense of infamy.  I still miss the intros – but even if we couldn’t have those, I just don’t think Duran pulls off Gaga.  (and before anyone asks, I actually like Lady Gaga)  Surely there’s got to be something else out there that could be done for a fun encore moment.

I’m much better today, thank goodness (2 of my kids are off school for spring break and they wait for NO illness!), and I look forward to my next review – which will be from Birmingham!!!

If you’re a reader of the blog and plan to be at any of the UK shows that Amanda and I will be at: Birmingham, Nottingham, Liverpool and London – let us know!  Let’s get some meetups organized – we’d love to meet you!!

-R

The Music’s Between Us

I wish that I was in San Francisco this weekend.  Yes, I absolutely wish that I was there to see Duran live, but I have two shows coming out next weekend (Minneapolis and Chicago).  Really, I wish that I had been there for the meetup on Friday.  I know that Gimme a Wristband planned a fantastic get together for the fans complete with merchandise and entertainment.  I haven’t heard much about it but I’m sure that it was beyond fun.  I love meetups like that!

Sometimes, the meetups end up being more fun than the shows themselves and other times, they just make the shows more fun and more memorable.  I’m not sure how many of you went to the “fan show” in New York City in June of 2007, but that was a situation in which the meetup was WAY more fun than the show.  Like the meetup in San Francisco, it took place the night before the show.  It was in a club that had an 80s night.  The club wasn’t that big and wasn’t that expensive.  It allowed us to meet each other in a fun, relaxed atmosphere with good music and cheap drinks!  Then, of course, the next day we all witnessed a show in which Duran was not at their best.  I know that I was thankful that the meetup had happened because it made me feel like the trip there was worthwhile then!  Of course, I have been to many shows in which the meetup took place a few hours before the show.  In those cases, they are usually somewhere where people can get drinks and dinner.  I know that I have met many Duranies that way and have stayed in contact with some of the people I have met.  In most cases, I truly enjoy meeting other fans.  I love hearing about their experiences, including the shows that they have gone to and the times they have been lucky enough to see the band in person.  I also enjoy sharing my stories.  Sometimes, you get to see people you have met before, which is cool, too.  We can then spend some time catching up!  No matter the specific circumstance, the meetups, for me, often get me more and more excited about the upcoming show!  I feed off of the energy from the other fans!

This little mini-tour will not include meetups for me.  People haven’t been planning them much.  My guess is that people aren’t interested because the shows here in the US have been GA.  Fans don’t have time to meetup with each other because they are busy standing in line in order to get a decent spot.  In this case, the meetup would not be relaxed in any way as people would be concerned about the growing line outside, even if the meetup took place at a close venue.  Perhaps, this is part of the reason that I hate GA.  I find it sad that I don’t have time to meet other people.  I don’t like that I don’t get a chance to see people I know or to meet new people.

I’m hoping that things will be different for our UK tour.  I am hoping that meetups can and do take place as those shows are all seated.  I know that Rhonda and I are both interested in meeting other fans.  We want to meet new people but we also want to get energized by other people’s excitement!  Right now, we don’t know of anything specific planned for our four shows.  I’m hoping that as those shows get closer something will be planned.  We know that it will be difficult for us to do anything before the Birmingham show as we will be just getting into town right before the show, but we will have time before Nottingham, Liverpool and London.  If meetups don’t work for those specific nights, we will also be in Birmingham for one other night and will be in London for a few leading up to the show at the O2.  I feel like if we can meet other fans, our tour will feel good and complete!

-A

YouTube Live with Duran Duran

Yesterday afternoon, I spent some time watching Duran Duran on YouTube live.  For those of you who did not see it, it was an almost hour long live program on YouTube where the band members were interviewed and received questions from both a live audience and via youtube.  In my opinion, these types of things can either be really fun or really annoying depending on both the interviewer and the questions received.  In this case, initially, I was concerned that this would be one of the annoying ones but was pleased to find out that it was enjoyable instead!

The program began with a young female interviewer (why are they always female???) who tried to introduce the band.  This one seemed to not know very much about them and relied on typical Duran questions regarding the new album, working with Mark Ronson, videos, fashion, etc.  Unfortunately, she didn’t always know how to respond to their answers and even when she did, they seemed off.  For example, she asked them to explain their writing process and she didn’t have anything to say in return after they talked about just jamming together until something catches someone’s attention.  She also commented that John looked tan after he said that he lived in Southern California.  Really??  John is tan??  Luckily for her and for me, the band began taking over and started filling in the empty space with joking and teasing each other.  For me, this is the best thing to see!  First, I heard John give Simon a hard time about his weird greenish shoes, which particularly entertained me because I actually commented on them to myself as soon as I saw them!  So silly!  Then, there were discussions about how Roger wasn’t going to be allowed to wear clothing for the next tour.  Along the lines of fashion, I loved the question about what they think each color sounds like and they actually tried to answer it!  Seeing them getting along so well and having fun always reassures me!  I truly believe that if they are enjoying themselves like this then it doesn’t matter what the album is doing, sale and chart wise.  Beyond this entertainment, I also learned some things.

I learned that the band doesn’t consider the shows they are doing now as “the big tour”.  They didn’t mention when that would start but did say soon.  Is it wrong of me to wish that the big tour starts in the UK?  When talking about tour dates, they did say that they were trying to get dates firm for the US again starting in September.  Good to know!  Must start saving as soon as I return!  They also mentioned Antony Price when talking about the clothing that will be used for this big tour.  Again, is it wrong for me to be excited by the idea of them going back to their roots?  Of course, their use of social media was discussed.  John repeated his idea that social media has allowed the fans to not only be in contact with them but with each other.  (Note to readers:  Rhonda blogged about this before.)  They also said how this format allows them to be in contact with fans in a way that is much more COMFORTABLE for them.  Hmm…something to think about!  Speaking of thinking…

One of the themes that seemed to come again and again during this was where the new album fits with the rest of Duran’s history.  Musically, Nick said that this album couldn’t have happened without Red Carpet Massacre.  That really got me thinking and I really wished that someone could have asked him a follow up question.  I don’t think that RCM taught them something new in terms of music or in terms of technology so why did RCM have to happen?  Is it an attitude thing?  Is it that they had to make something like that with “big time producers” of the day to realize that they should just be themselves?  What?  Then, when asked about how the new songs were fitting in with the old songs live, the answer was that they fit in seamlessly as they were done with the same tools.  That fascinates me, especially after Rhonda mentioned how she didn’t even notice how many new songs were played.  Could this be the reason?  If so, that pleases me.  Of course, they also talked about how they do try to change some of their classics to make them fresh.  Simon talked about how they changed the intro to Planet Earth and how that was really working for them. 

Lastly, there were discussions about how the business had changed and what advice they would give to new, upcoming artists.  Roger talked about how important it was to have a great live performance because nothing can replace that and I completely agree.  John talked about some of the things that helped Duran.  First, he talked about how there was this relationship between their managers and MTV and through this relationship came the idea of doing videos in exotic locations.  He, then, jokingly, asked what youtube would like to see.  He also mentioned that EMI, their record label in the UK, would tell Capitol, their US record label what to do and that this wouldn’t happen now for British bands.  Clearly, they made it seem much more difficult to become successful now. 

This program had a bit of everything.  It had some laughs like when John talked about how many times U2 has used the same, classic 4 chords in their songs and Duran hadn’t indicating more creativity.  It also gave me a bit to think about, including Duran’s history and the music business today.  Now, if I could have just figured out a way to record it in order to keep it with the rest of my Duran collection…

-A

Daily Duranie Show Review – Fox Theater Pomona 4/14/11

Last night I spent just under two hours in near hysteria.  I came out of the show at the Fox Theater in Pomona dripping with sweat and completely exhausted, not at all unlike how I felt when I emerged from the Voodoo festival in New Orleans the year that Duran Duran headlined. The difference being that last night I was sweaty from dancing, not sweaty from the heat of the day and someones armpit being smooshed against my face.  (ah, the joys of festival attendance)

I don’t think I’ve been at a show quite like the one last night, and at this point I think it’s fair to say I’ve been to more than a few shows.  It was amazing and bizarre all at the same time.  I don’t know if it was because the audience was every bit as into the show as I was, or if it was because the band seemed genuinely happy, if not thrilled, to be there….or if it was due to the Grey Goose I’d been enjoying, but I still say it was a show unlike no other.  There have been times when I’ve gone to a show and felt like the band just phoned it in.  There have been times when I’ve gone to a show and felt like *I* had just phoned it in as an audience member.  Last night was something special because the band was giving it, and we were accepting it and giving it right back, like some sort of huge orgy of music, dancing, sweat, adoration, love and lust.

The band did several things that surprised me, one of which being that they played in Pomona….but the Fox Theater is a beautiful venue.  I hear it’s not well run in that if you were able to get upstairs to the Skyloft bar that you were allowed early entry to the show – so if you were one of the diehards in line at 7am, that didn’t guarantee you anything but an entire day wasted by sitting outside of a venue in Pomona, CA.  To be fair to the venue though, it was clearly stated on their website that if you went to one of the venue bars for dinner or drinks you were granted early access.  Anyone could have gone, and it wasn’t as though it was a tidbit buried on the website – I found that information out pretty easily, and no – I did not take advantage of the early access.  I had my own scheduling issues, so once we were able to get to the venue I stood in the line that wrapped completely around the building one and a quarter times by the time it was just after 8 and the doors opened.  The precious VIP section was not cordoned off either, so folks who paid for VIP found themselves standing right next to, and fighting for space with folks who paid for regular GA admission.  In my opinion, it’s the same GA issues, different venue.  This isn’t going to change and it will always be an issue for GA shows.  The band and their management can only be responsible for their portion – they have zero control over the venue policies, and that’s something to consider, regardless of whether you’re an avid VIP’er or not.  Once inside though, the theater was beautiful with an art deco theme, and it’s one of the few buildings in Pomona that has both stood the test of time and hasn’t fallen into disrepair during the city’s difficult history.

It wasn’t long after we were in the venue and settled that the show began. (yes, I really cut it close this time…)  Luckily we’d gotten in just in time and were still able to get wristbands that allowed us floor access.  We found a great spot about 3/4 of the way back on Dom’s side of the stage, which is where I typically choose to stand (although not always so far back) for a GA show.  I was actually pleased that I wasn’t quite so close this time because it afforded me the opportunity to see the show from a different angle, and I could really get a better idea of how the audience responded.  When I’m up front, I’m typically among fans that I recognize, and you know everyone up front is going to go wild for certain things.  It’s easy to assume that EVERYONE in the audience is that way, when that isn’t the case at all.   Nick Rhodes came out first and began playing some chords – I found it odd that he came out alone, but then suddenly you could hear drums, and Roger was visible behind his kit.  Then of course John, Dom and Simon appeared, and began playing the familiar sounds of Planet Earth.  Wait, what??  That’s right – they opened with Planet Earth.  I don’t pay close attention to set lists, but l’d assumed they’d open with AYNIN – which they saved for later in the show. At first, everyone around me immediately pulled out their cameras and their cell phones and started filming the show.  It was ridiculous.  I couldn’t even see the stage because everyone had their arms and their camera in the air.  No one was singing, no one was dancing – and I was pissed.  We’re at a show to see the damn show, not film the whole thing!  So, I started yelling at people.  “YOU KNOW THE FUCKING WORDS, SO START SINGING!  PUT YOUR DAMN CAMERAS AWAY AND ENJOY THE SHOW!”  Yes, I really did.  My husband was probably hoping the floor would swallow him whole, and elbowed me more than once…but I didn’t care.  I was on a mission.  The funny thing is, first it was the guy next to me who gave me a guilty grin, put his phone down and started bobbing around, then the girls in front of me turned around to look at me, put their phones down and started dancing.  Before the end of the song, the section of people around me were clapping and singing “Bop ba-bop, ba-bop bop ba-bop!”  Damn right!!  Film during HLTW if you wanna – but this is Planet Earth, people!!!

Using Planet Earth to open was a really smart tactical choice, because ultimately I believe they decided to play what people knew, build momentum and then throw in a new song or two.  I have to say, this worked well.  Extremely well.  The crowd was already with the band, so they didn’t have to work so hard to sell the new material.  AYNIN went over huge with the audience, and I would guess that it’s going to become one of the band’s anthems in the long run, much in the same way of Rio, GOF, Wild Boys and Sunrise.

There were many high points during the show – Friends of Mine was done brilliantly, even without Andy Taylor on guitar.  I couldn’t get over how well the audience responded to this song – it’s not really a “hit” of theirs, but it’s a song that all Duranies know and love, and apparently a lot of general fans do as well.  The entire theater was jumping during this song, and there was no way that the band could have not noticed the thunder of enthusiasm coming right at them.  The Chauffeur was a big surprise (in fact, when it started I thought for sure they were doing Leopard until Simon came towards the front of the stage in his infamous chauffeur hat!), and of course Rio and Wild Boys were played as though the songs were just as fresh as AYNIN.  I don’t think a fan really recognizes just how timeless those songs really are until you go to a show where they play 5 songs off of their new album and yet you simultaneously feel as though the show was all of their greatest hits because they all really do seem like hits, yet – they all feel brand new because the bands enthusiasm just doesn’t wane, regardless of whether they’re playing Safe or The Chauffeur.

This wouldn’t be a fair or balanced review (who am I kidding – I am completely biased!) if I didn’t mention that there seemed to be some sound issues last night.  I don’t honestly know what happened, but during the Chauffeur I first started noticing something that sounded as though another song was also being played by mistake, but then it went away.  Then in Blame the Machines – well, that song was truly a train wreck from start to finish.  Don’t get me wrong, the band seemed to play it well enough, I think – but I could hear something going on in the background that definitely was NOT part of the song.  At first I thought Dom was playing the wrong notes (sorry Dom), and then I thought Nick had taken complete leave of his senses…and then Anna’s mike started doing a very odd echo, and Simon’s mike was too quiet.  It was bizarre, but it definitely didn’t sound right.  I turned around to look at the sound guys, and they all looked pretty nervous and were fiddling with knobs and things – and then I looked at Nick, who seemed to be looking right at them.  I can only imagine what Nick was thinking, but I would imagine it had something to do with cutting off certain parts of their bodies and collectively hanging them from the back of the bus as ornaments.  😉  After that song, it was clear that the band also knew something was awry because John kind of laughed, Roger looked up from his drum kit, shrugged and smiled, and then I saw Simon and John trading a laugh.  Oh, and Nick had someone out taking a look at his setup.

Sure hope those sound guys still have all of their um, bodies intact this morning.  🙂

That brings me to Ordinary World, which normally I wouldn’t mention because it’s a standby that I feel has reached it’s time for retirement (before you cry for my beheading – Save A Prayer is currently being “rested”.  If that can happen, anything is possible!!), but I have to mention that towards the end of the song, there was something that looked like a stick being thrown onstage.  AT Simon.  He actually had to duck to avoid being smacked in the head with it.  First of all, I applaud his reflexes.  I have a feeling that had it been me, I’d have met the stick with my face, and chances are, I’d have been visiting an urgent care for stitches after the show.  Secondly, What the hell?!?   Listen, I can and do laugh at LeBon like anyone else.  His dance moves really are something akin to seizures at times, and if he ever comes on stage wearing the glasses and pimp hat that he wore during Skin Trade during the shows in 2009 in OC and Las Vegas again, I will probably have to be carried out of the venue in a strait jacket for going hysterical – but throwing things at him, especially something that looked like it could hurt him, isn’t cool.  Simon didn’t do anything to react other than duck, and went on as though nothing happened at all – I was impressed.

By the time the band got to Rio and then Wild Boys, I was exhausted and dripping with sweat.  I can’t imagine how they must have felt, but clearly I need to build up stamina.  They went off stage for the encore, and the house was vibrating with excitement.  People started stomping their feet (and I gleefully joined in!) just as they came back out onstage.  Simon came right to the front of the stage, motioned for the cheering to continue (which it continued to raise in decibels), and stood there soaking it in.  You could see the complete pleasure on his face, and I don’t think I’ve ever really seen him quite so happy.  Even John and Nick looked up from their respective places with looks of pride and accomplishment.   I actually stood there wondering what was possibly left to be played other than GOF.  Of course, I’d forgotten about the AVTAK medley (That Fatal Kiss) – and it was fantastic.  Not quite as impressive as at the Mayan when they had the string section, but Simon sang beautifully.  Then they played GOF, and did something a little different from the normal intros in the middle.  We did a little sing-a-long with Simon that somehow morphed into Poker Face.  Truth be told, I’d seen mentions of this online, but I’d been ignoring it.  Well, I lived it last night.  It wasn’t good.  The one real disappointment in the show was this section, and I think they should ditch it.  IMMEDIATELY.  I miss chanting “Play the fucking bass, John”, and I’m not at all enamored with the idea of Simon trying to sing Poker Face.  It just doesn’t work well to end the show.  Hell, even singing a rousing rendition of “We Are Family” would work better than this, especially because at 30 years in – we really ARE family, like it or not!  Oh well, can’t fault them for trying something new, so I won’t.

Last night, I was a part of something that I believe to be very rare, and that was the pure and undeniable connection between audience and band.  I’ve never seen an audience that was so “with” the band the whole way, meeting them note for note, song for song.  If that weren’t enough, I could feel the energy in everyone else around me.  I stood there several times just marveling over the sense of community in the room.  It wasn’t just as though I stared at the band and felt a connection with those guys on stage – although that was certainly present and something worth noting – it was as though I could feel the energy of the whole experience, and I looked around and knew that everyone who was standing around me was feeling that same energy and having that same experience.  It was wild and I don’t think I’ve ever felt that way before.  I can see how addicting it can really be.  I’ve often had to explain why I continue to go to so many Duran Duran shows, even now that I’m supposedly an old lady at 40.  It’s because I’ve never felt the high that I feel after a Duran show for anything else.   I continue to go to shows to chase after that high.  Well last night, I had another “shot” of that high, and it’s indescribable.  I really don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop going to shows at this point, and I really don’t want to.

Birmingham, here I come!!   -R

Other People’s Lives – The Daily Duranie Review

We are continuing with our review of the new songs included on the CD release of All You Need Is Now, and this week we bring you Other Peoples Lives!

Rhonda’s Take:
Musicality/Instrumentation:  Where to begin with this one… I have to say that when I first heard it, all I could think of was how incredibly “quirky” the music is.  I don’t really get a real “groove” going on (although John’s got a good bass line.  I just don’t think the song was meant for real groove, so to speak!), and Nick has got some really interesting synth lines going on on top of the meat of the music.  I especially like the almost pipe organ sound to a lot of Nick’s music, and in the middle 8, I really love what he does as a call and answer with the guitar.  It reminds me very much of the theme song to the Munsters. (you probably wouldn’t know this TV show unless you’re from the US and were either growing up in the late 60’s/early 70’s – it’s black and white – or you watched Saturday afternoon TV at some point!)  The music, especially Nick’s part, is very reminiscent to the background music you would hear in a funhouse at a carnival or fair, which, given the subject matter of the lyrics, it’s very appropriate!  One thing I do like about the music in general is that while I can hear everyone – I  think it’s fair to say that no one is meant to be a star, nor are they really left in the background.

Vocals: My major complaint with this song and Simon’s vocals in particular l is that I think they forgot to balance out the mix.  He sounds like he’s stuck in soprano-land for much of the song, and I really think they could have done him a world of justice by having him sing in a different key.  He isn’t quite as whiny as he was in say, Violence of Summer (Loves taking Over) off of Liberty – but in my opinion he comes dangerously close.  One bright spot in the song is the back-up vocals that repeat Simon’s during the chorus. They are just deep enough to help balance out the insanity. (is it John?)  Of course, one could argue that the sing-songy sound of his voice plays a fantastic balance with the subject matter – it could have been a dark and brooding song but instead they went for the funhouse effect instead, probably as a sort of commentary on just how ridiculous it is that we all pay so much attention to this sort of news….but I’m getting ahead of myself and talking about lyrics now…so let’s move on!

Lyrics: One thing I have to say about this song is that for whatever reason, I’m drawn to paying close attention to the lyrics.  That doesn’t always happen with me – a lot of times I’ll be listening so closely to the music that I forget all about what the song is about, but on this one – the lyrics draw me in every time.  It’s not as though they’re genius lyrics, either!  I think some of it is because I’m trying to find something to identify with, and also because I think Simon is generally singing MY song here.  I really hate what has become much of our “news” here in this country, because truth be told – I couldn’t care less about what a young starlet has been accused of stealing at a jewelry store, or why a TV star seems to think he’s Gods biggest gift to mankind or why he thinks he deserves the world on a platter.  I’d really just prefer to have them all go away.  Quietly.  Yet, I guess I’m in the minority on that one – because we’re getting that sort of news dished to us on a daily basis, so somebody must be tuning in for it!  I suppose the argument could be made that if I’m following people on Twitter (and admittedly I am), I’m just as hungry for it as anyone else.  We’re in a voyeuristic world right now, like it or not.  Those people we love hearing about on TV are just as messed up as we are in our own lives, it’s just that they’re amplified, or pixelated, quite a bit.  Talk about living under a microscope, right?   Anyway, as much as I think the lyrics are almost juvenile “easy reading” on this song – I like them. He’s saying the things I think about when I read the paper, watch the news, or even go to Yahoo! for a search.

Production:  Here is where I feel the downfall of this song begins and ends.  I don’t know whose idea it was for Simon to sound similarly to a chipmunk – but they should be fired.  I really REALLY feel they got that one all wrong, and while yes – some of that fault does lie with Simon because he should know better than to sing so whiny, someone needed to be steering this ship just a tad more to the other side.  Turn down the treble and turn up the bass just a little bit and the song would have had a little more depth.  I understand they were going for a certain effect, and the song does have a funhouse type theme going for it, which really does play up the commentary that the band is making about the subject of the song, I still think they could have done the song far more justice had they tried to bring down Simon’s vocals to a different key.  I couldn’t quite figure out why I felt like I’d heard this song before (in the Duran Duran catalog) until the other day when my iPod played Violence of Summer for me.  It’s not nearly as overproduced (although it’s still quite a production as far as I’m concerned – it’s just done differently), but the sound is still there and it’s very similar in nature.   I do get the feeling that every single track on the song was turned up to “10” in the final mix, and I think they could have done plenty to alleviate the brick wall of sound I’m being smacked in the face with when the song begins.  Yes, it has a certain effect, but I think there is something to be said for being subtle, and the production on this song is a miss.

Overall:  When I first heard the song, it was clear it was Duran Duran.  No mistaking that one, and I would venture to guess that any other critic out there would agree. I can sum up what I felt in two words though: Bubble Gum.  Syrupy sweet, sticky, cane-sugar bubble gum.  I had a lot of trouble getting past that feeling to begin with, and I felt it was a disappointment for the album.  I didn’t feel as though the music had real depth, and the lyrics, while comical – didn’t help.  However, I’ve had the opportunity to listen to the song on and off for the past couple of weeks, and as time has gone on, I’ve learned to appreciate some of the more annoying parts of the song.  Overall I don’t feel as though it’s one of the stronger songs on the album, but there’s nothing wrong with inserting a little fun every now and then, and I think that’s the part that this song plays.  It’s not the worst song they’ve ever written, it’s definitely not one of their finest, but I can imagine myself bopping along to this song at 2am as I’m driving home from a long night out with the girls….so how can that really be all that bad?

Rating:  

Amanda’s Thoughts:

Musicality/Instrumentation:  Musically, this song draws me in and wants to make me bounce up and down in my seat!  It is very upbeat and gives an overall sense of fun!  I love how it starts with a couple beats followed by some sort of spinning sound followed up with John’s bass.  While the verse is maintained with all instruments, the chorus increases the tempo then moves back with the initial spinning sound before slowing the tempo down to the next verse.  Rhonda described the sound as some sort of fun house and this seems accurate to me with that spinning sound.  Nick’s keyboards become more obvious during the middle part of the song as there is an additional sound that seems to be something going up and down or high and low.  I love all of the changes, musically, as it moves through the song.  The changes seem to fit naturally and works to create a sense of fun.  One thing I have truly appreciated with many of the songs on this album is how they paid particular attention to having something unique at the end of the songs.  This one was no exception as the spinning sound returned until it sounded like a needle or something coming slowly to rest. 

Vocals:  When I first heard this song, I was totally into it until Simon started to sing.  He seemed to be singing too high and it distracted me from quality music.  It almost made me think that he had taken some helium from a balloon (not really but you get my point). Now, I don’t notice the vocals as much during the chorus.  Perhaps, it matches the music better or something at that point.  Then, he goes even higher to sing the bridge about “reading the headlines” around 2 and a half minutes in.  I wonder if that part is even necessary.  How would the song be if there were no vocals at that section?  Criticism aside, it is a song that makes me want to sing along and I find myself doing just that despite the high vocals!

Lyrics:  Whenever I hear this song now, I think about Simon’s inspiration for this song, which was some sort of art piece he saw where a person seemed to be intently focused on other people.  I am glad that I know that story or else I would be even more annoyed with the lyrics.  Do I think that people in contemporary developed countries focus a great deal of attention on celebrities?  Yes. Do I think that helps get people to buy magazine subscriptions?  Without question.  That said, hasn’t Duran done this topic a bunch?  Perhaps, they haven’t done it in this same way but there seems to be a lot of songs referencing celebrity culture in some fashion:  Pop Trash Movie, Red Carpet Massacre, and, perhaps, Falling Down to name a few.  Here’s where I miss younger Simon.  Yes, I understand that they are influenced by contemporary life in a way that they weren’t when they were in their early 20s.  I get that and I also understand seeing themes repeat in one’s writing.  Heck, I’m sure that we do this on this blog and we haven’t been writing for 30 years.  I just wish that if Simon wanted to tackle this topic again, he would have done it in a way that is less obvious.  This is when I miss the more obscure LeBon lyrics of the past. 

Production:  To me, the production could have made this song better.  Something could have been done with Simon’s vocals to keep the feel of them without making it sound like he was singing after sucking down some helium.  It also feels to me that the production seemed basic.  Everything was allowed to stay at the same level.  While I noticed the different instruments and enjoyed them, I didn’t get a sense that one instrument was in the limelight only to be taken over by another instrument as classic Duran always felt like to me.  This song gave me a feel of the songs on Astronaut in a way in that it is a good song but nothing was done to enhance it.  Nothing was done to make it better.

Overall:  When I first heard this song, I admit that I skipped over it quite a bit.  To be fair, though, I heard it at the same time I heard Too Bad You’re So Beautiful, which will be coming to a review near you soon, and that is a song I love.  I think the song had real potential.  I enjoyed the music very much but think that Simon’s vocals and lyrics detract from it.  I also think the production could have added something special to the instrumentation that it is lacking.  Yet, I still find myself moving in my seat and singing along, which means that the song provides a sense of fun, which is always good!

Rating: 

An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!