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!!