Should Duran be a Support Act for Take That?

A couple of days ago, an interview with John Taylor appeared on the Metro.co.uk site.  Normally, this is not such a big deal but there was one question on there which seemed to stir the pot among Duranies.  (You can read the article here:  John interview)  Now, since the title of the article was how John is lucky to be alive, you would think that the controversy was over his past lifestyle of alcohol and drugs.  Nope.  No, what caught people’s attention was the question about whether or not the band, Take That, asked Duran to support them on tour.  As an American who is unfamiliar with that band, I didn’t think much of it.  In fact, I should have noticed that it would have Duran SUPPORTING another band and not the other way around, but I didn’t.  Too self-absorbed with my list of what I get to get done for our UK trip, I guess.  Then, I started noticing discussion on twitter and on message boards about it.

Apparently, Take That is a pretty popular band in the UK when it comes to commercial success and tour sell outs.  Okay.  According to many, they are also your standard manufactured boy band (I’m guessing that they are similar to Backstreet Boys here).  Anyway, the debate is about whether or not Duran should have supported this band when asked or not.  The people who think that they should have believe that Duran would have had a great deal of exposure to a new audience because Take That has large, sell out crowds, most of who have never heard of Duran.  It would mean a great deal of exposure and a chance at new fans and more copies of All You Need Is Now sold.  Okay.  The other side says that Duran deserves to be the headliner.  They have been around for 30 years and have proven their worth.  They should not be working for anyone.  They also feel strongly that Take That isn’t worthy of Duran because they are a commercial, manufactured band.  The idea here, I guess, is that Take That isn’t really in it for art but to make a profit and Duran, while enjoys making a profit, also believes that they are in for art sake.  John, by the way, in the interview said that they turned them down.  He did not elaborate as to the reason they did.

I’m completely fascinated by this debate.  It really shows, in my opinion, the two camps in Duranland between those who need/want Duran to be a commercial success no matter what and those who need/want Duran to be more of an art form.  For the first group, it seems to be about quantity and the other group seems to focus on quality, to simplify it.  Of course, the first group might say that the commercial part is needed for the art part to exist, which is fair enough.  The other side, of course, would argue that having integrity and dignity is worth more than any paycheck.  I wonder if other fanbases struggle with this issue.  Do bands like the Cure face this debate?  While the Cure sold albums and had big tours, they were never the commercial success that Duran Duran was.  Likewise, do Madonna fans have this need for her to demonstrate a level of integrity or are they fine with her always pursuing the largest sum of money possible?  Does this happen in Duranland more because they were SO huge at one point and are not anymore?  Is it so unacceptable to some fans because this drop from the top of the charts seems to mean that the band is a failure?  Others seems to believe that Duran’s commercial success was more of luck and that Duran must not have “sold their souls” to be commercially successful in the 1980s.  Another possibility is that they were concerned about it at first but as they have gotten older, they are more concerned with the art. 

I think that the reality is somewhere in between.  Yes, I do believe that Duran actually considers what they do an art form.  Yet, I also believe that they want to be commercially successful.  I think this is similar to artists like Andy Warhol who definitely created works of art but ones that were meant to be popular.  That said, does Duran have a limit to what they would do to be successful in this arena?  That seems to be the case now.  Debates like this have me thinking back to the days before and after Red Carpet Massacre came out.  Some fans loved it and loved that they took a risk working with Timbaland and Justin Timberlake in order to reach the charts again.  Others were completely horrified by this.  Many thought that they had sold their souls a little bit, especially when reading statements about how Timbaland didn’t know what a bass was.  To many, it felt disrespectful to John, in particular, to the band as a whole and, frankly, to a fanbase that liked the formula of strong instrumentation. 

So, how do I feel about this controversy?  I would probably be more passionate about it if I knew more about Take That and their music.  Based on what I have read, I’m glad that they made this decision.  To me, it does seem like Duran aren’t willing to do anything to sell their music, which I do believe is a good thing.  I have a lot more respect for them if they demonstrate their need for self-respect.  I don’t think that Duran should be supporting anyone after their long career unless it was someone at the same level.  This band clearly isn’t at their same level, both longevity or quality music wise.  Yes, this might mean that they won’t pick up new fans and won’t sell as many albums.  I think that is okay.  I don’t know that these people would have been willing to give Duran a fair chance, anyway.  If they did, would they stick around?  Probably not if they aren’t played on the radio 50,000 times a day.  These new fans would not be worth the loss of dignity.  They also wouldn’t worth the loss of diehard fans as I believe that many Duranies would be so ashamed of this decision that they might walk away.  It happened with RCM, after all.  More money, more album sales and different fans are not worth being a support act for Take That.

-A

21 thoughts on “Should Duran be a Support Act for Take That?”

  1. Take That asking Duran Duran to open up for them is really nervy. That's like Backstreet Boys asking Aerosmith to be their opening act. Duran worked with Justin Timberflake-and it was a complete disaster.

  2. Love your take on this debate. I couldn't have said it any better myself. I'm in total agreement with your opinion!

  3. I happen to be a Durannie and I like Take That too! TT HAVE been making music for a long time, ok so they did have a break but their songwriter Gary Barlow has been writing songs for many big names in this time. He seems to be well respected for this. With Robbie Williams back on board for this tour it is a massive deal and if you think DD tickets are expensive you should see how much TT's are this time round – bog standard DD £45 bog standard TT £67 (according to a friend who is going & hence why I am not!) Yes 20 years ago they were manufactured but their songs have more than stood the test of time and they are showmen. Not a band as in they have their instruments but they can all sing and perform and what DD do for us TT do for their fans. I want to see TT live but it is no where near as important as seeing DD so had they supported them I would have done anything for a ticket, but there is just no way it would work as they are both headline acts as they both should rightly be. TT ARE bigger than DD in the UK and there would have been twice as many shows than there are, they would have gone to arenas they have not done before too, but they also wouldn't be starting this week.

    I like Take That but my heart belongs to Duran and I hope that neither band ever opens for the other because they will always both be bigger than just the support band.

  4. Wow! Being American, I also had no idea Take That was so popular there. But them asking DD to open for them was more than nervy; it was disrespectful, in my opinion. Like someone else said, it IS like BSB asking Aerosmith to open. (Actually a bit worse, I think. BSB are popular worldwide, aren't they?) What on EARTH makes Take That think they have earned the right to ask a real band like Duran Duran to open for them? For DD to have said yes would have been the ultimate sell out. It is one thing for Duran Duran to play a large festival where maybe one or two acts go on after them. But the only way I would want to see them open for someone would be if Bowie decided to tour and asked for them to be his support act. Now THAT would make some sense. He was an inspiration to them and around long before them.

    As for the comments on RCM and working with Timbaland/Timberlake, well, remember the LABEL were the ones who pushed that so hard. The BAND already HAD an album they wanted to release and they felt proud of it @ the time. OK, so maybe there were some songs that might have been too date specific and the label felt they wouldn't hold up down the line. But to scrap the whole thing because they didn't feel there was a single there, is just plain stupid. I mean, look @ the first Duran Duran album. Quite obviously, several tracks would never have been “single” material, but they were none-the-less brilliant songs! Some of DD's best stuff are “b-sides”. When you have a band like Duran Duran, you don't toss everything because the album maybe needed one or two new tracks. The band only did that because once they were pushed to record with the Tims, none of that material would have worked on the same album. But that alone should have told the label execs something. That matchup was NOT in the band's best creative interest.

    Now, I will say I would love to see the band achieve some commercial success and media recognition, but the way the industry is now, only acts like Madonna and all the manufactured industry crap are making any real profits. Sorry, but I won't be buying anything from Disney pop stars or that god-awful internet chick I had to endure when I saw the band on the Tonight Show. (I was a bit disappointed to see her song performed on Glee, but @ least those kids have enough talent to sing it and make it sound half-way decent.) And as for Madge, I am glad I saw the Blonde Ambition tour because with what insane prices she asks for her concert tickets, I will never see her live again unless someone gives me a free ticket!

    Anyway, I take enough satisfaction in the fact that the vast majority of reviews for this last album were VERY positive in the press. That alone is such an amazing thing to see after the history this band has endured in the press. So maybe the album won't sell like some of the albums by people from American Idol, but the buying public are a bunch of sheep. They bought William Hung's album, for Pete's sake! Once that novelty wore off, they probably regretted that purchase decision. No thanx. I'll take Duran Duran just as they are.

  5. @Silvalady-Thanks for your comments. It is nice to get the perspective of someone who is a fan of both! I think your point that neither band should be a support act is a good one. I agree that bands at a certain level shouldn't be support acts.

    @Miss November Tuesday-You are right about how the label pushed Timbaland/Timberlake but the band did go with it. It was upsetting to me, at least. I agree with you about what is deemed popular today and I, too, will be happy to stay with Duran!

    -A

  6. I think you do take that a disservice ,they are a very talented band,who do write their own stuff,and surely Robbie Williams needs no explanation.the fact is DD are not as popular anymore,pitch them with TT at any level these days and they are far far behind, It's a sad fact IMO that Duran would indeed be 2nd to TT for everyone except die hard Duranies .it's no disgrace for them to be asked to support,just kinda sad i guess,but they had a choice,

  7. I am happy they said no. I am sorry but the day they will do something like that it would be the end. The groups that open are newcomers normaly not established superstar. Ok Duran is not at big as they were but still they are THE greatest band of the 80's and many people still believe in them after SATRT. What can a trick like this can give them? The people there do,t want to see them they want to see the other band. They would have to do a smaller setlist, play in a small surface because the stuff of the other band would already be in place… I say NO! And I am happy they said so. Red Carpet Massacre was something they were obligated to do by the record company, even if that was an excellent record superb songs they were so wrongly produced that it cas difficult to recognise the band. And tell me what it gave them??? So don't go any further in disgrace. Anyway in UK they are still huge and can fill Wembley stadium for many nights, so there isn't any necesity. (sorry for my bad english)

    Pat

  8. I just wanted to say that I hope no one thinks that Amanda was doing TT a disservice – the FACT is that very few here in the US have ever even heard of them. Period. They get NO play here – and I'll go one even better – before Duran Duran played with Robbie Williams a few years back, none of us here in the US knew who he was either. The US is a tough market to crack…. Now, my point isn't that TT isn't somehow “worthy”, it's that we don't even know who they are, so it's hard to understand where people are coming from on this issue, which was also Amanda's point in many ways. All we can do is scratch our heads and try to find a band here in the US that even sort of seems to be “in kind”. She mentioned Backstreet Boys – and I think that a closer match would probably be New Kids on the Block. They were huge back in the early 90's (forgive me if I'm off on the era by a few years), then they sort of faded into the distance, and now they are back together and touring. In fact, a friend of ours is on a cruise ship with them right now for a fan cruise! (dare to dream Duranies, That's as close as we'll get to that sort of thing – dreaming!)

    I do feel that it was very ballsy of TT to ask DD to tour with them. They might have been better off billing it as a co-headline tour and charging up the yahoo for it than asking Duran to OPEN for them. That is absolutely ballsy, and I don't blame people for feeling as though it's even disrespectful. It seems that way to me in many ways. I don't blame the band for turning them down. Sometimes, it's better to keep your integrity, play for a smaller audience and enjoy a modest success amongst your fan base, and be able to look yourself in the mirror in the morning and feel good about what you've done. Yeah, call it ego. Call it short-sighted. Call it what you want but I admire the band for not taking the easier road.

    In the meantime – who the heck IS the opening act on this UK tour?!? 😉 -R

  9. I think you are doing Take That a disservice here. As you said, you don't know much about them. They are not on the same level as the Backstreet Boys or New Kids on the Block. They only thing they have in common with those two bands are they had their greatest success in the 90's. They are much more credible and critically acclaimed than both of those acts. If I would compare them to anyone I would say George Michael except there are more of them!
    There's nothing ballsy about them asking Duran Duran to tour with them because they have had many hits and a lot of sales in the UK. They obviously asked DD because they admire them, not to insult them. It's not like Take That is some completely manufactured band. I think this is all about DD's ego. They can't accept that they aren't huge stars anymore and don't dare open for anyone else or share the spotlight with anyone even if the other artist is talented. I don't think turning down a great opportunity like this is something to be admired, I think it's stupid. Sometimes you have to be reasonable and sensible and do things that will give you success and not dismiss any idea as below you.
    The idea was also put forth that DD could do a joint tour with Culture Club. But all the DD fans shot that down as touring with another 80's band was below them too. So let's see, DD won't tour with a contemporary successful band, and they are too good to go out with another 8o's band either. I guess DD is too good for everyone.
    So I guess they can continue to play to their small group of obsessed fans while the rest of the world ignores them.
    Take That is touring with the Pet Shop Boys. I don't think the Pet Shop Boys will be damaged but are still seen as a great band.

  10. I wholeheartedly admit and did on the blog that I don't know much about Take That. I don't. I was going on what other people have said. You say that Take That asked them because they admire them. Yet, they want Duran to support THEM. Duran wouldn't be equal to Take That. They would be behind them, unequal. That is a much different position than doing a joint tour.

    -A

  11. With any tour. someone has to go on first and someone has to go on second. So I don't see the difference between being on a joint tour and supporting another artist. You can't have both bands performing at the same time.
    Why are you so obsessed with who is equal with who. Get over the ego. It's all about music, performing and making people happy. Are you going to enjoy DD any less if they support another band. Why do you care about that stuff?
    I love CC and if they “supported” DD and went on first I would still go to the concert and wouldn't be insulted. But DD seems obsessed with ego. I was told by DD fans that DD has to go on first and CC has to be seen as a support act and is below the great DD. DD fans don't want to treat CC as an equal yet they demand that Take That create them as equals.
    I was told CC isn't equal because DD has more hits and has sold more records recently. Yet, Take That are bigger stars and sell more records in the Uk than DD. Yet Take That has to treat them as equals but DD can't treat CC as equals?

    I don't care about who is equal to who. I just want to go a nice concert with as many people as possible and hear good music.
    I'm not into the fan ego trips. I love many different bands.

  12. Well, I have done quite a bit of research on Take That today and recently, and I wholeheartedly DISAGREE with what you're saying here…anonymous. Obviously we're all allowed our own opinions – and if you're a Take That fan, fabulous. If you're not and you just think the band should have cashed in on the opportunity because they'd have achieved stardom through Take That, well…sorry that Duran Duran isn't touring with them.

    To try and compare Duran Duran to the Pet Shop Boys, of all the bands in the world is completely ludicrous – and I'm a big fan! The Pet Shop boys have not ever enjoyed the same type or level of commercial success as Duran Duran has had. It's just not the same sort of thing, but even so – the band has the right to make the decisions that they feel are correct for themselves. In this case, I just happen to agree.

    I think that if Take That actually admired Duran Duran as you say, they'd have asked them to do a joint tour, not appear as a support act. Support acts are not treated as equals AT ALL. They aren't given touring riders, they aren't given their own areas backstage, and they definitely aren't making the same sort of monetary sums as the headliner. Duran Duran is a touring band, and as we all know – they make a good portion of their money by touring. There's no way they could make the money they are used to making by being billed as a support act. So, even if you think that by touring with Take That they'd gain more of a fan base, they definitely wouldn't make the money they are used to making – which is a huge issue. They don't do all of this for love and rainbows, you know. -R

  13. Joint and EQUAL tours are possible. One night one band headlines and the next night the other band headlines and so on. It is possible.

    As a fan, I do care if Duran gets the RESPECT that they deserve. They have been a band for 30 plus years and have achieved quite a bit. Period.

    Will I enjoy them any less if they support someone else? Honestly, I might if I feel like they are SELLING OUT. I want them to demonstrate self-respect. For you, anonymous, it might equal ego but for me, it means that. Self-respect.

    As for Culture Club, is there something I should know here (pun intended)? Are they talking about touring together?

    -A

  14. Here's the thing…and it comes down to basics here. Call it whatever you want, because quite honestly, if I were worried about every single opinion I posted I wouldn't have started a blog, I guess.

    Yes, of course we prefer Duran Duran, and to the best of my knowledge….we've never implied otherwise. It's the Daily DURANIE. *scratches head*

    Again – you can call that ego. I don't offend that easily. I respect the band, and I respect their choice on this one. They've earned the right to choose whom they work with, whom they support, and whom should be opening for THEM. Period. Take it for what it's worth, or don't. We don't write the blog with the intention of everyone wholeheartedly agreeing with us, and if everyone in the world DID start agreeing with us I'd be convinced that the world was coming to a swift and fateful end. Enjoy the rest of your weekend, as I will mine.
    -R

  15. WOW bet you never thought mentioning lil ol' Take That would stir up such a hornets nest LOL. I'm not surprised you don't know them they have never tried to conquer America, Robbie tried as a solo artist but didn't make it, what a waste of the record company's 80 million pounds/dollars who can remember *shrugs…..

    Another reason why these two bands sharing a stage wouldn't work is that each set of fans WANT those front and centre seats! Could you imagine the scrabble at a show with GA which TT do do!
    Duran have seniority by 10-12ish years and I very much doubt that the TT boys were being disrespectful to them by asking they probably wanted to jump on the 80's revival that is still happening here and thought 'you know what F*** it we'll start at the top'

    Now don't jump on me for saying the 80's revival while talking about DD it's just that the British press will not drop that tag sadly.

    As for CC Boy George has been after supporting DD for the last couple of years – he worked with Mark Ronson at the same time and they played a couple of his gigs together last year.

    Personally I've never been much taken with who DD have support them I'd have loved to see Scissor Sister but we got Goldfrapp instead. We never know who it will be until the show lol

  16. You are absolutely right, Silvalady. I'm sure Amanda didn't realize how passionate people would feel about this subject – regardless of what side of the fence people are standing on. No, I can't even imagine what a GA show with those two bands would have been like – I can only tell you that I would have wanted body armor in order to attend. 😀

    The 80's British Revival is an interesting way of describing Duran Duran – especially IN the UK – especially since current music here in the US is pretty much anything but. Briefly back in 2004-2006 there was a bit of a New Wave “Retro” revival here, but that has really ended at this point. That isn't to say there aren't bands out here that label themselves that way…it's just that they don't get airplay. Nor does Duran Duran, for that matter. Perhaps I should just move to England – your music is FAR better than what we're getting right now! 😀

    I do get your point about what Take That might have thought when they asked DD to support their tour – I think that as a longtime fan of Duran Duran, I'm pretty biased and yeah, I can see it and call it as disrespect, but you are probably more accurate in your description (like I said – I'm biased. Completely.) I still think it was pretty ballsy of Take That to ask, but that doesn't mean disrespect as much as it I think it was a risky move – precisely due to all of the passion we've been seeing on this blog this weekend! 🙂

    I remember the discussion on the message boards about Culture Club touring with Duran Duran (with…not as a support though…as a co-headline). I might be in the minority on this one – but I wouldn't have minded that bill at all. I liked both bands back in the 80's…and while I realize the situation may have not worked for the egos in both bands on a business standpoint, I think it would have been a fun show.

    Anyway, thanks for posting…and I mean that for everyone who participated. It was a good discussion even if we all got a little hot under the collar at times. 🙂 -R

  17. Visibly someones are irritated and believe that Duran Duran has a big ego etc… So let take the problem in the other side. If Duran had asked TT to be the opening act it would has been as bad in my eyes. I don,t knoe them but if they are so popular they too deserve the big spotlight. That's it. Even if Paul McCartney isn't at the top of the chart actualy you wouldn't ask him to open for anybody. Same for the Rolling Stones or Bowie etc. Duran Duran had that status and it will remain. They were the biggest band at one moment. That's not ego, that's the way things should be, a beginner open and an accomplish artist is the star, even if it's not the biggest star of the moment. That don't mean to be rude with any band just to respect what they were.

    Pat

  18. We have never had a topic get so many replies, so thank you to everyone who has participated!! Pat, you post some very good points in your response from a side I honestly hadn't given much thought about – so thank you. If only I could come up with more topics that would generate this much discussion, I love it! 🙂 – R

  19. By any stretch of unbiased review DD stand far taller than TT. Superior musically, lyrically more depth, better vidios. Far bigger globally than TT will ever be

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