I am not a news writer. I take that statement very seriously, because I have almost zero interest in being the first to print a story, or the first to uncover juicy information about the band. I’m also not a music critic. I love music, and while you will read my opinion on songs here from time to time (as well as shows that I’ve been to), I know that I’m no expert. My interest is in pop culture and the fan base – and I try my best to stick to that format here at Daily Duranie. That said, from time to time, a news byte will come up that seems to cross over from news, and I’ll cover it as I see fit.
Last night, Duran Duran announced that they are having to cancel their South Africa shows in December. By my count – they had little more than a week to go before performing, and in their press release, the band cited that the promoter defaulted on the contract, forcing them to cancel their shows. You can read the official announcement here.
As the night wore on, speculation – Duranies L.O.V.E. to speculate – rose. (including this one. Hence the blog…) Announcements were released from the South African promoter that the ticket sales were low. They wanted the band to do fewer shows, and they could not come to an agreement. Interestingly enough, I had just read that the shows were selling well, but of course, I am not in South Africa, and I have no idea what “well” really meant. Naturally Duranies all over the globe wonder what this has in store for the band. Does it mean the band will play elsewhere? How does this affect the promotion for the new album? Is this a sign of what is to come? The speculation goes on…
My take is simply that while it’s unfortunate that the band had to cancel shows – this this a touring band by all means – it is not the end of the world. I don’t know how large their audience really is in South Africa, and I don’t mean to diminish their worth – but the fact is, if they had a huge audience there, I have to think that they’d have made it a point to perform there far more often than they have. From the time they announced their shows in South Africa, I questioned the value in choosing to perform there and possibly perform new music there first – but it was more a question rising from lack of knowledge about the South African fan base than anything else. I do feel for the fans who are not going to have the opportunity to see them in December, because ultimately it is those fans who will come away as the victims in this business.
The question of Rio has come up on the boards once again – perhaps it never really left – and I find it necessary to address it on the blog. Just this morning I read a thread where a fan mentioned that the newer music (the very few snippets we have heard so far) sound nothing like the classic sound from Rio and that the band is still trying to play the modern sound – and that it won’t work.
Of course, for every fan that feels that way, there are several others that will take that fan down in flames. The replies varied from those who tried to prove that the snippets did in fact sound classic, to those who questioned why someone would want a recreation of Rio to begin with. Interestingly enough, I myself have wondered that same thing from time to time, and I’ve done some very unscientific research, which I’ll share.
It seems as though the younger the fan, the less likely they are to want an album that sounds like it should have been the follow up to Rio (or even less likely – a recreation thereof). That alone speaks volumes to me. My assertion is that it’s not really just the music that the fans want recreated. I would suggest that for all of you out there who look back to Rio with a certain fondness, that perhaps it’s the spirit of the time you’re looking for. The fans want to experience that moment again – the newness of the music, the fact that the band was sitting on top of the world, the youthfulness of 1985 (because most of us were in our early to mid-teens at that time)….it’s the spirit of the time as much as it is the music. Music is very much about sentimentality. When we identify with a song as deeply as some us did with the Rio album, or the first album, it truly seems to take on a life of it’s own. It becomes part of the soundtrack to our lives, so to speak. We each carry memories that go along with that music, and for some of us – it’s a moment in time that we want to live over again, even if we don’t necessarily cognitively acknowledge it. I would guess that most who read the blog are saying “No way. I want that classic sound because it’s what is Duran Duran. I don’t need Rio over again, I just want the band to sound like Duran Duran.” I would agree. However, I would also say that for many, the Rio album = Duran Duran. They can’t separate the two, and their feelings for one blend into the other. I would go so far as to say that’s why Mark was so set on having the band embrace that and own it as opposed to trying to recreate the wheel to a certain extent, which truthfully – I think the band has tried to do over the years, even if they themselves don’t recognize that in themselves.
Ultimately, it will never been 1983, 1984 or 1985 again. While those moments were fun, and I will never forget the glee I would experience when watching the band on MTV or sitting through the American Music Awards or the Grammy’s just to get a glimpse of the band if they were there, it’s far past time to move on from there. Rio was a wonderful moment in time that I never hope to recreate. Some things are just too perfect to mess with.