Tag Archives: Anna Ross

Too Much to Know?

Sometimes, life has a way of sending a bunch of little signs that all add up to one idea.  That is how my week has been leading to this little blog post.  It really started early in the week when Rhonda posted a couple of blogs about both Anna Ross’s new music (which if you haven’t heard by now, you NEED to get on that!) and a new song featuring Dom Brown.  Then, there was some discussions on Twitter about John Taylor’s solo work.  Lastly, there was a moment at Wednesday’s Killers show that really made me think.  While none of these things really seem to go together, they all got me thinking.  Do Duranies really want to embrace all of Duran or just some Duran?  If so, am I guilty of this, too?

I really started to think about this question after a moment in the Killers concert that I would never expect to see at a Duran show.  A few songs in, Brandon, the lead singer, asked the audience if they would prefer to hear an obscure, “b-side”, called “Under the Gun” or a classic hit of theirs, “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine.”  Shockingly enough, the entire audience wanted the more unknown song.  With any show, I wouldn’t expect the entire audience to be made up of die-hard fans.  I would expect a lot of die-hards but some who are just fans.  For example, I love the Killers but I cannot say that I’m as hardcore about them as I am about that other band.  Nonetheless, I stood in shock by the fans’ voting for the lesser known song.  I’m sure that there are plenty of Duranies reading this blog that thinks, I would definitely vote for the b-side.  Yes, I’m sure that most of the fans reading a fan blog like this would be die-hard.  Would people who are just casual Duran fans?  Would the vast majority of any Duran audience vote for it?

I’m thinking about my experience in San Francisco where I was half way back.  I’m pretty certain that the people around me were fans but not hardcore ones.  They had not seen any of the previous shows on the Paper Gods Tour.  Some of them, it sounded like, had never seen Duran before.  The songs they referenced were all the hits of the 80s.  Based on their reaction to the newer songs, they had not heard Paper Gods.  Those fans?  They would vote “A View to a Kill” over “Khanada,” for example.

Then, I started to think about how even the die-hard fans who read this blog reacted to the blog posts about Anna and Dom.  While those posts got positive reactions, I guess I was expecting more. This led me to think more broadly.  I know that there are Duranies who love, love, love the band but don’t own all their albums.  I know there are many, many fans who are HUGE John Taylor fans but are not super familiar with his solo catalog.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m not criticizing.  Sometimes, it is takes awhile to get into new music.  I also won’t lie.  None of the songs or projects that I just mentioned sound exactly like Duran.  It could be that many of these fans have listened to some solo and side projects that just don’t like them enough to listen more.  Again, I’m not criticizing or blaming.  After all, I have tried to love all of the solo and side projects but I don’t put Andy Taylor’s solo work on very often or the second album from Power Station.  Does that mean that I don’t love Andy or I don’t love all of Duran?  Of course not.  It just means that his work is different than what I’m used to and that there are parts of Duran that I love more than others.

I think my point, though, goes beyond what’s in a collection or what would be cheered for at a concert.  It is more about what Duranies are actually interested in, generally.  There is a large part of the fan base that really does just love Duran of the early 1980s.  I have now spent years asking various questions or opinions about everything from songs to videos to live performances on this blog.  Way more often than not, Duranies will choose something off of Rio or the 1984 live performance.  Again, I’m not criticizing anyone here.  Heck, I just answered the question about favorite b-side with Secret Oktober like tons of other fans out there, but I do acknowledge that it is a standard answer.  My favorite album is the first one.  It isn’t Rio but Rio is one of my favorites.  I get why this is the case.  Most of us fell in love with a certain band with a certain sound and look.  It is hard to love changes in the same way.

Yet, I wonder if we as a fan base could really benefit from challenging ourselves.  Instead of just playing the Rio album, pop in Medazzaland.  Instead of listening to Arcadia, try a little Neurotic Outsiders.  When you feel like busting out some solo work, try Anna’s new material.  I know that I need to take my own advice with this.  I’m good with John’s solo stuff because he’s my favorite and I genuinely really like but I want to know more of Simon’s, for example.  That means I have to push myself to try something new or something I’m not as familiar with.  Somehow, I don’t think I’ll regret it.

-A

A Good Place to Start: First Day by Anna Ross!

A lot of things happen in a two-week time period! I am back from vacation, although I remained fairly “plugged-in”  while I was gone.   We arrived very late on Saturday night. Yesterday, I spent the day attempting to catch up, do laundry (I am staring at a mountain of clothing yet to be done…), and get my son Gavin ready to leave for his college orientation this morning.

So while I sit here trying not to worry about how he’s doing, I’m going to blog instead! (For those who don’t know, my son Gavin is on the autistic spectrum. He’s very high functioning, which means that for the most part, people just think he’s a little quirky. He is also incredibly smart. His major is physics, if that gives any indication of what I’m up against. He’s also one of those kids that tends to fall through the cracks…and I’m really hoping all of the work we did for the past six years to teach him to ask for help and advocate for himself worked! I’m imagining him wandering the campus for two days rather than asking where the line is for orientation….)

I’m going to take a deep cleansing breath, and try to focus on the task at hand.

Has anyone listened to the new music Anna Ross has been working on? Get on it, people! She is working steadily on completing her first album, which was funded (in part) through a pledge campaign. I’ve taken part in a few of these campaigns for various artists and bands, but I was thrilled to help Anna out. She’s been around since I started going to shows with…how shall I put it…vigor? enthusiasm? unbridled, relentless spending??  Anyway, she’s been around a while, and I’m happy to support!

“First Day” is aptly, her first single. She co-wrote the song with Simon.  Can I just say how fantastic it has been to see Duran Duran not only embrace, but truly support Anna’s music? I love that. I’m proud of my “family”. (Like it or not, Duran Duran – we’re all in this together. Consider me one of the intelligent, precocious younger sisters with a wild side!) I just think it’s refreshing to see Simon tweeting and encouraging Anna, and the reminders from Duran Duran to buy the single (which I HIGHLY RECOMMEND). I like when we encourage our own. I know that some of this comes down to business, but for a minute – I just want to forget about that, and focus on the warm fuzzies I feel when I see us all pulling for one another.

Another striking thing about this song is that it was funded, at least in part, by a pledge campaign. I participated in the campaign, and so I have heard snippets of this work since nearly the beginning. The evolution of the song has been a lot of fun to witness and I’ve enjoyed hearing the way the song grew. I was very excited to finally hear the finished product when I was finally able to download and listen. I have seen some comments that the single should have been given to pledge participants, and while I know some bands do that – this is Anna, not Duran Duran. It’s her first album, and it’s not like she’s a bank. She’s a hard-working artist, and I fully support her efforts. I’d do more if I were able, because I adore her and love music in general. I don’t need a $1.29 single and/or a remix to feel like I got my money’s worth for what I pledged.  Maybe that’s just me, and maybe I’m being naive. I am, however, thrilled she’s getting her album finished. It’s a long road, and I have some sense of how difficult it can be to reach the finish line. I just want to see her succeed and reach her goal – whether that’s completing the album, or eventually touring. (Can you bring Dom with you???)

One of the reviews I read suggested that the song is EDM. I’m not going to lie – this threw me because it’s not what I would have characterized as EDM. Then again, I’m a 46-year old woman. What in the hell do I know? That said, it IS electronic, which is funny – that’s something that typically I notice right off the bat. This time I paid no attention, focusing instead on Anna’s beautiful voice, which really drives the music, in my opinion. I especially love the crispness of her vocals, even when she’s singing at a fairly frenetic pace. The song is uplifting, positive, catchy and promising of what is to come.  Can’t wait to hear the rest of the album, Anna!

If that weren’t enough, the John Taylor/Charles Scott IV remix of  “First Day” dropped while I was camping, deep in the forest of the Washington-side of the Columbia River Gorge area. (Can I just say that there isn’t much more frustrating than being nowhere near wi-fi when new music is released?)

A while back, I was reading something about remixes and how they are the interpretation of what a producer heard when they experienced the song. I thought about that while I listened to John’s remix. He slowed it down, which worked very well for the song and even for her lyrics. There is one section of the song, about 2:40 into the remix, that is very reminiscent of The Universe Alone, as far as effects go, and it really gives the song an ethereal quality. I thought it was done beautifully, and what I really appreciated was that rather than change the song into something completely different, it highlighted the structure that was already there.  As I said yesterday on Twitter, I look forward to playing this, and the original single,  in my car, LOUDLY.  Sometimes I just need a little extra inspiration to get through the day!

-Rd

Get Anna’s music here and enjoy:

First Day single on iTunes

First Day Remix on iTunes

 

Don’t fake it when it comes to making money

One comment I’ve heard over and over about the band is that they probably laugh all the way to the bank. Yeah, some of us feel as though the shows are of good value at $300-400 (and sometimes more) for those great VIP seats, but I see plenty of comments otherwise, too.  Even I’ve had my “OK seriously guys, how much more cash do you need??” moments.

It’s hard. I love Duran Duran. YOU love Duran Duran. We want shows. We want to have great seats. We also need to eat, pay bills, send children to college, drive cars, and so on. While I know that there are plenty of other acts out there wanting $400 just to get in the door to the venue, much less sit near the front, I also know that it’s painful to buy more than a show at a time to see Duran Duran unless I don’t care where I sit.

Let me be clear: I CARE.  I care too much, as my husband might say.

It’s easy to throw an “off the cuff” comment out on Twitter or Facebook about how we’re paying for their retirement, or that we’ve paid for their kids’ boarding school. Naturally, most of those comments are made in jest. For instance, I realize it takes more than my dollars to buy a Picasso or an Aston Martin.  I often wondered what kind of mansions they all must own or the lives they must lead when they’re not on stage. Even as an adult, I didn’t start really considering their costs to actually operate until around the All You Need is Now tour.

It can’t be cheap.  Think about all of the people they’ve had work with the band. Those people don’t work for free. Timbaland, Mark Ronson, even Nile….all of them are in or have been in demand over the years. Collaborations, even with Janelle Monae or Lindsey Lohan, couldn’t have been for free. All of that studio time, the mixing, the engineering, mastering, etc… it all costs.

Then there’s the touring. Ah yes, the touring. When I was in England, I was surprised by how austere the touring was there compared to here. Many times, the band could (and did) travel from their home to where ever they were going to be. Here in the states, they use a private jet. That isn’t cheap at all even if the band gets a good deal. Here, they stay in pretty nice hotels, even if they put the crew up somewhere less expensive. Speaking of the crew – they pay all of those people, right? Everyone from the guy who has to take care of all that cabling (my worst freaking nightmare!) to the techs and beyond gets paid. Lighting, sound, audio/visual, and everyone in between get a pay check.  There’s also Dom, Anna, Erin and Simon W. to consider…. I’m fairly certain none of them donate their appearances for free!

Those things I’ve mentioned are merely a drop in the bucket. The minutia of touring, right down to the copying and printing that needs to be done, all takes money. Every last paper clip, button to be sewn, guitar string and costume, all takes money.

So, when I see that last year’s Paper Gods tour (2016 in case you’re unsure) grossed 16.1 million here in the states .I’m surprised, for a few reasons, actually.

First of all, according to Pollstar, who compiled a list of last year’s 200 top grossing tours (Duran Duran ranks at 74), the average ticket price to a DD show was $68. I don’t know about the rest of you, but my average ticket price was “slightly higher”…like about $300 a show, give or take.  As I said earlier on Twitter, the average ticket price for someone who doesn’t know much more than Rio and Hungry Like the Wolf was probably $68. For a die-hard fan? $300 if you want near the front.  I alternatively laugh and then cry…

Secondly, the band played 44 shows in 40 cities. That’s a lot. They grossed (that means before their costs), on average about $400,000 a show.  Not as much as I might have thought, really. (The band should not see this as an invitation to raise prices!) When you consider that figure is before anything else is paid – it becomes clear that no, this band isn’t really laughing all the way to the bank after all.

While I still feel fleeced from time to time – in a kind of a “Hey, congratulations Big Fan – you love us so much that you’re going to pay way more than others on average to sit near us” sort of way, it’s kind of the way things go. Demand. Demand, demand, demand. We want them, we’re going to pay for them. Welcome to Economics 101.  I can’t blame them for making a living, particularly when I do the math myself and realize they’re not making as much off of these shows as we might think. 16.2 million before paying all of the bills for things we know, and then the stuff we don’t even realize might not leave a lot….and I am sure they had to share some of that with Chic, too!! Sure, they’re making money. It’s their job in the same way that wrangling children and making copies is mine. I just happen to enjoy the fruits of labor an awful lot!

-R

 

A Corporate Retreat? Sign me up!

Do you ever get the feeling that you are working for the wrong company?  I sure do, particularly when I see that the band is in Palm Springs (Palm Desert, to be more precise), which is about an hour and a half from me, and they are doing a corporate show for the WME/IMG company retreat!

First of all, my “company” doesn’t even do retreats. I work for a charter school, and we teach…and wrangle children. (that’s my job!)The best thing we do to team build is have meetings, which quite frankly—I enjoy—because it’s the only time we have to actually talk to one another without risk of a small child coming in to ask for a band-aid or to call mom.  It is never a dull moment, but I love it. I’m also completely exhausted at the end of the day. But, back to those retreats that I’m missing out on and that band we all love…

I noticed on Monday…or Tuesday (the days run together for me anymore), that Anna Ross had posted a photo from a morning hike in Palm Springs. I really didn’t give it much thought, figuring it was from another visit. I mean, how could they possibly be in Palm Springs? Or maybe she was here on her own. I had no idea. Until Dom posted something similar.

I remember seeing the tweet, and thinking –  they are here. (Who am I kidding? I really thought, HE IS HERE. Don’t tell anybody.) In my state. 90 minutes from me. What. The.  (well, I’ll let you think the rest from there.) 

Granted, I could have gotten into my car and driven out there. I know this. YOU know this. But I’ll bet you also know I didn’t. I couldn’t. No way. First of all, my days are pretty wrapped up anymore. Either I’m teaching at home, or I’m at school. If I’m at school, I have no time to think about anything else for the entire eight hours I’m there. I rush from the second I arrive – usually being bombarded by children from the moment I shut the car door before I even hit the door to the building, until the moment I close the car door to leave. Sometimes even then I get a phone call on the way home.  When I get home, I crash. Hard.  It’s a problem.

Even so, I could have gone out there. What stopped me was the though of how ridiculous I would have looked. (Oh, and yes – my children. And husband! But never mind them…) Yes, I had a reasonable idea of where they were, but stalking isn’t a hobby of mine. I’m terrible at being a fan in that respect, because the last thing I want to do is annoy any of them. I don’t approach (been there, wrote that email, crashed and burned spectacularly…thank you very much), and as a result, I’m the last person who is ever going to “meet” them after a show, or anywhere else for that matter, unless we’re introduced….or unless Simon comes on over for another toast at a bar. When I sit back and think about how long Amanda and I have been blogging and yet we’re STILL saying we don’t really know them, well – it’s laughable (and believe me, we do laugh).  Even so, I was tempted, I’ll admit. Of course I wanted to see them, but on the same token, I didn’t want to look like a fool, which I would have. For sure.

So instead, I tried to enjoy the torture of knowing that they were so nearby, and that they were also very close to where I’ll be seeing them in a couple of months.  Anticipation can be fun. Sort of.

Honestly, seeing the tweets from Dom and Anna – and there were only a few – was nice. It was a treat to have them share where they were, knowing that fans (at least not many) weren’t really a part of what they were doing out there this time. And today they’re headed back home, presumably until they begin the sweep of shows they have planned for spring.

Me? Oh, I’m very much looking forward to a weekend in Rancho Mirage come March, and not just because of the band! You see, for Amanda and I—it’s going to be our own Daily Duranie weekend retreat! I am looking forward to some hopefully sunny weather, a little peace and quiet by the pool, and some quality time with some friends I rarely see. It will all be happening. Soonish.

-R

Do You Remember? VH1 “The Set”

On this date in history, wayyyyy back in 2004 (which really doesn’t seem like it should be twelve years ago already, does it?) Duran Duran filmed a show for VH1 called “Bailey’s The Set”.

As I fondly recall, this was a show that local fans could enter a lottery of sorts for tickets. The show was filmed at Sony Studios in Culver City in front of a very small audience, and now there is an unofficial DVD of sorts available of the performance – which was shown on VH1 a week or so later.

A great many of my friends here in the area attended the show, but I did not. I tried for tickets, but this was at the height of the Fab Five reuniting, and tickets were hard to come by. My ongoing streak of luck (or lack thereof!) held through the lottery.  I have heard it was a really fun show, particularly since during that period, Duran Duran had been doing a great many arena-sized performances.

I don’t have the show in its entirety, but I did find a clip of Careless Memories to share.  These are actually kind of fun to watch, it was back when Dom was just subbing for Andy, and Anna wasn’t there – this may have been before she began touring with Duran Duran. Instead, there is Tessa Niles on backing vocals, I believe.

As much as I have enjoyed the recent Duran Duran tours, there was something very special about Duran Duran back in 2004…it was fun to look back.

Here’s another: (this clip doesn’t say it’s from the same performance but I am pretty sure it is)

-R

Waiting for a look, the invitation: 2017 Concert Dates

So, it’s mid-October. For those who celebrate, it’s the downward slide to Halloween.  We’re headed into the final quarter of 2016…and aside from Lollapalooza in South America, there is nary a 2017 concert date in sight for Duran Duran.

Sure, I’d love more (wouldn’t we all?), but the rest of the world hasn’t really gotten a turn.  Which is why I was wondering when they’re going to announce the dates for next year.  So I looked at the calendar.  We tend to (usually) get at least six weeks lead time for US shows (and often longer), and to be fair I’ve never really noticed if the same holds true elsewhere. Assuming it does, dates probably won’t be announced until Mid-December if they’re not looking to begin a tour until February or March. I guess it is a case where it feels like something should be happening because nothing is. It is very quiet in Duranland for the most part, isn’t it?

Then there is that date in Cancun. So appealing, yet so ridiculously priced beyond my budget… In order to stay at the hotel, it’s $600 a night with a 5 night minimum.  My math isn’t great, but we’re talking $3000 for the hotel, and I don’t think that is including tax of any kind, although it IS all-inclusive.  Food and (most) beverages would be included in that price. And rest assured, the resort is gorgeous. Sure, you could share your room and call it a vacation. But Duran Duran is only playing one night…and there’s that question of the other possible “end of year date mentioned for the east coast”…

….which has yet to be announced beyond a mere, vague mention.   Many Duranies are betting it will be a New Years Eve gig in New York City. It’s plausible, given that they will be in Cancun that week as well. Again, if they announce with a 6-week window, we might not hear about it until mid-November. I know DDHQ had said maybe the date would be announced in October, and I would love for that to happen. Having time to plan is so helpful, but on the other hand, things aren’t always set up primarily to benefit fans. Business is business, and things happen. Here’s hoping the gig is priced right so that many can attend!

In other news, Anna Ross is wasting NONE of this downtime as she works to get her first solo album completed.  I love that Anna takes the time to update us on how it’s going, and I feel like I’ve been able to catch glimpses throughout the process.  I’ve listened to the little tasters she’s shared along the way, and I can’t wait to hear the finished product!

-R

 

 

Paper Gods in Camden New Jersey!

By Eileen Teti
After all of the years of seeing Duran Duran, I finally got a VIP package for the Camden New Jersey show! I had hoped for the front row with the back stage tour, but that sold out, so I was happy to get the 2nd row with the cocktail hour and a nice package in the mail.
The day arrived Thursday, and I left work early to get into the parking lot a head of time. Some folks were there tailgating and one fan was playing “Paper Gods”, so I shut my car off as that is what I had on.
 The VIP cocktail hour was great. I met a fan, who like me, had a seat alone, and was it was also her first time doing all of this. I also saw a friend I have not seen in over 20 years, which was great!The food was actually good, with a vegetarian choice of a main dish. We also had a private restroom which came in handy later between Chic and Duran Duran!
 I missed MNDR, my cousin saw her ( I did miss her not sitting with me as usual, she and her hubby were a bit further back) and said she did a good job DJ’ing dance music.
(ed note: we’re a little confused as to whether Tokimonsta or MNDR DJ’ed  and/or played keyboards at this particular show.  There have been a few pictures that seem to show Tokimonsta at the keyboards.)
Now, on to the show. I got to my seat as Chic was being announced. I was super excited to see there was no front row seat in front of my second row seat, and I was closer to the center than I thought; I wound up right in front of Dom when Duran came on.
 I have to say, Nile R. and Chic blew me away!!  I was surprised how many songs he wrote for various artists, and since he produced, “Let’s Dance” by Bowie, they played that as well!  I was super excited when he smiled at me as I was one of the few folks there in my row! He really has a great smile. He mentioned his battle with cancer, and they did “Get Lucky” ; starting off slow, then getting into it! He dedicated it to folks who struggled with cancer as well. They had folks on stage from the audience for their last number “Good Times” and it was neat seeing children and seniors alike up there.
 So next up, was of course Duran Duran. A security guard asked where I was siting when I crept up to the gate as close to the stage as you can get, and I was pleasantly surprised when he said since there was no front row seat in front of mine, I could stay there!
Eileen3Most folks know the set list I am sure by now, so no surprise they opened with Paper Gods, which was fabulous! By “Hungry Like the Wolf” I had my chance to show Simon my sign, “Simon, you still got it!” This was the first time I made a sign and felt like a teenager. He strutted by, looked at it, and smiled at me. Well, I could end this review right here! Somewhere in cyberspace there is a photo of me with it—a photographer took a few of me, but I have no idea who he was with.
The energy of the band was incredible. Being in front of Dom was a treat, he smiles at you the whole time. Like most folks, I was sad Nick could not be there, but MNDR did a fine job, and did not do Nick’s bit on “The Reflex” but had us do that.
Eileen2When Nile Rodgers took the stage, there was a tender moment with Simon as Simon said how they truly love him and they had a hug on stage. It was great seeing him play on stage with the band, and it was cool when he was next to Dom as the ladies near myself and I got another smile from him during “Pressure Off”.
I loved the “New Moon On Monday” thrown in with “Reach up for the Sunrise”. I can’t remember when I heard them play that last, so it was a treat.
 The David Bowie tribute actually made me cry and seeing the beautiful photo of him on the screen was wonderful. Simon also threw a “Little Red Corvette” line  at the end of “Save a Prayer” for Prince. That was also incredible, he talked about the horrible things going on in the world, telling us all to be optimists and have hope.  Saying that if not, “the world will go to shit”. Right on, Simon!
 Being a Philly girl, I loved the exchange Simon had us do with the Jersey folks, he would yell “New Jersey” , then “Philly “, then agreed we were all beautiful people. He then reminded folks that Philly was were Duran played “View to a Kill” live first at Live Aid. John also went on about Philly toward the end of the concert. Yay, Philly!!
Eileen4Anna and Erin were great on vocals. The mike for Simon W.’s sax went in and out during Rio, so I felt bad for him there! This was when the beach balls came out; I did not see them at first; weird thing about being in front; after seeing video of the show, I realized that I did not see a lot of the light show type things as well. I got a shriveled up beach ball to take home to my kids thanks to a security guard. I also loved the confetti for “Pressure Off”. I had read a review of a show where they did not do this; maybe due to the venue? I am so glad they did it here, it was magical.
It really seemed like the band enjoyed themselves on stage. Simon really talked a lot to the crowd and joked around. I saw fans young and old—old as in older than me, so I was impressed, ha ha!!  I love their new album, and so glad they are touring.
Eileen5
 One thing I missed—they played nothing from the previous album, including the title track, “All You Need is Now”. I am assuming they really could not fit it in. I am not upset they are not shaking up the set list much as it was solid. Seeing them so many times, you usually hear something different every tour.
Oh, and lastly, for Rhonda and Amanda, JT did NOT have those track pants on, whew!
Eileen1
Eileen is a big fan of Duran Duran and Daily Duranie is so pleased that she agreed to share her review with us!!

We Fans Choose the Setlist Only In Dreams

This week I’ve seen a few tweets from Anna letting us know that she’s getting back into Duran Duran touring mode, posting songs and evening mentioning informal rehearsals. The band themselves have been very, very quiet – only Dom poking his head up long enough to post yet another RIP tweet, this time for Sir George Martin.

As I mentioned, Anna has posted a couple of songs on her FB page this week, and naturally those always seem to get responses from fans hoping out loud that they’ll play one song or another. Not much changes from tour to tour – fans want it all and then some. I would imagine the band could play for hours and we’d still be crying for more, wouldn’t we?

Just today, Anna posted Only In Dreams – a song that was not played here in the US for their tour in October.  I realize that some readers may believe I keep track of what is played and when, but the truth is that unless they’ve omitted Hungry Like the Wolf, added Secret Oktober, or played something else I haven’t heard in a while, I’m probably not going to notice, and certainly not when it’s a show I didn’t attend. So I’d forgotten that they’d played Only In Dreams on their recent UK tour in December as I thought to myself that it’s another song I’d really love to hear live. Just as I’d posted that though, another fan or two said that they didn’t think the song “worked” live and that there are plenty other, better songs, on the album.

First of all, I chuckled when I saw the comments because, let’s face it, if you’re Duran Duran – there’s really no winning this setlist thing. People like ME are always going to say they’ve heard certain songs entirely too much, people like some of YOU are going to say that it’s not a Duran Duran show unless you hear <insert any hit they’ve ever had here>. There’s no winning because someone is always going to be pissed off that they didn’t play one thing or another. And truthfully, that’s our problem, isn’t it?

I’ve spent more than my fair share of writing time campaigning for one song or another – I use my platform well (whether it’s effective or not!), but the reality is that the band is gonna play what they want and we’re going to like it and keep going, or we’re not.  And if I’m any proof, it turns out that many of us are going to grit our teeth and sing our way through as many shows as we can manage each tour.

Secondly though, I thought about what the person said about Only In Dreams not really “working” live. Interestingly enough, I saw more than one person mention that it’s a relatively slow song and  wanes in energy. That can be a hazard for live shows, I suppose. I remember seeing the Red Carpet Massacre tour, and there were a couple of songs from that album that created something of a vacuum in the venue, sucking the energy right out of the room. Once that happens, it’s very difficult to get the audience back “up”. It’s a vicious circle beyond that, because the band feeds off of the crowd’s energy and vice-versa. For me, Only In Dreams is a song I love because it reminds me so much of what it is like to be a fan, but that doesn’t necessarily translate well to others in the audience, and with the song being slower than say, “Pressure Off”…. Well, I can understand if it’s not the set list.

Another song that is often mentioned and hasn’t been performed (to my knowledge anyway!) is The Universe Alone. The song is huge, epic, and probably the masterpiece off of that album. I don’t even know if it is a song they can perform – but it is certainly one that they should. I could go on like this all day, but only the band knows what they are willing and ready to play, and I know that no matter what they play, many of us will be ready to tell them they should have played X, Y & Z instead!

So, if you could have them add a song or two from Paper Gods that hasn’t been played yet, what would you suggest and why?

-R

Paper Gods, The Book

I needed a diversion from reality last night.

So, I cracked opened the Paper Gods book that my ever-fearless partner-in-crime-and-everything-Duran-Duran sent me for Christmas!

cover

When I opened this particular present, I was delighted because I’d heard it was well-worth the £20, and I hadn’t ordered it myself because I just wasn’t sure I needed it. I own a few of their tour books from the past, and while they’ve always been a sort of “Oh, that’s really nice to have”, I wasn’t positive about this one. All I could think of was that it was 120-pages of photos, and did I really need a book of photos in my collection? I wasn’t sure. I wanted to see more of it in person before making a decision and I didn’t know when or how that might happen. Sometimes, a book like this needs a little previewing, you know? (It’s too bad DDHQ doesn’t know a fan website that could do that kind of thing for them every once in a while…..) So when I opened the gift and marveled at how big the book really is…and then began thumbing through it, I realized just how much I needed a book like this in my collection!

And…it’s not really so much of a tour book, although there are certainly a plethora of pictures in there (even some of Dom, Anna, Jessie & Simon W!). I would describe this book as being sort of the Encyclopedia-of-Anything-You-Wanted-to-Know-About-Paper-Gods-But-Figured-You’d-Never-Be-Able-to-Ask.

First off, the book is big. It’s not your basic 30-page tour book that’s mostly pictures (although yes, there are plenty and I mean that).  At 120 large format pages (13.25″H x 9.5″W), it’s a bit of a monster…and I mean that in a fantastic way!

bookwidth

There’s actual writing in this one, and not just a welcome note from the band or anything like that. There are interviews, thoughts, feelings…lists of words or phrases I can’t quite figure out yet (but trust me I am enjoying the process of trying!), and I’m not even halfway through it yet! Each of the band members gives a full-length interview about the book (and believe me, these are not short answers to questions), and they also interviewed Nile, Ben Hudson and Josh Blair. They even talked creative with Nick and Alex Israel, the artist who did the front cover of the album!!  I AM IN HEAVEN AND I’M NOT COMING BACK!!

I love that they took the process of recording this album and thought to have a book made for people like me.  People who basically dreamt of being a fly on the wall during the entire painstaking process: everything from those first jamming sessions at Dom’s studio down to seeing their reactions to the art for the cover.  The book is really something very special, indeed.

If the interviews and writing doesn’t grab you, the photos certainly will. This book is art…and if you needed to have large format photos of each of the band members, here they are for you to gander at will. I really love how each of the band members has a black and white full-page headshot, along with what I can only describe is a sort of silver “giclée” shadowing overlay printed on a heavier, plastic-like sheet. Way cool. And if you like stickers – they’re included too!

stickers

As I said, I haven’t even read through it all yet. I had to stop myself at 11:15 last night because I needed to get some sleep, and even after I put it down I kept thinking about what I’d read. In many ways that Amanda and I will get into later as we dissect this book from cover to cover on the blog (oh yes – it’s happening), I think the book makes me see the album with a completely different set of eyes, and I’m curious if my ears will pick up anything different too.

My only problem with this book is simply that they really should have marketed it differently. It’s such a great piece of Duran-memorabilia, you’d think they would have gone to more trouble to alert the fan base to it, you know? Seems like they could have used a resource…such as this very website, thankyouverymuch…to get some enthusiastic words out to the fan base and beyond. Amanda and I have a certain knack for grabbing the attention of the fan base when it comes to things like this, and let’s face it..the book is also a freaking steal at £20. (That is $28.91 USD as of this morning)

Let’s just talk about that price for a second before I settle back into my chair and read a bit more: for less than $30.00 US, you can have a large format, coffee table-sized book on Duran Duran (It is paperback). Everything from what some  might describe as “lickable” photos (I certainly wouldn’t say that..,coughs…but hey… I may have heard the term used before somewhere…) to in-depth discussions of the music and process. For the more abstract-minded amongst us, there are poems and lyrics and lists to read and ponder, as well as the aforementioned photos, both posed and from live shows (from the last year). I can’t really get over the value on this one – it’s the best bang for your buck I’ve seen in quite a while.

Like nearly everyone reading, I own a lot of Duran Duran books. I’ll go one further and say I own a lot of books period, but particularly within the realm of fandom and music history of this particular band  – I own a lot. This is a book that any fan of Duran Duran should have in their collection, and I’m thrilled (and shocked!) that they’re not charging the $50 or $60 that the book is really worth, even as a paperback.

Run out and grab a copy while you can! As I said, in coming weeks Amanda and I plan to do several blogs about the interviews and other writing within the book, but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who is running off to order their own copy right now…so go get it!

Meanwhile, I’m going to settle back in my chair and read Nile’s thoughts on Paper Gods…

-R

The Paper Gods on Jimmy Fallon

I have to wonder if the band knew we’d end up using the title of the album as a moniker directly for them…

Last night, Duran Duran appeared on Jimmy Fallon in the first of a few appearances on US talk shows, covering morning (They appear on the Today Show tomorrow morning), afternoon (Ellen is later in the month) and evening.

Granted, Duran Duran has done more than a few of these shows in their time…you can almost bet that they appear on at least one or two with every album, but somehow last night was different. I don’t know if it’s just me, but there is a certain amount of positive energy with this album that just feels different. Renewed. Better. Not only can I characterize that energy using nearly every positive adjective known to man…I think it might be infectious!  With more and more frequency, the various news agencies and critics out there are hailing this album using terminology I rarely see associated with Duran Duran these days. Words such as “hit” and “triumph” and “modern” have me thinking that something is most assuredly in the air with this one.

Of course, time will tell if this is merely the passing fancy of the first week of a release, or if the top ten on iTunes and other various charts will indeed hold. I would like to believe that this momentum has the power to not only get this boulder going, but that it may very well increase to a clip that we’ve not seen in a couple of decades. Moreover, I will say this much: it has been a very long time since I’ve seen so much promotion for a Duran Duran album, more specifically – it’s been a very long time since I’ve seen so many reviews for a Duran Duran album, never mind positive ones. In a way, that alone is kind of mind-blowing and almost concerning. I can’t decide if I’ve been dropped into a new universe, or if my own world has finally caught up with what we’ve known all along.

I keep thinking back to Katy’s assessment of the band being a Phoenix. One should never count Duran Duran out of the game, that is for sure. I have had quite a journey settling in to the new sound(s) of this album, which has been gratifying on its own, but seeing that the word is spreading and more people are talking about Paper Gods is staggering.

I try to retweet and repost as many of the great reviews and comments about the album as possible when I’m on Twitter, and I love seeing that Daily Duranie followers do in kind. I encourage everyone to keep up the great work! It takes a village…or a relatively large army!!

So, back to that appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight show. The band looked fantastic, first of all. I don’t think I’ve seen the band look as great as they do right now in a very long time. There’s just something about them – is it energy? Is it confidence? I had one friend say,  “they are awesome and they know it”…and I kind of think that’s got to be it. I’ve said it over and over: the band has to sell the audience, and damn if they’re not doing it!

I haven’t seen John look this happy in a good many years, and I even saw Nick smiling as he was playing! Anna sounded fantastic, Roger just seems completely content and satisfied, something I haven’t noticed since he came back to the band. Simon,  well first of all, Simon looks healthy and fit – he even inspired me to get serious about my OWN weight loss when I saw him in April,  believe it or not – but Simon’s voice is truly a sound to behold these days. I have seen and heard people say that he sounds better now than he has since Rio (and IMO since the very first album!), and last night was no different. I really do have to hand it to him, it is clear there has been a complete turnaround and rededication to what he loves. Lastly (but not least) there is Dom, who not only looked the part with his black polka-dot shirt and tucked-in tie, but there’s just an overall sense of comfort and family with this group. How that can be ignored, I’ll never quite understand. Overall, there is complete difference in this group. They may have been ready to reach out to their fans with All You Need is Now, but this time, they are ready for the world….and the world is starting to respond.

Take a look at the clip last night if you missed it, or watch it again!

 

Pressure Off from The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon

-R