Tag Archives: Budokan

Record Store Day 2019

As the lights go down on another Record Store Day, Duran Duran have finally delivered a record worth the 5am wake-up call and four hours in a queue with other like-minded music fans. After last year’s disappointing EP Budokan, it was time for Duran Duran to deliver something of lasting excitement to their fans. This year’s package is an exquisite reissue of the band’s 1984 performances at the ridiculously named Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena. While the packaging alone makes it an essential piece of Duran Duran history, a few quibbles keep it from fully capturing the excitement and energy surrounding the band in 1984.

My first thought when I saw the announcement was, how different can it be from Arena? To put that to the test, I spent an afternoon flipping between the vinyl and an original CD version of Arena. Right away, the mix was noticeably different with regards to the synths. Nick Rhodes can be heard much clearer on As The Lights Go Down compared to the original Arena. However, when compared to the 2004 remastered version, the live performances sound pretty similar. Playing giant sheds, the sound quality remains a challenge but the mix on this release goes a long way to capturing what even the audiences might have missed under the din of screaming fans.

Where the album stumbles resides in the sequencing. The opening of “Tiger Tiger” builds in intensity and you can visualize a dark arena ready to erupt when Roger hits the first floor tom on “Is There Something I Should Know?”. Just like the tour, it is followed by Simon asking “is anybody hungry?” followed by a roaring version of “Hungry Like the Wolf” that sounds as good today as it did when it first the airwaves. Breaking the order of Arena, “Union of the Snake” follows which provides a more authentic concert experience. On the 1984 tour, the band typically followed “Hungry Like the Wolf” with the three singles from Seven and the Ragged Tiger

At each Oakland show, “New Religion” followed “Union of the Snake” so apart from skipping “The Reflex” and “New Moon On Monday”, the show unfolds much like it did at the time. However, then the show becomes a bit jumbled with “Save A Prayer” appearing far too early on the record followed by “Rio” which paired with “Girls On Film” at the end of each Oakland show. It really doesn’t belong in the middle of the record given how important it is to the band’s popularity. It would never have appeared mid-set in 1984 so it’s an odd choice to slip it into the mix here. On the remastered Arena, it was wisely included with “Girls” at the end of the CD.

The album reaches an emotional peak with “The Seventh Stranger” and “The Chauffeur”. The moody darkness of the songs hints at the deeper essence of the band which was plastered over by the media at the time. Hearing them live again, the fans aren’t the only ones who remember how meaningful they were. Revisiting the tapes of the shows to prepare this release apparently inspired the band to dust off “The Seventh Stranger” for their 2019 tour dates. Having seen two of the shows, I can attest to the emotional waterfall it created in the audience.

The final side of As The Lights Go Down ends strong with the expected hits that dominated the end of their 1984 shows. “Girls On Film” sounds especially good on this record. Best of all on this release, the energy of the show is not disrupted by studio single “The Wild Boys”. While it made sense commercially to tack it onto Arena, it never made much sense wedged in the middle of the album. Having a more full concert document from 1984 is an absolute treasure and the beautiful artwork takes you back to the Sing Blue Silver era when we were all under the spell of Duran Duran. 

Could the band have done a little more for Record Store Day? I’m looking at a wasted slab of vinyl that makes up the D side so, yes. There were at least two more live songs from that tour in the vault: “The Reflex” and “(I’m Looking For) Cracks In the Pavement” which surfaced as b-sides. A little editing of the title to As the Lights Go Down (live 1984) would do the trick since they weren’t recorded in Oakland. Add those songs to the release and move “Save A Prayer” and “Rio” to where they would have appeared during the tour. Then we would have the most complete reminder of the Sing Blue Silver tour. But as the lights go down in my music room tonight, I really don’t care. I’m watching a beautiful pink disc spin me right back to being an eleven year old obsessed with the coolest band on earth. 

Jason Lent Guest Blogger thumbnail

Jason Lent (Velvet Rebel Music) is our newest Daily Duranie Contributor! You will be seeing more of Jason’s contributions, and we are thrilled that he agreed to write with us! He discovered Duran Duran on MTV in 1983 and a lifelong musical love affair was born. In 2010, he left a job in Hawaii to tour with Cowboy Junkies as a music writer and his work has appeared in various online music outlets. He currently resides in Las Vegas managing a music venue while trying to learn John Taylor’s bass line from Rio.

I Know This Shattered Feeling

I’m sorry the blog is posting so late today. Like millions of other Americans, my attention has been glued to the testimony taking place on Capitol Hill (Washington, D.C.) today. If you’re not in America, and you don’t know what I’m referring to, Google it. I find myself struggling to find the right words.

As Duran fans, our love and loyalty has recently been put to the test. “Who do you believe?” has been a common question that I’ve seen and thought about many times lately. The same question is now up for debate with the American public.

I don’t have answers. I didn’t when it was Simon, and I still don’t now. It isn’t my intention to persuade anyone to my way of thinking, nor am I determined to debate events that I wasn’t present to witness. Instead, I come here to forget and take a breather. To wipe the slate clean. I enjoy living and breathing. Yes, I have a history, and not all of it is of great memory. This place is my escape. It is how I take a deep breath, and it is how I remind myself that I’m LIVING.

My exhaustion hangs heavy in the air. I am sure that I’m not alone in feeling that way.

Over the years I’ve known Amanda, she has occasionally mentioned wanting something to look forward to.  She’s usually talking about having a concert on the calendar. I’ve never really felt that way, although don’t get me wrong – seeing Duran Duran live is always welcome! I don’t really know if I have a coping mechanism like that?    I just try to get through each day, and I force myself to focus on each day at a time, rather than look too far ahead. At least, that’s what I did until today. Today, I really wish I had a gig – a Duran Duran concert (thankyouverymuch) to look forward to. The diversion and opportunity to obsess over something other than regular day-to-day life is sounding pretty good right now.

Now, of course I know there’s no Duran shows ahead, at least not in 2018. I wish there were, though. The band is off doing whatever they’re doing, and I don’t fault them.  I just miss those five guys (Yes, five. Including Dom, of course.), particularly on days and even weeks like this. The utopian lifestyle of touring is far more appealing than the ugliness I’m witnessing in Washington, D.C.

I’ve been thinking about what video would be most appropriate to share here. I didn’t think I’d have much to write and share. I realized the perfect answer came directly from DDHQ themselves. The video they shared with us for DDAD2018 is perfect and exactly what I needed. I hope you take a deep cleansing breath, watch, and enjoy! Click on the link!

Duran Duran – Pressure Off/Hold Back the Rain from Budokan

-R

New release from Duran Duran!

Exciting news, Duran-fans! On this year’s Record Day (April 21) we will all be able to go hunting in our local record stores for the brand-spanking new, OFFICIAL vinyl from Duran Duran.

(Yes, I could insert lyrics from my favorite song, “Hungry Like the Wolf”, right here. I could do that, but I won’t.)

Just announced today on duranduran.com, 2018 will not go by without at least one new prezzie from the band to tide fans over. Their new release, Duran Duran Budokan, recorded at the Nippon Budokan on September 20, 2017, is a gift to fans who have been crying for a live album from the Paper Gods tour.  Commemorating the final show on their two-year long tour, Duran Duran Budokan is the perfect closing chapter for an amazing moment during the band’s career.

Anyone Out There (I succumbed to the pressure. I am sorry.) want to see the track listing?

Side A
1. Paper Gods
2. A View To A Kill
3. Pressure Off/Hold Back the Rain

Side B
4. I Don’t Want Your Love
5. (Reach Up For The) Sunrise/New Moon On Monday
6. The Universe Alone/ Save A Prayer

Want to see the cover? Those Duranies who want to see the band smiling on the cover…you won’t be disappointed.

That cover. Wow. I LOVE IT. It is the type of cover that I will spend hours scouring, trying to sort out what all of the symbolism means, both individually as well as all together. Is there a message? Is it just a collage? (never!)  April 21 needs to hurry up and get here.  Japanese graphic artist Tadanori Yokoo designed the cover – and if you look, the Japanese influences are very clear and commemorate the show. However, there are also additional flourishes added by John Warwicker, a name that should be familiar to Duranies. Bonus points to those who may be able to discern his artwork from Tadanori Yokoo.

I am excited to see that a live album has been officially announced, and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. I can’t speak for everyone, but two years went by in the blink of an eye for me. I’ve seen the band a “few” times now, and many of the shows I saw on the Paper Gods tour had the band at their absolute best. I love that this album commemorates the final show on the official tour.  One of my favorite things about the Paper Gods tour— one thing (of many!) I hope to remember forever—was hearing (Reach Up for the) Sunrise mashed with New Moon on Monday. I am overjoyed that the band decided to include this special mix on this album, and now I will be able to hear it anytime the mood strikes. I won’t ever forget, now.

As always, there’s a challenge when it comes to anything Duran Duran….and in this case, the album is a limited pressing of just 2,700 copies. Fans would do themselves well by researching which stores in their area will have a copy in stock, because these are sure to go quickly.  No word on price, but you can guess that once in secondary markets (eBay, etc), this limited release live album will be far more expensive for collectors. Good luck!

-R

Too Much is Never Enough

So last night, Duran Duran played Budokan in Tokyo. For a place that the band seems to really enjoy visiting, like so many other areas of the world, they do not seem to visit Japan very often. I think the last appearance there was in 2010 for a conference (I believe this may have been a private gig, but I’m not positive), and before then they played Tokyo in 2009. (Yes, I looked this up because there is absolutely no way I would ever remember this kind of thing. My brain is full.)  The band seems happy to be in Japan again, with Dom commenting last night that it was a dream of his to play Budokan.

During their time there, I’ve seen a few comments here and there from some of our Australian fellow fans. Suffice to say no one is happy that the band is not making the trek to Australia and/or New Zealand while in that area of the world. What boggles my mind though, is the anger towards America, and American fans as a result. In fact, I’ve seen other fans comment in response that the band must be tired ending the tour as a direct result of how much time they’ve spent in America.

That’s right. It’s America’s fault for continuing to line their pockets and fill whatever venues they need filled for shows. It is absolutely the fault of the U.S. for being just over 1 million square miles, or about 2.6 million square km larger than Australia, not to mention Japan and even Europe, with dozens of large cities that are not closely connected. It is also America’s fault that the worldwide media/entertainment industry is headquartered there, and the US dollar seems to still matter on a global level. Naturally, there are also comments about how DDHQ is located in New York, of all places. Surely that must be the reason for the obvious favoritism, on top of everything else. Those damn Americans!

Of course I’m being facetious, but I’m also frustrated. We hear about how terrible we are, and how unfair it is that the band  chooses to be here after every single tour is announced. It is to the point where I nearly wince when the band announces U.S. shows.

If we’re going to point fingers, look at the promoters in whatever country we’re talking about. Simon and John, for instance, do not sit down, spin a globe and decide where to go based on where it stops. There’s no grand scheme here to leave out entire continents. It comes down to dollars, timing, and the willingness of promoters to book them. I can’t answer why promoters aren’t knocking down their doors to book them in places like Australia, or most of Europe. I think the markets in those places of the world must be very different. Bottom line is that it is not 1985. The world has changed, the music industry has changed, and, like it or not—the band has changed too. While we still think they’re the biggest and best band in the world, it would seem that concert and tour promoters do not. Right or wrong, it is the way it is.

I’m sorry that Duran Duran didn’t tour everywhere.I am very empathetic to other Duranies, and yes, it IS unfair. While I’m frustrated at the moment, I also care about fans in general. On the other hand, I can’t help but be thankful that the band comes here so often because yes, I love them too.  In some ways, I feel as though I should apologize for their frequent visits here, which is ridiculous because I have no control over what they do. Sometimes I think people would appreciate it if Amanda and I came out and told the band that they shouldn’t visit the U.S and spend the time elsewhere.

First of all, the band isn’t going to listen to us because—and I’m thankful for this—I am not a tour promoter or a band manager. I’m a mom, blogger, and fan. Secondly, it isn’t because they toured  America more than once that they didn’t visit Europe, or Australia, or even why they didn’t do more dedicated shows in South America.  I know it is convenient to just blame those “damn Americans” but let’s get real for just a minute before everyone goes back to hating. The band is able to book a plethora of shows here and have them well attended enough to pay their bills AND make a profit.  They can play a variety of different places over an extended period of time, and since the U.S. is one large country, I suspect the logistics with paperwork and so forth is a bit easier, too. All of it adds up to money and turning a profit. Like it or not, the band makes their living that way, as do the hundreds of people who work for them in one way or another.

I get it. America is the scapegoat, and if fans really feel like they need to blame someone or somewhere, we’re an easy target. I just wish fans spent a little more time thinking about why Duran Duran might continue touring here, rather than just blaming America for all the places the band has missed.

-R