Tag Archives: Crowdsurge

Leather Pants! Sparkly Jackets! Backstage at the Hollywood Bowl!

By Janet McCabe

I was fortunate enough to snag a Platinum package for DD’s historic show at the Hollywood Bowl through the fan club pre-sale. I say “fortunate” because, subsequently, I met many fellow Duranies at the pre-show reception who had tried and failed to get the Platinum package!  (Ed note: Fun Fact – Amanda and Rhonda were two more of those people!!) The most exciting thing about the package — apart from the front-row seat — was the backstage tour. Since I was also lucky enough to be sitting right in front of Daily Duranies Rhonda and Amanda during the show, I promised to do a write-up of the backstage tour for Daily Duranie!!

I didn’t really know what to expect from the backstage tour, but I have to say that the communication prior to the event was handled very well. DDVIP sent very detailed instructions that were very helpful. Here are a couple relevant excerpts from the email that was sent to Platinum package purchasers!!

Greetings from Duran Duran Headquarters!

Thank you so much for purchasing a PLATINUM package to the band’s show at the legendary Hollywood Bowl on October 1st. We look forward to seeing you for the backstage tour and VIP pre-show reception! You will check in at the table in front of the Museum Garden. … Please arrive to check in between 5:15pm and 5:30pm SHARP. If you are not there at 5:30pm you can still enjoy the reception but will miss the backstage tour.

Feel free to text if you have any URGENT issues. Please include your first and last name in your message. Please ONLY use her number the day of the show.

A few important notes:! !

– There is NO meet and greet associated with the reception or backstage tour and the band will not be in attendance!

– Please stay with the group and if you see a performer backstage do NOT approach them unless the concierge has introduced you to them!

– If you stray from the group backstage you will be removed from the venue and not issued a refund (so please do not try to wander into dressing rooms etc). Please stay with the tour. ! !

Armed with this information, I set out from my Beverly Hills hotel around 4:30, expecting to arrive at the Bowl around 5:15, based on what the locals had told me about travel time. Note to self: do not believe the locals about travel time!!

(Rhonda’s note: actually a REAL local will always tell you that if you are in the LA/Hollywood area on any given day, at any given time, with the possible exception of like 3-3:45am,  you can expect a drive of at least an hour, no matter whether you’re going down the block, or five miles away… or even out of the city completely. Our traffic is horrendous here. Just saying.  – a Los Angeles Native)

It was only due to my cab driver’s miraculous (reckless?) driving, including a U-turn in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard, that I made it to the Bowl in time to take the tour. Truth be told I was a few minutes early, but terrified that I’d miss the tour, I actually resorted to texting the concierge for the event. Let’s call her “A.” I texted A and told her my situation. She was very friendly and understanding. She didn’t say they’d wait if I was late, but as I chewed on my nails,consulting Google Maps every few seconds to see how far I was from the Bowl (in case I needed to leave the cab and run for it), she joked with me by text about how I was getting closer and how I had better tip the cabbie well (I did).

After checking in at the VIP table, I waited for a few minutes, and then A and her partner-in-crime for the tour — we’ll call him “L” — gathered us up to begin the tour. There were about six of us on the tour, and I got the impression that a couple of people didn’t show (they’re probably still sitting in traffic). The group was much smaller than I expected, but it explains why it was so hard to get a Platinum seat! At this point, A and L introduced themselves. They have both worked with the Duran organization for some time, and while they didn’t give us their formal titles, it seems that they are part of a logistics team that coordinates between front office, back office and fans. And, apparently, that includes giving tours. L did most of the talking and, as we were led away from the meeting table through various security checkpoints, he explained that we would be able to take pictures on some parts of the tour and not on others.

The first thing we saw was the backlot, where the tour buses and the trucks that carry the stage and musical equipment park. We did not get to go on any tour busses. Then we were led inside to the area where the performers’ dressing rooms are. This is where that line from the email came into my head: “if you see a performer backstage do NOT approach them unless the concierge has introduced you to them.” It was going to be hard to restrain myself should we run into one of the members of Duran Duran. I’ll end the suspense now and tell you that we didn’t see them. 🙁

The first thing we saw was the warm-up room where John and Roger warm up. In it was a stripped down drum kit, a bass and a small amp, so Rog and John can get their groove on pre show.

Roger's practice set

John's practice bass

Across the hall from that room was the dressing room for “female performers,” presumably Anna Ross, Jessie Warner, and the ladies from Chic and Clean Bandit. I don’t remember seeing any dressing rooms with “stars” and specific names on them (because I definitely would have taken pictures had I seen that).

Farther down the hall was the my favorite part of the tour: the wardrobe room. L and A brought us into the room and introduced us to Jeffrey, the band’s wardrobe manager. Jeffery was very welcoming and friendly, telling us all kinds of interesting things. Here are some of the tidbits I remember:

• Each of the guys has an array of pieces in the room from which they can pick and Jeffrey doesn’t know what they’ll pick from show to show.

Nick's clothing rack

shoes\

IMG_4580

 

• Jeffrey predicted that Simon might wear his black, sequined tuxedo jacket since the show was so special (hello, it’s the Hollywood Bowl!). The tuxedo jacket is an Yves Saint Laurent, and Jeffrey says that the band have acquired a fondness for his pieces lately.

Simon's tuxedo jacket

Simon's Jacket (2)

• As we all know now, that prediction turned out not to be accurate, as Simon wore a black and white motorcycle jacket. The black and white leather jacket that Simon wore for the show was made by Jeffrey. If memory serves, it’s a knock off of another jacket but made from slightly lighter materials so it’s not so warm under stage lights.

Simon's Moto Jacket

Simon's clothes

More shoes

skull pants

Jeffrey was very gracious and allowed us to take pictures and, yes, to touch some of the pieces. I could have stayed in that room all night, but we were off to our next stop, which was down the hall and down the path that the performers take from dressing room to stage.

We were escorted to the stage entrance area and allowed to walk right up to the edge of stage right, but not to walk out on stage, especially since there were already folks in the seats, waiting for the show to start.

When we returned from the edge of the stage, L and A introduced us to several other members of the Duran management and touring team, including Wendy Laister (a name many of you probably recognize – she’s Duran Duran’s manager) and Orla, their tour manager. Wendy, Orla and a few other folks were huddled a small room that appeared to be the nerve center for the operation, and Orla took a few moments out of a very busy time to chat with us.

In fact, Orla said that she and the team had been at the Bowl since 6 or 7 a.m. that morning (it was 6 p.m. by this time). She talked to us about the demands and the intricacies of managing the tour and mentioned that there were several different sets of stage equipment. While one was being set up and then broken down at the Hollywood Bowl, another was on its way to the next gig and, once the Hollywood Bowl set was broken down, it would be off to another future show. It reminded me of what it must be like to be an air traffic controller — managing hundreds of small details, all in real-time.

She also talked to us about how the sound is monitored and how the mix in the guys’ earphones is achieved, each customized to ensure they hear what they need to hear in order to keep in time and tune.

After we said goodbye to Orla, we headed back outside. As we headed back out past the loading bays and the trucks, back toward the public areas, we did spot one Mr. Nile Rogers sitting outside in a chair, chatting with another fellow who was working the show. While I’m sure we all wanted to call out to Nile and/or run up to him, we didn’t. His head was turned, and he was engrossed in conversation, but I think if he had seen us, he probably would have come over to say hello, based on his graciousness in dealing with fans (signing autographs, posing for selfies, etc.) before and after the Chic set.

As we walked out, I was chatting with A and told her that I enjoyed the tour and that I was really impressed with the way that the pre-sale and the arrangements for the tour had been handled by Duran’s management and Crowdsurge, in contrast to some of the experiences with past companies. She was pleased to hear it and said they are always looking for ways to make the fan experience better and special.

Perhaps most impressive, apart from getting to fondle Simon’s sparkly leather pants (not while he was in them, sadly), was the hospitality and warmth that everyone we encountered on the tour displayed toward us. L and A really were great ambassadors for the band, and even during a very busy time, all of the team members we encountered seemed genuinely happy that we were there, entertained our questions and thanked us for being there.

All in all, it was a great experience, and I hope everyone who wants a Platinum Package is able to receive one, should Duran offer it as part of the 2016 tour packages. See you all in 2016!

 

Janet McCabe Janet has been a Duranie since 1982 when she was in high school (no fair guessing her age). She lives in St. Petersburg, FL, is a Corporate Communications exec for a global bank, and enjoys documentary film and kayaking/snorkeling in her spare time. A lifelong Simon fan, she had the great pleasure of meeting him (as well as Dom and Roger) at a pub after a show in Chicago in 2011. At last count, Janet has seen the band about 15 times — traveling as far as Milan, LA and Chicago — and has plans to see as many shows in 2016, both foreign and domestic, as her work schedule and financial advisor will allow.

Countdown to Paper Gods –FIVE!!!

5 DAYS TO GO!!!

We are at the point in which we can count how many days are left until we are able to officially listen to the entire Paper Gods album on ONE HAND!  How shall we get through this day to get one step closer to the release date?

Perhaps, you are like Rhonda and myself with tour on the brain!  Maybe, you have upcoming Duran shows on the west coast or in the UK.  If not, you might be thinking about world tour 2016!  Some plotting might be taking place, including where you could go, how many shows you could get to, what songs from the new album should be played and so much more!  No matter, if you have shows coming up soon or coming up later, you still might be thinking about concert tickets, including where to buy them and how to get the best seats possible.  Isn’t that what really matters?!?

To that end, we recommend going to different ticket purchase locations like Duran Duran Music, Live Nation, Ticketmaster, or other individual artists’ fan clubs.  Why?  The task is simple!  Practice purchasing tickets!  Maybe you want to go through the motions up to the actual purchase and time yourself.  Goodness, maybe you could see how fast you are able to pull up tickets and work to improve on that time!  It could be like a game but one, in which you would benefit in real life someday!

If you are looking for possible artists to practice on, you might want to pick one that works with Crowdsurge, like Duran does.  Some of those artists include Kenny Chesney, J Cole, Haim, Enrique Iglesias, Imagine Dragons, Miranda Lambert, John Legend, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Paul McCartney, Blake Shelton, Tiësto, Jack White and The xx.  I might also recommend reading through this blog post about presale anxieties to ensure that you have all ducks in a row to practice purchasing!

Let’s hope this task distracts a bit and helps you out in the future!  It could be a win win!!!

-A

Duran Duran Ticket Presale Frenzy!

Got Duran Duran tickets?  Happy Presale Monday?!?

As the title suggests, it was a frenzy of activity this morning as a multitude of messages were exchanged between friends prior to the presale.

Duran Duran Ticket Presale – words that create both joy and panic (alternately) in the hearts and minds of every Duranie who has been around for a while.  Fans are overjoyed to finally have tour dates, and downright panicky when it comes to buying them.  Things go wrong, systems crash, and Duranies are not very forgiving as a rule, so ticket systems MUST work properly.

This time, Crowdsurge handled presales and VIP packages for DDM members, and aside from a brief moment which I will describe later in more amusing detail, all went well. Checking around the Duran community, it would appear that most were pleased with the experience, particularly in the ability to actually know what seats they were buying (although the same can be said for past experiences with Artist Arena).  I will say that later on, I went into DDM to see what I might find available for tickets, and the system seemed very smooth.  The only constructive criticism I might give would be that it would help so much more to have maps available for ALL shows (the Cal Coast Credit Union venue at SDSU comes to mind), and that Artist Arena had a great interactive map system that I think would be the perfect end cap to presale experiences with Crowdsurge.

The comments I’ve seen about the VIP presales thus far have been that the platinum packages run out VERY quickly.  I can’t say I’m entirely surprised – it isn’t as though there are thousands available, and there really are not many Duranies out there that can turn down a guaranteed front row seat. I know that as late as an hour into presales for shows that had presales today I was able to pull up at least single VIP tickets (mostly Bronze)…so my advice is simple: act fast if you want the most expensive VIP packages.  The other comment I’ve seen is that once the tickets are in your cart, people aren’t seeing that at the bottom of the screen there is a “radio” button for “remove and search again”.  Remain calm, take a deep breath and look carefully. Another interesting point is that once you have tickets in your cart, you have up to ten minutes to finish your transaction or else the tickets are released back into the pool.  This is key. Read on:

In my experience, Duran Duran ticket presales work kind of like this: everyone hits refresh until finally, blessedly – the tickets go live. Then you rush to get tickets into your cart. You search for the show, click “buy VIP”, then you see what’s available. What?!? No Platinum?! There’s cursing, grumbling, hitting “refresh”… and the next thing I know I’m reading how there are no tickets available at all and it’s only been two minutes into the presale. It’s hideous when it happens to you. Best thing you can do is slow down, take a deep cleansing breath, and wait. In eight minutes, (10 minutes after presales start for that particular show) tickets will be released from carts, and then you can try again.  Keep trying. You never know. Don’t give up.

So, wanna read something amusing? Let me go ahead and replay the scenario from this morning’s presale activities.  I had just gotten home from a quick run to Target and Amanda tweets that she’s trying to call me to clarify a couple of things before presale panic sets in. We quickly discuss things and I decide I’m gonna stay on the phone with her during the process…because you know…we’re a team:

Amanda: We’re two minutes out from start time and I’m hitting refresh now.

Rhonda: (hears Amanda saying ‘refresh, refresh, refresh’) I’m feeling nauseous now.

Amanda: (I know she says something here about how she’s nauseated too, but I can’t remember the exact words) Oh God, I’m in.

(complete silence)

Amanda: OH MY GOD. FRONT ROW, SEATS 7 & 8!!!!!

Rhonda: SCREAMS (clicks to twitter and begins typing) “FRONT ROW BABY”….

Amanda: Oh no. No!!!

Rhonda: (silently hits “delete tweet” and says nothing about it at all to Amanda) What?

Amanda: I can’t get the drop down to work. It only shows expiration dates up to _____ and I need it to get to October!!!

Rhonda: (silent…because well, I was thinking!! At the time I had gone through each of the credit cards I have, noting that all of the expiration dates were in the Fall months which apparently wouldn’t work.

Amanda: Walk me through this, Rhonda. What do I do?

Rhonda: (in my head at the time I was thinking that we’d lost our chance at front row, that she’d have to throw them back and start over. That’s what I probably would have done most of the time, except that this was FRONT EFFING ROW… which is why Amanda handles presales and I book hotels.)  I asked her about using other cards, but that idea was nixed. I commented that I didn’t know the system at Crowdsurge so I felt like my hands were tied.

Amanda: Wait. I can use paypal. It’s not ideal but….(I hear furious clicking on her end and I start to breathe again) DAMN IT…my Paypal password isn’t working!!!

Rhonda: (at this point, I’m starting to believe that this is our worst presale nightmare coming home to roost.) What? Your password doesn’t work? (I begin to start considering what small child I can sacrifice in order to please the ticket Gods…)

Amanda: Oh wait. It worked!  I’m in and we are confirmed for Agua Caliente.

Rhonda: (I don’t immediately answer because my brain is trying to process what she just said).  Ok. You mean that I can go ahead and tweet that we’re in front row?!? (begins typing) “FRONT ROW BABY!!!”

It was only later that I realized that this will be my very first seated front row show…and that I can’t get kicked out this time because the seat is actually mine!  🙂

Interestingly enough, I don’t know how many fans caught it because we missed it the first time, but when you put tickets into your cart for purchase, there is an offer to preorder a “Deluxe Fan edition” of Paper Gods, which will be delivered on or before September 18, 2015 for those of us here in the US. I actually went back to Crowdsurge and went through the ticket buying process so that I could buy myself a copy. (I discarded the tickets; however, because I’d actually like to stay married for a while longer.) It is on sale for $18.99 and then they tack on a couple bucks extra for shipping. Not sure what it includes, but….what the hell.  I’m already pretty sure I’ll end up with three or four copies of this album by the time it’s all said and done, which is exactly why no one has to worry about doing promo directed at fans, am I right?? Double-edged sword, really.

So, I’m going to go and attempt to recover from Duran Duran Ticket presales today…and also try to absorb all of the information that has come out today about the band, the album, etc.  In a single week we went from a small trickle in the DD info stream to a bloody flood.  This, I can work with, folks!  Expect to see blogs each day covering some aspect of the band’s upcoming album, Paper Gods!

-R

 

Can You Deal With It?

Shout out to DDHQ for starting my Monday off right with a cute new fortune-telling game, which ever-so-gently hint at tour dates being announced soon. The game also serves as the new front page to duranduran.com.

I can remember making these folded origami-like masterpieces back in junior high. We’d write our favorite colors, numbers, maybe favorite bands or other “favorites” on the folded sections (the band did numbers and the band members themselves), and in the middle we’d write the names of the boys we liked – which would be the “fortune” of whom we were going to marry. For the record, I am 100%  certain my fortune lied, because I am definitely not married to Roger Taylor.

On the band’s version, the game ends with a fortune that has something to do with live shows, or cute song lyrics. For example, I picked “Roger”, “5”, and then “7”, and my fortune was “Your friends will be here when you need them most“.  I tried it again (to be fair, this is the fourth time I’ve done it today….research, you see…) using “John”, “3” and “5” and ended up with “You will be at a beautiful event in the near future“.  Maybe a live show…I hope! Are tour dates finally imminent?!?

I have to applaud DDHQ on this one. Not only does it take me back to junior high, which for me were the days when I discovered Duran Duran and spent my spare time reading any pop magazine with the band prominently featured on the cover, but it also woke up the Duraniverse a little with the possibility of tour dates being announced. Sometime. Hopefully soonish.

THIS IS A PROPER TEASE!! This is how you get fans talking and sharing, and this is how to stir excitement! So many of us have felt that their website does very, very little for fans. Not interactive, not terribly informative in a unique way…and even a bit cumbersome (I am thinking specifically about the discography section when I use the word “cumbersome”). This is Duran Duran. This band should be all about the visual. All about the “interactive experience”. What happened?!? Their website should be the most kick-ass thing I’ve ever seen online, and yet it has always fallen a bit flat. It gets the news out there, but there’s very little flash and even less interactivity. This is a great start.

I think it also has to be said that with this #DDFortuneTeller game, they know their demographic. They know to whom they are playing, so to speak. Give a kid in the 18-30 year old bracket this game and they would look at you quizzically. Paper? What in the hell is that for?!?  The “good news” is that while it looks like paper….I suppose it’s also an app…so to speak. You can take the technology out of the band, but you can’t take the band out of the technology.

Or is it the other way around?

I’m just not sure…ANYWAY…

I think this is a huge, huge win for the band, and subsequently for fans. Say what you will about Durantime, as well as promotion and how it may be directed at future audiences as opposed to long time fans, the band wins with this one, and I love it. Little things have potential go a LONG way.

Naturally, this stirred a little discussion online, as I mentioned the game on Facebook. A friend reminded me that the band was working with Crowdsurge and wondered if this was the start of some new and innovational engagement with fans. Long time fans will remember the days of buying tickets directly through DDM, then having the platform moved to Artist Arena, so we’ve certainly seen our share of ticket engines. Crowdsurge offers fan engagement and seamless built-in platforms for the artist so they are able to monitor and manage their own sales with no extra work. They also promise that the cost is shouldered by the attendees (meaning the cost of working with Crowdsurge is built into our ticket price), but then they also say it can be up to 71% cheaper for the fans. I’m still struggling with Common Core Math a bit…so I’m not exactly sure how they’re figuring, but until I myself go through a ticket-sales cycle and understand Crowdsurge, I’m not going say they’re fudging numbers. Crowdsurge is a big proponent of auctions because they tend to up the sales price of tickets by about 185% on average. Quite frankly, that’s fine with me as long as I am not paying. They also really love the idea of ticketing “experience” bundles (think VIP). I sincerely hope those bundles do a good job of delivering what they promise. I do have a nagging concern that there will be little opportunity for similar “experiences” for fans who are on a budget. Unfortunately though, that is often the case.

I’d like to see contests for “The Common Fan”. You know, people like me who cannot pay $5,000 in a special auction bundle, regardless of the endless amount of joy that is promised for that price. I’ve participated in a few raffles/contests through Tunespeak, which is a really cool fan-engaging platform for contests. It’s tagline? “Win for being a fan”. Basically, bands/artists set up contests through them, and you have to share the contest, tweet about it, watch predetermined videos, listen to music that the band sets up as “tasks”, etc…and you earn entries for each item that is completed. The goal of course is to rack up as many entries as possible. I would be hard pressed to beat many of the Duranies I know out there…but I like the idea that it’s based on experiencing whatever the band wants us to listen to or watch, because for Duran Duran I think that would be helpful in the long run.

So…. if I promise to go out grocery shopping and not check my phone at all, can we get some future show dates…like today?!?

-R

The Party Was (IS!) about to begin

How many of you out there have been waiting for a SHOW?!?

You are in luck – because today my friends, our chanting, begging, pleading and overall insanity has been answered.  Duran Duran has announced their first public, US show since the end of the All You is Now tour in 2012.

They are playing at the Formula One Gran Prix Fan Fest in Austin Texas on November 1, 2014. Tickets for this event go on sale on Tuesday, September 2nd.  (I truly think this might be one of the longest advance notices for pre sales that we’ve ever gotten!)

This is being billed as a very special “VIP” event (according to the band’s own song, All You Need is Now…this information alone should send us running in another direction. Just saying.).  Here are ticket prices and some information direct from the band’s VIP community (paid fan community):

1) Ultimate Floor Experience Ticket – $575 each

Treat yourself to a one-of-a-kind VIP experience! An Ultimate Floor Experience Ticket provides you with premium open bars, passed hors d’oeuvres, and a spectacular stylized space as only ACL (Austin City Limits) Live can deliver. This level is “dancing room only” and also gives you access to the exclusive after-party on the Music Porch after the concert.

2) Balcony Ticket – $325 each

A Balcony Ticket provides you with legendary views of the stage in theater-style seating, access to the Jack & Jim gallery featuring the iconic photography of Jim Marshall, and access to the exclusive after-party on the Music Porch.

**There are no meet and greets associated with these packages and there is no guarantee a particular driver or artist will attend the after-party.

Tickets go on sale for Duran Duran VIP fan community members at 10am CST on Tuesday, September 2nd.  So, you must be a VIP fan community member for this pre-sale, and apparently they are not working with Artist Arena for ticketing here – not sure if this is a permanent thing or for just this show, but they are working with Crowdsurge now, and if you do not currently have an account there, you should probably head over there and set yourself up with one in advance of the sale to save yourself time and headaches.

It has been quite some time since the band last played here, and I know just from Twitter and Facebook that a lot of people are extremely excited, or at least they were until they saw the pricing. I can’t blame them – $575 for a floor ticket is a lot to chew. It does sound like a really fun weekend, and a great venue.  I have no doubt that many will fork over the cash without blinking and have a great time. I look forward to seeing the photos and hearing the stories of a fabulous weekend.  I won’t be participating in the pre-sale this time around, so I’m curious to hear how it will go with Crowdsurge – drop Daily Duranie a line and let us know what you thought of the pre-sale if you participate!!  Also, if you’re planning to attend the show, let us know – we’re looking for some Special Correspondents!

-R