In my quest to find something worthy of blogging about today, I stumbled across something by chance that I’d forgotten about. Did you know that “Personal Jesus 2011” by Depeche Mode was released on YESTERDAYS date (in 2011, of course!) featuring production remix by none other than Nick Rhodes?
Forgive me, but I don’t even remember this happening. I’m sure I must have heard about it at some point, but now I’m driven to find a copy somewhere. I researched it online, just in case I was mistaken. This is an EU 5-track pressing of the 2011 remix version of Personal Jesus. Nick, along with a certain Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt (they call themselves M.A.N.) produced one of the remixes of the track.
With that info in hand, I moved on to YouTube, and luckily – I was able to find it. (I’m convinced I can find just about anything on YouTube!!)
I’m not going to review it after only one or two listens (been there, done that….learned my lesson EXTREMELY well, thanks.), but I will say that I had absolutely no trouble recognizing the obvious influences, and I liked it. Very much. I loved the way they put their own stamp onto the song without changing the spirit of the music.
Ok, I can’t even follow my own rules. Never mind. Here’s the link. Check it out for yourself. I dare ya not to buy it if you don’t already have it, and shame on me for missing out the first time!
One more note: here is a very good reason why we do the day in history. We learn, and maybe…you learn a little sometimes too.
I’m off to work. It’s my very last day. I’m sad to say goodbye to the kids and my coworkers, but I’m also super excited to be done for now. I’m hoping to focus on getting this house packed up, and spend some time up in the area we’re hoping to move. I’d also like to do some writing and reworking of this website during the fall and winter. Time is short, gotta run!
I have been so busy that I missed the news that a brand new Katy Kafe had been posted this week. It makes sense since Roger’s birthday is coming up this week. (Happy Early Birthday, Roger!) As always, I’ll give it a listen (I suffer greatly for this gig. Not.) and provide some of my thoughts about what I heard here. As always, I will not be sharing word-for-word what was said. Nope. If you want to hear it all, head to DuranDuranMusic and log in with your membership.
Trip to Peru
Katy opened up the Kafe with a discussion about Roger’s recent trip to Peru to see his wife’s family who lives there. Apparently, he enjoys traveling there in April because the weather is beautiful and people spend time on the beaches. (I wouldn’t know anything about this as I just had two winter storms this past week.) One thing I did learn was that Roger studied French in school but struggles with languages. (This I can relate to.) His son, Julian, is trying to learn the language, too, with the idea that he will be bilingual. Very cool!
Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame:
As soon as Katy mentioned that the recent induction to this year’s crop of Rock ‘n’ Roll members, I took note as this is a topic that seems to come up every year in Duranland. She then asked if this was a goal of the band. Roger’s reaction is what I expected with the idea of if it happens, great, but if not, it won’t change anything. I can understand that sentiment. Plus, it is probably the best way to approach awards. Katy thinks it will happen as more New Wave artists are getting in. Interesting to note that Roger definitely thinks that Depeche Mode should be in.
Roger’s son, Elliot, has a new project, working with Denis O’Regan who was the photographer on David Bowie’s ’83 or ’84 Tour. Recently, Denis found a lot of backstage photos and Roger’s son is helping to put these photos together in a book.
Return to the Studio:
When will Duran be back in the studio? Roger’s response, “Definitely this year.” That said, there is no specific date planned yet. Apparently, the band is enjoying the down time, which I cannot blame them. Roger is starting to look forward to returning to the studio now that he has had a break.
Record Store Day:
Roger expressed some excitement about the release of Duran Duran Live at the Budokan, but seemed to be more thrilled with the live DVD that will be coming out about that show/venue. This did not surprise me as the whole show was shown on Japanese TV.
Roger plans on spending his birthday at home with his family. Interestingly enough, Roger claims that people who have the Taurus astrological sign do not make a big deal of their birthdays. I’m not sure about that as a fellow Taurus.
This Kafe was not necessarily filled with a ton of news or insight but it was still enjoyable. Again, I wish Roger a happy early birthday!!!
Recently, when I have taken time to glance through social media, I have been seeing a lot of posts from friends talking about going to see the Killers live. On one hand, those posts (pictures, videos, comments) make me smile. After all, I get how fandom fills one’s heart and brings nothing but happiness. On the other hand, it makes me a little sad since I couldn’t go see them myself this tour. They played in Chicago and Minneapolis during semester finals week. Those cities are the ones I can easily get to. Unfortunately, that is the one week that I absolutely cannot be gone. I have to give the finals and, more importantly, I have to grade them. Work had to come first.
As I type that, though, I have to acknowledge that it would have been a different story if it was Duran. I would have done what I need to do to get there. Thinking back, I have bent over backwards to get to Duran functions even when the wise decision would have been not to go. The most obvious example was the John Taylor book talk and signing that took place in Chicago in October 2012. Life was a little…lot….super crazy then. I could not afford to take a day off because Election Day was around the corner and I needed to be gone for that. I had also taken time off earlier in the month to attend a President Obama rally (and to meet him that day). My students needed me to be there. So I did what must be done. I drove to Chicago, attended the function, and drove right back home. This, of course, led to more exhaustion and eventually falling ill a week or so later.
As much as I love the Killers and other bands, I won’t bend over backwards in the same way that I do for Duran. It is as simple as that. This reminds me of another time when I asked friends who would be into seeing Depeche Mode with me. At that time, I had a friend say to me, “I love Depeche like you love Duran. They are my band.” Okay. Cool. I can always appreciate fandom. Plus, I figured this meant that she was totally in for Depeche. Funny enough, though, when it came to the actual purchase of tickets, she folded. She wasn’t willing to part with the $150 or whatever the ticket cost was. If it was Duran, I wouldn’t have hesitated with that $150 ticket price. Does that mean that the original statement about Depeche being her Duran was wrong? I don’t know. I cannot really compare someone else’s fandom to mine. After all, some might say that I have taken this fandom thing way too far. This blog might be one example. Who else keeps up a daily blog for 7 years other than the two of us? Who else is planning another convention?
Fandom is really a personal thing. What one person is willing to do might be very different than what someone else is willing or able to do. For me, I am willing to sacrifice a lot if it means going to something Duran. While I love other bands, I’m going to be pretty limited in what I would want to do. Some people, on the other hand, might be really strict at all times even with the band they love the most. Still others might be open to doing a lot for a lot of bands they love. This range of responses is part of what fascinates me about fandom. I know that fandom is about having a passion for something or someone. How that translates in real life actions depends on the person.
I haven’t given a book recommendation in a long time, but I’m about to offer up a good one! As most know, I grew up in Southern California, probably about an hour from where I live now. If you really want to look it up on a map, the name of the town is Glendora. I lived in the far-less-than-wealthy, southerly section of the town.
At some point during the summer between fifth and sixthgrades for me (1981), I discovered KROQ 106.7. I don’t really remember much about how that happened, except that it might have been my friend Kristy who kind of led the way.
I had an old clock radio in my bedroom starting in fifth grade. When I got it, I had no idea about radio stations – so I just turned the dial until I found one that came in clearly playing music. Nearly every morning I’d be woken up hearing “My Sharona” by the Knack. I still twitch funny when that song comes on the radio! Even so, I left the radio untouched because I had so much trouble finding a station that came in, let alone one with music I recognized.
During that summer between fifth and sixth grades though, I started becoming more interested in music. I asked my friends, and Kristy piped up with “Listen to K-West!” I didn’t know what K-West was, but I figured she’d know, and so when I went home, I fiddled with my clock radio, adjusting it to the 106-area. It was so hard to fix the dial to get something to actually come in, back then. Move the knob a teensy bit too much and it would be static or you’d not get the button exactly on the right station. It would appear to be on 106, for example, but it would actually be 105 or even 107-something. Annoying.
On that day, something did come in, and it was music I really liked. I had no idea what it was, but I stuck with it. I carefully placed the radio back on my dresser and didn’t touch it, assuming I was on K-West, and that Kristy was right. I never listened for that long, just when I was waking up in the morning. At that point, I wasn’t spending a lot of time in my room listening to music yet. I must have had that clock radio set to that station for a good year before I realized what channel it was. Richard started working at KROQ in 1982, and it is just about that time when I remember hearing his voice on the air. My memory might be a bit faded and mixed up (I’ll admit having to come back and edit this post well after I first wrote it!), but I can remember Richard giving out the call sign for the station like it was yesterday!
From that time on, Richard Blade was a constant part of my life. I listened to him nearly every morning, and he had everything to do with helping me shape my musical tastes. If radio weren’t enough, I watched him on MV3 which became Video One, and later on, once I was 18, if he guest DJ’ed at clubs in Los Angeles, I went. (The Palace in Hollywood, and Fashions on the Redondo Beach Pier to name a couple!)
Most readers might also know that I hold Richard Blade responsible for me meeting my husband. Richard was a near-constant figure at Fashions for years. On his fifth anniversary, I went to the club and met Walt. Sometimes I want to thank Richard for that, and other times—well, being married has its challenges, doesn’t it?! Even so, I have a beautiful family, and my children might not be here had it not been for Richard Blade, which is wild when I think about it! I don’t know that I would have ever known Duran Duran beyond being an obscure band from the UK, and I definitely wouldn’t have had my eyes opened to alternative music. Who knew a DJ could subtly influence the direction of my life?
Since those days, I guess I’ve followed Richard. If he’s DJ’ing somewhere, Walt and I try to go whenever we’re able. He plays the music my husband and I listen to, and the weirdest thing happens when we are dancing (and yes, he and I LOVE to dance. It is what brought us together to begin with). I forget about the tough stuff, and we both get transported back to those beginning days downstairs at Fashions. It is like we remember what is really important, and get back to the basics if only for a few hours. Those hours have somehow saved our relationship over the nearly twenty-six years we’ve been together! We’ve had the opportunity to meet Richard a few times, have had a photo or two with him, and now my friend Steven works with him quite often, which is really cool to see.
When Richard announced his autobiography, World In My Eyes, I was excited to get my hands on it. Richard markets the book by saying that we’ll read about the bands we all know – including Duran Duran – but the truth is, at least for me, I wanted to read his story. It’s not his knowing Duran Duran or Depeche Mode that makes the book interesting – although for many, I understand it’s a true selling point. I haven’t even downloaded his interviews with some of the bands I know, I’ve been too busy reading! I’m not even halfway through it yet and I can honestly say – the man has LIVED. It is no wonder why he’s so successful, or why he’s been a constant source of inspiration and learning to me personally. He has had a life well-lived.
The book is outstanding so far, and I have just barely gotten to the point where he moves to California. It is easy to fangirl Richard Blade, and I don’t want to seem too gushy. To many in my generation, he is (in a very vague sense) our Dick Clark. We can leave American Top 40 to Ryan Seacrest—we don’t need him. But Richard Blade? He taught me nearly everything I know about New Wave and 80’s music. He’s open, honest, and cares about people and living things. He has no problem arguing his feelings and concerns, and while I might not always agree, I fully respect him.
Richard is the real deal, and I want to congratulate him on such a wonderfully written representation of his life. I know the diligence required with writing a manuscript, much less an autobiography. It isn’t enough to just want to do it, you have to want to do it more than anything. Richard wrote every single word, no ghost-writers involved, which is rare!
I have no problem highly recommending World in My Eyes. As I said, I haven’t even gotten halfway through it, and I would easily put this on the same shelf with Mad World. We are so lucky to have books about our music and the people who influenced us. I hope everyone grabs a copy. With the holidays coming, I think it would make a great present for anyone who loves music, Duran Duran and New Wave/80s alternative, or knows of Richard Blade! At over 500 pages, it’s the best $20 I’ve spent in a long time.
(And no, I wasn’t asked to write about his book, and I’m certainly not being paid to do so – this is all straight from me)
I can’t wait to get back to reading – so I’ve got to wrap this up for now.
*edited because as I could have predicted this morning when I first wrote it – I got the dates all wrong. 🙂
I slept a glorious 11 hours last night. I needed it. This week was not only a long one filled with teacher meetings but it also featured a little concert. On Wednesday, a couple of friends of mine and I drove from Madison to the south suburbs of Chicago to see Depeche Mode and back. The 22 hour day contained 7 hours of meetings, 6 hours of driving and a concert. I might have been a little tired. No matter the level of exhaustion I had it was worth it.
First of all, the concert was great! Depeche is one band that I can always count on to put on a good show. I had seen them six times before over the course of the years. Not only does Dave Gahan give it his all as a lead singer but Martin Gore brings a unique spirit to the show. Looking at the setlist, one element that really benefits them to put on a nice, long set is to have two singers. While Dave takes the rein most of the time, Martin can step in for a few songs here and there to give Dave a rest. It is an advantage that few bands have.
That said, it was interesting to watch the crowd during the show. We had seats in a suite above the crowd. This allowed a full view of both the stage but the fans below. I liked being able to see the videos as they often added to the performance but more than that, I was able to watch the crowd. It seemed clear to me that the majority of the crowd knew the fan favorites of old with songs like Enjoy the Silence, Everything Counts, World in my Eyes and more. When it came to the newer songs, though, the crowd was less into the show. I also heard people talking about show, including that they wished the band played song ______________. To me, this felt very familiar as I see and hear the same thing at a Duran show where many in the audience only know either the hits or songs from years ago. For some reason, that gave me some comfort that it isn’t just Duran to has to deal with that.
Interestingly enough, on the car ride down, we had a conversation about how Depeche always sounds like Depeche. Every album has a certain feel to it that is uniquely theirs. They have always owned their sound and never wavered. Before the show, I wondered if this is why Depeche still fills big venues. Maybe so. Yet, I still find myself appreciating that Duran has tried new things. Maybe that hasn’t always helped them but I like that every album is different than the last. I’m willing to bet that some Depeche fans aren’t as into the newer stuff because it feels as if it has been done before and that gets boring.
Despite the fact that the audience wasn’t 100% into every song, clearly people still enjoy themselves. I know that my friends and I did. Part of what made the night so good for us was how we did well with the tickets. If you have been reading this blog for awhile now, you know that the Depeche ticket buying deal was one I criticized. You can read about it here. The prices were outrageous, I thought. I remember on presale day. I could have bought row 17 or 18 or something for like $175 each, which was before fees. That just didn’t seem worth it to me. I chose not to buy and instead looked for tickets on StubHub. Eventually, ticket prices were such that I felt the price was worth it. My seat cost about $165 with fees but included a cushioned seat in one of the suites above the crowd. While my friends and I were third row in the suite, we still had a clear shot of their entire stage. If that wasn’t enough, we had a nice bathroom up there, close by without real lines and a waitress to take our drink orders. This was a vast improvement over standing for hours for a GA show!
Of course, driving at 2:30 in the morning felt painful as yesterday filled with meetings that my sleep-deprived self barely survived. I still say that it was worth it. Yes, the concert was great as was hanging with my friends! More than that, though, I love being at a live show, hearing great music. That atmosphere reminds me that it is good to be alive. I saw my first concert at that venue, Depeche Mode in 1990. I also saw my first Duran show there in 1993. I may not be as young as I was for those shows but I will refuse to go quietly into old or middle age. I will fight as long as I can to hold onto fun times and going to concerts. Always.
The other day I ran across a contest being offered by Depeche Mode. While I am a fan of Depeche’s, I wouldn’t consider applying to any contest in order for big Depeche fans to do so. That said, I still had to look at. What were the requirements to participate? What did people win? Would this be good for Duran to do or are there better ideas out there?
Here is what the post on Facebook said:
Here’s your exclusive opportunity to WIN 2 tickets + a backstage meet & greet with Depeche Mode at any show on the upcoming European tour ==> http://bit.ly/2wBG2nZ
The band will fly you and a friend to the European city of your choice, invite you to a pre-show meet & greet, and you’ll get a backstage tour! Hotel and airfare? That’s covered, too! It will be a once-in-a-lifetime musical experience you won’t want to miss.
To get entered to WIN, just donate $10 to charity: water using the link below. They’re raising funds to help provide clean and safe water to millions of people in need all over the world. So far, they’ve helped over 7 million gain access to drinking water which greatly affects health, education and other opportunities.
Okay. I like that in order to be entered into the contest, one must simply donate $10 to this charity. It is a good way for a band/artist to raise money for something that they care about. Duran could do this kind of thing for the Road to Recovery organization, for example. What I am unsure of is how often people can donate. If you donate $20, does that mean that you have two chances to win? I would assume so, which makes sense. If the band is trying to get as much money as possible for the cause, then this would encourage multiple donations. On the same token, I hate when contests become all about who has the most money. This means a lot of fans don’t really have a chance. Another thing I like about the contest, though, is that it is not about having a skill or the ability to do something other than a simple donation.
As for what fans can win, this seems to me to be a pretty great package! The winner gets two tickets to a show of the person’s choice, a backstage meet and greet, hotel and airfare. I know that I would love a contest like this for Duran. Then, I think back to that multiple donation equals multiple chances to win. Wouldn’t it be better to give the fan who does not have the money to travel the win? Yet, if this contest is done with the idea being that the more money spent equals the more likelihood of a win, that takes those fans out of the picture.
I just think it would be nice once in awhile for fans who don’t have many opportunities because of their financial situation to be able to have a chance. I know that there Duranies, for example, who have won contests, auctions, etc. because they are willing and able to do so. I don’t criticize them. Good for them. After all, if I had more money, I would do the same. I do know, though, that there are a lot of fans who don’t get much or don’t get to do much because of their circumstances. Some people reading this might say that we have gotten to do a lot, which is very true. We have flown for shows, for example. Does it mean that I wouldn’t want an opportunity? That I think I should sacrifice myself to give others a chance? Probably, I should. In reality, though, I would want to win if Duran offered something like this. I guess, I just think there should be a limit as to how much/how many times people could enter the contest. I like the idea of a more even playing field where everyone has the same chance. I would also hope that for this contest, serious Depeche fans are donating to have a chance. I wouldn’t want people who just like Depeche to win. I would want someone who loves Depeche to win. Likewise, if Duran did something like this, I would hope it would go to a Duranie and not someone who just saw the post and thought it would be cool.
What do the rest of you think? Is this a contest that Duran should mirror? What do you think of the winnings? What do you think about how people enter it? If you were to design a contest for Duran, what would it look like?
Yesterday, I found myself in a coffee shop with my former student teacher and a couple of students of mine. As we sat, chatting, I found myself commenting on the songs being played as they were mostly songs from the 80s. One of my students asked me how come I knew all the songs. She assumed that I was someone with a beyond normal amount of knowledge about music. I explained that I am nothing special and probably a ton of people my age could name the songs, too.
This statement, of course, led to more questions about why that would be the case. I explained that in my generation we did not the options to pick and choose our music very much. We had radio, video shows like Friday Night Videos and MTV. In order to hear our favorite songs, we just had to tune in to one of those and wait. This meant that we listened to a lot of songs/artists that we did not necessarily like but it also meant that our generation has a more unified cultural experience surrounding music. We learned all of the songs being played at the time because we were a captive audience. I explained to the kids that while this sounds terrible, it really wasn’t. The music gave us something in common–a frame of reference, something to always talk about. Now, as an adult, I feel like it unites me with others around my age.
As I left the coffee shop, I started to think about what my music would have been like if I had the choices to pick and choose the way kids today do. Some people could just hear music right away and decide if they like it within seconds. I have decided that I’m just not that way. I need to hear songs a bunch before I really know whether or not I like it. Then, of course, once I do decide that a song is fabulous–watch out because I will listen to it non-stop. One example of this was Depeche Mode. When I bought one of their albums as part of one of those Columbia House deals to buy 7 cassettes for a cent or whatever it was, I listened to it once and thought it was weird. Too weird to listen to. Then, I had a friend who talked about how cool Depeche was so I gave it a few more listens. Soon enough, some of the songs got in my head.
Really, Duran Duran was no different even as a kid. I probably heard a song like Save a Prayer at least twenty times before I got it in my head and decided it was fabulous. It even took awhile before I would call myself a Duranie. I liked a lot of their songs before I knew that I loved the band. The same thing is true with new music of theirs that comes out today. Sometimes, the first few listens don’t do it for me. Whenever I try to respond too quickly, it doesn’t go well. I think Rhonda would probably say the same. This is one of the mistakes we made with the Paper Gods album. We wanted to review the songs so badly, we forgot that we need time. Now, in thinking about that conversation with my students, I have to wonder if the need for multiple listens is common among my generation.
My original belief that I am glad that I grew up when I did stands, at least when it comes to music. While I am sure that there are a lot of songs and videos that I wished that I could have skipped to get to the next Duran track, I’m glad that I couldn’t. I believed that I found a lot more songs and bands that way that I wouldn’t have otherwise.
A couple weeks ago, Amanda blogged about the new presale system that Depeche Mode is using for their upcoming tour. In full disclosure, I am not a huge Depeche Mode fan in 2017. I owned all of their albums up until the late 90s or so, but I got bored. I’m not here to get into a debate over their music, so we’ll just say that I always take notice when they come out with something new, but I’m not quite as driven as many others. So, when their new tour was announced, along with a vague explanation of this new presale system where your place in line is at least partially determined by how hard you work to promote Depeche Mode and their tour, I knew there was no way I was getting involved. I just don’t love them that much. I’m not sure I love any band that much, outside of Duran Duran.
Oddly, considering the tone of this post, I have always been a big supporter of fan marketing. That means that an artist shares the responsibility of marketing with his/her/their fan base, and then rewards them for their efforts. Depeche Mode isn’t necessarily wrong to use a similar method for this tour. I think the idea of rewarding fans who go the extra mile is a great idea…and that has nothing to do with the fact that I’ve written a blog for the past six years. It just makes good sense. But how to make it all work? The devil is in the details. Or, in other words, something that sounds good on paper doesn’t always work out in real life. Or online.
For the past two weeks or so, I’ve seen a lot of my friends post or tweet something about registering for Depeche Mode tickets using their link so that they can move up farther in line. I saw the same posts from the same people tens, if not hundreds of times. I don’t know if just posting helped them, or if they really needed people registering off of their link for it to count. I also saw, with some regularity, posts from other friends who were complaining about how far they’d dropped in line. Very few of them seemed to move up, and staying in the lower digits at least seemed pretty difficult to me from the outside looking in. I don’t know how much effort it took to remain in those spaces (and if anyone has insight on that, feel free to drop me a line or share your tale in the comments!), but I do know that if I’d been involved, I would have obsessed over my number in line, which is never good (for me, anyway).
The frenzy of posts seemed to grow until this weekend, where it seemed CRAZY, until last night when the same friends got their emails telling them their presale times for this morning. I woke up this morning to many negative-leaning posts about the presale process.
It was about this time when I started being thankful for paying my $35.00 a year membership to DDM, and only having to work within the DD presale process. Yes, Ticketmaster has not always been kind to me, but to be fair—the main reason I have had any kind of trouble has been because I didn’t want to pay for top tier Duran Duran tickets, so I have gone with a lesser VIP package, and then been appalled where those packages have ended up being, seat-wise. I don’t know what that’s about with me, but I’ve just learned that if I’m going to go, I have to suck it up and pay the big prices to be up front, or just be satisfied I’m in the building. There’s no in between for me, I really am that high maintenance, and that is MY problem. But back to Depeche Mode…
As I observed friends getting more and more impatient over the Depeche Mode presale, I realized that there just isn’t any one way to make this process fair for everyone. There’s always going to be someone who feels screwed, no matter what is done.
Let’s face it, a successful tour means sold-out shows, and if there are sold-out shows, it means that sure enough, somebody, somewhere, will end up without the tickets they want. Demand exceeded supply. Hence the sad posts from fans without tickets, angry posts from those who ended up with back row, and frustrated posts from those who think $300 for one mediocre seat in the rear of the venue is a little out of hand. And trust me, it is, I agree…but we pay it because we desperately want to be there. The venue, management and a host of other people who make their living from concerts all know this. It is the name of the game. Business.
I saw a lot of disappointed posts this morning, and a lot of people saying they bought some tickets but weren’t at all happy about what it took to get them. I thought a lot about the things I’m willing to do to go to a DD show these days. For me personally, I’m not sure where the line is drawn. Some days, like today, I’m thinking that I do enough as it is. I just want to buy the damn ticket. I would be really upset if they went to a similar system as Depeche Mode, and I’m not sure I’d bother. On other days, I might say that if I had to participate with all of that posting and tweeting in order to do a presale and get a decent spot – I suppose I might. I’m not sure. Right now, I’m feeling tired. I don’t feel young, and I’m just not sure it’s all worth it, but that could easily change overnight. I don’t want to begin jumping through more hoops in order to see Duran Duran, but when push comes to shove would I really be willing to stop seeing them live, or would I be willing to forgo a good spot in line for presales? Would you?
Believe it or not, I try to pay attention to a few other bands/artists out there besides Duran Duran. While nothing compares to my love and dedication to Duran, I am a fan of other bands. I just don’t spend anywhere near the same amount of time and money on them. My fan status is much more casual fan as opposed to the intense fandom of Duran. One of those other bands that I’m a fan of is Depeche Mode. It has always ranked within my top five bands. I own every album of theirs and do try to see them live when I can. Right now, Depeche is preparing for a flurry of activity.
Depeche’s latest album, Spirit, is due out on March 17th but they have already released a single. “Where’s the Revolution?” came out this winter and is definitely getting fans’ attention. If that was not enough, the band has a tour planned for this summer in Europe and more dates coming up in the U.S.
Now, we all know how Duran typically does their pre-sales. A show is announced on the band’s social media and official website. That announcement includes information about how much the tickets are, what kind of VIP packages are available and a date and time for the upcoming pre-sale. Usually, that pre-sale takes place within a couple of days. At the time of the sale, fans usually have a code that they use to buy tickets. From there, it is a first come, first serve system. All fans who are part of the fan club have an equal chance of getting whatever tickets the fan club had, theoretically.
Over the history of this blog, the topic of pre-sales has come up often. Fans, including ourselves, have, at times, complained and within reason. Some of us didn’t and don’t like the use of Ticketmaster. What is or is not included in VIP packages has often been discussed along with the value of the concert tickets, in general. Many have expressed frustration over what tickets are even available to fans through these pre-sales. I could go on but you get the drift. To summarize, many Duranies are not certain about how Duran chooses to run their pre-sales. Thus, I’m always looking for how other bands do it to see if there really is an alternative.
This week, I learned about how Depeche Mode is going to run their pre-sales. According to the article on diffuser.fm, this is their plan:
In order to head off scalpers at the pass, they’ve opened what they’re referring to as a “digital waiting room” where fans can get first dibs on tickets.
“Depeche Mode are coming back to North America,” the band writes. “And this time, they’re doing something different. Before scalpers and bots, true fans would line up at the box office for days to get tickets. This is the same thing, but online. Claim your spot in line by signing up below, and the higher your spot, the better your access to tickets during the fan pre-sale. End up at the very front of the line for your city and you’ll be invited to meet the band before the show.”
When I learned about this, I followed the directions to sign up. Interestingly enough, the site asked me to confirm the location of the show I would go to. Their website goes on to say: “When we announce the tour dates, we’ll send you your exact spot in line for the city closest to your preferred location. Your spot will determine when you will get access to the fan ticket presale, but it isn’t final until signups end. By purchasing the new album, sharing on social media and generating sign-ups through your link, you can improve your spot.” Clearly then, you can move up in line based on what you do to help promote the new album and tour. Fascinating.
Apparently then, I will receive a code, which will give me access to the fan presale but the time that the code will become valid will be decided by my virtual place in line. From what I read, the line stops changing 48 hours before the pre-sale starts.
I find this system really interesting. It seems to me that they are hoping that by using this method, they will get more people to buy the new album and promote the album and tour. As someone who writes a blog each and every day about a band, I love the idea of that work being recognized and rewarded with better concert tickets. I wonder, though, if this system would even recognize something like a fan blog. Will the system only acknowledge certain fan actions and behaviors that can be easily “read” and calculated by technology?
Another element of this pre-sale system that I question is the idea of having to give a location. For me, this works for Depeche Mode. I won’t travel to see them. Thus, if I go to a Depeche concert, it is likely to be in Chicago or Minneapolis. If this was for Duran Duran, though, I would travel, if dates work out better, but the chosen location has to be determined immediately to get in line. Also, what happens if fans want to go to more than one show? Do they rely on other friends put other locations down? Does this just end up encouraging going to only one show?
All in all, I find some of this idea fascinating and potentially positive for fans. On the other hand, it limits fans to one city without knowing any of the dates. It will be interesting to see how this works in real time. What do the rest of you think?
Earlier in the week, I wrote a blog in which I provided a review of Duran Duran’s New Year’s Day show and the weekend in general. If you have not read it, you can read it here. Overall, the response was positive as many, many readers agreed with me and added even more examples from their own experiences. Yet, one reader questioned the structure of the blog post as I focused on responding to a review of the show. The criticism was that I should not have reviewed a review, that I should have just written about my thoughts about the show.
This reaction made me think. I get that a reader would want details about the show. Yet, I felt and still feel that I needed that review to respond to. If you have been reading this blog pretty consistently over the last year, you recognize that I have attended a “few” shows since Paper Gods was released. This means that I have seen basically the same set list a “few” times. I have seen the same visuals, the same dance moves, the same introductions (in many cases). I have reviewed many of the shows I have seen here on the blog. I am not sure what more I could say beyond, “I love having New Moon on Monday in the setlist.” I have said that before. I have commented on how it represents my fandom. I could have repeated that as well as other comments about DoJo, JoSi, the amazing visuals during What Are the Chances, etc. I didn’t, though. I didn’t want to rehash old blogs. That’s not fun, nor interesting.
So why could I not discuss the differences with this show? Why didn’t I mention the uniqueness of that particular New Year’s Day show? Frankly, there wasn’t much difference between that show and the show I saw in Chula Vista, California, or the one I saw in Toronto, Canada. Most of the shows I have seen during this era are consistently good. It seems clear to me that Duran has worked HARD to put on a good show night after night. I don’t hear or read criticism that a show sucked ever. No one says that. I think back, though, to shows in 2005 or 2006 or 2007, etc., and I do remember hearing that some shows weren’t as good as others.
Similarly, I can think back to the shows that I have seen and there were definitely some shows that were amazing! I remember leaving the Brighton show in 2011 thinking that there was never going to be a better show than that and the next night in Bournemouth seemed to prove that to me as that show wasn’t that great. In the past, shows varied with some being a lot better than others. Now, before I get hate mail, don’t get me wrong. “Less than perfect” Duran shows are still better than lots of other bands. I don’t regret seeing any Duran show and clearly, I’m still addicted since I have tickets to more. I’m just saying that some were “good” and some shows were “amazing.”
This leads me to think about other bands. I have seen Depeche Mode, for example, a number of times. They are consistently good. I can count on that band to put on a good show. Yet, despite having had seen them a bunch of times, none of the shows stick out to me. No show was better than others. I could say the same about their albums. Generally, Depeche records good albums, consistent albums. Duran has had some AMAZING albums and some albums that weren’t as great. It seems to me, though, that when Duran makes a good song, it is beyond fabulous and cannot be compared with anything else. The same is true with their albums as well.
This makes me wonder. Which is better? Is it better to be consistently good or it is better to have moments of being awesome and some moments of being less than great? For me, if I really wanted consistently good, I might be writing a blog about being a Depeche Mode fan. Yet, I like that Duran takes chance to reach that 10 with their music, their albums, their live shows. At times, they not only reach that 10, they push passed. Yet, sometimes, they try and miss the mark, creating only a 6. I think it braver and more interesting to follow a band that isn’t always the same. I like that they change and try new challenges.
What do the rest of you think?
An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!