Tag Archives: Duran Duran Astronaut Tour 2005

Makes My Hair Stand Up On End

Synchronize but don’t comprehend

Lately, I’ve been stealing topics from Twitter. Shout-out to @BoysMakeNoise for drumming up such great discussion topics through his album surveys. (He’s also the brilliant mind from yesterday’s blog, and I failed to credit his genius directly!) They get me thinking, and that leads to writing.

The fact is, I have little to discussion in terms of actual “fandom” practices these days (give me time, because shows will be happening and I’m sure there will be much to discuss). So I’ve been going back through albums, listening and rethinking. Today is an Astronaut day.

What got me started on this particular album was a survey that @BoysMakeNoise posted on Twitter. It was a simple question – “What do you listen to more often?” The choices were Astronaut and All You Need Is Now.

All You Need is Now won by a virtual landslide, in case you were wondering.

Another moment I commit

The question itself is interesting because of its wording. He didn’t ask which album is preferred, just which one is listened to more often. Upon first thought, one might scoff and say it’s the same answer, but I’d challenge you to think again. For example, if you posed Notorious against Red Carpet Massacre and asked me – LATELY – I’d have to say RCM. I’ve been listening to that a lot lately for a number of reasons, but I still prefer Notorious!

So back to Astronaut. It was the first, and only album, for the fab five post reunion, and that alone caused me to listen to it non-stop for a long time. I knew every subtle nuance, every change in dynamics, and each drum fill. (probably just like anyone else reading!) However, after the Astronaut tour, I admittedly got tired of it. I put the album away, only to listen to a few songs here or there.

I’ve pulled Astronaut out every once in a while, and each time I do – I notice that I don’t need to hear it from start to finish. I tend to choose a few songs, skip around, and then I don’t need to hear it all again for a while. I can still remember how I felt when I first heard the album: mixtures of pride and excitement leveled with a teeny bit of disappointment that some of the demos I’d originally heard weren’t included or that songs were changed.

I’m addicted to the state you’re in

For a long time, I didn’t differentiate my excitement for being involved in the fan community, the joy of the band being back together, or even the elation of traveling to be with friends and go to shows, from the album itself. Those feelings were all entwined, tangled together, indecipherable from one another. Time has done it’s job, and I feel a bit less biased these days than I might have at the time it was released in 2004.

When I listen to Astronaut now, the album shows some age now. There are a few standout songs for me, like the title track, Sunrise, Chains, and even Still Breathing, but I find that a lot of the rest of the album is easy to leave behind. Unlike albums such as Paper Gods, or Rio, or even Seven and the Ragged Tiger, the songs don’t necessarily flow from one to the next. The theme of the album…if there is indeed one (I’d argue there is not), isn’t carried. There’s very little cohesion. Now, that’s not necessarily a fault of the band as much as it might have been the recording style of the day – I’m just glad that they’ve gone back to recording an album as though it is one complete story from the first song to the last.

Where it’s gonna end up, anybody knows

Oddly, these points don’t make Astronaut less endearing to me. I still love it because of what time it represents during the band’s history. I think there is much to love there – who would have thought in 1997 or 1998 that a brand new album from the original five members was just around the corner?? Instead, I find a great deal of satisfaction from being able to sit back and thoroughly examine Astronaut’s chapter in Duran Duran’s history.

I also think this discussion provides a great springboard into the topic of listening to complete albums versus playlists. Is there still merit to recording a full-album? I have to wonder how the band feels, as well as how fans feel about it in 2019…but that will have to wait for another day.

-R

Duran Duran History: Hammersmith Palais Show 2005

On this date in 2005, Duran Duran played at Hammersmith Palais in London. Ah, 2005 brings back lots of great memories. This, of course, was a few months after Astronaut was released and right before the big Astronaut Tour was to begin. If I had to describe the fandom at that point, I might use the word “electric.” I remember how I felt then as I was all abuzz with excitement every minute of every day.

January 2005 was not only a few months after Astronaut was released but also a few months after I attended the Duran Duran Fan Convention in New Orleans. I felt like I was walking on a cloud each and every day. I never thought I would hear another album from the Fab Five and I certainly did not think that I would meet so many fellow fans like I did in New Orleans in the previous fall. My evenings were spent online at various message boards, especially the much loved DuranDuranFans.com. Everyone (or so it seemed) loved Astronaut and I don’t remember hearing anyone criticize the album. Excitement was also in the air regarding the upcoming tour. While many fans had seen shows in 2004 either in the UK or as part of the few shows the band played at the end of year connected to Christmas or radio shows, people were itching to see the band perform these new songs and to put on a proper tour. Therefore, this particular show felt like the opening as the band was going to play there before heading over to Japan to officially start the tour. (Unfortunately, the Japan shows had to be canceled due to Roger’s broken foot, I believe.)

I remember wishing desperately that I could be at this show. Part of it, I’m sure, was my desire to see which songs from the new album they would play. I also figured that it would provide a sense of what the tour would be like. After the show, I searched for the setlist as well as pictures and clips. Curious as to what they played? According to setlist.fm, here was the setlist that night:

  1. Finest Hour
  2. Hungry Like the Wolf
  3. Hold Back the Rain
  4. Want You More!
  5. Union of the Snake
  6. What Happens Tomorrow
  7. Chains
  8. Astronaut
  9. Ordinary World
  10. Save a Prayer
  11. Bedroom Toys
  12. Notorious (incl. We Are Family snippet)
  13. The Reflex
  14. Nice
  15. (Reach Up for the) Sunrise
  16. The Wild Boys
  17. Girls on Film (Encore)
  18. Rio (Encore)

So, what do you think of that setlist? They played a LOT of songs off of Astronaut. I would say that they played more new songs at this show than any other show I can think of outside of those Broadway shows for Red Carpet Massacre. I can imagine that the band wanted to use this show as practice and to see how the new songs are received. Still…it seems like a ton of new songs.

As I continued to ponder this show, I went to YouTube to see if there were any clips of this show. While I didn’t find video clips, I did find an audio copy of the show. Listen to the show here:

On that note, I’ve got some tunes to listen to while I work on grading revised essays.

-A

Jimmy Kimmel Show 2005 – Do You Remember?

On this date in 2005, Duran Duran performed on the Jimmy Kimmel show.

I tried finding some YouTube footage, but there was none to be found…which surprised me. So, in order to find some sort of context, I went way back in the news archives on the band’s website. I had forgotten just how busy the band was back in 2005. I mean, their tour for Astronaut was underway, and they were announcing dates as quickly as possible, updating on nearly a daily basis. (For example, on March 1st there was a post that was the NINTH update for the US tour!) At the same time that the band was touring and performing, they were taking time to do shows like Jimmy Kimmel, and attend parties and things like the Vanity Fair Oscar party.  Roger and Nick attended that party, and were able to congratulate Cate Blanchett on her win (Cate had attended the DD show the night before) The band was running around like crazy, likely burning the candle at both ends. That same day, an article with the headline, “More than a Nostalgia Act”, was printed in the OC Register reviewing their show at the Staples Center. A day later, they were announcing the CD/DVD combo to Greatest. At the time, I don’t even think I really noticed the amount of activity as much as I noticed a day rarely went by without the band announcing some sort of news on their website.

Hindsight is funny that way, I guess.

Nowadays, while we wait for the band to make their return to the road, I think we’ve grown accustomed to their being less news, overall. It isn’t as though the band isn’t working hard, it is that I think we’ve settled into a new sort of “normal”. They still do press, they still attend parties, but it doesn’t seem quite so frenetic. The pace seems manageable, and above all – at least in my opinion – it doesn’t seem quite so likely that the candle is about to burn out.

At least, that is the hope I hold on to from day to day.  I’m not quite ready to bid this band, or any of the members within, a fond farewell.   So while I marvel at the pace kept in 2005, I actually enjoy the pace of 2017 a bit more. I can keep up!

So, do any of you remember the Jimmy Kimmel show from 2005?

-R