Tag Archives: Duran Duran concerts

We’ll Star Together in Every Scene

Has the following scenario ever happened to you?

Part of a Celluloid Dream

You participate in ticket sale and end up with 8th floor center seats for that one band/artist/performer you thought you’d never see. You begin a countdown to the show, and it feels like the evening will never arrive, but it does. You get to the venue, walk proudly down to the floor section and find your seats. You’re super excited to be there and realize that the stage is really just feet away. The show begins, everyone stands up – and out come the cell phones.

Everyone around you, or at least in front of you, seems to have their phone up in the air, videoing the show. Some may only do it for 30 second periods, others seem to hold their phone up the entire time. All you know is that what once seemed like great seats are now crappy because you’re having to find the “window” in between all of the screens. As the owners of these phones shift position, so do you. You’re ducking, standing on tip-toe, peering around and under, just to see the band of your choice.

It’s annoying. I’ve had that happen – in fact, both times I’ve seen Duran Duran at the Cosmopolitan, Amanda and I have been back in about the 8th or 9th row, and invariably there’s a wall of cell phones between us and the stage. You have to make the best of it, because otherwise – well, the experience is ruined, and no one wants that.

Rewind back to yesterday

I’d be telling a bit fat fib if I said I had never once held up my phone at a show, though. Of course I have. I’ve taken pictures, I’ve even taken video. I’ve also gone to shows and left my phone in the car, or even at home. Most often at Duran Duran shows, I tend to take my phone out a couple of times, take a few pictures, and put it away. I’m not that great of a photographer anyway, and I would rather watch the band and live in that moment.

I’ve also, like many others – watched Facebook live as someone streams a show. I’m always fascinated by that, because I’m not able to disconnect myself enough as an audience member to think about streaming. It isn’t that I don’t want to share, it’s that I’m so busy flailing my arms around and acting like an idiot that I can’t hold still long enough to take video! Regardless though, I’ve absolutely taken advantage of the kindness of others. I’ve watched those live streams. Not only that, I’ve searched endlessly for videos on YouTube. So you can 100% count me in as part of the problem.

Blurred my vision

On one hand, I don’t like seeing nothing but a sea of screens at a show. Seriously, it’s one good reason for me to buy tickets as close to the stage as possible. It’s an added benefit to being so close that I can see the stubble on Dom’s face, or notice if Simon’s shoes are untied. Yes, I’ve looked. I don’t know why.

On the other hand though, I do love being able to see videos of the shows I’ve not been able to attend. Not only that, there are certain songs from certain shows that I’ve been at that I want to see over and over again, for various reasons. YouTube is my best friend for that.

Almost inevitably, Amanda and I can find and compile nearly the full set list from any show we’ve attended. YouTube is a great resource, but I also think that maybe this is a bigger problem than I’d ever considered. The convenience factor for FANS might be fabulous, but what about the band? Did they agree to be filmed? Do they really want any and all of us to be able to get video from any show out there? I mean – at what point does all of that video, from nearly any show they’ve done in the past 5 years (minimum) start to hurt ticket sales? Does it ever hurt? Is it a cause worth fighting, or is it just so out of hand that it’s impossible to manage?

Where did it all go wrong?

I’m wondering about how other fans might feel. Yesterday I had the opportunity to hear from a much younger person who still hadn’t learned the hard lesson that a discussion, even one taking place on social media, does not need to be a litany of insults in order to be effective. Regardless, she felt that once you buy a ticket to a show – you should be able to do whatever you want, regardless of how other people around you may feel. She argued that she paid for the right to hold up her phone and record, and that I was just “butt hurt” about not being able to see.

The entire conversation made me laugh a bit. It didn’t occur to her that if everyone held up their phone, she might not even be able to take video herself, but from the way she responded—I don’t think that mattered. Someone else pointed out the fine print on the back of the ticket where it clearly states that recording a show is not legal. She responded that she’s even had her phone broken at shows and yet has never been thrown out. All I could think of was that she’s never been to some of the venues I’ve been to, including the Chelsea Theatre in the Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas.

She also said that “no one” ever records an entire show. Unfortunately, that’s just not true. Plenty of people do, because I find them with regularity on YouTube. I also had to laugh when she called me old and annoying. Yeah, tell me something I don’t already know.

Living in a Pop Trash movie

I don’t think this is necessarily a youth vs. “finely aged” problem. I know many of my fellow “finely aged” peers who regularly stream and/or take video of shows to post later on YouTube. This is also not a slam against those people – it’s a genuine problem. I, too, watch YouTube. Seeing Facebook Live when I can’t possibly fly out of the country or even across the United States to see a once-in-a-lifetime gig is handy. But at what price to other people? Is it really fair to all involved? I’m as guilty as anyone else.

Admittedly, I hadn’t given any of it a lot of thought until yesterday. The only time the thought goes through my head is when I’ve been at shows and had screens thrust up in my line of sight, or when I have taken out my own phone. I try to be at least mindful that I might be blocking someone. It is the same reason I stopped holding up signs at shows – however “cute” they might be, it isn’t nice to block someone’s view behind me – which I know I’ve done in the past.

I’m curious about how others feel. I threw the question out on Twitter yesterday, but it’s time to hear from the rest of you! What say you on the subject of cell phone videos and streaming at shows?


Where in the World is Duran Duran?

I’m sorry I’m late today. I’ve been wrestling with Google and WordPress all morning. I want to make sure to get writing before the day gets away from me.

I don’t suppose anyone has noticed the “Where in the world is _________” pictures this morning? Simon seems to be missing so far, so we should all stay tuned. Obviously though, the band is in Russia! I had to check the calendar – I’ve lost track of when they were due in Iceland and Denmark – but it appears they have several days before heading to those places.

While the thought of the band vacationing together makes me laugh, I’m pretty sure they must be there for a private gig. Wealthy Russians sure seem to know how to throw a good party!

I’m envious of those who are making the trek to Iceland. Aside from a quick run down to Anaheim with my youngest for Vidcon, and to Vegas in September for this crazy band, my vacation destination for this year is our back patio. I’ll be spending warm summer nights barbecuing, building more fenced areas for our future livestock, possibly laying some concrete, and dreaming about the pool I’d really love to have put in. As my husband puts it, “You live here. This is your vacation every single day.” Yeah…..not exactly, but OK.

With the band out and about for the next week or two, hopefully there will be pictures and things to share, along with plenty of photos from those of you going. Safe travels and happy times ahead for all of you! Also, if you’re traveling to any of the upcoming shows and would like to be our special correspondents in the field, we would be thrilled to publish you! We’d obviously credit you with whatever you’d like to share – pictorials, reviews, diaries, etc. Send me a note to our gmail (dailyduranie at gmail dot com)!


Pre-gaming the Pre-show and Other Delights!

I can hear the cracking sound

It is a SHOW DAY today, people!! Are you ready?!? By “you”, of course – I mean Duran Duran. I hope you’re ready! We – the fans of course – we’re born ready for this type of thing, right??

My apologies for the late blog. The smallest Rivera is settling into our new community by beginning a new school tomorrow morning. Today was an orientation day, and then tomorrow she gets thrown to the lions. Well, not really…but she will be one of just seven girls in her blended 4th and 5th grade class!

I was animatedly chatting with friends about the show this morning. We spent time debating set list possibilities, possible costuming, wondering what they might open and close with, and so on. The conversations were great. It all reminded me of just how much I enjoy talking about the music with other fans. It also vaguely seemed like something else I couldn’t quite put my finger on right away. Then it hit me.

Some fans enjoy chatting about the shows, the costumes, visuals and even the lighting and sound. I don’t know of a lot of people outside of my small circle of Twitter pals that can spend a full-day going around and around about what song Duran Duran might use as an opener. They will excitedly debate, citing historical choices and reason. Apparently, we can ponder and question possible choices like nobody’s business. It is all very similar to watching a pregame show before a big game, like the Super Bowl. While the conversations can be very serious, there’s also an air of humor surrounding much of it. We keep it light, friendly, and fun.

Something else

For fans, the concerts ARE our Super Bowls, aren’t they? The lucky part is that the winners happen to be the fans. Moreover, we win every single time! Not a bad thing, in my mind. This being Reason #257 why I choose concerts over sports, every single time.

The key is never allowing those expectations to ruin a good time. Sure, you bought VIP tickets, but while you expected to have an unobstructed view, instead your seats are way off to the side, or are facing speakers…or two very large men end up in front of you, ruining any chance of actually being able to see more than a tiny sliver of the stage at any one time. Any one of those mishaps are enough to put a damper on joy of the evening, and might even have the potential to ruin the night…if you allow.

You could cut the atmosphere

I draw from personal experience here. There have been times when I have dissected a show within inches of it’s life before it has even taken place. I’ve announced what songs I hope to hear, and what songs I hope they leave off the set list. My friends and I have analyzed every single part of their live show, I’ve noticed when the onstage choreography seems more rehearsed than organic. I’ve had the greatest of expectations, only to arrive at the show and be thwarted, whether due to crowds, tall people, or even bad seats, right alongside my own bad attitude.. At some shows I’ve let those things bother me to the point of being angry. At others, I learned from my past mistakes, shrugged it off, and danced like nobody was watching.

When it all comes down to it, I believe there has to be a balance. Talking about everything from set list to shows, to upcoming albums is exciting to me, but I also like the element of surprise.

I don’t need to know every subtle nuance, or recognize every time Roger should twirl his stick, or when Dom should cross the stage. Knowing the set list in advance of my shows doesn’t help to entice me (although admittedly, it is very hard to stay away from such things online!), and I don’t need to hear who has already taken photos with whom or how so-and-so isn’t going to be staying at the hotel or so forth because they flew on to the next stop and so on. Knowing future collaborators or producers isn’t a worry I’m willing to take on. I might comment on it, but worry? Nah. Not worth it. Let the music speak for itself. Balance is a good thing. Surprises can be nice.

Things are hoting up in here

So, over the next week or two as I talk Duran Duran, whether as a pre-show commentator, or “Monday Morning Quarterback” (so to speak!) I also will keep managing those expectations. As John Taylor says (and if I were a tattoo gal – which I am not – I would have this in tiny script around one my ankles just to remind me) “expectations are simply future resentments”.


Sound of Celebration: Welcome to the Newbies out there!

the lights turn on

It is a strange feeling when you know Duran Duran is actually in the same country and that your friends are traveling (or have already traveled) to see them. Every once in a while, I’ll sneak a peek on Twitter, just to see if anyone recognizable has posted a photo or anything. (Thank you to Anna Ross for playing along nicely!)

I’m excited because I know that next Thursday I’ll be making my way to Vegas for their shows over the weekend. It also feels like the next week is going to take forever to get through. Then again, I have kind of a lot to do between now and then so…I’d better get to it!

and still they come

As difficult as it is for me to still believe sometimes, there are Duranlive first-timers amongst us, running rampant in the public! I joke, but I also love running into new concert-goers, whether online or in person. They are typically so darn joyful, their excitement is palatable and contagious all at once. I live and breathe for that joy! This weekend, Amanda gave excellent advice for GA shows. They can be tricky, and honestly require their own play book, in my opinion. Even seated show attendees could use some advice, though.

First off, I’m no expert. Really. There are many, many Duranies out there who have gone to far more shows than the fifty I can count over the years. Fifty shows isn’t very many when you consider that this is #DD40. On that same token, I believe about 40 or so of those shows have taken place since the year 2004, which means I’m not only NOT an expert, I’m also probably a bit nutty, and damn gleeful about it.

That said, I am 100% quirky and proud of it. I spend a lot of my time before and after these shows just people watching. Seeing fans mingle, observing families taking it all in, I even gauge the age of the audience. I love seeing how people interact (and yeah, I pay special attention to the known Duranies because, dang it – you’re a super-special sort. Like me!). All of that observation over the years has taught me a few things.

we come here calling

First of all, if you’re new to this whole thing: welcome. I know we’re a daunting group. Overwhelming at the very least! My advice is really simple: JUST HAVE FUN. If you’re not on social media, you should try it. Twitter, for example, doesn’t have to be horribly serious or time committing. It’s a quick and easy way to meet people – it reminds me a lot of the days on message boards, because there’s true banter between fans. It sometimes takes a while to find us, but we’re there. Follow @duranduran, check out the people who seem to tweet things you might be interested in. Some like to talk about band members, others like to discuss the music, still others talk about all of it. Try it, you might like it!

My hope in suggesting to meet other fans online, a newbie can find a group to hang with, both before and after the show. Life is way too short and Duran Duran concerts are far too much fun, to go it alone. Connecting with other fans is one of the very best parts of this community. It is how Amanda and I met, and it is how I’ve met some of the closest friends I have over the years. One of the goals we’ve had for Daily Duranie in the past has been to bring fans together and allow them to connect. This past year, I know I’ve strayed a bit from that path, but I’m getting back to it, little by precious little.

to gather here

My other piece of advice, which might be coming in too late for some of you – is to travel in early. What I mean by that is, if you’re going to a show on a Friday, get there on Thursday. Why? Two reasons really. One, giving yourself a bit of a cushion is far better on the nerves when a flight is unexpectedly canceled, or weather becomes a problem.

The second reason is that a lot of times, people will meet up the day before. Amanda and I have been known to plan parties the night before a show for fans to meet up. This time in Vegas we don’t really have anything planned, but I have seen other groups of people mentioning getting together that night. I can promise we will be out and about, but we agreed to give ourselves a break this time and let others do the planning.

we’ll light up the land

When it comes time for the show, even at a seated venue, I’d tell you over and over again to wear shoes you’re going to be comfortable standing in for hours. Some may disagree with me, and that’s fine, but trust me when I say that the band isn’t going to see your shoes. They don’t care. They want to see you up and dancing. Impress yourself and don’t worry about anybody else is my motto. During the hours before and after the show, you’re going to be walking, standing and talking. Be comfortable so that you can enjoy it all! Cute and comfortable IS a thing, whether that’s in heels, flats, trainers or something else entirely!

So when you see me wearing flat shoes or even flip-flops to a show (I’ve done it before and will definitely do it again!), know that I am totally 100% happy and confident wearing them, and I don’t care about what anyone else thinks. I’ve done the heels before, no thanks!

can you hear the planet roaring

My opinion is simply that if you don’t come out of a Duran Duran show sweaty and completely elated – you’ve done it wrong. Nobody should be sitting through a Duran show if you’re physically capable of standing. Otherwise, chair dancing in whatever way you need is totally a thing too. Go for it!

There are plenty of subtle nuances to fandom. There are plenty of unwritten social rules and slippery slopes, I suppose. Sometimes, one can get so distracted by the minutia of what to say, how to say it, what to ask, what NOT to ask, that they forget to have fun. That’s the bottom line though. HAVE FUN. Smile. Enjoy the moment. I can promise that the 120 minutes that the band is on stage (give or take a few either way) will fly by in the blink of an eye. For those precious two hours, live in just that little bit. Experience the music with an open heart and mind, and let it take you away from the troubles of real life. Allow your heart to swell full of gratitude for being there to enjoy every single note. You won’t regret it.

See you at the shows!


Testing the Concert Rubric

As a teacher, I know that I can write the best lesson plan on paper.  I can include some great, engaging activities with a solid assessment to measure learning.  Rubrics can look good on paper but fall far short when they are actually used and applied against actual assignments.  Therefore, today’s blog focuses on actually using the Duran Duran concert rubric that was created yesterday.  If you need to know what I’m talking about, read yesterday’s blog post here.

The purpose of the rubric is to determine how great a Duran show was.  Theoretically, it should help pick out the subtle or sometimes, not-so-subtle differences between shows.  Theoretically.  Let’s use it to compare the two most recent shows in the Washington DC area over New Year’s.  I wrote reviews of those shows, which you can read about here and here.  In my opinion, the New Year’s Day was a better show than the New Year’s Eve show.  If I use the rubric, will it match my initial assessment?

New Year’s Eve Show:

Seat Location–I would give that a 4.  We were in the 6th row, center with a clear view of the stage.

Crowd–If you read those reviews, you know how unhappy the crowd made me that night.  There were far too many empty seats and a ton of people sitting in that front center section to give it anything above a 2.

Sound–Generally, the band performed decently but it wasn’t the best sound I ever heard as far as venue acoustics goes.  There were some missed lyrics and they were clearly off in the beginning during Paper Gods.  I would give it a 2.5.

Company–I was definitely with a totally awesome person and loved seeing old friends and meeting new ones.  That said, Rhonda was absent.  I would give that category a 4.

Location–I love Washington DC in terms of ease of getting around and having plenty to do outside of going to the concert.  Yet, I don’t really think of it as a big party city.  Again, I would give that a 4.

Venue–I wrote a lot about the various criticism I had with the MGM National Harbor in general and the theater within.  I won’t get into all of that again here.  I give it a 2.

Setlist–The setlist was basically the same as it has been.  We did not get Sunrise/New Moon on Monday, though.  This equals a 2.5

Interactions–There were some interactions between the band and the audience.  Definitely.  Let’s just say that if I ever hear Simon mentioned twerking again, it will be too soon.  Decent interactions on stage as well.  I would give it a 4.

Energy Level–As I mentioned in my initial review, the band’s energy level seemed down.  I’m not sure if that was due to the sad state of the crowd or what.  I would give it a 2.

Any Extras–Nothing exciting to report on that front.  That said, Nick was back!


New Year’s Day Show:

Obviously, there will be some scores that are the same since this show happened as the same venue as the previous show.

Seating Location–Our seats were slightly better for this show.  I would give it a 4.5.

Crowd–As I stated in the original review, the crowd was much better for this show.  I saw far less empty seats and everyone in my area was up and dancing.  I would give it a 4.

Sound–Acoustics from the venue were the same but band seemed right on for this show.  Probably worth a 3.5.

Company–Same as previous show.  Still a 4.

Location–Still a 4.

Venue–I would actually give it a 2.5.  The venue didn’t improve but at least I didn’t have to see the band leave the stage for the Carson Daly countdown like I did on New Year’s Eve.

Setlist–This slightly improved by having Sunrise/New Moon back in the set.  I give it a 3.

Interactions–Interactions between band and audience was still solid as was the interactions on stage.  I score it a 4.

Energy Level–The band had a lot more energy for this show!  John Taylor bounced around a lot, for example!  It was a definite 4.

No extras to report.


Based on the these shows, the rubric seems to work.  It clearly shows that one show was better than the other.  Have any of you tried the rubric?  Did it work for you?


Duran Duran Concert Rubric

Last weekend, I wrote a little blog, which you can read here, but devising a method to determine the quality of Duran Duran concerts.  As a teacher, I create and use rubrics or charts to determine the quality of students’ performances on a task all the time.  I would apply this same skill to Duran Duran concerts to figure out how awesome each one was.  I considered various elements of the concert experience, including sound, people I was with, venue, seating location, band’s energy level, etc.  Beyond that, I would also add points for experiences that go beyond the concert itself.  This list includes meeting band members, getting a drumstick and more.  It would also consider removing points for missing band members.

Today, I created such a rubric.  Typically, I hope to fit a rubric on one side of one piece of paper in order to staple it easily to an assignment.  For this rubric, I could not fit in on one page.  I squeezed it onto two pages.  While I consider this rubric a draft, it feels pretty solid to me.  That said, I welcome feedback.

Before I post the rubric, I want to preface it with what I’m about to say in order to minimize the criticism I expect to receive.  I suspect that many fans reading this blog post or looking at the rubric will say this, “Duran Duran concerts are ALL AWESOME!  They are all perfect and cannot be judged like this!”  While I recognize Duran Duran’s greatness as evidenced by maintaining this daily blog for over six years, I acknowledge that some shows are greater than others.  Everyone can have an off day or an off performance.  Goodness knows that I do.  Some days I’m the best teacher ever.  Others I kinda suck.  It happens.  We are human.  They are human.

Besides, this is just for FUN!  I repeat this is just for FUN!  It is not intended to be taken super seriously.  I’m not criticizing Duran Duran or their performances.  If I thought they sucked, I would stop going.  I feel just the opposite.  In fact, there is no place I would rather be and cannot wait for my upcoming shows in March.  Without further ado, I give you the Duran Duran Concert Rubric!


Obviously, there is a lot of writing on this rubric and the conversation to JPEG made the writing tiny.  Therefore, I recommend printing the rubric for use.

What do you think?  Did I miss something?  What needs to be explained better?  Clearer?


Determining the Best Concert!

A funny thing happens when two teachers go to concerts together.  They find themselves talking about the qualities that make a good concert like they would discuss a child’s homework at school.  This literally happened last weekend as my friend, Nat, and I sat at a restaurant eating a meal.  Both of us teach for a living.  While I wrangle those obnoxious, smart ass teenagers, she develops the minds of little ones in Kindergarten.  That said, education is education so we both can talk the talk, which led us to think about how best to evaluate concerts like we do at work.

In the education field, teachers create what are called rubrics, a chart used to evaluate a student’s performance on a certain activity. Here is one for example that I found online:

As you can tell from this picture, this is a rubric for a writing activity with 5 categories for the teacher to judge:  introduction, conclusions, information gathering, summary, and grammar.  Then, from there, each of those categories are judged from the best quality, which would equal a 4 to the worst which would equal a 1.

So, would it be possible to create a rubric to determine the quality of a show?  Nat and I would say, “Yes!  Definitely!”  For our concert rubric, there would be more than just 5 categories.  Here’s what we came up with off the top of our heads:

  • Seat location
  • Crowd
  • Sound/Acoustics of venue
  • Company/People You Went to the Show with
  • Location of the Show (City/State/Country)
  • Venue (including all factors from bars to security to layout)
  • Setlist (including length of setlist and song choices)
  • Interactions between band and audience
  • Interactions between band members
  • Energy level of band

Now, what did we leave out?  What did we forget?  I suspect that some of you might be wondering about those shows in which you might get a setlist or drumsticks or get to shake hands with a band member or get a meet and greet.  What about those shows?  I guess I would give extra points for those experiences.  Maybe those really special extras need to be ranking as well.  That could be fun.

Do we include other circumstances like traveling?  How easy it was to get there?  How fun the journey was?  Traffic?  Weather?  Cost???  What really matters when it comes to show quality?

I am sure that many of you out there are saying things like…Duran Duran shows are always perfect!  While I would agree that there is no better place in the world to be, I can acknowledge that other factors can play a role to make a show fabulous or just good.  I will also point out that this is just for fun.  Again, I repeat this would be just for FUN!  I think this would be a fun way to talk about shows that I have been to but also the ones that I’m going to.  It also acknowledges that everyone’s concert experience is slightly different even if they have been to the same show.

I plan on working to create such a thing, but I want to make sure that I have included all factors.  Then, I want to know if some of those factors matter more than others.  For example, should seat location be worth more points than band interactions with the audience?  Should the setlist be higher than the location of the venue?  Your feedback is requested on that front as well.  Once I go through all the feedback, I’ll come up with a draft, post it on a blog and adjust the draft as necessary.  Then, we can use it!


The Present Will Never Last

This morning, I am traveling to the Washington D.C. area with my friend to celebrate New Year’s.  Of course, this won’t be a common celebration but one filled with some live music by a certain band that we know and love.  Yes, this New Year’s celebration will include a couple Duran shows.

When these shows were announced, I didn’t hesitate to make plans to go.  I never have New Year’s plans and this holiday includes time away from work.  If that wasn’t enough, I also had airline miles.  It seemed like a no brainer.  Yet, as the days passed by and become weeks then months, I began to wonder if I made the right decision.  I could use the money for other things.  The mountain of grading would not get done on its own.  My feelings of despair hadn’t let up much since November.  Needless to say, I wasn’t feeling it much and put off real planning.  Yes, I had a plane ticket, a hotel room, but I hadn’t prepared the binder or figure out any real details.  I kept putting it off.

Then, on Christmas day, I heard about George Michael’s death.  Like so many others of my generation, I grew up listening to George Michael and Wham.  I sang his songs and watched his videos.  Hearing about his loss was like losing a part of my childhood.  Then, when you place his loss alongside the others who died during this year, the grief is almost overwhelming.  When I just think about the musicians lost this year, I am deeply saddened by those whom I will never have the opportunity to see live in concert or hear new music from again.  I was lucky in that I saw David Bowie live once.  I wish I could have said the same for Prince and George Michael.

Suddenly, I realized that I need to get it together.  I have the opportunity to go and see Duran Duran on New Year’s Eve.  I shouldn’t ignore any and all chances to see bands/artists I like.  I certainly should APPRECIATE every single chance I have to see Duran Duran.  If anything that 2016 has taught us, it is not to waste chances and moments to do what you love or to be where you are happiest.  After all, you never know when we won’t have the chance to do it again, for whatever the reason.

Now that I have rearranged my perspective, how can I not be excited and appreciative for this chance?  How can I not look forward to spending New Year’s not only with Duran Duran but also countless Duranies!  While I will miss my best friend being with me and I acknowledge that life isn’t all rainbows and unicorns, I need to focus on what I do have.  I will have two Duran shows and I know that there is no place I would rather be.  Duranie friends will be all around me.  Life isn’t perfect but this trip will be pretty close.

So, as you are all reading this, I should be on my way.  Hopefully, my flight will be uneventful and then I will be able to enjoy a city that I have had the good fortune of spending some time over the last 6 years or so.  Then, I will be ready to party and put an end of a year that was filled with sorrow and disappointment.  With everlasting hope, I, along with thousands of Duran fans, will welcome 2017 doing what we love–singing, dancing, screaming and clapping for a band and music we love so much.


The Best Duran Duran Shows!

The other day Rhonda and I looked back at a very important show for us, which was the Chicago show on October 26, 2006.  Why was this show so important?  For one thing, it was the first show after the band announced Andy’s departure.  It was also the show in which we welcomed Dom to the band.  He impressed us so much that night that we not only accepted him, but embraced him.  This is one of those shows that we will always remember, not only because of Dom, but because of the show itself.  We didn’t have the best seats but that didn’t matter to us that night.  We gave it our all that night and more.  We sang, we danced, we cheered.  We couldn’t get enough.  We gave so much, in fact, that someone turned around at the end of the show and told us that we were the most enthusiastic fans she had seen for a long, long time!  Rhonda and I, of course, took this as a big compliment!  Anyway, this year, like every year since 2006, we took note of this anniversary.  Then, we took it a step farther.  We had a little discussion about our favorite and least favorite shows.

While I could go through our favorites and least favorites, I much prefer to analyze why certain shows were our favorites and why some weren’t.  Many of you probably wouldn’t be surprised to know that Rhonda and I have similar ideas of favorite shows and least favorite shows.  For example, both of us put the Glasgow show of December 2011 on our favorites list and put the fan show of 2007 on the least favorite list.  So, what makes a show SO good that it might end up on the favorites list (By the way, in case you were wondering, picking out favorites is SUPER hard as there have been so many amazing shows over the years!!!).  Here are some elements I have found that help make a great show a favorite:

  • The band ‘s energy level and interactions.  It seems obvious that the band does a better job at some shows than others for various reasons.  Sometimes, it seems that the band isn’t JUST giving it their all but giving WAY MORE than their all.  They have a ton of energy, moving to and from each part of the stage.  During those shows, it is like they can’t stop moving, if they tried.  Beyond that energy, they also spend a lot of time interacting with each other and interacting with fans.  They are always so much better when they feed off each other and the audience.  I want to feel like there is a genuine connection between band members and one between the band and fans.  It creates greater emotion in me when I see any/all of them making eye contact, smiling, and more with others.
  • Performances must be based on what they are good at—playing music that they feel good about.  I remember seeing Flaming Lips in 2006 at the Voodoo Music Festival in New Orleans.  I cannot tell you one thing about the music but I can tell you that the lead singer crawled over the crowd in a giant hamster ball.  This kind of performance has no interest for me.  It feels like performance and entertainment rather than a live MUSIC show.  I want to see/hear Duran play live.  There is nothing purer than a live show.  The times when Duran has strayed to be more focused on dance moves, choreographed performances haven’t worked as well as when they just allow the music to speak for itself.  Yes, Duran uses visuals.  In general, those visuals enhance the song, the music.  If they become the ONLY focus, then, often, the show fails to live up to its potential.  Likewise, it seems very clear to me when is playing music that they really like and feel comfortable with!  For instance, it is without question that they are enjoying playing Pressure Off these days!
  • In thinking about my favorite shows, I noticed a personal pattern. They were all shows in which Rhonda and I were on the same page.  What does this mean?  Simple.  It means that we have to actually be at the show together and stand together.  It is not enough to be in the same venue.  I have seen some great shows without her and I’m sure she would say the same about me.  Yet, none of those great shows equal favorite.  Then, it also means that we are both in the same place with our fandom at the same time.  There have been shows that I have been more into than she has been and vice versa.  Those do not equal favorite to me either.  Why does this being on the same page matter?  I think being at a show with someone who shares your same level of fandom at the same time enhances the experience.  It is like the experience is multiplied by seeing it with a fan who is like you.  I suspect that the band also feels and has their enthusiasm multiplied as well!

What do you think?  What makes a show a favorite?  What really enhances the show to go beyond just great?  What gets in the way of having a show be one of the best ever?



Nobody Cares if There’s No Tomorrow

Sometimes, I think of Duran Duran as a teacher.  The band has taught me a lot.  I have been learning from them since I was a little kid and I absolutely know that they have been a part of forming who I am.  Some of those lessons are more overt and include vocabulary (example:  contrived!) or the importance of the visual.  Some of them are subtle.  One subtle lesson is taught through lyrics like the title of this blog.  It is taught through the phrase “all you need is now” or “the future is still tomorrow”.  It is this idea that it is better to embrace the “now”, the present, the current moment.  This idea of being happy with where you are rather than looking back all the time or worrying about the future is also taught in their interviews when they are asked about either the 1980s or about how long they will continue.  After so many years of hearing/reading this philosophy, I have found myself really trying to do that more, especially when it comes to fun times and being on tour.

During this last tour, I did the best I have ever done in following this philosophy.  Yet, I recognized then and really recognize now that this is very hard for me.  Why?  Maybe it is the historian in me.  I know how important it is to document events, moments.  There have been a lot of times in my life that I was so aware of the need to really capture the moment that I feel that it was all that I focused on.  I’ll give you an example.  During college, I took a LOT of pictures.  I kept a journal.  I had calendars that I diligently write in.  I wanted to document each and every moment because I knew that I wasn’t going to experience college ever again.  I worried that if I didn’t do all of that to remember that I would forget.  I didn’t want that.  The first tour I went on was similar.  I took a lot of pictures and kept a lot of items related to touring.

I recognized that this and became fearful that I was becoming TOO focused on keeping the memory alive that I didn’t actually pay attention to the moment itself, while it was happening.  I became concerned that I was missing something by doing that.  Thus, I thought the best course of action would be to do very little in terms of memory keeping.  I would just focus on today.  This hour.  That minutes.  This second in time.  Well, during this last tour, I did just that or at least to the best of my ability.  My camera broke early on in the trip, which helped my decision to focus on the present time.  I couldn’t worry about capturing it all in the same way as I could if I had my camera so I figured why bother.  I’ll go with this philosophy.  The result?  I took the least number of photos than I ever have.  At the time, I thought I was doing the right thing and, for the most part, I still think that, for the most part of me.  That said, now, that the tour was more than a month ago, I am finding myself missing some of that documentation and memory keeping.

At the end of each tour, I do a few things to remember it.  I usually put of the papers that used to be in the tour binder (plane, hotel, meet up info and more) in my scrapbook along side items like concert tickets and other memorabilia.  I put my pictures up on Facebook and get the best ones developed (see, I told you that I was old-fashioned!).  For the last few years, I have taken the best concert pictures to create a little calendar for Rhonda and myself.  This tour, however, will have little of this.  Yes, I kept the contents of the tour binder and concert tickets but….I have very few pictures.  We had the best seats of our lives and I have very few pictures.  So while I’m thankful that I was able to completely focus on the shows, I am wishing that I could do them over to take more pictures.  (If anyone wants to share their concert pictures from the Hollywood Bowl, Berkeley or Agua Caliente, I would be very grateful!!)

Perhaps, the best idea is to have moderation.  I can and should document my experiences but not at the expense of enjoying or living in the moment!  Likewise, while I love the current Duran Duran, I do appreciate all of what has come before this album cycle.  I don’t think the lesson really is to forget the past, just not to live in it.  Remembering doesn’t mean not living now.