Tag Archives: Duran Duran Paper Gods Tour 2017

Guest Blog: Simon Le Bon Interview on Hawaii Public Radio

By The ’80s SLB Fan

On the morning of July 14, 2017, I checked out a Tweet from Duran Duran regarding an interview with legendary Duran Duran frontman, Simon Le Bon on Hawai’i Public Radio with host Dave Lawrence.  Duran Duran performed on July 16, 2017, in Honolulu, Hawai’i, and this was their very first concert performance in their entire music career in the Aloha state.  So I went ahead and click the link from Duran Duran’s Tweet in order for me to listen to my big ’80s crush’s voice on the interview.  I felt so excited.  I could not wait to listen to his voice!

Simon Le Bon discussed his music and acting during his youth, as well as his start with songwriting before he joined Duran Duran.  What really struck me (or I should say, ‘what really surprised me’) while listening to his interview about his youth are as follows:

Simon Le Bon’s Influence In Classical Music During His Childhood

Simon Le Bon started listening to classical music during his childhood in which he got influenced by his mother who liked to listen to that genre.  I remember my childhood in the ’80s when I started listening to classical music on the radio.  I got influenced by classical music from my father who, still to this present day, is a super fan of classical music from instrumental to opera.  I have no clue if Simon really loves listening to classical music these days, but I love classical music!  Every time I drive in my car or do house chores at home, I tune in to classical music on either FM or Internet radio.  Classical music is part of my blood and family history.  My grandparents from my father’s side, whom I never met, loved listening to classical music.  Even my uncle, my father’s older brother, loved listening to it.  Among my five older siblings, I am the only one who loves listening to classical music, and they do not.  Whether listening to any kind of music or learning how to play a musical instrument or learning how to sing, classical music is THE very first step in learning music.

Simon Le Bon Studied Playing The Violin During His Youth? Huh?

REALLY!!? NO WAY!!! I didn’t know he studied how to play the violin during his youth.  I thought he studied piano lessons during his youth, which is true as he did mention that during the interview.  However, I was so surprised when he included the word ‘violin’.  I hope Simon did not make this up.  I am just curious to find out how old he was when he started playing the violin and how many years he played that musical instrument.  I wanted to start studying the violin when I was either 8 or 9 years old, but I was not able to start taking violin lessons due to transportation & schedule issues.  My mother could not drive, and my father was working a 9-to-5 corporate executive job plus business meetings Mondays through Fridays.  I started studying the violin when I was 15 years old, and at the same time, I took orchestra class in my junior year in high school.  I had to take private violin lessons, take a trip with my fellow orchestra classmates to compete for high school orchestra competitions, perform during recitals and school events.  I played the violin for less than 2 years until I graduated high school in 1998.  That same year after I graduated high school, I stopped playing the violin when I started my freshman year in college.  Also, I learned from my father that my uncle took violin lessons when he was in grade school, but it did not last long for him either.

Simon Le Bon’s Influence In Singing

During the interview, Simon Le Bon discussed his influence in singing during his childhood, about his involvement in the choir, and about his amazing choirmaster.  Simon mentioned that his choirmaster taught him how to read music properly, how to learn the theory of harmony, and how to listen to his ears.  Simon fell in love with music, and it just came naturally for him.  I started listening to music on the radio and watching music videos when I was very young about 2 or 3 years old.  Even before I started attending preschool, I started singing in tune.  I even started picking up the microphone and started singing with the Karaoke machine in front of my family and relatives. Oh, dear! I remember having my family’s first Karaoke event in 1985, the year of Africa USA and Live Aid!  Even when I entered Kindergarten in 1986, I sang in music class in tune, while most of my classmates sang horribly and out of tune.  I was so involved in singing in music class from grade school up to my freshman year in high school that I joined the choir.  I didn’t take any voice lessons during my youth.  However, I ended up taking voice lessons during my junior year in college.  

My Opinion & What I’ve Learned So Far During Simon Le Bon’s Interview On Hawai’i Public Radio

In my opinion, I think the legendary Duran Duran frontman and myself have something in common when it comes to childhood influence in music.  The only difference is Simon Le Bon has a lot of experience, and he’s been performing professionally for a very long time.  During his youth, he got influenced by music, he started acting and became a thespian, and he even started writing poems and songs.  Songwriting is not my interest and skill.  And can you believe he even studied how to play the flute and a guitar when he was young?  Wow!  That’s what I really love about Simon Le Bon.  He is a super multi-talented individual.  I think talent not only comes naturally in a person, but it comes from a person’s heart. His mother was responsible for providing music.  She even strongly encouraged Simon to sing and join the choir.  Having very strong support from a talented individual’s parents is extremely important.  I think his mother deserves huge respect and honor for supporting his gifted talent.  In my side, I feel I did not receive enough strong support from my parents for my talents.  Even though my mother heard my singing abilities when I was young, still she did not do something to help me develop my talents more and encourage me to join a talent show or choir.  I just wish that my parents were so supportive of my talents just like Simon Le Bon’s mother.  I will discuss my other talents aside from my music talents on a later blog.  I hope that Simon Le Bon will read this blog and appreciate it, and I just want to say to him how I admire his special talent so much.  I also hope that I will meet him some day, and I really want to thank him so much for being truly Simon Le Bon.

The ’80s SLB Fan was born in the early 1980s and is considered to be part of “Children of the ’80s” and “Generation Y2K” movement.  Around 1983, she started listening to Duran Duran’s “Is There Something I Should Know?” on the radio when she was 2 years old.  That same year, she heard the beautiful singing voice of Duran Duran’s frontman, Simon Le Bon for the first time.  It took this girl several years until she was 19 while attending college which she ended up having a HUGE ’80s crush on Simon Le Bon.  She is residing in Las Vegas, Nevada, and she is an actor, extra, model, and novice voice actor (known as voiceover). She grew up in a family who loves music, and her top favorite musical genres are classical music, EDM, and ’80s music.  She official became a Duranie in 2000.  Visit The ’80s SLB Fan’s blog site at the80sslbfanblog.wordpress.com, where you’ll find her blogs dedicated to Simon Le Bon.

July 2017 Katy Kafe with Nick Highlights

Sometimes, I sit down to write and I have no idea what I’m going to write about.  Other times, I have it planned out.  Today, I knew exactly what I was going to write about and then…I get news that there is a new Katy Kafe out!  I scrap my plans and opt instead to listen to the Kafe and report on the highlights here!  I’ll save that other blog idea for another day.  As always, when Rhonda or I report on a Kafe, we are only sharing some highlights and our thoughts on them.  If you want to hear the whole thing and everything that is mentioned, I recommend getting a membership to Duran Duran Music yourself!

San Francisco:

Nick talked about how he enjoyed going to the City Lights book store in San Francisco and how much he enjoyed the American Beat poets.  I, for one, wish that we would have been able to get there to check out the book store for myself.  That said, I did not know that Nick enjoyed that type of literature.  Good for him.

Calgary:

The best line of the whole Kafe definitely had to be when Nick talked about how he looked out into the audience there and all he saw was a “sea of cowboy hats”!  Yeah, that is not common at Duran shows!  How funny!

Hawaii:

Nick discussed how the shows have been great.  He said that since there are not many of them, they have been “soaking up” every minute of them.  That makes sense!  He also mentioned that this is the first time they are playing in Hawaii and that there are not many states they haven’t played in, including Alaska, one of the Dakotas, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and a few others.  (For the record, Rhonda and I once thought about that as a goal–to see the band in every state until we realized that there are some states that Duran has never played in and some states they probably won’t ever go back to.)  Interestingly enough, while the band has never played in Hawaii, Nick has visited for a holiday.  Apparently, he, along with others this time, did visit Pearl Harbor, which he called “sobering”.  Indeed.  Nick has been taking photos, including the sunsets, even though he is trying to cut down on his photo taking to give himself a chance to create prints of the photos he has taken over the years.  He might do exhibits and even sell some once he gets more prints made.  (I bet there are Duranies who would love that!!)  He even has a book of photos ready to go and is hopeful that it will be out before the end of the year!

Randomness!

When asked about Hold Back the Rain, he said that the band had gotten pressure by China Chow to put it in the setlist.  Fun fact.  I had no idea who she is, so I had to look her up!  Guess I learned something new today and I thank her from all of the fans.  On a different but equally random note, Nick has seen the Elvis concert from Hawaii.  Alrighty then…

Future Concert Locations?

Nick mentioned that he would like to check off those missing states but that there are a lot of cities in Europe that they need to hit as well.  He also would like to play in China and India someday.

Overall, Nick seemed in good spirits and enjoying his time in Hawaii. I wish there had been some scoop about the 40th and what they are planning or thinking of there, but no luck.  Maybe next time!

-A

With Your Sweet Hand to Bring Me Home

I have been home for a few days now.  The tour is behind me and has been fading since I walked on a plane super early on Tuesday.  Since I have returned home, I have unpacked, completed laundry, gone to the grocery store and everything else needed to keep my household running smoothly.  Physically, I’m absolutely here in Madison, Wisconsin.  Emotionally, mentally, I’m WAY still on tour.  I should know how to deal with that feeling since I have been on tour many times before, but this time it feels different.

When I came home in March after seeing the two shows at Agua Caliente in Rancho Mirage, part of me definitely felt a loss at saying goodbye to the tour.  Another part of me was able to get right back into the swing of “normal” life.  What is my problem now?  Why the difference?  In some ways, it should be easier now.  After all, I am not working like I did in March.  Last tour, I arrived home on a Monday and had to return to work the next day.  This time, I have time to recover.  I’m definitely still catching up on sleep as I had about 9.5 hours of sleep last night and an hour long nap on the couch.  Maybe, though, the distraction of work was helpful.  That could be.  Still, I have plenty of things on my to do list.  I should be busy and distracted.  My to do list is failing me.  Why?

I have been trying to figure out why I’m struggling with saying goodbye to tour so much this time.  When I think about it, it comes down to a few things.  First, I think part of it has to do with my friendship with Rhonda.  Our friendship felt strained and distant from last fall until those shows in March.  There are a lot of reasons for this but a lot of it had to do with lack of communication and processing some stuff individually.  When I went to the shows in March, I wondered if it would be my last tour.  I figured that we would have fun, but it wouldn’t be like it once was.  The fun couldn’t last forever, right?  Well, we had a good time and I felt better, that we were at least taking a step or two to getting back to normal.  As these shows moved closer, the normal feeling grew.  Then, this past tour happened and we are definitely back to our normal friendship–laughing at ridiculous things (like painting shoes green or sharing stories of crossing the border!).  So, now that we are back to being the crazy, best friends that was always have been, I want to hang out more.

Then, of course, there is the band.  The shows this past weekend were fantastic.  Yes, I could focus on the setlist additions of Hold Back the Rain and Sunrise/New Moon as the reasons for the greatest of these shows.  Obviously, having great songs played will make a show more fabulous but it wasn’t just that.  The band brought it.  The energy level was high.  The interactions were a ton of fun and I couldn’t help but get into each and every moment even when I was dying of heat and annoyed at having bodies right next to me.  The truth is that I started out both shows in a bitchy mood.  I didn’t feel that great on Friday and on Saturday, I was ticked that the venue’s California Room was so lame. (Understatement of the year.  Decade.  Century.  You get the idea.)  Yet, the band managed to win me over.  In fact, by the end of each night, the love for them grew.  I knew others didn’t attend these shows because they felt that the set lists didn’t change enough and that they had seen them already on this tour.  Likewise, I saw and heard fans complain about this or that.  I tried really hard not to do that and it made all the difference in the world.  My mind was open, then, to seeing every look, every point, every subtle move.  I was able to absorb it all and that means the world to me.

In March, I knew before I left that we had more shows coming up.  Now, I don’t have that.  Yes, I know that there are rumors about shows in other parts of the world, but even if those rumors are true, they won’t affect me.  There is a vast unknown out there.  What will the band do for their 40th?  Will there be dates?  Will there be something else?  I don’t know.  I’m anxious to find out and wanting to be able to make some plans.  I shouldn’t be.  My bank account needs a rest.  My to do list needs to get done.  Emotionally, though, I would really like to know what is in the future.  sigh

For now, I’ll look through my pictures of this past week and cherish the memories.  I’ll also be checking the band’s social media as every tweet, photo, etc. gives me a little joy.  Yesterday, for example, I enjoyed seeing the band is out sight-seeing.  It reminded me of how  Rhonda and I were able to take a bus tour around San Francisco.  The plan then is simple.  Think back to the fun I had.  Hope for amazing things in the future.  Enjoy every tweet/photo/post about the band in Hawaii and work on my to do list.  Maybe then, I can get deal with the end of the Paper Gods Tour.

-A

It’s a Video Blog! – Fox Theater Oakland, CA 7/8/17

Hi everyone!

We apologize for the lack of blog yesterday. I’ll simply say that it was a rough morning, before we knew it we had to leave for Oakland… and we’ll leave it at that.

So, for your viewing pleasure today – Amanda and I did a video blog to talk about the show, and dancing with other people’s bodies against you….and heat.

We’re having a great time, but as always, it never seems like we have enough of it before it’s time to go home. Like I’ve said before, I just wish time would stand still or go a lot slower on tour.  I hate the fact that we’ll be driving home tomorrow and for us, Paper Gods will be done and we’ll be back in limbo-land.

Yeah, not a fan.

There might be tears tonight. Hell, there were tears LAST night, but for different reasons. It’s been a rough (but at the same time wonderful) trip.

Trying to be Strong Enough

This is the last blog post before I leave for the latest tour.  Yes, come Wednesday, I will get up at an ungodly hour to catch a bus to take me to O’Hare.  From there, I will fly into LAX to meet up with my partner-in-crime to venture north towards the Oakland/San Francisco area for two shows.  These shows, as you all know, are general admission which means that normally we would not even consider them.  Yet, they are in California which works well for Rhonda and they announced these shows the morning after a fabulous show at Agua Caliente that we were at.  We were weak then.  We couldn’t say no!  Nonetheless, I am absolutely certain that we will have a blast as always!  Despite the GA format, I look forward to the shows and am anxious to see my friends!!

Now, I know what many of you are probably thinking.  Maybe you are thinking about how lucky I am or how spoiled I am.  It is common that whenever Rhonda and/or mention going to a show that someone comments about how jealous s/he is.  I get that.  I am jealous of those fans who will see them after these California shows.  I am jealous of my niece right now who is in London.  It is a common emotion.  I also acknowledge that I am super lucky to have the opportunity to go.  I am relatively healthy and have the financial means to do so.  Everyone is not in the same boat.  I honestly wish that everyone was able to go.  Yet, in thinking about my fandom history, I have to acknowledge the fact that there is risk involved in going to shows, in traveling.

When I first got back involved in the fan community during the reunion era, I had never traveled to a concert for anyone.  Yes, I had driven to a nearby city but I never even got a hotel for a show before.  It was always drive to a show, see it and drive back.  While I wish that I could argue that it was work or money that kept me grounded but in reality, it was fear.  Yes, I didn’t have a ton of money then as I was finishing up grad school but I could have squeezed out money if I really needed it.  I was working full time after all.  Likewise, I could say that I could not travel due to those work or school obligations but that isn’t the whole story.  It would have been challenging to get out of those responsibilities but I could have if I tried.  After all, I do it now.  

What was the fear?  Was it fear of stigma or people talking badly about me traveling for shows?  Not really.  No, it was really two things.  First, there is the fear surrounding traveling.  I hate flying.  I am a pretty logical person.  Logically I get that flying is safe and the likelihood of a plane crashing is small.  Yet, my logical part of my brain struggles to silence the anxiety part of my brain.  Maybe some of this is that I was not on a plane until I was a teenager.  Maybe I think too much about the bad things that could happen. On top of that, I worry about everything surrounding travel.  What if I don’t get to the airport on time?  What if my stuff gets stolen? What if something horrible happens at a hotel?  I could go on and on.  Then, the other big worry is the fear that I will be rejected by the people I am with.  What if I travel with people and they decide I am a huge geek and never want to be near me again?  Just last night, I dreamt that I was a party and had a falling out with everyone there.  I ended up hanging out in the basement by myself.  Again, logically, I know it is silly.  Rhonda has hung out with me a lot.  I doubt she will decide I am a loser now.  Likewise, our friends who we are sharing a room with us have shared a room with us before.  If they thought I was a loser, they wouldn’t stay with us again, right?

Looking back, I recognize that I had to take some big leaps from my own comfort zone to do the traveling I have done to see the band.  I could have always made excuses.  Even now, it might have been just as easy to say that I couldn’t afford to go.  After all, I just came back from my sister’s in North Carolina.  I usually can use work as an excuse, if I need to.  Yet, I know it is super good for me to push myself out of my safe place to do what I really want.  I think I have become a stronger, braver person as a result of taking the risks to travel to see the band.  I still fight the anxiety but I believe it is worth it.  

-A

Longing for the dark of our nocturnal life

March is coming, and I’m thankful for the short month of February. I am also very aware that in just a couple of weeks, Duran Duran will be here in California and I’ll be on my way to the Palm Springs area with Amanda.

I’m excited to have a girls weekend. Unlike a few of the other Duranies I know, my closest friends in this community live pretty far from me. Even the few that I am friends with here don’t live close by. There’s a couple of people who I’ve been promising to go visit now for a couple of years and I still haven’t made it to see them! I treasure having time to myself where I can focus solely on whatever it is that I want to do, because normal life at home is not quite that way.

I don’t go out with friends here at home. I don’t invite friends over,  and  I don’t have time to go grab drinks or go shopping or do lunch during the week anyway.  I used to have a group of friends from college that would occasionally get together, but going out with them became a bit of a problem for a number of reasons, and I eventually stopped going. I can just imagine the look of disapproval on my husband’s face if I told him I was going to happy hour with friends from work or otherwise, anyway. I know women who regularly go out with their friends on the weekends and the husbands stay home, but that just isn’t something I’ve ever done.  Suffice to say, going out without my husband isn’t exactly something that is encouraged. He doesn’t go out at all and doesn’t have friends outside of work either, and if you ask me, that’s more than half of the problem. Alas…

My trips to see Amanda or go with friends to see Duran Duran are very welcome, and rare. Whether my husband and other family members like it or not, these weekends help keep me sane.  It is as much, if not more, about seeing my friends as it is about seeing Duran Duran, something my family doesn’t quite understand or accepts. It’s become the “norm” to tease me relentlessly – whether by suggesting they accompany me (um, no), or my husband reminding me that he never goes anywhere with friends (this is true, even though I’ve otherwise encouraged). He’s gone so far as to suggest that he should get a room at the same place I’m planning to stay even though he’s not going to the show and that way I can stay with him. This kind of thing drives me crazy, because the whole point of the weekend is so that I can hang out with friends, not him. These are people I don’t talk with every day or even reside with in the same country.  He sees it as rejecting him, and I see it as spending time with people I rarely see. Why is that bad, and why must I feel guilty for wanting to go?

It is annoying that my family thinks that it’s so out of the norm for me to go somewhere without them that they tease, make incorrect assumptions and ridicule. It takes the fun out of going, almost as though I don’t deserve to have time to myself.  I don’t know when it started, but it has gotten bad enough to where I’ve begun to reconsider trips like this again.

In 2004 when I planned my first Duran Duran convention, my husband really had issues with it. He is very cautious and reserved to begin with, and he wasn’t in love with the idea of his wife going all over the country. I’m sure many of you can imagine the sorts of discussions and negotiations that took place. Over time, he seemed to ease up and not mind the concerts and trips quite as much.  Yes, he’d always let me know he wasn’t happy I was going, but it wasn’t so bad. However, our budget is much tighter now, our two oldest kids are either in college or about to start, and I don’t ever get out of the house with the exception for work or chauffeuring duties. If it were up to Walt, we’d never go anywhere or do anything. (He seriously considers our trips to Costco on the weekends as a date and I’m not even joking.) He’s out of practice with the whole idea of my going out with friends, much less going away for an entire 48-hour period and so it’s an issue again.

 

 

I regularly tell Amanda that I never know when one of our trips will be my last, and that’s the truth. It isn’t just about money, or about my husband of course, which is why I think I appreciate the time so much. I miss talking to my friends and feeling independent, even if it’s just for a few days at a time, which is why I work so hard to make these weekend trips happen.

Over the years we’ve written the blog, there have been a few comments that ridicule the money and time we’ve spent, and I get it. Yes, I’ve spent a lot of time on Duran Duran. Yep, I’ve certainly spent a lot of money, too.  I guess that the way I look at it is that it’s not just about the band. It is about ME. Sometimes, I feel like I completely lose sight of the person I was before I got married, or became a mom. Unless you’ve been a wife and/or a parent, you probably can’t understand what I mean by that. It isn’t the same as going to a job each day, and it isn’t the same when you’re single – because you don’t have someone else standing there telling you how you should think, feel, or act.  Bottom line is that I continue to pay the price because it is worth it.

I don’t know why I wrote this blog today. I started out thinking I was going to write something very different. I’m betting I’m not the only one out there with these issues. It isn’t just about being a fan, it’s about being a person. Life is hard sometimes, and it’s really tough to still be yourself with responsibilities on your shoulders. Being a Duran Duran fan is one part of what makes me who I am, just in the same way it is part of what makes you, YOU. Making that all work together with the rest of life is what this blog is about, I suppose. So while I already know there are no easy answers out there for me, at the very least maybe some of you can read this and know that yeah, it’s tough for other people too.  The give and take really sucks sometimes. 😀

-R

Who wants more shows?!? DD Announces Four More 2017 Dates! (US)

If  Duran Duran fans didn’t already have plans for 2017, the band is doing their part by announcing four more US dates to take place during March and April.

March 21, 2017: Dallas, TX Music Hall at Fair Park

March 22, 2017: Sugar Land (Houston, TX area) Smart Financial Center at Sugar Land

April 5, 2017 Hollywood, FL (Miami area) Seminole Hard Rock Casino

April 8, Atlanta, GA Chastain Park

Oh, to only be a fly on the wall at the band’s management office….

Why more US shows?  What made these cities stand out as places to visit? Why do the dates surround those in South America instead of say – beginning here, moving on to South America and then the rest of the world, which we are ALL aware they have sorely missed thus far?   Why didn’t they ever plan a European tour to support this album?  Where are those Australian dates and why is it taking so long to even announce them?

These are only a few of the questions that I’ve seen posted and directed at Duran Duran on every sort of social media. I don’t have answers. I can guess that touring in the US pays the bills, although I don’t know why that would be more so than other places – particularly when the band points out that audiences in South America are among their best in the world.  I can also imagine that logistically, touring here might be easier?  We are 50 contiguous states on a large continent with many large cities to visit and arenas to play.  Even with that in mind, it does seem like it has taken quite a long time for the band to even announce other dates in other countries.

In the most recent Katy Kafe, Nick mentioned that they are looking at the Septemberish time frame for Australia, and that they are hoping to get to other places (Japan, etc) in that area of the world. This is much of the same thing that has been said since Paper Gods was first released in 2015 and the band discussed places they’d like to tour. Each time the subject comes up during a Kafe, it seems as though the time frame continues to be set out farther and farther – the idea becoming more like a dream than an eventuality. One can only assume that the costs of touring are astronomical, and that the band must have to front much of that cost, so even the very best tours that would pack a huge bang for the buck must be planned with precision and care.

I have no doubt that many fans, throughout the world, are getting frustrated. I’ve seen the words, “since you’ve forgotten your fans in _______________” included in many a comment on any post the band has made lately.  I know a lot of people are angry about the additional US dates, and while sure I’m thrilled to hear they are visiting, it does make one wonder about the business of touring.

This time, at least for the dates they are doing in Rancho Mirage, the shows are in a much smaller venue than those I saw last year. Yes, arenas are great, but I am ready for some smaller, more intimate gatherings. It would seem that these newly announced shows are a reasonable balance. Although I have not seen them at all of the venues announced, I did see them at Chastain Park in Atlanta for the All You Need is Now Tour.  The amphitheater seats 6,900 and is nicely sized.  When the band is touring on their own, this size of venue feels comfortable and appropriately welcoming in most cases.  Sure, I’d love to have them play for me and a few hundred of my close friends in my backyard….but I’ll take the shows with a few thousand or so any day and be happy!

There is a lot coming up in the world of Duran. 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the formation of the band, John and Nick are working on a musical…there’s been talk about the band going back into the studio, although no time frame has been suggested.  It is hard to say how to this will fit into the journey, all we can do is buckle up for the ride ahead!

-R