Tag Archives: Duran Duran Paper Gods Tour

People Tell Me I Haven’t Changed but I Don’t Feel the Same

Are you participating in our #2017DDChallenge this year leading up to Duran Duran Appreciation Day?  I certainly am and have been enjoying it!  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read the blog posted here.  This isn’t the first time that Rhonda and I have done such an activity.  In fact, it is pretty common for us to do something surrounding or for Duran Duran Appreciation Day.  Yet, it was shocking to us at how different the original set of questions were.  Needless to say, this year’s questions for the challenge are far more positive than the ones from a few years ago.  That isn’t to say that all the questions will be positive but the vast majority will be.  We are still thinking and critical Duranies but we are different now.  At least, I feel like I am.

Looking back through the years of blog posts here it seems obvious that I’m far less negative and critical of the band now than I once was.  Even during the All You Need Is Now era, which I absolutely adored, a lot of what was said, talked about, and written about by me was more critical in nature.  Then, of course, the time in between All You Need Is Now and Paper Gods was problematic for me.  I wanted so desperately for the band to capitalize on what I felt they created with AYNIN and was afraid that any or all momentum would be lost with too much time.  My criticism or negativity definitely came from the best of intentions and with all the love I could muster but I just couldn’t or wouldn’t see it from the band’s side.  I didn’t understand that the creative process could not rushed.  Then, of course, I had plenty of ideas of how Duran could help themselves and offered many of them here on the blog.  Some of those ideas might have been good, I don’t know.  I can’t remember.  No matter, now, I like to think that  have learned some big lessons.

One of the biggest lessons I have learned during this album cycle is to just be more empathetic.  I cannot possibly know what life is like for the members of Duran Duran.  While, yes, I might have lots of ideas about how to approach this, that or the next thing, I have no idea whether or not those ideas are even possible.  Some might and others might not be.  I recognize now, though, that as much as I try to think about what it might be like to be in their shoes, I really cannot.  I can only know what it is like to be in my shoes and to have my perspective.

Because of this realization, I’m truly picking my battles. Some ideas might still cause a passionate response in me.  For example, a reader posted a quote in some Hawaiian press that the band is considering including Andy Taylor in the 40th anniversary celebration.  That got a response from me.  (For the record:  I’m not a fan.  It isn’t that I don’t or didn’t like Andy.  I just like the band the way it is now and I worry that having Andy return in any capacity would cause problems for the band and/or Andy.  I don’t want that.)

On the other side of the coin, I’m letting go of the little things.  I’m not going to worry about who is modeling the merchandise, for example, or whether or not the right or wrong word is used in a tweet.  None of that really matters to me.  I get that those things might to other fans and that’s fine but they don’t to me right now.  I realize that those little things that I could be critical of don’t change my fandom for the positive.  No, in fact, they could make me less happy being a Duranie.  I don’t want that.  I want and need Duran to be my happy place.

Likewise, I’m also going to cheer things that the band or DDHQ is doing that I like.  For example, I’m loved all of the tweets/posts/pictures of the band in Hawaii.  While I could not be there, I at least feel as if I’m a part of it in some small fashion.  It also keeps that small connection that I felt towards the band from the shows in Oakland and San Francisco alive.  I appreciate that A LOT.

Overall, I don’t think I’m the same person or the same fan that I once was.  Maybe, this change has come from my own experience with the creative process.  Perhaps, it is that the reality surrounding me means that I need my fandom to be just a happy place.  I don’t know.  It could be a new maturity.  I guess it could be a lot of things.  If I had to say, though, I think this change is a good change and one that I’m embracing.

-A

Leave Her Out Now She’s Having Fun

I know that I got the lyrics wrong in the title.  I did it intentionally since it is about me and I identify as a “she”.  The thing is that I’m looking forward to this weekend.  Heck, I look forward to every weekend.  I like the break from getting up early and not having to go to work or deal with teenagers.  Normally, weekends are my time to get caught up on whatever I didn’t get to over the week like…you know…sleep.  Good weekends mean that I have something to look forward and special weekend mean that the something is really good.  This weekend is one of those.

Before you ask, I’m not going on tour.  I wish but I will be thinking about that and will mention it again later.  It isn’t that special but it is pretty dang special.  I have a whole weekend of plans!  Shocking, I know!  Friday afternoon, I’ll go out and get a drink with my team at work.  I have to admit that I feel very lucky to have such fabulous people to work with.  They definitely make the day-to-day grind of teaching so much easier to deal with.  Then, I will come home and sleep.  I hope to sleep lots.

This will ensure me that I have energy for Saturday evening in which a number of people are coming to my place for some Duran games and viewing.  All of them have previously come by at some point or another to celebrate that Duran fandom.  I’m looking forward to all of the above for a good time with little thought to the “real world” and what tasks await me.  Let’s be real.  If I can’t be actually on tour, this is the next best thing.  I can’t think of anything I like more than sitting around, watching, talking Duran with other Duranies.  Those nights remind me of why I’m a fan and how amazing they are.

Why so much going on in one weekend, you might wonder.  Simple.  I guess you could say that I’m celebrating being on planet earth (pun…totally intended) for another year.  Of course, when I think about what I wish a few things pop up in my head.  I might wish to know Duran’s complete schedule when it comes to the rest of this year and next.  It would really help Rhonda and I plan.  Heck, I would be happy just to know about this summer.  When might the band be arriving in California?  Where might they be staying?  I know…I’m not asking anything big, right?  Here’s another idea.  I might request a slight change in the setlist.  Planet Earth, anyone?  A little Careless Memories?  Perhaps, an additional song or two might fit, something like Late Bar.  Now, that I’m asking, I wouldn’t regret a proper meet and greet.  Would anyone?  Ha…a woman can dream, can’t she?

While I certainly wouldn’t reject any of those (I’m not crazy!), I would happily sacrifice any of those if it meant that democracy could be secured or world peace could be guaranteed.  Selfishly, I would trade any of those in to ensure that my parents would be healthy and strong now and for decades to come.  I would love for my friends and family to be healthy and happy, even if that means that I don’t get any of those mega gifts.  Really, when I look at my life and this year on the planet, the one thing I keep coming back to is that I was lucky to have it and hopefully, I get to enjoy another one(s)!

-A

 

January 2017 Katy Kafe with Nick Rhodes

Friday came with a surprise: a brand-new Katy Kafe for January 2017, complete with Nick Rhodes in the guest seat!

As always, I begin my post of the highlights with a simple disclaimer: this is not going to be a complete transcript of everything said. My notes are copious but not perfect, so if you want to really hear the entire thing – go get yourself a DDM membership.  Thanks!

The sound for this Katy Kafe really bothered me. Nick was very quiet, and Katy was extremely loud, to the point of being distorted – and I want to be clear, I’m not complaining about her speaking, just that it came out sounding distorted as though she were way too close to the speaker (but I don’t think that was the case). I found myself toggling the volume loud for Nick, and much softer when Katy would speak. Katy mentioned still having problems recording the Kafe. I get it…and I am only mentioning this because I might have a solution, otherwise I wouldn’t say a thing. She gets enough criticism as it is. Anyway, Amanda and I have the same trouble from time to time. I know there is software readily available for recording podcasts, and I know that Skype calls can also be recorded…and not just the video kind, but the VOIP (voice over internet provider) kind as well. I believe we spent about $50 on our software to record our video calls, and it was money well-spent, but I also am aware that more and more software is available now so that maybe it wouldn’t cost a thing, particularly for the voice-calls.  Just a thought.

Nick Is Back!

Initially, they chatted about Nick resuming his DD duties. The thing is, Nick never really stepped completely away from Duran Duran, he simply couldn’t be where they needed him to be – so rather than cancel shows, they were lucky to have Amanda (no, not THAT Amanda – MNDR, actually!) to step in and be able to do a fabulous job while Nick was away. There was no additional information given to his absence, not that I expected otherwise.

New Year Shows and Beyond for 2017

It has been many years since Duran Duran did shows around the New Year holiday, and he said it was fun, mentioning the there was “not too much expectation”, that people were just out to have a good time. He did mention that there would be some additional shows later in the year for the US, and South America.

He elaborated on South America, mentioning that they hadn’t been there in a while (about four years, he guessed) and that they have some of the best audiences in the world there with an amazing energy. They will be there for a couple of weeks, visiting Argentina, Chile and Brazil for Lalapalooza as well as an additional show in Brazil.

The subject of Australia continues to come up – and yes, it would seem the band is at least aware of the need to tour there. Dates have been, and continue to be, discussed, but nothing has been booked. They are looking at September time-period, and they’re also hoping to get to Japan and other areas (he mentioned Hong Kong for one) in that general vicinity.

Katy asked Nick if they were hoping to tour on and off for 2017 and then get back into the studio, but Nick seemed unwilling to commit. The last time Nick was in the Kafe, he seemed to think they’d go back to the studio around the September time period, but because they are now talking about Australian dates during that same time,  I have to think that the studio has been put off.  If you’re as dialed in to DD’s typical pattern,  it’s probably a smart guess to assume they won’t be going back to the studio in 2017 if they’re going to tour in September/October because typically, after a tour – they take a fair amount of time completely off before resuming. Maybe 2018? But then….that’s their 40th anniversary.  Will they tour yet again? The time frame seems to leave a lot of questions.  Time will tell.

The Musical!

One subject Nick spent a fair amount of time discussing is the musical project that he has been working on with John. Can you believe it has already been six years that they’ve been working on it?   Nick says that they are very close to finishing the first draft, mentioning the time frame and that it has been difficult for them to really have solid working time – grabbing a week here, a week there. So when in fact they’ve probably spent a solid three months time writing, it’s been spaced out over the course of six years. (I so get this from my own writing experiences with Amanda!)

The music is meant for stage, they know that for sure. What they are still thinking about is where they’ll release it. Do they put the show up first and then the soundtrack? Do they do the music first?  It’s been a very different way of writing. Imagine it – they know the characters, they know the story. Each song is a matter of getting from point A to point B and so on, but how to say it using the characters voice? He mentions how they know what each character eats for breakfast, explaining the same sort of intimate knowledge that an author might have for their own characters, and yet they’ve got an entire cast to “know” that thoroughly.

Nick mentions that the process has not been quick. On the same note – he and John have not had a lot of arguments about the direction and so forth. Once they locked down the story they wanted to tell, it was a matter of working together as a full collaboration. Nick uses Tommy (by The Who) as an example, but is quick to add that Tommy is in fact a rock opera as opposed to a musical.

He sees the musical writing/staging process as similar to a live show. Each takes the audience on a journey, following up to say that while a play writer might not have any experience with the pacing involved in a live show, he and John certainly do. He wasn’t ready to share the subject matter or theme to the musical, only saying that the story is universally appealing and that he knows of no other musical that covers what they are covering.

The Live Show

That brought the Kafe to discussing the pacing of their current live show. One of Nick’s favorite moments in the show is when the confetti cannons go off. I think most everyone is aware of the cannons during “Pressure Off”, and he says that it was really fun to watch the people’s faces as the confetti showers the crowd. He talks briefly about opening with “Paper Gods” and how Simon has enjoyed that because the song is within his natural range and is lengthy, and then compared that to opening with “Before the Rain” during the last tour.

Nick says that he has enjoyed playing all of the songs in their set for various reasons, but he does miss playing Only in Dreams and Love Voodoo, which they performed during the UK shows. They were cut because the show was becoming too lengthy (I don’t even know what this means….is there really such a thing?!?)  He explains that it becomes very difficult when pacing a show, because some songs are really only identifiable by the diehards in the first few rows, and while they might be jubilant, the rest of the audience is standing back and asking “What is this?” He says that they are constantly striving for a balance of new songs, intrigue, and old songs, and they never get it quite right. Over the years, they’ve tried adding several songs into the set list without a lot of crowd success beyond the first five rows:

Secret Oktober

Come Up and See Me

Serious

Late Bar (One that he says no one knows beyond the first couple rows – a painful, terrible truth, I might add!)

Seventh Stranger (Katy mentions that on an informal survey that Richard Blade did during the time that JT came to visit him at Sirius radio, this song was the most requested “obscurity” to be played.)

Faster than Light (The song that JT would like to do live, in response to Richard’s survey above)

However, those of us that would love a show for purely obscure songs that the rest of the world doesn’t know have a friend in Nick – he says he would love to play a show where they don’t perform a single hit! Mentioning Palomino along with Crime & Passion, he muses…and then says “whether we’ll get ’round to doing that, never know.”  They did do something similar to warm themselves up for the last tour (he is talking about the UK rehearsal gigs they did prior to the All You Need is Now tour, after Simon’s vocal issues – these were gigs just to get themselves back into playing live mode.)

They end the January 2017 Katy Kafe by  Katy thanking him, and then making quick mention that maybe they should look at doing smaller theater shows for their bigger supporters, and that way they could look at doing some of the more obscure songs in their catalog.

IF ONLY, AM I RIGHT?! 

On to February, when Nick joins Katy again for their annual Oscar Kafe!

-R

 

We’ll Be Singing: Duran Tours

Now that I’m off of work for winter break and officially done with all the various tasks I needed to complete for Christmas, I can start to think about the upcoming Duran shows!  As we know, the band is due to play in Cancun on the 29th before moving on to the Washington DC/Maryland area for shows on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.  2017 will feature more Duran show as two have already been announced (the shows in Rancho Mirage at Agua Caliente in California) and more are expected to follow.

When the shows in California were announced, many/most Duran fans expressed surprise.  Haven’t they played enough in the States, many wondered.  Obviously, fans outside of the US felt disappointed that nothing was announced in their neck of the woods.  I, for one, can understand that feeling.  After all, is there anything better than seeing Duran live?!  I personally don’t think so!  That said, is the move to return to the United States for a third year unusual?!  Let’s find out!

When looking at the history of Duran tours, I feel that there have been different eras from the early days with the Fab Five, those middle albums of Notorious, Big Thing, etc. following the last of the tours with Warren after Medazzaland and Pop Trash.  Currently, we are living through the post-reunion tours that began immediately following the Astronaut album.  How much has the band toured since the reunion?  How much for each album?  Where did they go?  Let’s find out!

Astronaut:

Astronaut was released in October 2004.  The band played shows that fall, according to the timeline on the band’s official website:

October 3, 2004 – Columbia Halle, Berlin,Germany
October 11, 2004 – The Beacon Theatre, New York, NY, USA
October 12, 2004 – The Beacon Theatre, New York, NY, USA
December 2, 2004 – The Arena at Gwinnett Center, Atlanta, Georgia, USA (Star 94 Jingle Jam)
December 3, 2004 – Cox Arena, San Diego, California, USA (Star 100.7 Jingle Ball)
December 5, 2004 – Sony Studios, Culver City CA, USA (Bailey’s – The Set)
December 6, 2004 – The Pond Theater, Anaheim, California, USA (Star 98.7 Not So Silent Night )

If you analyze these shows, they played 7, 6 of them were in the US.

Then, of course, they toured a lot during 2005.  They shows were split into different parts of the world.

1 show in January in Europe
45 shows in February-March in North America
29 shows in June-July in Europe
16 in July-August in US
3 shows in Japan in August
4 shows in September-October in US
1 show in December in Argentina
9 shows in December in Europe

That is a lot of shows–108 shows in total.

2006 saw more Duran shows:

1 in January in the US
1 in February in Italy
1 in August in Monaco
1 in September in Hong Kong
6 in September-October in Europe
10 in October-November in US

That’s 20 shows in 2006.  Add to the 2004 total and the 2005 total and it equals 135.  82 were in North America (61%).

Red Carpet Massacre Tour:

2007 saw the release of the album in November.  The band played shows around the release:

14 shows in the US in October-November
1 show in Argentina in November
2 shows in Europe in December
5 shows in the US in December-January

Total of 22 shows with 19 in the US.

2008 shows:

1 show in Italy in February
8 shows in New Zealand and Australia in March-April
5 shows in Asia in April
23 shows in North America in April-May
20 shows in Europe in June-July
1 show in the Middle East in October
9 shows in South America in November
8 shows in North America in December

Total number of shows:  75 with 31 in North America

2009 shows:

1 show in Russia in June
6 shows in US in June-July
2 shows in the UK in July

Total number of shows:  9 with 6 in the US.  Total number of shows for RCM:  106 with 56 in North America.  The band played less shows for Red Carpet Massacre with slightly less percent in North America at 53%.

All You Need Is Now:

This album was partially released in December of 2010 and fully released in 2011.  Shows began in 2011 to support the album.

2011 shows:

3 shows in the UK in March
22 shows in North America in March-April
3 shows in Europe in May
4 shows in the UK in September
25 shows in North America in September-October
1 show in Brazil in November
11 shows in the UK in December
1 show in Ireland in December

Total number of shows for the year:  70

2012 shows:

8 shows in Europe in January-February
1 show in the Middle East in March
3 shows in Asia in March
6 shows in Australia in March
6 shows in South America in April-May
14 shows in Europe in June-July
1 show in Asia in July
11 shows in the US in August

Total number of shows:  50.

Total number of shows for All You Need Is Now:  120, which is more than Red Carpet Massacre and less than Astronaut.  The percent of shows in North America was 48%, the least amount of the three.

Paper Gods:

Paper Gods was released in September 2015.  The band played shows that fall.

2015 shows:

1 show in the UK in September
8 shows in the US in September-October
11 shows in the UK in November-December

Total shows:  20 shows

2016 shows:

20 shows in North America in March-May
3 shows in the UK in May-June
6 shows in Europe in June-July (5 in Italy)
28 shows in North America in July-September
1 show in the UK in December

Total shows:  58 (with 1 more to go!)

The total number of shows (so far) for Paper Gods:  78 with 72% in North America.

Conclusions:

Clearly, Duran Duran usually plays more than 100 shows per album cycle.  Therefore, it is not surprising that the band plans to play more in 2017.  What is interesting and different is the amount of shows in North America.  Since the band reunited in the early 2000s, they have played about 50-60% of their shows in North America.  During the Paper Gods Tour, however, that percentage has increased to over 70% with more shows planned.  Therefore, it isn’t the number of shows that is surprising or note-worthy but where they are playing that is.  While I love the fact that I, along with my other North American friends, have had many chances to see Duran, it would logical and fair for the band to try to reach other parts of the world after the spring US shows.

-A

Some Days Are Strange to Number

Some days, some things just make me laugh.  Sometimes, the laughter happens right away.  Other times, there needs to be some space between the event and the giggles.  Tuesday morning was one of those days…

I arrived at work/school early on Tuesday.  I had much to do, including copying four handouts to start a brand new unit for my US History kiddos.  As I mindlessly stood by the copier at 7 am, I thought through my game plan.  I had to find a colleague to cover me at 9 am so that I could buy tickets to the National Harbor Duran shows.  Once my class was covered, I could seek a quiet classroom to refresh my DDM and/or Ticketmaster page frequently as I anxiously waited for tickets to go on sale.  Then, I would quickly type in the password and seek the tickets of my choice.  Of course, the perfect tickets would pop up instantly, almost placing themselves into the shopping cart without me even clicking a button.  The process would be nothing but smooth sailing.  I could then return to my classroom, having been gone for less than 10 minutes.  Yeah…those copier fantasies can be intense and terribly inaccurate.

Still, the plan seemed on track when I found my colleague and friend across the hall.  I begged her to cover my first hour class and even told her to give treats to my students if they were good since I had brownies and cupcakes with me.  She readily agreed.  Perfect.  Nothing could go wrong, I figured.  I had coverage.  I had a plan.  I had the seating chart printed.  I logged into my computer and the necessary sites.  I was all set.  

At five to nine, my colleague stepped across the hall to take over as I sought her quiet classroom to begin my incessant refreshing.  As I started to refresh the Ticketmaster page, I noticed that sometimes I would get a countdown clock and other times I did not.  Cue self-talk as I reminded myself that it would be fine and that I had done a million presales before.  There was no need for my heart to be beating that fast.  None, whatsoever.  Finally, the countdown reached zero, the page indicated that it was loading and loading and loading and loading.  What the hell?!  Do I need to refresh the page, I wondered.  Finally, after what felt like hours, I refreshed, revealing the ticket sale page.  I put my request in.  Denied.  Grumble.  Grumble.  Okay, I thought.  No big deal.  Stay calm.  Refresh again.  Up pops crappy seats all the way to the side and far back.  No thank you.  Refresh again.  Same result.  

“Are they kidding me?” I said out loud to an empty classroom.  Could the tickets already be sold out, I asked myself?!  Nooooooo….refresh again for the sixth time.  Then, Ticketmaster asked me to click on pictures with mountains.  I did that and when the page appeared it stated in big, red ugly letters that they could not fulfill my request.  I felt the blood pressure rising.  I didn’t understand.  What was going on?!  Deep breaths began.  More waiting.  Then, the dreaded bell rang indicating that I could pursue this no longer as 2nd hour awaited.  Damnit, I muttered as I crossed back into my classroom and my role as teacher.

As sweat popped up on my forehead, I frantically searched for my team teacher.  Where was she?  Was she coming to class?  Could she start the class so I could keep…attempting to get tickets?!  Finally, she appeared in the door frame.  Relief.  I begged her to start the class while I explained the situation.  She nodded while directing me to her room, to try on her computer.  That might work, I thought as I turned around to leave.  Unfortunately, ten minutes on a different computer  proved to be no more successful.  Swearing under my breath, I marched back into my classroom, knowing that I could not stay on Ticketmaster all dang day.  Teaching demanded my presence.

As I walked in, I noticed that I had another laptop to try Ticketmaster on.  I logged in while my colleague finished going over the political vocabulary.  She wandered over to my desk to ask how my pursuit was going.  I quickly explained the situation to her before jumping up to lead the students through some notes.  As I waited for the kids to jot down ideas about the political parties, I glanced back to see my colleague refreshing the page as I had done.  Involuntarily, I let out both a partial smile and a partial sob at the same time, thinking about how lucky I was for colleagues like that.  Thankfully, my misery ended when I received word that the friend I am going with acquired tickets for us.  I desperately wanted to collapse in my desk chair, exhausted, but I still had a room full of freshmen to teach!  Someday, this band really might kill me, I thought as I resumed the political science lesson I was presenting.

By now, you all have realized that unlike my counterpart, I will be attending the shows outside of DC around New Year’s.  Will I miss Rhonda’s presence?  That is a given.  It feels weird to go to any show or any Duran function without her.  This is even more significantly weird and sad is because it involves traveling and staying in hotels.  Yet, the shows made too much sense for me NOT to go.

As someone who is single, with few single friends near me, holidays like New Year’s Eve create a lot of personal anxiety.  Immediately after Christmas, I begin to wonder, each year, what I should do. Should I make plans, should I try to go somewhere, do I not try to make plans, do I stay at home.  In many cases, I can find a friend or two to hang out with but not always and usually last minute.  The holiday always acts as a unwelcome reminder that I’m single and don’t have a family.  It can be very lonely to be single during the holidays.  Yes, of course, I could always spend time with my parents, who are nearby me, but that usually doesn’t feel great despite how much I love my parents.  Thus, I’m thrilled that I not only will I not have that anxiety but that I have amazing plans.  I never thought I would see Duran on New Year’s.  Talk about a party!

The other reason that I am thrilled about going is that I love DC.  As I’m sure many of you reading this know, I’m a very political person and January marks the end of Obama presidency and the beginning of the next one.  As someone who worked for the Obama campaign and who has met the President and the First Lady, there is something special and affirming about going to DC during this transition.  It is like two really significant aspects of myself are coming together.

Now, some may argue that I am crazy for spending this money to go and maybe I am (although tickets weren’t any more expensive than some of the summer shows I went to).  Yet, this is an extra I can afford.  For me, it is worth it as I can think of nothing else that makes me happier than being at a Duran show.

-A

 

And So Mark the Year

One year ago today, I was in Hollywood, California.  More specifically than that, I was at the Hollywood Bowl.  Like everyone else there that night, I was there to see Duran Duran perform to a sold out crowd at an iconic venue.  This show marked the first full show that I had seen since 2012.  Three long years had passed.  Finally I was seeing the band on stage doing what they do best, performing both classic songs and tracks off their brand new album, Paper Gods.  This show was the first of three shows for me that weekend, making it a real tour.

One year later, I find myself wishing for a super power.  This power would allow me to travel in time.  I could rewind the tape and do that tour and the entire year all over again.  Maybe, I just want to have a super power that allows me to tour all of the time.  For me, there is nothing better than being on tour and going to Duran Duran shows.  While others imagine a quiet, beautiful beach as their happy place, I think about Duran Duran concerts and tours.  Why is that?  Why is that the place that I’m most happiest at?

I have thought about that question quite a bit lately as I find myself wistfully looking back to my Paper Gods tours.  The first reason is the most obvious.  Duran Duran makes me happy.  Their music has always spoken to me.  Even when I was far away from the fandom, whenever I heard a Duran song, I felt an intense joy as an involuntary smile formed on my face.  The songs bring back happy memories from both my childhood and now my adulthood.  I connect certain songs to memories, to moments, to fun times in my life.  Yes, of course, there are songs that I might not like or love but even those create an emotional response.  As someone who appreciates intensity, I have always loved how much feeling their music creates in me.  Seeing their music live adds to that intensity.

Their live performances make their music better.  Always.  In fact, their live performances are so good that there are many songs that I don’t like to listen to anymore unless they are live.  There is a lot more to their shows besides their music, however.  I love watching their interactions, from the shall we say…hot…JoSi moments to the jamming DoJo ones to even the glances between Nick and the others.  Yet, I also love that they interact with the crowd and get into the music themselves.  If that wasn’t enough, the crowd surrounding me also adds to the experience.  When I am at the show, singing along with thousands of others, I feel a part of something big, important, magical.  The whole venues unites around the music, the performance or so it feels to me.

Beyond the show, touring usually means that I get to spend time with my partner-in-crime in person.  Those times provide us with the  extended time to talk, really talk.  Of course, we discuss all things Duran but also the rest of our lives, including work, family, childhoods and everything else under the sun.  While I have some good friends and great colleagues around the Midwest, I don’t have the same kind of conversations with them.  Part of it is sharing this fandom journey that we are on.  The other part is simply because Rhonda and I connected through these conversations.  They are the lifeblood to our friendship.  Beyond the conversations, we have a TON of fun together.  We laugh so much.  In my real life, I don’t find myself laughing without abandon like I do on tour.  I’m often far too serious.

The last aspect of touring that I am really missing right now is the escape.  While I’m on tour, traveling from show to show, I’m not thinking about paying bills or responsibilities or work.  I can live in the moment and experience joy.  Lately, work has been tough.  It has been tough in a way that I haven’t had to deal with in years.  On top of that, I’m just super busy with little time to give myself breaks.  I’m longing for an extended break of fun like touring.  I wish I was in my happy place.  Since I can’t be, I’ll just think back to the memories created one year ago at the Hollywood Bowl, when I was at my happy “place”.

-A

The Setlist: Do Fans Really Want Changes

One of the hottest topics of the Paper Gods era has been the setlist.  While that topic is always a popular one in Duranland around any tour, during the past year or so, fans debated it more frequently.  We all know the reason why.  Duran has not been mixing up their set lists much at all.  I saw nine shows this summer and I literally saw the same set nine times.  Really, they changed few songs from the three shows that I saw in the fall of 2015.  Many fans complained about this and some declared that they went to less shows or no shows because of it.

In response to the setlist discussion/debate, I focused the question of the day on the setlist.  I started out by asking about what songs people had seen live, which ones they wanted to, etc.  Recently, I asked, “Which song from the current setlist would you rather see removed from the setlist.”  I obviously included just those songs off of that magical Version 22 setlist.  This meant that I often pitted classic songs vs. new ones.  Before I started the set of questions, I made predictions in my head.  I figured that people were sick of many of the “classics” like Hungry like the Wolf and A View to a Kill.  I thought more upbeat songs would be more popular.  Yes, I believed that I had a handle on what the overall fan community thought about the current setlist.

Perhaps not surprisingly, I was wrong.  Right away, I could tell that fans did not welcome the new songs as much as I thought they would be.  For example, fans (those who voted) opted to keep Come Undone on the setlist over Last Night in the City.  (This made me cringe lots.)  The only new song more appreciated than a classic was Paper Gods over Wild Boys.  I threw out my first theory quickly.  Maybe fans aren’t really sick of the classics, I pondered.

In trying to understand what I saw, I recognized a couple of things.  First, I figured that there would always be fans who love certain “classics” and cannot imagine a show without them.  For instance, Rio must be played in many fans’ heads simply because it almost always has been and seems to summarize a lot of what people think and feel when they think Duran.  Others have favorites that mean a lot to them.  I’m as guilty of this as anyone else.  Everyone knows that my favorite song is Planet Earth.  I would be crushed if it vanished from the setlist.  Not only is it my favorite but it has everything from JoSi to DoJo to a John Taylor solo.

Second, I realize that it takes a long time for fans to love new songs as much as they do old songs.  After all, fans don’t know new songs as well and they won’t have had the time to really develop relationships with the new songs.  Less time with new songs means less of a connection to them.  Thus, while new songs sound great in theory, many fans don’t really want to hear them live–not over a love that they love and have loved for years or decades.  Even when I asked people to give me one song to add to the setlist, not many chose new songs.  Most people chose fan favorites or more obscure tracks.

Many times, people conclude that Duran keeps their setlist pretty much the same, with lots of “classics” to appeal to those casual fans in the audience.  They want people who came only to hear HLTW or Rio to leave happy or so fans might believe.  Yet, the set of question of the day questions on the setlist makes me really wonder if more diehard fans are just as bad as casual fans in wanting a consistent setlist.  Of course, many of you reading this are saying, “I don’t think that.  Most people I know don’t think that.”  Obviously, that may be true.  Overall, though, Duranies prefer those “classics”, too.

Sometimes, I wonder if those questions of the day really do much.  Yeah, sometimes, I get sick of it day in and day out, putting up a question.  At times, though, they help shed light on the Duran fan community.  They give me a different but necessary perspective that I wouldn’t have otherwise.  In this situation, once again, I saw that it must be hard for the band to come up with a setlist that would make everyone happy.

-A

Happy Anniversary Paper Gods!

Today is the one year anniversary of Paper Gods.  It is hard to believe that the album was released a whole year ago.  In order to celebrate the anniversary, the band released the official video for Last Night in the City (at midnight Eastern time) and then a little video from Simon discussing the special occasion.

Last Night in the City:

Here’s the video of Simon:

Of course, Rhonda and I had lots to say about the video, Simon’s video and the anniversary itself.  In order to fit our thoughts into one blog, a video blog seemed most appropriate!

After listening to all of our thoughts, what you think about the video or about what Simon had to say?  We would love to know!

-A

September Katy Kafe with John Taylor

I apologize for the lateness of the blog today.  I promised myself that I would get some of that pesky school work done before I completed the more fun task of listening to September’s Katy Kafe and blogging about it.  As always with I’m only going to be sharing what I think the highlights were and my thoughts about them.  If you want the complete deal, I suggest getting that membership to DuranDuranMusic and listening for yourself.  This is one Kafe that is worth it!

End of the Tour:

John commented about how they are on the verge of finishing this tour, which really began for them last year.  He said that the end allows them to look back at the accomplishment while looking forward to the break and the next steps.  I have to admit that I have always wondered what the end of the tour must be for them.  I know what it is like for me.  It is usually one of mixed emotions.  While I’m glad to return home and get some sleep, I’m also terribly sad in that I don’t know when I will see the next Duran show or the next time that I will see my friends, especially Rhonda.  It also usually motivates me to do more work about the blog, our writing or fan events.  I guess it is safe to say that tours usually inspire me.

Next Steps:

This Kafe brought the good stuff right away with Katy asking about next steps.  While there wasn’t a major scoop, there was a few details that I focused in on.  First, the return to the States (probably that East Coast show that DDHQ has hinted about) will be around New Year’s.  (I don’t mind that.  I do have a winter vacation then.  Just for the record.)  Second, 2017 will hopefully include some “special shows”.  That has me wondering what that means!  Of course, he did also mention the idea of continuing the tour to Australia, Asia and South America.  Interesting to note there was no mention of the Broadway musical or ballet that he and Nick have been working on.

Chic:

When Katy brought up the topic of Chic, I have to admit that I wondered what else could be said since most critics, fans, etc. have all talked about how having Chic on tour with Duran was awesome because they fit together well.  Well, JT talked about how Simon was more “emotional” and “open” on this tour, which showed when he talked about the band’s love for Nile each night.  He also mentioned the hope to get Chic to join them for an Australia tour.

Festivals:

The topic of festivals came up in relation to the question of whether or not the band would return to North America.  John was open by saying that it wasn’t his decision but that he thinks the best way to keep trying to get the album heard is by playing live dates and that festivals mean that people who wouldn’t have heard Paper Gods get to hear it.  Katy then wondered if they might come back to the States next summer for some festivals.  John said that many people would agree with that thinking.  Of course, while understanding this thinking, festivals make me cringe.  I’m too old to enjoy them with all  the discomforts that they bring.

Stevie Wonder:

John talked about how amazing it was to be at the festival in Aspen with Stevie Wonder.  (I, too, thought it was amazing when I got to see Stevie Wonder play at the 2013 Inaugural Ball!)  I smiled throughout his description of watching Stevie perform then meeting him and getting a picture taken with him.  He sounded like many of us do when describing meeting him!

iPhone7:

Yes, they talked about the new iPhone design that is coming out that features the cordless headphones.  Apparently, the phone will also be waterproof, which could be important to people who have had incidents with their phone and water.  (coughRhondacough)

Neurotic Outsiders:

This year marks the 20th anniversary of John’s side project, Neurotic Outsiders.  John shared the story about how the project came together, which is interesting story about they started playing one gig together for a fundraiser before being offered a residency at the Viper Room in LA.  More interesting than that, John discussed where his head was at the time, since the side project began right before he left the band.  He talked about how his ideas with Duran had run out and that he was interested in sticking to LA more.  As someone who is self-described as old school, he also liked (and still does) the idea of a residency.  He described this project as the opposite of Duran.  While Duran is complex, this band was simple.  While they made an album of new material, John felt that the album should  have been them live.

Overall, this Kafe was a joy to listen to.  John sounded very upbeat and positive.  His openness and positivity showed with each topic that came up.  As someone wondering what will be next for Duran Duran, the Kafe provided me with a sense that whatever it will be will be good.

-A